Thursday, September 28, 2006


Light Posting Excuse

Light posting because I'm back to Richmond, VA to attend my first high school reunion (the 35th). Really looking forward to it as I've not seen some of those guys in, well, 35 years. My sister will be there too, as her husband has his 40th. Take it away Diomedes, I'll be back before Yom Kippur starts.


Thought of the Day

And I'm never going back to my old school.

Steely Dan in My Old School (Countdown to Ecstasy)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I've Always Liked Denzel, Ever Since St. Elsewhere

I have another story for the veracity of which I cannot vouch. But I hope it's true. This was also sent to me by Lee Serck.

Subject: Denzel Washington and Brooks Medical Center

Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brooks Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BMAC) the other day. This is where soldiers who have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the United States, especially burn victims. There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldier's families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BMAC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost all filled most of the time. While Denzel Washington was visiting BMAC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot!

The soldiers were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it. The Question I Have is Why Does: Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn, The Dixie Chicks and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America trash and Denzel Washington's Patriotism doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the local paper in San Antonio?

A true American and friend to all in uniform!

This needs as wide a distribution as we can create!

Just wish his movies were better lately.


Democrat Plan for the Central Front of the War

It's not cut and run (that's the former plan for Iraq), it's cut and starve.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Democrats win control of the House next year, but his main goal in 2007 does not fall within his panel’s jurisdiction.

“I can’t stop this war,” a frustrated Rangel said in a recent interview, reiterating his vow to retire from Congress if Democrats fall short of a majority in the House.

But when pressed on how he could stop the war even if Democrats control the House during the last years of President Bush’s second term, Rangel paused before saying, “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?”

Rangel’s views on funding the war are shared by many of his colleagues – especially within the 73-member Out of Iraq Caucus.

Some Democratic legislators want to halt funding for the war immediately, while others say they would allocate money for activities such as reconstruction, setting up international security forces, and the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

“Personally, I wouldn’t spend another dime [on the war,]” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

No sane person, who loves this country, can vote for a Democrat during this early, perhaps critical period of the long, tough war we face, for fear of putting them in power. You can vote for Democrats, if you must, once we start winning the war against the Jihadists.


This Makes Up for Leaving Out the Indefinate Article

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this story and I have no memory of Neil Armstrong saying any such thing, but it's a good story none the less.







UPDATE: Mark Dunn points me to a site which says this story is a joke which morphed into false history. Sounds right.


This Day in Mid-15th Century History

On this day in 1540, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is founded by Ignatius Loyola.


Thought of the Day

Nothing ages like happiness.

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Andrew Sullivan Completes His Turn

Here's a current posting on a site I used to visit every day. For defeatist Sullivan, who used to see things pretty clearly but has lost it with his misperception of what is and isn't torture, the enemy is no longer the Jihadists, but the Republicans trying to fight this difficult war. See if I'm not right.

I'll be on AC360 tonight, discussing the torture and detention-without-charge bill. [Is that its real title?]

Talking and thinking this over, I'm trying to look on the bright side. The bill allows this president to continue torturing detainees (and possibly innocent ones). But it doesn't actually authorize the torture methods. And it doesn't formally breach Geneva. So "the program" continues in the shadows of Bush's shadow government. The truly disturbing part is that the only criterion for detaining anyone without charges - citizen or non-citizen, at home or anywhere in the world - is the president's discretion. If Rumsfeld decides you're an enemy combatant, you can be whisked away into a black hole, tortured, or have to prove your innocence in a military commission while he insists on your guilt. The "battlefield" is everywhere; and the war is endless. This is not, to put it mildly, what the founding fathers had in mind. It is one of the darkest hours for Western liberty in a very long time. And most conservatives are cheering. Watching habeas corpus go down the plughole is not something I ever thought I would have to contemplate. Well done, Osama. You won this one big time.

Who did Sullivan think fought our wars in the past, the judiciary? I know one founding father, who as President, our third, confronted and fought against an overseas Muslim threat. Lincoln by proclamation actually suspended habeas corpus for two and a half years in order to fight the civil war without judicial intervention. We seem to have weathered that un-comtemplatable event with the Constitution intact. Oh wait, suspension of habeas corpus under certain circumstances is right there in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9. Lincoln probably should have had Congress do it then.

I feel like Ripley in Aliens--did IQs drop precipitously while I slept last night?


Proof of Clinton's Lies on Sunday

If you just read the transcript, you can watch in the space of a few sentences, Clinton's false declaration that Richard Clarke was demoted becoming the false declaration that Richard Clarke was fired. Internal inconsistence is always a good sign of falsehood. But there's more.

Read Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's response. Read Byron York's report on what Richard Clarke's book (touted by Clinton as a veritable Oracle of Truth) actually said, and this. Read what Richard Clarke said regarding Clinton's current claim that his administration handed the Bush Administration a comprehensive plan about al Qaeda.

My favorite whopper remains: And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn't do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough said I did too much — same people. Repeated later in the interview as: The people on my political right who say I didn't do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, "Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden?

Perhaps you don't remember anyone saying Clinton was obsessed with bin Laden. Go ahead and do a Google search on that term. James Taranto did a search like that and reports on the result.

And don't get me started on: Now, I've never criticized President Bush.. Which was immediately followed by criticism of President Bush. Does he even hear himself?

Hugh Hewitt says the 15 minutes of Clinton unleashed on the Fox Sunday show will be mined for years by Presidential historians. Maybe, but if the war goes as I expect it to, we'll soon forget about the ultimate frivolity that was Clinton's Presidency.


Paul Campos--Bleeding Heart For the Jihadists

You would think that a law professor could assimilate the difference between a criminal in custody awaiting a trial and possible sentence as punishment for the crime and a captured (illegal) combatant kept off the battlefield for the duration of the conflict. But the distinction seems to escape legal wunderkind and part-time journalist Paul Campos. Here's what he wrote today in the Rocky Mountain News under the 'no duh' title "Torture is Always Wrong."

This law [pending in Congress] will, among other things, clarify the status of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by making it clear that they may be kept in prison for the rest of their lives, without ever being allowed to plead their case in court. During this "indefinite detention" they may be tortured at the pleasure of the president, if he believes that torturing them is necessary to help keep us safe. (Emphasis added).

Am I wrong to take from that paragraph that Mr. Campos supports giving the Jihadists American Constitutional rights? Isn't he advocating a right to be tried in an American court? What would Mr. Campos want us to prove in court--that the Jihadists was carrying an AK-74? That the Jihadist is a Jihadist? Do we let captured combatants go back to the battlefield to kill more people, including American soldiers, etc.? All I can see in Mr. Campos' arguments is hopeless confusion.

But even more distressing is Mr. Campos' near complete inability to tell the difference between torture and not torture. Every time you call non-torture torture you diminish your proper argument that torture is wrong because people with common sense can tell the difference and they dismiss your argument as the product of your flawed perception. I'm doing it now.

Mr. Campos should look to what he unconsciously proposes as a definition of torture:

[Torture] is wrong because to torture a fellow human being destroys the torturer's own soul as surely as it destroys the body and mind of his victim. (Emphasis added).

Torture destroys the body and mind of the victim. What does not destroy the body and mind of the victim (i.e. mere inconvenience or a brief, non-damaging physical pain--like a belly slap) is not torture. Waterboarding (pouring water onto a cloth over the victim's face) therefore could be torture if you keep it up for a long time, as in hours. Usually it lasts seconds and the longest reported was just over two minutes. That's not torture. (It's not in the Big Book of Torture).

So we can all agree that torture is wrong, but the problem comes from (usually) the lefties' inability to know what is torture and what is not. We don't torture, but we have to do harsh things sometimes to get the Jihadists to reveal plans of coming attacks. Saving 3,000 people with a belly slap (followed by a pizza) is moral behavior, not the reverse. Even if it only saves one life...

You do have to admire Mr. Campos' putting his topsey turvey perception on display each week. If I were that wrong consistently, I'd shut up.


Why Keith Olbermann Has Few Viewers--Part 2

It is rare you see someone so misinformed, so wrong but so fatuously smug at the same time. Watch this long silly rant if you can stand it.

I did and I now want to consult DSM IV R to see if they have a name for what Olbermann suffers from. He calls Chris Wallace a monkey. He calls the serial lies of ex-President Clinton on Sunday the Truth. He signs off with what Murrow used to say. And there's 10 minutes more. Just incredible.

(h/t Dean Barnett)


This Day in American History

On this day in 1820, Daniel Boone dies at age 86 in Franklin County, Missouri. Born in Pennsylvania, Boone is remembered for exploring and opening up the Kentucky part of the Virginia Colony to settlers. During one of his less successful forays there in 1773, stopped by the Indians, Boone and his family retreated to the Clinch river in Virginia where he had some contact with my forefathers over the next few years. He even wrote my ancestors a letter, which one of us still has. The man couldn't spell 'cat' twice the same way in the same sentence, but I was always struck by the pervasive religious content in it.


Thought of the Day

We are here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don't know.

W. H. Auden

Monday, September 25, 2006


This Day in Science History

On this day in 1877, French astronomer Urbain-Jean-Joseph La Verrier dies at age 66. He predicted the position of a previously unknown planet by the disturbance it caused in the orbit of Uranus. In 1856, the German astronomer Johan G. Galle discovered Neptune after only an hour of searching, within one degree of the position that had been computed by Le Verrier, who had asked him to look for it there. The Germans always had better optics than the French. In this way Le Verrier gave the most striking confirmation of the theory of gravitation propounded by Newton. Le Verrier also initiated the meteorological service for France, especially the weather warnings for seaports.

(h/t Today in Science History)


Thought of the Day

Wenn ich Kultur hoere...entsichere ich meinen Browning.

Hans Johst in his play Schlageter, written in honor of Adolph Hitler's birthday 1933

Usually translated as:

Whenever I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver.

But is more accurately translated as:

Whenever I hear [the word] culture, I unsafe [release the safety catch on] my Browning.

And of course the Browning pistol referred to is not a revolver but an automatic pistol manufactured in Belgium (designed by American mormon gun super genius, John Browning), probably the 1903 or 1910 model, as the masterpiece 1935 model (the High Power) wasn't made until two years after the words were first uttered.

I still don't know what the quote means though. Is culture something we need to arm ourselves against? Did the Nazis think it was a dangerous force? Just weird.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Friday Movie Review (quite late)

Went to see WWI aviation movie Flyboys, because I had to. It was OK, a bit tedious at times which is bad in a war movie. It's about the Lafayette Escadrille, a group in the French army with American pilots, before America entered the war. It had all the most trite and time honored war movie cliches, a handsome young cast, and pretty good CGI battle scenes. The airplanes looked a bit too shiny (but the computer images do keep on getting better).

The movie said that it was based on true events. I always take that to mean it's set on planet Earth during historical times. And yes Flyboys was based on true events, there was a war in France in 1917 and there was a Lafayette Escadrille. Oh, and they had lion cubs (plural) as mascots, Whiskey and Soda. That is about it for historical fact shown in the movie. There was no 20 plus victory ace named Reed Cassady (played by the doomed boyfriend in The Ring) who died in battle. There was a 9 victory ace Thomas G. Cassady (he claimed 12) but he got many of them in an American outfit (the 28th AEF) and survived the war.

There was no 9 millimeter German machine gun--the Germans used in their American designed Maxim machine gun, manufactured largely in Spandau, a suburb of Berlin, an 8 mm cartridge, the same cartridge as in their rifle, the Mauser 98.

The Zeppelins were filled with flammable hydrogen (America has a monopoly of helium gas) and were used in the war to some small effect but were so vulnerable to air arrack with bombs from above or tracer like incendiary bullets that they were only used at night after 1914. So no daring daylight raid on Paris in 1917 stopped by the non-existent Reed Cassady.

I don't know a lot about air tactics during the Great War but I do know about the Immelmann turn of which you saw one during Flyboys. I think that's too few. Let me explain. There were no air tactics at the beginning of the war because airplanes had never been used at war before. It was a 50/50 thing to line up and fly right at the enemy plane gun blazing, perhaps less than that because who pulled up and who pulled down was not well established so head on crashes were possible. Max Immelmann, a German ace killed in June, 1916, would climb up to stall speed, push down on a tail flap, when the plane turns and comes down you're heading with gaining speed at the enemy plane from the side. If you miss, repeat the maneuver on the other side. (Now an Immelmann turn is a half loop topped with a flipping the plane over so you've reversed your course and gained altitude--but the early German planes didn't have the power to do that).
If you realize that it's mainly BS history but a fun sound and light show, this movie is for you.

I ALMOST FORGOT: There is a scene where the historically somewhat accurate black pilot is asked what his father did for a living. He responds, "he was a slave." What an odd response. This is 1916 and his father had not been a slave for over 50 years. Did he do nothing for that intervening time? Even if the father died at or just before his son's birth in say 1884, he was not a slave for nearly 30 years. I can see saying in another context, "he was born a slave." But to give that response to that question at that time was truly bizarre.


Famous Shakespeare Quotes

One from Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 2, line 230) is Queen Gertrude's "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." It is Hamlet's mother's comment/criticism of the play Hamlet has put on to test the king (again) to see if his father's ghost was correct saying he was murdered by his brother, who then married the widow of his victim. The player queen in Hamlet's play within a play has just gone on and on about how bad it would be for her to wed again after he husband's death.

I've always taken it to mean, and I believe this is why it is a familiar quote to many, that people who are guilty of wrong are very sensitive to hearing about virtue in the same field. Thus, the quote is a layered window into basic human behavior. In Hamlet, Gertrude, having married her husband's murderer (she didn't know that part) very quickly after his death (she was well aware of that), hates to see another doing the right thing, pledging a chaste mourning period.

I bring this up after watching former President Bill Clinton get very angry and say stupid things during his interview by Chris Wallace. (Rough transcript here). The question to Clinton was generally what do you say to people who think you didn't do enough to get bin Laden. His angry answer went on for about 15 minutes, criticizing in no particular order the question, the network, the right-wingers, Wallace himself, the media, everyone else, and the Republicans who said he was too obsessed with bin Laden (which is a group consisting of not one soul). The ex-President protests too much, I think.

He also criticizes/praises Carl Rove for instilling division and fear into the American people. Wait a minute, is it a false fear or is it truth? Are we facing a real threat to our lives and economy from Jihadists (led at least in spirit by bin Laden, whom Clinton claims he tried so hard to kill) or is it a smoke screen to obfuscate the real important issues which do not include a devastating terrorist attack in our future. Am I wrong to think that Clinton and the Democrats have always (even now) taken this threat less seriously than President Bush? It seems to me that most of the criticism of President Bush vis a vis the Jihadists boils down to he's fighting a war (poorly, whatever he does) rather than fighting a criminal gang like Clinton sometimes did.

I'm watching Bill Clinton right now on the golf delayed interview by Tim Russert. No anger yet. It's not as good television, but perhaps I just think that because I prefer to see Bill Clinton unable to dissemble.


This Day in Canadian History

On this day in 1948, rock album cover designer, actor and SNL and Talk Radio alumnus Phil Hartman (originally Hartmann) is born in Brantman, Ontario. He is shot to death on May 28, 1998, by his crazy wife, Brynn, who later that same day self executes. Kind of a bummer.


Thought of the Day

Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

Ambrose Bierce

Saturday, September 23, 2006


This Day in American History

On this day in 1779, Scot born American patriot John Paul Jones, on the elderly, former French East Indiaman, named (in honor of Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard books) Bonhomme Richard, engaged the brand new British frigate HMS Serapis in the North Sea off Famborough Head, England. Serapis had 44 18 pounder cannon, the BR had 28 12 pounders, 6 6 pounders and Jones had added 6 18 pounders below the gun deck. Outgunned, BR was blasted in the initial broadside the two ships exchanged, losing much of her firepower and many of her gunners. Captain Richard Pearson, commanding Serapis, and a gentleman, called out to Jones, asking if he surrendered. Jones replied: "I have not yet begun to fight!" What a guy. Since he had been at sea since age 13, it is difficult to know if he said it in a Scots accent.

And the Americans waged a desperate, bloody battle. Sharpshooting Marines and seamen in BR's tops raked Serapis with rifle fire, clearing the weather decks, even as their ship began to sink beneath them. Only after the BR rammed, and Marines and sailors boarded, the Serapis did Capt. Pearson tear down his colors and surrender his ship. Bonhomme Richard sunk the next day and Jones wisely transferred to Serapis, named after a lesser Egyptian god. The battle was a huge black eye to the British Navy which did not suffer many such defeats until the war resumed in 1812.


Thought of the Day

Qui amans egens ingressus est princeps in Amoris vias, superavit aerumnis suis aerumnas Herculi.


He who sets out on love's road with an empty wallet takes on greater labors than Hercules.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Our Miss Brooks on Torture

Rosa Brooks, law professor at, I'm sorry to say, the University of Virginia, columnist at the incredible shrinking LA Times, and apparent total wash-out as a regular guest lefty on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, writes emotionally, irrationally and unconvincingly about what I believe is the Democrat position on torture.

Consider this fair and dispassionate argument (interspersed with my comments in color):

If in doubt, take any of the "alternative" methods that Bush wants to use on U.S. detainees and imagine someone using those methods on your son or daughter. Yeah, the imagine it applied to your children argument--well renowned for inducing clear, unemotional and logical thinking. If the bad guys captured your son and tossed him, naked, into a cell kept at a temperature just slightly higher than an average refrigerator, then repeatedly doused him with ice water to induce hypothermia, would that be OK? It would be much better he suffer that and live than receive the usual treatment from our savage Jihadist enemies--that is, cutting off important body parts including the head. What if they shackled him to a wall for days so he couldn't sit or lie down without hanging his whole body weight on his arms? Better than cutting off his arms. What if they threatened to rape and kill his wife, Better than actually raping and killing his wife or pretended they were burying him alive? Pretend, like in a play or Kill Bill v. 2? What if they did all these things by turns? Would you have any problem deciding that these methods are cruel? No problem deciding they are cruel and if applied merely for the enjoyment of the captors, criminal and wrong, but if applied to obtain information, I have no problem declaring them not torture.

She also ventures into outright falsehood:

That's what the president is so worried about. He knows, too well, that the practices he authorized or ordered violate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. The recent Supreme Court decision in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld made that explicit, but the court's holding shouldn't have come as a surprise. It only confirmed what most legal scholars (and military lawyers) have been telling the White House for years.

Most legal scholars? Well, maybe the dumb ones. The protections of the Geneva Convention clearly do not apply to illegal combatants who do not wear uniforms and who routinely violate all rules of warfare especially the prohibition against targeting civilians. I think even Professor Brooks could see that. The Supreme Court applied Common Article 3 to the Jihadists by ignoring the context of that section (applying only to Civil Wars) and declaring, totally without any reasoned support, (indeed falsely) that the war declared on and waged against America by the the Saudi leader of an international NGO, al Qaeda, headquartered in Afghanistan is not international in nature. If anyone had said, before the surprising and poorly reasoned section of Hamdan was published, that CA 3 applied to international terrorists, I would have called him or her a fool and few, if any, legal scholars and military lawyers were so arguing. If you know of one, list the name, Rosa. I personally think you're just making that part up.

(h/t Laer)

UPDATE: Professor Brooks is at Georgetown now not UVA but she's on leave I think to write a book. My mistake.


ABMers Needn't Worry

Senator John McCain (R-(kinda)-AZ) took a white hot knife to the soul this past week with his fuzzy thinking about how best to fight this challenging war (which at worst was seen as coddling our savage criminal enemies). He's often called the front runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, but I'm with Ann Coulter, I'll take his candidacy seriously when you show me one registered Republican who will vote for him.

As of today, I still know of none.


Happy New Year

Now that the sun has gone down, I just want to take a few minutes to wish all my neo-con friends a happy and prosperous new year, 5767 on their calendar. That's pretty impressive as far as civilizations go. The Chinese year is probably at most on year 4703 (although 4643 is the popular choice) but most Chinese don't think along those lines as their calendar counts only in unnumbered cycles of 60. For the Indians who are on the Vikram calendar it will soon be 2063 (on the official calendar in India it's 1928). Christians are just past 2000, of course, and the Muslims have yet to hit 1500--on the Persian calendar it's 1385 and for Islam elsewhere it's the year 1427.


Thursday Rock Review

Went with the boys to Jeff Beck at the lecture hall in the Denver Convention Center and had a good time, but it wasn't heaven. Let me explain. Went with college friend Gary to see Beck at the Fillmore just after Who Else? came out what? five years ago, and that was heaven. One of his great new songs, Brush with the Blues, is a live version on the album and he makes a few mistakes. He did it perfectly at the concert we saw. Then we saw him a few years ago and he mailed it in. This concert yesterday was midway between the two--flights of guitar perfection between rush jobs.

Let's start with the basics. The Lecture Hall is not destined to be a world renowned concert venue (like Red Rocks is) even thought the sound was fine (not overwhelming) and the seats were comfortable. My youngest daughter had graduation from high school right there and I think it is a better venue for things like that. It did not sell out. The average age was about 38 I think and the ratio of women to men was 13 to one and every woman there we asked admitted she was there because she loved her husband/boyfriend rather than loved Jeff Beck. Everyone (even Jeff Beck) wore jeans--kind of a Levi Fair. He played for just over two hours and did two encores the second of which was a brilliant version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. From the distance we saw him from (20 yards), Beck looked like he indeed has a portrait of incredible ugliness up in his attic while he looks just like he did in 1972 (he's 62). Same hair for sure (although I thought I saw a bald spot on top the size of a quarter). He wore a leather vest over a sleveless white t shirt. Of note to guitar god poseurs all over the world, he played one guitar beginning to end (a Fender stratocaster) with no pick and never even had to tune it despite bending the notes all over the place. At the concert on Monday by contrast, Crow's guitarist changed guitars every other song, one time from a Gibson Les Paul all in gold to a Gibson Les Paul with the sunburst color pattern. That was a head scratcher.

Jeff Beck had said he was digging deep for this tour and indeed he started with a verse-less version of Shapes of Things from The Yardbird days (also on Truth). The majority of the songs sung by the guest vocalist (more on her below) were also from Truth -- Morning Dew, Zeppelin's You Shook Me and I Ain't Superstitious as well as some standard blues. She was a tall, slender looker with great lungs (if you know what I mean) who could belt it out just like Janis--a very welcome addition to the band. Jeff Beck mentioned her name three times but it was swallowed up by his Ron Wood at the end of his sentence imitation so I have no idea who the girl was. Indeed, who of Beck's stature is more taciturn on stage? He rarely said anything on his microphone other than the names of the people in his band (at the end of the concert)--no introduction, no chatting, no 'how you doing Denver?' , no naming the song--you're just supposed to know; he didn't even say thank you but once or twice. I think a lot of musicians should study that part of his performance--literally shut up and play.

There were a lot of songs from the 70s semi jazz albums with a feature on the good songs on There and Back where I think he did his best work last night. He did the good ones from Guitar Shop and a few off the latest album (but not My Thing, darn it), only one from Who Else? which I think is as strong as any album he's made. I've always thought that Jeff Beck could play everything anyone else could play on the guitar but few could play what he could. There were times, like when he was concentrating with the slide to get the precise demi-hemi-quaver, that he was indeed untouchable. When he makes the guitar mimic the human voice, and he's in the zone, there is little modern rock that sounds better (he was in the grove with the Beatles' A Day in the Life and the song from The Wizard of Oz--more like mailing it in with Stevie Wonder's Cause We've Ended as Lovers). Curt, who plays guitar well, was periodically giving his sign for "wow," a nervous laugh of approval, when Beck did something amazing on the guitar. I'm just a guitar sound consumer, not a producer, so I'm taking Curt's numerous laughs as a sign that Beck continues to be amazing on guitar. That's the end of the praise.

Gary, who is a drummer, says the new drummer should be fired. I did notice a few failures to synch up. The new keyboard player was very good and could imitate Jan Hammer to a T but was to my mind uninspired. The same old bassist (who changed basses once or twice??) was great again but ironically he sounded better back away from the stage. I can't explain that. I just wish that he had been more jazzy on the jazz fusion songs (I know that's a flip-flop from the Hornsby concert--so sue me) and drew them out rather than rushed through them. The best thing about Brush with the Blues is the timing of the silence juxtaposed with the technical brilliance of the cooking part and then being instantly back to restraint and perfection. You ruin the song to rush it.

Anyway, it was a solid B+ and I'd still see him anytime, anywhere.


This Day in Mid 19th Century History

On this day in 1822, Jean-Francois Champollion's letter is read to the French Academy in which he declares he has, with the help of the Rosetta Stone (discovered by French soldiers in 1799), successfully translated Egyptian hieroglyphics, thus opening up the Egyptian civilization to archeological study.


Thought of the Day

Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from.

Thomas Sowell

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Joe Conason--Super Patriot

In an article at Real Clear Politics today, lefty writer Joe Conason writes that torture opponents are true patriots. I agree. We should do all we can to stop torture, especially of our guys. But, of course, Mr. Conason does not seem to be against the torture of our guys. Screw our guys. He's apparently only against harsh treatment, short of torture, of the murderous enemies of this nation.

Money quote:

The president has sent legislation to Capitol Hill that would "clarify" the parameters available to those who interrogate prisoners in the war on terrorism. His bill would apparently permit the use of "waterboarding," which simulates drowning, and "long time standing," which is exactly what it sounds like (with shackles), as well as sleep deprivation, hypothermia and death threats.

To oppose any of these methods, or so the political advertising would claim, is to jeopardize national security and coddle terrorists. That is how Republican strategists hope to make voters forget the incompetence and corruption on display in Washington, Baghdad and New Orleans.

The other thing that completely undercuts Mr. Conason's argument is that everything he describes is not torture. Saying mean things to a person is not torture; holding prisoners of war for the duration of the conflict is not torture; turning up or down the air conditioning is not torture; and, waterboarding, which at least comes close to the line, is not torture.

So count Mr. Conason's desire for us not to employ torture of the fanatical, illegal combatants as 'mission accomplished.' Well done, Joe! You're a true patriot.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1823, the angel Moroni first appears to Joseph Smith, tells him about a book, written on golden plates, which tells of the original inhabitants of the New World (and about the breast plates, stones and bows called Urim and Thummim) and the plan God has for him to discover and translate the book and become the prophet of a new Christian sect, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose followers we call the Mormons.

Except for the literary analysis of the book Joseph Smith wrote which, to my mind, raises serious questions about the divine source of the writing, who am I to doubt Mr. Smith? I wasn't there.


Thought of the Day

We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We're told cars should be replaced with mass transportation. But it's hard to reach the drive through window at McDonald's from a speeding train. And we're told cars cause pollution. A hundred years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?

P.J. O'Rourke

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Embarrassed Silence in the Face of Madness or Cover?

Here is the prayer at the end of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the UN last night:

Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause. (Emphasis added).

Here is the context/exegesis:

The promised perfect human being is the 12th (occulted) Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared in 874 and who will return at the end of the world. The followers of this cult strive to bring chaos to the world as that is a sign of the return as well as a way to hasten his return, by making it necessary to rescue Islam from the overwhelming forces of evil (that would be us infidels) as well as a general loss of faith and faithful practice among the Muslims.

This is not the first time Ahmadinejad has talked about the hidden Imam, nor is it the first time he has revealed his beliefs to a mainly western audience in a prayer for the imminent return of the Mahdi--he had the same prayer 11 months ago in front of the UN.

Why wasn't this covered at all in the mainstream press?

I'm not feeling too charitable right now so I think either the press in general is too stupid to realize how big a deal this is or they are giving the blood enemy of our good friend Israel a pass for his scary/crazy apocalyptic beliefs--probably the latter, but maybe both.

Neither we nor Israel can allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and the window of opportunity to prevent that has dwindled to mere months. If it sends oil to $100 a barrel, and the Muslim street explodes and 30,000 Iranians and 2,000 Americans die--we have to do it; because the price Israel and then we will have to pay for failure is too horrible to contemplate. Sorry to go all Cassandra on you at the end there, but no one can be fooling around on this. It's as serious as a heart attack.


M 41 Walker Bulldog

While the Thai leader, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. was in America attending the UN speeches, there was a coup in Thailand as tanks and APCs surrounded the center of the government. Now the coup leader, Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, is setting a time table for the take over and the former king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is supporting the coup.

Of course all I'm interested in is the weapons. I always wondered where our 1950s Walker Bulldog tanks (rumoured to be the most crew comfortable ever) ended up. Now I know.

I think they look pretty good--gleaming and pampered, like the cars Jay Leno collects.


What is and What Should Never Be

The socialist Brit paper the Guardian has a list of what it calls CIA tough interrogation techniques. They're really tough; almost like torture, I bet. Ready?

Induced hypothermia; forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods; sleep deprivation; a technique called "the attention grab" where a suspect's shirt is forcefully seized; the "attention slap" or open hand slapping that hurts but does not lead to physical damage; the "belly slap"; and sound and light manipulation.

I looked in my Big Book of Torture and none of these were listed therein.

Seizing a suspect's shirt forcefully. Oh, the humanity!

I've always looked at the fall of Empires as a prolonged wussification unto death. If it's a war crime to grab a suspect's shirt forcefully, we should just hammer our tanks into plowshares and bend our necks to the inevitable fall of a dull scimitar.


This Day in Early Renaissance History

On this day in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sails from Spain on the beginning of the first circumnavigation of the globe. He is killed in the Philippines (on Mactan island), but the Victoria, one of the 5 ships starting out, pulls into port, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain, on September 6, 1522, having sailed west the whole way. The voyage was so rough, and deadly (260 men set out--18 returned), no one tries again for over 50 years when Sir Francis Drake does it between 1577-80.


Thought of the Day

We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.

Will Rogers

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Monday Rock Review

Went yesterday with the usual gang to Red Rocks Amphitheater at the base of the foothills to see young John Mayer and the lovely Sheryl Crow. Had the additional pleasure of hearing Marjorie Fair again. Well named, they are fair. It was pretty cold and I don't know what it is about Red Rocks but people apparently come there to talk while the bands play and they never shut up, even when the band plays its megahit. It must be the out of doors thing. We were on the 4th from the top row so the stage was a loooong way away. For Mayer, who played first, the sound was OK to good, but for Crow, they put the lead guitar (hell, all the guitars) on mute. Some bands have wailing guitars, Crow's band last night had whispering guitars. The only time you could hear them was on the last encore song, a cover of Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll (which she did pretty well--but even she couldn't hit Plant's notes in his prime and she had about 1/3 of his power) But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I like John Mayer a lot just for the first album, Room for Squares, which has about 4 good songs-- which makes it a great CD nowadays. (My favorite is 3x5s so of course he didn't play that). They were fun, well crafted pop songs with a good hook/tune and minimal guitar work and his breathynasal voice (but in a good way). His second album Heavier Things was a nightmare with no good songs (the one about daughters was minimally OK) and if he has albums after that, I don't know them.

So how does he seem to position himself now?--as a pseudo guitar god, the new white king of the blues; except that he can't play that well, certainly not well enough to maintain in any person, with a reasonably knowledge of blues history, any abiding interest in his solos, such as they were--he was either stretching a wailing top not or fret wanking sloppily--with very little in between. I do like his new custom fender Strat in a color not found in nature, but it is a poor fan who admires the musician's instrument more than the playing of it, so I guess that's pretty faint praise.

In the possible lawsuit brewing department, one of Mayer's new songs, Mark and I noticed, sounded way too much like a motown tune we couldn't quite place (it finally came to me--it was Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready (Listen) by the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart the singer). It may be an unconscious lifting, but it is a palpable lifting (the tune not the words).

Now on to Sheryl Crow. Man, did she look good, especially her hair. Lance must be kicking himself. Here's the good songs she did--Strong Enough, A Change Would Do You Good, My Favorite Mistake, Soak up the Sun, and Steve McQueen. Here are the awful songs she persisted in singing--If it Makes You Happy, The First Cut is the Deepest, and Everyday is a Winding Road (which I always mis-sing "Everyday I'm a whining bitch.") all of which songs have her doing this wailing let loose line like a shriek. Just awful. Good songs she recorded but which she didn't bother to sing last night--All I Wanna Do and What I Can Do for You. What the heck? Who doesn't sing his or her biggest hit?

There was a time in the middle 70s after the really hot part of the renaissance had cooled a little where every band had 10 members including a conga player and two backup singers (usually women) and it was the death knell for good rock and roll--the Las Vegasation of what had been a youth movement as well as really good music, now and again. It took punk, as awful as that was, to redirect music for a while into semi-goodness. It looks like we're heading that way again with multi-member rock and roll bands past the maximum 5 (even though there were, thankfully, no conga players on stage last night). There was a cello and other strings though. So Sheryl is obviously preparing her act for when Celine Dion gets too old.

All in all the open air venue ate these guys up and robbed us of any intimacy of performance and good sound. (They might have been decent indoors). As for the future with these recording artists; been there, done that, passed on the T-shirt.

Jeff Beck on Thursday. Real music.


Rock Show Review

Went alone to the annual mid September Rock and Gem show at the Mart on 58th and had a good time. Unlike the ever shrinking gun shows, it's holding its own as far as growth goes (the same foreign vendors are coming back each year) but it's getting a little old in format. Even the gold panning is getting old.

I bought some Russian egg shaped rocks-- Astro something and something else--I collect polished egg shaped rocks. I also bought bookends, slabs of about 40 pounds of native copper which had been partially and artistically polished to a mirror finish without losing the ver de gris elsewhere. Very nice.

It's more fun with the kids, but it's still fun.


Friday Concert Review

Went with the handsome Sheila to Chautauqua to see fellow Virginian Bruce Hornsby who can flat out play some piano. He sings well (but his good strong voice seemed to come and go) and he can write a good song. But I have to tell this story. After an enforced time not buying CDs for about 3 years, I went to the used CD store and bought the then new formulation of Fleetwood Mac (with Dave Mason as the new Lindsay Buckingham and a second generation Bramlett as the new Stevie Nicks) (It was horrible) and a Hornsby album, the name of which escapes me. It had twelve songs on it, all about a lonely rock piano player on the road and dealing with women in one way or another. I'm sure there was some variation in the melodies and subject matter, but it was a very subtle variation and, as with the Fleetwood Mac CD, I took the loss and sold it back to the store the next day.

But there are better songs out there; some of the ones that got early radio play (The Way it is--which he played, and Every Little Kiss--which he did not). The bulk of the concert was songs (perhaps all of them) from Hot House, the best of which is Spider Fingers (which I'm led to believe was his nickname when Hornsby played with the Grateful Dead).

Hornsby's band is terrific, especially on the bass and drums, but the white boys on woodwinds and guitar/backup singing and mellotron like keyboards were no slouches. If I had a complaint, it was that he verges too often on jazz for my tastes, with swirling solos and everyone playing alone together until they hit a break and reform as a rock/pop band. And some of the songs were a little loosey goosey in structure, but it was a very fun concert and, no doubt due to his Grateful Dead play ethic, he was still playing when we left after the second encore, with no sign that he'd be stopping any time soon.

Not exactly my taste (guitar over keyboards any day) but you could do a lot worse than attending a Bruce Hornsby concert, a whole lot worse, as I'll talk about soon.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 219 AD, the young Emperor Elagabalus walks backwards into Rome. He is facing a chariot on which sits the sacred meteorite stone of the Syrian sun god Elagabaal; and he has walked backwards facing the chariot with the stone the entire way from Syria, nearly 1,400 miles. He rules poorly for four years. Even after the death of the overly effeminate Elgabalus the cult of the Syrian sun god continues to be popular among the soldiers who call the god Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun).


Thought of the Day

Public schools are government-established, politician- and bureaucrat-controlled, fully politicized, taxpayer-supported, authoritarian socialist institutions. In fact, the public-school system is one of the purest examples of socialism existing in America.

Thomas L. Johnson (and they graduate ever less educated students each year)

Monday, September 18, 2006


Star Sighting

On a pretty bad dinner date at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Genroku, I saw old friend Bill Ritter whom I introduced to my date as our next governor (the poll where he's 13 points ahead of Republican Bob Beauprez was weighing heavily on my mind). He was very nice. When I said I expected him to be campaigning all the time now, he said he took the day off, did some fishing, caught up with the family and was celebrating a friend's birthday with other than sushi Japanese food. Sounds like the winning boy's mojo to me. I wished him good luck.

The only bright spot in the Colorado race for Governor this year is that Bill's TV spots pretty much suck and make no sense, while Beauprez's are pretty good and say just what he should be saying. We'll see if Beauprez can catch him.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 96 AD, the Emperor Domitian is stabbed to death at age 44 ending the Flavian Dynasty. Senator Marcus Cocceius Nerva (Nerva to us) becomes the Emperor and he adopts Trajan as his son in order for a good man to follow him on the throne and thus begins a 100 years of adopted Emperors, usually really good ones. By chance this is also the birth date of Trajan, in 52 AD in Spain.


Thought of the Day

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

Linus Pauling

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Sunday Talking Head Shows

John McCain started on This Week with George Stephanopoloosechangeus. He is showing I think a complete inability to see where his views lead. He also says this mistreatment by the North Vietnamese makes him an expert on the subject of prisoner treatment. I think the emotion of those memories robs him of much of his judgment in the matter. He says we have held to the Geneva Convention of 1949. That's true. However, none of our enemies since that time have. McCain said he was treated better in Hanoi for reasons unknown but he was using that argument to buttress his support of giving POW-like status to the illegal combatants that the Jihadists are. Complete lack of understanding. He says we are putting our boys at risk by clarifying what common article 3 means. What a fool. Our boys are at risk of being beheaded and dismembered every time they are captured. How could it get any worse? (It can't). He also voices some worries about our boys who fight out of uniform (CIA types do this, I don't believe special forces do, but I might me uninformed about uniforms). Guys who fight out of uniform are spies and can be executed. That's what should happen to all al Qaeda types and would happen to our CIA spies (again no worse off than what our uniformed troops face now). The CIA types are as aware of this as Nathan Hale was 230 some years ago and they regret they have but one life to give in the service of their country. In contrast to this exquisite realism is the stupid utopianism without a single whiff of common sense from John McCain.

McCain should recuse himself on this subject.

Stephen Hadley, the new NSA, made good points in a completely bloodless, well tempered, statesman-like way. I've already forgotten what he said.

Sam Donaldson should go back to his ranch in New Mexico. He states the bleeding obvious, but not in a good way, and he reveals his liberal roots with every word. Will, as usual, is very smart but he only gets in little snippets. Three to one is ABCs idea of fair and balanced. I'm still watching though. Now Cokie is talking about the history of religion in America. Is this really an important question? Sam is completely wrong; he says people face more and more problems so they turn to religion. We have so few real problems our lives seem a constant struggle for meaning and some turn to religion for what civilization has removed from the so called day to day struggle.

Ann Richards is dead and not from liver problems. Oriana Fallaci too, that's a bigger loss, I think. I try to care about lady golfers but I don't care about male golfers so I fail completely. 16 soldiers, etc., killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Better than last week, but still a lot.

Oh boy, Jewell talks about political things. Has anyone there at ABC read her poetry? It is difficult to take her seriously if you have. She looks great though and when you think about it she does have some expertise about breasts. Yeah, let's mandate expanded coverage, that health insurance must fund, for a small subset of the population and drive up costs for all of us. Brilliant. Who will save your soul, indeed?

Over at Fox Sunday they have the Pope story first, Negroponte on the stupidity of some Republican Senators and Boehner for Republican strategy. Negroponte has to be as vague as Hadley had to be because it is stupid to tell the enemy what you do during war time. I think he's doing a good job and it's certainly not a puff piece interview from Chris Wallace. They're quoting Colin Powell at his least thoughtful and taking him seriously. Let me say again that our troops in uniform and completely covered by the Geneva Convention protections have not been the actual recipient of those protections since May, 1945. And Powell is worried about future treatment? Christopher Hitchens says Colin Powell is the most famous mediocre man in America. Could be. Negroponte fends off the cryptic chickenhawk question from Wallace but he didn't answer it. Combat doesn't make you smarter about anything other than how to stay alive and be effective in combat. At least that's my chickenhawk view.

Boehner defends his true statement about those who seem to have a inordinant interest in the rights of the Jihadists. He's giving good examples of Democrat failure on the issue of protection in war. Now he has to defend himself from fuzzy thinking Republicans like Graham and McCain. Boehner doesn't want to talk about the truth of the political fall out from the so called rebellion of the egoist Republicans (I know that formulation doesn't rule out many). Boehner promise the House will not back down from enforcement of border first. I hope he's serious about that. Ethics and the Congress completely bore me. The very idea of professional lobbiests makes that an impossible subject for reform. They don't want it reformed really and the electorate just doesn't care.

Panel time! They start with Bush at his best. Brit Hume demolishes McCain (which as I suspected wasn't that tough). Moira places the focus properly on Virginia Senator Warner. What is up with him? Hume predicts doom for McCain's chances for the Republican nomination in '08 if he doesn't immediately back down; I think he had no chance to start with. Bill Krystol continues to voice my opinions that McCain et al. will loose on this one because they don't really provide cover for Democrats to support this weakness. Colin Powell's reputation continues to be eroded. OK, I've reached saturation on my ability to take in this palaver with interest.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1862, more than 23,000 Americans were killed or wounded in the Battle of Antietam, the most American casualties in a day. Because most of the weapons had to be loaded standing up, the Civil War generals retained the tactics of massed troop movement from the Napoleonic Era, when the weapons were muskets without rifling and accurate out to at best 70 yards. Unfortunately, the weapons had improved, were rifles accurate to 300 yards and the failure to change tactics for changed technology resulted in tremendous casualties, not repeated even when weapons went through additional layers of technological advancement.


Thought of the Day

The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Local Illegal Immigrant News

The jury came back on Friday afternoon (as they nearly always do) in the murder trial of local cop killer (and illegal alien) Raul Gomez-Garcia, with a guilty verdict. Whew! We were worried for a bit there. Here's a little detail.

In 2005 Raul Gomez-Garcia walked up behind and then shot and killed Denver police Detective Donald Young and shot and failed to kill Young's partner, Detective Jack Bishop. He fled to his native country, Mexico. Denver DA Mitch Morrissey was able to get him arrested in Mexico but that country won't extradite murderers back here if we are seeking the death penalty or even (back then) life in prison without parole. So Mitch, who's a friend, had the awful task of agreeing to limit the penalty for Mr. Gomez-Garcia in order to get him back to the states. The tiny bit of good news from this tragedy is that Mexico will now extradite where the penalty is life without the possibility of parole.

In Colorado, conviction of 1st degree Murder means you get life without the possibility of parole. With 2nd degree murder you can get something like 50 years, but cut that roughly by 55% to get the real time spent in prison, and parole is almost certain for an aged murderer and certain if he has done all the time he has to serve (killed that number, in the prison parlance of the 1980s).

I don't think 2nd degree murder actually exists and I'll steal the explanatory example Diomedes one time gave a jury to explain the difference between 1st and 2nd in Colorado (other than the sentences available). 1st generally means you intended to kill a certain person (depraved indifference and felony murder are possible but let's not complicate things) after some thought--deliberation, pre-meditation. Your thought, the mens rea of the crime, is intent. With second, the mens rea is know, not intend. What? you ask. Let's say Dr. Frankenstein needs a fresh heart for his monster. He goes out to get a heart. He doesn't care which person the heart comes from. He knows, because he's a doctor, that if he removes the heart from the randomly selected individual that person will die, but he doesn't want or intend for that particular person to die (even after he has selected the victim) he just wants a fresh heart; but he knows the result will be death.

So our DA had to agree to only charge Mr. Gomez-Garcia with 2nd degree murder but he could and did charge him with attempted 1st degree murder (attempt of a crime knocks it down a peg in the hierarchy so the penalty could not life without parole) of the officer who survived.

The jury came back with attempted 2nd degree murder for the surviving officer, Jack Bishop. I guess they were being consistent.

The cop killer took the stand and testified that he did not want to kill them (only to scare them because he believed all police officers wear bullet proof vests). I think that's a confession of 2nd degree because he' s using deadly force unlawfully knowing that death is a possibility from his actions and fortunately the jury saw it that way too. He shot at or into the cops 6 times, (all the bullets he had?), and he hit Detective Young in the head. It was Bishops vest that saved him (a lesson I hope all police officers will take to heart).

With the convictions for attempted 2nd and the 2nd, the alien faces most of the rest of his life in prison--he'll be approaching 60 when he kills his numbers, assuming Judge Larry Naves, whom I like a lot, gives him the maximum, which might well be a safe bet.


Bad News from Pakistan

Bill Roggio (recently returned to his Fourth Rail blogsite) charts what happened to have made Pakistan's pro-western dictator, President Musharraf (may he live to be a 100), seek a truce in the western provinces of his country, in North and South Waziristan, with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Bad freakin' news.

The Pakistanis had to release the killers of Daniel Pearl along with thousands of other al Qaeda captures, just last week.

Really bad freakin' news.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1941, CBS radio debuted "The Arkansas Traveler". The program was later renamed "The Bob Burns Show". Burns played a very strange musical instrument called the ‘bazooka’. The U.S. Army chose the name to identify its rocket launcher, because it looked so much like Burns’ musical bazooka. Weird, huh?

The Nazis copied our bazooka and called it the panzerschreck. Our soldiers have kept with the bazooka concept, through the LAAWs to the M136 AT4 to the current FGM-148 Javelin. The rest of the world went with the Nazi panzerfaust, the Russian copy of which is now nearly universal, called the RPG.


Thought of the Day

Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

Robert Heinlein

There are other malum in se actions he fails to mention, but I'm with him on malum prohibitum being nonsense. He would have been 100 next July, one of the Gods in the Science Fiction writer pantheon.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Disagreeing with Charles Krauthammer

Although it's rare, sometimes columnist and former psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer gets it wrong, at least in some of the details, of his latest essay. He writes:

An attack on Iran will likely send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150. That will cause a worldwide recession perhaps as deep as the one triggered by the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Iran might suspend its own 2.5 million barrels a day of oil exports, and might even be joined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, asserting primacy as the world's leading anti-imperialist.

Oil prices have fallen 17% from the summer high and will fall further because there is a huge glut of oil out there and demand has actually fallen. Traders and speculators do tend to panic and bid up prices during crises but it never trumps supply and demand for long.

There are few non-African nations that could less afford to forego selling their oil resources than Iran and Venezuela. Barring a coup or a miracle, Chavez should not survive the next elections. If Iran were to stop its oil income, the country's already weak economy would decline rapidly to famine stage. Krauthammer continues:

But even more effectively, Iran will shock the oil markets by closing the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's exports flow every day.

Iran could do this by attacking ships in the Strait, scuttling its own ships, laying mines or just threatening to launch Silkworm anti-ship missiles at any passing tanker.

This is more likely than Iran suspending oil sales, but I believe we have the military might to keep the Iranian missile launchers away from the shipping channels in the Hormuz strait. Oil prices could rise from increased insurance premiums for the super tankers, but the shipping of oil would continue and we have plenty of super tankers.

Iran does not have sufficient refining capacity to supply its domestic gasoline and diesel needs and has to import fuel. The little refining infrastructure it has could be destroyed really with one airstrike and the ships and trucks bringing it in could be targeted and interdicted. Silkworm launchers are too heavy to be moved by hand.

Yes, the decision to attack Iranian nuclear weapons plants after the current appeasement diplomacy fails will have some costs but it is Iran which is the vulnerable one, not the wider world.

Still, Krauthammer's point that military action is not to be taken lightly is one we should remember; but I, for one, am convinced that dealing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the real power, the mullahs, is similar to dealing with Hitler in the 30s. It just isn't going to work. And we allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons at the World's peril.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day each year in ancient Athens, the Eleusian Mysteries initiations began and continued for a week. While you were nobody back then if you were not an initiate, what the rite was has been kept a secret to this day (unlike the Mason's initiation).


Thought of the Day

The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.

John Stuart Mill

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Tough Talk From John Kerry

Although he was a horrible candidate who failed to exploit the opportunity to defeat a very vulnerable President Bush in 2004, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) says he'll do better this next time. I, for one, can't wait.

Regarding the subject of questions about his what he has claimed about his service in Viet Nam, Kerry apparently has his hackles up:

Kerry says the only reason he didn't compete in more states in 2004 was that he ran out of money. [Did Teresa cut him off?] He says this was also the reason he did not adequately respond to a series of devastating TV ads by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, a group that questioned Kerry’s service in Vietnam and criticized his later opposition to the war.

“They had money behind the lies, and we did not have sufficient money behind the truth,” Kerry laments.

Asked if he dreads the prospect of being “Swift-Boated” all over again, Kerry counters that he would relish such a fight.

“I’m prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other,” he declares. “I am so confident of my abilities to address that and to demolish it and to even turn it into a positive.”

I am unaware of Kerry, or anyone in his camp, ever adequately addressing even one of the points John O'Neil brought up in Unfit for Command. Oh, several Democrats declared (as Kerry just did) that the questions were lies and just kept repeating that without producing any evidence, but they were never really addressed and certainly not demolished. Creepy Liar!, he explained.

Here's my first question to get the Kerry ass kicking going: Were you on December 24, 1968 five miles inside Cambodia as you claimed in a speech on the Senate floor in 1986 and in a Boston Herald story about Apocalypse Now in 1979?

Answer that one and we'll see how demolished the Swift Boat Veteran's questions are likely to be.


A Real Shootin' War

There's not been a lot of coverage of the fighting in the west of Iraq, but that doesn't mean it's not taking place.

U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Crowley clears the stairway of an abandoned house during a weapons search in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Aug. 27, 2006. Crowley is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team.

DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey, U.S. Air Force.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 29 AD, Decimus Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (Drusus) possible illegitimate son of Augustus and father of the Emperor Claudius, died after suffering and declining for a month after a fall from a horse in Germany during his campaign against the Marcomanni. His son won't become Emperor for a dozen years and is a fascinating story. (See Acts 18:2)


Thought of the Day

Suppose the Second amendment said "A well-educated electorate being necessary for self-governance in a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed." Is there anyone who would suggest that means only registered voters have a right to read?

Robert Levy

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Hypocrisy and Silence

Historian and Classicist Victor Davis Hanson has a good article regarding the meaning of the Stalinist threat of the Democrat Senators (including the Minority Leader) and general censoring furor about that TV show "The Path to 9/11" and the near absolute press silence following.

Money quotes:

Then there is the second issue of hypocrisy. Few of the present critics worried that a recent fictionizalized film of Ronald Reagan sought to create dialogue that the screenwriter apparently "thought" might best represent what Reagan "might" or "should" or "could" have said--in light of the nature of the evidence and the author's own predispositions. That all such dialogue proved negative to the former president was not so surprising given the political leanings of Hollywood, but still should not have earned such anger from the Right to the point of demanding a cancellation. And such clear bias was not true of "The Path of 9/11," in which Clinton's successors often fared little better in confronting the terrorist challenge.


And what are we to think of Bill Clinton lamenting the movie's supposed deviation from the "truth", or Sandy Berger's concern about protocols, or Madeline Albright's apparent charge of partisanship, this from a former Secretary of State who has traveled the globe plugging her book by faulting her successors to foreign media in a time of war. Although I'm not a fan of docudramas, I found The Path to 9/11, with its disclaimers, far closer to the "truth" about the saga of bin Laden than what turned up in Bill Clinton's "factual" autobiography.

When ABC cut portions of the most controversial segments before airing the film, there was no outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union that has so often and so loudly lectured us on the dangers not merely of government censorship, but of insidious self-censorship as a result of public pressures.

Nor did the New York Times or the law faculty of Harvard University rush to the producers' defense, despite the long-held and self-acclaimed commitments of both to free speech and the First Amendment at nearly all costs. And, of course, we heard none of the current furor when Oliver Stone produced his wacko conspiracies on the Kennedy assassination and the life of Richard Nixon.

Third, a far greater problem, contrary to the current noise, is not with the docudrama per se--especially when the viewer is clearly and often apprised of this new genre's nature and limitations--but rather with documentaries that do not list any such disclaimers and yet distort truth through clever editing of film clips. A great deal of Michael Moore's documentaries was composed of drive-by interviews of the surprised, senile, or bushwhacked. Many interviews encouraged false impressions, and, unknown to the viewer, were not natural or impromptu, but propped or staged, and so taken out context as to imply the very opposite as intended by the speaker.

Note again, for all this, Mr. Moore was not condemned by historians or lawyers, but rather rewarded with a prominent seat at the Democratic National Convention. Even Bill Clinton would confess that Fahrenheit 911 was intended to do far more damage to George Bush than The Path to 9/11 was to himself.

In this regard, concern could be far better voiced about onslaughts against other traditional and trusted genres--Dan Rather's presentation of the news based on forged documents, or Reuters' publishing photo-shopped pictures. And these are neither isolated lapses, nor in the mainstream media do they cut both ways equally against liberals and conservatives. Rather these distortions are concrete manifestations of a long-standing effort on the part of the more theoretical Left to subordinate the means to the ends, as if progressive spirits are to be granted some exemption from bothersome scrutiny and archaic protocols given their purportedly superior moral mission.


This Day in Ancient History (twofer)

On this day in 509 BC, during the annual solemn festival in his honor, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter the best and biggest), is dedicated on the Capitoline Hill. Only the foundations remain today.

Also on this day but in 81 AD, the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known to us merely as Titus, who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, dies young at age 41 and is succeeded by his brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus, whom we know as Domitian. He is 30 and reigns for 15 years.


Thought of the Day

Political correctness is tyranny with manners.

Charlton Heston

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Paul Campos Reveals the Limits of his Expertise

I've not commented on University of Colorado law professor and Tuesday columnist at the Rocky Mountain News Paul Campos for a while because he's lately been talking about things he knows about, generally health problems and obesity. Oh yeah, and he knows whatever subject he teaches in Law School. I'm confident of that.

But today he's back with a vengeance, declaring lost the war against Jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq (but don't call him a defeatist). Let's look at some of what he writes and then you can make the call.

He starts by disapproving of President Bush landing on the USS Lincoln after we captured Baghdad. As I recall, the guys and girls (mainly guys) on the carrier ate that stuff up with a spoon and felt pretty special for that day. Campos says it was phony propaganda. I thought the President was really there, but perhaps I quibble.

With a little more than two years remaining in his presidency, Bush is on course to end up as the worst commander-in-chief in the 217-year history of his office.

During the Bush Administration's first term alone, we liberated 50 million people from either 7th Century rigid theocracy or full 20th Century fascist despotism and helped set up fledgling democracies for which we are providing security as we help train their armies, our replacements. It has cost us so far less than 2,700 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen and women (mainly men) over 5 years. That's a monumentally low casualty rate for the population and physical size of the countries liberated. The British went into Afghanistan in 1839 and of the 16,000 retreating from Kabul in 1842, only one Brit survived. The Soviets went into Afghanistan in 1979 and lost at least 25,000 before retreating ten years later. Those are lost wars, Professor Campos. How many American lives have we lost winning the 5 year war in Afghanistan 200, 250?

As to bad Presidential Commanders-in-Chief, under Campos' simplistic criteria, how about President (not General) George Washington during whose administration General St. Clair in 1791 lost the Battle of the Wabash to American Indians and 1/4 of the entire American Army was killed (around 650)? That was a substantial loss. Therefore, according to Campos, George Washington was a terrible Commander-in-Chief, Fallen Timbers notwithstanding (because it came during Washington's second term of office).

It's easy to make historical comparisons when, like Campos, your grasp of history seems to starts on January 20, 2001.

Then Professor Campos asks us to imagine Hillary Clinton was president and had the same history as President Bush. I didn't quite get the point of the thought exercise, but I played along.
Imagine if Hillary were in the process of losing not one, but two wars against miserable Third World countries whose combined armed forces didn't equal a fiftieth of America's military might.

Professor, we've won both wars (more properly thought of as campaigns in the long war against Jihadist). There is an insurgency going in both countries, but then there's also a wider war being waged against us and our friends around the world. But we're winning those insurgencies too. (Too early to call the bigger war). We are doing especially well in Afghanistan where the Canadians and Australians are just chewing up the Taliban. Bill Roggio said on Hugh Hewitt' s radio show today that the Taliban has lost (killed or captured) 2500 in 7 months. Standing up and fighting does not mean you are winning. The Taliban decided to take on the supposedly weak NATO forces, and its fighters are paying a huge price for that miscalculation, but that does not mean it is winning. The Japanese decided to fight pretty much to the last man on Iwo Jima (118,000 dead Japanese); did that mean they were winning too?

Imagine if she refused to fire the inept buffoon who was her secretary of Defense, despite repeated complaints from across the political spectrum - and even from her own generals - that he had utterly bungled both the wars her administration was in the process of losing.

See above.

Defeatists. There I said it. And a pretty massively uninformed one too.


Why Keith Olbermann Has Few Viewers

For the same reason that the number of listeners to Air America is rapidly declining, Keith Olbermann, who was an OK if a bit snarky sports commentator, is driving away all but the socialist kool aid drinkers from his program. He's doing it on his own with his "special comments." I think he uses the word 'special' as we use it in the term 'special class.' Here's evidence to support my low opinion of Olbermann as a political pundit; fresh off his triumph of turning history on its head (and comparing the Bush Administration favorably to the Nazi appeaser Neville Chamberlain), Keith delivers this silly stemwinder ("This Hole in the Ground") on the 5th anniversary of 9/11.

My copy of the Constitution does not list as one of the responsibilities of the President of the United States the construction of commercial buildings in lower Manhattan, but perhaps Keith has a different copy in his possession. Not only is Keith angry that no new buildings or a memorial have yet been built, but he is also incensed that "The Path to 9/11" is playing. He's blaming the President for that too (while I thought it was ABC and parent company Disney--I must be misinformed).

Mr. Olbermann said the the miniseries was "created, influenced, possibly financed by the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis" Who does he mean? I couldn't tell. He neglected to say.

The sophomoric rant ends with an exegesis of an unnamed, unimpressive and absolutely unconnected episode of the Twilight Zone, a place where Keith Olbermann seems to reside.


This Day in Late 19th Century History

On this day in 1878, the Aswan red granite obelisk known as "Cleopatra's Needle" was erected in London, having been brought there by Erasmus Wilson from Alexandria where it had been since approximately 12 BC. It was originally commissioned by the Pharaoh Thothmes III and erected in Heliopolis in approximately 1450 BC. Having survived in a hot dry climate for nearly 3350 years without much damage, it promptly began to erode at an alarming rate and today is a somewhat sad addition to the Thames Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges. There are other Egyptian obelisks with the same name in the Place de la Concorde in Paris and Central Park in New York.


Thought of the Day

If workers struggle for higher wages, this is hailed as "social gains", if businessmen struggle for higher profits, this is damned as "selfish greed".

Ayn Rand

Monday, September 11, 2006


Obligatory 9/11 Five Year Anniversary Posting

I have to admit that even after 5 years, I'm still pretty angry.

The crash of the airplane destroyed or blocked all the exit stairways in this tower so these guys were doomed, and faced the harsh choice of being burned alive or jumping to a quicker but still terrible death roughly 800 feet down.

Regarding the Jihadists I say: Turpibus exitium. Destruction for evil men.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1857, on the Old Spanish Trail in Utah north of St. George, occurred the Mormon Mountain Meadows Massacre. Paiute indians, with or without Mromon militia help, had attacked a wagon train from Arkansas, known as the Baker/Fancher party, with 137 members. The Mormons under John D. Lee intervened, agreed to protect the party whom they disarmed, but on this day the milita turned on the men while the indians dipatched the women and older children. 120 died and 17 younger than 6 children were spared, and distributed to local Mormon families.


Thought of the Day

War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.

Carl von Clausewitz

Sunday, September 10, 2006


More Geekdom

I think I've discovered a central difference between humans in Sci Fi movies and books and the alien enemies they face. We hug. They don't.

You can see it plain as day on Stargate and its spin-off. The Goa'uld, the replicators, and the new religious fanatic badguys, the Ori. They never hug. The weird thing is on Battlestar Galactica, the human form Cylons hug us, but not each other (although they will share a mocha latte down at the Caprica Starbucks). That's why BSG is the better show, the villains are much more complex--almost just like us.


Talking Head Sunday

A reunion of some of the lefty members of the 9/11 Commission (plus the Co-Commissioner Tom Kean) on This Week with George Stephanopolousousness. And Kean and John Lehman are the only ones who are making sense and not calling for censorship. I'm actually amazed that Jaime Gorelic has the brass to show her somewhat less than than attractive face in public. Ben-Veniste sounded just like a Soviet Commissar circa 1965 (except there was no use of the word Comrade), and Gorelic actually said we can't have the children getting bad facts. Tell that to Michael Moore. Or Jay Bennish.

I'm glad I haven't eaten yet, because Katrina Van den Awful often causes me to throw up a little in my mouth. Mens insana in corpore sano. She clearly doesn't believe we are in a war. I wonder if that puts her in the mainstream of the Democrat party? If I had to guess, I'd say yes. Fareed is a little touchy feely. I'm sorry, but on the 5 year anniversary of our last night of sleeping through the growing threat, I'm not exactly feeling touchy feely. Now she's blaming us for the growing threat. Yeah, it's all our fault. We deserved it. I can feel the bile rising.

Now Katrina is saying our absolutely unproven torture of captured terrorist is causing bad feelings about the United States. I don't know how she can know that; I think they would consider torture to be the normal course of war. The Mid-East nations seem to use it all the time. Maybe she meant it is causing bad feelings in Europe. I'm glad Fareed and Katrina cleared up the difference between a documentary (where apparently you can lie as much as you want without complaint) and a docudrama (where the least factual inaccuracy sends the Democrats into a vaporous case for censorship). I would have thought that it was the documentary that was held to the higher standard of accuracy. More topsey turvey from the Democrats. Of course she will tout the recent Senate report on pre-war intelligence despite the substantial and growing body of evidence the Senate was completely wet on the subject of al Qaeda connection to the government of Iraq. The good news is that it seems The Path to 9/11 will in fact run tonight and Monday.

9/11 widower Gene points out the good works many people do in this world, which actions are apparently nearly invisible to the buggy whip media.

On to the Fox program with Condi Rice up first. I feel that her star is dimming somewhat, but nearly everything she says is a blander version of what I believe. She was good about the Taliban coming back to continue to be killed in great numbers and great about the goodness of deposing Saddam Hussein.

Dean up next. This could be good. Quick prediction--everything the Bush Administration has done ever, without exception, is bad. He let me down, admitting to some improvement. Afghanistan is turning against us? Really? The Constitution is the only thing standing between us and the people we're fighting. I could have sworn it was our military. Is the Constitution explosives proof. It had better be, I think. Democrats are for more judicial review of war actions which is clearly the Executives' (with some support by the Congress) and where the judiciary has absolutely no place. Why? I really don't get that. Is it so they can speak ill of the President? Is it because the judiciary is still largely lefty? Continuing mystery. Howard, phased redeployment is different from cut and run how? New direction seems the staple Democrat talking point these past weeks. Well, retreat certainly is a new direction from what President Bush is doing. No stunning faux pas but a lot of ducking and jiving.

The Looming Tower gets a big plug. We face a terror movement (Jihad) not a terror network.

Chris Walace shows what to me is one of the more embarrassing scenes of 9/11, the Congress singing "God Bless America" Yeah, important moment.

Brit Hume sagely points out that the current bitter disagreement is largely a result of our success. We are not under continuous attack here in the homeland so we can afford to disagree. True, true.

In response to Juan Williams' Democrat talking points that the Republicans are mere fear mongers, Brit points out that this is merely the result of a different world view--the Republicans see clearly that there is a very serious threat out there--the Democrats see at most a crime problem, which could easily be reduced to mere nuisance. I'll add that at the socialist extreme, millions of Democrats believe that the terrorist threat is a complete fraud and the Bush administration (or perhaps, somehow, Israel) was the perpetrator of the 9/11 attack (or the administration was guilty of misprision). That delusion/denial causes a lot of bad feelings on both sides.

Chris Matthews is on. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Tucker Carlson, the token, is sans bowtie. Dancer fashion? Engel is little miss sunshine about Iraq. Carlson is clearly not a Bush supporter regarding Iraq so I suspect the panel is unanimous about that. Fair and balanced indeed. Engle calls the failed Sunni state in the middle of Iraq, Jihadistan. I'll get behind that. Kay has forgotten the recent past. It was a Jordanian who got the ball rolling of wide spread Sunni/Shia endless reprisals. The President is telling the truth, not the Brit named appropriately Katty. Now Tucker has put on the fool's cap, appropriately, and is dancing with himself. His show on... on whatever alphabet network playing it has so few viewers it hasn't been listed on Drudge's list of the triumph of Fox News Channel. I don't think he helped himself a bit.

Matthews says the Press is McCain's base. True, true. I too don't think Giuliani can get the Republican nomination, but I still like the guy. Carlson had the best news, if true, the Iranians believe we will bomb their nuclear facilities. If they act prudently then, and don't try to hide their nuke weapon program (further), maybe we won't have to. He ends with a nice montage of the 9/11 attack footage with recorded FDNY radio traffic that day and a rolling list of what seemed like 250 dead firemen. Well done.


This Day in Science History

On this day in 1941, American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and science writer Stephen Jay Gould was born. He grew up in New York City, graduated from Antioch College and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1967. He became a Professor of Geology and Zoology at Harvard University. He was primarily a palaeontologist and an evolutionary biologist, though he taught geology and the history of science as well. He was one of the better modern popularizers of science and had a monthly column in Natural History, the ever slimming publication of the American Natural History Museum. He was the co-author of the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium. He became de facto one of the most potent apologists for evolution and I think he would have crushed Ann Coulter in a debate on the subject had he not died of brain cancer on May 20, 2002.


Thought of the Day

It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part.

Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Insomniac Theater

Watched the last half of Ken Russell's 1970 movie The Music Lovers last night and was reminded of how brilliant it was. Russell, who in the 60s had made a long string of black and white, surrealistic 'lives of the artists' for the BBC (the one on Isadora Duncan is perhaps my favorite although the ones on Rossetti and Sibelius were pretty good too) filmed in color a surrealistic full length movie docudrama of the adult life of composer Peter Tchaikovsky. Everything was good; Glenda Jackson was brilliant, and even somewhat attractive, the cinematography and set decoration was beautiful, even Richard Chamberlain was good -- although his ability to play a homosexual convincingly wasn't exactly the stretch I once thought it was. As Vladek Sheybal in Women in Love describes it, in that movie, it is the story of a homosexual married to a nymphomaniac. Oh, and he writes brilliant music, which Russell weaves into the action in a series of brilliant music videos that actually add to the narrative and illuminate important historical events in the life of the composer. There's weaving in all of the movie.

My favorite videos in the movie are cutting hay in the summer, children dancing under a shower of sparks, and the "execution" of family members and friends during the 1812 Overture. Brilliant stuff. The movie is ineffably sad, but well worth watching.

Russell is still alive but he hasn't made a good movie since Altered States 26 years ago, but he had a great run in the late 60s early 70s with
Mahler (1974)
Savage Messiah (1972)
The Boy Friend (1971)
The Devils (1971)
The Music Lovers (1970)
Women in Love (1969)


You've Got a Nice Federal License Here, Mr. Iger.

The first Monty Python sketch I ever saw was, regrettably, not the Dead Parrot bit, but Dino's and Luigi's Army Protection Racket.

Luigi: You've ... you've got a nice army base here, colonel.
Colonel: Yes.
Luigi: We wouldn't want anything to happen to it.

Why am I reminded of that when I read this letter?

Notable bits:

Dear Mr. Iger,

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.


Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program.

We look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan

Because the perpetrators are all Democrat senators, the usual, hysterical, sky-is-falling, civil libertarians will not utter a peep about this attempt at Government censorship of a television program. The Democrats don't want the American people to see 6 hours of TV and have threatened the ABC network of stations with license problems if they show it. So much for freedom of speech.

The irony meter has just burst in a shower of sparks.

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