Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

On the plus side, I share the day with Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Ramano, Comedian Andy Dick and Television tough-guy Kiefer Sutherland.

On the down side...how 'bout Josef Stalin. Oy...

Principles of Negotiation


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Soundtrack of Youth

Well...not exactly, though their music will always remind of High School and College. Caught it this morning and enjoyed the short, entertaining ride to a long-ago past.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It should be the end of it...

But it probably won't be. From late last night:

Richard Armitage appeared on CNN today, discussing Pakistan but also addressing his role as the original leaker in the CIA leak affair. He took the blame for leaking Valerie Plame Wilson's identity, but he also gave us a bit more evidence to show that, from his perspective at least, it was entirely unintentional. But there must be a conspiracy in there somewhere.The segment began with CNN showing a video clip of a recent Valerie Plame Wilson interview:

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: Mr. Armitage did a very foolish thing. He has been around Washington for decades. He should know better. He's a senior government official. Whether he knew where exactly I worked in the CIA, he had no rights to go talking to a reporter about where I worked. That was strictly off-limits.

BLITZER: Those are strong words from Valerie Plame Wilson.

ARMITAGE: They're not words on which I disagree. I think it was extraordinarily foolish of me. There was no ill-intent on my part and I had never seen ever, in 43 years of having a security clearance, a covert operative's name in a memo. The only reason I knew a "Mrs. Wilson," not "Mrs. Plame," worked at the agency was because I saw it in a memo. But I don't disagree with her words to a large measure.

BLITZER: Normally in memos they don't name covert operatives?

ARMITAGE: I have never seen one named.

BLITZER: And so you assumed she was, what, just an analyst over at the CIA?

ARMITAGE: Not only assumed it, that's what the message said, that she was publicly chairing a meeting.

BLITZER: So, when you told Robert Novak that Joe Wilson, the former U.S. ambassador's wife, worked at the CIA, and she was involved somehow in getting him this trip to Africa to look for the enriched uranium, if there were enriched uranium going to Iraq, you simply assumed that she was not a clandestine officer of the CIA.

ARMITAGE: Well, even Mr. Novak has said that he used the word "operative" and misused it. No one ever said "operative." And I not only assumed it, as I say, I've never seen a covered agent's name in a memo. However, that doesn't take away from what Mrs. Plame said, it was foolish, yeah. Sure it was.

BLITZER: So you agree with her on that.

ARMITAGE: Yeah. Absolutely.

Seems clear to me that Novak's initial contention that Val wasn't covert was a perfectly logical assumption.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Disincentives


Work is hard enough, how management thinks erecting road blocks is cool has always escaped me...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sanity Returns

Along with my hour...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eternal Pessimists

It is a continual dilemma...is the glass half-full or half-empty? Pessimism abounds in the media.

These links today struck me as perfect examples of how every silver-lining has a cloud:

Joe Klein of Time is fishing for bad news in Iraq:

The apparent progress raises two questions: First, as always, what's the catch? And second, if the progress is real, if the Sunni extremists have been routed, if Baghdad has been ethnically cleansed to the point of near pacification, if the bottom-up reconciliation efforts are gaining momentum, what is the U.S. military mission now? Why can't we start bringing home the bulk of our troops immediately?

Paul Krugman, the pessimist's pessimist is at it again. The naysayers were right and the rest of wrong. As usual.

Krugman is actually right this time and there are plenty of negative things to be said about the sub-prime lending mess that we're working ourselves through these days. Krugman's problem, however, isn't his argument or logic--as I said, he's right on this.

It's the persistently and routinely pessimistic outlook that gets him in trouble. He's been predicting recession for going on 5 years now.

Like the proverbial blind squirrel who can't help but stumble upon an acorn, he's bound to be right at some point. But in the meantime, he's cried wolf so often I'm left wondering who is left to hear, much less heed, his warnings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where does the time go?

Tomorrow is 15 years. Has it really been that long?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Postcards from Moronica


I'll let this one speak for itself:


There was a small news article about five hostages being traded for prisoners in Afghanistan. Yet it is a large piece of information about Mr. Bush's failure to be a proper leader.

When a government is forced to turn over prisoners for hostages, you get more hostages taken, to force the government to do more things it should not do. Thus, the Afghani government of Hamid Karzai set up by Mr. Bush after the invasion will be increasingly unable to govern.

The one good war Mr. Bush had to fight, Afghanistan, was shoved aside for his personal vengeance against leaders in Iraq. Had Mr. Bush, with the blessing of most countries after 9/11, spent only about half of the money and sent about half the troops to Afghanistan as he has sent to Iraq, Afghanistan would have been rebuilt and shown that democracy works in Islamic countries.

But he did not. We know Iraq is lost, but Mr. Bush won't admit it, leaving our boys to die there for his glory. Now it looks like his stubbornness to keep up pretenses in Iraq will lose Afghanistan, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Of a different magnitude

Having survived Maliburn '85 and watched it's repeat in 1993, I'm somewhat sceptical of headlines like this:

Wildfire threatens Pepperdine University...

That is until I started to read. This is already in less than one short day well beyond any previous episodes that I recall:

The blaze had charred at least 1,000 acres, or more than a square mile. Wind that gusted as high as 65 mph carried embers across the Pacific Coast Highway, closing the popular road and setting fire to cars and trees in the parking lot of a shopping center where several stores were damaged.

Television news video showed several other buildings also in flames in the area, including clusters of beach-side homes.

Flames consumed the landmark Castle Kashan, a stately fortress-like home with turrets and arched windows, as about a dozen residents watched from across a street. Chunks of brick fell from the exterior of the burning building overlooking the coast.

...

Erratic wind gusts hampered efforts to drop water from aircraft and pushed flames toward HRL Laboratories, commonly known as Hughes Lab, a research and engineering facility jointly owned by Boeing Co. and General Motors Corp. about a mile north of Pepperdine. One outbuilding caught fire, Boeing spokeswoman Diana Ball said.

Flames engulfed Malibu Presbyterian Church, which had been evacuated, said youth pastor Eric Smith. “That’s the really good news, that everyone’s out and safe,” Smith said.

In addition, high winds have carried burning embers to the beach-side of the Coast Highway reportedly leading to the burning of several beach-side homes and damage to retail buildings and cars at a shopping center across the highway.

The Castle and Malibu Presbyterian Church both sit on the beach-side of Malibu Canyon road as it runs out of the canyon and begins it's descent to PCH. Both have sat there as landmarks for decades. I'm amazed at the thought they are now gone.

In past episodes such as this LA County firefighters have always dug in at the top of the University which sits carved into a horseshoe in the hillside. There in 1985 and in other years, firefighters waited for the fire to move over and down the hills, killing it before it could damage any of the University structures. With the recently finished Graziadio School of Business now sitting on that hillside, I'm wondering exactly how they'll approach the University's protection.

Video of the Fire Dept. newsconference earlier this afternoon is avaialable here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Back with a Bang

OK, maybe not. But it's something. And something is more than nothing. Or so I learned in a Stats class in grad school.

I don't agree with many of the angles in this Roger Cohen piece (especially the gloss-over on neocons as uniformly imperialist), but I do agree with the central thrust about how 'neocon' has become shorthand for any 'hawkish' position or any 'conservative' position or, frankly, any position on any subject that someone doesn't like.

Though I'm not a neocon, it's a pet peeve of mine because I don't like imprecision when it comes to language.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Congress that couldn't Legislate straight

I've lost track of how many times Senate Dems have gotten Mitch-slapped in recent months. Now it seems that House Republicans are joining the party:

Republicans successfully maneuvered to derail a Democratic government eavesdropping bill Wednesday, delaying a House vote until next week at the earliest.

The bill, which seeks to expand court oversight of government surveillance in the United States, fell victim to a gambit by the chamber's Republican minority. Democrats were forced to pull the bill from the House floor with no certainty about how it might be revived.

If it weren't such serious stuff, it'd be hilarious. The Keystone Cops never looked this bad...

Monday, October 15, 2007

&^*# Fantasy Sports

I quit. I'm officially going AWOL at Fanball. An un-attended squad can do at least this poorly...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm the King of the World!

Er, I'm running the shop. Haven't a clue what I'm doing but we'll see what happens...

New meaning to the phrase


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Well, that can't be good...

When your employer shows up on somebody's analysis as at-risk for bankruptcy...

In last week's post I calculated Z scores, an index used to forecast bankruptcy risk, for the New York Times (NYT) and several key competitors, including the Washington Post (WPO), News Corp (NWS), and the McClatchy News Group (MNI) using the 10K and 10Q reports. Since then I did the calculations for four more newspaper publishers, Gannett (GCI), Journal Register (JRE), Lee (LEE), and Scripps (SSP). The results are consistent with the respective business conditions facing each company

NYT WPO NWS MNI GCI SSP LEE JRE Z Score 9/2007
1.835 4.118 2.139 0.812 2.755 4.137 1.282 0.752



News Corp., The Washington Post, Gannett and Scripps all score well above the 1.8 high risk threshold. These companies are diversified communications media companies with a number of high performance segments offsetting the structural decay of their newspaper properties. The other companies in the danger zone are all mainly pure-play newspaper businesses that made the fatal decision to buy out competitors at a false bottom similar to Movie Gallery's bad move.


McClatchy, Lee, The Journal Register and to lesser extent the New York Times should be placed on the watch list.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Numbers Phenomenon

On Numbers:

Wow. Numbers shouldn't be reported because they're "tricky," "at the beginning of a trend," and there's "enormous dispute over how to count" them?

No such moral conundrum existed last month when media predicted a looming recession after the Labor Department announced a surprising decline in non-farm payrolls that ended up being revised up four weeks later to show an increase.

And, in the middle of a three and a half-year bull run in stocks, such "journalists" have no quandary predicting a bear market every time the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls a few hundred points.

Yet, when good news regarding military casualties comes from the Defense Department, these same people show uncharacteristic restraint in not wanting to report what could end up being an a anomaly.

"Jeez," indeed.

What we're Facing

Or, an ode to Sim:

An e-mail, in response to my McCain thoughts this past week:

Perhaps if Katheryn Jean Lopez feels this country is in mortal danger and needs to continue this war of imperialistic aggression against the Muslim world, she should grab a gun and head for the front. I have had enough of the lunatic right telling us that we need to keep murdering and oppressing a people half way around the world. How many dead and displaced must we produced before we recognize the criminal acts we have committed. We are not buying the scare tactics of the radical right anymore. These Americans aare the true terrorists. This was was foisted upon our country by some very evil men that are currently running the country. Americans are the bad guys. Our country is being used by the energy corporations for our military and national treasure to try to gain profitable, long term access to the middle east oil fields. The charade is over. The American people are not being fooled any longer. Spare us any further propaganda.

Where do you start to argue with that?

Friday, October 05, 2007

The First rule of Holes

The First rule of Holes is...stop digging:

it's very simple. his religious beliefs call into question his ability to ethically perform the tasks he was contracted for. now as i said earlier, if he wants to open a soup kitchen, build shelters for the homeless, spend time with sick kids, run for office, whatever, by all means go for it. i have no problem with that.

but under no circumstances should he be trusted to put together and train a group of armed mercenaries to rally around a muslim country determining who and what is a threat.

Pure religious bigotry.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blackwater Loon-acy

There is much criticism--much of it perhaps deserved--of US firm Blackwater Inc.'s conduct in Iraq. Then there is this:

also, i'm saying his interests and the interests of his company need to be called into question because of his own religious and political extremism....

it's not a stretch that this stems all or in part from some form of ideological indoctrination or supremacist mentality, where arabs and muslims are viewed as being inherently inferior and unworthy.

So apparently Blackwater is incapable of any sort of professionalism in its conduct as a result of Erik Prince's "fundamentalist" Christian beliefs and involvements. Loon-atic.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Brutal

Chants of "Marty..." from Charger fans after the Bolts turn the ball over on downs inside the KC 10-yard line at the 3-minute mark of the 4th Qtr.

1-3 and giving up 24 unanswered points to the likes of the Chiefs will do that to you, I guess.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"...Ours is a just and decent God.”

So begins Jonah Goldberg's column today about Dan Rather's latest adventure. Boy is he right!

The take away for my money is here:

Frankly, we need this. And by “we,” I mean a grand coalition of people who delight in watching one of the 20th century’s most pompous gasbags fall from the top of the laughingstock tree and hit every branch on the way down. These are dour times, and if Gunga Dan and Hurricane Dan and What’s-The-Frequency-Kenneth Dan want to trade their Afghan robes, yellow windbreakers and enormous tinfoil hats for some baggy pants, bright-orange wigs and floppy shoes, I say let them. I just hope all of the Dans show up at the courthouse in a teensy-weensy clown car.

Oh, wait...that was the funny. Here was the near-serious: The beauty of this lawsuit, which has most legal observers laughing so hard that their neck veins look like one-pound sausage casings with five pounds of ground chuck in them, is that if it goes to trial (shortly after unicorns file my taxes), CBS will be put in the position of having to prove that the story was bogus, while Rather will be forced to look even more like a grassy-knoll theorist, climbing back to the top of the laughingstock tree.

Which of course anybody with a functioning brain would have figured out by now, this will never see the inside of a courtroom and for various reasons, this not least among them. But the thought of it all I find amazingly titillating.

On the other side, the producer of the original 60 Minutes II piece, Mary Mapes, unloaded at the Huffington Post on the topic:

And we showed for the first time a cache of documents allegedly written by Bush's former commander. The documents supported a mountain of other evidence that young Bush had dodged his duty and not been punished. They did not in any way diverge from the information in the sketchy pieces of the president's official record made available by the White House or the National Guard. In fact, to the few people who had gone to the trouble of examining the Bush record, these papers filled in some of the blanks.

We reported that since these documents were copies, not originals, they could not be fully authenticated, at least not in the legal sense. They could not be subjected to tests to determine the age of the paper or the ink. We did get corroboration on the content and support from a couple of longtime document analysts saying they saw nothing indicating that the memos were not real.

Instantly, the far right blogosphere bully boys pronounced themselves experts on document analysis, and began attacking the form and font in the memos. They screamed objections that ultimately proved to have no basis in fact. But they captured the argument. They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the "a," the dip on the top of the "t," the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972.
It was a deceptive approach, and it worked.


These critics blathered on about everything but the content. They knew they would lose that argument, so they didn't raise it. They focused on the most obscure, most difficult to decipher element of the story and dove in, attacking CBS, Dan Rather, me, the story and the horse we rode in on -- without respite, relentlessly, for days.

For a complete dismantling of Mapes' revisionist treatise, visit the Captain. As for myself, all the blustering indignation and self-deluding righteous anger does nothing to change the simple truth of the matter.

The devil was in the details and the details were wrong. They were shown to be wrong and while Mapes and others may argue that was never proven conclusively, it was obvious enough to most not blinded by Bush-hate that something was rotten in Denmark. Namely, that Burkett's "documents" were at best re-productions of old documents not available for corroboration and at worst--what most suspected for a number of reasons best laid out in Captain Ed's post--sheer fabrications.

I'd love to see this dirty laundry paraded around a NY court room but alas, I'm sure it is not to be. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nothing New under the Sun

Harry Reid gets bitch-slapped...again:

Reid and the Democrats did their head-counting this afternoon, and thought they finally had a window of opportunity in order to declare rhetorical defeat in Iraq in the Webb troop rotation bill. The Democrats moved up the vote, tried to spring the anti-war trap, had one extra vote going in with the appearance of Tim Johnson, and got 56 votes, four short of what he needed. Reid got beat again. Instead of marching through the Carl Levin defeat bill, or any of the myriad of defeat bills he had hinted was coming earlier in the day, Reid retreated. As Joe Lieberman said to the media outside of the Senate chamber, the Webb amendment was the last chance of victory for the anti-Iraq crowd, and they lost.

Mitch McConnell is making a habit out of kicking Harry Reid's teeth in on the Senate floor. If it were a boxing match or even a staged wrestling event, they'd stop it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Choose Victory

Not likely but NY Guardsman Jeff Nuding implores Congress in this withering piece:

Back in 2003, you — including both of my senators, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton — voted to authorize the President to take military action. You voted, and by virtue of your authority, that means the U.S. government went to war.

You approved the appointment of Gen. David Petraeus, who last week sat in front of your committees and explained the progress of the war and the difficulties of the way ahead. It was an honest and forthright assessment from a soldier who thinks the military can achieve our objectives and that the military can create the environment for real change in Iraq.

Critics seemed to tune him out even before he began. They seem to believe that this war has already been too long and too painful to continue. Sen. Clinton, you rejected Gen. Petraeus' testimony as a "positive view of a grim situation," stating that accepting his testimony at face value required a "willing suspension of disbelief."

I wonder if being a politician means knowing how to call your opponent an opportunist and a liar to his face, without ever stating it plain.

I voted for you in 2000. Could I take that vote back, the way you seem to want to take back your vote to authorize force?

My soldiers know about the long and painful costs of war. All of us left our civilian jobs for a year and a half, and left our families and loved ones behind. Some lost their families or their marriages, and some lost their grip on home or health.

Yet none of us in the military serve under any illusion. We know what we signed up for. That's why so many of us reenlist.

Wars take time. They require steady will and determination. They compel commitment.

If fighting Saddam Hussein, and later Al Qaeda, in Iraq was important when earlier in this mission, they should still be important today. Al Qaeda is badly wounded there and elsewhere, but they aren't dead yet. Iraq is making gains as a democratic nation, but they still need help.
They still need time.

Dear Senators and Representatives, you criticize President Bush relentlessly — picking apart the speech he gave last week with withering words, looking for any and every chance to bring him down.

But at least he maintains steady attention to this war. At least he seems to grasp the stakes of losing and the danger of giving up. Not so Congress.

Leaders influence the morale of their people, for good or bad. I wish you wanted to lead your constituents toward victory rather than defeat.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bravo!

Speaking of video, Rudy scores a 10 with this web-ad.

Imagine, another Clinton acting out of political expediency. Who would have thought!?

Stupid Office Tricks

I presume that this video made the email circuit a few years back and so is not necessarily new and exciting. But it's funny and makes for a nice test of the new Video feature.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Buyer Beware

Did MoveOn.org get screwed? Maybe:

Discount explained:

The disastrous MoveOn ad in the New York Time calling General Petraeus "Betray Us":

Cooking the Books for the White House

New York Times editorial board:

...Pentagon numbers so obviously cooked...

But I think the real lesson here is for MoveOn: sure, you got a great discount, but if you'd waited a day you could have gotten the same message out for free.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

You Voted for It

You wanted these clowns in control of Congress, so enjoy.

Irish Coffee

Liquor, coffee and whipped cream...what's not to love!?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Timing is Everything

Just as successes on the ground in Iraq are beginning to sink in with some of the Democratic hard-heads in Congress, Republican Senator John Warner shows us just how much you can accomplish by not paying attention.

From Newsweek: ...eyewitness reports from individual Democratic lawmakers who've recently visited Iraq appear to have changed the dynamic in the debate over the war. The Kansas City Star's "The Buzz," for example, reports Democratic Rep. Brian Baird "saw enough progress on the ground that he will no longer vote for binding withdrawal timelines." Rep. Jerry McNerney "suggested that his trip to Iraq made him more flexible in his search for a bipartisan accord on the war." Also changing his tune is Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida, who says the troop increase 'has really made a difference and really has gotten al-Qaida on their heels.'" As the Washington Post says this morning, "Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with...Bush on the Iraq war." Instead, "Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions."

And here comes Warner: Sen. John Warner said Thursday President Bush should start bringing home some troops by Christmas to show the Baghdad government that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended.

The move puts the prominent Republican at odds with the president, who says conditions on the ground should dictate deployments.

Warner, R-Va., said the troop withdrawals are needed because Iraqi leaders have failed to make substantial political progress, despite an influx of U.S. troops initiated by Bush earlier this year.

You're going the wrong-way Senator. Events on the ground are passing you by or have you not been reading the papers?

Retire already...

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Blown Opportunity

Barry Bonds left LA without tying Henry Aaron's home-run record. Under anything resembling normal circumstances I'd call that 'Mission Accomplished.'

The inherent irony of the whole thing was just too good...what a marvelous setting the Dodgers provided Barroid last night. Shamefully, he didn't deliver.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Commitment to Mediocrity

I'm not normally very big on sloganeering. But sometimes a good slogan just works.

I've reserved this in the past for the worst franchise in football. Today, however, I've been forced to conclude that the Minnesota Timberwolves have devised a new and exciting strategy to render themselves hopelessly mediocre for years to come.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Odd Duck

Scott Thomas has a real name.

For a guy who fancies himself some sort of creative genius, he didn't do a great job in creating a nome de guerre. It turns out that Scott is more accurately known as Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a private currently serving in Iraq.

He has a blog--one it seems that was only ever updated sporadically--and dreams of literary fame. He's also a bit odd, least as I can tell based on the digging of some others:

Michelle Malkin's thoughts on Scott are here, Dean Barnett's are here.

Bigger questions remain however, primarily awaiting answers from TNR. At least one blogger is reporting that our would-be Kerouac is married or about to marry a TNR staffer.

Which of course goes to exactly how Mr. Beauchamp got his gig. It still however, does not explain how TNR managed to publish three diaries with seemingly no (public anyway) corroboration of any of the supposed facts 'reported' from Baghdad.

Whatever becomes of it, as many point out, Mr. Beauchamp and his comrades may see some hard time(s). Were I a betting man, I'd wager a dishonorable discharge may be his best hope for how all this ends.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rolling Deep

No fear of drowning in the depths of this 'Get out of Iraq' editorial.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Making Idiots Everywhere look Smart

This Democratic Congress is all about stunts. It's latest comes courtesy of Wisconsin's Russ Feingold who will introduce a resolution to censure the President for, among other things, assaulting the Constitution of the United States.

My first thought was, would it be possible to censure Feingold for assaulting our intelligence?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shades of Rather

The New Republic published a pseudonymous piece this week that has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere. It appears that author "Scott Thomas" may have taken a page from our good friends at CBS with a tale that appears fake and inaccurate.

Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard has done yeoman's work in compiling and asking questions about Thomas' story. His work, in turn, has led to numerous contributions from many in positions to know of what they speak.

Some of my favorite responses include but are not limited to the following:

Military units don't blatantly disregard orders- So, it's not just a story of one soldier dancing around with human remains. Rather, it's a story of an entire military unit and its command structure defying orders and forgetting one of the main reasons why they were there.

The author doesn't know the military- This came home to me in particular with the description of the alleged soldiers mocking a female burn victim. This might happen in a high school cafeteria, but not in a war zone where men risk this same fate on a daily basis, and have seen their buddies maimed and killed. I have never heard of service people making sport of the combat wounded.

Timing is everything- This was supposedly a Saddam-era mass grave, buried underground in a desert climate for years or even decades. The human remains purportedly included "bones" that were anatomically identifiable even in fragment form — tibias, shoulder blades, pieces of hands and fingers. And then the platoon discovered "the top part of a human skull, which was almost perfectly preserved."

Now imagine what that looks like — a "perfectly preserved" piece of human skull that has been buried for no fewer than five years and perhaps many more, deep in the ground in a desert climate and surrounded by bare bone fragments. Form a mental image.

As for me--like the active duty CO writes at the Worldwide Standard--it's almost something straight out of the movies. My initial reaction when I read it was that it easily could have been something adapted from the "Deleted Scenes" feature on the 20th Anniversary edition of Oliver Stone's autobiography.

Thomas' tales are just too much in lock-step with everything bad you've already ever heard about the US Military. Not to mention, it sounds like he doesn't know a thing about driving a Bradley...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stupidity on Parade

It is Keith Olbermann after all...why would you expect anything different?

Taking Incompetence to new Heights

Mitch McConnell beat the hell out of Harry Reid this week; if it were a fight, they'd have stopped it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Reid: Ignorer-in-Chief


What does Harry Reid ignore when he tries to force-feed America the Levin-Reed amendment?

For starters, there's this which is perhaps the best hour of participatory radio ever. Then there's this and this.

Let's not forget this or this and this. And wanting to make as complete an argument as possible, let's absolutely not forget this:

Fifty-one percent (51%) of American voters say that the United States should wait for the September progress report before making major policy changes in Iraq. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 38% disagree.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Benchmarks are not Reality

Another note from yesteday's FNS telecast. Bill Kristol is right and Congress and Liberal pundits ignore the fluid nature of things in Iraq when the Levin's and Juan Williams' of the world tout their short-sided commitment to 'benchmarks' and time-tables:

KRISTOL: But you know, benchmarks are not reality. Reality is reality. And I do believe, despite the media, if reality continues to progress in Iraq itself, in the real war we're fighting in a real country called Iraq, with real provinces like Anbar, with real American troops going after Al Qaida -- if progress continues at the rate it has for the last two months or three months, I think that changes the political dynamics here, first of all.

And secondly, the Democrats have overreached. Mara is absolutely right. It's one thing to say, "Oh, we're tired of it. It's difficult. Let's get out." Really concretely, what are you going to do?

Are you going to let Al Qaida establish safe havens or not? How are we going to get out? Are we going to watch slaughter go on 10 miles away as we pull American troops into bases?

So I think the politics here, as people focus on what's happening on the ground and on the real choices in Iraq, could well change over the next two months.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Win the War!

Win the War! Win the War, win the war, win the war.

Win the War; win the war win the war win the war win the war. Win the War? Win the war...

Kudos to Brit Hume

Finally! When Senator Levin--for the umpteenth time in the last six months--spouts on and on about the lack of progress and political 'failure' in Iraq, Brit brings the obvious and natural response. Watch here.

Such criticism about the slow pace of political progress in Baghdad from this congress borders on hubris. That and mind-numbing stupidity.

Meanwhile, to round-out the experience watch Fred Kagan explain how Levin's assessment is simply not accurate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Freudian or otherwise

A moment that encapsulates all the utter ridiculousness of Plamegate.

This follow-up lands high on the Moronic scale also:

After Joseph Wilson's citation of "I. Libbis Lewey," the only interesting, or at least amusing, portion of the hearing came from wild-card Democratic freshman Rep. Steve Cohen, who wondered whether the Libby pardon should be the stimulus for a constitutional amendment limiting the president's pardon power. Cohen suggested that once the president proposes to pardon someone, the pardon go to the Supreme Court, where if six of the nine justices objected, then the pardon would not be issued. The somewhat surprised witnesses answered that yes, the Constitution could conceivably be amended in many ways, but they politely offered no opinion of Cohen's idea.

Had they been able to harness all that brain-power they might have been able to burn a bulb or two. Maybe.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Good Luck with That

Florida reservist will sue the US Military over a 5th deployment to Iraq.

All commentary about the current state of the US Armed Forces and their rotation schedules aside...read the contract. Uncle Sam owns you and you go where the Commander-in-Chief tells you to go when he tells you to go.

Don't like it, don't sign on the dotted line...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ponderiffic

I think about these kinds of things since I work in sales and depend on the good fortune of others for my own:

More good news came from the June income numbers: Real wages for workers—not managers—increased by 3.9 percent, year over year. Deflate by the core May inflation rate of 2.3 percent—the latest numbers available—and you get real wage growth of 1.6 percent. Not too shabby. Right now, Wall Street recession expectations are pretty low. "The threat of recession has abated, as job and income gains provide the wherewithal to support consumer spending," is the analysis of former Federal Reserve governor Lyle Gramley. In fact, the Big Money Crowd is more worried about China than U.S. housing as a source of future trouble. Case in point: this missive "What Would the Next Recession Look Like" that Goldman Sachs just sent me:

"So, what constitutes a recession in modern times, and when do they occur?...We suspect it would almost certainly involve a major economic slowdown in China. On almost any criteria (and topic), it is impossible to underestimate China's positive impact on the buoyancy of world growth this decade. That said, our China proprietary indicators show no sign of an imminent slowdown. In addition, our various proprietary indices suggest that the underlying global macro environment remains favorable...Moreover, if we and the consensus are correct, then the period 2003-2008 will have been one of the most powerful periods of economic growth globally since accurate data has been collectable for much of the world."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Unreasoned Outrage

I chuckled all the way through this low-key, sharp-tongued dismantling of EJ Dionne's latest Bush Outrage of the Week:

Having failed coherently to analyze the merits, Dionne proceeds to drink the Kool-Aid of conspiracy theory. He cites approvingly the suggestion of left-wing blogs that, by not pardoning Dionne, Bush avoided the prospect of Libby testifying before Congress at this time. He also says that, by commuting the sentence, Bush removes the incentive for Libby to give the prosecutors new information.

As to the former point, Bush's action merely delays any congressional appearance by Libby until his appeal is decided, which likely will occur next year. That's a more advantageous time for the Democrats, whose interests are always Dionne's paramount concern.

As to the latter point, whatever incentive Libby might have had to "help" the prosecutors vanished a while ago. In any case, nothing supports Dionne's assumption that he had anything he honestly could offer them. Nothing, that is, other than Dionne's partisan-based outrage.

Giving up

Another Republican who won't try:

Senator Pete Domenici joins a handful of Senate Republicans demanding an exit from Iraq.

I will invite the senator on, but suspect that like Senators Warner, Collins and the few others who are refusing General Petraeus the opportunity to succeed, he will take a pass.

What had been a very bad week for al Qaeda with the foiled attacks in England and the desperation in Zawahiri's recent video just got a great deal better with proof that their strategy of defeating the U.S. in the United States Senate is working.

Coming as it does on the heels of Senator Lugar's effort to put the Senate in charge of US foreign policy, it seems clear that at least some Republicans have given in to the siren-song of defeat. What is frustrating is that these admissions come on the heels of some of the first real, good news in Iraq in almost two years.

What is galling, maddening and most awful in all of this is not that Senators Lugar, Domenici et al think we've lost, it's that they don't even want to try to win.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Libby kisses Sister

It's not the best one could have hoped for, but I'm sure he'll take it. As will I...this never should have come to this.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Meh!

Barroid inches closer to Hank Aaron with HR 750 last night. As God often does, where sin abounds so there is grace even more:

Barry Bonds is going to have a harder time enjoying his home runs if the Giants keep losing close games.

Heh...

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Good Day All Around

So the bill that wouldn't die finally did, with a silver bullet and a wooden stake through the heart. The added-bonus(es)?

There's this:

"The real victory today for conservatives is that now all the presidential candidates on our side are free to run against Bush — they've just robbed the Dems' of their most potent weapon."

And this:

The only good news is that the past political fortnight showed that the Republican base, when enthusiastic, can have a dramatically positive effect on Republican politicians. If the base demands victory in Iraq as loudly as it demanded defeat for this immigration bill, the Republicans in congress will once again listen.

And of course, the best for last:

"Fifteen Dems (plus Sanders) vote against cloture, making it somewhat difficult for Sen. Reid to achieve what seemed to be his unadvertised dream: A failed bill he could blame on the Republicans."

Harry Reid has got to be the most impotent Congressional leader in recent memory.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Even-handed Iraq

For a balanced report on the current state of Iraq, this in USA Today is a wonderful start.

Hat tip to Rich Lowry at the Corner. The Harry-Reid-snark is an added bonus...

Empty Suit, Republican Style




John Edwards is, to my mind, the emptiest of suits going. George Voinovich gives him a run for his money however and today may have put him over the top.

I caught the tail end of this and was amazed that a member of the Senior house would comport himself thus. Then again, as K-Lo points out, he cried over the Bolton nomination but only after--much like in the current situation--finding himself woefully under-prepared to accomplish anything.

Is this really the best Ohio can do?


The Bill that wouldn't die...

just might.

Friday, June 22, 2007

When getting blasted isn't

I particularly enjoyed this analysis of Colin Powell's supposed blasting of "Bush's War."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Slaughterhouse '07

With any luck, that's what we can call Baquba soon. From Michael Yon in Iraq:

Our guys are tough. The enemy in Baqubah is as good as any in Iraq, and better than most. That’s saying a lot. But our guys have been systematically trapping them, and have foiled some big traps set for our guys. I don’t want to say much more about that, but our guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Setting the Tone

In any competitive setting the aggressor sets the tone. John Podhoretz today notes that that simple rule applies in war as well:

No matter how you slice it, the reason there could be no deal with the Palestinians then or now is that the Palestinians with whom you have to negotiate are utterly uninterested in improving the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. They have an ideological and geopolitical aim, which is the destruction of Israel and (in the case of Hamas) the extension of Iranian power to the Mediterranean.

The sad truth is that you can have peace processes all you like, but if one side is committed to war, then it's war.

While it speaks of an entirely different situation, Michael Yon's latest offering about the now-ongoing offensive against Al Qaeda makes a similar point:

Smart politics leaves more people standing with their heads, and so discretion has to be seen as vital to the war effort. Reports claiming that no political progress is happening here because the Iraqi parliament seems stalled are tantamount to claiming that when the US Senate bogs down the stop lights don’t work on Main Street USA. At the same time, no one is interested in going for the broomstick once they’ve seen the man behind the curtain, so smart politicians don’t let that happen, especially when the stakes are this high.

Al Qaeda was never at this table and no one is planning to set a place for them now. They are mass murderers anywhere they can be: Bali, Kandahar, London, Madrid, New York and now, Iraq. This enemy is smart, resourceful and tough, and our early missteps created perfect conditions for the spread of their disease in Iraq.

Political solutions only work with people interested in a resolution where all parties can move forward. Al Qaeda is more interested in an outcome where they dominate through anachronistic anarchy. Our philosophies are so fundamentally different that fighting is inevitable. They want to go backwards and are willing to kill us to do so. We are unwilling to go backwards, and so they started killing us. Finally, we started killing back, but only seriously so after they rammed jets into our buildings, by which they hoped to cause the same chaos and collapse in America (where they failed) that they are fomenting in Iraq (where they are succeeding).

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Our jets will drop bombs and we will use rockets. Helicopters will cover us, and medevac our wounded and killed. By the time you read this, our artillery will be firing, and our tanks moving in. And Humvees. And Strykers. And other vehicles. Our people will capture key terrain and cutoff escape routes. The idea this time is not to chase al Qaeda out, but to trap and kill them head-on, or in ambushes, or while they sleep. When they are wounded, they will be unable to go to hospitals without being captured, and so their wounds will fester and they will die painfully sometimes. It will be horrible for al Qaeda. Horror and terrorism is what they sow, and tonight they will reap their harvest. They will get no rest. They can only fight and die, or run and try to get away. Nobody is asking for surrender, but if they surrender, they will be taken.

We will go in on foot and fight from house to house if needed. We will shoot rockets into their hiding spaces, and our snipers will shoot them in their heads and chests. This is where all that talk of cancer and big ideas of what should be or could be done will smash head on against the searing reality of combat.

I strongly suggest reading the entire dispatch. It is clear and concise if not comprehensive in it's understanding of the problem and the knowledge that rides piggyback with it, namely how to deal with the situations we let fester for over two years.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, like Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon will not be negotiated with. They refuse and they do not relent. Podhoretz is correct; they have but one aim for and about which they are unashamed.

They can't and won't broker peace, they will either win or lose. From the American perspective, they must be defeated.

Does America still have a will to finish what we began even though it may look nothing like what was ostensibly promised us 4 years ago? I certainly hope so because the alternatives are not acceptable in my opinion and for a multitude of reasons.

That we can win this fight I am certain. Like Yon and others though I am not so convinced as to whether or not we will.

Charmed

You know you're living a charmed life when you make a huge error at work, something that potentially will cost several thousands of dollars only to find your client made the even-larger error that saves your bacon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

When you want to Win

This is the kind of thing you do. And keep doing, and don't stop doing...

Israel's Master Plan

Hamas has taken control of the Gaza strip and to escape what will assuredly become a pit of despair and anguish, Palestinians are fleeing...to Israel.

What better way for Israel to realize it's ultimate goal of wiping out the Palestinians than allowing Hamas to do it's dirty work and welcoming the refugees? Quite the bit of strategery!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nails it

What Joe Lieberman saw in Iraq puts the lie to disingenuous criticisms of his former fellows in the Democrat party.

Excerpts:

In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.

Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.

...

Facts on the ground also compel us to recognize that Iran is doing everything in its power to drive us out of Iraq, including providing substantive support, training and sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents who are murdering American soldiers. Iran has initiated a deadly military confrontation with us, from bases in Iran, which we ignore at our peril, and at the peril of our allies throughout the Middle East.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.

That is why--as terrible as the continuing human cost of fighting this war in Iraq is--the human cost of losing it would be even greater.

...

When I returned to Anbar on this trip, however, the security environment had undergone a dramatic reversal. Attacks on U.S. troops there have dropped from an average of 30 to 35 a day a few months ago to less than one a day now, according to Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered in Ramadi. Whereas six months ago only half of Ramadi's 23 tribes were cooperating with the coalition, all have now been persuaded to join an anti-al Qaeda alliance. One of Ramadi's leading sheikhs told me: "A rifle pointed at an American soldier is a rifle pointed at an Iraqi."

The recent U.S. experience in Anbar also rebuts the bromide that the new security plan is doomed to fail because there is no "military" solution for Iraq. In fact, no one believes there is a purely "military" solution for Iraq. But the presence of U.S. forces is critical not just to ensuring basic security, but to a much broader spectrum of diplomatic, political and economic missions--which are being carried out today in Iraq under Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy.

In Anbar, for example, the U.S. military has been essential to the formation and survival of the tribal alliance against al Qaeda, simultaneously holding together an otherwise fractious group of Sunni Arab leaders through deft diplomacy, while establishing a political bridge between them and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. "This is a continuous effort," Col. Charlton said. "We meet with the sheikhs every single day and at every single level."


In Baghdad, U.S. forces have cut in half the number of Iraqi deaths from sectarian violence since the surge began in February. They have also been making critical improvements in governance, basic services and commercial activity at the grassroots level.

On Haifa Street, for instance, where there was bloody fighting not so long ago, the 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade of our First Cavalry Division, under the command of a typically impressive American colonel, Bryan Roberts, has not only retaken the neighborhood from insurgents, but is working with the local population to revamp the electrical grid and sewer system, renovate schools and clinics, and create an "economic safe zone" where businesses can reopen. Indeed, of the brigade's five "lines of operations," only one is strictly military. That Iraq reality makes pure fiction of the argument heard in Washington that the surge will fail because it is only "military."

How Harry Reid still gets away with his nonsense about "no military solution" when it is clear that the sure is anything but just a "military solution" continues to amaze and infuriate.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woke up one day and suddenly Iran was running the Middle East

Or so it seems. Charles Krauthammer explained last night:

This is the beginning of the Palestinian civil war. Round one happened this week, and it's over. Hamas has won in Gaza, it will take it over. And it is the worst elements.
As one high administration official said the other day, these are the extreme elements of the extremists. And this is essentially the first Palestinian independent territory — Israel is out of Gaza — and it will now become a terrorist state.


And it will also be, this is extremely important, a client of Iran. Hamas is supplied and financed by Iran. Iran has now a constellation of allies and clients in that region, the way the Soviets had around the world. It's got Hamas now in Gaza, it's got Hezbollah in Lebanon, it's got Sadr in Iraq. And it has a country, Syria, as its only Arab ally in that region. . . .

[I]t's an Iranian client crescent, and it is the beginning of a general Iranian, Islamist revolutionary infiltration of the Arabs. Which is why Egypt is afraid, because Gaza has a border with Egypt, and why it's the beginning of a great struggle between Persian, non-Arab, Shiite and radical Iran with all of these Arabs.

A couple of notes...first off, if the United States operated in a similar fashion we'd be savaged for blatant, unabashed 'empire building'. Secondly, like they refused to do about the Soviet version of empire 30 and 40 years ago, many can't bring themselves to make similarly disparaging remarks about Iran's blatant efforts at establishing hegemony in this most crucial region of the world.

On the bright side should Hamas attack Israel from Gaza, Israel will be well within it's rights to crush them as any formerly "terrorist" act will now be a sanctioned act of war by the acting Government.

Having Cake and Eating Too!

Oh...my...Lord!

First the WSJ on the Boston Globe on Hamas' Palestinian blitzkrieg:

The Boston Globe editorial board looks at the Gaza civil war, and finds it's the fault of the Jews:

The people of Gaza are the true victims of the civil war most of all because the fighting is destroying their future. With the military wing of Hamas poised to seize complete control of Gaza in what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rightly called a "coup attempt," Gaza's residents stand to lose whatever hope remained of achieving independence and a decent life in a viable Palestinian state.

The Hamas campaign to eradicate Fatah from Gaza is certainly not the sole cause of Gazans' misery. They long suffered from Israel's suffocating occupation, and then from Ariel Sharon's foolishly unilateral withdrawal in 2005, a move that allowed Hamas to bid for power with the misleading claim that its rockets and suicide bombings had driven Israeli soldiers and settlers out of Gaza.

According to the Globe, Israel is to blame both for its "occupation" and for having ended it--the latter of which "allowed Hamas to bid for power." But "the people of Gaza" are innocent victims. It somehow escapes the Globe's notice that Hamas came to power because Palestinians voted for it. The Globe denies that Palestinians are responsible for their own actions, and thereby dehumanizes them under a pretense of compassion.

Good Lord...you'd be hardpressed to find a good fiction writer that could come up with a storyline that ridiculous. In an effort to try though, we get this:

"A leading Democratic lawmaker lashed out at the former leaders of Germany and France, calling former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a 'political prostitute,' " the Associated Press reports from Washington:

"I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone," [California's Rep. Tom] Lantos said to applause.

He said when the United States asked Schroeder to support its decision to go to war in Iraq "he told us where to go."

"I referred to him as a political prostitute, now that he's taking big checks from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected, so I will no longer use that phrase," Lantos said. . . .

Lantos said Chirac "should go down to the Normandy beaches. He should see those endless rows of white marble crosses and stars of David representing young Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of France."

He said under the successors of Schroeder and Chirac, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, relations with the United States "will take a very positive turn"

A few years ago Donald Rumsfeld was disparaging "old Europe" while Lantos's fellow Democrats were accusing the Bush administration of alienating America's allies, most notably Germany and France. It looks as though Rumsfeld was right, and the allies have come around, to the extent that they are capable of doing so. Once again, reports of the Bush administration's failure were greatly exaggerated.

It makes my head hurt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Dogs are Smarter (Or, Better Puppies through Modern Science)


This snippet caught my attention over at the Corner awhile back. Penned by outspoken and well-known dog-lover Jonah Goldberg it pointed directly over to this larger piece here.

The first two 'graphs tell the story. I've written before about how much money a puppy's love is worth. Well, the price tag has gone up. Perhaps I can commiserate with Jonah across the ether. We read of Cosmo-the-Wonderdog that he's been the beneficiary of multiple puppy-surgeries:

Cosmo the Wonderdog recently had ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery on one of his back knees. Last summer he had the same surgery on his other hind leg. When he was a one-year-old he had surgery on a front leg because of an unrelated joint problem. Plus, there have been the usual accidents and mishaps normally associated with active canines.

I read that for the first time two days after Cassie came up lame one night after another round of sisterly rough-housing. The day after reading it we got the initial assessment from the Vet who was pretty sure indeed that we were talking about at least a partially torn ACL.

Multiple phone calls, X-rays and visits later the diagnosis became definitive. One last visit for pre-op blood work over the weekend left only yesterday's D-Day to look forward to.

Tonight we brought her home and she lays with me as I write in the office, unsure exactly what she wants to do and all too-keenly aware that things are not-at-all right. Brave puppy that she is, the only crying has come more as a warning of the impending need to use the doggy restroom than in feeling sorry for herself.

All of which breaks dad's heart no end. She deserves better than more hardship, however fleeting--8 weeks of post-operative care isn't the end of the world for a dog likely to live a dozen or so years.

So we'll muddle through a month of virtual inactivity and another month of a gradual return to normalcy and wait for the new & improved puppy on the other side.

It's all over Now!

Can the White House be far behind?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Turnabout is Fair Play

Tony Snow turns the tables for a moment on the morons, er...I mean members of the WH Press Corps (Hat tip to NRO's Media Blog):


Q But doesn't the indefinite holding of this many prisoners under these circumstances really undercut the President's arguments in favor of democracy worldwide, as he just spoke about in his speech —

MR. SNOW: How does it do that?

Q That's what I'm asking you.

MR. SNOW: No, the question doesn't make sense to me. How does that happen?
Q By not having due process for every —


MR. SNOW: Are you saying that detaining people who are plucked off the battlefields is an assault on democracy? Are you kidding me? You're talking about the people who were responsible for supporting the Taliban, somehow detaining them is an assault on democracy?

Q And not charging them —

Q Yes. You're getting quite a bit of criticism internationally, as well as domestically on the issue of holding people indefinitely without charge. Are you denying that's the case?

MR. SNOW: No, many have been held, but many also are now being processed through the system. What I just thought was peculiar is that you have people who waged active warfare against democracy and you think detaining them somehow is an assault on democracy.

Can't disagree More

It's just not possible. I fight this when I see it online in it's most virulent form--as debate killer--and it deserves push-back even when presented in this form:

Don't say you support war unless you've walked in a combat veteran's shoes, one who has maimed and killed soldiers and civilians in war.

The foot soldier has the dirty, gory job of the actual fighting to secure a city or battleground. If he is lucky and survives, he lives with horrific memories.

He knows how it feels to drive a knife into another to kill, to pull the trigger and watch someone die, to throw a hand grenade into a trench to blow bodies to bits.

A disabled vet knows how it feels to have a bullet rip through his arm, feel the fragments of an exploding grenade tear through his body, and feel the fiery blast of a 90mm mortar round throw him into the air, tearing away his seared flesh.

I know how it feels to undergo five major surgeries, to spend a year in a hospital recovering with a 90 percent disability and the effects 50 years later, and the memories of what I had to do in the Korean War.

With all due respect to Mr. Dailey--and it is a considerable amount that he is due--the constitution guarantees I and anyone else who wishes to, the right to support in good faith a war effort with which we agree.

In fact citizens have the right to and the constitutional duty even to oversee the US Armed Forces, ultimately sending them to war when it is believed appropriate. Neither I, nor I'd bet Mr. Dailey himself, would want to live in the society we'd have if only Generals could make those decisions.

If an anti-war protester has the constitutional right to command the US Armed Forces as Bill Clinton did, I have the right having never fired a shot in my life, to support a war effort I believe right, important and necessary.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'You are a Vague, Translucent shade'

That's gonna leave a mark.

Am I living in the 80's?

Do we still subsidize corn growers out the wazoo? Or did I fall asleep and wake up twenty-years later to find there just isn't enough corn to go around?:

A recent study conducted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University (which receives funding from grocery manufacturers and livestock producers) reported that U.S. ethanol production could consume more than half of U.S. corn, wheat and coarse grains by 2012, driving up food prices and causing shortages. The study estimates that booming ethanol production has already raised U.S. food prices by $47 per person annually. In Mexico, protests have already erupted over the high price of corn tortillas, a staple food in the local diet.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Your Wish is my Command


Sim wanted a new chart. So here it is. Straight out of company filings.


Hat tip to rrapier at R Squared Energy Blog. It's a slightly different presentation but makes entirely the same point.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Peas in a Pod

Mindless...

Mindless, Part Deux

The Bill is Dead!

Long live the bill!

Well, not really. I didn't write about this at all because, frankly, it was difficult enough just keeping up. Others did the heavy lifting and after sifting through what was known it seemed pretty clear that this was a giant pile of garbage that was being stuffed down our throats.

For the first time in a while I can honestly say that Congressional Republicans did the right thing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Christopher Hitchens: A better Christian than I

I spent part of the day today getting caught up on the "Great God Debate," between noted atheist Christopher Hitchens and Pastor-theologian Mark Roberts. I've made it through two-thirds and found the most compelling moment, at least so far, at the very end of hour 2.

Christopher Hitchens in a response seems to intuit something that, sadly, takes many Christians years and sometimes lifetimes to understand about the nature of God and our relationship to Him. It's a point I only understood fully after a 2 1/2 year story of frustration, heartache and struggle.

How wonderful to find such an intelligent man with such a great understanding. Maybe Hitch is a Christian and just doesn't know it?

The comment: I say it’s childish to blame God for things going wrong. It’s idiotic. If there was such a person, I’d have more respect for His majesty than to say He owes me an explanation. You know, if there’s a God, why have I got cancer? What a silly question.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Who is Jason Miller?

Based on how many bad liberal cliches he included in just the first 'graph, you'd say he's probably a first-year poli-sci major at a large State University. You might be right but you might be wrong. According to this, he's a working stiff with an enlightened conscience.

And he has the chutzpah to write about mendacious punditry. I wonder, does he read his own stuff?

Stickin' it to the Man is just too easy these days!

What is irony?

This. And how...

Monday, June 04, 2007

I hate Blogging...again!

Different day, same sentiment.

I'm tired of writing for nobody. I already know what I think and since I'm apparently the only one who bothers to stop by, I'm wondering again what exactly the point is.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

More Fear-mongering

The FBI disrupts a plot today aimed at JFK Airport in NYC.

'Support' means Support

Michael Kinsley squawks about the recently concluded showdown between President Bush and Congress over funding for Iraq. It would hold more water if he could make it in a vacuum that forgets the changing calculus of a post-9/11 world. At least the close would have a bit more zing to it.

Ramesh Ponnuru zings right back with this at the Corner this morning: Michael Kinsley complains that hawks have put doves in a no-win bind. If congressmen try to use unconstitutional means to end the war, the hawks say they can't do it. And if they try to use constitutional means, then the hawks make. . . arguments against that course of action. How sinister! It's almost as though war supporters support the war.

When is a Presidential Candidate an Idiot?




When an idiot is running for President. Or, when his name is John Edwards. Much like Hugo did earlier in the week, Edwards proves his lack-of economic sense with these comments from Thursday:

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says a wave of mergers in the oil industry should be investigated by the Justice Department to see what impact they have had on soaring gasoline prices.

During a planned campaign stop Thursday in Silicon Valley, Edwards planned to berate the oil industry for "anticompetitive actions" and outline an energy plan he says would reduce oil imports "and get us on a path to be virtually petroleum-free within a generation."

"Vertically integrated companies like Exxon Mobil own every step of the production process - from extraction to refining to sale at the pump, enabling them to foreclose competition," says an outline of Edward's energy plan provided to The Associated Press by his campaign.

Nincompoop...Oil companies margins haven't changed much at all over the years. If anything, they've shrunk some. Yet apparently oil companies are just setting prices arbitrarily with no regard for the market.

Yeah, right.

I didn't think much of Edwards in the '04 campaign--he came across as too much of a slick-talking empty suit and his but one uneventful term in the Senate did nothing to dispel the sense that he didn't know enough to handle the job. Stupid stunts like this one only underscore that same sense three years later.

Perhaps Bob Shrum is on to something...

Friday, June 01, 2007

That's Unfortunate

Mark Tapscott pegs Senator Kyl as the latest in the long line of Senators who've held up good legislation in Congress:

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, has conceded that he is the senator behind the secret hold on the proposed Open Government Reform Act of 2007, which would provide much-needed improvements in the federal Freedom of Information Act.

AP reports that Kyl explains his decision to place the secret hold on the bill as a result of "uncharacteristically strong" objections from the Justice Department. Kyl will maintain his hold until supporters of the FOIA reform bill, which includes its primary architect, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, and opponents can work out their differences.

Memo to Sen. Kyl: Some differences are irreconciliable, such as the difference between those like Cornyn who believe transparency in government is the first essential for democratic accountability, and those in government like the career attorneys at the Justice Department who ALWAYS find a reason to oppose increased transparency.

This gulf cannot be bridged without completely gutting the FOIA reform of whatever substance it retains after three years of negotiation and concessions by its proponents in a vain effort to create a bill that is sufficiently non-threatening to government interests.

Moreover, Sen. Kyl, you have been in Congress more than long enough to know the original FOIA - approved by Congress in 1966 after a decade-long struggle - already has such rigorous exceptions to protect national security considerations that no honest, reasonably alert bureaucrat in the Pentagon or anywhere else in the government can't keep just about any document behind closed doors. Even President Bush has conceded that the government classifies far too many documents.

What is really aggravating here, Sen. Kyl, is that you profess to be a conservative, a believer in limited government and individual liberty, but here you are taking up the cause of Big Government's first line of defense.

Of all people in Congress who ought to be first to proclaim that the public has an inherent right to see how the public's business is being conducted, one would think it would be a conservative from a western state where people remember Barry Goldwater.

Come on, Sen. Kyl, remember what Patrick "Give me liberty or give me death" Henry said: "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."

And if that doesn't do it, maybe these words will: "Disclosure of government information is particularly important today because government is becoming involved in more and more aspects of every citizen's personal and business life, and so access to information about how government is exercising its trust becomes increasingly important."

And this from the same author as the preceeding paragraph: "The legislation was initially opposed by a number of agencies and departments, but following the hearings and issuance of the carefully prepared report -- which clarifies legislative intent -- much of the opposition seems to have subsided. There still remains some opposition on the part of a few Government administrators who resist any change in the routine of government.

"They are familiar with the inadequacies of the present law, and over the years have learned how to take advantage of its vague phrases. Some possibly believe they hold a vested interest in the machinery of their agencies and bureaus and there is resentment to any attempt to oversee their activities either by the public, the congress or appointed Department heads.


"But our democratic society is not based upon the vested interests of Government employees. It is based upon the participation of the public who must have full access to the facts of Government to select intelligently their representatives to serve in Congress and in the White House."

Who said that? Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, when he was a co-sponsor in 1966 of the original FOIA. You should read his floor speech on behalf of greater openenss [sic] in government with the original FOIA. Everything he said then applies with even greater force and urgency today.

So why are you now carrying Big Government's water?

Ouch. It's sad to see but if true, deserved.

I like Senator Kyl. He's been stalwart on the War and for the most part, a solid fiscal conservative. And besides, I went to college with his daughter.

Now of course that has nothing to do with anything but I love to drop it in now and again.

Back on point, I don't really get this. Senator Kyl is normally--while perhaps not vocal about it--practically speaking solidly small-government and so Tapscott's closing question leaves one to wonder.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freedom of the Press

From Don Surber:

Publishing 29 stories about a lie about a flushed Koran is bad enough. But when a newspaper then refuses to publish one story about a very real handbook on torture that is used by the enemy, that newspaper is no longer being objective.

It is taking sides.

And not the right side, at that.

Many good people made great sacrifices for freedom of the press. It is sad to see today's newspaper people piddle away that heritage.

That's the close to the column, but hardly the best of it. Read it all.

The Times hasn't been bludgeoned so badly in quite some time...

Kos rips Fred

I just wonder if Markos knows much of anything about things that happened before 2002. First, check out the post here. Then check out Fred's bio here or here or hell, even here.

You'll notice that Fred has a number of fine accomplishments on his resume, most occurring long before Mr. Moulitsas' rise to fame.

Stick that in your Coffee Pot and smoke it!

Yes, it's good for something other than that fake smile first thing in the AM:

People joke about their coffee tasting like battery acid. But some newly published research suggests drinking coffee can help reduce unhealthy levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Uric acid is a natural waste product from the breakdown of foods containing purines, and normally is regularly flushed out through the kidneys. But some people either produce excessive amounts of uric acid or don't eliminate it efficiently.


High uric acid levels can contribute to a variety of health problems, from the arthritic disease gout to increased insulin resistance and risk of dementia and heart disease.
Gout occurs after excessive levels of uric acid for months and years leaves deposits of crystals in the joints.


Dr. Hyon Choi of the University of British Columbia and Brigham and Women's Hospital and colleagues looked at two groups -- 14,000 adult men and women who were part of a national health and nutrition survey between 1988 and 1994, and a group of 45,000 men 40 and older who were studied over 12 years starting in 1986.

Results from both groups, published in the journals Arthritis and Rheumatism and Arthritis Care and Research, showed that levels of uric acid in the blood significantly decreased as coffee intake increased, but not so with tea consumption. And the effect was even seen among those who drank decaffeinated coffee, suggesting that some component of coffee besides caffeine impacts uric acid.

Something I will point to next time somebody harasses me about my pot-a-day habit...

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