|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Posted 8:59 PM by WiN
Ooooo, I am SO excited!
I am getting ready to hit the sack (my time stamp is waaay off, partially by intent :), but as I made my last few blog reads of the day I found this fabulous news from Fred First - the microbe uprising, begun by Lynn at Poet and Peasant has breeched the walls! Former microbes are now clawing their way up the Ecosystem at an astonishing rate. As is fitting, the leader of the uprising had become a Flappy Bird - only five steps down from human and almost achieving coveted mammalian status.
And now for the best news of all - I am now a Crunchy Crustacean, alongside such notables as ListenMissy and SocietyforthePreservationofClue. Oh joy! Oh bliss! Oh brother... :) And I know exactly what kind of crustacean I most likely am - when on vacation we were doing some tidepool exploration and found that literally thousands of tiny hermit crabs lived in each small pool - most no larger than your average Rice Crispy. I'm sure that's what I am - but maybe someday.....
Now I'm heading to bed - sorry Blogathoners! God Bless you guys, I'll be checking up on you in the morning.
Friday, July 26, 2002
Posted 12:56 PM by WiN
Could'ya zoom in a little closer
Posted 12:49 PM by WiN
Story of my life
Fred First's star is blazing across the blogosphere firmament - his folksy wit and wisdom with a storyteller's heart touches a special place in the midst of a fast-food, microwave, 20Mb/s cable-modem world. If you haven't read Fragments from Floyd yet, do so now. Here's a great story to get you started.
Try these, too:
Posted 11:43 AM by WiN
Is there anything uglier than the way liberal blacks treat blacks who happen to be conservatives? Paul Greenberg gives an example:
One suspects that Vince Smith's real sin isn't his meteoric rise in the law or his spiritual gift, both of which have been known to offend lesser talents, but his guilt by association with Republicans -- a long suspect breed in these latitudes. But since he's black, his critics have been given a prejudice they can use against him. They can fasten on his color to claim his appointment was race-based. Just as Affirmative Action is.Check it out: Affirmative action's latest victim: a black judge
Posted 9:38 AM by WiN
Killing terrorists and collateral damage
Well, I knew if I waited long enough someone would come up with an answer to N.Z. Bear's hypothetical question (fourth comment down below post) about how much, if any, collateral damage (in innocent lives) is acceptable in taking out a known terrorist. I'm going to give the prize to Amish Tech Support, although his language is a little harsh. There is some excellent dialogue on this issue Somewhere on A1A also. For more background information, if you're doing a bit of soul-searching yourself on this issue, consider this post by Tal G. and this column in today's Ha'aretz.
The question has to be - could they have gotten this guy without taking innocent lives? Personally, I don't consider those in his house to be 'innocent', in the respect that he chose his path and therefore to a great degree chose to put his family at risk. The 'innocents' in this situation would be his neighbors, who probably didn't have much choice about whether or not to live next to a notorious terrorist. Anyway, I have to think that if the IDF knew where he lived, which they obviously did, there had to be other options. I think you could credibly draw some parallels between this incident and Waco. David Koresh went about his business for months before the siege and the ATF could have arrested him at any time out in the open with little problem. But they chose to attack him when there was a great possibility of collateral damage, including children. Same with the IDF - they could have captured or killed him as he went about his daily business if they had chosen to. They knew where he lived. They had no doubt at least some intelligence on his patterns. So why not take him with a sniper, or capture him in a lightening raid? We'll probably never know.
What we can almost certainly be assured of is that there will be lessons learned from this, and next time things will be done differently. We can also be assured that many more innocent lives were saved than were taken by this assassination. And that is sad anyway you look at it.
Posted 8:46 AM by WiN
Conservatives, Constitutionalists, Federalists....
and anyone else who thinks this country should be run more like the Founding Fathers meant it to be than it is now - you need to check out The Federalist. If you have never read it, or even heard of it, go here for a sample of their regular newsletters. They will send them to you in either plain text, html or PDF formats (I like the PDF for printing out), or you can just go to their site and read them. I can't recommend this newsletter highly enough - it is thought-provoking, witty, hard-hitting and brilliantly edited - kind of a Reader's Digest Condensed version of National Review. If you like what you see, by all means subscribe - it's free!
Posted 6:34 AM by WiN
Send goodies to an Israeli soldier
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Posted 3:00 PM by WiN
Yet another reason to look forward to Fridays
Japanese 'beer train' booked up. No potties? I'll bet there's a crowd on the 'observation deck'!
Posted 2:57 PM by WiN
Leave it to Larry
To blog this. Want to be real careful what I say here, but it begs the question "How did they get it back?".
Posted 2:21 PM by WiN
Just call me 'Axe'
Posted 2:01 PM by WiN
Not that that's anything new. But the GOP is so skittish on the whole corporate accounting fraud issue that they are ready to cut and run at any sign of the Dems using the issue against them. What they should be doing is putting the shoe on the other foot, forcing Clinton administration lackeys to explain how they let corporations play so fast and loose with stockholder reports and accounting practices. John Fund lays it out for us in the WSJ opinion pages (link may require registration). He says
Many Republican House members pleaded with their leaders to rubber-stamp the Senate bill cracking down on corporate wrongdoing, without even convening the traditional conference committee to resolve differences between the two houses .... Some members openly said that all they cared about was being able to fly home for the August recess clutching a piece of paper they could wave in front of constituents and thus claim they did something.Now that's a sure sign we're getting well-thought-out legislation, isn't it? So what are the possible ramifications?
A study by economists Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute and Robert Shapiro, formerly of the Democratic Leadership Council, found that the bill will "likely impose significant new costs on American firms with little likely benefit" while opening up companies and their managers to more litigation from trial lawyers.Craig Schamp's poker buddies tell him that it will probably force many otherwise viable businesses to fold because no savvy management team will want to take the risks that the bill imposes. Sounds like a pretty plausible human reaction to this kind of nonsense. But what do the few remaining cool GOP heads think?
Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, says that if President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are to answer every conceivable question about their business dealings, it's high time that someone ask some questions about the Clinton years. Yesterday, he took to the House floor to ask that subpoenas be issued for the testimony of Sen. Jon Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, and Robert Rubin, who served as Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration. Mr. Corzine was chairman of Goldman Sachs when it was touting Enron stock. After he retired in 1999, he spent $60 million of his fortune to win his Senate seat the following year.Someone needs to calm these guys down, before they get stampeded off a cliff in November. There's still plenty of time, but it needs to start immediately after the August recess. Forcing Bush to sign lousy legislation isn't going to do anyone any favors.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Posted 3:12 PM by WiN
Someone comes up with a theory, writes a book about it and that book becomes the bible for the next ten to twenty years. Then someone notices the huge problems caused by this unchallengable theory. Oops...made a mistake. Too bad about all those boys. Let's try this new theory instead.She also has some thoughts on the whole "parent participation" thing the NEA-types repeat like a mantra. Check it out.
BTW, N.Z. Bear still hasn't updated the Ecosystem yet. There'll be angry microbes with little, tiny pitchforks and torches at his firewall any day now.
Posted 11:04 AM by WiN
The Wall is Wailing?
Do leaky pipes signal the coming of the Messiah? Well, there have been stranger theories. I can understand how folks could get a little antsy, seeing as how this happened right before Tisha B'Av. But personally, I'm looking for the third temple to be built first before things really get out of hand.
Posted 10:51 AM by WiN
Good news from Iran?
So says Daniel Pipes
Islam: Iranians have apparently begun a process of seriously thinking about Islam of the sort that must precede that religion's developing into a moderate and anti-militant influence. Only Muslims who have suffered from the full debilitation inflicted by militant Islam over a period of decades, it seems, are immune to the charms of this totalitarianism and prepared to take on the challenge of finding an alternative vision to it.
Posted 7:39 AM by WiN
Too much is just right....
when it comes to some things. Kevin and I agree, horsepower is one.
Posted 7:34 AM by WiN
Update on CA emissions bill
First and foremost, eliminating CO2 emissions is not the goal of the legislation. Rather, the goal is the “maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” defined with two criteria:Now, if we could just trust regulators to use logic and common sense in writing up the regs, no harm done, right? Just don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Update: Bob Owen get it, too.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Posted 3:39 PM by WiN
I almost forgot to blog this
The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the US Army. [via Uppity-Negro.com, my token liberal blog]. Funny stuff - check it out.
Posted 3:01 PM by WiN
ChevronTexaco's got some bad mojo going in Nigeria
Posted 2:36 PM by WiN
Knowing the Knower
Posted 12:20 PM by WiN
Groaner of the day
James Taranto in today's "Best of the Web Today" gets my nod for groaner of the day with this entry:
Turkish troops leading the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan won friends among hundreds of Afghan families Tuesday after army doctors carried out a mass circumcision of boys who had missed the important Muslim ceremony for one reason or another," Reuters reports from Kabul:Ouch!"It takes about five to eight minutes to do each person," an army doctor told Reuters. "If you want, I would be happy to do you and your colleagues."The dispatch doesn't say if the wire service took the doc up on his offer. Nor does it say if the doctors received payment for their work, though we suspect they only took tips.
Posted 9:47 AM by WiN
Today is 'Get Priscilla Owen Day'
In the Senate Judiciary Committee. She defended her record before the committee this morning, but will almost certainly be turned down anyway (or be forced to wait for a second hearing, like Charles Pickering). Read relevant information on this nomination here (Washington Times), here (Byron York, NRO), here (WSJ OpinionJournal) and here (NRO). Owen looks to be another exceptionally well-qualified Bush appointee targeted for 'Borking' by liberal activists, although word is the White House and Senate Republicans have vowed not to be ambushed like they were with Pickering. In my opinion, the lefties are just warming up in the bullpen for Bush's first Supreme Court nomination. That should make the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings look like church pastoral search committee meetings.
Posted 9:27 AM by WiN
Firm Grasp of the Obvious dept.
Update: James Taranto made this one of his "You don't say" links today.
Posted 9:04 AM by WiN
Rod Dreher, Sonic fan
Yes that's 'Sonic', not 'Sonics'. And I agree with his assessment of their hamburgers, they are quite yummy. In fact, two of the best 'fast food' hamburger joints I know of are Oklahoma-based franchises, the other being Braum's, which is mainly known for their ice cream products. Other passable fast food burgers, IMHO, are Wendy's and Whataburger. But when in the southwest, your best bet is Sonic. The main difference between Sonic and Braum's, in my mind, is service. There is one of each about 3 miles from my house, and we could choose either one, but more times than not we go to Sonic because they seem to understand how to get the food to the customer in a timely manner.
Neither place cooks your order until you place it, which is probably why their quality is above average. But at Braum's, you see sometimes a dozen or more employees behind the counter and in the food prep area but only one or two seem to have any job that's specifically related to preparing food. I literally don't know what all those people do back there, but it definitely has nothing to do with speedy food preparation. Sonic, on the other hand, is a 'drive in' place (kind of like a drive-in movie) where you stay in your car and place your order through a speaker system. In relatively short order, a car-hop brings your food to you, you pay and you drive away (or sit in your car and eat, if you're so inclined). And, as Rod mentions, they have excellent limeade (as does Braum's) and tater tots. They also have other culinary treats you won't find at most other fast-food places, like foot-long coneys, BLTs, grilled cheese sandwiches and stuffed jalapenos. If you're in this neck of the woods, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
Posted 8:14 AM by WiN
Defense Dept. budget crunch
Congress, repeat after me, "Provide for the common defense". You'd think they would understand that, especially now. But noooo...
Posted 7:51 AM by WiN
Saudi 'Visa Express' reaches the end of the line
Finally, after no small amount of embarrassingly duplicitous behavior on the part of State Department careerists, Foggy Bottom has announced that the Saudi version of the 'Visa Express' program has been terminated. With the tremendous amount of pressure that had to be brought to bear by the media, such as National Review, and congress for this common-sense security measure to take place, serious doubts have to be raised as to the wisdom of leaving visa issuance authority with State as opposed to transferring it to the new Homeland Security department. What kind of deductive reasoning does it take to figure out that visas should be more difficult to obtain for citizens of a country that supplied 15 of the 19 September eleventh highjackers? As NR's Joel Mowbray (who has been point man for the media on this whole story) points out, this incident should prove conclusively that the State Department's Consular Affairs office (which is responsible for issuing visas) is far more concerned with maintaining good relations with foreign governments than it is with protecting American citizens. Employees of the U.S. government should know that to 'provide for the common defense' is a foundational role of the federal government. Keeping foreign politicians and diplomats happy doesn't even make the list. The visa issuance function should to be transferred in toto to an agency that puts security first or we can just drop the whole charade of 'protecting' our borders. If terrorists bent on murderous destruction can obtain legal entry without so much as an interview, there is no protection.
Update: Perusing NRO, I found this extremely informative discussion of the various stages of immigration status and how they pertain to potential terrorist activity. Check it out.
Posted 7:01 AM by WiN
State Dept.: "Arafat not a terrorist"
Well, it appears that the U.S. State Department has carefully reviewed the PA documents captured by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield and other West Bank operations and has determined that Yassar Arafat had no foreknowledge of terrorist attacks against Israelis. Just because he signed the checks afterwards doesn't necessarily mean he knew about it beforehand. This is what the French might call merde du taureau.
The really disturbing part is that this particular report is supposed to document Palestinian compliance with the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of 1989 regarding commitments to renounce and/or halt terrorism originating in Palestinian territories. But according to this article in the Jerusalem Post:
The latest so-called PLOCCA report issued in accordance with the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of 1989 expresses serious concerns about the Palestinian leadership's record in fighting terror. But the report intentionally makes no specific determination of whether the PLO has complied with its commitments during the report's covered period December 16, 2001 to June 15, 2002.So, in short, the report is supposed to inform congress whether Palestinian leadership is committed to stop terrorism, but it "would not serve the national security interests of the United States" to tell the truth. What a crock! But the report did manage to admit
"The PA and PLO senior leadership made only sporadic and ineffective efforts to issue clear instructions to refrain from violence or to assume responsibility over violent elements. Moreover, some senior PLO and PA leaders did little to prevent and in some cases encouraged acts of violence and an atmosphere of incitement to violence,"I wonder how much money was spent to provide that brilliant insight. The article concludes
The president said the Palestinian leadership is compromised by terror. And the report says the leadership has done just about everything to promote terrorism but approve specific attacks. Yet the State Department opposes sanctions and senior US officials pointedly refuse to call Arafat a "terrorist." The jumbled message shows how muddled US policy toward the Palestinians has become.Muddled indeed. It seems that 'Presidential Policy' and 'State Department Policy' are seriously divergent. And that is a dangerous and ill-advised policy in itself.
Monday, July 22, 2002
Posted 7:33 PM by WiN
Gray Davis signs "Greenhouse emissions" bill
"Breathing produces carbon dioxide, which has been conclusively proven to contribute to global warming," Davis said at the press conference announcing the bill. "Either citizens of California cut their respiratory output 30% by 2010 or San Diego will become the next 'Atlantis'."
Just kidding. Once again, Steven Den Beste does a masterful job of whipping out the old slide-rule and giving us some real-life ramifications of trying to drastically reduce CO2 emissions re:automotive exhaust. He points out, correctly of course, that electric vehicles simply transfer the location of the emissions and are not the panacea greenies make them out to be. Assuming, of course, that the electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. They are also dreadfully inefficient in their use of energy, all things considered. Of course, if California really wanted zero emissions, they could mandate electric (and other zero-emission vehicles, such as hydrogen-cell) cars and then come up with some really environmentally friendly ways of producing electricity. Like, say, nuclear energy. This would be a much more practical solution than the cockamamie hydrogen-generation scheme den Beste postulates (or wind generation farms, for that matter).
Of course all this posturing on "the maximum feasible reduction" in emissions of greenhouse gases is really just that - posturing, a public-relations stunt by Greenies. What they really want, but of course can't say in California's car-crazy society, is to take all cars off the road. Make everyone ride bikes, or use the massive public transportation boondoggles they have forced to be built with other people's money over the years. They force through seemingly environment-friendly legislation to push the hard choices (and the blame) off onto the auto manufacturers. If they really wanted to take dirty and/or inefficient vehicles off the road, it would be pretty easy to do so. Charge progressively higher fees for tags and/or registration renewal on older cars. The less environmentally friendly, the higher the cost to operate on state roads. Force older cars, with dirtier exhaust, off the road. For new cars, charge a hefty premium for less fuel-efficient vehicles. Double the gasoline tax. Take all that extra revenue and build better urban highways, reducing congestion and thereby reducing emissions. Give tax credits to folks that replace their 5-year-old or older vehicle with one of the new ULEV and SULEV-rated vehicles (the choices are pretty comprehensive, in both cars and trucks/SUVs). But don't hold your breath waiting for enviros to enlist market-based plans. They are into regulations - regulations that control other people's lives - and will never give up until everyone is living like they want them to be. Because they, like Gray Davis, know what's best for you. So sit down, shut up and do as your told. Or vote with your feet (check the last few slides for an eye-opener).
Update: Or they could give these puppies away.
Posted 4:25 PM by WiN
Up close and personal
Well, you knew those astronomers had powerful telescopes [link]
Posted 3:05 PM by WiN
The Blogathon is coming
Hide the children! No, not really. This sounded like a really cool idea when I first heard about it, but as usual I have procrastinated long enough that it is no longer an option for me. But I did decide to sponsor a couple of intrepid bloggers - Jed the Fed who is blogging for The Bible Society in Australia and the inimitable Larry Simon, Norse God (from Amish Tech Support) who is giving it up for Magen David Adom. If you haven't done so already, pick a blogger and be a sponsor.
Posted 1:41 PM by WiN
America and Israel
It's three weeks late, but I just got through reading this Letter From America by Alistair Cooke. For those ignorant of America's historical relationship with the state of Israel, it's a great first-hand testimonial/history lesson. [via Oceanguy via Silflay Hraka]
Posted 12:29 PM by WiN
Chinese policy forces U.N. fund pullback
According to AP, the Bush administration has decided to withhold funding for a U.N. family-planning NGO due to their continued involvement with China's 'one child' policy. According to multiple sources close to the issue, this decision is final.
In early May, the house Appropriations committee voted 32-31 to force the administration to provide the full $34 million to the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), whose funding has been withheld in the past due to its' policy of supporting abortions and sterilizations as viable population control measures. That amendment was later overridden by another amendment which supporting withholding funds from UNFPA.
I wholeheartedly agree with the President's decision, and I hope he sticks by his guns. Of course any coerced abortions are unacceptable, but the PRC's 'one child' policy is an abomination. (Here is a statement from a former Chinese 'Planned Birth Officer'). Regardless of where one stands on reproductive rights in the U.S., it is incomprehensible how any American could support their tax dollars supporting this barbarous practice. I applaud the Bush Administration for taking a principled stand on this issue, and hope that he continues to uphold his "Mexico City Policy" as long as he is in office. Population control, where necessary, should be a matter of education, not coercion.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.