Friday, May 30, 2003

HAVE YOU SEEN THE STORY ABOUT THE "MUSLIM" WOMAN IN FLORIDA?

You know, the one who refuses to take off her veil to be photographed?

Maybe she's right. Or maybe she has bad memories of a previous photograph?

Wanna see what she looks like?

Click here.


PAYBACK TIME

Worried that the French, who bent over backwards to make sure as many Americans as possible got killed in Iraq, won't have to pay for their sins?

The due bill is being cashed in a little bit at a time. The latest instalment is the disinvitation of the French Air Force to participate in two of our most successful training exercises -- Red Flag and Cope Thunder. And, though the US will have aircraft present at the Paris Air Show, none will participate in the daily flying demonstrations. The purpose of the Paris Air Show is to sell aircraft, and the French use it as a sales tool for flogging their latest. Without a big US presence, it might not be that well attended.

But the US will be at Farnborough, the British air show. And we will be there in force.

Read about it here.


BOB DOLE ROLES OUT HIS NEW STAND-UP ROUTINE, SORT OF

Since I almost never watch 60 Minutes out of principle, I never got to see the "point-counterpoint" thing with Bob Dole and Bill Clinton.

I never thought it would last.

But I was surprised that at least one of them -- in this case, Dole -- decided to not take this little mini-farce too seriously.

Read this funny column from the New York Post, which I've copied below since it is short and sweet.

May 30, 2003 -- THE searing wit of Bob Dole sent Bill Clinton running.

When the duo learned that their "60 Minutes" debate series was in jeopardy of being canceled, Dole proposed they tackle the subject on-air. Clinton was at first intrigued by the idea, but backed out when he received Dole's first salvo in the proposed exchange.

"Look, this is a crisis," Dole would have said, according to a script obtained by PAGE SIX. "I know, before when you had a crisis, you just bombed Saddam Hussein or let Newt Gingrich get near a reporter. But they're both retired. What are we going to do?" Dole continued: "How about this: Use the next 45 seconds to do something totally new. Admit you made even one mistake in office. If you have time left over, just plug Hillary's book."

A rep for Clinton tells us, "It's a funny script, but with only two shows left in our CBS commitment, the president wanted to focus on the future of the country, not the future of this segment."


Yeah, right . . . future of the country . . . gutless wimp.


YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE

Remember when Reagan uttered those words? I do. He meant them.

But along the way, we didn't follow through -- until the past 20 months.

In his weekly history lesson, Victor Davis Hanson reminds us.


ARE YOU A LIBERAL, OR A CONSERVATIVE? NO, YOU'RE NOT.

Whatever you think you are, you might not be. Confused?

Read this post by Steve Den Beste and then ask yourself whether you are a liberal or a conservative, or something else completely different.


WHAT I LEARNED AT THE WAR

No, not me. Oliver North.

Read this great piece by Ollie which speaks to who the young guys are that are today's soldiers and Marines.

I'll bet a quarter you'll smile.


Thursday, May 29, 2003

TRIVIA QUESTION: WHO IS HERMAN CAIN?

If you already know, give yourself credit for being aware of up-and-coming American leaders.

If you don't know who he is, read about him here, or just go to his website.

I may be wrong, but I think you will hear a lot about him over the next few years.


I WISH I HAD THIS GUY AS A PROFESSOR

Have you heard the story today about the UNC-Wilmington professor?

Seems he has put stickers, mostly of the political type, on his office door over the past number of years. He wanted to see what reaction it would cause. The results (no fear, there is no mind-numbing table of statistics) were published today.

See them here.


GENERAL TOMMY FRANKS ... HE THE MAN

Great article about Tommy and the war.


Wednesday, May 28, 2003

WORDSMITHING, CENSORSHIP AND BOOK BURNING

Read a few articles recently about "words you can't use in textbooks"? You know, words and phrases like "founding fathers", "snowman", etc.

Wait -- there are more!

And it turns out this attempt at being overly politically correct has been going on for some time, and some of the words might surprise you -- or not, if you're a total cynic.

Read this and then go punch a pillow or something.


SET YOUR CLOCKS FOR JULY 9TH

Why, you ask?

Read this terrific piece from David Warren, whose website is a repository of intelligent discussions about the Middle East (and occasionally elsewhere).


Tuesday, May 27, 2003

DOES A DEATH ROW PRISONER DESERVE A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT?

Talk about your basic moral/ethical/pragmatic decision!

With his health expenses already stratospheric, Oregon may be forced to give a death row prisoner a new kidney, only to put him to death at some point later.

Read the whole story.


BE CAREFUL NEXT TIME YOU SCORE A COUPLE OF KILOS AT STARBUCKS

For years, dopers "in the know" have shipped their drugs along with large quantities of coffee (remember, Juan Valdez is Colombian!).

Apparently, this yahoo didn't realize everybody with cable TV has seen the story on The Discovery Channel.



Friday, May 23, 2003

ENJOY MEMORIAL DAY, AND REMEMBER WHY


Read a good synopsis of its history here.


D'OH

Did anyone else miss the "global warming" irony this past winter?

Seems most of the world blew through their "global warming/greenhouse gas emissions" targets/quotas/whatever they call them.

Why? Because it was so damn cold, we all used a few megatons more fossil fuels than normal to stay warm.

Hmmmmm.


THEY'VE WORKED AWFULLY WELL IN THE PAST

Or is it ... they've worked, well, awfully in the past?

Whichever, Sharon has accepted the newest "Road Map To Peace".


IS THERE A REMAINING QUESTION AS TO WHY THERE IS NO LONGER A BRITISH EMPIRE?

If so, or not, read this "humourous" piece about the daft group of elitist twits a/k/a The House of Lords.

Given his recent ramblimgs, I'm guessing the senior Senator from West Virginia is a strong candidate for "honourary membership" in that august body.


THE GHOST OF JAYSON BLAIR STILL LIVES ON

Wanna get really pissed?

Do you go nuts when you discover someone manipulated words to produce a result they wanted, rather than what was actually said?

Here's a terrific example of why the scum at The New York Times have learned nothing in the wake of the Jayson Blair debacle.


OH HONEY, YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF VICTOR IS READY

VDH puts the Middle East in his crosshairs, takes a deep breath, and squeezes one off.

Ever the professor, he walks us through the failures of the past couple of decades all the way to today, and leaves us on an optimistic note.

Read it.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH

Malkovich is at the same time (in the same person) smart, scary, funny, weird, and political. How does he do it?

Given that he has lived in France for years, you can probably guess where he stands on the "Iraq" question. And you'd probably be wrong.

Following is an excerpt from a New York Daily News interview of Mr. M.


John Malkovich knows the French better than most Americans, having lived in Aix-en-Provence for years with his wife, Nicoletta Peyran, and their two children. But as much as he loves his adopted land, he thinks the French have forfeited their right to suggest what the new Iraq should look like.
"Why should America listen to what France now has to say?" Malkovich asked when we spoke to him the other day.

The actor is the first to admit that President Bush could have handled the diplomatic end better. At the same time, he believes President Jacques Chirac's opposition to the U.S.-led coalition is "highly cynical and arrogant."

"The French say that everybody else has a self-interest [in Iraq]," Malkovich said. "But none is more obvious than theirs. And they're absolutely blind to it."

"Sometimes ignoring other countries is the right response," said Malkovich. "I don't really care what Arab countries think. I don't trust them.

"I don't really care what a lot of European countries say. I've lived in Europe for years. I have a lot of dear friends there. But if you talk about politics, I want to say, if they're so smart, why Franco? Why totalitarianism? Why fascism? Where is your humility? I just think they should be curious about their own regimes."

The 6-foot-2 actor told us, "My father was a soldier. My uncle was a soldier. And the reason - and one can't say this enough - that our parents fought and died for things is so that people can get up and shoot off their mouths about things they don't know f---all about. About things they don't know the end result about, where they're just guessing."



I WISH STEVIE WOULDA SAID IT

Remember Steve Martin's line at the Academy Awards after Michael Moore got booed off the stage? You remember: "Michael is being helped into the trunk of his limo by a couple of teamsters."

Supposedly, he now wishes he would've said, "Be sure to buy Michael Moore's book, Stupid White Men, which is evidently an autobiography."


THE WEATHER'S HERE, WISH YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL

Show of hands. Who's ready for warmer weather?

Oh well. For those who know, our boat won't be here for another 10 days now. Thanks to bad weather in northern Michigan, it's currently stranded about a day north of Detroit. Aarrgghh. My mood will improve big time once I can get back on the water.


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

"I HAVE A STRONG, VISCERAL DISINTEREST"

In the latest chapter in the Jayson Blair saga, seems he's shopping movie and book deals about his "ordeal" as media darling turned demon.

The quote comes from a publisher who wanted no part of what this guy is now trying to sell. It appears in this article, appropriately titled "The Blair Pitch Project".


TRIVIA QUESTION: WHO SAID THE FOLLOWING AND TO WHOM WAS IT SAID?

"The key is to win the war", she said. "The war effort should not be shortchanged in any way."


The speaker was Sen. Hillary Clinton. The "spoken to" was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Say what?

Believe it or not, it happened during the Senate hearings just after the start of the Iraq war.

Anyway, it's my personal proof that she's running for President -- no question in my mind.

The "Nine Dwarfs" who have already announced are the "holy shit, is that the best the Democratic Party can muster" sacrificial pawns. When it becomes painfully obvious to everyone that none of them have a hope of winning their home state, let alone the Presidency, the Hildebeast will step forward as the "reluctant" candidate.

Let's face it, she's got a lot more game than any of them -- but that's a little like comparing Mike Tyson to the editorial staff of the New York Times in an ass-kicking contest. Mike is a pretty distasteful guy, but if the object is to kick someone's ass, who you gonna' call?

For "the rest of the story", read Fred Barnes' "President Hillary."


HAZEL, GET THE BARF BAG! IT'S BAD JEOPARDY TIME!

ANSWER: It describes itself as ... "An invaluable history of an extraordinary presidency, and the chronicle of a generation's political odyssey".

QUESTION: What is The Clinton Wars?

For a review of said pile of tripe, read Andrew Sullivan's inciteful commentary.

Want a different opinion? Sorry, haven't read one, but Christopher Hitchens put the book on his skewer in the current Atlantic Monthly.


SAY THE WORDS "THE PALESTINIANS" AND YOUR HEARTBEAT TICKS UP A NOTCH, BUT ...

What About the Chechens?

It is a very strange fact that the bloodiest terror attack of the past two weeks is the one that has received the least attention. While 28 innocents were killed in the Casablanca bombing and 34 in Riyadh, and a total of 12 Israelis in the five most recent attacks in Israel, 60 were killed by a single truck bomb in Chechnya on May 12. The casualty toll may yet rise higher as the injured succumb to their wounds and post-Soviet medical care.

What are we to think of the Chechen terror-bombers? The Russians are very clear about what they want us to think: “It is becoming ever more obvious that a terrorist international with al-Qaida at its head is trying to shift to a counterattack against the entire civilized world after the defeat in Afghanistan,” said a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. And indeed the Chechen terrorists are linked to al-Qaida and they do commit uncivilized, horrific acts of murder.

But then, as Anne Applebaum keeps trying to remind us, the Russians committed some pretty horrific acts of murder against the Chechens not so very long ago: In fact, they probably killed half the Chechen population. And yet, on the rare occasions that we talk about the war in Chechnya, the historical background to the war goes unmentioned.

The Chechens are rapidly coming to rival the Palestinians in the terrorism World Series. Yet while the Palestinians find endless volunteer apologists and eager, credulous audiences in the United Nations, the European Union, and American campuses, the Chechens find … nothing. How odd.

The Russian war against Chechen independence has killed at least twenty times as many people as have died on the Palestinian side in the three years of fighting since the fall of 2000 – yet there is little condemnation or even interest in what Russia is doing. Odd again.

Odd that Russia’s suppression of Chechnya is so seldom cited as a source of Islamic grievance – even as ethnic Chechens have proven themselves some of al Qaida’s toughest and most stubborn fighters. Odd too that Russia is now to be one of the four members of the “quartet” charged with pushing Israel along the road map to a Palestinian state – even as it denies Chechen independence with not a single squeak of protest from the outside world. It’s just generally odd all around, isn’t it?


(Exerpted from David Frum's Diary, 5/19/2003)


BLATANT GUSH OF PRAISE FOLLOWS

If you're like me, you're probably a little weary of reading a lot of erudite, scrupulously factual essays written by self-important pseudo-intellectuals. You know, like the Style section of People magazine.

Anyway, I stumbled across a website which is my new "first read of the day" - www.lileks.com - James Lileks is well known to citizens of the twin cities since his "day job" is as a columnist for the Star Tribune. His column appears three times a week, both in print and on-line. But his blog is updated daily and is genuinely funny. Sometimes he gets serious, but his writing is mostly about finding the humor in the perverse, ironic, twisted stuff that we all encounter every day.

When you open his home page, click on "Today's Bleats" but also surf around to his other stored nuggets. I especially like "Scribble", a collection of previously-written ariticles.


Tuesday, May 20, 2003

BLINDING FLASH -- SEE POST BELOW

Attention: Psyops Teams

Subject: "Softening Them Up"

Prior to interrogating any Iraqi or al Qaeda prisoner, subject them to 24 hours of "It's A Small World".

They'd offer up their mother for ritual sacrifice after that kind of abuse.


OK --- METALLICA WORKS, BUT I'D KILL MYSELF IF I HEARD BARNEY FOR AN HOUR

Last week I commented about the recommendation of Dave Barry to use loud music to force the eviction of the Texas Democrats who'd holed up in a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma.

Turns out our guys are taking a page from that song book in the ongoing interrogation of Iraqi POWs. As Mike Myers might say, "excellent!"


Monday, May 19, 2003

SO WHAT DO CHILDREN'S HEALTH AGENCIES ACTUALLY DO FOR CHILDREN?

Where else but in Washington would a children's health agency spend $137,000 to study the sexual habits of elderly males.

The same agency spent $150,000 to study what type of pornography women found the most sexually arousing.

Read the story and then e-mail your Senator or Representative.


$47,000 FOR A BAG OF GARBAGE?

Well, no. The technically correct answer is: $47,000 for a garbage bag.

What's the question? See this for numerous "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" award nominees.


SET ASIDE 20-30 MINUTES FOR TODAY'S "REQUIRED READING"

A couple of months ago I discovered (don't remember how, probably a link from someone else's website) Bill Whittle's remarkable blog called "Eject!Eject!Eject!".

Never heard of this guy before and still not sure exactly who he is and what he does for a living, but I've figured out through reading his essays that what he says is worth reading.

His most recent essay, "MAGIC", is worth the 20-30 minutes (less if you're an Evelyn Woods graduate) it will take to read it.


Friday, May 16, 2003

REMEMBER THE FALKLANDS? CAN WE LEARN FROM WHAT HAPPENED THERE IN 1982?

A fleeting memory for some of us. Not me, thankfully, but only because I spent (in total) a couple of months in Argentina during 1995-97. And I can tell you that the Falklands (still called Las Malvinas in Buenos Aires) are a sore memory for Argentines.

Anyway, Victor Davis Hanson yet again reaches back into history to demonstrate that those who ignore it do so at their own peril.

His column today on NRO is no exception.

PS I'm slogging through his book Carnage and Culture. For those who enjoy history, especially military history, especially drawing straight lines from event to event in history which show repeating patterns, it's a spectacular compendium. Nine battles over the past 2,500 years, strung together, demonstrate Hanson's thesis that success in warfare has far more to do with the freedoms of the individual soldier than the size of the army.


Thursday, May 15, 2003

BARRY MANILOW, BARRY WHITE, OR EMINEM?

No, this isn't one of those cutesy jokes with a snappy punchline.

Another Barry (Dave) mused that music played loud (remember the Noriega siege?) would be the appropriate tactic to get the rogue Texas Democrats to leave their Oklahoma hotel and rejoin reality. He suggested Barry Manilow.

I'd opt for rap at about 138 decibels. Eminem would probably work; 50 Cent would be OK, too. Head-banging or hard core metal would be an excellent choice after 1.00AM.

Of course my personal favorite would be something a tad louder --- like a laser-guided bomb.


ALL PRAISE GEORGE LUCAS

You gotta give George his props. It appears he has created a new religion.

Think this is a joke? Check out this recent article from the northwoods. The most astounding factoid (even assuming quite a few of them were just poking fun) is that in their 2001 census, more people in Britain claimed the religion "Jedi" than claimed to be Jewish. Where is Mel Brooks when we need him ???? I smell another movie .... Spaceballs: Episode Two, Revenge of the Jews?


SAY IT AIN'T SO!

Following is an extract from this article:

In a less politically correct age, we would refer to the Most Reverend Prophet Alpha Omega Bondu as a witch doctor. Maybe even an "ooga-booga guy." But when Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., gave the Most Rev. twelve grand to evict seven evil spirits from a Haitian psychiatric patient (that's $1,714 per spirit — a great value), the New York Times refused to traffic in any stereotypes. In fact, it bent over the other way, even refusing to call the service an exorcism. Instead, the Times reported that the $12,000 in taxpayer dollars had been spent on "religious counseling."

(A few quick asides on the Rev. story, just for color: The patient had hacked his wife to death and set her on fire in front of her children. Even though the Most Rev. only managed to exorcize four out of the seven spirits — a mere $6,800's worth — he was paid the full amount. The $12,000 payment was approved by the business manager of the hospital, who was also member of Bondu's church. The Times ignored the story entirely for three months, and then only mentioned the exorcism in passing, as part of a general story about the hospital's problems.)



OK -- for anyone who has ever been chicken-shitted by their HMO over a $25 charge for a doctor visit they say should have a "reasonable and customary" charge of $17.87, please send them this article.

Oh -- before I forget -- please read the entire article for even more outrageous stories.


Wednesday, May 14, 2003

YOU'RE NO BIG DEAL

So said US District Court Judge William Young when Richard Reid, a/k/a Abdel Rahim, a/k/a "the shoe bomber", was sentenced after his guilty plea earlier this year. The presiding judge delivered up a truly impassioned coup de grace sentencing him after Reid had railed about the US killing 2 million Iraqi chidren, claimed he was a soldier and shouldn't apologize for his actions, yada yada yada, before barely admitting he was guilty of the crimes of which he was accused (required under NY law).

It's since been said that the judge's remarks weren't widely reported, but I found a full transcript on cnn.com.

(Thanks, Joe).


OK, I JUST CAN'T STAND NOT TO SAY SOMETHING

Assault Weapon -- OK, I said it.

But do you know what it is? I'll bet you don't.

I've been shooting things that go bang for my entire life and I don't know what it is, but the US of A purportedly outlawed "assault weapons" during the Clinton era.

Of course, given that the law was written by folks who probably didn't grow up with hunting and shooting, they defined "assault weapon" based upon a menu of features that, I guess, make for a "scary, military-looking" weapon. For instance, a determinant as to whether a gun was an "assault weapon" was whether it has a bayonet mount. Of course, we've all heard about the multitude of bank robberies and holdups where the crooks used their bayonet to off someone. Oh yes, another key determinant is that is has a flash suppressor or a threaded barrel that allows a flash suppressor to be screwed on (a flash suppressor makes it hard to see the muzzle flash at night -- real important in bank hold-ups). And of course one factor is that it has a pistol grip. And a folding or telescoping stock. And a grenade launcher -- finally, something which sounds "scary" (but I bet you can't easily tell the difference between a grenade launcher and a black flashlight -- most people couldn't).

Anyway (are you ready?), it's an "assault weapon" (under the law) if it is semiautomatic (will continue to fire just by pulling the trigger -- but only once per trigger pull), has a detachable magazine (allowing you to load a number of cartridges at once) AND has more than two of the above features.

You can have your grenade launcher and bayonet mount if you want and it wouldn't be an assault weapon. But add that nefarious pistol grip and, "presto", it's an "assault weapon".

Anyway, since this was a massive overreaction to a perceived problem and something way less than 1% of all crimes are committed using an "assault weapon" (no matter how you define it), Congress still feels the need to expand the definition, with some versions banning virtually any semiautomatic weapon, including my 12 gauge shotgun that is really only useful in hunting ducks, geese, pheasant and other upland game.

My guess is that if the drug-dealing gang bangers are paying attention, they are funneling $millions to the legislators who are crafting this inane legislation. Why? So that fewer and fewer LACs (law-abiding citizens) will be armed as well as they are. Gangs are well-stocked with fully-automatic UZIs, MAC-10s, M-16s, and many other already-illegal forms of weapons. Besides, their tactical weapon of choice is still a concealable pistol, preferably a "nine" (9mm semi-automatic).

I'm sorry, but this stuff just drives me nuts. With hundreds of thousands of people dying each year from preventable cancer and heart disease, I just don't see the economic sense in wasting this much time and energy trying to ban something that doesn't exist. Especially something that kills fewer people than bathtubs, ladders and stairs (dangerous things which kill many people who fall in them and down them).



HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'RE A REDNECK?

I'm sure you've already read or heard about this one -- the "whites-only" prom in Georgia (what a surprise).

What I don't understand is why people jumped ugly with someone like Bill O'Reilly for reporting on it, calling it a "private" event and suggesting reporting on it was "anti-South". Wake-up call:

a. a school prom is not a "private" event, no matter how you package it, and
b. saying reporting on it is "anti-South" assumes that "separate but equal" is still the modus operandi in the South.

I'm sorry, but this merits a "flag on the play".


THESE IMMIGRANTS JUST DON'T GET IT!

Or so you'd think if you buy the party line from a number of groups, such as the NAACP, Urban League, et. al. Check out this recent article for more background.

What does this mean? These groups have a problem with the fact that the vast majority of recent immigrants "of color" do not really feel they are broadly discriminated against. Further, every study I've ever seen has shown that recent Hispanic and African immigrants prosper and feel, generally, that they are treated no differently from anyone else.

However, the NAACP and other groups are now doing their best to "educate" these immigrants to the fact that the evil discrimination is still rampant.

I'm not sure I know how to react. On one level, it's absolutely frickin' hilarious. In the article above is a great quote from a somewhat misguided soul:

At a conference in Miami recently, panelist Beverlye Colson Neal learned that many Hispanic immigrants did not seek citizenship, only residency. "They don't care about voting and making life better; they just want to make plenty of money and send it back home, or whatever," she said.

I guess the point these groups want to make is the newest wave of immigrants should stop attending college while working two jobs, stop working 16 hour days and making so much money, and for sure stop worrying about making enough to send money "back home".

What they need to do is to start taking the time to complain about how they're being held back.

Oh. My. God.


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

You gotta read this.

Hanson is at the top of his game in this one.


I NORMALLY LIKE TO POST LINKS, BUT NOT THIS TIME

This is a great article from usnews.com and it's worth posting the whole enchilada.


Nation & World 5/12/03
By Michael Barone
A tale of two nations

Who has not been impressed by the American military personnel we have been seeing over these past two months? Calm, terse, determined, brave, confident--above all, competent, able to vanquish the enemy and spare the innocent with astonishingly low casualties. And yet a few years ago most of these young men and women were typical American 18-year-olds, most of whom don't seem competent at much of anything.

One of the peculiar features of our country is that we produce incompetent 18-year-olds and remarkably competent 30-year-olds. Americans at 18 typically score lower on standardized tests than 18-year-olds from other advanced countries. Watch them on their first few days working at McDonald's or behind the counter in chain drugstores, and it's obvious that they don't really know how to make change or keep the line moving. But by the time Americans are 30, they are the most competent people in the world. They produce a stronger and more vibrant private-sector economy; they produce scientific and technical advances that lead the world; they provide the world's best medical care; they create the strongest and most agile military the world has ever seen. And it's not just a few meritocrats at the top: American talent runs wide and deep.

Why? Because from the age of 6 to 18, our kids live mostly in what I call Soft America--the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. In contrast, most Americans in the 12 years between ages 18 and 30 live mostly in Hard America--the part of American life subject to competition and accountability; the military trains under live fire. Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps.

Fighting back. Soft America for a long time has been running most of our schools. Since early in the 20th century, as Diane Ravitch has shown in Left Back, educators have had a mistrust of testing and competition and a yearning to protect children from their rigors. Educators ban tag and dodge ball, because some kids lose. Teacher unions seek tenure, higher pay, and lower accountability. Parents' expectations are often low: Mom and Dad, busy working in Hard America, don't want to notice that their kids are not learning much. There are exceptions of course: Many schools do a good job despite all this. But for most kids who are not on the track to the relatively few select colleges, junior high and high school are something like the Soviet system: They pretend to teach, and we pretend to learn.

Then at 18, kids encounter Hard America--competitive colleges and universities and community colleges, competitive private-sector employers, training institutions from McDonald's to the military. Some fall behind and don't get much of anywhere. Others seek out enclaves of Soft America--soft corners in the civil service or corporate bureaucracies. But most figure out pretty quickly that how they do depends on what they produce. They develop skills that astonish those who knew them at 18. That is what we have been seeing in the American military forces in Iraq.

Soft America took over much of society because in the early and middle 20th century, America seemed to many people to be too Hard. Not many kids made it up the educational and job ladders. Much work was hard labor, and in the 1930s, jobs were scarce and charity inadequate. Educators wanted to make schools Soft, and New Dealers wanted to shield people from the marketplace with strong unions and Social Security. By the 1970s Soft America was trying to Soften Hard America with guaranteed incomes, job tenure, and comparable worth (bureaucrats, not markets, setting salaries).

In the 1980s and 1990s Hard America fought back. Surging private-sector growth brushed aside attempts to Soften the Hard economy. The military, hobbled by public contempt after Vietnam, built a voluntary force in which people could gain benefits and honor by performing. Politicians started passing laws to make the people who run the schools accountable for results. A sensible society wants to keep some part of itself Soft: We don't want to subject kindergartners to the rigors of the Marine Corps or to leave old people helpless and uncared for. But a sensible society also understands--and the military has been driving home the lesson--that Soft America lives off the productivity, creativity, and competence of Hard America. And that we have the luxury of keeping part of our society Soft only if we keep most of it Hard.


Monday, May 12, 2003

ANOTHER STORY WHICH NEEDS NO COMMENTARY

I must admit I haven't followed the story about Jayson Blair, the New York Times reporter who was found to have fabricated facts in maybe hundreds of stories.

Carla's first response was "affirmative action in action!" Not sure I totally agree.

It's more like he was writing what his editors wanted to hear, which I think is way worse.

Worse yet is that his error rate isn't necessarily the worst. Read the following excerpt from the Weekly Standard to see what I mean.


THE BANNER TELLS THE TRUTH!

The banner add above rotates among different messages. The most recent one says:

Vote for Howard Dean. Get a bumper sticker & vote for Howard Dean in the Bumer Sticker Primary.

Are they sure they don't mean Bummer?

If Clinton had only attacked terrorism as much as he attacks George Bush ...

To read excerpts from Dennis Miller's latest rant on the Leno show, go to this webpage.

I especially liked this one:

"Hey, it couldn't have gone any better, okay. We were killing suicide bombers. You know how fast you're moving when a guy -- the only thing he wants to do in life is kill himself -- and you beat him to it?"


Friday, May 09, 2003

NO POLISH JOKE ...

Much like the Australians, the Poles served a critical and mostly secret role in Iraq. Read about it here.


THEY KEEP GROWING NEW FEET ...

What the hell does that mean, you say?

Liberal Democrats keep shooting themselves in the foot and somewhat like a snake, frog, or other reptile (which is gifted with the ability to regenerate severed body parts), they seem to be able to grow a new one so it can be blown off again. Sort of like "Groundhog Day", except they don't learn from the previous days' mistakes.

Whether it's the "Bush landing" (see below) or any multitude of issues, they cannot create a positive agenda. They can only carp, bitch and moan about Bush & Co. without offering a single solution to solve a single problem which exists today. Amazing!


HE LOOKS HOT IN A FLIGHT SUIT!

So said Carla after seeing the prez land on the Abraham Lincoln.

I think a lot of people thought that, but I thought something more like, "this guy is the first in a long time who really looks like the Commander in Chief". It was obvious that all the guys and gals on board really appreciated the fact that, after they'd spent a huge portion of their young lives on that ship and many of them risked their lives every day of that voyage, the "boss" flew out to say "thanks".

I thought it was great.

BUT, NO-O-O-O-O. Byrd and Waxman were obviously tuned in to a TV which receives broadcasts through some kind of time warp.

Days later, these dysfunctional turds are now upset.

I've read a bunch of articles over the past few days (all critical of Byrd and Waxman, strangers to the concept of saving the taxpayers' money), but this one sums it up rather well.

My recommendation would be to put Byrd and Waxman in the back seats of the same airplane and let Bush "fly them around a little" to see what it's like up there.


Tuesday, May 06, 2003

SO THAT'S THE ANSWER!!!

If you want to read some hilarious tripe, type "post traumatic slavery disorder" in Google and check out the links that pop up.

It seems now that a handful of African-Americans are saying that they suffer from this ailment.

I'd like to introduce them to Jessica Lynch....

Friday, May 02, 2003

MANDATORY READING

You must read Bill's most recent essay at ejectejecteject.com, called "Victory". It says it all, and then some ....