Friday, August 29, 2003

AMERICAN RESPONSE TO NORTH KOREA'S THREAT TO TEST A NUKE

James Lileks, who usually isn't political, but who is always funny, has this recommendation for the "North Korean Problem":

Why not nuke North Korea’s nuke test? They’ve said they’re going to have a test; I presume we know where that will be. So we nuke it the day before. There’s a big explosion, a mushroom cloud; they blame us. We say what are you talking about? You said you were going to light one off. And you did. No! You did it! Right. We nuked your nuke test. And that makes sense . . . how, exactly? It would certainly keep them off their game. And just after we nuke the test - and every subsequent test, of course - we put a call to Li’l Kim’s cellphone, and someone with a Texas accent says oh, I’m sorry, wrong number. I was tryin’ to reach a live man.

Can you hear me now?


Thursday, August 28, 2003

IF YOU DON'T THINK THIS IS FUNNY, BITE ME

Woman's Dictionary

Yes = No

No = Yes

Maybe = No

I'm sorry = You'll be sorry

We need = I want

It's your decision = My correct decision should be obvious by now

Do what you want = You'll pay for this later

We need to talk = I need to complain

Sure go ahead = I don't want you to

I'm not upset = Of course I'm upset, you moron

This kitchen is so inconvenient = I want a new house

I want new curtains = carpeting, furniture, and wallpaper

I heard a noise = I noticed you were almost asleep

Do you love me? = I'm going to ask for something expensive

How much do you love me? = I did something today you're going to hate

I'll be ready in a minute = Kick off your shoes and find a good game on TV

You have to learn to communicate = Just agree with me

Are you listening to me!? = Too late, you're dead


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

L.T. SMASH IS BACK HOME

For those who haven't read his blog, L.T. Smash is the pseudonym of a US military officer who has blogged from Kuwait since troops were deployed there earlier this year. It was always interesting to hear what is "true" rather than what is "reported".

Anywho, Smash is back home and his "going home" post is priceless.


MAYBE I SHOULDN'T BE UNCONCERNED ABOUT FLYING

Since 9/11, I suppose I've flown more than the average American. Or said another way, I haven't flown less than before 9/11, so that means I fly a lot. And I've been out of the country a few times and have taken a number of cross-country flights, all prime targets for whackos. But I still view it as a "lottery" situation -- less likely to be hijacked than being run over by a bus when I go to lunch this afternoon.

But maybe I should be concerned. I don't know. When I read an article like this, I begin to wonder whether we're serious about this issue or whether we're more concerned about ruffling a few feathers.

I did notice that on the last international flight I took, the airport security folks in Canada "randomly selected" a nun for "full body search". Made me feel really safe.


DON'T LISTEN TO THE NEWS REPORTS, READ IT YOURSELF

I spent a couple of hours skimming the NASA report on the Columbia disaster.

It is a spectacular case study that, no matter what you do, is a valuable training tool.

Please, at least read parts of it, even if you only read the first bit, which is sort of an executive summary.

It's fascinating and frustrating and you'll probably be upset when you read how easy it would've been to save the lives of everyone on board.


WILL POLITICS AND IMPATIENCE COST US THE WAR ON TERROR?

David Warren makes the case today that the impatience of the American public compounded by the ongoing liberal bias in the American media compounded by Democrats being opportunists in painting the Iraqi situation as a quagmire is not good news for the war on terror.

A quote:

The American people have grown tired of being in Iraq, and want to move on. Their attention is refocusing on domestic threats, and the Democrats are making hay with the notion that progress against the enemy abroad is made at the cost of progress at home. This is a lie, but it is a good one.

This is a must-read article.


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

REMEMBER JAPAN?

You remember Japan, don't you? A couple of decades ago, America was scared shitless. The Japanese were taking over the US. We were trading Hondas and Sony TVs for US real estate. The Japanese juggernaut killed the US auto industry, US steel, you name it. Right?

Guess not. They tried, sort of, but they forgot Economics 101 and almost killed their own country through paranoia-driven over-saving. It was a classic case of a depression driven by under-consumption, driven by hyper-hysteria-driven runups in the value of real estate and equities, followed by the inevitable collapse. In effect, they almost starved themselves to death.

Are they back? Hard to say. I'm not convinced they're out of the swamp, but others are saying a lot of positive things. I hope they're right, but believe the recovery will be very long in coming.


THE "WAR IN IRAQ" AS A METAPHOR

More and more it's becoming obvious to me that three things happened beginning with the US deployment of troops to Kuwait last spring:

1. The Iraqi leadership tried to use the French and Russians to prevent the invasion, but planned for their own safety at the expense of their country. They should have planned for assylum in one of the countries that offered it, but they didn't.

2. The Iraqi military had no intention of pressing the offense button. They played defender for awhile and then ran home. They should have run home earlier.

3. Islamic extremists flowed into Iraq by the thousands to be able to kill Americans.

It is obvious to me that the Iraqis would like for everybody to "go home" -- not just the Americans and Brits, but the Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, et. al. Because now, the Iraqis just want to try to figure out how to coexist with each other. But the Islamic extremists want to kill Americans and, now, they are blowing up Iraqi civilians.

The "war in Iraq" is no longer a war between the coalition and the Iraqis.

Islamic extremism cannot allow Iraq to become a democracy. If it does, it will be a powerful "first domino" that can't help but destabilize Iran and Syria and Egypt. In Jed Babbin's column today, he makes the case that we need to stay the course so that all the dominoes topple.




COULD 9/11 HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?

I think so. I know there is a lot of tripe being spoken on both sides of the aisle, but the simple matter is that since before Viet Nam, before Jimmy Carter, and during all adminstrations (including the current one), the bureaucracy in Washington has never been willing to state a view that is counter to "common wisdom". In Washington, they don't always shoot messengers -- they usually wound them, deny them medical attention and then flog them in the town square. Then they shoot them.

Read Michael Ledin's column today and maybe you will get as angry as I am about this whole issue. I don't think it is any different from the problem we have in the media. In the media, everyone wants to try to do what Woodward & Berstein did -- bring a government to its knees and become iconic superstars. In Washington, everyone wants power. Same drill, same motivations. Both disgusting.


Monday, August 25, 2003

HERE'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION

What did the Arab world fear most?

1. Saddam Hussein in power?

2. Iraqi people experiencing freedom?

Rhetorical question, right?

Here's an article that explores this fear in the minds of Arab leaders today.


Saturday, August 23, 2003

AL SHARPTON -- WHERE THERE'S SMOKE. . .

There seems to be a common thread between Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. A number of years ago, Jackson's organization received a huge federal grant and then was never able to document (as required) how the money was spent. Jackson (of course) made the excuse that it wasn't him, it was the organization that was a problem. They jsut didn't have the records to prove that they'd spent the money appropriately.

Now, it seems like Big Al has a similar problem except his organization's excuse (twice) has been that fires mysteriously destroyed all the records needed for, well, you know, things like IRS required tax returns.

Am I crazy? Isn't this yet another example of what the New York Post calls a scam?


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

BUSH GOOD, SADDAM BAD

Something you'll never hear on CNN, but apparently you will hear very often in Iraq.


MISTER BILL'S NEWEST

Every month or so, Bill Whittle pen's an essay. His newest is now available. It's called Responsibility and is worth reading for many reasons.

A taste of the essay:

Political Correctness, Deconstructionism, Trans-National Progressivism, Liability mania, Crime and Punishment, Terrorism, Welfare, Gun Control, Media Bias, Affirmative Action, Abortion, Education Reform, Social Engineering – all of it – will divide people according to their idea of Responsibility.

In it, he coins a new acronym to be used instead of the word Democrat (as in a member of the Democratic Party). The word is DIMWIT (Democrats Intentionally Misusing Words to Invert the Truth). I like it. I may use it. I won't misuse it. After all, not all Democrats are not DIMWITs. You get the idea . . .


Tuesday, August 19, 2003

THE REAL CALIFORNIA PROBLEM

There are many of us in the real estate business and mortgage finance who worry about California real estate values.

Rich Karlgard, Publisher of Forbes Magazine, feels the same. He writes about it in this month's Forbes.


ROT IN HELL

Idi Amin. He lived about 40 or 50 years too long, but the bastard finally died. Unfortunately, it was due to natural causes.

And don't forget where he lived for the past 24 years.


IT'S ABOUT TIME!

The Bush administration has fired a shot across the bow of pinhead university administrators who have condoned the politically correct "free speech" rules on many campuses. You know, the ones that sometimes prohibit the display of the American flag because its "too political."


AS KEANU REEVES MIGHT SAY -- WHOA

With a symbolism that must have given the Green Party leaders all sorts of mixed emotions, a 1000-year old sequoia tree fell on an SUV yesterday.


WHEN DO YOU STOP BEING A REFUGEE? SECOND GENERATION? THIRD GENERATION?

Dan Pipes raises this issue in the context of the term "Palestinian refugee". The Palestinians, along with a few other groups around the world who insist they are citizens of a state that has never existed, cling to the title "refugee". Are they refugees if they live in Queens? Los Angeles? Or just in the "occupied territories?"


Monday, August 18, 2003

QUOTE OF THE WEEK


Only two things are infinite, the universe and
human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.


- Albert Einstein

YASSER ARAFAT -- TERRORIST

Why do people still look to Arafat as a leader, in the political or governmental sense?

If he is a leader, he is a leader in the Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden sense.

Why do I say this? Read this piece.


CNN -- FONT OF CYNICISM

Want a really good reason to never watch CNN?

Check out this headline -- Outage fails to generate crime spree

It's like they're disappointed, really ticked off, how dare all you folks in New York, Cleveland and Detroit!!

Everyone was supposed to run rampant in the street, set fires and loot the local Circuit City.

Cynical bastards . . .


IT MAY HAVE HAPPENED IN OHIO, BUT BLAME CLINTON

Now that a couple of days have passed, the finger-pointing is still chugging along. Except it's gotten past the mechanical, "which line/power plant/whatever was the first domino?" And now it's getting to the important question -- why is our power grid vulnerable and what has to be done to fix it?

What a surprise to find out that these discussions got diffused during the Clintonian era.


Friday, August 15, 2003

IT WAS OHIO'S FAULT

In the "blame game" it seems like the New Yorkers and Canadians are circling their wagons around us here in the Cleveland area. Seems (maybe) one of the power plants near here might have been the first "domino" in yesterday's fiasco.

I guess I'm a little shocked that, while there were no reports of any mischief in New York, Cleveland or Detroit, there was reporting of looting in Canada.

I lucked out by leaving the office an hour early yesterday. Missed almost all of the bad traffic problems. The lights came on at home just after the sun went down, so we didn't use up too many candles.


GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.) -- ARNIE COURTING THE "TAX & SPEND" DEMOCRATS

In case you missed it, Warren Buffett has signed up to the Schwarzenegger team as an advisor.

Those who know Arnie know he is not a conservative Republican.

Those who know Warren know he is not a Republican. Multi-billionaire or not, he has made it very clear in the past that redistribution of wealth through taxation and government spending is not an inherently bad thing.

So what are the first words out of Warren's mouth? A suggestion that California real estate taxes are too low.

This comes on the heels of Gray Davis saying he make seek the repeal of the increased taxes on automobiles.

Reinforces the image of California as a place where up is down, right is left . . .


GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.) -- THE DREADED "N" WORD

No not that one.

Nixon.

A recent poll shows Gov. Davis has a lower approval rating in California than Nixon had in California during the depths of Watergate.

Jeez -- that has to suck.


WHAT IS ____________ ?


Victor Davis Hanson fills in the blank in his column today, and he doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the tough ones.

Like, what is an ally?

We should never be angry with Canada, simply because we should never expect anything from it — inasmuch as it has long ago decided to emulate the European Union model. Let us respect its status as a neutral and pacifistic state that neither wishes nor deserves cooperation with the United States in defense matters.

Ouch.


THE HOST ORGANISM DIES

What a great putdown.

Ann Coulter aims her sharp tongue at the "Democratic Experiment Formerly Known As California" (my idea, I may start calling it DEFKAC from now on, though -- stealing from The Artist Formerly Known As Prince -- maybe California should first change its name to a symbol) in this column.


I WAS WRONG ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA RECALL ELECTION

No, Davis is still going to get thumped.

But he can't use the resignation thing to stop the recall. As I now understand it, if he resigns and Bustamante becomes Gov, the recall election (if recall "wins") would result in Bustamante being recalled. The recall process is not "person-specific", it just recalls whomever is sitting in the seat.

Actually, since Davis hates Bustamante, that would be a terrific "up yours". Otherwise, assuming Arnie wins, he still has Bustamante sitting down the hall from him.

This just couldn't get any more like a bad soap opera.


Thursday, August 14, 2003

HOW'D I MISS THIS ONE?

Anyway, thank's to Steve Den Beste, I now have it.

"It" is a terrific article written by Karl Zinsmeister.

It was published late last year and it summarizes (OK, lengthily summarizes) the state of affairs between the US and Europe. Two words: not good. But then you already knew that, didn't you?

Anyway, read it for the details. Here's a tidbit:

The panel on which I spoke was chaired by Reiner Pommerin, a professor at the University of Dresden, colonel in the German air force reserves, and advisor to the German Ministry of Defense. My fellow speakers included Germany's former ambassador to the U.K., the current German ambassador to Poland, a DaimlerChrysler managing director, and a professor from Britain. We were to focus on transatlantic relations.

Throughout the two days, Pommerin set the tone with an aggressively antagonistic attitude toward all things American. "Thank God we had the 11th of September," he declared--for this showed the U.S. how it feels to be humbled. Herr professor-colonel went on to suggest that Americans often feel nostalgic for the "good old days of slavery in the nineteenth century." He told ludicrous stories about seeing empty bottles and litter piled "one meter deep" along roadsides in America, illustrating our environmental slovenliness. He insisted the seemingly mighty U.S. military was now a hollow force, all flash and no substance.


Ouch.

Zinsmeister doesn't end on a positive note, either. And I believe he's right.

Don't expect any European governments to say, "gee, we're sorry about 9/11, you were right about Iraq, how can we help?" Our relations with them will not get better anytime soon. Get used to it.


HOW DO YOU KNOW?

In case you've been in a cave without cable TV for the past month or so, you missed New York City announcing the opening of a gay high school.

There is a thread of common sense in this action -- openly (and not so openly) gay students are routinely harrassed in public and private schools. So why not allow them to go to school in peace?

Two problems:

1. It's almost certainly illegal. After all, you could make the same argument about any ethnic minority. Why not an African-American only school? Oops, that is illegal. So how can a gay school be legal?

2. How do you know they're gay? Since this school will be much smaller than other public schools, it will probably offer up a better education than the average school. What's to prevent a straight student (who wants a better education) from saying "I'm gay"? Sure, you might be "outed" by the gay students at some point, but how do you prove it one way or the other?

Like I said, it sounds at first blush like a noble idea, but after 30 seconds of thought, it isn't.


HOMELAND INSECURITY

This is a gem.

The Border Patrol has been told to leave suspects alone unless they are at the border or at checkpoints.

In other words, if someone has already gotten across the border, they're home free.

Gee, I'm glad the guys in al Qaeda don't know this.


GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.) -- DEMOCRATIC UNITY

Remember how the California Dems talked about party unity? They wouldn't dignify the recall thing by running against Davis. Right.

Now that the dust has settled and the list has been certified, there are more Democrats running than candidates from any other party.

Adios, Gray.


FENCE OR NO FENCE (cont.)

It sounds more and more that this (the fence) is not a bad thing.

This week, we have another take from The American Spectator.


THE NEXT NUKE

Reading this story has got to drive all the "I want a nuke" crowd a little crazy.

Have you heard of gamma ray bombs? Bet you haven't.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

WAIT A MINUTE, I THOUGHT THE VOTERS CHOSE THE POLITICIAN?

No dummie, the politicians choose the voters. Or at least they try to do so when it comes to drawing district boundaries.


JED BABBIN WRITES ABOUT "ALGORE AND THE DEANIEBOPPERS"

No, not a 50's doo-wop group. I wish.

Babbin dissects the current state of affairs in the Democratic party and comes up with a couple of interesting insights.


THEY DID IT ONCE BEFORE!

While the US "discusses", Israel raises the possibility that they might do what they did in the past.


GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.)

In the first of what will probably be many "last ditch" attempts to pull Davis' chestnuts out of the fire, the Democrats in the California legislature are now talking about cutting taxes, specifically the "car tax".

Yeah, that'll work.


THE TERROR WITHIN, AND THEIR SUPPORTERS

It's easy to get behind tougher immigration laws, profiling tourists, etc. After all, the 9/11 terrorists were all "short-timers". But what about folks who've been here awhile? Do we really need to be concerned about them?

If you've followed the story of Palestinian-born Mike Hawash, you have to say yes. He was the guy who the FBI arrested at his job working for Intel in Oregon. He's lived in the US for most of his life and was a naturalized citizen. After he was arrested, you heard all the standard objections about profiling, civil liberties being infringed, "police state", yada yada.

But all the harpies cries were silenced when he pleaded guilty to directly helping the Taliban.

What Daniel Pipes wants to know why his supporters haven't admitted their mistakes.


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence.

- Will Rogers


INTERESTING ASSESSMENT OF THE U.S. OF A.

This is the transcript of a lecture given by Dr Josef Joffe in Sydney, Australia.

Surprisingly, it's not a tirade against the US as an "imperialist" war monger.

You may not like what he has to say, but it is worth reading.


THINK THE RECALL OF GRAY DAVIS IS JUST PARTY POLITICS?

Read this piece by Rich Lowry.

It's obvious now (why wasn't it obvious a year ago?) that Gray Davis has blindly committed California to spend its way into the financial graveyard.


VDH -- POLITICALLY INCORRECT

Victor Davis Hanson's latest column raises an interesting thesis. To wit, 9/11 was caused in part by political correctness. He goes on to explain that western cultures have rarely failed on the battlefield or through lack of resources, but

(I)n times of peace and prosperity there arose an unreal view of the world beyond their borders, one that was the product of insularity brought about by success, and an intellectual arrogance that for some can be the unfortunate byproduct of an enlightened society.

Another must read piece.


Monday, August 11, 2003

DEMOCRACY AN INSULT!

Bwaaaaah! Bwaaaah!

That whining you hear is the "Gray Davis Death Watch" whine.

It seems the good Governor now believes that the recall process is an insult to those who voted for him.

Of course, the recall process is a process installed by the voters of California through the democratic process.

And those voters who voted for Davis last year? If they "vote" for him in the recall election, he'll still be Governor.

So, what he seems to be saying is, "I don't want voters to be able to change their minds so quickly!"

Bwaaaaah! Bwaaaah!


TRUE OR NOT, IT'S ENCOURAGING TO HEAR

Ever since the invasion of Iraq, the cynicism of the American public regarding the media has grown. No one trusts anything they hear, and only half of what they see, because it's been shown time and again that the media tells their story, not the story. We want the true, whether it's good, bad or ugly.

But one thing is very different in Iraq and that is the phenomenon called the Internet. Now, a soldier in a tent in Nowhere, Iraq, has access to the Internet on an almost-daily basis and can send e-mail home instead of letters.

Almost weekly I see "letters from Iraq" and they are treated like a news event. They get passed around in e-mail daisy chains and I am cynical enough to believe they might have been written by some dweeb sitting in his bedroom in Joplin, Missouri. Some sound just too cute, or just to perfect, especially when it comes to the "punchline" -- like the one written by a soldier who called out a French soldier (who wimped out on the offer to fight), and then you find out the writer was female. Very funny, but probably untrue.

So, with that rant behind me, here's another one "from the front". Despite the official-looking nature of this one, it could be bogus, too. But it's worth reading.


WEALTHY PEOPLE DON'T PAY TAXES

Part of the common wisdom, right? The rich can afford accountants and attorneys to avoid such things. That's what every politician would like you to believe.

Like a lot of "urban myths", the rich pay a lot of taxes, and when a regional economy (like "Silicon Valley") takes a big hit, the amount of taxes paid takes a disproportionate hit when a lot of folks who live there are "wealthy".

I didn't realize until reading this column this morning how much of an effect the taxes the rich pay can affect a state's financial health. If you read Dan Weintraub's article you'll see that the taxes paid in 2001, compared to 2000, by those in California making $1 million a year or more dropped $7 billion.

$7 billion!

How many states can take a year-over-year hit of $7 billion and survive? Well, if you're California, it seems you ignore it and spend even more. That's how you wind up with a $30+ billion deficit.

And, of course, the Democrats in California have the answer -- raise taxes.


Friday, August 08, 2003

GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.)

Talk about throwing a drowning man an anchor, two brave Democrats have stepped up to run against Gray Davis.

This has to be good news for Ahnold.

As I've said before, one strategy that Davis may use at the last minute is resignation. If he resigns at any point prior to the recall election, the election would be rendered moot and Lt. Gov. Bustamante would become Governor. If folks were upset about that, they'd have to go through a whole new petition-gathering effort to recall Bustamante.

In the interim, it's interesting to see that the media has already fired one of the biggest guns you can fire, talking about Schwarzenegger's "Nazi" problem.

How's that for an inflammatory headline?


FENCE OR NO FENCE -- YOU DECIDE

In case you've been on vacation, there's a bit of turmoil going on in the Israeli - Palestinian "cease fire". Israel is building a fence around the West Bank. Not just any fence, a really tall one with razor wire on top and a ton of sophisiticated electronic detection equipment to alert them if anyone manages to scale the fence or cut through it. They want to make sure that any suicide bomber has to try to make it through one of the military checkpoints.

As you can imagine, a lot of people are pissed, even Bush. He "suggested" to Sharon it was a bad idea. But Sharon wasn't moved.

Charles Krauthammer writes an interesting column on the subject today and brings out one very interesting and salient point in this debate:

There have been nearly 100 Palestinian suicide bombings. All the terrorists came from the West Bank, where the barrier is being built. Not a single one has come from Gaza. Why? Because there already is a fence separating Gaza from Israel.


HERE THEY ARE . . . THE NOWHERE NINE

James Lileks profiles the Democratic candidates for President in this column.

The funniest one, and no, it's not a typo, is his profile of Carol Moseley Braun, quoted in full below:

Carol Moseley Braun:

Thursday, August 07, 2003

IT'S NOT THE ECONOMY, STUPID!

James Carville, that "right twice a day" kind of guy, still seems to have an effect on the Dimocrats running for the Dem Pres nomination (a/k/a the nine dwarfs). Most of what you hear from them (that isn't pure Bush-hate) relates to the economy and how crappy it is.

However, unlike the Clinton strategy of polling the public first (and discovering in 1992 that "it was the economy") and then spinning it to their advantage, the Dims seem to still be stuck in the "economy" mantra, hoping like hell the economy does tank.

Problem with that strategy is, regardless of our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, "security" is and will be the numero uno concern.

A stronger economy will not make us feel safer. Full employment will not make us feel safer. 5%, 30 year fixed-rate home mortgages won't make us feel safer. More comfortable, maybe. But not safer.

Stopping terrorists before they attack will make us feel safer. If the Dims want to be taken seriously, at least one of them has to start talking about this, or their results at the ballot box will be about the same as Ben Affleck and J-Lo's results at the box office.


CLINTON REDUX?

It's not fun to be the "leader", especially the lead dwarf.

Just ask Howard Dean, now that he's being compared to Clinton (Bill).


WHERE IS THE NATIONAL NEWS MEDIA ON THIS ONE?

Are you aware that at least one of the jets that has been discovered buried in the desert in northern Iraq is a modern MiG-25? As in "made since Desert Storm" MiG-25? As in "against the UN embargo" Mig-25? As in "the Russians screwed us again" Mig-25?

So why is there this silence from the White House and the media??? The only place reporting it is newsmax.com.




GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.)

I don't normally do so, but couldn't resist watching Leno last night just to see Arnold say he's running. This will be interesting on two levels:

1. It's a virtual certainty Davis is going to be yanked, but will another Democrat with name recognition have the cojones to step up?

2. Assuming the Dems back off, how many votes will the Republicans get?

If, in effect, a majority of people vote for one of the Republican candidates, what does that tell the Dems about 2004 and California? They'll have to spend an awful lot of money to counterract a Republican governor's sway on public opinion, especially if the state's woes are in remission.


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

MEXIFORNIA (cont.)

Go west, young man. Since forever, Americans in the "other 49" have migrated to California, and few Californians ever left. No more.

US Census bureau statistics show that, while California's population is increasing, it is only due to immigration from outside the US.

More Californians are leaving for other states than are coming in.


A THIRD PARTY IN THE OFFING?

Probably not, but if you've listened to Joe Lieberman over the years (he was my Senator when I lived in Connecticut, so I had no choice), he surely isn't the "shrill liberal". And he seems to be trying to convince his fellow dwarfs that America isn't listening to them anymore.

It would be interesting if he chose to form a third party. Doubt it will happen, but you never know.


JUNK SCIENCE (cont.)

The ongoing debate about global warming is enough to make you nuts.

Almost all of the "science" that purportedly shows evidence of "warming" has been discredited by multiple sources. Of course, the proponents of imposing limits on industrial growth are always conveniently there as the "protectors of the environment", touting studies they funded that, surprise, forecast that Florida will be underwater within the next couple of generations.

Remember the "ozone hole"? Haven't heard much about that one lately, have you. Do you know why? Gee, it's because it never happened. Turns out the NASA data that was used to forecast it was "a gross exaggeration".

So, OK, let's forget about the ozone hole, arsenic and alar (remember that one?). Let's just keep repeating the "global warming" mantra until the next ice age.


Tuesday, August 05, 2003

SOMETHING FISHY

How much would you pay to have fish in the ocean, or in your local river or lake? What are they worth to you? And don't duck the question, because this is one where you won't have a choice.

The answer is, you'll pay between $61 and $113 a pound to ensure that some fish are not caught and killed by water plants that draw in water to cool their turbines and other equipment.

I know -- it's crazy, but with the EPA involved, what do you expect?


THE TROUBLE WITH DEMOCRACY . . .

. . . is that it takes time. Ten years after their first open elections, Cambodia (home of the worse-than-Saddam piece of garbage formerly known as Pol Pot) held elections again last week. There were problems, but probably no more corruption than there was in Dick Daley's Chicago or Lyndon Johnson's Texas or Joe Kennedy's Massachusetts.

Peter Brookes believes (as do I) that this should be a beacon of hope for Iraq.


WHEN CARTOONISTS AREN'T FUNNY

Political cartoons are supposed to be funny, or if not, at least thought provoking -- right?

Tony Auth, who draws for the Philadelphia Enquirer, penned this "gem" last Thursday.

No matter how you interpret it, it just doesn't get any more anti-Semitic than this one.

But wait, it gets nastier. Check out this image from a Nazi political cartoon.

You'd have to assume that Auth had never seen this cartoon before drawing his, but is his thinking any different?

(Thanks to Little Green Footballs)


MEXIFORNIA (cont.)

Land of the free, home of the criminally insane.

California, budget woes and all, housing shortage driving home prices up daily, and what is on the Green agenda?

Let's burn down new homes!

If this arson was the result of an al Qaeda firebomb, it's all you would've heard for the past 24 hours. That an "eco-friendly" group has taken credit makes it less threatening?

If you want to feel a chill about personal safety, do some research on the number of arsons that have occured in California (and Arizona) over the past 2-3 years. In some areas, homes under construction have 24 hour guards posted and chain link fences surrounding the property -- not to prevent theft, but arson.


HOW ISLAM CAN IMPROVE ITS IMAGE

Be honest, no matter how you felt before 9/11, mention of the words "Islam" or "Muslim" carry extra baggage now.

So how can Islam improve its image?

Daniel Pipes has the answer.


Monday, August 04, 2003

HOW FAR HE'S FALLEN

After Operation Desert Storm, Norman Schwarzkopf was a hero, but even more so was Colin Powell. Remember all the talk about him running for President?

But it seems his mind got stuck in the sand when it came to Operation Iraqi Freedom, or maybe it was the daily influence of the State Department wonks. Whatever. He has lost "it" -- that quality that makes everyone want to hear what you have to say. Now, he has become too boring, too predictable.

I remember hearing him speak in Singapore in 1997. He was touring the world like a rock star. Everyone wanted to hear what he had to say and would pay a lot of money to eat bad banquet food just to hear him. No more.

Though there has been no official press release, it appears he is once again saying 'adios' to government employment at the end of next year.


DILBERT ON OUTSOURCING

Over the past few years, it's evolved from a buzzword to a way of doing business for many companies.

Sometimes its the only way to sustain a business, other times it's just funny.


GRAY DAVIS DEATH WATCH (cont.)

A bunch of stories in the news about the eminent governor of California. Most deal with his efforts to sue to get the recall election postponed and to have his named listed on the the recall ballot, but it appears he's also backtracking on some of his prior stands.

This is one example. I'm sure there will be more.




SHOULD ENGLISH BE OUR "NATIONAL" LANGUAGE? -- YOU DECIDE

(I recognize some of the following may sound like stereotyping -- but it's nonetheless true.)

Ever have difficulty with the following?

1. Understanding a cab driver in any large city.
2. Trying to communicate with the order taker at the drive-through window of a restaurant.
3. Translating misspelled and misplaced words and phrases in business documents.

I'm sure you can think of more.

And, while the subject of this story wasn't born in the US, it serves as an example of how far away we are from where we were a number of years ago. National literacy (and national quantitative skills) are one of the few measures of social progress where we seem to keep slipping down the list.

How long will it take before this gets corrected? My guess (hope) is that it will be about ten years after a school voucher system is made the law of the land.


Friday, August 01, 2003

STUPID, JUST PLAIN STUPID

There still doesn't appear to be much restraint in Washington when it comes to funding studies that do not serve any positive purpose.

This report of a study that compared Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Rush Limbaugh to one another was written by professors from Cal Berkeley, Stamford and the University of Maryland.

I'm sure the $1.2 million it cost was well worth it.


THINK NORTH KOREA HAS TOTALLY CLOSED BORDERS?

Think again. Look at this list of attendees at a recent conference there.

Note the attendees from countries all over the world, including the US.


WANT TO GET ANGRY ABOUT SOMETHING?

Read this column and then put your fist through the wall.

What's infuriating is that these media outlets are essentially funded by you and me. NOW you can put your other fist through the wall.


ANOTHER QUALITY PIECE FROM VDH

Read Victor Davis Hanson for a comparison of today to 1864.

I was reading a chapter in Hanson's book Carnage and Culture while on an airplane yesterday. It was about the Tet offensive in Viet Nam. For most of us who were alive and aware in 1968, Tet probably conjures up images of US Marines under siege, especially at the Citadel at Hue. But I'd bet that most of us also look at Tet as a turning point for the US -- the point where we began to lose. It's interesting how reading what really happened there refocuses things.

Looking back without the color of the western media reporting, Tet was a resounding success. The North Viet Nam/Viet Cong forces, which totaled almost 80,000, simultaneously struck in as many as 20 different locations throughout South Viet Nam. In every single instance, they were soundly defeated, losing perhaps as many as half their troops -- 40,000 dead, almost as many KIA as the US had in the entire war!

But here's the kicker, how many of you are aware that, in some major cities that they had control over, the North/VC rounded up thousands of intellectuals and others who were suspect and executed them before they began their offensive? It is now widely known that many in the western media were aware of these atrocities, but they were never reported. Why? It makes for a better soundbite to interview a beleaguered US Marine after he's been awake for 72 hours who "just wants to go home".

You think the media is slanting the story in Iraq? Revisit what happened in Viet Nam. And guess who some of the guys were who "earned their stripes" by using a "negative" reporting style in Viet Nam? -- Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Peter Arnett, et. al.

Of course, the media didn't lose the Viet Nam war for the US. Hanson is very clear in his book that US military leaders (with constant micro-management from The White House) did a fine job of ensuring defeat.