Monday, July 26, 2004

MORE LITE BLOGGING AHEAD
 
 
After traveling for ten days, I'll be traveling most of this week, too. Just not enought hours in the day.

 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

THE SORRY STATE OF THE CIA

This is a great article. If we expect to stay ahead of the curve in the war on terror, we need to get our act together.

Bush has a golden opportunity, which could earn him political capital. He needs to appoint a head of CIA that everyone will look at and say, this is the guy who's going to fix it.


THE NEW STRATEGY?

Let's see. Terrorists - 2; Spain - 0; Philippines - 0.

For decades, kidnap for ransom has been a very large cottage industry in some parts of the world. When I worked in Mexico, my house had a 24-hour guard and when I was in Mexico City or Guadalajara, I had a lot of security around me. And when I traveled to Colombia or Venezuela, same thing. In those countries, the terrorists routinely kidnap, hold for some time period (while loved ones sweat), make a ransom demands they know will be paid, collect the ransom, let you go, use the money to buy more weapons, and then kidnap someone else.

Being anti-capitalists (though I'd bet that will change), the terrorists in Iraq are doing the same thing, but demanding the infidels leave Iraq. So Spain and the Philippines are now in the palm of their hands. The US, Japan, Bulgaria and South Korea have told them to piss off.

Who's next?

My guess is they'll just keep going until they accumulate a few nation/hostages. Then they'll kidnap others from countries without troops in Iraq (France, Germany, etc.) and try to tell them what to do.

They will only stop when everyone says we won't negotiate with criminals.





THEY FEEL YOUR PAIN?

When Bubba said he felt your pain, you could believe it. His childhood wasn't a bed of roses and he sure didn't get into Yale as a legacy.

When John-John talk about it (even though Edwards had a reasonably humble upbringing) it isn't a bell that rings clear.

Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on their faux populism.


JOHN EDWARDS NEEDS AN ECONOMICS LESSON

And Arnold Kling is the guy for the job.


JUST SHUT UP!

Right on cue, it appears the activist AIDS community, whose global goal seems to be trashing the only country spending billions to help underdeveloped countries treat their infected population, is more interested in the spotlight than a cure.


BUSH LIED!!! UH, WELL, MAYBE NOT

Where are the major news media on this one?

Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, were media darlings just a few months ago. Wilson's book basically said Bush lied and twisted intelligence reports to fit his plan to invade Iraq.

Now that Wilson and Plame have been outted, where are the folks who made Wilson and Plame heroes? Embarrassed, I'd guess.

Robert Novak, who orginally blew the doors off on this one (by disclosing that Plame was a CIA operative, causing the Democrats to howl that the White House outted her as payback for Wilson's public statements), wonders the same thing about the Democrats who paraded Wilson around like a prized pig.


LIGHT BLOGGING ALERT

I'll be traveling for the next ten days. Not sure how much blogging will occur, but assume it will be minimal.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF THE WORD "IS" IS

You all remember that one from Bubba don't you?

And I'm sure you remember him saying "I smoked marijuana once, but I didn't inhale."

Along comes Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair, reporting that Bill Clinton was probably telling the truth when he said he never inhaled pot during his time at Oxford.

Having been at the university then, Hitchens says Clinton "had no aversion to the brownies and cookies that were then a favorite method of marijuana main-line ingestion."

Perfect.

Clinton at his best yet again. Telling no lie, but not speaking the truth.


FLIP-FLOP?

Finally, and with no real "did he say what I thought he said?" response, John Kerry admitted on 60 Minutes Sunday night that he is "against the war".

This, after more than a year of saying first that he supported it, moving to a somewhat middle ground of saying he might not have voted for it "if he knew then what he knows now" and now saying he's against it.

Here's an important question -- if he wins, since he's against it, what would he do the day after inauguration?


GOOD ANALYSIS OF THE SENATE INTEL REPORT

If you care, and don't want to read the entire 500+ page Senate Intelligence Committee (Isn't that an oxymoron?) report, read this and/or this.


Monday, July 12, 2004

BELIEVES HIS OWN LIES?

In my business career, I spent time dealing with real estate developers in the 70's, investment bankers in the 80's and Enron (and other energy companies) in the 90's. One common theme (which, in my humble opinion was the undoing of each of these groups in those times) was they all began to believe their own lies.

Were they scheming pernicious bastards? No, not all of them. They just developed a sales pitch -- a tale of what they could offer to their customers. And they kept repeating it and repeating it. When they first told the tale, the tale was in synch with the facts. Over time, the facts changed but the tale didn't. They'd repeated it so many times, they had altered their reality. They actually believed their own lies.

John Edwards made a fortune telling truths which might now be "lies". Will anyone other than Marc Steyn (link may require registration) call him out?


BUSH LIED . . . NOT

Time is a wonderful thing, isn't it. Jump to quick conclusions and, all too often, time will educate you.

Remember the beginning of the most strident "Bush lied" meme? You remember don't you? Bush claimed the Iraqis were busily trying to buy uranium in Africa. But then there was all sorts of "inside information" that it never happened.

Now that time has passed, it appears he was right. Will this get a front page cover on The New York Times? Doubt it.


Friday, July 09, 2004

I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE WRONG GUYS

Ever since the US air marshal program has been in effect, I've always checked out the guys getting on airplanes I was about the fly on to see if I could spot them.

I'd guessed that they would try to look as "normal" as possible, that most of them would be fairly young, fit, athletic and but have that "look" in their eyes. You know, the guy wearing the jeans and leather jacket, carrying a backpack, looking nonchalant, but checking out everyone.

There have been a few times I was convinced I spotted one, but now I realize I've been looking for them in all the wrong clothes. I never presumed they'd be wearing coats/suits and ties.

Now that I (and every terrorist in the world) know what to look for, I bet I see one on my next flight.

Lose the ties, guys.


ARE THE GERMANS BEGINNING TO WAKE UP?

35 hour work weeks. 6-8 weeks vacation per year. Substantial pensions.

You've heard the stories about the "good life" in Germany. The social/capitalist state may be coming face-to-face with its future and deciding it's time to get back to work. Siemens just told employees at one of its plants they'd have to work 40 hours a week for the same pay as they've received for 35 hours. Otherwise, there would be layoffs.


PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT




Thursday, July 08, 2004

SILVER-TONGUED

And he can do parlor tricks, like channeling the unborn.

More interesting background on John Edwards.


I'LL HAVE A CHEESEBURGER WITH EVERYTHING, LARGE FRIES AND A SMALL DIET COKE

How many times have you heard that before, even if you don't work at Mickey D's?

Maybe this is why.


JOBS, SCHMOBS, THAT ISN'T THE STORY

In previous rants, I've tried to paint a picture to explain the conundrum of this economic recovery. Pundits have wrung their hands trying to figure out how and why we could have positive economic growth, yet relatively fewer new jobs than in prior recoveries. My explanation was one simple word -- productivity.

Over the past five years, the real payoff in Moore's law has been providing tools to businesses that make all workers far more productive. Manufacturing showed the way decades ago as assembly lines no longer needed thousands of workers but only needed hundreds of workers managing processes controlled by computer systems. In the service sector, the increased used of workflow management software has been a boon to companies of all sizes. Scalable platforms have allowed companies to be much more nimble in responding to customer demand without waiting for their organizations to catch up to the demand.

Unfortunately, words like "productivity" get politicized into words like "automation", "restucturing" and "reengineering", all of which get further politicized into "lost jobs". In the short run, true. However, greater productivity allows for increased growth. Increased growth results it, you guessed it, the need for more experienced workers.

I'm not going to hold my breath until a politician figures this out and gets honest about this important issue.


IF HE'S BAD NEWS FOR BUSH, HE'S WORSE NEWS FOR CLINTON

Interesting piece from Richard Cohen about Edwards; actually about the Edwardses. His point being that elevating Edwards to be VP candidate put Hillary Clinton in a pickle.

His take:

If, as every Democrat in New York believes, Bill and Hillary have their eyes on a Clinton Restoration (Hillary as president in 2008 or 2012, depending) they now have to contend with the Edwardses. The brand new vice presidential nominee is just 51. Nothing is certain in politics, but an Edwards-Clinton showdown seems destined.


THE DANGER OF SHOWING EVERYTHING

In previous times, unsolicited "news" was looked at very closely before any real news was released. There was a journalistic ethic that said you had to have corroboration, or you didn't run with the story.

Then along came the camcorder. A video couldn't lie, right? If you saw it, it had to be true. So you now see news and even entire news programs with hours of "amateur video" being shown.

But if you see it, is it really true? Is it real?

Or might it be something else?

If this was a hoax, it was a good object lesson for our media. Maybe next time, they won't show it as soon as they get it.


AREN'T THEY A REALLY HOT COUPLE?



And don't forget, "We've got better hair."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

WHAT TOOK SO LONG TO GET AN INDICTMENT?

No, no, I'm not talking about Saddam. I'm talking about Ken Lay, the con-man, cum bumbling idiot, who ran Enron. I used to sit in on Ken's conference calls with investors as the "En-pire" was crumbling. I've never heard a company Chairman act so unprofessionally.

I've heard he plans to do a blame-game defense, saying the young guns who were really running the company -- Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow -- pulled the wool over his eyes.

Sure. Right, Ken. Or did you just tell them not to tell you so you could maintain deniability?


BILL SAFIRE'S TAKE ON JOHN EDWARDS?

"(T)he smoothest divisive force in politics today."

Ouch.


TO ME, IT STILL COMES DOWN TO A SIMPLE QUESTION

Are you with us, or are you with the terrorists? Or, as protesters in the sixties used to say, are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution? By definition, you have to be one or the other.

It's abundantly clear that French President Chirac is, therefore, part of the problem.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with the "saving" of France (from itself) in WW2. This is a here and now problem and the French are digging themselves a very large hole. Chirac has tried to carve out some sort of Swiss-like neutrality in this conflict but, as my relatives in Kentucky would say, that dog won't hunt.

It may not be this week, next month or two years from now. There will be a point in time when this strategy (if that's what it is) will bite them in the ass.


SHOCKING?

Headline: Iranian intel officers captured in Iraq

Gee, what a surprise. Will they say they got lost and thought they were on their side of the river?


WHO IS JOHN EDWARDS?

For those who don't live in North Carolina, it's a valid question.

Here's one take on Sen. Edwards and his record.

And here's a warning from Dick Morris.

And another very interesting profile.

And, last but not least, this profile from a couple of years ago.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

THE NAVY'S ANSWER

How do you use the world's most powerful navy in an era of asymmetrical warfare?

Mount a rail gun or two on a ship and you can hit targets 250 miles away.


ANOTHER KERRY FLIP-FLOP?

You decide.


Friday, July 02, 2004

I HOPE HE'S RIGHT

Steven den Beste writes today about his frustration with the flow of news, media bias and his general disgust with presidential campaign politics and the rantings of the left.

He also states his belief that the televised trial of Saddam Hussein just might prove to be a story that pushes the more hysterical stories off the front page. And that once the world is forced to see (because it will be reported by everyone) what he did to Iraq, the "Bush is a criminal"-hysteria will look pale by comparison.


A STORY YOU HAVEN'T HEARD?



Brian Chontosh's story is one the likes of which they used to make movies about. But in today's times, you will probably only read this story on the Internet.


SLIDE SHOW FROM SATURN



If you haven't tuned in to the images coming from Saturn, you're missing something. I remember the first time I saw a live image of Saturn, looking through a fairly decent telescope, and seeing it's rings. Seeing these images, with the sort of detail that causes you to gasp a bit, is astonishing.

Even more astonishing is to remember the Cassini spacecraft lifted off almost seven years ago.

PS Be sure to look at this fast-motion video showing Saturn's moon in orbit.


THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT

How many times have you heard that phrase? And 90% of the time it's said with a sneer by a Democrat as an epithet toward Republicans (after all, the religious right is 100% Republican, isn't it?).

So I was surprised when I read the opening to this article today:

As you may already know, one of America's two political parties is extremely religious. Sixty-one percent of this party's voters say they pray daily or more often. An astounding 92 percent of them believe in life after death. And there's a hard-core subgroup in this party of super-religious Christian zealots. Very conservative on gay marriage, half of the members of this subgroup believe Bush uses too little religious rhetoric, and 51 percent of them believe God gave Israel to the Jews and that its existence fulfills the prophecy about the second coming of Jesus.

Liberals could read these statistics and sneer about "those silly Republicans" were it not for the fact that it's the Democrats who hold these beliefs. And the abovementioned ultrareligious subgroup is not the so-called "Religious Right" but rather the so-called "African-Americans."


Interesting, no?


Thursday, July 01, 2004

LIKE A BULLET THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE

Except the needle is 75,000 miles away. That's the magnitude of the accoomplishment NASA celebrated yesterday when the Cassini spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn (which is, at its closest point to Earth, about 750 million miles out there).

PS At the speed of light, it takes about an hour and 7 minutes for light to travel from the Earth to Saturn.


WILL YOU HAVE FRIES WITH THAT?

Mickey D's is in the soup after serving up one of their "Adkin's friendly" toad salads.


A WAR DRIVEN BY RELIGIOUS BELIEF, OR FAILURE?

If you haven't read one of his books or the numerous articles he's written, please do. Just "Google" Bernard Lewis and pick & choose.

I saw Prof. Lewis being interviewed on C-SPAN last weekend. He recited one amazing quote:

The total exports of the Arab world other than fossil fuels amount to less than those of Finland.

Stunning.


MICHAEL MOORE -- CUT, PASTE, VOILA!

Want a great example of the "artistry" of Michael Moore:

From Fahrenheit 9/11:

Condi Rice: Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11.

I don't think anyone believes that now, but is that what she really said?

No. Here's the full version of what she said:

Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York.

You could take hours of videos of just about anyone and -- cut, paste -- make them look like idiots. Moore proves that in his movie.

It still frosts me that his movie is classified as a "documentary."

There's more about his babble here and here.


THERE'S GOOD NEWS TODAY

Anyone remember Gabriel Heater? Jeez, you're old. He would always start his radio news reports by saying, "Ah, my friends, there's good news tonight!" What would happen if someone did that today? I guess they wouldn't make it past the first interview.

But there is good news today and it's being reported by -- choke, gasp, wheeze -- the BBC. This collection of mini-stories (check out all nine of them) are all positive, something I haven't seen from the BBC since day one in Iraq.