Tuesday, August 31, 2004

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

It hasn't been front page in the US media, but terrorists have captured two French journalists, who are being held for ransom.

This has the French in a tizzie since, as the world knows, they do not support the war in Iraq, nor the war on terror.

What to do, what to do?



GIULIANI RISES TO THE OCCASION

I missed the beginning of Rudy's speech, but saw most of it.

You felt like he was talking directly to you. I always thought that was his skill, like Reagan -- he would look in the camera and seem as though he was talking to you. No soaring rhetoric, no "radio voice", just one guy talking.

If you missed it, you can read the transcript here. He improvised a good bit and those were probably the best parts.

Most importantly, he made me feel (and, I'm assuming, most of those who heard him) like I did on September 12, 2001.

Thanks Rudy.



EDWARDS' "TWO AMERICAS"

I've read some interesting comments about John Edwards' "Two Americas" rant.

The more thoughtful ones say that this is a very self-serving position, taken by a trial lawyer who saw himself as a latter-day Robin Hood, protecting the poor and innocent from the greed of corporate America.

So, it is logical that this has formed his worldview. He honestly sees it that way. His idea of "good vs. evil" is "rich vs. poor".

What he doesn't see is the paternalistic, elitist corner that he paints himself into. What he's really saying to the "poor" is they are dumb and defenseless and he knows what's best. Just vote for John and he'll go slay the dragon.

If you listen to Edwards long enough, you'll realize there's one adjective often used to describe Kerry that better fits him -- arrogant.



MCCAIN KEEPS TO THE MIDDLE

McCain came out resoundingly supportive of Bush last night but kept extending "olive branches" to the other side.

My favorite part of his speech was when he said:

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq.

Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone.



Monday, August 30, 2004

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It's hard to feel "normal" if you read as much in the media as I read. "Normal" in the sense that the world view I have isn't the same as the editors and publishers of 95% of what I read/hear in mainstream media. Yet I feel like my beliefs are shared by most Americans -- OK, excepting those in New York City and San Francisco.

If you're a Republican, you should feel proud. You should feel that you've got most of America in your corner, because you do.

If you need backup, here it is. A snippet:

Republicans have held the presidency for 16 of the past 24 years, the Senate for 14 of those years and the House for 10 of them (and counting). Republicans hold governorships in 30 of the 50 states, including the four most populous -- and hold both legislative houses in 21 states, compared with 17 for the Democrats (in 1990, the Democrats held 30 to the Republicans' 6).

The Democrats are a party that got frozen in time when Reagan was elected. Today's Democratic Party is still living off a legacy that goes back to Roosevelt and Kennedy.

And Democrats always talk about the "Kennedy Dynasty". Oh really? One President (Jack), two Senators (Bobby and Teddy) and two Congressmen (Jack and Patrick, who is Bobby's son).

So, what about the "Bush Dynasty"? Two presidents (W and Senior), one Vice President (Senior), one Senator (Prescott, Senior's dad) one Congressman (Senior again) and two Governors (W and Jeb). Does the media wax eloquent about the "Bush Dynasty"? Of course not. Why not?

And if you look at the full resume of the Bushes, it's more impressive than the Kennedys', especially that of Bush, Sr. So why all the adulation of the Kennedys and none for the Bushes? If that isn't proof enough for you, then you're in denial.

So, if you're a Republican, you should feel optimistic and elated that a majority of Americans, when they walk into the voting booth, will do exactly what you will do. THEY SHARE YOUR VALUES!

And if you're a Democrat, you have to begin asking yourself whether you need to look for leaders who can craft a vision that can include all Americans. Looking for the next JFK (hint: not John F. Kerry) isn't the answer. You should be looking for the next Ronald Reagan -- someone who will make Americans believe in themselves.

The irony of John Edwards' rant about "Two Americas" is that those two Americas (if they exist) were created by Democrats, not Republicans -- those two Americas are those who believe in America and those who don't.

If you don't believe in America, now would be a good time to admit it and accept your fate. If you do believe in America, November 2nd would be a good time to confirm your belief.



Saturday, August 28, 2004

WANT A GOOD REASON TO VOTE FOR BUSH?

Try this.



Friday, August 27, 2004

WHEN DID HE BECOME ANTI-WAR?

I'd guess most people would say that John Kerry began to change his position on Viet Nam sometime while he was over there -- maybe during "Christmas in Cambodia", maybe some other time.

However, if you really look at Kerry's words, you may come to a different conclusion.



Thursday, August 26, 2004

FLIP-FLOP # 867 (or is it #8,670?)

Here's a good one.

I wish someone would compile a list of every important issue that Kerry was against/for that he's now for/against.

This one is a classic -- say to Nevadans that you will fight to prevent nuclear waste from being buried deep underground in Yucca Mountain, while the waste is currently located in far less safe and secure sites in 39 different states. Maybe Teresa should volunteer to store it on one of her estates.



WHEN WILL THEY STOP?

The Democrats chose to package Kerry as an anti-war war hero and he seemed to be the perfect example of a guy who went there (instead of bolting for Canada or entering the National Guard), put his ass on the line (and got it shot), and then had an epiphany that caused him to believe it was a corrupt war and Americans were being lied to about the progress and purpose of the war.

Say what you will, you had to admire that part of who John Kerry said he was -- a man of principle.

But now, we have so much information that shoots holes through a lot of what Kerry said about what he did and what caused him to change his thinking.

What comes through now is he may have gotten medals for self-inflicted wounds. He trashed his mates when he got back home, effectively calling them baby killers, but he calls them heroes today. The moment he described as his epiphany (Christmas in Cambodia, which sounds like a wonderful title for a Michael Moore-type "documentary") never happened, or for sure not where he said it happened.

The "Kerry was a war hero" train is teetering on its tracks, so why haven't they cut their losses and moved on to the real issues -- Iraq, War on Terror and the Economy?

I think (as I've repeated ad nauseum) that Kerry is still detached from reality and he honestly believes he can convince you that, even if he didn't really do all that stuff he said he did, he's still the guy he tried to create (Mr. anti-war war hero) and you shouldn't believe anything his critics say because they all work for that arch-liar George Bush.

But I'm seeing more and more articles like this that lead me to believe that all his claims will wind up being self-inflicted wounds.



YOU CAN CLOG YOUR ARTERIES WHILE YOU WAIT

You think Americans have crappy eating habits?

The Ukrainians have four words for you -- chocolate covered pork fat.

YUM!



JUST AMAZING

Just off the coast from Dubai they've been doing something really amazing. They've been building islands so many more people can afford to own properties directly on the water. This is on a scale that, to get the full impact, you need to see the islands from a satellite.



GET IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR

That is, if there is a ground floor.

Step right up, pays your money, takes your chance.

Do you have the cohones to invest in Iraqi real estate? Well, do ya' punk?



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

ASSWIPE WARNING

I've decided to do something I may regret. Peridocially, I read articles that really piss me off and I usually stop reading them at the point they piss me off. That happened this morning, but I read the whole article anyway.

So I've decided that, every so often, I will link to an article that really torques me off. It won't happen often, but you'll easily be able to identify them since it will have the "Asswipe Warning".

Today, we feature a bit of tripe from Slate which states the 2000 election was "the most scandalous election in U.S. history". The author's obviously never done research on Kennedy's use of the Mafia (and Chicago's Dick Daley) in 1960.



HARD TO BEAT IN 2008?

Some are saying the "dream team" for the Republicans in 2008 will be John McCain and Colin Powell.

I think that would be a train wreck.

McCain is a somewhat milder Republican version of Howard ("blows up when you least expect it") Dean and Powell is Mr. Nobody (what does he stand for?).



UH, NEVER MIND

Kerry's campaign has gotten all foamy at the mouth because of a lawyer who has worked for the Bush campaign and has done work for "Swift Boat Vets" who've been trashing Kerry. Kerry's campaign insists Bush do something about it.

Turns out one of the Kerry campaign's lawyers is doing the same thing.

Oops. Think Kerry's campaign will fire the lawyer, or just shut up?



YEP -- THAT ABOUT SUMS IT UP

The irrepressible David Warren does s remarkable job (as a Canadian) of summing up the US election process.

His punchline -- Kerry and his choice to campaign solely on his Viet Nam record (whatever it may be -- it changes from week-to-week) ignores the real issue:

Iraq is being ignored; all questions associated with the larger international conflict that began on 9/11/01, are left undebated. The insistence on discussing the cockroach in the sink, when there is an elephant in the room, must strike any foreign observer as peculiar.



DEMOCRATIC DUPLICITY

Very interesting post today from Wretchard. A snippet:

But the Democratic Party decided to package this man, who was decent on his own terms, in the most dishonest possible way: to use his Vietnam service to deodorize the monstrous fraud at the heart of their own platform. Kerry's problems with Swiftvets are not because his credentials as a warrior are insufficient. Rather they are because no credentials are sufficient to foist this bait-and-switch on the American electorate without exciting adverse comment.

Also, check out Christopher Hitchens' piece that Wretchard references.



Friday, August 20, 2004

BUSH HAS BEEN GOOD FOR THE RICH, BAD FOR THE POOR

Right? Right?

No? You've gotta be kidding?

You mean John Kerry's been lying?

You mean the middle class' income has actually increased under Bush?

And the wealthiest are making less money??

Damn...



Thursday, August 19, 2004

ISRAEL IS TRYING TO DO IT, SHOULDN'T WE?

Shouldn't we what?

Build a wall -- along the US southern border. Israel wants to prevent terrorist attacks by those coming from Gaza and the West Bank. We are at risk of the same thing -- there have been many stories in the past couple of weeks saying many "non-Latins", including many "Arabs" have been intercepted by the Border Patrol along the US-Mexican border.

Whoa, how expensive would that be and wouldn't it be a total waste of money? Actually, it might pay for itself since the health care costs alone of illegal immigrants for one year exceeds the cost to build such a barrier.



IT DIDN'T WORK FOR NIXON, BUT WILL IT WORK FOR BUSH?

In Najaf it appears the US is adopting the Nixonian approach (remember "Vietnamization"?) in dealing with al Sadr's gang.

I guess it's worth a shot. At least if Sadr says stuff it, it will be Iraqis shooting up the mosque, not US Marines.

I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's hard.

David Warren seems to agree but wonders whether there isn't a bigger purpose afoot.



I'VE MENTIONED THIS HYPOCRISY BEFORE

a/k/a "The position our (former) allies took vis-a-vis Iraq may now be biting them in the ass, Chapter One."

Now that Bush has decided that bringing US troops home (from Germany) is a good idea, the Germans will protest that it's not a good idea.

I'll be really interested to hear the tortured logic from German politicians about our commitment to NATO and the security of Europe. With the fall of "the Wall", any moneys spent afterwards to "protect" Europe (from whom, exactly?) have been wasted dollars.

That much of Germany's economic prosperity has been due to the infusion of US dollars from military personnel and their dependents, plus it's lack of need to spend Deutschemarks for its defense (since the US covered most of the bill) should be apparent. US withdrawal will be the equivalent of an economic depression for some communities.

As with other welfare systems, this one should have had a "means" test. Once Germany could have afforded its own defense, it should have paid the entire bill. Anything after that point has been a gift.



SENATOR FLIP-FLOP STILL FLIPPING/FLOPPING

You couldn't make this up.

I remember my Dad always saying that it takes a genius with a photographic memory to lie since you'd always have to remember your lies.

If Kerry's a genius (as his campaign suggests), he sure doesn't have a photographic memory.



CHARLEY DAMAGE

For those who wonder how bad it was, look at these.



Tuesday, August 17, 2004

HEY YO, CHECK IT OUT!

If you're beginning to think about a Halloween costume for the kids, here's a good, positive role model outfit or two:

Pimp and Ho Costumes

Of course, for full effect rent a '78 Coupe de Ville to drive them from house to house.



THIS BOTHERS ME

I'm not a particularly religious guy. And I get really hot when religious leaders get involved in politics, especially from the pulpit. But that's it -- I get hot, I get over it. It's their right -- not their religious right, but their right of free speech.

That there's a risk that churches may lose their tax-exempt status the more they become involved in political activity, especially espousing a particular candidate, I have a problem.

If that's the outcome of this foolish legal framework we have, thanks to Federal election laws, then we need to scrap them or modify them so they do what they're supposed to do -- prevent fraud and abuse.

If Rev. Smith or Rabbi Levy or Father McNamara or Imam al-Aziz want to say you should vote for Bush or Kerry, that should be their right. If they say you should vote for Bush or Kerry and you disagree with them, you can say so or you can refuse to put money in the plate/stop paying your dues, or you can lobby to get them replaced if you feel strongly enough. You can go to a different church/temple/mosque.

But Federal involvement? Please. Stop.



YOUR FINAL SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT

Class, until I find something better, this is your final assignment before class begins in two weeks.

Read it and be ready to discuss.



WHAT WOULD RALPH DO?

I have a question for Ralph Nader, preceded by the following fact:

A particular type of incident causes 26,000 auto accident injuries (including 200 deaths) each year.

So, Ralph, what would you do to stop it?

(My guess is that if there were a particular auto defect that caused 26,000 injuries and 200 deaths per year, Ralphie would be writing books and testifying before Congress about the rampant greed in the auto industry.)

Microsoft humor: when you spell check "Nader", it suggest "nadir" or "nada." Yep, either one will do.



I'M BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THE CONFUSION IN POLLING

Here are some key polling numbers from Rasmussen:

Who is a Better Leader? Bush 48 Kerry 38
Trust on Nat'l Defense? Bush 48 Kerry 45
Trust to Manage Economy? Bush 47 Kerry 46
Winning the War on Terror? US 52 Terrorists 25
How is Bush handling Iraq? Ex/Good 41 Poor 44
How is Bush handling Economy? Ex/Good 40 Poor 41

The first four sets of numbers look good for Bush. People believe he's a better leader and they trust him more than Kerry. And they think we're winning the War.

Having said that, they give the Bush track record a generally "poor" rating.

My take? They'll vote for Bush, but it won't be because they think he'll do a good job but because they believe Kerry will do worse.



THIS IS FUNNY

A reader e-mailed Instapundit with this lament about our failures:

Bush is bringing our troops home from Germany because he realizes American-style democracy will never succeed there. After freeing the German people from a brutal dictatorship and protecting them from Soviet tyranny for almost fifty years, Bush is finally willing to admit that Germans aren't capable of contributing to the security and prosperity of the world.



Monday, August 16, 2004

I TEND TO AGREE WITH DAVID

David Warren opines that the Bush administration is muddling along in Iraq and it is not completely clear what's up.

It sounds to me like mini-versions of the Gulf War. Go after the bad guys, gain the upper hand and, just before you deliver the final death blow, stop.

Warren also says (and I totally agree) that if Bush were up against anyone other than Kerry, he'd be in huge, huge trouble.

What it tells me is that Bush may be in trouble with some of his staunch supporters. Either he has the will to use the US military to kill terrorists or he doesn't.



PARANOID ABOUT YOUR PRIVACY?

Here's reason to be more paranoid about your online privacy.

Net-net, it appears that the government is now saying that existing wiretap laws dealing with the need to obtain specific court authorization before wiretapping does not apply to e-mail or other "Internet" communications.

As I've always told people, every e-mail you've ever sent might as well be published on an open bulletin board. If you assume that in all your communications, then you'll be OK.



Friday, August 13, 2004

AN ARREST THAT PLEASES EVERYONE

This one's a hoot.

Some (I'm guessing) red-neck militiaman and his son were arrested for:

1. Illegally possessing automatic weapons and high-capacity mags, and
2. Harassing an endangered gopher tortoise with a Rottweiler.

Gun control and environmental advocates can sleep easy.



DUMBASS AWARD

Though evidencing good organizational skills, this guy gets the award for the week.



Thursday, August 12, 2004

WHITE GIRLS' BUTTS

This is funny. If you think it's sexist, bite me.



DID HE BELIEVE HIS OWN LIES?

Kerry seems to now being saying he really wasn't in Cambodia after all. This, after incredibly specific claims by him to the contrary.

Ever see Apocalypse Now? Remember what it was about? No, I don't mean all the not-too-subliminal anti-war messages. It was about a covert op into Cambodia on a Navy PBR (similar, but smaller than Kerry's Swift Boat). Since these missions weren't supposed to be happening (and you would never be able to document they had happened), did Kerry fabricate his story, hoping that no one could ever really prove it to be untrue? Or did he really believe it to be true?

During the war when I was stationed in Japan, and in the years since, I've talked to a lot of guys about their experiences in Viet Nam. I'm convinced most of them actually did some crazy shit, but I'm also convinced that most of them are telling stories they believe to be true, but only because they've repeated the same lie a thousand times.

Who knows? Maybe of lot of what they talk about, even the made-up part, has allowed them to cope with their own personal demons. For some, like Kerry, that experience now seems to define them more than anything that happened before or since.

Maybe that's the problem with the Viet Nam war.

Maybe the end of the Viet Nam war will only come when everyone fesses up, accepts the real truth, and puts it behind them.



Wednesday, August 11, 2004

CAN ARNIE HELP BUSH?

Many Democrats voted for Arnie. Not because of his party, but primarily because he was an outsider. Californians were fed up with the incestuous nature of Gray Davis' tenure as Governor and far preferred an outsider (who just happened to be Republican) to fix the problem.

Another thing Californians liked about Arnie is he said some things that were (from their perspective) decidedly non-Republican when it comes to "social" issues.

How do you square the polls showing Kerry way in the lead in California while Californians give Arnie a 65% approval rating?

I think California is the most transparent example of why Bush's problem isn't Republican vs. Democrat. It's not Bush vs. Kerry.

It's Bush vs. not-Bush.

In that regard, I don't think Arnie can help.



SAUDI ARABIA -- FRIEND OR FOE?

You decide after reading this.

One comment I will make (and please don't interpret this as xenophobic or biased -- it's a cold fact):

In most third-world countries, trust is a rare commodity. As a result, in most business and political dealings there is a strong bias that says you do business with "friends" and family in a manner most would describe as "ethical". With all others, it is neither unethical nor immoral to "screw" someone with whom you have no level of trust established.

In America and Europe, a much stronger rule of law and ethical judiciary have created an environment where trust can be guaranteed between strangers. Get it in writing and, if someone screws you, you can receive justice.

So, in their world view it is perfectly ethical and moral for the Saudis to pander and pay for favorable treatment by America and Americans, while they pay for the proselytizing efforts of the Wahabbists who preach that the duty of all Muslims is to kill Jews and Americans.

They see no conflict between these two missionary efforts.

When will we learn?



Tuesday, August 10, 2004

WRETCHARD TO THE RESCUE, AGAIN

Just when you didn't quite know how to pull it all together, Wretchard (Belmont Club) posts today with a stunning piece, including his opinion that you shouldn't be surprised if the US launches some pre-emptive action against Iran by this October.

He also says:

It is unlikely that a meaningful national dialogue on the future of world can occur until the Left frees itself from the taboos which have stultified its intellect. The dead hand of Vietnam and its attachment to the cultic nonsense of the 1960s lies heavy on Democratic Party. That spectral limb will grip them by the throat until they shake free. Until then, forward to wherever. We'll know where we're going when we get there.

Well said.



DEAL KILLER?

Further to the post below saying Kerry's got to answer charges about his Viet Nam exploits, some are now saying there are enough apparent facts that completely contradict Kerry's telling of his travels in Viet Nam that it could cement his fate.

Is Viet Nam going to be his Viet Nam? Stay tuned.



THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT

There have been a number of almost cliche comments that have surrounded the presidential campaign and the general criticism of Bush by Democrats. Michael Novak was kind enough to address them, with the benefit of hindsight and supported by fact, not rhetoric:

1. The intelligence, academic achievement, and IQ of George Bush are too low for the job. Bush's IQ, measured by his SAT scores and academic achievements, is higher than that of John F. Kennedy and many other successful presidents. Much was published on this in 2000.

2. Bush "lied" when he said Iraq was an "imminent" danger to the U.S. Bush expressly denied that the danger was then imminent, and said when it was actually "imminent" it would be too late to counter.

3. Bush "lied" when he said Iraq had the "potential" to develop weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam must be assumed to possess weapons of mass destruction. Saddam's potential to develop weapons of mass destruction has been demonstrated from what was found after May 2003. And any reasonable leader, hearing the best estimates of all major intelligence services and observing Saddam's behavior, had to assume that he possessed them. Even the anti-war movement employed the same assumption. It used as one of its arguments the claim that war would occasion Saddam's use of WMDs.

4. Bush "lied" when he said in his 2003 State of the Union address that the British had information about the attempt of Iraq to purchase "yellow cake" in Nigeria, as charged by Joseph Wilson. (The famous 16 words.) The British Butler Inquiry said Bush's words were "well-founded." The Senate Intelligence Committee discovered that it was Wilson who had lied.

5. Bush "lied" when he landed on the aircraft carrier under a banner that said "mission accomplished." General Tommy Franks has said he suggested the symbol as a strategic move, to dramatize to reluctant allies that the offensive operations were now over. A new (but still difficult) phase of ending disorder and bringing stable political and economic institutions had begun. On this task, some Europeans had hinted they would help. Franks wanted a dramatic signal sent to them. It was also meant as a "closure" for the main Coalition offensive.

6. A big reason for the deficits are the Bush tax cuts. As even the New York Times has noted, the main cause by far was the great drop of income for the wealthy in the two-year stock-market drop, with a consequent dramatic drop in tax revenues. This was before the Bush tax cuts came into effect. Since then, tax revenues have dramatically increased, especially from the rich. The top 10 percent pay 65 percent of all income taxes.


SOONER OR LATER, KERRY HAS TO EXPLAIN THIS

Marc Steyn makes some very valid points about John Kerry's character and the things he claimed happened that just don't add up (may require registration).

Will someone somewhere, when he can't duck and cover (like the Pres debates), ask him to clarify his statements versus those of his former mates?



INTERESTING KERRY TIDBITS

Mickey Kaus has a couple of comments about Kerry I found interesting:

1. Comments made in a New Yorker article, specifically:

(T)he excellent, now-familiar blind quote from a Kerry "adviser" about Kerry's $87 million vote: "Off the record, he did it because of Howard Dean. On the record, he has an elaborate explanation."

Priceless.

2. Kerry apparently has post-traumatic stress "issues":

"He'll often thrash around in the night," the filmmaker George Butler, who is one of Kerry's oldest friends, told me. "He smashed up a lamp in my house in New Hampshire, in the bedroom where he was staying.



CLEVER CHOICE

Bush's choice of Rep. Porter Goss to head the CIA is a very clever one. Goss:

1. Is well known and respected in Congress.

2. Has creds within the agency since he "used to be one of them".

But you can be sure his background in the CIA will be held against him. Since the agency is ripe for reform, many will argue a former insider isn't the guy to do it.



JEWISH STUDENTS ATTACKED

By French tourists.

At Auschwitz.



HELP ME - I'VE LOST TRACK

Is this a flip or a flop?



Monday, August 09, 2004

YOU REPORT . . . YOU DECIDE

Wall Street tanked last week due to weak job increases in the second quarter.

So, here's your assignment for the day. Read this. Then tell me how many jobs were added:

a. 32,000 - the number reported by all media; specifically, the increase in "non-farm employment".
b. 629,000 - the increase in the number of employed persons.
c. Neither 'a' or 'b'.
d. Both 'a' and 'b'.

The answer, of course, is 'd'.

Don't ask.



IS KERRY ANTI-SEMITIC?

We report . . . you decide.

If you're honest, ask yourself how you'd react if this story was about the Republican party and all the names mentioned were Republicans. Wouldn't there be front-page, investigative pieces focusing on the "right-wing conspiracy"?

Of course, you could just blame the neoconservative Jews for the whole problem. Uh, wait a minute. Kerry's already done that.



YES YOU DID! NO I DIDN'T! DID SO! DID NOT!

Gee, maybe he didn't . . . or did he?

Too bad you're not born with an eraser. John Kerry seems to think he's entitled to one.

What would Nixon say? (Remember the 18-minute gap?)



THE REWARD FOR OSAMA

$25 million? Come on, he's responsible for tens of billions in financial losses to the US, plus the incalculable loss in human life.

I agree with James Miller. Let's up the ante to $1 billion -- chump change in terms of the cost to find him and his top lieutenants.

Remember the Mel Gibson movie Ransom? If you haven't seen it, Gibson's son was kidnapped and the kidnappers asked for a $2 million ransom. Gibson's answer? Go on TV and offer a $2 million reward for the location of his son and arrest of the bad guys.

As it is now, we are all being held ransom by Osama and his cohorts. What are we worth? Isn't a billion less than pocket change?

Let's roll.



SPOILED CHILDREN

Is this it?

Is this what it's really all about?

Now that we have had almost two generations pass without a major war have we forgotten what war really means? (PS, I don't consider Afghanistan and Iraq major wars. A major war is one where the body count winds up in the tens of thousands or more.)

Victor Davis Hanson suggests we have, and that we've degenerated into a nation of children.

Sad, but true.



Friday, August 06, 2004

I'M SORRY, BUT THIS IS LAME

As a guy who generally supports most Republican efforts, their efforts in Illinois are lame.

To bring Alan Keyes in to run against Obama is sad. Even Keyes has railed in the past about this sort of nonsense.

That there isn't a quality Illinois Republican candidate left standing (after Jack Ryan was humiliated out of the race) suggests they need to get their act together.



WHILE THE TSA IS SEARCHING THE LUGGAGE OF AMERICAN TEENAGERS . . .

What are they doing to prevent a low-tech 9/11? Is it enough?



DON'T FRET ABOUT LOSING YOUR JOB; IT'LL BE GOOD FOR YOU

Radley Balko writes a good tongue-in-cheek article about one apparently positive result of bad times -- when there's a downturn in the economy, the death rate drops.



REMEMBER THE BOOK WINNING THROUGH INTIMIDATION?

It sounds like the Democrats have read it and are practicing it. I wonder whether the media will connect the dots on this one. Seems they blow an anurism whenever one particular party does anything that seems to squelch "free speech", but will the Dems get a free pass?



WHO'S AFRAID OF BIN LADEN?

A good question and a good article (in, of all places, the San Francisco Chronicle).



Thursday, August 05, 2004

THIS WILL MAKE YOU CRAZY

If you want something from many businesses in America, there is a quid pro quo. Not just the fact you have to fork over money, but you often have to provide information. Some of it is absolutely required by law (e.g., in financial transactions, your social security number may be required), while some of it is required by the other party (e.g., your name, address and ZIP code). If you're looking to buy a car or house, borrow money from a bank or establish a credit line, you have to cough up a lot of information and the bank or creditor will check you out on the credit bureaus and maybe filter your demographic and credit data through scorecards that rate and rank you by the likelihood you'll repay any money borrowed.

So, why is it that these sorts of tools are now being excluded from tools available to the airlines to screen passengers?

If I use a credit card to purchase an airline ticket, the authorization algorithm that approves the purchase checks me out on a number of databases (to see if the card I've used is valid or reported stolen) and compares the purchase to my authorized line amount before the purchase is authorized. It also analyzes the nature of my purchase and compares it to recent purchases as to the type of purchase and the location of the purchase -- a type of computer system known as a neural net compares my "pattern" to patterns known to evidence fraudulent activity and may not authorize the purchase or may block my account for any further purchases within a certain time period.

So, if this happens daily to all of us as we go through life buying a tank of gasoline or a meal at Burger King, why is it all of a sudden a major invasion of my civil rights if an airline compares me and my behavior to those of someone who might be a terrorist?

Blame those who oppose any governmental intervention of any sort.

This is dumb, wrong, and yet no one has the cohones to do anything about it.



HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?

Assume you are a conservative Spaniard.

Assume you changed your vote at the last minute in March. Instead of voting for Prime Minister Aznar, you voted for the Socialist opposition. You were afraid there would be more violence after the terror bombings of 3/11. A lot of your friends did the same thing and the Socialists won. Like good little boys, they announced the return of Spanish forces from Iraq, as was demanded by the terrorists.

So how do you feel now, after you've been informed the bombings of 3/11 were being planned before the terror of 9/11. The probability 3/11 would have occurred whether Spanish troops were in Iraq or not is probably 100%. No matter what Spain did or didn't do, the terrorists wanted to kill Spaniards, for many reasons.

In other words, you screwed up.

How would you feel?



Tuesday, August 03, 2004

ARE WE THAT CONDITIONED?

Wretchard writes a thought-provoking post that should make you think about how you receive information and how you process it.

He wonders whether the fact that almost everything we know about the current world comes through television makes it less real.

A sample:

It is a picture of the world beyond the border, the world we almost had ignored, except for September 11. The real problem with that day is not what happened, but that it happened on TV. Three years onward those images are still de-materializing John Kerry's universe and making him, despite his best efforts, seem like a creature from another dimension. One of Roger Simon's readers quotes Russian journalist Sergei Lopatnikov:

To a great degree there is no Democratic party candidate John Kerry. There is an abstract "anti-Bush" candidate who has been compelled, in accordance with the US electoral system, to take on human form and assume a human name...



TIRED OF HEARING BUSH SAYING NOTHING?

Me too. I just don't get it. He appears to have completely ceded the spotlight to John-John and Teresa.

Why? Maybe he hopes one or more of them will do a "Howard Dean" -- Teresa is getting close to it.

I have some suggestions, but I like Arnold Kling's ideas, too.


WANT TO FEEL SAFER?

Read this.


Monday, August 02, 2004

FINALLY, THIS PROVES IT

For those of you who actually spent more than a few months in the military, what's wrong with the picture of Kerry in this article?

Yep, not really a military salute. Looks more like a guide from Lewis & Clark looking for the rapids downstream.

The description of a proper salute:

To salute, raise your right hand smartly until the tip of your forefinger (index finger) touches your headgear, above above and slightly to the right of your right eye. Keep your thumb and fingers extended and joined, palm to the left, with your hand and wrist straight. Hold your upper arm horizontal, and your forearm inclined at an angle of 45º.

The key, of course, being the "with your hand and wrist straight" part, lending ongoing credence to the limp-wristed description of Kerry.



IT HAS A RING OF TRUTH TO IT

I've been wondering whether there are some conservatives who were, privately, not really supportive of "four more years." In this article, the authors list five reasons why some conservatives might actually, privately, cheer a win by Kerry/Edwards.

Of all the reasons they list, the one that rings the truest is that it would bring on gridlock. Since the Congress would still likely have a Republican majority, those who believe no legislation means no increase, and maybe a decrease, in government spending would be more than willing to sacrifice Bush (who's proven to be the first big-government conservative in, well, maybe forever).



NOT THAT I REALLY CARE, BUT . . .

I'm guessing (though I was on an airplane and didn't have the opportunity to hear his speech) that Kerry whiffed. I haven't read two positive words about his acceptance speech at the convention.

Worse yet for him, the usual supporters (CNN, NY Times, WaPo, etc.) didn't really seem to support him. Even worse, at least one of them (WaPo) said some pretty negative things about Kerry in an editorial, saying:

Mr. Kerry last night elided the charged question of whether, as president, he would have gone to war in Iraq. He offered not a word to celebrate the freeing of Afghans from the Taliban, or Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, and not a word about helping either nation toward democracy.



BACK IN THE SADDLE


Back from traveling. A week in the upper heartland (Milwaukee and Chicago) and the better part of a week in Las Vegas.