I think ^(link) therefore I err

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Day by Day cartoon for tomorrow.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Fun with Chainsaws

Both stories from Australia.
Tim Blair recounts a story of workers using chainsaws against protesters who had chained themselves to a "killing area" at a meat plant. The workers just wanted to get back to work and the protesters were in the way.

Next time those protesters might want to bring along a chainsaw eating crocodile to help their anti meat cause!


Hit this link for more links. (ht Instapundit)


I watched the Zarqawi video and thought the guy looked tired and worn out and was basically there to put the screws to people he thought should be supporting him more. In other words it looked like an "act of desparation". CNN agrees.

In the meantime, great news! al Sistani has called for an end to the militias. They may have had a reason at the beginning but they also seem to be the cause of a lot of frontier like "justice" that doesn't work in a real country.


UPDATE: One more good story. The Jawa Report found this report of an Iraqi kidnap victim rescued yesterday. All I can say is this must happen all the time, otherwise, wouldn't it be front page news? LOL


The New Zealand Herald today put the President of the US and George Clooney in the headline story entitled:
Bush raises pressure on Darfur killings, Clooney joins protesters
Now lets see here.

Bush: WASHINGTON - US President George W Bush announced new sanctions against people suspected of aiding genocide in Sudan's Darfur region as critical peace talks in Nigeria near a deadline.
Clooney: Clooney urged the public to attend rallies across the United States this Sunday to pressure Khartoum to stop what Washington says amounts to genocide in Darfur.

Clooney:As more Americans become aware of the unfolding tragedy, a coalition of 160 religious, human rights and political groups planned a major rally in Washington DC on Sunday to demand that Bush press for a stronger multinational force to end the violence and protect the people of Darfur.

Speakers included Nobel Peace Prise winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Washington's Roman Catholic Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Illinois Democratic senator Barak Obama and actor George Clooney, who visited Darfur last week.

Bush: US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said the first priority was to provide humanitarian relief to those who were suffering in Darfur and improve security by sending in a more robust UN peacekeeping mission with a strong mandate.

Which do you think will work? Rallies? Or aid and a mission?
Do you remember Mr. Clooney and how he feels about Iraq? Yet he wants something done (you know, like a rally) about Sudan now. What a clown.

Saving Face

David Ignatius has a column today called "Misreading the Enemy" that is basically about how radical Islam acts like gang members who have to "save face". No dissing allowed. His subheading is "what we don't grasp about Militant Islam".
But his whole column basically shows me that we grasp it completely. No new news here.

On Iran: We didn't get, that they didn't mean it. Yes we did. Which is why we don't bother to negotiate terms with them. Europe does. We don't. The UN does. We don't.
On Iraq: We supposedly don't get that al-Qaeda doesn't negotiate. I think we get that. We're there to kill them. We will "stand down" as the Iraqi's "stand up". We know full well that eventually they'll be able to protect themselves well enough to handle Zarqawi. We don't expect to kill every terrorist. Just enough to give them a chance.
On the govt. in Iraq: He thinks we don't know they aren't into compromise. And yet, guess who's compromising.

His premise is that we don't realize that radical Islam just wants to be respected. What he's missing is that by treating radical Islamists as grownups who CAN negotiate, who CAN work against terrorists, who CAN democratically run themselves without a dictator they are not being 'dissed'. In this manner they will grow up into how they are treated and then they WILL be respected by the world. Iraq is the example. And Bush's plan will work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ari Fleischer

On WH press briefings. I just like Mr. Fleischer and of course he has a great perspective.
Before 24-hour cable news and the Internet, reporters at the briefings asked tough questions and generally received straight answers. Because the quantity of coverage was limited and the quality was driven by the next day's newspapers and the 6:30 evening news, with major figures such as Walter Cronkite delivering it, press secretaries didn't have to worry that their every word or thought would instantly be reported live on the North Lawn of the White House.

The UN

Recent events and speeches are showing that al-Qaeda seems to have a problem with the UN. Or maybe it's just that the UN is a lot easier target than the US and yet it's initials are close enough....?
OPFOR has the story.

Michael J. Totten

Has a new post. From Israel. (see the postscript. He's working on getting to Iran.)

Speaking of Israel...Captain Ed looks at Israeli response to Hamas. Point: Israel.

Sad news

The BBC has the breaking news about the Iraqi VP's sister being gunned down. She was head of the women's affair department for her party. Tareq al-Hashemi had a brother killed April 13th.
Continued attacks indicate that there is clearly a campaign against Sunni politicians trying to take part in the government, our correspondent adds.

A spokesman for the main Sunni coalition, the Iraqi Accord Front, said Sunni politicians would not back down.

The good news is
Newly-appointed Prime Minister Nouri Maliki visited Najaf to meet Iraq's senior Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
I believe that's the first time that al-Sistani has agreed to meet with a politician. He has the respect of a lot of people, so if he's on board - it's huge.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The President

This is rich by Robert Samuelson. In regards to the "White House Shakeup".
The administration's central problem is its policies, not the people executing the policies.

Hmmm, Which policies are that bad? According to Samuelson it's these.
The Budget
Health Care
Energy Policy

Ok - the budget he doesn't really break down, but nondiscretionary spending has been down every year he's been in office. That leaves the war and security which Samuelson doesn't want to tackle. Point: Bush

Taxes - Samuelson wants to raise taxes to cover medical dollars. Ie baby boomers and medicare and the prescription drug bill. Isn't that just a difference of opinion? Bush thinks that lowering taxes will increase revenue. He also thinks that by increasing funding for prescription drugs, the long term affect will be less medical coverage needed. Just a difference of opinion, not bad policy. Point: Bush

Health Care -
We should be preparing for aging baby boomers. Projected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs could expand the federal budget by 30 to 40 percent by 2030. To limit these huge increases -- implying much higher taxes or draconian cuts in other programs -- we should gradually raise eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare, as well as curb benefits for wealthier retirees. Instead, Bush worsened the outlook by enacting the biggest-ever expansion of Medicare.
Bush gave the old college try on Social Security and has specifically asked for help from Congress for other ideas, since they rejected his. This has been a projected problem for years and years. Not bad policy. See the note on taxes in regards to Medicare rx coverage and how it will potentially affect both Medicare and Medicaid. Again - not bad policy, just different than Samuelson wants. Point Bush

Energy Policy -
On energy, we need a grand compromise between producers and environmentalists. We have sizable natural gas and oil reserves in Alaska and along the offshore continental shelves. Many are now off-limits to exploration and production; they shouldn't be. But greater conservation is also imperative. In 2005 the United States had 226 million cars and trucks; by 2030 that will rise 46 percent, to 330 million, the Energy Information Administration projects.

Unless these vehicles become vastly more efficient, fuel demand will reach unmanageable levels. Much tougher fuel economy standards and a higher energy tax would move us in the right direction. Bush spent four years on an energy bill that, despite some good provisions, won't substantially improve either production or conservation.
Um, if passed and followed it would. Point: Bush

Immigration -
Similarly, unless we curb the flow of poor immigrants, we will inexorably expand the nation's poverty rolls. Bush opposes illegal immigration (who doesn't?) but would legalize many of the same people by reclassifying them as "guest workers." The social consequences would be similar. Bush's notion that most would go home is a fantasy.
Another difference of opinion. Bush thinks that if you give them legitamacy then they can come and go at will and won't be sticking around because they don't want to risk yet another illegal border crossing. The idea has merit though I disagree with the philosphy. Not bad policy, just a disgreement. Point: Bush

Shuffling top presidential aides can't redeem this bleak record. To be fair, all these are hard problems; none has simple solutions. But sensible policies could lessen them all. Barring a miraculous recovery of his political fortunes, Bush has largely missed his chance to provide these. The needed steps are often initially unpopular; raising gas taxes or Medicare's eligibility age wouldn't be a crowd-pleaser. A popular president might take the risk. An unpopular president will be less inclined -- and less likely to succeed if he does.
For this failure, Bush bears most of the blame. He equates his own short-term political interests with the nation's long-term interests. How else to explain the Medicare drug benefit, a mega-handout intended mainly to win votes among seniors? He seems to mistake stubbornness for judgment and rigidity for principle. How else to explain his obsession with tax cuts, designed to please the Republican base, without any parallel discipline on spending?

Bullshit. First off - it's not a bleak record. What the heck did Clinton do about any of these things? Or Reagan for that matter. You can't have a bleak record until there is some major backwards step, and he hasn't done that. And that whole last paragraph is screwed up. Bush is definitely a guy with strong beliefs in what he's doing. He doesn't expect a miracle in a month.

ie, the Prescription drug bill. Oh the horror, the horror. It's too "hard" for seniors to figure out....there were mixups at the beginning. It should be cancelled. Bull. This is a long term idea who's time has been talked about since way before Bush took office. And guess what? Seniors are appreciating it. Long term - we don't know the consequences. But theoretically - health care costs should go down. A pill is cheaper than a heart attack you know.



Guess who's sharing their new toys? Ok - they don't have them yet, but guess who's going to share them? With all people - the Sudanese! It's funny how people can have such a different view of things. Why on earth does Iran think the Sudanese would be able to handle the responsibility? via Captain Ed.

Fun with Music

Vodkapundit lists great pop songs for every year of his life with a note. I know some of you are into music - can you do this?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gas prices

I had forgotten about the ethanol connection. Opinion Journal didn't.
here's been unconscionable behavior all right, most of it on Capitol Hill. A decent portion of the latest run-up in gas prices--and the entire cause of recent spot shortages--is the direct result of the energy bill Congress passed last summer. That self-serving legislation handed Congress's friends in the ethanol lobby a mandate that forces drivers to use 7.5 billion gallons annually of that oxygenate by 2012.

At the same time, Congress refused to provide liability protection to the makers of MTBE, a rival oxygenate getting hit with lawsuits. So MTBE makers are leaving the market in a rush, while overstretched ethanol producers (despite their promises) are in no way equipped to compensate for the loss of MTBE in the fuel supply. Ethanol is also difficult to ship and store outside of the Midwest, which is causing supply headaches and spot gas shortages along the East Coast and Texas.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Illegal Immigrants

Captain Ed has a new angle. Some of the families back in Mexico actually want their men back home. Doh.

Bin Laden

Doesn't really get radical Islam either.
He urged Muslims to go to the war-torn Darfur region of western Sudan
"What is the meaning of the silence over the horrible Russian crimes in Chechnya and the lynching of Muslims and tearing apart of their bodies? What does the humiliation of Muslims in Somalia and the killing of 13,000 of our brother Muslims there mean?"

Ok, those are partial pieces of the whole story. In reality his latest rant blames the west for these problems. But on first glance this looks like he's saying, "geez guys, get it together and quit being such losers."

Ie He also wants the west to continue to support Palestinians. But frankly if you told my enemy to continue to support me in the style that I'm accustomed, you are actually shaming me for being so needy and shaming my family for not taking care of their own.
And if you'll remember, the last time he spoke he was ready for "truce".
Hmmmmmm Is Bin Laden having second thoughts?

Keeping up with the Environment

Well let's see here. Where to start.
Mark Steyn has a piece in the Suntimes reminding us about keeping movements alive and well. From 1940-1970 the worry was about global cooling. In 1970 it stopped cooling and started warming. Right up to 1998 when it started cooling again.
And this time the doom-mongers said, "Look, do we really want to rewrite the bumper stickers every 30 years? Let's just call it 'climate change.' That pretty much covers it."

Here's the thing. Environmentalism should be a fantastic movement. Everyone and their mother should be on board and giving money hand over fist to keep the environment healthy and beautiful. We all like clean air and clean rivers. We all like species variety and greenness vs parking lots and heat sinks from large cities. So why aren't we. Because they are, as my dad likes to say, wackos. Environmentalists can't be happy until/unless the environment itself has run people out.
Since 1970, carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. are down 55%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate emissions are down nearly 80% and sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced by half. Lead emissions have declined more than 98%. All of this has been accomplished despite a doubling of the number of cars on the road and a near-tripling of the number of miles driven, according to Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute.
(ht Tim Blair)
Those are just easy numbers found from the FDA. In the real world, I can see Pikes Peak every day now vs during the 70s when it was covered with such a "brown" cloud that it only showed itself on the occasions right after a strong wind had gone through on a Saturday. That way, on Sunday when there was less driving you could sometimes see it. That happened because of the clean air act. Because of Democrats. Because of environmentalists.
There's no doubt the greens have succeeded in promoting higher environmental standards, which in turn have contributed to cleaner air, water and land almost everywhere you look. Today, game fish have returned to countless American streams and lakes, the Northeast has more forestland that at any time since the 19th century and smog is down dramatically in places like Los Angeles. But environmental activists don't want to believe their own success, much less advertise it. They need another looming catastrophe to stay relevant, not to mention to keep raising money.
If they stayed sane people like my father - who actually one day admitted to me that he appreciated the "wackos" because whatever changed, he sees bald eagles all the time now - would be more likely to be associated with the name, "environmentalist" and would more likely contribute dollars.
The environment is everyone's business. Not just liberals. The
Environmental Republican
has a link to a post today from the last time gas went up. We COULD get serious about energy needs and how it all affects the environment. But it won't happen if the environmental movement continues to treat itself like a bunch of clowns.

As a matter of fact we may come up with a new barometer for stuff. If your movement/idea/speech gets itself into a Mark Steyn column, chances are good that you look like a loon and should change.
On Europe
On Democrats
On the riots in Australian
etc etc

Keeping up with Venezuela

Daniel from Venezuela took pictures this weekend of a protest against the increased violence that has been happening in that country of late.
Since Hugo Chavez has become president in 1998, the toll of violent death from crime has been multiplied by three. Violent crime has become the number one cause of death for young men between 15 and 25 year old. The weekend roll of death reads more like the death toll of a civil war than what 'normal' crime would read. Caracas has become the most violent capital of the Americas. The government seems helpless, bereft of ideas, or, worse, welcoming such a disaster that distracts people from the other woes that we suffer at the hand of the regime.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Leak

So I was reading the paper this morning about the CIA leak and how she had leaked information about the holding prisons in Europe. And I thought to myself, "I thought they couldn't find any evidence these existed? Oh well - what do I know. It's the CIA, they can hide in plain sight. I've seen movies you know.

Anyway Rick Moran (ht Captain Ed) suggests that perhaps there was a little sting operation going on.
Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse wonders if the story on CIA detention centers might not have been a sting operation to unmask leakers at Langley. The possibility comes up because on the same day that the CIA terminated Mary McCarthy for her communications to the press, the New York Times reports that European investigators cannot find any evidence that the detention centers ever existed:


Friday, April 21, 2006

Iran and the Basiji

Hugh Hewitt read excerpts from this yesterday. Pretty amazing really. I think here, parents would take their kids' place vs sending their kids to mine fields. There's that question of civilization again. Read the whole thing.
A Child of the Revolution Takes Over
(registration is free)
"In the past," wrote the semi-official Iranian daily Ettelaat as the war raged on, "we had child-volunteers: 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds. They went into the minefields. Their eyes saw nothing. Their ears heard nothing. And then, a few moments later, one saw clouds of dust. When the dust had settled again, there was nothing more to be seen of them. Somewhere, widely scattered in the landscape, there lay scraps of burnt flesh and pieces of bone." Such scenes would henceforth be avoided, Ettelaat assured its readers. "Before entering the minefields, the children [now] wrap themselves in blankets and they roll on the ground, so that their body parts stay together after the explosion of the mines and one can carry them to the graves."

These children who rolled to their deaths were part of the Basiji, a mass movement created by Khomeini in 1979 and militarized after the war started in order to supplement his beleaguered army.The Basij Mostazafan--or "mobilization of the oppressed"--was essentially a volunteer militia, most of whose members were not yet 18. They went enthusiastically, and by the thousands, to their own destruction. "The young men cleared the mines with their own bodies," one veteran of the Iran-Iraq War recalled in 2002 to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine. "It was sometimes like a race. Even without the commander's orders, everyone wanted to be first."

Michael J. Totten

Final installment as he gets back into Turkey.

The Future

Dr. Demarche is not seeing a clash of civilizations, but a clash FOR civilization. I don't disagree, but I don't think we'll be defeated in the long run.
Unfortunately, I am beginning to doubt that we are equipped with either the means or the will to take on this ideology, at home or in the Middle East,in any meaningful way and that it is our very concept of civilization that keeps us from doing so.
While currently it mak not look like we're equipped - I think it's because in a lot of ways enough of us don't believe in our idealogy. However - look at Afghanistan under the Taliban. Those people are happy the Taliban are gone. If the Iranians really start ruling Talibaniwise then they are going to find themselves in trouble. When you see/live the difference you find yourself believing in your ideals (civilization).

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Harry Reid is a bit of a jackass.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Bush administration is relying too heavily on other countries in the international effort to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, according to Sen. Harry Reid.

Reid, D-Nev., said the administration should be taking the lead, but instead is relying on Germany, France and Great Britain to convince Iran to end its uranium enrichment program.

"It is hard to comprehend," Reid said Tuesday in Reno. "We should be involved at trying to arrive at a diplomatic solution. ... Not just these three countries."

Reid said the Middle East is a "powder keg" because of U.S. failures in Iraq, the rise of fundamentalism and the recent election of Hamas in Palestine.

"Our not being involved diplomatically in trying to solve the situation in Iran shows the Bush failure in foreign policy there and elsewhere."

And he said the U.S. has no military option in Iran.

"We don't have the resources to do it" because of the ongoing war in Iraq," he said.

So in those paragraphs we have the leader of a major political party saying that 1) we need to start negotiating with radical regimes and not just leave it to the Europeans (kind of like in Iraq we needed to leave it to the Europeans and not involve ourselves) and 2) don't worry Mr. Ahmadijinad - we couldn't attack if we wanted to. This is all a bluff, so relax.

Well 1) yeah right. I suppose we should be diplomatic to Hamas too. and 2) yeah right. Have you seen our military?

Captain Ed has a post talking about Iran leaning Talibaniish. That's not going to make the people happy so we may get our revolution from within.

Tim Blair has breaking news about how the UN negotiations are going with Iran.
UN body allows Iran to export caviar

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Good Iraqis are going to win this war. Mark my words. I have complete faith in them. You know how faith can waver every now and then. It's easy to get discouraged. The papers are talking about how everything is going to hell, etc. etc. And it is. Mohammed shares his recent tragedy with us today and it isn't pretty. But listen to him. They are going to win.
The terrorists and criminals are targeting all elements of life and they target anyone who wants to do something good for this country…They think by assassinating one of us they could deter us from going forward but will never succeed, they can delay us for years but we will never go back and abandon our dream.
We have vowed to follow the steps of our true martyrs and we will raise the new generation to continue the march, these children of today are the hope and the future.


Captain Ed looks at the Anne Applebaum piece in the Washington Post this morning and does of course has great insight.
I personally don't think that gas at $3/gal is high enough to make us change our wasteful habits so I'm not worried about the lack of energy. But it is hilarious that the enviromental movement can produce so much hostility toward every source of energy.
In West Virginia, activists saved a strip mine from being disfigured by the sight of windmills, a rare multilayered irony born of hypocrisy.
There are a lot of people in this world and without practicing on a lot of different sources of energy we're going to be up a creek when it's really needed. ANWR should remain as it is. Sitting there waiting and as alternative forms of energy become more affordable we need to try it out. Wind seems to be working pretty well. Get someone to invent the invisible bat/bird shield for the windmills and maybe that will help these objections!

Retired General Alert

The Environmental Republican notes Ret General Zinni's earlier words. In direct contradiction to today's.

Here is the NZ Herald version of the story with a number of great Rummyisms.(term from Mullings)
"Graveyards of the world are filled with 'indispensable' people.

This story also has a major headline if a reporter chose to follow up. From Bush:
"Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job," Bush said. "He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror -- he's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld.

"I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I'm the decider. And I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defence," Bush said.
Hasn't he said in the past that he DOESN'T follow this crap? Scandal!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


John Bolton is hard at work.

Iraq in General

Go to www.michaeltotten.com today for an update on his trip. It has so many pictures that my poor old computer has slowed to a crawl. But go. And send him some cash if you have it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Two links

That I haven't read yet, but sound good.

Vodkapundit sees George Will giving up on 2006. I'm with him on that 527 issue.

Steyn writes on Iran again.


Still missing Chrenkoff, but today Instapundit directs us to Bill Crawford who has put a list of goodnews together. He starts by counteracting the retired Generals getting air these days.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: And speaking of the retired Generals, read The WSJ review and outlook today.
As for those who've raised the issue of competence, we'd be more persuaded if they weren't so impossibly vague. If their critique is that Mr. Rumsfeld underestimated the Sunni insurgency, well, so did the CIA and military intelligence.



Emily Wax of the Washington Post notes the problems going on in Chad. These are more than just being next to Sudan.
"No one is fooling us, we know it's not all about Darfur," said Sou Hbe Hekole, 42, a teacher who said he had not been paid in six months and was offered a few dollars by Deby's handlers to attend the rally. "We have many of our own problems in Chad. It's not just Sudan that's to blame."

Iraq in General

I've said it before. Pre-war we never thought Saddam HAD nuclear weapons or that he planned 911 or that he was an immediate threat. However it was post-911 and this was now a different world and Saddam did a lot of bad stuff and gave everyone every reason in the world to think he planned on doing more. Robert Kaplan in the LA Times this morning remembers.
The description:
To know a totalitarian regime abstractly is different from knowing it intimately. Iraq in the 1980s was so terrifying that going to Damascus from Baghdad was like coming up for liberal humanist air. People talked furtively in Syria; in Iraq, nobody breathed a syllable of opposition. The whole country was like an illuminated prison yard. I was emotionally affected. Recent events make it easy to forget just how bad Iraq was back then.

Before 9/11, maintaining the "no-fly" zone over Iraq was costing a considerable amount. It was a significant distraction for the U.S. military, and it seemed to have no end in sight. Hussein's obstruction of the work of United Nations weapons inspectors over the years indicated a presumption of guilt, especially as there were weapons' stockpiles unaccounted for, and he already had a record of using them. After 9/11, no chances could be taken.

Support (from a Democrat):
As for myself, because of the way the WMD argument intersected with the humanitarian one — buttressed, in turn, by my own memories of Iraq — there was never any chance that I would not have supported the war. Because Hussein's misrule was beyond normal dictatorship, even someone like me, skeptical about spreading democracy, felt it justified to remove him.

I understand not supporting the war at the beginning, but we supported this war. It needs support to the end whether you support Bush or not. The Iraqi's deserve as much.

My most recent searing, first-hand impression of Iraq, from last December, is this one: one town and village after another getting back on its feet, with residents telling American troops not to leave.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Off to NY

I'll be out of town this weekend so enjoy and we'll see you Monday. Happy Easter and Passover.

Friday links

Captain Ed has news on Hamas recognizing Israel at it's 1967 borders. That's pretty miraculous.

Victor Davis Hanson has a column on the retired generals debate over Rumsfield. (personally - I have no idea how good a leader he is - but I like listening to him talk)

Trouble in Chad spilling over from Sudan.

And then - I was looking around for a cat video that was going around the net. (this is Friday you know) Instead I came across this. Videos for Cats to Watch
I don't think the economy can suck too badly with these on sale!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Global Warming

You've probably already heard about the story about global warming stopping in 1998.

Barcepundit links to the latest about the silencing of scientists.

US Reputation

In Germany is apparently not so good.

Guest Workers/Amnesty

Well, guess what? With all this talk about guest workers and amnesty, those potential border crossers are going for it now. Captain Ed has the story.
Miss Kelly links to the New Republic arguing against a guest worker program. I have to say I'm against it too.
Imagine how it would work - and remember in your imaginings that this would be run by the Federal Government.

Hi - I own a ranch and I can't get any American to clean stalls for $5.15/hr so I need 2 guest workers to help. Ok, says Mr. Fed and gives you two passes to hand out at the border. Those 2 come across and either a) become your indentured servant at your particular ranch for a lousy $5.15/hr or b) go ahead and get a good job with a construction company that pays $12/hr.

Seriously - why do those in charge think that being a toilet cleaner, or busboy or stall mucker is the path desired by illegal aliens? They work those jobs because they are illegal and need to stay in the shadows.

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan has a nice piece about immigrants. It agrees with me when I said this isn't about immigrants. Immigrants would agree - if not in a mob but in a conversation. This is about borders and security.

The Officer's Club

Is no longer. However, they've relaunched as OpFor. It's worth a bookmark spot.


Neo-Neocon does some compare and contrast.
I've written elsewhere that I believe the best course of action right now vis a vis Iran would be to work for regime change though clandestine operations within that country. I also believe we need to have a plan in place to take out Iran's nuclear facilities if need be.

I'm just glad I'm not in charge.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Turkish Kurdistan

Michael J. Totten's travelogue continues. Eerily.
The whole thing was just weird. I don’t quite know how to convey how surreal it is to leave a country that maybe, just maybe, might join the European Union and enter a country that is a poster-child for wrenching war-torn catastrophe and have everything around me dramatically improve all at once. But that's how it goes these days when you cross into Iraq from Turkey. Even though Sean had never been there before, he, like me, breathed a sigh of relief at our arrival in a tranquil place at peace with itself.

UPDATE: bad typing corrected


Varifrank has some awesome pictures showing that Yes it IS possible to create a real border.

Speaking of health care

Is this illegal? Drug firms 'hype up diseases' to boost sales.

I blame doctors/patients over drug firms. If you have restless leg syndrome only you can decide if it's bothersome enough to risk diarrhea, bloating, sexual side effects etc, etc.
Doctors are the ones pushing the cholesterol drugs. And frankly they will until someone can prove it doesn't help with heart disease. Drug firms have the money for the studies, but doctors are supposed to be educated enough to help patients make their own decisions.

Medicare Drug Plan

Congratulations Julie! The Washington Post has the story today about seniors saving money using the new drug plan. It also has quotes of how easy it was to sign up.
Sharon Tuller of Des Moines was reluctant to sign up because she had heard horror stories about the paperwork. But she learned from a friend about a nonprofit group that made the process painless. She and her husband, a retired school administrator, made an appointment with the group and completed their sign-up in just 20 minutes. "We thought it was going to be this horrible experience," said Tuller, 66. "It turned out to be quite the opposite."

As more people sign up, more word will go out that it's (both the signing up and the coverage) good vs a horrible experience.
Bush yesterday made light of his political woes while explaining why he had Medicare participants speak for him. "See, one way to convince people to take a look is to have others talk about the benefits of the program," he said. "They probably got a little more credibility than I do."

"Yeah," said Missourian Helen Robinette, sitting next to him, prompting laughter from the crowd.

Bush turned to her. "You don't have to agree with that," he joked.

The sad part is, by the time I'm able to sign up, we'll have forgotten this is a huge benefit paid for by the taxpayers that we should be appreciative of!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


On Iran. (that I haven't read yet - but he's always good)


Captain Ed has a post from a UN study about how often Syrian wives get beaten. You'd really think feminists would have a lot to say about the ME.


Tons of stories today on Immigration. Not one that I can find that is focused on the real situation and why these bills are up. Security. We just need to know who's walking in the door. We got no beef with immigrants. We have a little beef with illegal immigrants. We have a huge beef with a government that can clearly see that we have a border problem simply because people cross it with impunity daily and yet they (the govt.) has done nothing to fix it.
The BBC has a story on this that really doesn't get it.
The BBC's Americas editor, Simon Watts, says the millions of illegal immigrants are starting to form a major political movement.
Um - not really. It's their legal friends that can potentially form a major political movement. If they'd vote.
The New Zealand Herald reported the opposing side of the ralliers.
Houston television reported that flyers had been distributed in the industrial suburb of Pasadena urging people to burn down the homes of illegal immigrants
Way to have a reasoned debate people. (tangent: Friends of mine in NZ say their papers really like to make the US look like idiots. That line did it.)
There are so many stories out there.
From the NY Times: In Houston, where thousands of immigrants chanted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" as they rallied, Staff Sgt. Jose Soto of the Marines marched in his blue uniform. He said he had fought in Iraq and was in Houston to visit his parents, who came to this country as illegal immigrants.

"I've fought for freedom overseas," said Sergeant Soto, 30, who plans to return to Iraq in July. "Now I'm fighting for freedom here."

This is a tough issue. But it's one that should be simple. I believe if you could get a few of the marching Illegals out of the mob and talk about how they got here and what they think about border security we could all be in agreement. Fix the borders! The rest can wait.

Whether it's guest workers or just increasing regular immigration numbers. The first thing that needs doing is to fix the borders. (Another side note: When NAFTA passed I believed the only fair way to run it is IF you have open borders for business, THEN you should have open borders (basically) for workers. I still believe that. But I also believe those workers need paperwork!)

For all the Foreign press not really getting the issue, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post REALLY doesn't get it.
But I don't think the immigration debate is about economics anyway. It's about culture and it's about fear.

Among other things, it's about this voice-mail message: " Para continuar en español, oprima el numero 2 . To continue in Spanish, press 2."

The immigration debate is about border security and that's it. Anything else is just fluff thrown in by politicians who think they know the winds of change. Or by people with fears.

But the BIG issue and the only one that counts is borders.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Middle East

um - It may be that the US would like the ME to reform itself democratically and it may be that the "master plan" involved reforming Iraq and hoping democracy takes off but that's a far cry from expecting us to do it for you. People. Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal Falters is the headliner in todays NYTimes.
If the people of the ME want democracy they are going to have to think long term. Bush won't be in office all that much longer and Americans have only so much patience. And for half the country, that is already running thin.
The slowdown comes at a critical time for the Bush administration, which has been increasingly seen as weakened both at home and abroad by its occupation of Iraq. Many Arab leaders appear to be betting that the American public is losing its appetite for major interventions, giving them a freer hand.
This isn't about Bush.

New News

This can't be good. Computer information found from military sites on the black market in Afghanistan. I'm finding it hard to believe this is the result of our men/women stealing in order to put food on the table at home.
Workers are supposed to be frisked as they leave the base, but they have various ways of deceiving guards, such as hiding computer drives behind photo IDs that they wear in holders around their necks, shop owners said. Others claim that U.S. soldiers illegally sell military property and help move it off the base, saying they need the money to pay bills back home.
Keep digging.


The BBC is on the Hersch story about the US getting ready to bomb Iran. I love this quote:
He said he believed the president felt military action against Iran was something only he could do. "It's messianic, I quote somebody as saying," he said.

Now there's a reporter we can trust.
New Zealand is on the story too.

The Officer's Club follows through.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


On Immigration.

The latest Plame Game

The Plame affair:
Let's see if I have this right.
1. Mr. Wilson went to Nigeria and wrote a brief saying that Saddam had nuclear ambitions
2. Mr. Wilson's brief really didn't go many places and wasn't really used for anything
3. Mr. Wilson wrote a column for the NYtimes saying that he said there was nothing going on in Nigeria as it pertains to Saddam.
4. Mr. Novak remarks that Mr. Wilson's wife is Valerie Plame of the CIA
5. Big investigation as to who leaked her name
6. Judith Miller goes to jail for not revealing the source of the information concerning Valerie Plame's name.
7. Scooter Libby turns out to be a source of information from the National Intelligence Estimate and Plames name?
8. Scooter resigns
9. The media find out that the National Intelligence Estimate was declassified by Bush himself.
10. The media is skewering Bush for being incongruent.

Is all that right?
The Seattle Times has an article that starts out like this:
If a former White House aide is telling the truth, President George W. Bush authorized the leak of highly sensitive intelligence information, an act that is legal but reeks of unethical conduct.

Keep reading:
Neither Libby nor Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald accuse the president of authorizing or even encouraging the outing of Valerie Plame, the CIA agent at the crux of the case. Plame's spouse, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, faced off with the White House over its Iraq war intelligence and believes his wife's identity was revealed as retribution.

It ends like this:
But this episode stinks to high heaven.

The document in question argued Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear-weapons program and was used as the basis for the administration's sense of urgency for going to war with Iraq. The document's intelligence reports were ultimately proved untrue.

The president may or may not have outed Plame to discredit or punish her husband, but it appears the sensitive information was used for political gain.

In the end, it comes down to the ability to trust our top leader. Bush stood before the nation and condemned leaks and the people who make them. He pledged to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable. Looking back on that moment, the public wonders if the commander in chief is an honest man.

So the Plamegate story was about who outed Valerie Plame. But now the media is upset about the NIE report coming out that showed the connection between Iraq and Niger and they're concerned that it was "leaked" for political gain? Wouldn't it have been "leaked" to counteract the affects of Wilson's lies in the NYTimes? And isn't the truth what we're all after. And this NIE document shows what he was basing the nuclear connection on.

First off - I'd have to say that at some point in all of this, it seems to me that Bush should have come out and said - Yes Mr. Libby was allowed to relate the NIE information. I told him to. The truth needed to come out. However I did not say to release Valerie Plame's name as a CIA agent.
But why should he say that? There is such an animosity between those two estates, the Media and this White House that during press conferences, the name of the game is to answer the question and that's it. And he did. He did not authorize the outing of Valerie Plame. Frankly I believe him. I can not imagine that he would allow Scooter Libby to be discredited to save his hide. He could have been more clear in the past, but then again what for. It only would have avoided this current nonstory.

From a press conference June 10th 2004:
Q Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?

THE PRESIDENT: That's up to --

Q And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

Q My final point would be -- or question would be, has Vice President Cheney assured you --

THE PRESIDENT: It's up to the --

Q -- subsequent to his conversations with them, that nobody --

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't talked to the Vice President about this matter, and I suggest -- recently -- and I suggest you talk to the U.S. Attorney about that.

From a press conference Sept. 2003.
Q Do you think that the Justice Department can conduct an impartial investigation, considering the political ramifications of the CIA leak, and why wouldn't a special counsel be better?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

And so I welcome the investigation. I -- I'm absolutely confident that the Justice Department will do a very good job. There's a special division of career Justice Department officials who are tasked with doing this kind of work; they have done this kind of work before in Washington this year. I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative.

I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.

Yes, let's see, Kemper -- he's from Chicago. Where are you? Are you a Cubs or White Sox fan? (Laughter.) Wait a minute. That doesn't seem fair, does it? (Laughter.)

Q Yesterday we were told that Karl Rove had no role in it --


Q -- have you talked to Karl and do you have confidence in him --

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.

And again I repeat, you know, Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information -- outside the administration. And we can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would.

And then we'll get to the bottom of this and move on. But I want to tell you something -- leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we've had them -- there's too much leaking in Washington. That's just the way it is. And we've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are.

Thank you.

END 2:15 P.M. CDT

UPDATE: The Washington Post's editorial on this. Of course written better, more clearly and without ranting.


Charles Murray has an interesting solution to the rising costs of entitlements.
It's actually easy to do. If you step back from the intellectual gridlock that passes for policy debate today, here is the overriding empirical reality: We are already spending about $1.5 trillion a year on transfer payments (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, income support programs, welfare and subsidies of all sorts, including corporate welfare). If we simply divided up the money we are spending anyway and gave it back to people in the form of cash, we could provide everyone with the resources for a decent standard of living, including money to pay for healthcare and save for retirement.

He comes up with $10,000 for every person aged 21 or over every year. Hard to believe there is that much in entitlements out there.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Iraq the Model

They follow up on the missing newspapers due to threats, intimidation and bombings by militias. It's hopefully coming to an end real soon.

They also have an insiders view of why the Buratha Mosque was chosen for bombing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Lightbulb at the MSM

This was funny from the Jawa Report.

Michael J. Totten

Gives Hussein Nuboulsi the finger, so to speak.
Good for him.

Immigration and the Government

I am not at all sure why new enactments have to be so full of crap and can't be simple measures where you tackle one issue at a time, but the latest Immigration Bill we're looking at now is a looooonnnnng way from simple.

Captain Ed has looked closely at the thing through the NYPost. He's showing that this new bill will 1) force immigration judges to step down after 7 years to be replaced by judges with at least 5 years of experience with immigration law and 2) will deny the lawsuits going against 2 states that offer instate tuition to illegal immigrants (there are 7 others that offer the same thing who aren't yet being sued)

(tangent: I'm glad it's the weekend.) What is so hard about passing a simple immigration bill? Count out how many illegal aliens are really needed and pass something that increases the amount of immigrants legally allowed. Then pass something else that confronts how we're going to handle our borders. I think we could even get away with ignoring the 11 million illegal immigrants here now. They shouldn't get to the head of any line - read Amnesty. Nor is it possible to deport them all. We're not doing anything about them now and if the borders are tightened, when they go home to visit family, they'll theoretically have to follow the rules to get back in.
It just doesn't seem all that hard. There doesn't have to be any new requirements that make 6 year old illegals "felons for life". Nor does there have to be any new requirements that say "if you've been here at least 2 years, welcome, but........" etc, etc, etc.

Politicians just look for ways to makes things as tricky as possible. Hm - do you suppose most of them are lawyers?

Health Care in MA

Another 2 bloggers I usually agree with are for the new Health Plan in MA.
Roger Simon is one and he has a link to Hugh Hewitt, the other.
So I am glad universal health care is coming into existence in Massachusetts. It will be valuable testing ground for integrating insurance programs with our complex economic system.

It's sounding more and more like Republicans just didn't want anything "called" Universal Health Care. They are in favor of it, but just don't want the Democrats to win the issue. ick.
(ps - I don't actually think Roger is a Republican. He is pro-war and seems to lean right though. Like me. And he too is ok with a form of Universal health care.)

Like Roger says, it's good to try something like this out in a single state vs the Hillary plan that would have run the test case on the entire country. My beef is philosphically. Forcing people to buy health plans or fining them. Vs forcing people to pay taxes to pay for Universal health care. I'm really amazed that more people don't have the same problem. You hear an uproar everytime another state wants to force people to wear seatbelts for crying out loud.

See Yesterday's post on the subject and the fifth's post for more.

On Patriotism

VERY nice post from Done with Mirrors.
Patriotism and Metaphors. excerpt:
You love your homeland the way you love family: with quiet affection and admiration punctuated by shouting matches and slammed doors. You know their faults intimately. You piss and moan about them all day for a week, but when trouble comes calling, you know where you stand, without thinking about it. That seems to be me. It may not be you.

I said "family." Not "parents." There's this idea, big with political thinkers, that everyone in the United States regards the government as a sort of parent. The big thinkers get off on the insight that people have two parents and Americans have two parties: Democratic mommies and GOP daddies. Nurturing Mommy and stern Daddy. As if we were 260 million children fretting about potty training.

But a lot of we the people don't think of the government as any kind of parent. It's an unruly child of the people, a creation of, and a function of, the civil society, the voters as a whole, the community. America is our child. Ours to nourish, our responsibility when it breaks something. Ours to believe in, because if you raise a child and you believe in him, he might yet go bad, but if you don't believe in him, he almost certainly will.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Health Care in MA

Elliot Shaw of the NY Post disagrees with my assessment of this new law in MA requiring people to have health insurance. As does Maggie's Farm (ht Environmental Republican) and one of my 10 regular readers.

I'm still not buying it though. This is universal health care and nothing else. How can you be against universal health care and for this law??
And honestly I'm fine with minimal universal health care. Then you buy the extra you want.

I mostly don't think you can compare health insurance to auto insurance or home insurance. If you own your home free and clear you don't have to buy insurance for it! And buying auto insurance is for the privilege of driving on tax payer funded roads and keeping other people safe. Not to cover your own car (as long as you own it free and clear).

April 6, 2006 -- MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to sign legislation pro pelling the Bay State toward near-universal health insurance. The measure has important lessons for New York state, which is now considering a far less promising approach.
The Bay State's plan pursues market-based solutions and individual responsibility. It would require residents who can afford insurance to buy it on the market or through an employer. Anyone deemed able to afford coverage who doesn't buy it would pay stiff added taxes. The model is familiar: Society already often imposes similar requirements on individuals for home and auto insurance.

Most people have insurance. Maggie's farm is linking to something showing that in MA it's young men with decent jobs who aren't buying insurance because they are willing to take the risks.
In reality that should mean that when these same young men go off and break a leg or get cancer or something, then you bill them. They get the fines (in the form of interest payments) for not actually paying their bill. When I had nothing and went to the hospital I ended up with a bill. I paid on it for years until it was paid off.

That's how noninsurance works.

Call a spade a spade. MA is implementing Universal Health care. Only it's in the form that says, all you people currently not buying because you can't afford it get to go stand in a line and fill out these forms for free coverage.

The fun post

You've heard by now, I'm sure, about NBC Dateline sending Arab dressed people with cameras into Nascar looking for racists. (apparently it didn't work at the first track so they are trying another one in Texas) Anyway Michelle Malkin has a string of other ideas for dateline to try. Go on, give it a try yourself.
Beth at My Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy:

* Wear a pro-life t-shirt to a Women’s Studies class. * Wear a Halliburton company polo shirt to the Kos Kidz annual blogmeet. * PUBLISH CARTOONS WITH MOHAMMED IN THEM.


Instapundit has the link concerning Zeyad (the original 3rd Iraq the Model brother who went out on his own to create Free Iraqi) coming to America to study journalism. Cool.
He hasn't been the most prolific writer, so I forget about him sometimes, but he's a good writer and should do well.

As long as the the newspapers in Iraq are allowed to be sold by the thugs again! Why don't the papers have this story going? That's definitely "bad news from Iraq".
From Omar at the newstand:
He then showed me one of those notes; the ban includes virtually every paper but basically "papers that promote Safawi [Persian] Shiasm, blasphemous secular ideas and democracy…".

I had a hard time trying to swallow what I read, why newspapers? What's going to be next? Will they try to stitch up our mouths and chop our tongues off?!

Those pen-hating cowards are afraid of the words written in our newspapers and they tried to paint their new anti-free speech campaign with a sectarian dye to make it look as if they were only after Shia and secular papers but in fact they are against everything that does not approve and praise their sick mentality.
Yes, I may not agree with what many of those newspapers do, and a few of them even sound offensive or disgusting to me for one reason or another but I cannot accept seeing them silenced in such a way and I am for their right to speak freely exactly the same way I want this right for myself.

Strange though that no one uttered a word about it as far as I know, even the papers themselves mentioned nothing about this threat on their websites and neither did any of the other local media outlets…maybe there has been a threat against that as well? I don't know right now but I'll try to find out.
This is one more time that makes me feel happy we have the internet and the means to use it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fun with al Qaeda

The LA Times has a story from interviews with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 911 plan that's worth the couple of minutes to read.
Here's the fun part though.

Quote 1: The hallmark of the system, he said, was unquestioned control: Everyone up the chain of command did as they were told, didn't ask questions and never bucked authority — all for the common cause of the enterprise, which in this case was killing as many Americans as possible.

"I know that the materialistic Western mind cannot grasp the idea, and that it is difficult for them to believe," Mohammed wrote. "But in the end," he gloated, "the operation was a success."

Note the gloating.

Quote 2: "[Shaikh] Mohammed stated that he was usually compelled to do whatever Bin Laden wanted with respect to operatives for the September 11 operation," the interrogation summary states. "That said, [Shaikh] Mohammed noted that he disobeyed Bin Laden on several occasions by taking operatives assigned to him by Bin Laden and using them how he best saw fit."

Quote 3: Mohammed succeeded in rejecting three attempts by Bin Laden to accelerate the plot. But he said his boss canceled an entire overseas element of the hijacking scheme that he was orchestrating.

Quote 4: Had Mohammed not insisted on such security measures, he suggested, Bin Laden might have endangered the whole mission. That's because Bin Laden, an exiled Saudi multimillionaire with a huge trust fund, apparently had a knack for forcing Mohammed to take operatives who couldn't follow directions or keep their mouths shut.

Quote 5: By mid-2000, Mohammed moved to kick Almihdhar out of the group because he defied his orders and left the United States for Yemen, leaving Alhazmi alone in San Diego.

Quote 6: Soon after he reached the United States, Moussaoui violated the order, sending Mohammed an e-mail detailing his attempts to get flight training on various aircraft.

And once more!
Quote 1: The hallmark of the system, he said, was unquestioned control: Everyone up the chain of command did as they were told, didn't ask questions and never bucked authority — all for the common cause of the enterprise, which in this case was killing as many Americans as possible.

"I know that the materialistic Western mind cannot grasp the idea, and that it is difficult for them to believe," Mohammed wrote. "But in the end," he gloated, "the operation was a success."

Note the gloating. LOL

The Poor in MA

People who have never been poor really don't get it.
The Washington Post today writes of a new law in MA requiring everyone to have health insurance.
Romney said the bill, modeled on the state's policy of requiring auto insurance, is intended to end an era in which 550,000 people go without insurance and their hospital and doctor visits are paid for in part with public funds.
Here's the problem with that logic. Driving is a privilege provided by the state. Living is a privelege provided by God. To drive the state can make certain requirements of the driver. To live.......
Theoretically the poor won't really have to pay for this:
Uninsured people earning less than the federal poverty threshold would be able to purchase subsidized policies that have no premiums, and would be responsible for very small co-payment fees for emergency-room visits and other services. Those earning between that amount and three times the poverty-level amount would be able to buy subsidized policies with premiums based on their ability to pay. Though no maximum premium is set in the bill, legislators' intent seems to be for it to top out at about $200 to $250 per month.

We'll see. But wouldn't it make more sense to just set aside some of these "subsidized policies" that the poor would be required to "purchase" and then use them when needed vs have a new program that needs to be enforced by requiring bums to fill out insurance applications or get fined?
I would look forward to seeing this one in action except that it's so philosophically off its rocker.

UPDATE: Fixed the spelling.

Netflix vs Blockbuster

Who would of thought you could patent the way you put a dvd into an envelope?

Netflix, founded in 1999, was one of the first companies to offer this service, and has a patent protecting the way it allows customers to select their films, get them sent out, and then return them for more.

Its second patent covers the way customers can keep the films for as long as they want without being charged extra and how they can rejig their list of preferred films.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lots of links

I overslept today so I have to run but these are all good reads!

At the movies
Powerline on Basic Instinct 2.
Lileks on King Kong. (fun movie to me, but about an entire hour too long!)
The USS Enterprise guys dance to the Numa Numa song. Fun times!

President Chavez is going to blow it.
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez is spending billions of dollars of his country's oil windfall on pet projects abroad, aimed at setting up his leftist government as a political counterpoint to the conservative Bush administration in the region.
Even giving to American's for heating oil.
"They should first take care of their own house before taking care of others," said Benjamín Delgado, 71, a retiree who otherwise backs the government. "I think Chávez does it so he seems bigger. He wants to be seen as an international leader. There are many things about him I support. Giving away money for exactly nothing, I don't like that."
I can't imagine the people of Venezuela will put up with this for long. It would be one thing if they were doing ok, but even Mr. Chavez admits to 30% poverty levels, (though in country social scientists make that number closer to 50%.)

Faheed Zakaria has a great column in the Washington Post this morning. No real solutions but describing why we don't want to have a European look to immigration here.

UPDATE: Georgie Anne Geyer has an opinion about immigration too.
The Mexican illegals in America are calling it a "new civil rights movement." But whereas America's civil rights movement was fought for freedom for unjustly treated Americans, this movement is one of more dependency on El Norte and of a refusal to develop Mexican society economically so it can be independent and self-actualizing.

And one more.
Kuwaiti women will soon be voting for the first time.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Environmental Republican

Don't miss this one!
Seriously - Scott is great. And thank you Scott. I really appreciate the link and all your comments. Not only are his blogs on the "must read every day" list of blogs, but he also has the best blogroll out there. If you ever get bored reading your own "must reads", just go to his blog roll and cruise. I've been pleasantly surprised many many times.

Iraq - the Big Picture

Strategy Page has a great write up on the general trends going on in Iraq right now.
He makes a number of points including this one in regards to the Sunnis.:
The alliance with al Qaeda was a disaster. These Islamic terrorists were obsessed with causing a civil war in Iraq, and they insisted on doing this by killing lots of Shia Arabs. The Sunni Arabs didn't want to kill lots of Shia Arabs, they wanted to rule them all once more. But that raised another contentious issue. While some Sunni Arabs were in favor of an Islam Republic, which al Qaeda insisted on, most Sunni Arabs wanted a more secular Sunni Arab dominated government. This dispute was never resolved, as the split between al Qaeda and the Sunni Arab community widened. At the moment, al Qaeda is not welcome in most Sunni Arab areas. That's "come near this place and we'll kill you" not welcome. This after al Qaeda tried to terrorize the Sunni Arab tribal leaders into compliance. Killing Sunni Arab tribal chiefs didn't work.
We know al Qaeda reads the newspapers. Do you suppose they read blogs too? Zarqawi is getting kicked to the curb because
He said al-Zarqawi had "made many political mistakes", including "the creation of an independent organisation, al-Qaeda in Iraq".

"Zarqawi also took the liberty of speaking in the name of the Iraqi people and resistance, a role which belongs only to the Iraqis," Azzam said.

As a result "the resistance command inside and outside Iraq, including imams, criticised him and after long discussions demanded that he be confined to military action".

Someone should write a new "Imagine" song.

Imagine for a moment,
Or maybe just a day,
Not too long a moment,
But just enough to say,
We are winning here today
Here in in the ME......
ooooh oooh ohohoh

Imagine for that moment,
It isnt hard to do,
The MSM to work together,
But on the side good,
Imagine all these people
realizing they have a choice...

Imagine all the stories,
I wonder if you can,
Each major daily paper,
Reads of the strength of good,
Imagine all the people
Writing for (not against) the war...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

(Sorry John) But seriously. How many times have we heard that this is a propaganda war now? But each time we try to hire someone to write the good, the MSM beat the president up. And that's just telling the good truth. Wouldn't it be fun to have enough money to hire out all the newspapers secretly for one week and have them all write stories with a US/Iraqi slant? Ie instead of
BAGHDAD, April 2 -- At least 50 people were killed Sunday in Iraq in a catalogue of violence that included a mortar attack, military firefights, roadside bombings and other explosions.

In addition, the U.S. military reported the deaths of six soldiers and airmen, including two who were killed when their helicopter apparently was shot down during a combat air patrol southwest of Baghdad on Saturday.

"Military officials believe the crash was the result of hostile fire," the military said in a statement, adding later that the remains of the pilots of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter were recovered late Sunday.

Instead of that, for one week, the newspapers all write stories from a less passive, we're losing the war and Iraq is going to fall to pieces angle.

After 50 people were killed on Sunday by terrorists hostile to the Iraqi govt, the Iraqi military stormed the area severely wounding at least 15 and discovering a cache of bodies assassinated by the rebels. These 10 bodies were left with their hands tied and eyes coverd. All were shot to death by rebels now known locally as "yellow rebels". Authorities expect Iraqi civilians to be armed and looking for revenge on these cold blooded murders.

In other news 2 US airmen were killed when their helicopter was shot down during a combat air patrol southwest of Baghdad on Saturday. They had pointed out a rebel stronghold that the ground troops then immediately comandeered killing 2 rebels. Awards of Valor will be given to their families.

I know - I made up a few facts, but a helicoptor on combat air patrol was doing something useful. Not just getting itself shot down. - you get the picture. News articles on the "we're winning" side of the page. Something not so passive. Just for a week or two. I bet the picture on the ground would change immensely.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


On Aussie cool.

Global Cooling

George Will takes on the Time magazine article and notes the global cooling scare of the 70s. I've brought it up in conversation before and people vaguely remember it. I'll link to this article because it notes the dates of the scientific magazines when that scare hit. Safety in factoids.
The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect," Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance," "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool." Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World," April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous" that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age."

The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable" now that it is "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950."

In fact, the earth is always experiencing either warming or cooling. But suppose the scientists and their journalistic conduits, who today say they were so spectacularly wrong so recently, are now correct. Suppose the earth is warming and suppose the warming is caused by human activity. Are we sure there will be proportionate benefits from whatever climate change can be purchased at the cost of slowing economic growth and spending trillions?

Are we sure the consequences of climate change - remember, a thick sheet of ice once covered the Middle West - must be bad? Or has the science-journalism complex decided that debate about these questions, too, is "over"?

Scare Quotes at the BBC

They are running rampant today with these (') little things. People need lessons in how to use scare quotes:
scare quote
Either of a pair of quotation marks used to emphasize a word or phrase or to indicate its special status, especially to express doubt about its validity or to criticize its use.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

So let's see,
At the BBC today we have this title:
Ugandan rebel 'terror' appals UN This title is used for a story that includes the following quote from the UN:
The activities of rebels in northern Uganda are "terrorism of the worst kind anywhere in the world", UN humanitarian affairs chief Jan Egeland has said.
or this one
"I just met a women's group where all of the women had had their children abducted, Most of them had never heard back from them."

Um 'Terror'???? Can't it be called Terror?
Then there is:
'Ill' Zambian Leader Flies to UK

You click on the article and get this title:
Zambia leader seeks UK 'check-up'
So I'm thinking the guy is faking an illness to get to the UK and get out of Dodge. But no, nothing in this article supports that. ??
How about
Freed US journalist 'manipulated'
'Corrupt' Argentine Police Purged

I wonder if April 2nd is their April Fools day over there.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Howard Dean

Is stepping down.
After blatently mischaracterizing President Bush's stance on immigration, Mr. Dean was attacked not only by conservative critics but by liberal supporters as well. He expects to remain as the head of the DNC until a replacement is found.

Karl Rove

Is out!


Breaking news on the nuclear issue. With the security council deadline set up for Iran, this morning (or is it tomorrow over there?) the ever loony Ahmadinejad stated:
The Nations of the world have spoken. We will acquiesce.

What does that mean?

Great News

Iraqi's have finally formed their government! Jafari is out, Moqtada is unhappy ( a side benefit) but it all looks good.