Friday, May 30, 2008

The War Today

U.S. Cites Big Gains Against Al-Qaeda
Front page on the Washington Post no less.

"The sense of shifting tides in the terrorism fight is shared by a number of terrorism experts, though some caution that it is too early to tell whether the gains are permanent. Some credit Hayden and other U.S. intelligence leaders for going on the offensive against al-Qaeda in the area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the tempo of Predator strikes has dramatically increased from previous years. But analysts say the United States has caught some breaks in the past year, benefiting from improved conditions in Iraq, as well as strategic blunders by al-Qaeda that have cut into its support base"

""One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves." "

Its easy to support terrorism when you don't have to live with the consequences. This explains much of the apathy or verbal support for terrorism. Likewise, its easy to dismiss the danger of terrorism or undercut our efforts against it when you live a safe, insulated and affluent life, certain that the consequences will not impact you personally.

The Sunnis in Iraq, the favored political base of Saddam, learned the wages of supporting terrorists. Grievances cited by terrorists are just excuses, they are vicious barbarians who will subject everyone to their brutality.

'Now the American Forces Are on the Right Track'

'Nuff said.

VDH: Do we still have Grants or Shermans?

"A common complaint is that a worn-out military has lost the peace in Iraq and should withdraw in defeat. In fact, recruitments in June exceeded the military's goals, violence in Iraq is down, Shiite and Sunni terrorists are losing ground to the new military of a constitutional Iraq — and the junior American outsiders who engineered all that may soon be seniors on the inside."

IMO, the military is stronger because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are achieving success in deployments throughout the world. I recommend Robert Kaplan's Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts, which details the extent of American deployments. Our military has never been so widely deployed, so well trained or efficient, nor as effective. We spend 4.5% of GNP on the military, far less than the historical standard. We should consolidate our strategic success and cement our military prowess by raising it to 5% of GNP.

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Of Canine Interest

Adding rosemary to your steak could help prevent cancer.

Your dog wants steak.

Take your dog to the bar night in Minneapolis.

I would take my dog to the local brewpub which had an outside patio. Always a good time. He was a chick magnet.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

Carbon Atheist or Agnostic?

Czech President Vaclav Klaus articulated his skepticism of global warming at the National Press Club. I found the reaction of the journalists to be most instructive, their expressions were grim. It pained them to hear a global warming skeptic. I happen to agree with Klaus that AGW is a pernicious ideology similar to communist totalitarianism.

"Klaus called alarms about man-made climate change a "quasi-noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of something above him" and that it is being exploited by a new elite "certain they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea a reality.""

I like this guy. He stands up for his neighbors, telling the Russians that the missile shield is none of their business.

Krauthammer, by contrast, is a carbon agnostic.

"For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class — social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts, and their left-wing political allies — arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (Communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism)."

"Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher’s England to Deng’s China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history."

"Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual Left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but — even better — in the name of Earth itself."

Emphasis mine.

Socialism doesn't work. Free societies where individuals make their own decisions are not only morally superior in the sense that liberty is more just and moral, but also the rational choice. Free societies are richer, more productive and even better for the environment.

Yet many people, even otherwise intelligent and decent people, believe that using coercion to impose their will on others will somehow result in 'social justice' and saving the planet, despite the empirical evidence to the contrary.

Related quote:
"It is, I suspect, no accident that it is in Europe that climate change absolutism has found the most fertile soil. For it is Europe that has become the most secular society in the world, where the traditional religions have the weakest popular hold. Yet people still feel the need for the comfort and higher values that religion can provide; and it is the quasi-religion of Green alarmism and what has been termed global salvationism - of which the climate change issue is the most striking example, but by no means the only one - which has filled the vacuum, with reasoned questioning of its mantras regarded as a form of blasphemy." - Nigel Lawson,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Odds and Ends

News of the Weird:
Elf ears. The latest in body modification for those who aren't planning a a successful career.

EU court to takes up question of if chimps are human.

New Yamaha concept motorcycle. An 'exo-skeleton' capable of 75mph, 0-60 in 3 seconds.

There may be a huge biomass deep in the ocean. Simple prokaryotes which could be ancient.

Darwin swings and misses:
Girls sunbathe on railroad tracks.

Man inflates his son with air hose. Bonus: "Police were not expected to take action against the father, blaming the incident on pure stupidity, against which there is currently no law"


I will be posting a few things in Sparkle's absence. I was caught off guard by this honor, so I have no great thesis ready. Will be posting presently.

I'm the one on the left.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm leaving for Florida tomorrow for a week. As all of you know, that means I will be in what I consider heaven on earth for the next week...THE BEACH. I may feel that way because of experiences like this as well.

BigDog is taking over for me, so check in because he is MUCH smarter than I am.

Making a statement for Cuba!

I love this story.

This Wall Street guy collects and invests in baseball cards. I didn't know this, but the baseball card companies also include famous people with "cut" signatures, not just baseball players. So one day he notices that Topps (a baseball card company) put out a Fidel Castro card. The Wall street guy was disgusted! How dare this company give Fidel this kind of publicity and credit. He knew he had to buy the card so it wouldn't circulate, and he did. But what to do with it? Inspired by the whole Rush Limbaugh/Harry Reid victory, he decided to deface the card and auction it on e-bay. He will give the proceeds to the anti-Castro, pro-freedom cause dedicated to human rights.

Here is the auction.

Here, in part, is his description of the card:

To more accurate reflect the true Castro legacy, the card has been altered so that it now includes numerous words and phrases pertaining to Fidel on both the front and back of the card. For example, phrases on the front of the card now include:

* mass murderer
* Communist
* El Manbu concentration camp
* Free Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Oscar Biscet!
And, phrases on the back of the card now include:
* firing squads
* author of the Camilo-Cienfuegos forced labor plan
* violator of peaceful journalists' free-speech rights
* Remember Pedro Luis Boitel!

Also, all bidders must be aware that the corners of this card have been damaged by whacking each corner against a rather hard table several times (these damaged corners represent the damage to Cuba done by Fidel). In addition, all bidders must be aware that the sides of this card have several small cuts in them made with a knife (these cuts represent the torture -- and worse -- suffered by thousands of political prisoners during Fidel's regime).

via NRO

Vets for Freedom Speak Out about Obama

From NRO:

On Friday, Vets for Freedom PAC released an advertisement featuring Iraq war veteran Sergeant Garrett Anderson. The ad points out that Senator Obama was unwilling to meet with Illinois veterans, has never met with General Petraeus, and hasn’t visited Iraq in over two years. The facts are the facts, and the ad speaks for itself.

Predictably, the ad sparked fierce opposition from anti-war elements (here, here & here) who accused us of being a “right-wing 527 attack organization.” Except, they forgot to do their research. Vets for Freedom is not a 527, nor an attack organization. Our 24,000 members and 50 state chapters comprise a cross-section of America’s veterans—Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, and liberals—all of which are interested in one thing: victory in Iraq, Afghanistan, and overall the War on Terrorism.

Today, we are releasing a second ad, featuring Iraq war veteran and Vets for Freedom member, Specialist Kate Norley. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE AD. Kate, who served 16 months on the front lines as a combat medic, asks Senator Obama two simple, but powerful, questions:

1. Senator Obama, when will you finally decide to go back to Iraq, to see the progress first hand?

2. And when will you finally decide to meet one-on-one, unconditionally, with General Petraeus?

The ad also talks about the incredible progress that has been made since Senator Obama last visited Iraq in January 2006: violence down 70%, civil war over, Al Qaeda decimated, political progress occurring, and the Iraqi Army taking the lead. The fact is—the surge has worked, and has moved America closer to overall success in Iraq.

It’s important that veterans ask the tough questions of our prospective leaders. Vets for Freedom PAC has no interest in attacking Senator Obama; we just want to know why he seems so uninterested about what is actually happening on the ground.


At least she spoke the truth about what they really want.

“And guess what this member* would be all about? This member would be all about socializing — er, uh. [Pauses for several moments] …. would be about … [pause] … basically … taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”

China's Sorrow

From the Family Research Center:

While it is of little comfort to the tens of thousands of grieving parents, China is making exemptions to the one-child policy in light of the May 12 earthquake. Officials of the Family Planning Committee have announced that "qualified parents" can petition the government to have another child if their son or daughter died in the quake. Parents who had more than one child "illegally" can receive permission to register the remaining sibling(s) as the "legal replacement." This glimmer of human feeling provides some hope that Communists leaders would further relax the policy; however, it cannot relieve the suffering of the many Chinese parents who have undergone forced abortion or sterilization at the hands of the totalitarian regime. We continue to pray that this catastrophe opens the hearts of China's leaders and awakens hope that a culture of life can take root even in an atheist state that rejects the Author of Life.

Read this paragraph again. Imagine the government telling you that you may have a "legal replacement" for your child. It's like some sick horror movie.

Sometimes I just can't believe what we stand by and allow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Party on the Beach!

Reading through MSNBC's FirstRead detailing Hillary's swing through Puerto Rico this weekend brings about an almost surreal feeling. On Sunday she attended and spoke at an evangelical church:

Clinton has a big smile as the dancers perform in front of her, at first swaying subtly and then earnestly weaving back and forth and clapping to the beat. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it," she says to the crowd. "And this is a church that rejoices."

She also says it's providence that has brought her here, and keeps her in the race. "I am very grateful that I have this opportunity to come to Puerto Rico to talk with you, to listen, to visit across from one end of the islands to the other with my message that there isn't anything we cannot do together if we seek God's blessing and if we stay committed, and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life," she says. "If I had listened to those who had been talking over the last several months we would not be having this campaign in Puerto Rico today."

I wish someone would search and see if Hillary ever in her lifetime uttered the words "if we seek God's blessings" or anything close to it while not campaigning. Huckabee or Bush says such a thing and and the left thinks we are heading for a theocracy. Hillary says it and they just yawn.

After Church:

Clinton has ditched her turquoise pantsuit and is now donning a bright pink tropical shirt as she arrives at the beach in Boqueron. Again she finds herself taken to the rhythms of a local dance ensemble and musical group, and is dancing in her own subtle way along with them. As the dance troop finishes, she reaches out her arms to beckon one of the young girls to come close, and gives her a big hug. The mayor of Boqueron, herself a woman, speaks briefly and says in English, "I love you." Clinton speaks briefly, saying, "I am very grateful to all of you. I want to tell you how much I love being here. This reminds me of very happy days."

She then starts toward the beach, and the local and traveling press ignores demands to keep a distance. A chaotic scene ensues as the press battles with some of the surprised beach goers in vying for Clinton's attention. But eventually the campaign finds a few strings of rope to keep a makeshift barrier around the candidate at all times. At one point as she walks past me on the sand, I say to Clinton that this sure seems a long way from New Hampshire, doesn't it. "It's great. So pretty here," she says. She then keeps pressing the flesh, as a drum band keeps a beat around her.

She's smiling broadly the entire time.

Later Clinton speaks at the Casa Cuba, a gathering place for Cuban ex-pats:

..she says. "I hope some day to be able to visit Cuba, and to be able to talk freely and walk freely and hear the desires and the needs of the people of Cuba. "But I will not give away the chance for real change. I think we must see evidence of reform before we allow the current government in Cuba to benefit from the prestige and power of a presidential meeting. They must show their good faith, and we will work with them if they do."

Take that Obama!

Later at Sabor Latino, a bar in San Juan:

As she mingles with the crowd, Clinton encounters the four network embedded reporters, some of whom have been following her for more than a year now. "You guys can drink, too," she says after raising her beer in our direction. One says that there might be plans for that later in the evening. "I think you would," she says.

And with the sounds of Enrique Iglesias' "Be With You" in the background, Aaron Bruns, another reporter is nodding along with it. Clinton then decides to very briefly dance with him, closing her eyes and nodding her head, before patting him on the shoulder and moving ahead. A somewhat bewildered Bruns can't believe what just happened, as some of Clinton's staff turn back to laugh at the scene.

Surreal enough for you? Who is this person??

Now, in case you haven't heard, that same Sunday Bill Clinton was in South Dakota saying that the Democrats were likely to lose if they don't nominate Hillary and had this to say:

"I can’t believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out,” he said at a South Dakota campaign stop Sunday, in remarks first reported by ABC News. “'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"

The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate. "She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence,” he said. “And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.”

I'm betting the behind the scenes atmosphere at the DNC is FRANTIC. Hillary is having the time of her life. She is sticking it in the faces of the DNC and Obama.

Just when I think that something rational will happen here and Hillary and Obama will make nice somehow and all this theatre will be over (how sad that will be!), Hillary just keeps on going like the energizer bunny and it's clear that her and her hubby are determined to keep their dream alive.

Don't you just love it???

The Left and Right of Gaffes

Let's start with Obama's story about his own conception:

Marking the anniversary of the March 1965 "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala., Obama, speaking at a church, he credited the those civil rights marchers of 1965 with the fact that his parents, a black African father and white Kansas mother, were inspired to fall in love and get married.

"They looked at each other and they decided, 'We know that in the world, as it has been, it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child, but something is stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across the bridge.' And so they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Ala.!"

Obama was born in 1961; the Selma march was four years later.

Last May, he claimed that tornadoes in Kansas killed a whopping 10,000 people: "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." The actual death toll: 12.

In Obama's memoir, Dreams of My Father, he writes of a story in Life magazine that influenced and touched him greatly. It was about a black man trying to bleach his skin white. The Chicago Tribune researched Life magazine for the article. No such article could be found in Life. They researched Ebony as well, but found nothing.

A few weeks ago in Rush Limbaugh's hometown of all places, Obama messed up again:

Obama posited -- incorrectly -- that Arabic translators deployed in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan -- forgetting, momentarily, that Afghans don't speak Arabic. "We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan," Obama said.

In a speech on Memorial Day Obama said this:

"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

Which of course led to rightwing blogs with headlines like, "Obama sees dead people."

Speaking in Oregon a few weeks ago Obama said: "I've now been to 57 states." Which prompted a new flag pin he could wear.

Now he has said this:

Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz. He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic. “Now obviously, something had really affected him deeply, but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” Obama said. “That’s why this idea of making sure that every single veteran, when they are discharged, are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and given the mental health services that they need – that’s why it’s so important.”

Auschwitz, of course, is in Poland. It was liberated by the Soviets on January 27, 1945, not by Americans. Obama's uncle was either part of the Red Army or he was told a story that he didn't think through.

Look, all Presidential candidates make gaffes and misspeak. This is why I never blogged on Obama's mistakes. Presidential campaigns are brutal and any normal person would make mistakes like this. But we all know that if McCain has made these same mistakes the pundits on TV would be frowning and asking America if McCain's "senior moments" would hurt his ability to lead.

The problem is how the media (not the bloggers) react to these mishaps when they happen to Republicans. As Jim Geraghty points out:

Dan Quayle gets defined by one foolish moment where his misspells "potato," and George W. Bush is forever mocked as a dunce for his (admittedly classic) "Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

If the MSM would either A) be more forgiving of Republican officials who they don't like or B) be a little tougher on Democratic officials they do like, the world would be a better place. In this case, I don't think Barack Obama is deliberately lying, or trying to pull a fast one. It sounds like a family "legend" in which the specific horrors of war witnessed by his uncle are mistaken as the years go by. It happens, and Obama only deserves the lightest of metaphorical slaps on the wrist for it. But it would help if his fans in the press actually paid attention to what he says.

Even Hillary's sniper story didn't bother me because all politicans polish and embellish stories all the time. But we all know that the only reason Hillary got the same treatment by the media usually reserved for Republicans is because she is the Democrat who has the gall to not bow out gracefully to Obama, the media's love child.

I don't mind if the media gives Obama a pass on mistakes and gaffes, as long as they show the same courtesy to McCain.

Let the bloggers, on the left and right, have fun with them, but the MSM needs to be fair. Period.

McCain to Obama:

"Let's take a trip together."

That would be interesting. McCain wants Obama to visit Iraq with him since Obama hasn't been there since 2006 and so much has progressed since then:

"I go back every few months because things are changing in Iraq," he said. McCain questioned whether Obama has ever been briefed by Petraeus. "I would also seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way."

Obama will never go because things are looking much better in Iraq. That news is slowly leaking out. Obama can't possibly change his position now.

I'm back

I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. We caught a lot fish. I will put up some pics when I get to it.

Let's start off with this article that describes the different ways the right and left deal with bad news or deaths of conservatives vs. liberals.

I know that on the net you can find vile comments everywhere, but the Ted Kennedy story had me looking closely at the blogs I read and the comments about him. I am happy to report that the comments were almost all wishing him well. When someone on the right has this kind of news that is as famous for being conservative as Kennedy is for being liberal, you never get well wishes, I can promise you that.

Take a look.

h/t BigDog