Saturday, June 19, 2004

No bias in certain voting drives you say...

Here's the story.

Here's the confusion...

"Organizers did not officially endorse specific candidates."

Later in the article...

"We are telling young people: 'If George Bush still wins, that does not mean you should never vote again,"' he said. "The 2004 Election Day is just one piece of the puzzle."

Plus, you suspicious of Rock the Vote too?

Finally, I am sick and tired of people getting on their high horse against the war or the Bush administration and then defending their actions by reminding everyone that this is America and they are allowed to do so, or have the obligation to do so. How about you just say what you want and then shut up. We all aren't capable of the shrill repulsiveness of Camryn Manheim, but that doesn't mean we don't understand what we are and are not permitted to do in America.

Want to talk insanity...

How about a Maoist for PA State House...

Insanity!!!!!!!!

We are the United States of America and we have declared war on Terrorism. We cannot let the countries of the world stand in the way of protecting the people of this great country. I will agree with Kevin that we needed to go into Saudi Arabia. If the country cut off oil supply than you know what. Lets say screw you liberals we need oil to defend our country and start drilling in ANWAR!!! Instead we allow ourselves to be a bunch of little liberals and worry about the feelings of others. What about the feelings of the men who have been and will be beheaded until we stand up and do something about it. This is a war on terror and a war is fought with intelligence and military. Let's use both. A terrorist leader has been caught and killed today which is a step in the right direction but we need more active intervention. We cannot allow this foolishness to continue without taking decisive action against those who would harm our citizens.

Delta is for Cain, Cain is for Charlie, Charlie is for Carlos

Well in the effort to join Kevin in diversifying our blog I will do another non political book review. I have recently completed the Jason Bourne Trilogy which includes
1. The Bourne Identity
2. The Bourne Supremacy
3. The Bourne Ultimatum

These books can be very confusing at times with the number of charter names that pertain to one person but once you have it figured out you become enthralled with the chase for the legendary assassin Carlos the Jackal by Jason Bourne(Cain, David, Simon, Cobra, ect.) the man who was essentially created to stop him. The books add more than any movie ever could. I do hope for the upcoming movie they keep the idea of a man impersonating Jason Bourne in China forcing him to resume his identity and stop the killer. It was a worthwhile story line and would make for a fantastic movie. For those who liked the Bourne Identity movies I cannot recommend the book enough. It is a modern day spy thriller that is better than any I have read. I am told the Da Vinci code is better and I will be reading that on the flight home today so I will let you all know later.

Friday, June 18, 2004

This is unacceptable

Foxnews is reporting that Paul Johnson's body has just been found, beheaded. This is absolutely unacceptable. We had 72 hours notice that this was going to happen. We had to believe that this was going to happen. U.S. Special Forces need to enter Saudi Arabia right now, secure a 50 mile perimeter around the site where his body was found, and find these al Qaeda terrorists. Bush keeps telling them that we are going to find them wherever they may be and kill them, well here's our chance. Its about time we face this threat, because very soon they are going to bring this to the United States, and one of us may be abducted, or someone we know blown up by a suicide bomber. Once June 30th hits, we need to do whatever is best to secure Iraq, whether that is through our continued presence, a U.N force, or something else, but we need to return our focus to terrorism. We need to center our focus on Saudi Arabia, and we can't let this happen again. Bush, you need to prove to us that you are willing to take the right steps in this fight, because we know John Kerry isn't willing. You can create a distinction between you and Kerry and make it abundantly clear who is the right candidate, who is the right man to handle this war on terror, but you need to do it quickly - this will happen again, and soon.

Final Roundup of the Night

I just wanted to point out some good stuff at NRO, then I'll go to bed; I promise.

To begin with Jonah Goldberg has quite a bit on the Geneva Convention, and why the terrorists don't get the perks that come with it. Start with his column and then read this email he posted on the Corner.

Then there's a few Corner posts about Iraq and al Qaeda links: Testimony from the 9/11 hearing. Andrew McCarthy has a whole column on it that's well worth reading. Then Rich Lowry and a military emailer of Jonah's talk about interrogations.

Okay, I have to add in a couple things from Den Beste, and then I'm done. He's got a good post discussing the failure of the Soviet system and how Chernobyl is a sort of Pompeii for the USSR. He also links to a brief yet interesting dissection of the recent European elections

Oh, and Clinton is as shameless as ever.

Now I'm done.

Oh yeah...

Brian, Kevin, and Mary, you guys need to give me some links to put up in your sections, if you want them up there.

Brian, while you're still in Prague, it would be interesting to see if you could find out anything more on that pre-9/11 meeting Czech intel is always pointing to.

Have I mentioned I love Lileks' writing?

His satire never fails to make me laugh:
"I have another joke. Why did the chicken cross the road?

Because the neo-con agenda demanded it, as set forth in the Protocols of the New American Century?"

And he's always able to cut to the heart of the issue when it comes to the War on Terror, even when dealing with drunken phone stalkers:

I don’t know what compels someone to call up out of the blue and attempt to demolish another’s belief system with one-word arguments that consist entirely of nouns (Enron! C’mon! Halliburton! Education!) but it is instructive, I suppose. He had no arguments, only assertions. We’re in a depression, for examples. There are no news jobs. Informed that there are new jobs, he insisted that they were bad jobs. Burger flipping jobs. An’ the world hates us!

When have they loved us?

They hate us now.

Does the world hate Sudan?

S’dan? What have they done to anyone?

M'kay. It was all very depressing, but revealing: in his long list of grievances and horrors, there was one conspicuous absence: terrorism. Not even on the radar. Enron, yes. Islamic fascism, no.


If you're not reading him every day, start right now. Make sure you read the last section of today's post. Good stuff.

And another thing...

As I'm sitting here watching the tape of the hearings from today on CSPAN, I've already seen 2 interruptions of the panel in the last 15 minutes. This commission may be ridiculous, but come on, have some damn restraint. People think that just because the public is allowed into public hearings, that's license to yell and berate and generally act like idiots. You may not have respect for the panel, but at least have some respect for the people on it and the other people watching quietly. This is not the time for your 15 seconds of noteriety. Do people have no sense of decorum anymore? This kind of nonsense goes on all the time and I'm just tired of seeing it. If you don't like it, then afterwards there's plenty of opportunity to register your disgust by writing a letter to the editor, posting on your blog, writing or calling to harrass your Congressman's staff about it, calling talk radio, etc, etc. Most of these people just want to get on TV, and the damn sensationalist media are all too willing to help out. All of you, show some freaking respect.

Iraq, Al Qaeda, and the 9/11 Commission

Since the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-grandstanding, non-partisan 9/11 commission announced today that "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States," all the anti-war people, various lefties, and the "What did Iraq have to do with terror?" Democrats (see Colmes, Alan) will be trumpeting this one line out of a long report until we can't stand it anymore. Hell, I already can't stand it.

As the great Sean Hannity would say, though, "Let not your heart be troubled." First of all, there is a great deal of evidence that al Qaeda and Saddam's government met many times looking to work against the United States. Saddam was clearly harboring and assisting terrorists, as evidenced by the guys we captured last year and by the well-known fact that Saddam was paying Palestinian suicide bombers. And of course, there's that meeting in Prague between Atta and one of Saddam's underlings that Czech intelligence insists took place. Liberals like to dismiss that pointing to the CIA's dismissal of it. It's interesting, though, that this is the ONLY thing that's come out of the CIA in the last 4 years (maybe even the last 40) that liberals will believe unequivocally.

Cox and Forkum have an extremely informative post (which is better than the comic this time, in my opinion; no offense guys) about all this and point to Dennis Hastert's statement on the subject:

We don't have evidence that Saddam Hussein helped plan the attack on September 11th, but we do have plenty of evidence that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden shared a similar view of the United States and were exploring ways to develop closer ties. Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are cut from the same cloth. One leads a terrorist organization, while the other led a terrorist government.


He's right, of course, but there's more to it. Cox and Forkum are on that, so read their post, and then make sure you read their two links to Instapundit on the same subject, reproduced here and here.

My local radio host today was focused on a different subject relating to the commission, namely the "Why did Bush keep reading to elementary schoolers when the country was clearly under attack?" As a caller wisely pointed out, we don't know exactly what Bush was told at the time (though some new reports have been much more definitive than they really should be) and it's likely he was just told that "A plane hit the World Trade Center." Now, I know when I heard that, the first thing I thought of was the B-25 that accidentally flew into the Empire State Building in 1945. There was quite a bit of damage, but nothing that constituted a national emergency, nor anything that compromised the building's structure. I would imagine that this scenario is what popped into Bush's mind and that's why he didn't feel it was necessary to leave. However, I don't know if this is true or not and if anyone knows definitively that Bush was told that the country was CLEARLY under attack and he decided to stay, then not only would I like to hear it, but then some serious questions need to be asked. (Of course, that still wouldn't make me vote for Kerry, nor convince me that he's serious about the War in any way.) The problem here, that another caller alluded to, is that we're looking back at this through glasses tinted by September 11th. Of course the President should have realized we were under attack and of course he should have dropped everything and of course everyone should have realized this and that. But nothing like this was even imagined in our national consciousness. Rudy Giuliani pointed this out in the last round of hearings and he's absolutely right. General Meyers had a pithy comment when he paraphrased Tom Ridge saying, "We have to be right every time, but the terrorists only have to be right once." I think the value of this commission is more in the history and in plugging any holes we might still have rather than the out and out finger-pointing it has become.

Unfortunately, it's looking more and more like the report form the 9/11 Commission is going to be compromised by the partisanship and "gotcha" games the proceedings have been plagued by. From Benveniste berating Condolezza Rice to the Gorelick memo, to today's statement and all the finger-pointing based on 20-20 hindsight, I have to wonder if this report is going to reveal much of anything. Something tells me we'll have to wait for history to sort it all out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Who'da thunk it...

Mississippi is the first state to my knowledge to get this issue right, limiting jury awards.

A hush falls on the crowd...

"But Kevin," a voice cries out, "didn't Ed Rendell say in his campaign that he was going to enact some real reforms to curb the frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits?"

"Why yes, yes he did," I replied.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I have no title for this post, David, because the link that you put up there was so incredibly disturbing. Things like this convince me that I made the right choice in saying no to Berkeley to get my education elsewhere. I am sickened and disgusted by the bigoted fools that go around in that article. It is a sad intolerant state and unfortunately the liberals have been so focused on race and ethnicity and religion that it now has become an indentifier. One of my favorite quotes from Ann Coulter's Slander is "White supremacists and liberals are the only two groups neurotically obsessed about race." That can easily be applied to the case of religion as they want us to be atheists like Michael Newdow. It is a sad fact that we will have to deal with this in the future and that this is the education being taught at the best school in the UC system.

Scary

We're all well aware of the prevalence of anti-Israel sentiment among lefties on college campuses and of the anti-semitism that's popular among hardcore Leftists these days. The burning epicenter of hardcore Leftism, as usual, is UC Berkeley, so in all honesty it's not surprising reading about the widespread anti-semitism there. However, what I was struck by in reading this article about it (centering on Daniel Pipes' appearance there) that the Collegiate Network homepage pointed to was the virulence of it. These people are absolutely insane. It's a seriously creepy level of hatred. It makes me think of the stormtroopers dressed in suicide bomber outfits running through the anti-war rallies. It's like the 60s and the 30s decided to mix some of their worst elements and then deposited them directly in Berkeley, California. Fortunately, I think even Howard Dean recongnizes that these people are absolutely nuts. It's disturbing when you see this level of hatred and bile, but as Alan Charles Kors, who I happen to be a big fan of, says, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." So, take the time to read this report, despite it being 4 pages.

Monday, June 14, 2004

It's Our Turn Now

"We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth." ~ President Reagan

I feel slightly guilty because in the past week, I really haven't had much time to stop and think about the late, great Ronald Wilson Reagan. A week ago today, my favorite teacher passed away unexpectedly. And while I am obviously saddened by the loss of my favorite president, this loss was much more personal and harder to take.

I don't think I'd even be writing about her in this blog, if it wasn't for something her sister said to me today. I spent half of my day, every day of my 7th and 8th grade years, in Mrs. W's classroom learning language arts, reading, and religion. She was also my homeroom teacher for 8th grade and I could spend hours going on about what a wonderful woman she was and how she was one of the best role models of my life.

But this is supposed to be a political blog, so I'll stick to that. I was fortunate enough to see her twice in the last month or so, once just a few days before the Toomey-Specter primary. I was at my old high school to watch my younger brother compete as part of a trivia team against other elementary schools. His team won first place at that level and went on to beat all the other schools in the diocese, and Mrs. W was one of several teachers who coached the kids. When I saw her at the beginning of the day, she gave me a big hug and wanted to know all about what I've been up to in college. I mentioned that I was president of the College Republicans at Lehigh and she just lit up. Later in the afternoon, we sat together for one of the rounds of competition. I mentioned to her that I was trying to get out the word to everyone I knew to vote for Pat Toomey in the primary, just two days away. She told me that she absolutely loved Pat Toomey (and Sean Hannity, for that matter) and had called all of her friends and relatives in Scranton to get votes. Then she went on to tell me about a candidate in her congressional district and how she had his sign next to Toomey's in her front yard. We went on and on about politics for the rest of the afternoon.

So this morning, I was talking to her sister after the memorial Mass and she wanted to know all about me. Where do I go to school? What's my major? When I told her political science, I added, "You know, the last time I saw your sister, we were going on and on about politics."

Her sister tightened her grip on my hands and looked me right in the eyes, then said, "Political science, huh? Now, take what you learned from her, and go out and change the world."

I've been thinking about that all night. She taught me so much, both in and out of the classroom, and now, I need to go out and change the world. We all do. There is a big lesson to be learned, from Ronald Reagan and people like my beloved teacher. It is possible to make a difference, to go out and change the world. It's not an easy task and it won't be instantaneous. It might only happen one person, one heart, one mind at a time, but it can be done.

So the next time you feel frustrated by a liberal professor or something in the news makes you think the whole world has gone crazy, think about someone who has made an impact on you and your political viewpoint. That person made a tiny change in the world by having an influence on you. Now it's your turn. Go out and change the world.

Movie and Book Review

I have recently started reading the Master and Commander Series by Patrick O'Brien. I am through the first three books (out of 5).
1. Master and Commander (4)
2. Post Captain (5)
3. HMS Surprise (5)

The movie while well done and a good look at the times as usual does not compare to the book. The movie based mostly off book 10 (The Far Side of the World) also incorporates part of the earlier novels. The characters are developed very well and the action while subdued through most of it comes roaring out at times. I would rate the movie a 4 stand alone and when taking the books into account I would bump it down to a three as it does not highlight the character of Stephen Maurtin as it should. For anyone however who enjoyed the movie I highly recommend the books and although I am taking a break from the series to finish the Jason Bourne Trilogy I will be reading the rest throughout the school year. For those who have not seen the movie I do recommend the movie for those who like historic epic types and can stand certain arrogant actors.

Signs the World Has Gone Insane

I encounter so many of these in my daily life, I thought it would be a (mildly) good idea to make a series out of this, so I can alert people to just how dumb things have gotten.

So, for the first installment, we have something I heard about listening to Hannity's show just now. Apparently, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has enacted a new noise ordinance which features a ban on ice cream truck jingles and bells. That's right, ice cream trucks must now run silent through the streets of New York. Apparently it's either disturbing to people or contribute too much to noise. I'll pause here to let the sheer stupidity of this sink in.
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As Hannity said, "How are you supposed to know the ice cream truck is coming?" That's how you know the ice cream truck is there! You hear the chimes a few blocks away! Then you go running to your parents for money. Is it just me or does it seem like there are forces aligned determined to destroy every little nostalgic piece of Americana and turn us into some sterile socialist blob, like Belgium or Norway? Another strike for Bloomberg. Somebody has got to get a decent conservative candidate for City Hall in New York.

No chimes on ice cream trucks; has the whole world gone insane?

Oh, and in another strange note, Rush has his first personal Gorbasm.

My Life

Well I am sad to say that I helped to contribute to Bill's Biography. I have purchased one to read so I can see the progpaganda being put out these days by the master of it Slick Willy. I will be reading that sometime this summer after my promise to Kevin to read Da Vinci code (yes I know it is about 7 months later) and Mary to read Atlas Shrugged. David I will insert your book First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power by Warren Zimmermann after My life as it was on back order and I will be through everyone's reading requirements by the end of summer.

Red Cross

The international Red Cross has said that with the withdraw of US soldiers the occupation ends and Saddam must be charged with a crime, let go or the US faces breaking international law. Well I say that we do not need to adhere to these rules if we are going to allow a dictator to escape. The international community sees fit to reward Saddam as it did with the oil for food program. This is utter insanity and I can't believe they would dare issue such a command. We have a person who slaughtered his own people and the Red Cross wants him released. This inhuman dictator does not deserve the treatment he has been given so far. US lawyers are working with Iraqi's to prepare a trial against the French jackass who is defending him. To charge him prematurely would be a folly that cannot be allowed to occur and I hope that we find a way to get around this absurd accusation.

Thank God for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the highly leftist and thoroughly evil 9th circuit court of appeals by allowing under god to stay in the pledge of allegiance. Michael Newdow who was leading the fight to have it removed so his daughter would not be turned against him has finally been defeated although he has vowed to appeal the decision. The Supreme Court has done the right thing and made a decision that is an important part of this countries heritage. We were founded by religious people in the form of the puritans and to deny this religious beginning is foolish. I am not an overly religious person but I believe very strongly that "under God" should be kept in the Pledge and that students realize their background.

Weekend Link Roundup

Yeah, I know I should have something more substantial to show for this weekend, but I don't. However, I now have most of the pictures form the parade on my computer so I can begin preparing that report. Look for some sort of comment on the Reagan and money discussions in the next couple of days. In the mean time, links:

Margaret Thatcher's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan

Brian Mulroney's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan

The eulogies by Thatcher and Mulroney were amazing and highly recommended if you didn't get to see them.

George H. W. Bush's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan

President George W. Bush's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan

Donald Sensing has a great post discussing the (occasionally) subtle differences between the Left and liberals and goes on to enumerate some of the things that make Leftists so unpalatable.

Meanwhile, Den Beste takes a long look at the media's attempts to rewrite the history of Reagan, starting with, where else, the New York Times.

Also, you absolutely must see Cox & Forkum's interpretation of Hip-hop, Islamofascist style: Baby Got Burqa.

Instapundit offered up a few more links on historical perspective, featuring Virginia Postrel and Dailypundit

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Maoists of the World, Unite!

Well, my fellow conservatives, I have just been enlightened by the Maoist International Movement's newsletter. My little leftist friend sent it to me because of the cigarettes and drug article on page three, but the whole thing is really quite inspiring. Don't look at this on a full stomach, you may toss your cookies.

As if that wasn't enough, he also sent me this. The best part of that picture is not the motorcycle or the goofy grin, but the pink tie. Yes, I say it's pink. You might disagree with me and say burgundy, but in that lighting, against that blue shirt, at that angle, it's close enough to pink to frighten me.

How I Love Hollywood

One of my friends just sent me a short article on Michael Moore's new movie. It's very helpful because it includes a list of Hollywood celebrities to add to my on-going boycott.

Sorry, Brian, but it does make me want to go out and buy a Britney Spears CD.

Trump

I have just finished reading Donald Trump's older book Trump: the Art of the Deal and I thought I should share some of the interesting ideas that he puts forth about the administration of local governments that I agree with.

The idea of having to accept the lowest bid (at all levels of government) is a bad idea. Quality must be taken into account as well as the ability to get the job done in a timely fashion not just the cost. There are times when extra dollars for quality and speed are essential. The best example from the book is Wollman rink which after six years was still not complete and many millions over budget. Trump took it from the city and completed it in four months and 750,000 under budget by hiring quality people to build and manage it. The rink now turns a profit and is very successful with all proceeds from the rink going to charity as agreed upon in his contract with the city.

Although a democrat I am very impressed with the way Mr. Trump has grasped business and he is one of the few who understands that showmanship is an important part of business along with making a quality product. As he and numerous others have pointed out you can only be a con man so long and then you have to deliver a product that is successful and works. The government especially local governments like mine near LA do not do enough to manage the horrible state of schools in the state. There is a lack of efficiency and energy in getting student's to learn. President Bush' no child left behind is one of the worst things I have ever heard of and it is only making the situation worse in CA. There are quality teachers who are capable of teaching and do not need to be weighed down by "teaching to the test" in order to keep funding. I have seen the retirement of seven of my high school teachers with another 5 who have annoucned in the next two years they will retire. The new education standards are harming students more than helping and the teachers spirits have essentially been crushed. Many of the teachers I had are still working on this and are going to try to energize their students and teach them the thinking skills they need not just memorizing test answers.

Another policy discussed by Trump is the idea of Tax abatement on property in cities. I am a big fan of tax abatement and have advised several of my friends who are thinking of getting into real estate to make sure they look into this in whatever city they practice in. Tax abatement allows for an exemption of taxes on current and future profits for some period of time if improvements on the property are going to be made. Sadly these were stopped in the 1980's in many places and with the need for development of areas after 9/11 tax abatement provides a powerful incentive to develop land that otherwise might not get developed.

Of course Donald Trump lives very well and he has earned it by being a true capitalist. I can respect the man for much of what he has done and realizing the goals when he did. The policies that he discussed are things that I can sympathize with and one day hope can be corrected.

Terezin

Today was one of the most sobering experiences of my life. I took a trip out to Terezin which was the only concentration camp inside the Czech Republic. I have never been to any concentration camps before so this was a first for me. This camp did not posses a gas chamber like others and was not a killing machine like most. It was used by the Nazi's for propaganda. The International Red Cross was brought here when expecting camps and shown a video of Jews smiling, playing soccer, attending the cinema, or going to cultural events like opera. It was of course a complete sham and the facilities that the inspectors were shown were only used during that time period of inspections. In the meantime thousands of Jews still died from miserable conditions and the diseases (especially typhoid fever) that ravaged this camp.

I could not help but draw the parallel between the inspections in Iraq and those done by the Red Cross. Both places had a thoroughly evil regime lying to them. In his book Disarming Iraq Hans Blix is very careful to say that only effective inspections will work and investigators must be allowed to go wherever they want whenever they want. The inspectors in Iraq were not given this freedom and nor did the inspectors of the Red Cross. This serves as an interesting parallel to those inspections that are trying to occur in North Korea and Iran.

Iran the other day announced that the world would have to accept the fact that it is going to be a nuclear power in terms of going after fuel resources. While we all simply know that this is absolute BS and that these people will pursue weapons of mass destruction without any qualms or thoughts the inspectors are not being given the latitude they need to inspect. I want to learn from the mistakes of Terezin and Iraq to have active enforcement and although I disagree with much of what Blix had said in his book I do agree that effective enforcement is the only way we will ever have meaningful inspections and a process that does not require war. Until then however the threat of force must be held over these rouge states.