Saturday, July 24, 2004

Post Number 300!

And I'm the winner! Of what? Nothing, really. And how am I celebrating? Just a simple end-of-the-week link roundup. This is an impressive milestone for a young blog, though. Well, I have no idea if it actually is, it just feels that way. Okay, enough of the John Kerry-style equivocating. On with the links!

Den Beste has three fantastic posts in a row. First on Bush and what the Republicans have on Kerry. Then on what great allies we have in Manila. Then on the absolute lunacy of the far left. I've linked to that one before, but it deserves another mention. All are worth thr time to read.

Head on over to Instapundit and to borrow a phrase made famous by that very blog, just keep scrolling. Make sure you don't miss his mention of private spaceflight legislation or his list of questions Bush asked of black voters during his speech to the National Urban League.

Meanwhile, Stanley Kurtz has a new article up on NRO about gay marriage and how it has effected parts of Europe. And Andrew McCarthy has some thoughts before you read the 9/11 Comission report, which, by the way, you can download here (7MB PDF).

Great Star Wars Graphic Novels

For the Star Wars Fans out there I have to recommend this graphic novel series that I have just finished up however it is to be continued.  The Clone Wars series vol 1-4 are some of the best stories I have come across detailing the exploits of the Jedi and Clone Soldiers during the war against the separatists.  The stories jump around form character to character but focus on Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, Alaya, and many of the other key Jedi Commanders you are likely to see in the upcoming movie next may. This is essential for the Star Wars fans. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

A good reminder

I want to thank Denzel Washington for taking a stand against Michael Moore in a recent interview and reminding people that Hollywood is not filled with entirely outspoken leftist and there really are a small outspoken group that is out there actively trying to push apolitical agenda. Hopefully these people will go away but in the event that they do not we will always have to remember that the sane stars can do great things like Governor Arnold.  
    

Election Thoughts

I am very disappointed in the way that the Bush team is handling a few aspects of this race in the recent publications that I have received from them.  The polling has been one of the worst that I have ever seen. I am a firm believer in good polling as it generates good intelligence which no campaign should be without.  The questions they ask are so blatantly loaded that they are pointless in determining voter issues. I received one poll targeted to republicans donating money and one that was a voter phone poll that I decided to listen to today.  The phone poll asked “Do you support the president in making this nation a safer place” what idiot says no to that. A better question to determine how the voters are feeling is “How safe do you feel with Bush in office?”  This would actually give you a determinable response for figuring out where voters are on the security issue. Another questions asked me if I wanted more tax cuts to put money in my pocket. I actually decided to try the pollster on this one and said I did not want any more tax cuts I want a balanced budget. Hopefully they will get something useful out of that.  (For the record an excellent book on polling and how it can be applied is Dick Morris’ Getting Reelected against all odds.)

The poll asking for money was even worse.  The questions were so loaded that they were out of place in the section they were in.  The front part was a voter response and the back was a pump up questions for donating money. There mine as well have been no distinction between the two sections. I am very curious to see what the Kerry camp is doing in regards to polling however I fear it is far worse since they are running so far to the left especially shown by their choice of convention speakers. The idea of triangulation has been completely lost on these groups and one can hope that it will stay with the Bush camp that is starting to embrace it. The list of speakers at the convention for the republicans shows some hope of reaching out to moderates and making an honest effort to win the election.

Yay!

I saw the first GOP ad on our blog today.  Of course, the other half of the ad was for "responsible Americans trying to take back their country" or something ridiculous along those lines. 

My commenting comments on a comment page

http://benemahan.blogspot.com/2004/07/w-hy-george-bush-is-going-to-win-again.html

Bush on Crime

I was just listening to the president's speech in Detroit at the Urban League, and he began to discuss his administration's record on crime.  A 68% increase in the prosecution of federal gun laws, and a reduction in violent crime of 23% - both over the past three years.  Just some of the important things that have been overshadowed by the war.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

CA Budget Woes

The battle over the budget in CA is looking like it could lead to a government shut down at the rate this is going. Democrats (Girlie Men) have said that if there is no budget passed and they miss their conventions then they guarantee that the republicans will miss their conventions. What are some of the issues that are affecting this battle over the budget that are causing so many problems?

1. Electricity spending: we the state of CA have not had to resort ot the rolling blackouts yet this summer however it is only a matter of time at the rate of decay that the electric plants are going through. Deregulation was a disaster as no one has built new plants or modernized the old ones which are desperately needed.

2. Water shortages: My town is one of the hardest hit with water being trucked in from towns an hour away for 16 hours a day. We are holding steady but fools who will not let there yards die are using up more water and no surplus is being built up. If a wildfire occurs in my area I am finished as there will be no water to fight it.

3. Costs of Wild Fires: The cost of last years awful fire season is still being paid for.  1200 homes were lost in San Diego and the insurance companies could not deliver on the payments. Even with federal disaster relief money the cost is still tremendous and there are at least five fires going on right now that I am aware of in southern CA alone. 

4. School Buses for public schools:  Many public schools want to use private companies for busing students which is cheaper and gets more professional drivers . In an effort to block this school driver unions have been staging protests with slogans like “don’t outsoruce my job” which is insane. We are not outsourcing to India here we are giving the jobs to private companies that are more efficient in transportation. 

These are just a few of the issues that are affecting the budget that will hopefully get worked out soon and Governor Arnold will be back to work keeping the girlie men at bay. If not they can be “terminated” in the next election.

9/11 commission

Everyone recently seems to be going after the 9/11 commission with a vengeance. Although I am in agreement that this document is not really a groundbreaking revelation into the failings of our domestic defense system and the intelligence sector it does remain a good piece of research.  No one has taken the time to put together a through investigation of what happened. If this document is used correctly it could have tremendous benefits. I am not very happy to hear president Bush say he is going to essentially ignore the document for now.  The report has not been out long enough for any one to have done an indepth read and each side is focusing on its own parts. The Republicans disagree with a section that says a war on terror is not logical sense terror is such a "difuse" thing in the world. I will post more about this later after I pick up the 9/11 commission tomorrow and read through it. Not until I have read through all of it though will I decide how useful this will be in making future recommendations but I still think this is a tremendous research tool. 

Oh and Michael Savage shut up about the 9/11 commission until you have something useful to contribute. We do not need a Michael Moore type analysis on this issue that is comming from Savage.



The Sept. 11 Report

View it here.  I think it's important that we all read this to see either: that this was a well-conducted and productive committee, or: bureaucratic committees haven't been able to get anything done since the Truman Commission. 



Map o' Lehigh

Here's an interesting map of the future plans for Lehigh's campus.   It's part of the Campus Master Plan.  Note the two parking garages, one behind Admissions, and one next to M%M. 

Diddy's voting scheme

"Vote or Die."  It's not too hard to see through this "non-partisan, independent" organization. This is just another obstacle from the left, up there with "Choose or Lose."  Diddy's out claiming that this is the most important election ever, that the youth vote holds the result in its hands, and that its a matter of "life or death."  Ehm, no its not, but thats a nice scare tactic.

 
Here's testimony from my favorite radio talk show host on airport security.

Light Shed on Jacobsen's Story

Good old NRO comes through again with an important piece of the puzzle to the "Syrian Band/Terror in the Skies" story. Turns out that, yes, they were indeed a band from Syria, and they did play at a casino outside LA (though it's actually closer to San Diego). Apparently, it was the "Syrian Wayne Newton" and his back-up band. Clinton W. Taylor has the details over at NRO.

Taylor says, "...it appears safe to say they were not casing Northwest Airlines for a suicidal assault, and we can quit worrying about this being a "dry run" or an aborted attack....Which is definitely not the same as saying Jacobsen was wrong to worry. The proven existence of this band confirms one of the last details of her story, and her story confirms some of our worst fears about airline security."

Read the whole thing. Any liberals inclined to now decry the reaction to this story should note Lileks' response to such below.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

More Syrian Band Follow-up

An emailer to the Corner has some interesting information about Syrian passports, saying they're required to put the "SSSS" stamp on their tickets. I don't know if anyone here has gotten one of those, but I have. essentially, it means you get searched at every point along the way. It's a major pain, but in this case it's a good thing. I'm not quite sure how well it was implemented, though. Anyway, read the whole email there and then scroll down to John Derbyshires's thoughts on the whole thing.

CNN is Horrid

Ruefully, I subjected myself to "Newsnight with Arron Brown," one of the worst programs CNN has to offer. I thought it might be nice to get some video on the Sandy Berger thing. Well, CNN spun the story just like the New York Times did. Oh, it's no big deal, just an oversight. Berger's really a man of integritiy and all that.

The worst thing, though, was that the only interviews they showed for the story were with Lanny Davis and David Gergen! They didn't bother to find anyone who WASN'T a member of the Clinton administration to comment on this? It's just so incredibly absurd. The only even Republican voice in the whole segment was a clip from Dennis Hastert's press conference from earlier today. Gee, Aaron, don't you think you might get a slightly different perspective from someone who DIDN'T WORK FOR BILL CLINTON?

God, I miss Fox News. The more I'm away from them the more I realize they really are "Fair and Balanced." Shove it, Moveon.org.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"One Small Step..."

"Houston, the Eagle has landed."
"We copy you on the ground Eagle. We've got a lot of guys down here about to turn blue. We're breathin' again. Thanks a lot."

I think that exchange captures the drama, anticiation, and magnitude of what took place 35 years ago today, July 20th, 1969. Check out this page for some audio and video of the mission. This anniversary, as important as it is, often gets lost in current events, but let us not forget what we as a nation accomplished that day. We took President Kennedy's challenge and we met it. We beat the Soviets, and we achieved a great triumph of science and technology. We "landed a man on the moon and brought him back safely to the earth." And then we did it 5 more times. But we haven't been there since 1972.

We need to go back. Why? Well, space is the future. It represents amazing possibilities and resources. It represents insurance, for surely two planets are better than one. It's the next frontier, and we should be exploring it. Why? President Kennedy answered that question in 1962: "We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. ... But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain... We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

I've always admired that speech; it's something our space program sorely needs. President Bush attempted something similar in January. He laid out 4 major goals: finish the ISS by 2010, develop a new reusable spacecraft by 2008, return to the moon by 2020, and use that as a stepping stone to Mars. I'm definitely behind this, but I'm consistantly worried that NASA is just too bureaucratic and too underfunded to really do this. I'm also concerned that after 2 shuttle disasters NASA hasn't learned its lessons.

Nevertheless, I want things to press forward, and I think they must press forward. I'm heartened by the success of StarShipOne and by the reconsideration of the decision to scrap the Hubble telescope.

President Bush said, "Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit. So let us continue the journey." I think he's absolutely right about that. I often compare our current position in exploring space to Europe's position in exploring the New World in the early 16th century. There had been a few famous expeditions, financed by governments to the Americas, but it was till so far and so difficult that little else had happened in some years. However, when private companies (yes, often with government assistance and/or blessing) began exploring, that was when the Age of Exploration exploded. The spirit of discovery and adventure was alive and private fortunes financed the bold explorers who numbered a few at first but soon became a flood. I think 1969 was our 1492. Here's hoping that 1607 isn't far off.

The last man on the moon, Gene Cernan, said as he left, "We leave as we came, and God willing as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind." President Bush said that "America will make those words come true." I can only hope so.

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin makes two more posts on the Annie Jacobsen story here and here. She's got another post with her own thoughts here. She also links to the Mrs. Jacobsen's follow-up story.

More amusing, though, is her comment on Moveon & Common Cause vs. Fox News: "FOX should agree to drop that label when Common Cause stops calling itself 'nonpartisan.'" She then points to one of her own blog posts about Common Cause. Worth a read, though it's unsurprising.

Bow to Lileks

Have I mentioned just how much I love this man's writing? Here's some gems from the last two days. I apologize to him, but I just have to quote whole paragraphs.

On the Syrian band/Annie Jacobsen story:

"...it now appears that they were a Syrian band... I am duly chastened for encouraging you to read this story and draw your own conclusions. In the future we must hew to a new rule: if you are on an airplane and you see a group of Arabic men with foreign passports work in concert, including standing up en masse and taking to the lavs during landing, you are obliged to give the give them the benefit of the doubt. Do not report your concerns to the flight attendants.

...

So it’s a sign of frantic paranoia to ask if we should pull aside Syrians before they get on the plane. It’s full-blown nutso nonsense to request that people should read the piece and decide for themselves.

Repeat to yourself: there is no threat. Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Wisdom! Vigilance is, uh, racism!

To some people, the very idea that a woman writes her account of being worried on a plane is tantamount to the government requiring the TSA to put a knee on the neck of anyone whose skintone trends towards the swarthy. Noted. But I’ll tell you this: I’d rather we err on the side of concern and inconvenience a few than wave on board four twitchy Saudis and suffer the loss of the Sears Tower. Because I’m one of those nuts who thinks there’s a war on. You know: a paranoid. Full blown. I see visions, and in these horrible dreams I see two towers falling. Some days I think that really happened. Time to double up on the thorazine."


On his "Tax Cut for the Rich":
"The final installment of my blow-the-tax-cut-on-silk-spats-and-caviar began at 8:30 this morning, when two nice fellows in tuxedos and top hats arrived to help me burn the money I haven’t been able to spend. Jolly good fun. One of them had a diamond-tipped cane, and when we were done lighting cigars with actual money... we went down to the liquor store, waited for customers who were buying unpopular low-priced beer, then hit them in the shins while shouting “get a horse!”

...

You know, I’m not wealthy like Al Franken or Michael Moore; I can’t go somewhere to give a speech and pocket 30 grand. I don’t begrudge them their success, but I do wish they would stop going purple because I get a tax cut and can afford to fix my daughter’s windows without dipping too far into savings. Okay? Deal?"


Now, immediately go and read the rest of his musings, because I command it!

Have You Forgotten?

If you want an powerful, emotional, but critical reminder on what happened on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, watch the first 10 minutes of "The Headlines" on ESPN. The next showing is at midnight Mountain Time on ESPN2, which is 2 AM Eastern. I very much recommend watching it.

Cry Me a River

Hey, Mr. Pecking Order, the First Lady of the blog posted a story about Bethlehem Steel being on the endangered list back on May 24.

So whine all you want about everyone ignoring your Annie Jacobsen story. I had first dibs on Save Our Steel! (And my post even took a shot at your Preeble mouse!)

Berger Update

Berger has just stepped down as an unofficial advisor to the Kerry campaign, but just until "the matter is resolved." Hmm...

New Sidebar Item

I added a section about the dumbest thing that liberals are doing at the moment, because they pop up so often and they deserve mention. Besides, it isn't always easy to find dumb stuff Republicans are doing, but there's never a shortage from liberals.

As far as the Fox News thing goes, I've always said that they look right wing because the rest of the news media is so far left that any move back towards the center looks like a rightward slant. As for what Brian says their specific complaint is, it's another case of "dishing it out but can't take it." Conservative organizations mentioned in the media are always labelled as such, as in "the conservative Young America's Foundation" or "the right-wing Heritage Foundation." When was the last time you heard the Carnegie Center for International peace called "left-wing?" Fox said what Moveon is, and they're upset because they don't like being exposed as the far-left extremists that they are.

More on Berger

Here's the Fox News story, linked from Drudge.

Don't miss Instapundit's initial roundup of comments. He's also got the day by day strip that first alerted me to it. Instapundit also features a money quote from Ed Morrissey:

"For my money, that's at least one 'inadvertently' too many, and that is not a literary criticism. Perhaps this explanation will fly for those who have never worked around classified documents, but since I spent three years producing such material, I can tell you that it's impossible to 'inadvertently' take or destroy them. . . . I find it highly suspect that the first expert the Post found to speak on this is Richard Clarke. How many of the partisans will come out of the woodwork? Next, we'll have Joe Wilson come out and claim that the documents never existed in the first place."


Ed runs the Captain's Quarters, a blog I'm coming to like more and mooe every time I see a link to it. Looks like Captain Ed

Over in the Corner, Jonah Goldberg hits what I think is the most disturbing/damning part of the story: "You don't put classified documents in your socks by accident."

Rep. JD Hayworth (R-AZ) on Hannity's show seems to think this is connected to the Kerry campaign. Berger is one of Kerry's foreign policy advisors. Hayworth: "Did he brief the campaign staff on the content of those documents?" Hannity thinks the documents could have information that shifts blame from the Bush administration to Clinton's watch concerning 9/11.

Brian, excellent point about Clinton's negligence. I think this demonstrates the level of seriousness with which entire administration treated national security.

"Whoops, classified documents in my pants."
"Whoops, lost the nuclear launch codes."
"Whoops, sold missile technology to China for campaign contributions."

Clinton's coverup

So we have yet another Clinton scandal to deal with.  Even when this man is out of office his cronies still manage to cause more than their fair share of problems. Sandy Berger the ineffective national security advisor under Clinton was caught removing documents that had to do with Richard Clarke from the 9/11 commission.  Does Berger have guilt on his mind?  It would certainty seems that this is the case.  This man should be thrown in jail for tying to cover up his testimony.  It would be understandable if he took them home in a folder and left them there but anyone taking them home in their socks and undergarments is pretty much guilty of criminal maleficent.  Maybe Clinton will finally be shown for the negligent president that he was when it came to national security.  We will see where this leads but I am hoping that Clinton can finally be seen as the president that he really was.   

Sandy Burgler?

Sorry, Rush was saying that today, and it's just too easy... If you haven't heard by now, apparently Clinton's National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, walked out of preparation for 9/11 Commission testimony with classified documents. A mistake? Perhaps, except for the fact that he'd shoved some in his pants.

Clinton administration trouser jokes aside, Hannity is convinced this is a major story and amajor security breach. He and Rush think Berger is hiding something concerning the Clinton administration and terrorism. I'm not necessarily sure it's a cover-up per se, but I think it probably has something to do with the politicization of the 9/11 Commission.

What immediately popped into my head upon hearing this news, though, was, "Imagine if this were Condolezza Rice or Donald Rumsfeld." This would be front page, huge bold font, super-scandal. Trousergate, as Rush offered. Every Democrat and eveyr major newspaper would be demanding what Bush knew and when he knew it, and how much money was paid to Halliburton to carry it out. Rush said something similar later in his show. (Great minds think alike...) Yet, since it's Sandy Berger, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Daschle has already begun to question the timing of this, suggesting it's to distract from the commission's report tomorrow. Not like it wasn't going to be politically charged or anything. Just another item to go in the "Reasons Not to Take the Report Seriously" bucket.

Of course, the news media is doing its best to ignore this already. The New York Times buried it deep in the paper. CBS News' radio updates didn't even mention it until 1 PM. Did they lead with it? Nope, a PETA tape about chicken abuse at a slaughterhouse is the lead story. I only wish I was making that up...

It was only a matter of time

Fox News is being contested by moveon.org and Common Cause to stop using the slogan Fair and Balanced. I am sorry if these liberal groups cannot handle a media that tells the truth about their activities and I hope that Fox wins the fight quickly.  The FTC is being asked to stop Fox from using the slogan because according to these groups all of Fox reporting is slanted to the far right.  Moveon.org does not have enough time with its entire Bush bashing to give many statements about this but it seems their arguments stems from the fact that they were called a Kerry backing group and essentially a PAC for the Democratic Party. I missed the part where they weren’t that but we shall see if there name calling and finger pointing hold up.    

Transcript from todays West Wing...

So imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on the West Wing and heard the character named Toby saying this...
 
TOBY: It took... Andrea, it took three days to get the language through NSC and the NSA.
ANDY: Yes.
TOBY: It isn't coming out of the speech.
ANDY: I didn't think it was.
TOBY: Then why were we here for an hour?
ANDY: Several members have drafted an insert. Will you look at?
TOBY: Sure.She goes over to her bag and pulls out a sheet of paper.
ANDY: This will follow your paragraph.
TOBY: [reading] "Our goal is neither to preach nor proclaim American values. We have deep respect for our Islamic brothers and sisters and we have a great deal to learn from the values of... tolerence and faith that are deeply held throughout the Islamic world." So this is your way of saying any resemblance the previous paragraph may have had to foreign policy is purely coincidental?
ANDY: That's right.
TOBY: Guess what?
ANDY: What?
TOBY: Our goal is to proclaim American values.
ANDY: This speech isn't supposed to be about ideology. It's supposed to be about reality.
TOBY: I think the President will decide what the speech is suppose to be about, but the reality is, the United States of America no longer sucks up to reactionaries, and our staunch allies will know what we mean.
ANDY: We don't have any staunch allies in the Arab world; just reluctant ones. We've a coalition held together with duct tape! A coalition without which we cannot fight!
TOBY: Nobody's blowing off the coalition, and that coalition will be plenty strong.
ANDY: Oh, when we win?
TOBY: That's right.
ANDY: What's Egypt going to think? Or Pakistan?
TOBY: That freedom and democracy are coming soon to a theatre near them, so get dressed.
ANDY: Toby... you guys are on a thing right now. And I'm behind you. You know I'm behind you; a lot of House Democrats are...
TOBY: Not enough.
ANDY: And plenty of Republicans. But this one moment in time, you have to get off your horse and just... simply put - be nice to the Arab world.
TOBY: Be nice?
ANDY: Yes.
TOBY: Well... How about when we, instead of blowing Iraq back to the seventh century for harbouring terrorists and trying to develop nuclear weapons, we just imposed economic sanctions and were reviled by the Arab world for not giving them a global charge card and a free trade treaty? How about when we pushed Israel to give up land for peace? How about when we sent American soldiers to protect Saudi Arabia, and the Arab world told us we were desecrating their holy land? We'll ignore the fact that we were invited. How about two weeks ago, in the State of the Union when the President praised the Islamic people as faithful and hardworking only to be denounced in the Arab press as knowing nothing about Islam? But none of that is the point.
ANDY: What's the point?
TOBY: I don't remember having to explain to Italians that our problem wasn't with them, but with Mussolini! Why does the U.S. have to take every Arab country out for an ice cream cone? They'll like us when we win!
TOBY: Thousands of madrassahs teaching children nothing, nothing, nothing but the Koran and to hate America. Who do we see about that? Do I want to preach America? Judeo-Christianity? No. If their religion forbids them from playing the trumpet, so be it. But I want those kids to... look at a globe. Be exposed to social sciences, history. Some literature. I'll like us when we win.

What Pissed Me Off Today

This could easily be a recurring feature, but we'll have to see about that. I'm about to get semi-geeky/techie, so be warned.

I recently bought myself a DVD+/-RW drive, something I've wanted for quite some time. The drive I got came with the new version of PowerDVD, a software DVD player I've come to like. So when everything was installed and set up, I tried to play one of my newer DVDs, only to find that I get a strange error having to do with the TV-out function of my video card. I'd forgotten that the function was even enabled, but it turns out about half the non-anime DVDs I have have a certain kind of copy protection which won't let them be played when the DVD player thinks TV out is enabled. Yet another example of over-zealous piracy protection making life difficult for people who actually own the products.

A Google search revealed that this is due to a program called Macrovision, and it's not the DVD player's fault, but that of my video card drivers. Apparently, nVidia thought it was necessary to not let people play DVDs when their cards have a TV-out function. It looks like I have to roll back over 10 driver versions to before they included this feature. So my drivers will be going from ones released in April, to ones released in late 2002. I'm hoping this won't be a problem, since I bought my video card in January of that year, but this is really annoying. What really irritates me, though, is that all the pages I've found dealing with this issue seem to be 2 or more years old, meaning nVidia, Cyberlink (makers of PowerDVD) and Macrovision have all been aware of this problem for that length of time. And there's NOTHING those companies have done to fix this? A simple patch to either PowerDVD or a driver update could fix this and yet neither of these things have been done. That's absolutely inexcusable. I shouldn't have to download 2 year old drivers or find various hacks or workarounds for a stupid copy protection system on a DVD I OWN for software I OWN for a problem that has been public for 2 YEARS. Very annoying.

Miscellany

I just had a few things I wanted to mention and didn't feel like making separate posts.

Both ProtestWarrior and the Annie Jacobsen story were discussed on Hannity's show today, so I thought that was pretty cool. Well, actually, a caller mentioned the Jacobsen story after hearing it from Glenn Beck, who seems to be the go-to news source around here...

Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts on youth in politics. I hope he's not talking about us... (He's really not.)

Did anyone notice that the Bethlehem Steel Plant is one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places 2004? For almost every other cause, I'd probably ridicule such a thing, but being a history buff, I happen to think historical preservation is vital to a nation's culture and a service to mankind. As for the the steel plant, I can't stand the people (PSA) who are using it as a cloak for their anti-development, anti-capitalist crusades, but I don't want to see it done away with. I like the idea of a National Industrial Museum. At the same time, I see no reason that part of the property could not become commercial space. It's HUGE. I don't understand why the two sides here have made it into either-or.

Meanwhile, Den Beste is featuring a look at some of the worst raving lunatics the Left has to offer. And no, it's not Max Cleland.

Then there's the further disintegration of the Palestinian Authority. Cox and Forkum have the right perspective there. Scroll down for their take on Iran.

The Grid

After seeing and hearing commericals for "The Grid" for some time, I decided to check it out when it premiered tonight on TNT. It's a terrorism/counterterrorism drama, beginning with a failed Sarin gas attack in London and moving on to an elaborate plot involving Nigerian oil. The show follows the terrorist masterminds, their recruits, the counterterrorism experts and their agencies. I certainly can't say how accurate it is, but it has an authentic feel. They do out of their way to make several of the chacarters conflicted. One guy lost his best friend on 9/11 but is now involved with his widow, an Egyptian doctor joins the terror ring because he's convinced the West is keeping medical supplies from his people, etc.

It's kept my interest, but maybe it has something to do with me wanting to see the good guys kill terrorists. It's nowhere near as good as 24, but I don't think it's really trying to do the same thing. It's more of a cross between 24 and, uh, The Agency? I don't really know because I didn't watch anything other than 24...

One particular scene annoyed me a great deal, though. The National Security Council counterterrorism czar is talking with the counterterrorism head at MI6 and the MI6 lady is rather uppity and dismissive of Americans. When the NSC woman asks for MI6's help with a terror plot she says how the Brits always get the short end of the stick in Anglo-American alliances. That alone I find stupid, but what was worse was what followed: the MI6 woman proceeded to explain how the CIA screwed up with the iraqi WMD intelligence and told MI6 to make something up, leaving the Brits with the blame. What a load of BS. Nobody's blaming the Brits, as they have their own issues to work out. I still don't think the intelligence on either side was majorly flawed, though I'm certain mistakes were made. But to suggest that all the intel was way off and that we blamed the Brits for bad intelligence that we asked them to make up for "our" war (what happened to Tony Blair?) is such a string of nonsense, it's ridiculous. I don't know who felt it was important, appropriate, or correct to include that, but the guy's an idiot.

Despite that one line, I enjoyed the show. However, I may not if they do similar things in subsequent weeks.

*Ahem*

Oh, I see how the pecking order works here. I mention a big story, on Friday, but it takes until Glenn Beck talks about it for it to show up on anyone's radar screens. I get it...

Anyway, if you guys are interested now, look at my post below, "Read This Now," to see reaction, details and investigation on that story. There's also a follow-up from the author, Annie Jacobsen, today that I saw on the Corner and because I'm a nice guy I'll link it anyway. I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, but I plan to tonight.

Michelle Malkin is still following it, though she says Fox News apparently wasn't interested. Not sure if that indicates they don't think it's news, that they're skeptical, or they already looked into it and saw nothing worth reporting.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Air Traffic Control Problem

There is a problem in Air Traffic control and I am surprised that it has taken this long to become noticed by the general media. My dad was an Air Traffic Controller for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for 33.5 years and lived through the addition of three new radar system, the strike under Reagan and the foolishness of both Bill Clinton and George Bush Administrations in dealing with air traffic control.  When the air traffic control strike happened under Reagan my dad was management and did not go on shrike. For 3.5years he never got a single day of vacation and their sick leave was shortened with the days being banked for future use.  During that three 3.5 year period my dad missed two days of work banking all his vacation and all of his sick leave. Many of his colleagues did the same. Soon the federal government realized they had a problem. All of the sudden these older guys left over from the strike had a lot of deferred vacation and sick leave. The government set a date Jan 4, 2003 during which these guys had to retire and get paid for the leave, lose the leave or use the leave. This was hundreds upon hundreds of days that could not be used. Many of these guys retired. It takes six months to replace someone in a tower position at LAX or La Quardia. It takes 3 years minimum to replace guys at the centers that control the air planes once they leave the towers at the airports.  No one is being hired to replace guys like my dad or his friends and even if they had been the are not ready.  It will take a long time to play catch up and the new proposals that are trying to reform the system are not helping as the most experience people leave over the next year and a half (due to the rule of having to retire at age 56). 
Okay last post for the night. I will talk about Berger and my great Governor Arnold tomorrow.

Aladdin Resrot strikes back against the stupid left

The Aladdin hotel recently fought back on behalf of the conservatives in America and stopped this foolish liberal showboating by the elite leftists that hold sway over parts of the populace.  Linda Ronstadt was at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas Nevada and was making inappropriate remarks about George W. Bush.  The management of the hotel asked her to leave and she was not happy but did comply with the request.  She made many disparaging remarks about Las Vegas and was generally rude to the people that she dealt with. I am very glad that the Aladdin resort cancelled her show and finally took a stand against the foolishness that occurred by this irresponsible moron. 

New Book announcement

As I come across good political reads that are coming out in the future I will try to put them on here. 
 
Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security by Robert Patterson
 
Lt. Col. Robert Buzz Patterson also wrote "Dereliction of Duty" which I highly recommend reading it was a fascinating book on just how bad Clinton ruined this country's security.

The Housing Bubble

Today Donald Trump gave a very good speech about the supposed housing bubble in the United States.  I agree with “The Donald” that there is no housing bubble in the United States and that any assertions that we are going to have a collapse are absurd.  Mr. Trump made the point that we have mortgages at an all time low.  These rates are going to be at an all time low and even with rising interest rates things will still be okay.  The most pressing concern that I see is the fact that people did not take a fixed low interest rate and like a bunch of morons took the flexible rates that will be raising as time goes on.  Good for the bankers but not for the people who took out the loans.  Even with the large number of people who stupidly took the flexible rates however I do not see rates rising so fast that in the next 7 years problems will become overly serious.  People are going to need housing and places like Phoenix and Rancho Cucamonga have more than enough room to expand.  Rancho has room for at least 5 more 150 home developments heading as you go north on the interstate 15.    

Taxing drug money

A good way to get the best of both worlds on your last issue Brian would be to consider a national sales tax.  Right now my mindset on taxation is a 15% flat income tax with a 2% national sales tax.   Obviously the idea here is that money that avoids taxation (drug money for instance) will ultimately be spent, and the government will get a piece of this.  The honest American taxpayer will be much happier seeing a 15% top rate flat tax (there is very minor graduation up to the 15% from the end of the credits - which include marriage credits and child credits - although these minor graduations are not that important in my opinion).  This is just my somewhat-educated plan. 
 
Here's an op/ed about the full NST plan.  23% on all goods and services in the U.S. and, the most beautiful phrase in the world, "the abolishment of the 16th amendment to the Constitution."

A new Ally in Brazil

Drugs have been a major problem in the United States and I am pleased to see that the Brazilians are going to take a stand against them.  After six years of debate the Brazilians are finally going to go in and shoot down suspicious air craft starting in 90 days.  We call it a war on drugs yet we are unwilling to use our armed forces to fight this war.  I would be happier if Columbia would take a stand but Brazil is a start in the way to fight drugs. Money from drugs finds its way to terror groups and by stifling the trade we will be taking a blow to the terrorists. Granted this is a short term solution but it sends the right message to the drug dealers. For those who believe we should legalize and tax you are out of your minds but I will save that for another post. 

Profiling

This will be the first of a few posts I am going to make tonight but there is enough going on to have me really mad.  I want to first respond to Mary’s article.  Is profiling wrong? Ansewer HELL NO.  I don’t recall a group of white guys flying planes into buildings until we have proof of terror attacks by other people outside of the middle east by those who are our enemies I am fully in favor of checking every Arab that gets on a plane. Is this racist or good security. In my opinion it is good security. El Al airlines checks every Palestinian that gets on an airplane. If you are asking why this is you are an idiot since the main enemy of the Israelis is the Palestinians.  My dad was an air traffic controller and one of his main points was that the airlines and inspectors needed to get a good set security program that was easy to follow.  I of course wish Mary a safe flight out to see me and in all the flights I have ever taken only once was I suspicious and the good men did search the two whom I was worried about. They removed a pair of scissors and that was it but it is better to be safe then sorry. 

Terrorism in the Making?

My mother called me into the kitchen about an hour ago to relay a story she heard on the Glenn Beck Show this morning. I rolled my eyes and thought she was probably over-reacting/exaggerating ("Mary, if there are any suspicious people waiting to board your flight, please, please, please, just don't get on the plane!"), but when she told me to go to his website and read the full article, I did. And it was one of the most frightening things I've ever read in my life.

http://www.womenswallstreet.com/WWS/article_landing.aspx?titleid=1&articleid=711

Whether you fly regularly or not, this should have you concerned. It's the story of a reporter who was on a flight from Detroit to LAX on June 29, 2004, and the very troubling behavior she witnessed from fourteen Middle Eastern male passengers. This incident did not hit the news and it's something that everyone should read.

Are civil liberties important? Absolutely. But this is just plain common sense. The kinds of measures discussed in the article (fining airlines for having more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning) sound absolutely ridiculous in the wake of 9/11. I wish we lived in a world where people don't have to look over their shoulders and expect awful things like thugs building bombs while in flight and taking out airplanes. But we don't. We cannot pretend that by refusing to use any kind of profiling, the moral high ground on which we will be standing will be enough to save us from another 9/11.

manchurian candidate

I will be seeing the Manchurian Candidate when it comes out and magician my judgment on the Hillary Clinton idea then and also seeing if it does really carry the political tones it has been suggested of carrying. 

Another Pathetic Liberal Ploy

President Bush is once again being slandered for being stupid by yet another liberal group.  The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania claims that Bush has the lowest IQ of the last 12 presidents.  I am not even going to take the time to argue with this one other than to say nice try John Kerry but you will have to pay more than this to create the false results you are looking for.

Den Beste Rides Again

Last post of the night; I promise.

Den Beste has a new piece on capability vs. permission, explaining the Iraq War through that lens. It's fantastic. Go read it NOW.

Then, check out the cartoon posted here. Then laugh. Then sleep.

Steel Yourselves

A remake of The Manchurian Candidate is coming out, at the end of the week of the Democratic National Convention. Now, I never knew anything about this movie before (though I'd heard of it; yes, you may freely call me ignorant when it comes to pop culture and Hollywood), but from the previews it appears to be about a VP candidate who is brainwashed, invented, and then elected, by corporations to serve their interests in office. Yeah, I think we can all see where this is going...

So, do we need a poole on where and when the first mention of Bush in the same sentence will be and whom will utter it? Hillary Clinton at the convention on Monday? Terry McAuliffe at a press conference? Maureen Dowd in the study with the candlestick? I'm not sure why, but I have a hunch Michael Moore will jump on this bandwagon and break it before anyone else has a chance to get on.

RE: Krugman

Yes, I agree that prohibiting a cross-reference between the terrorist list and background checks on guns is stupid. One more inexplicable decision among a tangle of good and bad Homeland Security policies.

However, I have to say that I'm skeptical of the article as a whole, since it's written by notorious liar Paul Krugman. I'm tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt because we've seen irregular enforcement and incomplete security policies in many areas. A quick Google search of "Krugman Ashcroft Krar" brings up this blog post, which is interesting to say the least. I can't vouch for it because I've never read it before, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time Krugman played with the facts of a story to attack Bush or Ashcroft.

The last comment on that page is worth noting, but I don't think the blogger is saying the guy's not a nut, just that Krugman's story doesn't add up.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Moore's Espy

Michael Moore’s appearance at the Espy’s was the same as his propaganda piece pointless and dull. The documentary he created there served no purpose and was just stupid.  This man needs to go to his worshipers in Europe and kill himself in the next cult that decides to follow him. At least that would rid the world of his stupidity. I cannot even stand to see this man on TV.  Americans have the right to view whatever they want but I hope that some day people will wake up and realize what a fat fraud this man is. 

Article about Ashcroft

Sorry its from Common Dreams, it was originally from the NY Times...sorry about that too.  But its by Paul Krugman - sorry.  The part about the gun buyer crosschecking is interesting, and if true a stupid policy by this administration.

Morning Once Again in America?

Loading up Instapundit this afternoon, I happened across a link to a very interesting article on TechCentralStation. In his first post on the subject he also links a New York Times article on the subject of young conservatives (that I read from link off the Corner yesterday). It's about what you'd expect from the Times: bland, restrained hostility, and missing the point. The TCS column nails it, I think. First go read this very encouraging and optimistic article. Read the Times article, too, if you so choose. Then, read this from Red State, also mentioned in Glenn Reynolds' post.

I think it's pretty apparent that our generation is leaning rightward (though you get a distorted view on college campuses) and there is a recation against the "nothing-is-sacred" rebellion and 60's-worship from the Baby Boomers as well as the blatantly idiotic political correctness that generation in collaboration with Generation X foisted upon us. And in spite of all that our generation seems to be turning out okay. I very much want to see people return to traditional values, larger families, and stronger marriages. It's sometimes hard to see, but I agree that there is a trend toward these things from our generation, and like the author says, this will only hurt the Demorcats, who continue to spiral ever downard into the whilpool of extreme Leftism.

The Red State post also raises an important point about the inner workings of the Republican party. He's a little too quick to dismiss the characterization of the two parties as GOP=ideology and Dems=coalition. I think it is true from a macro perspective but not on the inside. Just look at how the two parties go about their business. Republicans tend to campaign on ideas and ideology, selling that to the public. Well, most of the time; I'm glaring in your direction, Karl Rove. The Democrats, on the other hand, are big on appealing to groups. However, Moe Lane is correct when he discusses the tension between libertarians and social conservatives in the GOP, not to mention the influence of the Buchananites, the "religious right," and young vs. old.

I don't quite see things playing out along these lines, though. I think libertarianism is mixed in quite a bit more with the social conservatives than Moe allows for. I agree with him that there will be more heated primaries in the future, but I think they will look more like the Toomey-Specter priamry in Pennsylvania. Real conservatism (or libertarianism in some cases) is becoming more valued than simply an "R" after someone's name. That was enough in 1994, when it was a mircale just to get control of Congress. But now that the GOP is back, it's time to kick out the big government Republicans, the "Let's get along with the liberals" moderates, and the purely party hacks. Such was the tension between Tom McClintock and Arnold Schwartzenegger in last year's California Recall election. It was a true conservative vs. the guy with the "R" after his name. People in California realized that the "R" was about the best they could hope for in that state, but that doesn't have to be the case with Congressional seats throughout the Red States. In fact, I think this shake-up will even reach the White House. As much as I like George W. Bush the person, the leader, and the commander-in-chief, he's been less than stellar as George W. Bush the conservative. I think (and hope) that the next presidential election cycle will have a strong conservative in the primaries, not on-again off-again John McCain.

The party will certainly struggle with libertarianism vs. social conservatism, but I think there is a developing sense of exasperation with people elected as Republicans who proceed to act like Democrats in office. I think the young conservative movement is the movement of Pat Toomey, Bill Owens, and Jonah Goldberg. The Bushes, McCains, and Specters are going to have to watch out.

I'd be interested in everyone else's thoughts. It's possible I'm a little too enthralled by the TCS article because it describes me very well, but it makes me optimistic for the future. Now we just need a Reagan to lead us into it.

Book Review: "Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War"

For those interested in Civil War history as well as the development of the Wild West this book is perfect. "Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War" by T. J. Stiles is an excellent comprehensive look at the life of the outlaw and what motivations were factors in his decision to fight both the railroad and the republican government.  It was an angle that I had never considered before that Jesse James was continuing the civil war on his own terms up until his death when his cousin betrays and kills him. The book also looks at other members of the gang including his brother Frank James and the Younger brothers.