Saturday, August 21, 2004

Saving Licorice

My friend Zach e-mailed me this column by Howie Carr, which appeared in the Boston Herald on August 4. I'm not sure if it allows you to read the entire article, but here's the best part, what is surely the most heart-warming story I've heard all year:



No wonder John Kerry [related, bio] didn't get much of a bounce out of theconvention. He hasn't even tried to cash in on what could be his campaign's biggest asset - the heroic story of how he rescued Licorice, the pet hamster, from a watery grave.

It's been almost six days now since his daughter Alexandra told the
heart-warming tale of how on a ``summer trip'' - to Naushon, perhaps? - the family golden retriever kicked her sister Vanessa's pet hamster cage into the briny drink.

And guess who rescued the vermin.

``My dad jumped in, grabbed an oar, fished the cage from the water, hunched over the soggy hamster and began administering CPR.''

Of course, there may be reasons for not pushing this heartwarming story, the most obvious of which is the unfortunate comparison between how the two U.S. senators from Massachusetts reacted when confronted with the spectacle of trapped, drowning mammals.

Let's just say that if Ted Kennedy had shown the same solicitude for Mary Jo Kopechne that Kerry did for Licorice, he might well have become president.

The story is too goofy not to be true. But still, Alexandra's recounting left many unanswered questions.

Why wasn't anyone rolling tape when Liveshot made his historic leap?

Did he put himself in for a Silver Star, or perhaps a Navy Cross?

Was there an injury of any sort - you can never have too many Purple
Hearts, after all.

Which wife's trust fund bought Licorice - Julia Thorn's or Zsa Zsa Heinz's?

Olympics Update

Did everyone else see American Aaron Peirsol's gold medal win in the 200 meter backstroke the other night? Remember when he was apparently disqualified for no reason only to have his medal reinstated? Accoding to an AP story today a judge just turned in a blank report of an illegal move. Want to guess where that judge hailed from? Oh yes, it's France. And it was signed by a Russian judge. Anyone surprised?

Meanwhile, the US Men's basketball team continues to be pathetic. On the other hand, the American women apparently know how to play basketball, rather than showboat. They're still undefeated and are playing excellent defense.

In softball, congratualtions should go to Japan's Yukiko Ueno, who pitched the first perfect game in the history of Olympic softball. And the Americans continue to be absolutely dominant. Seven straight shutouts, outscoring opponents 41-0; they're simply destroying the competition.

Loose Ends

From a side note now that I finally have time to post

The Nixon library is absolutely fantastic. There is so much to see and look at that it was a very worthwhile experience. His original house is on site and the grounds while not as nice as Reagan’s still looked good. He has a wonderful collection from his presidential years and really saved a lot so that the public can enjoy it.
With regards to AMD that was discussed a while ago I would agree that they are very good about making cheaper products than Intel that do the same function. It is what the company was always meant to do. They started off as a “Second Sourcing” company for Intel and although that is no longer a requirement in the computer industry (although could become one again if Microsoft loses anti trust suits) they are still a part of that system.
I highly recommend that everyone read the 9/11 commission report. It very clearly lays out some of the history of terrorism and shows just how much we have learned about how terrorist move and operate. I am only halfway through at the moment but it has still been enjoyable.

Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg has a rather interesting G-file on gay marriage. I do note, however, that I seem to recall traffic lights in Japan that where blue was substituted for green. (Read the article if you wish to understand this.)

Staggering Hypocrisy

Liberal hypocrisy and double standards were on full display today as the mainstream media and other Kerry defenders finally reacted to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad campaign and book, Unfit for Command. And what were those reactions? Well, Salon.com charged that the book is "unfit for bookstores" and belongs in the fiction section, taking a Kerry campaign statement as unvarnished truth. The New York Times spent 73 paragraphs trying to link the Swift Boaters to George W. Bush, looking through "connections" of friends of friends of friends, as if this somehow discounts what's being said. But wait a minute, why is it only the Swift Vets' book that must be scoured for inaccuracies and, if found, removed from shelves? Why does any tenuous link to Bush show that the Swift Boaters are lying? Why was NONE of this appliacble to liberal books and liberal groups?

Chad Clanton, spokesman for the Kerry campaign, told Salon that "[n]o publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them...." Salon continues, "...there is a long-standing tradition by reputable publishers of withdrawing titles that prove to be hoaxes or frauds." Really? Anyone remember Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael Bellesiles? That was the book that purportedly showed that the Second Amendment was not written to defend an individual's right to bear arms since Americans back then didn't own that many guns. Predictably, it was paraded around by the mainstream media, it was given the Bancroft Award for outstanding historical research, and generally lauded as something that was a major blow to the NRA. Well, it turned out Bellesiles made up a great deal of his reserach. The records he used either didn't really exist or were represented as saying things that they did not. As Bernie Goldberg in his book Arrogance recounts, Bellesiles, a professor at Emory University, was forced to resign when an Emory review panel found that his work was "unprofessional and misleading" and some of it was outright falsified. His Bancroft Prize was reluctantly rescinded. So, did bookstores stop carrying the book? No. You can find it in almost any major chain right next to More Guns, Less Crime. The publisher, Knopf Publishing Group, is still distributing it. I don't remember any calls for either Knopf or bookstores to do otherwise from the mainstream press. Of course, it begs the question, then, that even if the charges leveled against Unfit for Command are true, which they are not, why should it even matter? Then, what about the lies in Al Franken's book, or any of the hundred Bush-bashing books that fill the "Current Events" sections of book stores? What about Bill Clinton's book? What about the proven lies in Michael Moore's books? They're all still in the "Nonfiction" section. I expect Salon.com to demand those books be removed from bookstores and no longer published. of course, I won't hold my breath.

The New York Times charges illustrate a similar double standard. They complain that the Swift Vets have received fundign from people who are friends of Karl Rove. Well, gosh, Scott McClellan may just as well have set up a projector in the Press Room of the White House and played them. How many people in the Kerry campaign are friends with George Soros? He donates millions to MoveOn.org and America Coming Together. MoveOn is relentless in its attacks on Bush and has put out plenty of ads. So, according to the New York Times, that would discount whatever MoveOn has to say. Not to be left out, the Kerry-Edwards campaign filed a formal whine complaint with the Federal Election Commission, charging that the Bush campaign is illegally tied to the Swift Vets. Well, with the evidence they have, can Bush complain about DNC ties to Michael Moore? Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate praised him! He sat next to Jimmy Carter during the convention! This is all insane.

Notice how none of the charges are actually addressed. The attacks are all on the Swift Vets themselves. Statements are shown out of context and claimed to be accurate. Salon's article questions 3 people in the group (one of whom has already cleared up his issues, saying his criticisms of Kerry stand), so what about the other 57 who are on record in the book? The author of the book, John O'Neill, has publically challenged Kerry to sue him for libel if the charges are truely false. Kerry could release his medical records to clear up the controversy about his medals. Neither of those things have happened, and no one expects them too.

Still, it is the hypocrisy here that is so staggering. None of these "standards" have been applied to liberal groups or liberal books. We're to now believe that the Democrats are interested in combating falsehoods written in print? Well, they can start with Bill Clinton and work their way down to Michael Moore. That's not going to happen, though, because the media and the Democrats, as usual, have one standard from themselves and another standard for everyone they disagree with.

For more, see Captain Ed's savaging of the Times article, a whole series of posts on Hugh Hewitt's blog, Powerline, and Instapundit (especially this and this), John O'Neill on Hannity and Colmes and the Kerry Spot on National Review Online.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Insanity Everywhere

Rudy Giuliani, standing outside of Gino' Steaks in Philadelphia (best Cheese Steaks in the world), just told Sean Hannity he's on his way to see his "good friend" Arlen Specter. Excuse me, I have to go spit out the bad taste in my mouth. I'm hoping that this is a party obligation, but I have the feeling it's not...

Meanwhile, the ever-lovely and talented Michelle Malkin recounts the ridiculous experience she had on Chris Matthews' show last night. It really shows what a fool Matthews is and what an poseur he is compared to Bill O'Reilly.

Hannity began his show today by reading a letter from conservative-turned-hardcore lefty David Brock, demanding Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other retailers stop selling Unfit for Command. Salon.com apparently has something similar. The hypocrisy here is mind-blowing. I think I'm going to have to write about this later today once I've had a chance to do a little research. I'm astonished that I haven't yet seen much about this from the blogosphere (though I admit I may be looking in the wrong places).

Instantly Important

Instapundit has several great posts about the rapidly deteriorating situation for Kerry over the Swift Boat ads and his ongoing implosion in general as well as blogoshpere reaction to all of this. Read them all.

First from yesterday is this post pointing to Factcheck.org hitting Kerry for his attendence at Senate Intelligence Committee meetings. Hannity mentioned this yesterday, too, and also gave the reminder that Annenberg is fairly liberal.

Then there's another post about how the Swift Boat thing is also exposing the fact that the mainstream media has no clothes.

Reynolds then elaborates on something he spoke about on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday (which was great, BTW).

Following that is a post gathering reactions to the New York Times finally weighing in, and it isn't pretty.

Finally, but unrelated to Kerry, is an excellent post on file-sharing and why the GOP should be embracing it instead of fighting it, which I wholeheartedly agree with. It also feaures a link to this piece, savaging the record industry.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Ex Kerry lovers website is driving me absolutely nuts. Although it does not mean much it is still annoying to see her say “oh hehehehe I loved John Kerry and hate Bush so please vote for him. Since I was his girlfriend I know him better so please vote…….” It is past annoying to see this kind of useless crap during an election. This gives such useless information (such as he speaks French) which just annoys me even more. I am glad to know that John Kerry can converse with the French in their own language. It will make it easier to give in to them that way if god forbid he wins. For the most part she seems to ramble on about a big earth day event that they hosted together. It was a celebration for all the pinko commies to come together and show their reverence for the earth. Anyway that is enough ranting on this topic but the website is on drudge if you want to see it and get a good laugh.

Good Sign in Iraq

The intelligent, perceptive, and articulate Mohammed and Ali of Iraq the Model will be running for seats in the Iraqi National Assembly. They're the kind of guys who need to be heard more often throughout the Middle East. I wish them all the best and hope they'll get elected so they can bring their voices to a body that will be critical to the future of Iraq.

(Via the Corner and Instapundit)

Any Liberals Want to Explain This?

Donald Sensing, in a post about Tom Harkin's embellishments of his service record, asks a question that I have been puzzled by since January:

How did a political party that last held the White House with a man who admitted he dodged the draft and said he loathed the military, who demonstrated against his own country while living overseas, come to be the party that now trumpets more militarism than any other?
This is why I agree with Ann Coulter when she says Democrats have shorter memories than Michael Jordan's baseball career. See also their attempts to pretend that they liked Reagan and that his approach to foreign policy was significantly different from Bush's.

Oh, Harkin. Yup, you disliked him when he was bashing the president in order to help Kerry win his home state of Iowa, now you can dislike him all over again as he calls the vice president a "coward" for not being in the military while lying about his own military service. Of course, I expect all the people who were just outraged by Cheney's disrespectful words to Pat Leahy on the Senate floor to condemn Harkin's attack... I'm waiting... You can find more about Harkin from Sensing here and Instapundit here.

I'll probably be waiting just as long for the liberal media that jumped all over Terry McAwful's "Bush was AWOL" story to hound Kerry and Harkin to release their military records. As such, I shed not even crocodile tears for Walter Cronkite's whiny departure.

In an unrealted note, make sure you read Wednesday's Cox and Forkum and day by day for Thursday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

"All Kids Out of the Pool"

The connection from the two previous posts continues unbroken! In Drezner's post, he links a previous post of his about Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in which he calls attention to this article by Justin Peters suggesting that the crazy kids over at Williams Street may be on the cutting edge of a new Golden Age of Cartoons. I'm not sure about that, but I know Adult Swim is fantastic and if you haven't been watching it, well, get on the boat already. It starts 11 PM Eastern Sunday-Thursday on Cartoon Network, featuring some of the best shows on TV.

Bush's Grand Strategy

Another Instapundit link is to Daniel Drezner's interesting defense of President Bush's grand strategy in the War on Terror. Drezner, no Republican, argues that in the context of previous American foreign policy, it's silly to claim that Bush has made a major break with past strategy.

It's reminiscent of the argument of Andrew Bacevich in his book, American Empire, where he makes the case that there is actually little difference in American grand strategy, noting that the theme of "openness" and the maintenence of American hegemony run through the foreign policies of the Bush and Clinton administrations and continues with the latest Bush administration. Bacevich makes many interesting points and observations; of which one in particular stuck with me. He says that with the system of military commands that the United States has set up (NORTHCOM, CENTCOM, etc) covering the whole globe, we have given ourselves proconsuls. I found the analogy intriguing but ultimately unconvincing, since unlike Rome, the United States has done a much better job of keeping civilian control of the military. The proconsuls don't run the areas they are in charge of, much less run the relations between the US and the countries they are assigned to. They simply run the US military presence in those areas, and don't take major steps without orders from Washington.

Incidentally, American Empire was one of the books from my "Rise and Decline of Empires" class, Brian and Kevin.

Orrin Hatch Strikes Again

I used to really like Orrin Hatch, but lately he's become obsessed with digital copyright protection, and nothing good has ever come out of the government meddling with that. The trend continues with Hatch's latest asinine idea, about things that "induce" copyright infringement. Glenn Reynolds links this Tech Central Station article which describes the foolishness. Go read it. Essentially "inducement" could be extended to computers, VCRs, DVD-RWs, mp3 players, internet access, almost anything which could possibly be abused.

Reynolds nails it in his comments: This doesn't count as championing small government, does it?. Plus -- at a crude political level, but one that's apparently not crude enough to be obvious to the Republicans -- this is a subsidy to an industry that consistently opposes Republicans. How stupid is that?

Yeah, I don't like the MPAA or RIAA either, and I certainly don't like Republicans sucking up to them in such ridiculous ways. This is Hatch's third strike with me, following the computer destruction idea and his declaration of sympathy for hate crimes legislation, so he should be out, but the alternatives leading the Senate Judicial Committee are both worse (Specter or Leahy). Senator, let's not kill the golden goose, okay?

Monday, August 16, 2004

ECM link

This was a pretty good journal post for ECM today.

I don't get it

How could they say that Bush hatred is the realm of older liberals. My, as well as David's, experiences have shown that young liberals are BY FAR the most anti-Bush people in the country. This could simply be because most older (exception: tenured professors of Political Science) people see the uselessness in running around Lehigh with a "Vietnam Effect" poster.

Also, I've been thrown in the middle of the coliseum here, where left-pawed lions are trying their hardest to eat me. I, so far, have held my own - which is hard to do against liberal word twisters and truth ignorers.

Bush Hatred

I've written pieces about the absolute rage that liberals have for George W. Bush, and looking for the origins of this interesting (yet tiresome) phenomenon is a pursuit I occasionally concern myself with. When an intellectual giant like Victor Davis Hanson does, though, his musings are certainly worth a read. Donald Sensing provided that link as well as this one to Power Line where they repost an examination of Bush Hatred that was requested by Hugh Hewitt. Defnitely good reads.

Well, I do have to disagree with the assertion over at Power Line that Bush Hatred is generally not the domain of young liberals. I have to say that my experience begs to differ. I have seen some of the most blind, visceral hatred of George W. Bush from people my age or even younger. I suspect that much of it comes from parroting the older liberals cited at Power Line, but I think loathing Bush is an activity for leftists of all ages.

Sensible Sensing

For some reason, though I have more time over the summer, the number of blogs I read on a regular basis is nowhere near what it was during the school year. Most days, now, I'm lucky if I get to read everything I want to from the Corner and off of Instapundit. This is, I regret to say, at the expense of some other blogs that I really like and only occasionally do I find myself making the time to chekc them out. One Hand Clapping, the Rev. Donald Sensing's blog is one of those. Going back and reading a few of his posts today reminded me of why I like him so much.

In his post of his Sunday sermon, he examines a part of O'Reilly's Michael Moore interview that always irritated me, where Moore demands to know if O'Reilly would sacrifice his child to pacify Fallujah. Sensing links to a Washington Post Op-Ed by Jeff Bergner that shreds Moore's distraction of a question. He then makes a sermon out of it. (Sermon is not to be read with the negative connotation in this case.)

Sensing also has thoughts on the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I generally agree with his comments, though I think Couric had much stupider comments than the one he picked out. Costas also had a few dumb ones.

Then he discusses how the Church of England has gone absolutely insane.

I think he (and the NY Post) are absolutely right in their thoughts on the 9/11 Commission: When did their word on terrorism suddenly become law?

More Olympic Notes

Did anyone else see Kousuke Kitajima of Japan win his gold medal today? I don't think I've ever seen anyone scream like that. It's nice to see Japan get a gold, but I was pulling for the American swimmer, Brendan Hanson, in that race, since he's an American and I liked the story they had on him.

The US Basketball team continues to be disgraceful. And I'm not so sure I blame the players on the actual team. I blame the marketers at the USOC, the snooty NBA stars who couldn't be bothered with the Olympics, and the fact that the NBA players have to be playing at all (and therefore have little time to learn to play as a team or adjust to international play). Then I blame the actual team. Puerto Rico? They shouldn't even have their own Olympic team...

I'm kind of torn when it comes to professional athletes playing in the Olympics. The amateur tradition was excellent for so many years that it seems inappropriate for pros to play. And I think the general idea that amateur sport is more "pure" than professional sport is right. Still, I think the argument that the Olympics are about the best in the world competing against each other to have merit. And of course, I absolutely love watching the NHL stars duke it out at the Olympics. The two US-Russia games and the US-Canada gold medal game in 2002 were some of the most enjoyable hockey I've ever seen (though they still don't measure up to Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs... argh, I want my hockey season this year!). But Olympic hockey was good before the NHL players played (witness 1980) and I suppose I could live without. The NHL stars, though, seem to have had a much better track record than the NBA stars after 1992, which was the one and only Dream Team.

What actually spurred me to this post, though, was this news item: Empty Olympic stadiums set off alarm bells. The opening sentence is the money quote: IOC officials, worried by the television images being flashed around the world of athletes competing in near empty stadiums, have told the Athens Games organizers to give tickets away for free if necessary.

I noticed this as well, but Bob Costas gave what I think is a plausible explanation. Sunday happened to be a major holiday for the Greek Orthodox Church, to which 96% of Greeks belong, and on top of that late summer is vacation time for many Greeks. We'll have to see if this changes, though. My initial thought was, "I wish I was in Athens to snag some of those free tickets." On further consideration, this may be evidence of what some are calling a trend of citizens of host cities quickly becoming tired or disinterested or even annoyed with the Olympics. They are a great deal of trouble and cost a lot of money. I've certainly been hearing things like this in relation to New York City's bid for the 2012 Games. I can't see this being a problem in 2008, as the Red Chinese will fill the stands with political prisoners if they have to. I wonder, though, are Athenians as disillusioned with the Games as many New Yorkers seem to be?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Olympic Hype

Now that I'm back from California and still a little shaky on the answer to the never-ending question of "What time is it?", I want to make a little comment on the Olympics. I've never been a huge fan. Usually I just view the Olympics as a giant pep rally that interrupts my normal television viewing schedule. What can I say, I'm an unathletic little slug.

But I do watch the Olympics, though with less frequency as I've grown older. As a former gymnast and figure skater, I've followed those two sports closely. I still remember the 1996 games when the US women won the gold medal in gymnastics, Kerri Strug landed her vault on one foot, and Shannon Miller won the gold medal on beam. I remember rooting for Michelle Kwan but jumping up and down when Sarah Hughes took gold in figure skating in Salt Lake City.

I sat down to dinner about an hour ago with my brothers and they were complaining that the United States lost to Puerto Rico in basketball. They didn't just lose. They got hammered. Why does Puerto Rico have its own team? It's a U.S. territory! But that's not my point.

One of my brothers told me that the crowd at the basketball game was yelling "Osama!" when the Americans came out. Now, I realize that right now, America isn't considered the most lovable nation in the world. But after months and months of hearing about how we've isolated ourselves from the world community by going into Iraq with a mere 40-something allies, I have lost most of my desire to watch the Olympics. As Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it, we are the last best hope of man on earth. Until the rest of the world wakes up and realizes that, I can't get very excited about the summer games.

I will be cheering on my four favorites: USA, Poland, UK, and Australia.

Olypmics

First, I direct you to a story about an Iranian Judo champion who is refusing to compete against an Israeli.


"This is a general policy of our country to refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime and Arash Miresmaeili has observed this policy," it said.
Iran has refused to recognize Israel's right to exist since Islamic fundamentalists toppled the Shah in 1979.
Next, I don't know that I am rooting against Spain, but the rest of your list seems pretty solid. I hope everyone else can see what a sham and a disappointment our basketball team is - at the half they were down by 20 to Puerto Rico! What?!?!
Finally, I hope everyone is watching the best sporting event of the day, the PGA Championship!

Olympic Notes

I'm not quite sure why, but I love the Olympics. I think it may be the sports competition coupled with an international flavor and a lot of history. Whatever the reason, I eagerly await them every two years, even though the Winter Games have much better and more exciting events than the Summer Games. (Come on: hockey, speed skating, ski jump, bobsled, and downhill compared to soccer, swimming, cycling, and track and field? No contest.)

Though I greatly enjoy the sports and the togetherness, there's always a bit of political intrigue that interests me as well, and Brian already touched on one issue. According to NBC's Olympics site, North and South Korea marched in together in 2000, so this is the second time that's happened. I think it shows a genuine desire on the part of Koreans to see their nation united; however, it is a bit naive for the South Koreans to think that North Korean cooperation is anything but an attempt to put on a friendly show while they assemble nuclear weapons. I'd love to see a truly united Korea march in one year, but I have a feeling that day is still far off.

The overarching political issue in Athens, though, aside from terror issues, which are of course number one, seems to be the United States and how the rest of the world relates to it. No, we're not too popular in the world right now, and there has been a lot of discussion within the USOC about how much American athletes should celebrate and how much patriotism is okay before it offends people. Frankly, I think the Olympics are the perfect time for patriotism and every nation should be encouraged to show as much positive patriotism as they can. As in, wave flags, cheer on your athletes, enjoy healthy rivalries, but not to the point of anything impolite or untoward to the other athletes. I was encouraged by the polite applause for the United States and the great response the Iraqi team received as well as the frosty reception for Iran and Sudan, but puzzled by the cheers for Cuba.

The Greeks were polite, and I tip my hat to them for that, but there's no escaping the fact that a large number of people in the world hold a great deal of bitterness, jealousy, and anger toward America. That's fine, if that's really how they want to think, and I won't suggest that nations can't and shouldn't have disagreements, nor should past friendliness invalidate genuine disapproval of present actions. That said, I think a lot of the people who dislike the United States and disapprove of her foreign policy in general as well as those who enjoy looking down their noses at Americans as reckless, uneducated cowboys should take into account just how much good the US has done in the world. As I watched the Parade of Nations, I couldn't help but think about just how many of the countries there the US has helped at one time or another or has been outright responsible for the freedom and prosperity they enjoy today. So, here is a partial list of those countries that should not be so quick to condemn us (if they do; good allies of ours are in this list as well):

Afghanistan - freed from the Taliban and assisted in throwing out the Soviets
Albania - no longer beholden to the Soviet Union
Armenia - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Australia - the US played a major part in their defense against Japan in WWII
Austria - the Western allies (led by the US) chased out the Nazis at the end of WWII and got the Soviets to pull their troops out in 1955
Azerbaijan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion; American money (along with huge amounts of Russian money) is also helping develop the oil fields there
Belarus - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Belgium - kicked the Germans out twice; NATO member
Bosnia and Herzegovina - American intervention led to the Dayton Accords
Bulgaria - free from communism and Soviet domination
Canada - our economy helps keep them strong and our military helps keep them safe (though Canada has done much more to help itself than many others)
Cuba - would not exist as an independent nation if not for the US
Czech Republic - free from communism and Soviet domination
Egypt - gets massive foreign aid to play nice with Israel
France - saved from the Germans twice and the communists once; Marshall Plan; NATO member
Georgia - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Germany - rebuilt and turned into an economic power with US assistance and money and defended from the Soviet Union for 45 years; reunification made possible by collapse of USSR; NATO member
Great Britain - helped stop the Nazis and gave Marshall Plan aid; NATO member
Greece - pressure on the Nazis in the East and West forced them to withdraw and Truman Doctrine aid prevented a communist takeover; NATO member
Grenada - freed from a totalitarian communist regime
Guam - liberated from the Japanese in 1944
Haiti - repeated interventions (some good, some bad) and lots of aid
Hungary - free from communism and Soviet domination
Iraq - freed from Saddam; the Olympic team will not be tortured if it does not perform up to Uday's demands
Israel - would not exist if not for American diplomatic, military, and economic support
Italy - freed from the Nazis; Marshall Plan; NATO member
Japan - rebuilt, turned into a democracy and an economic power thanks to American political, military, diplomatic, and economic support
Kazakhstan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
South Korea - defended from the Soviets and North Koreans for more than 45 years
Kuwait - liberated from Saddam and is now sending its first female athlete to the Olympics
Kyrgyzstan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Latvia - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Liberia - intervention to help stabilize the country recently; founded by freed African slaves
Lithuania - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Luxembourg - freed from Germans twice
Micronesia - freed from the Japanese
Moldova - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Netherlands - freed from Nazis; NATO member
Nicaragua - American pressure and aid to contras helped lead to free elections
Norway - defeat of Nazis freed the country; NATO member
Pakistan - longtime recipient of American economic and military aid
Palestinians - have a chance to have a country thanks to the US and American leverage with Israel encourages restraint there (the Israelis could be much nastier than even their mainstream detractors allege)
Palau - freed from Japanese
Panama - would not be an independent country if not for the US; has the Panama Canal thanks to the US
Papua New Guinea - freed from the Japanese
Philippines - freed from the Japanese
Poland - free from communism and Soviet domination
Romania - free from communism and Soviet domination
Saudi Arabia - would not have oil if not for American companies; was protected militarily by the US for a long time
Slovakia - free from communism and Soviet domination
Solomon Islands - freed from the Japanese
Spain - NATO member
Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) - would not exist if not for US diplomatic and military aid
Tajikistan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Tunisia - freed from the Nazis
Turkey - Truman Doctrine aid prevented a communist takeover; NATO member; US frequently assists Turkey with its European relations
Turkmenistan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Ukraine - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Uzbekistan - would not exist if not for USSR's implosion
Venezuela - extensive American investment has made the oil industry flourish

Again, I remind you that this is but a partial list. Many things and countries were left unmentioned. This is not at all to imply that these countries have not done many things for themselves or have never helped the United States. This is simply to show that the US has done a great deal of good in the world, and many of the Olympic participants have been the beneficiaries of some degree of that at one point or another.

Incidentally, these are the countries I will be cheering for and against:

For:
United States
Iraq
Great Britain
Australia
Japan
Taiwan
Israel
Greece
Afghanistan
Poland

Against:
China
France
Germany
Russia
Philippines
Spain
Egypt
Syria
Iran
Malaysia
Cuba
Sudan

I suggest you adjust your loyalties accordingly.

Re: Intel

They don't necessarily stand alone at the top any more. AMD is a viable and good competitor. Since they debuted their Athlon (K7) processor, they have consistently had processors that can best or match Intel's top of the line, and often for a much lower price. They were also the first company to have a 64-bit processor.

AMD doesn't make its onw motherboard chipsets or graphics processors, though with such excellent maunfacturers as VIA, nVidia, and ATi supporting Athlons, they have no need to. Athlons also don't have the pure speed that the Pentiums do, but they can match their performance, which is why the company took to attaching GHz-sounding numbers to their processor names rather than actual speeds. An Athlon XP 2800+, though running somwhere between 2.0-2.4 GHz, can perform like a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz. I initially bought a Pentium II 450 MHz processor when I got my computer back in 1999, but later upgraded to an Athlon 1.2 GHz and now have an Athlon XP 2600+ and have been nothing but satisfied with them. I can't understand why any home user would spend the money on a Pentium when they can get the same or better for much less.

Must Read Columns

First, if you haven't yet read the O'Reilly vs. Krugman transcript that Kevin first linked, go NOW. It's really that good. Again, well worth the time. It makes up for O'Reilly's lackluster job when he had Michael Moore on the Factor.

Then make sure to read Neil Boortz' excellent column laying bare the hypocrisy shown by Democrats and the media in their comparative reactions to the Bush National Guard Record and Kerry Vietnam record stories. (Via Instapundit) And don't forget Hannity's point that Kerry invited this by making his Vietnam service the centerpiece of his campaign. I still don't think Vietnam is of any substantial importance to this election, and I think that kerry's record is much more revealing in judging his fitness to sit in the Oval Office. More on that in a later post.

Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer also has a great column explaining how all those who wanted campaign finance reform got what they wanted, and now they don't like it.