Friday, December 10, 2004

The UN Continues to Amaze

Rush was also blown away by the UN's observance of "Anti-Corruption Day" today. I have to say I'm absolutely stunned that anyone in that organization can take part in something like this with a straight face. Rush said what I think everyone else must be thinking upon first hearing of this: "The people who define corruption in the modern world have a day they set aside to celebrate anti-corruption...." Simply amazing.

Of course Secretary-General Kofi Annan (Corruptus in extremus) got a standing ovation from the assorted kleptocrats (to borrow Captain Ed's word for them) in the General Assembly the other day. The last "standing O" given in that chamber? To Bill Clinton, at the height of the Monica scandal, Rush reminded everyone today. I imagine they'd have a similar reaction to Viktor Yanukovych or Hugo Chavez.

Instapundit and Rush both pointed to Max Boot's column in the LA Times today where he details some of the ridiculous scandals of the UN and makes the excellent point that were these things occurring in the Bush administration or the US military the outrage would be loud and sustained. As Glenn Reynolds already said, read the whole thing.

Rush on a Roll

Rush had a fantastic radio program today, calling attention to an important story and reacting with the appropriate amount of incredulity to a few others.

To begin with, I'm sure most people at least saw clips of Donald Rumsfeld's Q&A session with troops in Kuwait on Monday. Chances are if you saw any of it, you saw the part where a soldier asked him about the oft-reported shortage of body armor. Rumsfeld answered the question by saying something along the lines of not being awar of any problems, but he'd check on it. Rush thought this was fishy, and it turns out, as Drudge reported today, that the soldier was coached to ask this by a newspaper reporter out of Chattanooga, TN.

I can understand that troops have concerns if supplies are really as short as they've been reported, but, frankly, I do not trust the reports in the least. I have yet to read a soldier who has been in theatre corroborate this story. (If there's one that I missed, by all means, point me to it.) But this is just too major a theme among the media and the Democrats for me not to be skeptical.

This is yet another example of the media attempting to create its own story and steer the national discourse in a direction it likes, essentially that Iraq is one huge debacle. Rush was stunned by the other blatant attempt at this today, not for the attempt mind you, but the news it attempted to spin from good to bad: we have the lowest casualty rate of any war we've ever fought. Now how do you spin this to make it look bad? As Rush describes it, like this:

Get this next line. This is unbelievable: "But the remarkable lifesaving rate has come at the enormous cost of creating a generation of severely wounded young veterans and a severe shortage of military surgeons, wrote Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston." So all this life-saving activity is actually causing an enormous cost. It's bad. We're saving too many lives. These people are injured horribly. I guess the conclusion is it would be better off if they died rather than have to live the way they live. It's unbelievable here, folks.
Why, though? What sort of twisted logic is this? Well, this is the explanation that the Maha Rushie and his staff came up with:
The answer to this is they're just livid -- the press, the leftists in this country are just upset that there are not enough deaths to get people outraged and protesting in the streets against the war. They're mad that these doctors are saving lives. They want deaths! They've been counting deaths up to 1,000, they hoped that would get Bush out of office. They still want Bush out of office; make no mistake about it. They still want Bush discredited and it's all part of coming back in '06 and '08, and so there are too many lives being saved over there.
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if this was the explanation. It's certainly the way the far-lefties and peaceniks think, but it may or may not be how the press corps thinks.

Anyway, if you missed Rush's show today, head on over to his website and listen to all the segments he has posted; all very good.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Just a Few Links Tonight

I just wanted to direct everyone to some of the good things I've been read around the web recently.

First, Victor Davis Hanson has a fantastic column to remind everyone just how far we've come since the 9/11.

Belmont Club is full of great analysis and commentary as always, but I came across this post, chronicling some of the worst UN failures of all time in the Congo, from another blog which I cannot remember for the life of me. I think I need to keep better track of my wanderings through the blogosphere. Wretcard is all over the UN lately, so scroll around if you want details.

Meanwhile, Power Line and Captain's Quarters are simply two of the best blogs out there and should be read on a daily basis. Today, Captain Ed fires a salvo back at CBS News after they lashed out at bloggers again. It's amazing how when there are allegations of dirty tricks from conservatives, we need as much transparency as possible and free speech and reporting must be protected at all costs, because the public has a right to know. Yet when conservatives expose dirty tricks and worse from the left, the left calls in the government to censor those who dare question them.

Finally, though I've mentioned Lileks as my writing hero many times, I'm also immesnsely entertained by the writing of Tycho from Penny Arcade. The second to last paragraph in his newspost from Monday is probably one of the funniest pieces of writing I have ever read, and it's about coffee makers, of all things. Just go.

Oh, and if you're not poor and unemployed like I am and are looking for a worthy charity this Christmas/Hanukkah season, I highly recommend Penny Arcade's Child's Play, which donates video games to children's hospitals. If you're a sick kid in the hospital, this means a great deal.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Politicizing the War

Pop Quiz:

Outgoing DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe took the occasion of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack to

a) Praise the men who rallied to the defense and remember those who were killed in so doing.

b) Recall the human cost of WWII and hope that in remembering Pearl Harbor we also propote and value the peace we eventually gained with Japan.

c) Attack Republicans for being divisive.

If you guessed c) you're right, since today happens to be one of the days of the week that ends in "-day" Terry McAuliffe took the opportunity to attack Republicans. Not only that, he pulled out liberals' favorite rhetorical bludgeon: Accuse your opponents of doing exactly what you are currently doing hoping thta no one will notice your shameless lying and baldfaced hypocrisy.

McAwful used the example of the Republicans (though I'm not sure if it was explicit) during WWII in promoting national unity which helped win the war. He's right about that, but Roosevelt's party has long left him and despite what McAuliffe claims, it is in fact the Democrats that have gone out of their way to politicize the war. It just goes on and on: the quagmire in Afghanistan, the carping on WMDs and "the 16 words" idiocy, the militaristic stunt of the carrier landing, the sarcastic invokation of "this many deaths since major combat was declared over," Richard Clarke and the circus surrounding the 9/11 Commission, calling Afghanistan a failure until elections were held, the nonsense about "real coalitions," insulting the Iraqi prime minister, hysteria over Abu Ghraib and any report that terrorists are being treated as anything less than royalty at Guantanimo, the "Where are the stockpiles?" report
right before the election, and more.

The Democrats have gone out of their way to use any setback in the war to attack George Bush and have consistently (with their accomplices in the MSM) attempted to paint a picture of unrelenting negativity about Iraq. I'm not at all surprised McAuliffe would say this, as it's classic Clinton. I'm just tired of hearing about obstructionism and politicization from the real politicizers and obstructionists and I'm especially irked that McAwful would use Pearl Harbor to make this attack. But that's the Democrats for you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Remember Pearl Harbor

We all know what happened 63 years ago today, but President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has always said it best:

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
That is, of course, the most famous part of FDR's speech to Congress asking for a declaration of war, but it's very worthwhile to read the whole thing.

As has been pointed out before, Roosevelt has some great lines in this speech that also apply well the the events 60 years later:
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
It is important on this day that we remember those who gave their lives in Hawaii on December 7th, 1941, in defense of America and in defense of freedom. But we should not forget those who gave their lives within hours of that attack at Wake Island, in the Philippines, on Guam, and our British friends and allies who also gave their lives in Hong Kong and Malaysia. We often forget that the Pearl Harbor attack was one component of a massive surprise attack against American and British forces all over the Pacific.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who gave their lives that day and all who served and sacrificed over the next four years (for the Americans at least). We of course also owe that same debt to those serving today all over the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Something else we should be greatful for is through our victory, the skills of Douglas MacAruthur and the Occupation as well as the Japanese people's desire for change and peace, we can now count Japan as a friend in the world. Someday, it would be nice to be able to do the same with much of the Middle East, though I think Iraq is coming around. (Can you imagine saying that 10 years ago?)

Thanks

I want to thank my friends for their kind birthday wishes. They helped alleviate some of the, oh, let's say frustration, with the Mile High Chokes (aka Broncos). Seriously, though, thanks guys.

I'd like to have a post with some thoughts about Pearl Harbor some time tomorrow, but when I declare my intentions on the blog, they rarely work out. We'll see, though. For now, sleep.

Jefferson on Gun Control

I'm still enjoying reading through Ann Coulter's new book, How to Talk to a Liberal, and I'm now on the gun control chapter. I have to say, though, that the previous chapter on the 2000 election contains some of the wittiest and most enjoyable of Coulter's writing. I definitely recommend it.

Anyway, Ann points out that Jefferson apparently was aware of the "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them" meme during his time. Jefferson wrote,

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse the assaulted and batter for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with a greater confidence than an armed man.
In recent years, liberals have tried to claim Jefferson as a devotee of their twisted ideology, but Jefferson was a much smarter and more complex man than that. I still believe that our Founding Fathers were some of the smartest men who ever lived, and were were lucky enough to have them all living at the same time and working for the same goal.

What's Become of O'Reilly?

Chris Muir (Day-by-Day writer & artist), in the Day-by-Day for Tuesday, makes an observation that echoes my own thoughts on Bill O'Reilly. When we first got Fox News (in 1999, I believe), I loved him and his show. I eagerly read his first two books and still like much of what he wrote in his first, The O'Reilly Factor. I liked him because he was honest, asked tough questions, demanded answers to them, wass not afraid to take on both sides of the political aisle, didn't put up with PC nonsense, and despised the Clintons. I loved how he didn't fit the mold of liberal or conservative (though I think he's a social conservative and libertarian elsewhere) and how he seemed like a normal guy. I disagreed with him on certain issues, often censorship issues where I disagree with Republicans as well as attacks on the Bush administration, but always respected his opinion.

Since he really took off, though, he's just gotten, well, full of himself. He's always been pretty self-confident and bull-headed, but I just have not been able to get past his lately-acquried sense of self-importance. It smacks of old media, and I initially liked him exactly because he was very new-media. Hold people accountable, asnwer the question, etc. I began to be skeptical when he claimed that Algore lost the election because he wouldn't appear on The Factor, which I still think is ridiculous, though indicative of Gore's refusal to answer tough questions. A recurring problem I have had with him, though, is his outright hostility to the internet, and especially politics being intertwined with it. He has always carried a dislike for Matt Drudge and his operation (though I think a lot of this was fueled by Drudge's contention with his book sale numbers) and believes that only things investigated by him and his staff are the verifiable truth. I certainly admire his "Show-Me" attitude (though he's not from Missouri; Rush is), but that's just not practical.

Still, it was his distaste for anything that came from the internet that really irked me. He's always had the same complaints as the rest of old media: no editors, no way of knowing if anything is true, no research, no fact-checking, not "professionals." These are all the complaints of someone who clearly does not understand the internet or new media, and frankly, I'm not all that interested in getting my news from someone like that, let alone particularly interested in his opinions. I started listening to my man Hugh Hewitt precisely because he talked about blogs so much (okay, that was reason #2 after that fact that Lileks is a regular caller) Rush began talking about bloggers over the summer, and Hannity began when Rathergate came around. Now, both use the word regularly though they're nowhere near as plugged-in to the blogosphere as Hugh. The important thing is they understand it and they understand how the internet works as a part of new media. They know there's good and bad on the internet and reliable and unreliable, but they know where to look and how to distinguish those aspects. O'Reilly clearly does not and continues to make blanket condemnations of the internet as a polcitical forum or as a legitimate source of news and information.

The last straw for me was when O'Reilly actually defended Dan Rather in the face of overwhelming evidence that the documents were forged and that CBS News deliberately ignored this because they wanted to hurt Bush. And O'Reilly is well aware of the issue of media bias; to his credit, he's been relentlessly critical of the outright partisanship of the New York Times and the LA Times. But he refused to take issue with Rather in this case in large part because the charges came from and the proof was in the blogosphere. More ridiculous was that O'Reilly insisted that his own people look into the evidence, which took over two weeks, if I recall correctly. It took two weeks for his staff to confirm something that LGF, the guys at Powerline, and their readers had managed to debunk in 24 hours. Again, that is old media thinking and old media operating. I also think that because O'Reilly is so often a target for criticism he was sympathetic to Rather which, to me, is evidence that he has slipped into an old media state of mind. Like Rather, O'Reilly ignores criticism, but he does think about it and gets concerned or annoyed with it. Rush and Hannity simply don't care what is said about them, and I think that's also a component of new media thinking.

So, like Muir, I think O'Reilly has gotten too big for his britches and I think that is because he's settled himself squarely in the old media muck. The man who was once in the vanguard of the new media revolution has now become one of its staunchest opponents.

If I ever get to watch Fox News on a regular basis again, I will not make it a point to watch O'Reilly's show. I'm sure I'll still watch it from time to time, but I won't go out of my way to see it like I would Hannity & Colmes or Special Report. Sadly, though I miss Fox greatly, I do not miss O'Reilly (and I will never, ever miss Greta and Geraldo). I don't listen to his radio show and though I have his third book, I have no great desire to read it.

Social Security

I'm not quite sure what I think of this Social Security proposal yet. I'm certainly not thrilled at the prospect of adding that much to the already huge national debt, but I get the feeling that it deserves further consideration in light of CBS' breathless and gleeful reporting of the $2 trillion number.

Certainly this sounds like it's as bad a proposal as the Medicare bill, Campaign Finance Reform, No Child Left Behind and amnesty. However, I want to see how this plays out and read the reactions of the punditocracy, the blogosphere, and see what ostensibly sensible people like Joe Lieberman and Tom Tancredo (i.e. legislators not afraid to break with the party line) think. More importantly, I want to hear what Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, who I trust implicitly on matters of economics and finance, have to say. I'd like to just read the proposal myself, but discussions of Social Security have never held a great interest for me and are almost without exception dense.

That said, I hate Social Security with a passion and would love to see it ended. I admire FDR, but I will always blame him for this awful and expensive legacy. It is a pyramid scheme perpetrated by the government on the young on behalf of the elderly. Worse, it is not even helpful to those it is designed to help. I would estimate that more than half of the problems Congrssional offices deal with on a daily basis are Social Security related. The Social Security apparatus is slow, bloated, and ridiculous, one of the worst examples of bureaucratic incompetance in the federal government. Paperwork can take over a year to process, and is often mishandled or lost. The payments are meager, and the rate of return is horrendous. This is money that the government just takes from you outright and you'll never see it again. Chnaces are your parents won't even get it; Congress has already spent it on another bridge in West Viginia named after Bob Byrd. I want to be able to keep my money for ME and MY family, invest it how I see fit, and not have to worry about this subject anymore. I feel bad that people who already paid in their whole lives might get screwed if the system implodes within the next 2 decades, but Social Security needs to be abolished, and some generation is going to get screwed, so why not the one that bnakrupted it and is going to break it anyway?

But, I don't see any of that happening anytime soon, and I expect the battle to be fought over privatization. If the Bush proposal is truely as bad as Brian says it is, I'll have no problem seeing it go down to defeat, but I have grave concerns in handing the Democrats a victory over privatization. If we don't get even this meager amount (2-4%), I see little chance of privatizing the whole thing or killing it outright. I suppose we shall see. Things are certainly going to be interesting come January.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy Birthday David

On a far happier note than my Social Security posting may I say happy brithday David and wish you the best of luck on the job hunt.

and to the rumours that I have joined the dark side of the IR department fear not my love of capitalism remains strong. (Hence my hatred of our socialist social security program).

A real American Hero

I have recently finished reading American Solider by General TommyFranks and I have to recommend it to everyone. This is a veryinteresting look at a man who faithfully served this country throughVietnam (unlike certain senators) and who came up with the plan tominimize casualties and win us a war. This was a man who was willing totake conventional military wisdom and throw it out the window in aneffort to bring the true idea of a joint command together. Despite theinsistence of the joint chiefs of Staff that Air Power was the only wayto go, boots on the ground would be needed, and sea power would providethe background Tommy Franks found a unique and original way to solvethese problems. He took special forces and backed by the variousbranches mentioned above carried out two of the most effective wars thecountry has ever seen. He insisted on an exit plan in Iraq and agreedto help stay on an extra year past the time when he should have retiredfrom Central Command (Centcom). Donald Rumsfeld said about Tommy Franks"When war comes, you look for certain special qualities in the peopleyou'll be working with. General Tom Franks embodies those qualities:strength experience, a keen mind, energy, honor, good humor, and a deeployalty to his troops and to his country." Tommy Franks was a Texan who rose through the military as an artillerycommander and was the commander in charge of the Desert Shield campaign.His quick thinking and use of deception made him a truly dangerouswarrior. In my conversations that I have had with various men and womenin intelligence and military services around the world always tell methe same thing that your mind is your greatest weapon. Tommy Franksalthough not a straight A student has the intelligence to do what ittakes to outfox his enemy. Tommy Franks will go to the edge to win andcombined with Paul Wolfowitz made an effective fighting team. Throughoutthe book Tommy Franks always says how grateful he is to Wolfowitz forkeeping the generals in the Joint Chiefs of Staff under control. He isgrateful to Donald Rumsfeld as well once Rumsfeld learned to back offand not micromanage. He holds him in respect and points out "He(Rumsfeld) would shake hands with the devil if it meant getting the jobdone." As Tommy Franks realized that it was time for a new leader whowould fight the peace and take over the war he stepped down to retirewith his wife and see his grandchildren. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for information on thewars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a first person perspective from aman who is willing to talk about the good and the bad that occurred inthe war. He does not tiptoe around issues and is blunt when talkingabout the mistakes he made as well as the ones made by the Pentagon andBush Administration in the war. It is a fair look and a well thought outlook at the war on terror.

John Kerry: What a Scumbag!!

I have also started reading Unfit for Command since I got it half price=). Despite the fact that Kerry has lost I am still disgusted by thisman and reading this is only making me madder. The fact that he would goto a swift boats reunion for an hour and take pictures and the exhibitsand then leave is disgusting. He used those who honorably severed theircountry, did not lie about getting hurt, and who did NOT commitatrocities like the senator lied about. I will have more to come onthis as time goes on and I finish reading the book.

It Starts!

The country is now headed back to destruction. We may have saved thecountry from John Kerry but Bush appears determined to destroy oureconomy. We are looking to borrow 1-2 trillion to cover theprivatization of social security. The problem with this of course isthat his country is already "leveraged to the hilt." (Wall Street). Weare seeing the end of what logic we had left in the domestic fiscalpolitics of this country. For reference to what I am talking about seeYahoo news. Rising deficits have taken away Bush's ability for a widerange of options has been cut very quickly by the rising defecits. Asthe article says Bush has decided to rule out raising taxes. I hate tobreak it to the American Public and as much as I hate taxes we need toraise them. We DO NOT have enough money to pay our bills or deal withour record deficits. I pray that the democrats fight his planeffectively. Social Security has no easy way out but on the scale ofplans this is one of the worst I have ever heard. Privatization isneeded and it will create a shortfall that we already have. Tointentionally go out there and raise debt for something that will onlycause problems is foolhardy. We take out 2 trillion pay 6% in interestwhich goes to Social Security and then is borrowed again to pay 4% tosocial security. 10% of 2 trillion in interest payments every year!!!!Social Security is in need of reform and privatization to a small extentis a way to start but at the end of the day it simply has to beabolished. We cannot carry on as we have and intervention is needed inorder to make this work. I pray that we can find something useful inorder to stave off the disaster that we are heading towards. McClellansaid the following "if we do nothing... It will lead to either massivetax increases or massive benefit cuts for younger workers." SocialSecurity was not meant to be a long term program and it was throughLBJ's stupidity that it was made one. Now it is time to get rid of itand make the deficits of this economy manageable. If people want socialsecurity there is an opportunity cost between lower benefits or highertaxes. I for one choose the higher taxes needed to stabilize the programand bring down the program until it can be abolished because believe meif we raise taxes people will rethink how much they need socialsecurity. As I am neglecting my final that is now less than 12 hoursaway I will get back to studying.

I'm Not Surprised, Are You?

Glenn Reynolds notes the following exchange in Tavis Smiley's (who is leaving after 3 years as an NPR host) interview with Time:

Q: What's more diverse these days — NPR or President Bush's cabinet?
A: Bush's Cabinet. It is ironic that a Republican President has an Administration that is more inclusive and more diverse than a so-called liberal-media-elite network.
I think this sums up very nicely the differences between conservatives and liberals when it comes to diversity. Namely, liberals see it as part of the all-encompasing philospohy of multiculturalism and all that entails, while conservatives just judge people on their merits. Time's follow-up to that question is just as telling:
Q: But do Bush's minority selections reflect the values of the communities from which they come?
Because of course, everyone of similar race thinks alike.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

David's Birthday

I as well would like to wish David, the heart and soul, backbone, founder, and most eloquent member of our blog, a happy birthday. Good conservative employers out there...you won't go wrong with David.

David...I'm going to work to get you to come out and give a lecture to the school, we'll find airfare for you and then have a feast at Apollo Grille. It would be great! We all miss you and we could really use you as were making some big transitions with the club and the VRWC.

Also...Brian has joined the anti-capital dark side of international relations (or so the rumor goes).

I have some posts to make after exams...to make up for a sub-par posting semester.

The Scapegaoters Return

Last week yet another parents/morality group decreed its list of the "10 Most Violent Video Games" that parents should not be buying their children. Here it is (in alphabetical order):

1. Doom 3
2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
3. Gunslinger Girls
4. Half Life 2
5. Halo 2
6. Hitman Blood Money (not even released yet)
7. Manhunt
8. Mortal Kombat: Deception
9. Postal 2
10. Shadow Heart
Of course, part of their rationale is once again blaming video games for all sorts of violent acts. I believe, and always have believed that this is patent nonsense and yet another way for parents to absolve themselves of responsibility in raising their children. Blame video games, blame movies, blame music, blame George Bush's Oil Wars Episode V: Halliburton Strikes Back (Notorious basketbrawller Ron "Where's the camera at?" Artest and some of his NBA allies actually tried to blame that incident on the war in Iraq), but don't blame the parents for not paying attention. The Columbine killers weren't evil and misunderstood, video games drove them to do it! This is way of thinking is so rooted in passing the buck, it's amazing.

I take an extremely dim view of this abrogation of responsibility, in part from being a Republican, but also because I've grown up with video games, as have all my friends, especially many of my conservative friends. When peoplw come out to denounce video games, I generally agree with the thoughts of the guys at Penny Arcade.

I do have to say that at least this time around the groups urged parents to pay attention and not buy violent video games for their kids, which is exactly what should be happening. What parent in their right mind, even in the absence of video game reviews (which are abundant) and a ratings system (which exists), would buy a game titled "Grand Theft Auto" for their kid?

But the real problem is an almost complete ignorance of even the most basic idea of video gaming among those in the media and the public eye. As our generation begins to assume positions of power, I think this will gradually vanish but it's still a major annoyance today. PBS has a good bunch of essays on video gaming here, but I think the most important is Henry Jenkins' "Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked". This type of piece is really long overdue outside of video game journalists (who have been saying it for years). Jenkins' eight myths:
1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence.
2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.
3. Children are the primary market for video games.
4. Almost no girls play computer games.
5. Because games are used to train soldiers to kill, they have the same impact on the kids who play them.
6. Video games are not a meaningful form of expression.
7. Video game play is socially isolating.
8. Video game play is desensitizing.
I agree that these are all myths that are perpetuated and Jenkins does a fair job of debunking them, but I'd like to add to some of his responses.

I think the consideration of video games as "meaningful" forms of expression is an interesting one. Whether or not you believe video games have artistic merit, I think the Constitution is properly interpreted that they are a form of expression, and sometimes free speech. I mean, if pornography, violent movies, and modern art all fit the bill, then surely video games do. I think it takes a heck of a lot more artistic talent and vision to create games like Myst and Warcraft than to put a cross in a bottle of urine and pretend it's art so you can get public funding. I don't think all video games are "artistic" or "creative," as derivative crap and copycatting is just as common with video games as in any other product, but there are the standouts that do deserve recognition. I don't necessarily think Grand Theft Auto is a work of art (though many of the Vice City scenes were pretty), but I do think it's a fun and unique gaming experience which is clearly not for kids.

That brings me to the question of whether video games are for kids or adults. They're really for everybody and with such a huge selection, anyone can find things they like. A company that has always been friendly to kids is Nintendo. I've had evey Nintendo system since the original NES, and I've always been happy playing excellent games in the Mario Bros. series as well as Mario Kart, the Zelda games, the Metroid games, and many others. All of these are perfectly suitable for kids, as long as parents know the content and know the kid can differentiate fantasy and reality. But if you're an adult, you can still get mature video games for the Nintendo systems. The other main systems at the moment, the PS2 and the Xbox, are really marketed at people 18-24, which is my demographic as Mary kindly pointed out.

There are planty of adult video games, inlcuding everything on that list above. People are beginning to realize this, and something I took as a good sign was when The Lileks and Hugh Hewitt spent an hour of Hugh's show taking calls on Halo 2 and video games in general. Lileks happens to be a Halo fan, though he dislikes the idea of Grand Theft Auto. Again, there's something for everyone. Video games are as diverse in subject matter and content as movies and books. There are shoot-em-ups like Doom, puzzle games like Tetris, story and character-driven Role Playing Games like the Final Fantasy series, strategy and tactics games like Warcraft, Railroad Tycoon, and Command & Conquer, and sports games like Madden. I'm partial to strategy games myself, and I think the best games ever made are Civilization and its sequels.

The point is, I'm tired of people who don't have the slightest clue about video games assuming the worst about them and using those assumptions as an excuse for their lax parenting. Just like anything else in this world, video games aren't bad if they're enjoyed responsibly and remember, responsibility is one of the necessities in order to live in a free society.

Day-By-Day Returns!

That's right, Chris Muir's excellent and often politically-themed webcomic is back from hiatus and it's as good as it ever was. I only expect great things from Muir.

If you need convincing of why to read Day-By-Day, I think this question from his FAQ should be more than enough:

Q: Why did you start DbD?
A: I was tired of the MSM force-feeding us PC dreck.

Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe Style

Back from the dead to wish David a fantastic 23rd birthday and encourage him to drink a glass (ahem or a whole bottle) of Asti Spumanti for me. Love ya, David!

Happy biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday to you.
Happy biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday to you.
Happy biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday Mister Presi-er, Daviiiiid.
Happy biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirthday to you.

Who Says Politics is Boring?

Take for example, Brave Bold Sir Mark Dayton. You may recall a few months ago that there was a general alert for Senate offices in Washington, DC. Everyone stayed around except for Democratic Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, who closed his offices for weeks and went back to Minnesota. Hugh Hewitt and the Northern Alliance bloggers have been merciless in making fun of Dayton for this and Captain Ed realized that Dayton is the Senate's version of Brave Sir Robin.

Hugh played the song on his radio show on Friday, and it really is funny in reference to this. He also challenged the Captain to Photoshop a picture of Sir Robin appropriately. You can see the result here.

Futher evidence that pundits are fun is that Jonah Goldberg shares my love of Transformers.