Sunday, July 31, 2005
During a waking period on the Fox Sunday show, Juan Williams and Ceci Connolly were defending random bag checks on NYC subways and continuing to harp on the 'evils' of racial profiling. It's rational profiling to recognize that Muslim extremists have declared, and are waging, war against us. It's irrational to fight against them wearing self-imposed blindfolds. Juan, who is actually a pretty good guy for a lefty, has hardly ever sounded stupider.
Thought of the Day
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Pronouncing Ancient Greek Names
Diomedes (the nom de blog of my shy blogging partner and one of the heroes of the Iliad) would be pronounced Die OM e dees.
One that I find is often mispronounced is the somewhat raunchy play Lysistrata (where the women try to stop a war by refusing to have sex with the men) by the playwright Aristophanes.
Most people I know say Li sis STRAT ah. That's wrong. Lie SIS strat ah is the correct pronunciation.
Ar i STOPH a nees. Most people get that right.
I've even heard some people say Die o MEE dees. Peasants!
Thought of the Day
Pliny the Younger
There is no book so bad that it's not helpful in some part.
Well of course he could say this, he never had to read Dickens.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Friday Movie Review
That's not to say this was a bad movie--far from it. It was not a perfectly successful comedy but it had its moments. I liked the two leads bitching at each other on the staircase in the Maryland mansion a lot. I have to admit that Owen Wilson comes off as the better character here. I think the '10% of our heart' line is really good. I'd buy it. It doesn't hurt a bit that he has by far the more desirable sister as his love interest. That's the very lovely Rachel McAdams, a Canadian who was in the Notebook and Mean Girls. I predict a boost for her from this movie. You have to root for Owen to win her heart because they make her beau such a horrible person--not a comic or tragicomic figure--just a monster from whose foul clutches she must be rescued. Vaugh's girl has a better chest, I think, and she has the single funniest scene holding her breath with her fingers in her ears stamping her feet in front of long suffering Christopher Walken, who's looking every second of his 62 years.
The Mrs. Robinson plot thing with Jane Seymour was a bland detour to nowhere. The gay, artistic son (with a bad hair cut--yeah, that could happen) and the homosexual hating grandmother were about as funny as a war wound. The slightly more than a cameo of Will Ferrell proved that he can mug into a camera like a chimpanzee, but it didn't do his career any real favors. They show Rebecca De Mornay for about 20 seconds and her time with songwriter/"singer" Leonard Cohen was not apparently well spent. Her debut as the love interest/lead in the extraordinary Risky Business was 22 years ago. Man, I feel so old my hands should have a palsy. Let me tell you a Leonard Cohen story that Patti Painful told me. She lived in Paris and went to see Cohen who was really big in France at the time (1976). He wasn't the most prolific of songwriters (I do love how his stuff helps set the mood for the wonderful McCabe and Mrs. Miller) so you go to his concert and he does the dozen or so songs he has written, he takes a break, and then he sings the same twelve songs again. "Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river..."
OK, let's do the gun part. Quail hunting in summer? I think not. Quail hunting in a close together line of hunters not in blaze orange? I think not. Quail hunting without a dog? Pull the other one. The shot in a shotgun shell used to be lead pellets in sizes from triple o to 10--triple o is big, about the size of the end of your thumb, 7 1/2 is like BB size, and 10 is like dust. Now they make shot in metals other than lead, to save the diving ducks, geese and swans from eating lead in the bays, but it's not as good. There are a lot of bore sizes in shotguns (we say gauge)--going from largest to smallest-- 8 (absolutely no fun to shoot), 10, 12 (the most popular), 16 (which used to be the coming thing), 20 and 28. The shot comes out of the barrel all clumped together and spreads out over the next 15 to 20 yards. So when Owen puts bird shot into Vince's butt from about two feet away, he actually would have literally cut him a new a--hole. Vince's girl has to pick it out with tweezers. Not likely. I worked for a time on a murder with bird shot from close range (and an honest-to-God dying declaration). Not a funny photo shoot of the victim.
The movie is 119 minutes long and only drags here and there. Roger Bob says check it out.
Even More About Sex
There are, in animal behavior studies and in Sociobiology (the stillborn new science), concepts about what are the best ways to raise children that have children (reproductive strategies) and about what are the best ways to attract a mate (mating strategies). These two strategies are linked. Birds, for example, produce young that are first encased in fragile eggs and then are helpless for months. Most mammals, but not us, produce young that can get up and run with the herd in a matter of hours or can stay in the den or troop behind the mother without bothering her except for periodic specialized feeding. Bird mothers need help raising the chicks, at least for the season. Most mammal mothers don't need help raising the young and don't want the male around for other reasons. Because of the different reproduction strategies (female birds need a faithful partner; female mammals just need some sperm) the mating strategies are different. Female mammals want the best sperm and the male mammals sort themselves out with displays or fighting and the winner gets the girls. Female birds want a partner and mate and the choosing process and bonding period go on a little longer (not that male birds don't also fight and display). When our ancestors came down onto the African Savannah and began to move standing up, the female pelvis shrunk, because it works better small, while at the same time the brain of the proto-humans grew (nobody really knows why--it could be that we were using our hands for other than locomotion and social interaction rewarded bigger brains or it could be as simple as proto-human females liked big foreheads and sexual selection took over and big brains were the end by-product). So the females were faced with an ever smaller birth canal and an ever enlarging cranium coming through. The solution to this problem was neotony (the retention of juvenile features). The baby born to the proto-humans was ever more helpless. The proto-human female's reproductive strategy became more and more birdlike. They needed faithful partners. The ability to have sex at any time was one result of the changed strategy as it kept the partner around to help raise the baby.
So, for women, they wanted a faithful mate to help with babies. For men, they were willing to help but there was nothing wrong with spreading their sperm around as much as possible (especially if another male could be tricked into raising the resulting baby as his own). So men want sex, women want love and commitment. Hooking up, group dating and friends with privileges are strategies for sex without love and commitment. They are exactly what the males want and not at all what the females want. Therefore, we won.
More About Sex
Thought of the Day
Arthur C. Clarke
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Talking about Sex with your Eldest Daughter
Excessive Force in Iraq
What the heck is a precision-guided pistol?
Oh, the general wants his troops to carry the Italian made 9 mm Beretta pistol (we call it the 92F) which is the standard issue military sidearm now. The M-9 (its Army name) which replaced the venerable 1911A2 in the 80s, is no more "precision guided" than any other pistol.
All you need to do to make it precision-guided is aim it. Don't they already carry them?
Oh, here might be the problem. The story says: "Gen. Chaves, who commands the Hawaii Army National Guard 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, said the answer was to equip soldiers with laser-guided 9 mm Beretta pistols. "
Laser guided, my butt. He wants guns with the little laser on the front pointing to where the bullet will go over short distances. You've seen them in the movies. People with even the most modest of shooting skills don't want or need them.
But I'm back to one of my original question. Don't they carry the M-9, already? If not, who took the standard issue sidearm away from them? I doubt it was the Iraqis.
NYT Editorial--Still Anti-Gun
No Immunity for the Gun Industry
At a time when Congress is grappling with critical measures, including military and energy issues, the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, has seen fit to catapult a special interest bill for the gun lobby to the head of the legislative queue.
For those of us who think the Second Amendment is an important right, and not just some sort of weird mistake by the framers, this was the best thing Senator Frist (R-TN) has done in a long time. A neutral journalist would have noted here that this is a second try to pass the bill rather than characterize it as an inappropriate waste of time when other pressing things need Senate attention. Notice too the code words "special interest" and "gun lobby." Nothing good can be the result of these two things.
The bill would grant gun manufacturers, distributors and sellers an unreasonable degree of immunity from civil suits by families or communities harmed by gun violence. It would even require that lawsuits already filed be dismissed.
"Unreasonable degree of immunity"? The manufacturers and distributors of firearms have been sued in the past half decade by a number of cities and even a liberal organization or two. They have yet to lose and indeed, most of the suits have been tossed out before trial. The cost, however, has been enormous (we lawyers don't come cheap), some estimates have it at $2 billion. It is difficult to remain in business with that sort of pyrrhic victory repeated again and again. Indeed, bankrupting the manufacturers and distributors through many failed, bogus lawsuits was held out as a legitimate tactic by some. It's not unreasonable to protect an industry from this sort of sleazy action.
Although the firearms industry argues that it should not be held liable for the criminal acts of those who buy or steal guns, all too often the dealers, distributors or manufacturers contribute to the problem by failing to safeguard their inventories or police their own sales responsibly. The victims of their negligence deserve the right to sue.
This is disingenuous at best. The law immunizes only those manufacturers and distributors who obey the myriad laws regarding the sale of firearms. Negligence is not excused. "All too often"? How often do distributors fail to police their sales responsibly? But again if the gun shop owner doesn't follow the law and clear that the purchaser has valid 2nd Amendment rights, he or she would be liable. The NYT is complaining about a problem that doesn't exist in the proposed legislation.
Most Americans would surely applaud the legal settlement made in the Washington-area sniper case. The dealer that "lost" the sniper's assault rifle, and some 200 other guns as well, and the rifle's manufacturer paid $2.5 million to two surviving victims and the families of six victims who died. Yet the pending bill, according to legal experts, is so restrictive that if it had been in effect, this lawsuit would have been barred.
I, for one, did not applaud the settlement and thought it was more akin to extortion vis a vis the manufacturer (Bushmaster) than laudable justice. The rifle's maker did nothing wrong. The gun store probably did violate the law (and therefore could have been sued under this law). But the main bad guys were John Muhammad and Lee Malvo. the Washington snipers. They used the gun to shoot people at random, but they're not sued. In the civil arena they are guiltless and the manufacturer is guilty. Even the morally blind can see that's not fair and this injustice is the very reason for this necessary law.
A similar bill cleared the House last year, but it was withdrawn in the Senate when the National Rifle Association objected to the attachment of gun-control amendments.
The bill, which would have passed, was fatally poisoned with amendments by liberal, gun hating legislators.
Republicans have since gained four Senate seats, and Democrats have grown more fearful of opposing the gun lobby. When this misguided immunity bill comes up for a vote, responsible senators must find a way to head it off or to summon the courage to vote no.
In what way is it"courage" to act irresponsibly and allow a manifest unfairness to continue to exist? If there are no gun manufacturers left in business, what do our troops use in battle? Longbows? In the slightly modified words of Clint Eastwood--Go ahead, Democrat Senators in conservative states, vote against this bill, make my day.
UPDATE: The bill squeeked through 65-31. None of the Democrat Senators in conservative states voted against it. Harry Reid voted for it. Senator Clinton voted against it. Can the leopard change its spots?
Thought of the Day
W. Somerset Maugham
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Short TV Blog
Let's talk about weapons.
Private Williams (the hard black guy from Compton) carries a SAW, the Squad Automatic Weapon (M249) light machine gun (the modern BAR). It fires the little .223 (5.56 mm NATO improved) at a pretty good clip (over 700 cyclic) either from a belt feed (the big box full of 200 rounds on disintegrating links) or from the same clips that fit into the M-16s (or whatever they're called now) which don't go full auto anymore (just 3 round burst). That's what the SAW makes up for with fully sustained automatic fire.
The insurgents? had what looked to me like a DShK 38/40, the Russian .50 caliber machine gun (12.7 x 107 mm), which has been around from before WWII. The bad guys in the Mosque were firing it at our guys behind the berm but nothing seemed to be happening. The Russian .50 will go clean through the top foot or so of the berm. Our guys seemed absolutely fearless in the face of such lethality. Thus, the first hint of strain to credulity begins.
In one scene, which they showed often in the previews, one of the Iraqi bad guys has his AK-47 jam and the Cornell guy with a bad marriage shoots him dead. I have never fired a real (full-auto) AK-47 but everything I've been told and read makes me think that an AK jam is more likely to exist in the mind of a Hollywood type writer than in reality. I'll buy it this one time, don't let it happen again.
I guess I'll watch this show.
UPDATE: On second viewing, the AK-47 does not jam, the clip empties and the Iraqi fumbles putting the new clip in. I was left thinking that these guys (the enemy) are very brave and very stupid. There wasn't a lot of cover out there, but even lying down makes you harder to hit than standing up. They stood up like targets in a midway shooting alley.
Stupid, virtually stalks New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and comments on nearly all of Krugman's columns, correcting their apparently numerous errors. He does it again today at the Krugman Truth Squad column over at NRO. I am so totally clueless about economics (one of the many holes in my education) that I can't comment on the accuracy of Luskin's views vis a vis Krugman's views, but I can certainly say that Luskin's style of writing is superior, he backs up his statements better than Krugman, and he is funny where Krugman is a complete bore.
Money quote today:
"One needn't go halfway around the world to see Krugman's economic blunders on display. In another Times column last week, Krugman promoted his doomsaying economic narrative in the face of a drop in the unemployment rate to 5 percent by claiming, "adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings have been flat for the past five years." But just visit the website of the Department of Labor, the official source of such statistics, and you'll see that, in fact, they are up half a percent--not "flat." Or visit the website of the Department of Commerce, which shows that a comparable figures--per capita disposable income--is up 9.6 percent, again not "flat."
It's all just another case of what former New York Times "public editor" Dan Okrent called a "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers." I wrote to Byron Calame--the new "public editor"-- to demand a correction of Krugman's error about "flat" wages. His associate Joe Plambeck told me that Krugman was not "factually incorrect. Had he said 'remained the same,' he would have been in error."
Later, Plambeck told me that Krugman's boss--editorial page editor Gail Collins--agreed with him that "no correction is necessary" because "you and Mr. Krugman are emphasizing different things."
I suppose that's right. I was emphasizing accurate reporting of economic news. Krugman was emphasizing left-wing spin designed to trash-talk a booming economy. Those are different things."
Brave New World
Tony Blankley has the goods on artificial womb development. He sees the implications for Roe v. Wade. I see problems with imperceptible things missing from babies born from artificial wombs because we don't know all the things that real wombs provide to the development of the baby. Also with artificial wombs, cloning becomes a little more scary. You still have a baby as the result of cloning, but it might be an invisibly damaged baby with a screwed up internal clock (like the sheep Dolly was supposed to have had).
We lawyers might scare the scientists from fully developing these things, with the concept of wrongful life. See, I knew we had an uplifting purpose.
Thought of the Day
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I continue to think that, with the possible exception of the Bloomsbury area of London from 1901 to 1917, there's no better time to live than now and certainly no better place than right here in the USA.
'08 Republican Straw Poll
Day by Day
Thought of the Day
Monday, July 25, 2005
Like High School
Back in High School I would have loved to have learned something really horrible about the hated guy, so I could tell everyone and have them hate him too. Well, it never happened in High School, but fortune has smiled on me lately. Here's what I learned about Larry Johnson. The same Larry Johnson who is coming off all righteous and competent and reveling in his ex-CIA status and the Democrats' lionizing of those who criticize Republicans.
Larry wrote an op-ed in the New York Times published on July 10, 2001, titled "Declining Terrorist Threat". Let's let that timing sink in a little. Here's more of Mr. Johnson's brilliant analysis of the diminishing terrorist threat at about the same time--read it while the first brilliance is still sinking in. You see just two months later, the terrorist threat declined to show that it was declining; indeed, on September 11, 2001, the terrorist threat showed itself to be pretty much un-diminished.
So, Larry proves himself to be the worst freaking terrorism analyst ever.
Now, if I had shown myself to have no idea of what I was doing in my job (at the crack anti-terrorist squad at the CIA) and no frigging idea what was really going on in that particular part of the World that I was supposed to know really well, I would never show my dog ugly face on TV ever again. I guess Larry and I are different from each other. (Nor am I that ugly). So, please take his self-aggrandizing opinions about Ms. Plame and Karl Rove with the 75 ton crystal grain of salt they deserve.
Plame on ad Nauseam for ever
So I was more than a little surprised that after Valerie was outed, the CIA did not (and never has) posted security at their house.
Apparently, the CIA didn't think the outing of Valerie Plame was such a big deal.
Apparently the CIA knew that she had been 'outed' nearly a decade before Novak wrote about her.
Thought of the Day
Harry S Truman
Echoes of this thought still permeate the Democrat Party.
Victor Davis Hanson
...Islamicists are selective in their attacks and hatred. So far global jihad avoids two billion Indians and Chinese, despite the fact that their countries are far tougher on Muslims than is the United States or Europe. In other words, the Islamicists target those whom they think they can intimidate and blackmail.
Which of the two political parties in the U.S. has done more to give them the idea they can intimidate and blackmail us?
Sunday, July 24, 2005
For four years, much of the western world behaved like Bryant. Bomb us, and we agonise over the "root causes" (that is, what we did wrong). Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace". Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "decaf latte with skimmed milk and cinnamon sprinkles".
Until the London bombings. Something about this particular set of circumstances - British subjects, born and bred, weaned on chips, fond of cricket, but willing to slaughter dozens of their fellow citizens - seems to have momentarily shaken the multiculturalists out of their reveries. Hitherto, they've taken a relaxed view of the more, ah, robust forms of cultural diversity - Sydney gang rapes, German honour killings - but Her Britannic Majesty's suicide bombers have apparently stiffened even the most jelly-spined lefties.
There's some pretty esoteric name dropping in the column (and don't even begin to think that you know who they are unless you pronounce 'day' as 'die'). Toleration is overrated during wartime--we have to be able to think the enemy is unlike us (and worse) in order to kill them and remain sane ourselves.
Rare Sports Posting (Pt. 2)
I tend, as a former soccer coach, to yell encouragement to the team and helpful hints to the ref and line judges. My son Andrew was parodying me effectively by yelling, every time the midfield guys passed the ball back to the full-backs or the goalie (40 year old Joe Cannon), "Wrong way!" After about 12 times, it became pretty funny.
They showed my least favorite ex-CIA guy Larry Johnson mentioning the words 'ugly dog' as he accusedMcCain and other Republicans of cowardice. Looking at Mr. Johnson's face, it is a weird psychological co-incidence that he mentions the very words I think looking at him.
Now it's Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) taking over for the Democrat talking points. At least it was short.
Another balanced round table--three lefties versus David Gergen (better than the 5 to 0 panels Chris Matthews routinely has). "Democrats seem a little bit flummoxed" abut Justice nominee Roberts. Little bit of an understatement there. Republicans, says Linda Douglas, are worried that Roberts has said he will follow precedent re Roe v. Wade. I say, Republicans, relax, he has to follow precedent as a Circuit Court Judge but the Supremes make precedent, they don't necessarily follow it. E. J. Dionne hopes that the Judiciary Democrats (Schumer and Kennedy, etc.) can ask Roberts tough questions without looking like jerks. I'll take that bet.
Gergen quotes the famous Nixon question 'What did the President know and when did he know it?' about the Rove matter directing it at President Bush. Thanks, David. Dionne again says that the indictment for revealing CIA identities will not come.
Now instead of talking about the thousands of vets who've come back from Iraq to love, health and peace and even a desire to get back to finish the job, we get a troubled suicide. Thanks for helping the War effort with a representational case, George.
Diomedes says I shouldn't write so much, so I'll stop soon.
16 US dead last week in the War Zones. Too high, but not out of the range of the winning side's casualty rate.
The Democrats never recovered from the 2000 election. They became obsessed with the "illegitimate" Bush, and carried on obsessing no matter what lively distractions intervened: In time the Twin Towers tumbled, the Taliban crumbled, they're only here today, but hung chads are here to stay. Michael Moore couldn't make a movie about 9/11 and Iraq without a 20-minute chad-dangling opening. Even the chad-free election of 2004 -- the "sequel," as Richard Cohen coyly puts it -- only momentarily dented the party's imperviousness to reality: If you can't get Bush, get Tom Delay, or Karl Rove, or John Bolton, or some other guy nobody's heard of.
Now it's Roberts' turn. Barely had the president finished announcing the nomination when the Dems rushed Sen. Chuck Schumer on air, hunched and five-o'clock-shadowed and looking like a bus-&-truck one-man Nixon revue. Schumer's line was that, as a judge, Roberts had too thin a paper trail. His message seemed to be: Look, we Dems have the finest oppo-research boys in the business and, if we can't get any dirt on this guy, that must mean it's buried real deep and is real bad; the very fact that we can't get anything on him is in itself suspicious. Etc., etc.
Your life will be better if you read the whole thing.
Thought of the Day
Frank Lloyd Wright
Saturday, July 23, 2005
UPDATE: Not five in the ten spot but 8 in the head. The Brits are not fracing around.
Global Music Scene
Rare Sports Posting
We all like Lance Armstrong, admire him and wish him well, and we especially like it that he beats Europe's best in a sport they seem to like, riding bicycles. And that he does it in France is a kind of in your face bonus. But the secret of his success (other than his efficient blood pumping system and his ability to crank it up hill) is that he doesn't do the Tour of Italy, Tour of Croatia, Tour of Spain, etc. (assuming those bike riding events are not just a figment of my imagination). He just does the Tour of France. Everyone else does all the other tours and are pretty worn out by Bastille Day. It's no small thing doing 7 in a row, but because of the exclusive concentration, it's not exactly walking on water either.
Thought of the Day
Friday, July 22, 2005
Friday Movie Review (not)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- remake of a movie I hated with Johnny Depp as creepy androgen. Yea, this sounds like a winner.
The Bad News Bears--remake of a minor somewhat funny movie. Walther Matthau was great as the crusty coach. Billy Bob Thornton will bring out his charming hillbilly in the suburbs schtick that made Bad Santa the wonderful success it was.
Herbie: Fully Loaded--remake of a horrible, unfunny series about a Volkswagen car with magical powers. If Lindsay Lohan got naked and made love to Herbie, I still wouldn't see this movie.
The Island--remake of Coma with cloning overlay. The hard part about making clones scary (or even different) is to lie about their essential nature. What is the result of human cloning?--a baby. Tough to make that scary. I'll probably see this though.
The Devil's Rejects--Rob Zombie brings the same subtle touch to directing movies that made his rock and roll career the towering success it was. Wouldn't the Devil reject good quiet church going types? Just asking.
Movies here in Denver that might not actually suck: Hustle & Flow, Beautiful Country, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Yes and just possibly The Wedding Crashers.
Rich Lowery's Message of Hope
How do you define "flummoxed"? That would be Sen. Chuck Schumer. Or "flailing"? That would be Sen. Ted Kennedy. Or "desperate"? That would be the array of left-wing activist groups from People For the American Way to MoveOn.org. This cadre of desperately flailing flummoxed anti-Bushies has been brought to their state of extreme futility by the nomination to the Supreme Court of John Roberts, the un-Borkable.
And it just keeps getting better. Read the whole thing.
Craig, in the genius class analysis he is capable of, complained that because of Karl Rove's conversation with Matt Cooper now some Arab could look at a photo of Valerie Plame in Vanity Fair and recognize her and her past contacts. Craig, ma' man, how did Rove's warning to Cooper about the real circumstances of Wilson's so-called investigation make Valerie Plame pose for photographs in Vanity Fair? Plame allowed the photographer and magazine to publish thousand of copies of her photo. She put it out there, not Rove. Your increasingly shrill partisanship is causing you to spout more and more false statements. Our mutual friend Dansky says you're not this liberal. How can I believe that when you're saying stuff exactly like Democrat Underground and MoveOn.org?
Thought of the Day
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Local Music Scene (Part Two)
The Great Works (Haiku version)
"A" clad Hester's child
Can't cross stream when mom's hair's down--
Guilt eats Dimmesdale up.
Thought of the Day
Sent down here to clean up my reputation
And baby, I ain't your prince charming
Now we can live in fear, or act out of hope
For some kind of peaceful situation
Baby, don't know why the cry of love is so alarming
John Hiatt in Thing Called Love
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Short TV Blog
I have just two words for the marathon lovemaking couple complaining of friction--Astroglide Gel. Is there anyway that Laura is not going up to the apartment to check to see if Franco is really alone? I think not. And an awful lot of pill dropping going on.
On the other hand, Leary's daughter was about perfect in every scene and the soliloquy of Lt. Shea to Laura was a thing of blue collar beauty.
Local Music Scene
Thought of the Day
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Justice John Roberts
General Westmoreland, R.I.P.
Kevin Fears, B.I.H.
I prosecuted Kevin Fears a long time ago (but I'm having difficulty here, as I don't know if I can talk about it). Let's just say, I pegged him as a serious bad guy, and worked very hard on a prosecution (let's say it was hypothetically for burglary) but I was promoted to District Court and the deputy DA who replaced me had different ideas and let him go. She was wrong, I was right. Let's hope the Catholics are right or, better yet, let's hope the movie Constantine is right about suicides. Not that I'm bitter about it.
Tancredo's Know-Nothing Campaign
If history tell us anything (and I believe it tells us nearly everything) threatening the religious center merely makes the fanatics even more fanatic and causes the moderates to further cower. One of the things that caused Imperial Japan to hold out as we were just beating the snot out of them was the idea that we would arrest the Divine Emperor. Once that was off the table, surrender came quickly.
Thought of the Day
Monday, July 18, 2005
Wizbang Photo Caption Contest
Thought of the Day
St. Augustine of Hippo
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Question for Matthew Cooper
Specter talks about the importance of preserving that noble Senate tradition of the filibuster (last used for good, according to Specter, in 1866) Yea, noble and important. What a maroon.
Now it's Landrieu's turn to pre-judge the nomination of he or she who is to replace O'Connor. She thinks, wrongly, that the President has to consult with the Senate about who he nominates before he nominates someone.
Isn't race blindness (we don't care about your background or genes if you can do the job) better than race conscious diversity promotion (what a credit to the US it is that we have three blacks, six women and a hispanic...)? Doesn't the latter emphasize rather than diminish the ultimately meaningless outside package?
Meet the Press is apparently all Rove all the time. Mehlman is doing pretty good, in a hostile environment. Why can't Russert be tough on Democrats?
I used to think Jane Harman was OK. The leopard cannot change her spots. She points out that Plame had NOC at the same time acknowledging that she was at a desk in Langley. Isn't confirming her status at the CIA revealing classified information? I guess when Democrats leak classified information, it's OK. She says outing a desk jockey is an important national security matter. Pure partisan BS. Brit has her bobbing and ducking like a prize fighter. Her ideas for defense are along the lines of wouldn't it be nice if we could all just get along. I guess that is the current Democrat plan for homeland security--let's all be nice.
Podesta, back on Meet the Press, is going ad hominum again and again. He's lying about what President Bush said and he's going with the the Democrats' plan to making Rove quit despite the lack of established wrongdoing. It worked with Trent Lott's unfortunate remarks (wasn't even tried on Durbin--I wonder why-- oh, that's right, Durbin's a Democrat).
On Fox they're discussing Plame and showing the statute which the facts show doesn't apply. That's good. Kristol points out that there are different statutes to use. Oh no. The consensus is that if by Halloween there's no indictment, this has been a diverting teapot tempest. Right.
They've moved on to nominee speculation. I'm listening but nothing is penetrating. Now they're predicting the future. Kristol has an edge here as he has been right about this subject in the recent past. The Republicans said women, the center lefties said Gonzalez. Might be a little unconscious desire in those predictions.
Even More Liberal Hypocrisy
To summarize it for you, the New York Times did an article about the secret airlines used to transport terror criminals around the globe, complete with landing and take off locations, model information about the planes used and photos of the planes themselves with registration numbers showing.
All that and not one peep of indignant outrage from the left or anywhere else. Yet Karl Rove tells Matt Cooper that Joe Wilson is married to a CIA agent and all hell breaks loose.
Read the whole thing.
Maybe Jeeves knows.
Thought of the Day
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Jonah Goldberg Knows Which End's Up
The worst assaults on London since the Blitz, and the "backlash" amounted to little more than a broken window and a man getting roughed up in a pub. One has to wonder how many more pub beatings took place that same weekend because some idiot said something unkind about Manchester United.
The scandal wasn't that there was a "backlash" against the Muslim community. It is that there wasn't more of a backlash within the Muslim community. We now know that the attackers were British born and raised Muslims. Yet there's precious little evidence that the Muslim community is eager to turn on the enemy within with any admirable enthusiasm. And there are even fewer signs that the British media has any interest in contributing to a "climate" that would encourage such a development.
This is a recipe for unmitigated disaster.
Read the whole thing.
George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of The New York Times Company, re-affirmed that Miller would not say who that source was. "She has never received," Freeman told Liptak, "what she considers an unambiguous, unequivocal and uncoerced waiver from anyone with whom she may have spoken."
Well, has she received a waiver from her source(s) that she considers ambiguous, equivocal and coerced?
This complicates the thought problem of figuring out who her source was by logic and elimination. We had said it can't be Rove because Rove released the journalists he spoke to and Cooper based on that release testified. Maybe Miller is just being really picky. I continue to think the story has collapsed and only the uninformed remain enthusiastic about Rove's pending indictment/firing. Never happen.
Thought of the Day
Frank Lloyd Wright
Friday, July 15, 2005
Protein Wisdom's Way with Words
Hmmm. So let me get this straight: Karl Rove sought to retaliate against American patriot Joe Wilson by illegally and unethically “outing” his covert CIA “operative” wife (and to hear Democrats like Harry Reid tell it, AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR NATION’S VERY SECURITY!)—and he did all this by… waiting for both Robert Novak and Matt Cooper to contact him...?
Man. The Force is strong with this one.
If you've ever wondered what reductio ad absurdum is--this is it.
Plame on ad Nauseam
A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an "undercover agent," saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency's headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee. "She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat," Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times.
"Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here. ... The agency never changed her cover status." In addition, Mrs. Plame hadn't been out as an NOC since 1997, when she returned from her last assignment, married Mr. Wilson and had twins, USA Today reported yesterday. The distinction matters because a law that forbids disclosing the name of undercover CIA operatives applies to agents that had been on overseas assignment "within the last five years."
The CIA guy said that Fred Rustmann was wrong.
There was more but I want to talk just a bit about his attitude. Let's just say he was very full of himself. He used jargon non stop. He was always one-upping his questioners with secret information only he and fellow CIA knew. He was certain he was right even in the face of difficult to contradict evidence against his position. In short, he was a complete a--hole. Hey, pal, the CIA hasn't exactly been on a huge success roll here, know what I mean. His attitude is part of the problem.
UPDATE: I'm informed by the radio station (KHOW) that the gentleman's name was Larry Johnson. Mr. Johnson also said that the bipartisan panel on the investigation of intelligence failures was also wrong and that the report was written by Repbulican staffers. Oh, well of course it's wrong then.
New Interrogation Rules
Since everyone seems so sensitive on the issue, so here's what I propose as the new regulations for interrogating a terrorist:
* He will be asked to "please" give us information.
* If no information is given, he will then be asked to "pretty please" give us information.
* If there is still no response, he will finally be asked to "pretty please with sugar on top" give us information.
* Any further requesting would be badgering and could be construed as torture. If given court approval, though, the interrogator could offer to be the terrorist's "very best friend" in exchange for information.
Friday Movie Review
Thought of the Day
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Richard Cohen is None Too Bright
If I were a nicer person, I would have some sympathy for
Karl Rove. After all, in a town where many of the people, if they're honest
about their job titles, would put down "character assassin," Rove merely tried
to impugn the bona fides of a Bush administration critic, the former diplomat
Joseph Wilson IV.
Tried to impugn the bona fides? What bona fides? Wilson reported one thing to the CIA at the end of his trip (that Iraq officials did try to buy uranium ore (yellow cake) from Niger) and then wrote an Op-Ed piece in the NYT in which he said he found no such evidence. He lied through his teeth about what he found. Check out this post at redstate for details.
This is what Rove is supposed to do and what he has done for
Correct lies from the less than loyal opposition?
It was only last month, after all, that Rove impugned the
sanity and patriotism of all liberals by saying that the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11 produced in them the desire to "offer therapy and understanding for our
Impugned the sanity and patriotism of all liberals? Wasn't this just more truth from Rove? Yes. And since when is pointing out a historical fact impugning patriotism? Just as when someone you have not accused of lying says 'I'm not lying' to you, that statement raises doubts that did not exist before, so calling a statement of fact an attack on patriotism indicates a guilty conscious about the strength of the patriotism only perceived under attack. Or so I'm told.
This was to political rhetoric what the spitball is to
A spitball is an illegal but effective pitch in baseball. What's illegal about telling the truth about the difference in reactions? If liberals sincerely thought that the best way to fight back was to get to the root of the problem with understanding, they retain their patriot status but are wrong only in the means for protecting the America they love.
So I am not predisposed to feel Rove's pain, assuming he has any feeling at
Of course he has no feeling, he is one of those sub-human Republicans.
But I do have to concede that he probably did not set out to expose a CIA
operative, the by-now overexposed Valerie Wilson (nee Plame), a specialist in
weapons of mass destruction.
So Cohen admits that Rove did not have the mens rea to commit the crime of 'outing' a CIA operative. Thanks for the concession, Richard. Do you really mean it?
It was Plame, administration sources told columnist Robert D. Novak and
others, who chose her husband to go to Africa to see if Saddam Hussein's Iraq
had tried to buy uranium in Niger.
Of course, Joe Wilson has denied this and continues to deny that his wife had anything to do with is being picked to go the Niger. So Cohen must think that Wilson is a liar as well.
He went and later said that he found nothing,
Yea, told his CIA handlers that attempts to buy yellow cake were made by Iraqi officials but then denied finding any evidence of the attempt in his op-ed piece. Which of the two mutually exclusive statements does Cohen back? The latter, of course. He backs the lie.
but George W. Bush said otherwise in his 2003 State of the Union address.
Yea, again the Republican told the absolute truth--the Brits had uncovered evidence (similar to what Wilson found) that Iraqi officials had attempted to buy yellow cake in Africa.
It was supposed to be additional evidence that Iraq had, in the memorable
word uttered by Vice President Cheney, "reconstituted" its nuclear weapons
program. That, of course, is the real smoking gun in this matter -- the crime,
if there is one at all, in what should now be called Karlgate. (It encompasses
so much -- the outing of Plame, the jailing of reporter Judith Miller, the moral
collapse of the press, the preening of Wilson -- that it sorely needs a
OK, the crime is telling the truth in the State of the Union address. This is the battle of the 16 words all over again, but now it is a crime (not merely a lie), the only crime here, that is, to speak the truth.
The inspired exaggeration of the case against Iraq, the hype about weapons of
mass destruction and al Qaeda's links to Hussein, makes everything else pale in
I agree that the Plame kerfuffle (h.t. James Taranto) has very little importance, but the ineffectiveness of the CIA (and almost all the World's intelligence agencies) regarding what was really going on in Iraq vis a vis atomic, biological and chemical weapons there is not properly on the President's plate, is it? Wasn't Tenet Clinton's choice of CIA Director? Nor are the shortcomings of the World's spies a crime (a shame, no doubt--but not a crime).
. It was to protect those lies, those exaggerations, that incredible train
wreck of incompetence, ideologically induced optimism
and, of course, contempt for the quaint working of the democratic
process, that everything else stems from. Wilson was both armed and dangerous.
He claimed the truth.
Wilson lied again and again. At this point I can't tell if Cohen is aware of that or not. If I had to guess I would say no.
The truth about that truth was contained in a Post story about the leaks. It
quoted "a senior administration official" who said that the outing of Plame was
"meant purely and simply for revenge." It also said that two -- not one -- "top
White House officials" had called "at least six Washington journalists and
disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."
Oh, I see, it is the Post, and not the investigation by Fitzgerald, which has found the motive for the mentioning of Plame's work. It wasn't to put the origin of Wilson's trip (the nepotism in the choice of this blowhard) in proper context (as the leaked Cooper memo clearly shows), it was revenge. Someone should call Fitzgerald and tell him he can pull the plug on his grand jury investigation; the Post has uncovered the truth of the truth-- 'nuff said.
This response might be reprehensible, but it was routine for the town and,
particularly, the vindictive Bush White House.
Care to back up that charge with, oh, I don't know, one example? Just one example of the vindictive Bush White House. There are, alas, none in the column.
What it was not, though, was a crime. The law prohibiting the outing of a CIA
agent is so restrictive that it has been applied only once and does not seem to
fit this case. I find it hard to believe that Rove or anyone at the White House
specifically intended to blow the cover of a CIA agent. Rove is a political
opportunist, not a traitor.
WOW, what gracious concessions! Rove is not a criminal nor a traitor. Thanks for the high praise.
Washington loves farce the way Vienna loves the waltz. It once extravagantly
inflated a sex act into the impeachment of a president,
Were the impeachment charges against President Clinton about illicit sex or were they about lying? I forget.
and it has now reduced the momentous debacle of the Iraq war into a question
of what Rove or someone else said to a reporter on the phone.
Momentous debacle? Does he mean our unprecedented victory in Iraq, the deposing of one of the worst modern dictators, and the midwifing of freedom and democracy for 25 million humans? I'm confused, because I always thought that debacle meant something bad.
Soon, the question will turn on whether Rove or others actually cited Plame by
I thought he already conceded that revealing Plame by name was not a crime. Who cares if the name was used or not if using the name was not a crime?
and whether the president's oath to fire anyone who identified Plame as a CIA
The statement I heard President Bush say was that if someone in his administration had committed a crime, that person would be dealt with. Are there other statements by the President not as precise out there to which Mr. Cohen is referring? Could he take a few lines to straighten that out or does he prefer to confuse the issue and mis-characterize what the president actually did say? The question answers itself.
applies to someone who just mentioned her job title. It will all depend on
what "is" is or, to put it another way, whether Bush will concede that he
See. Everyone parses clear statements; everyone lies. Clinton. Bush. They're exactly the same in this regard.
None of this matters -- not really. The persistent criminalization of
politics does no one any good.
Criminalization of politics? You mean bringing perjury charges against someone who lied under oath? Or pretending that Karl Rove committed a crime when pretty clearly he did not? I can't tell. I'm not sure Richard Cohen can tell what he's saying here either.
This is a parody of Clausewitz. He said war is the continuation of politics by
other means. Now, we have special prosecutors as the continuation of politics by
other means. The New York Times called for one and now, as a result, its own
reporter is in jail.
Cohen must have been an English major--he can detect irony (the only skill English majors learn).
Washington is electrified with the abundant energy of buzz from a scandal --
speculation about Rove, about Bush, about Cheney's aide, Scooter Libby. Who
leaked? Who may have lied? How did Novak slip the noose?
In Cohen's World, the only candidates for lying, leaking, or escaping responsibility are conservatives. Yea, I think we can all agree on that.
But the real scandal is the ongoing mess in Iraq, the murder just the other
day of innocent children (is there any other kind?)
Did Cohen ever complain about the murder by Hussein of innocent children (is there any other kind?)? I can't recall his complaining about the horrors of the Hussein dictatorship. But now that child murders by Ba'ath fascists continue at a much lower rate (as Molly Ivins has finally learned), now Iraq is a scandal and a mess. Back before we finished the first Gulf War, children were flying kites in Baghdad. Cohen and I have seen the footage.
and the false notion that, somehow, taking out Hussein would make us all
safer. London gives the lie to that.
I'm shaking my head in disbelief about the incoherence and dishonesty evident in this column. Cohen is a maroon. But of course, thousands will read his column and maybe 50, alas, will read this.
Works Every Time
Of course, the Post shows its true colors by warning:
But it would be dangerous -- and wrong -- to take this news as evidence that President Bush's tax cuts were wise policy, that the tax cuts should be made permanent or that deficit worries can be safely ignored.
No, of course it wasn't the tax rate cuts--it was the tax fairies. What did the Post say caused this increase in income tax revenues?
Well, actually the Post credits, uh, tax cuts, but warns that the tax cuts which produced the increased revenue could be ephemeral:
A big chunk of the increased revenue comes from the expiration of an investment tax break, a one-time bump-up. Similarly, last year's tax bill created a one-year tax break for multinational corporations' overseas profits; this is also a once-only boost and could reduce tax revenue next year.
Think back to the raft of criticism the tax rate cuts got from Democrats each and every time they passed into law. I've asked this question before--Do the Democrats ever get tired of being dead wrong? The truth is that tax rate cuts work every time to help the economy generally and thus ultimately raise income tax revenue because the concept fits basic human nature. President Bush was right, and the Democrats were wrong. Again.
Byron York Asks Some Good Questions
I also don’t know why Wilson’s defenders accuse the White House of “smearing” him. What was the smear? Was it a smear to say that Wilson got the Niger assignment, at least in part, because his wife recommended him? If so, then the Senate committee “smeared” him, too. If not, what is the smear?
I don’t know.
Thought of the Day
Thomas Henry Huxley
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
How to Argue with a Liberal about Karl Rove
Step Two: After they have named someone who works or worked for the CIA, ask if they just committed a crime for outing a CIA agent. They will say no. If they don't say no, ask the reductio ad absurdum, so ever time we mention the name of the current or past Director of the CIA we've committed a crime? That should get you back on track.
Step Three: Get them to agree that the crime is revealing the identity of a spy for the CIA, a covert agent, but that it's OK to talk about regular employees not undercover. This shouldn't be that difficult even for the logic challenged.
Step Four: Ask them if they know whether Valerie Plame was covert or just a regular employee? The true answer here is we don't really know, but you can get creative. She was an analyst regarding WMD at Langley. It is necessary to have been out of the country undercover in the past five years for the statute prohibiting disclosure of her name to apply to her. Was she out of the country or at Langley in the past five years?, you could ask. Does the CIA use pregnant women or mothers generally?, you could ask. Valerie Plame has children by Joe Wilson, twins, and they got married in the 90s. Ms. Plame has lived in Washington DC area since 1997. Hard to be undercover out of the country while living in DC for the past 8 years.
Step Five: Ask, if she was undercover, then why was Valerie Plame's name in Joe Wilson's web biography prior to Novak's article naming her? Ask, if she was undercover, then why would David Corn call her by name a covert agent fo the CIA 3 days after Novak published her name and more general employment identity? Ask, if she was undercover, then why has she agreed to have her photo published in Vanity Fair, twice?
Laugh maniacally inside.
Thought of the Day
A liar must have a good memory.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Short TV Blog
The Left's Dishonest Support
An honest leftist would say: "Because I view this war as immoral, I cannot support our troops." What is not honest is their saying, "Support the troops -- bring them home." Supporting people who wish to fight entails supporting their fight; and if that fight is opposed, those waging it are also opposed.
Many on the Left angrily accuse the Right of disparaging their patriotism. That charge, too, is false. I have never heard a mainstream conservative impugn the patriotism of liberals. But as regards their attitude toward our troops, the patriotism of those on the Left is not the issue. The issue is their honesty.
Lisl Auman Pleads Out
Thought of the Day
Monday, July 11, 2005
Poem of the Month
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)
An American poem this time, but one Roethke included in a book titled Words for the Wind (1957)--clearly a reference to Catullus' Carmen LXX, the bonus Poem of the Month in June. (We're done with Catullus. Horace in August).
This is a great love poem full of beautiful images and quite a few sexual double entendre, all of which (images and entendres) move more ways than one, so that the image in one line becomes the sensual suggestion in another. There is, for example, two ways to go with the Greek reference--bawdy and high rhetorical. The Brits brought up on Greek are the only ones who can speak of her 'choice virtues' as they sing cheek to cheek (I'm not thinking about a face). The poet comes behind her during the prodigious mowing, suggesting both a position appropriate to Brits brought up on Greek and holding out until the woman is fully satisfied (as all gentleman should strive to do) hip quivering in repose. The Greek reference also leads us to remember that "Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand," in addition to their sexual suggestiveness, are the English equivalent of the Greek strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The woman is also the Muse Erato, whose turn and re-turn serve as inspiration for the poet's use of language. "Counter-turn" is also a term for the rhetorical device of repeating words in an inverse order, as in "(She moved in circles, and those circles moved)." Indeed, the poem's very words move in circles and those circles move. I haven't asked you to read my sodden translations of Latin beauty out loud but this poem demands to be read out loud. Try it.
The Storm Breaks
Plame on ad Infinitem
One thing is clear, however, it won't matter to the left that Rove had a good reason to talk to Cooper about the origin of Wilson's trip to Niger or that Rove didn't commit any crime. All we'll hear about is that Rove provided secret information to a reporter about the identity (if not the name) of a CIA operative and must have had an improper motive for doing so. Anyone want to bet against me on this one?
Thought of the Day
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Short TV Blog
There were only ten dead American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan last week. That's more like the rate for the winning side. Every death is a private tragedy, but the goals we have set out to accomplish (if only the humanitarian one of deposing Saddam and replacing him with a solid, representative government) are worth that death rate (at least to me).
Isn't the sort of attack that took place in London, where very few people were killed (I know each death is a private tragedy) and the city was back to normal within a matter of hours if not days, just the sort of 'nuisance' terror attack that John Kerry spoke of as desirable during his disastrous campaign? I ask this because almost all the questions about the significance of the London bombings to the security bureaucrats on the Sunday Shows seemed to indicate that it was some sort of major failure that the bombings occurred at all. 9/11 in America, nearly 3,000 killed and billions of dollars in damage to the economy--3/11 in Spain, hundreds killed and only a little damage to the economy (despite the political blow to the good guys)--7/7 in England, less than three score dead and no appreciable damage to the economy (our Stock Market had a huge rally). I can't be the only one seeing a very promising trend here, can I?
Thought of the Day
if you want to be loved, be loveable
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I want to have bigger muscles in my arms and chest but I don't want to look like I lift weights. I want people to think, maybe he chops wood or something. Also if you get huge arms through years of hard work, it's difficult not to want to display them a lot, and I just don't want to live the rest of my life in a sleeveless shirt, as apparently some men have chosen to go.
UPDATE: I've decided that I have about a perfect rectus abdominus, an 8-pack (at least there were 8 the last time I saw it and counted (around 1961)). In fact, my 8-pack is so perfect that I have to keep at least a half inch layer of fat over it at all times to protect it and not discourage the rest of the males in the World.
Lovett has a voice on the edge of syrupy, but I like it. The Gospel set was good and the Bluegrass encore was pretty good (with Bluegrass there's something missing in every song--I've phrased that badly; every song is about loss). The weather was just about perfect.
Some of Lovett's songs, and I mean famous ones, leave me absolutely cold (Penguins and If I Had a Boat for example) while with some of the more complex verses, which are pretty good poetry, the music is too bland. I might be nit-picking here. I think he's most comfortable with Country or Country-Rock, but there's big band jazz in plenty of his songs and he had a great jazz style pianist (Cox?) playing with him last night. Good show.