Friday, November 30, 2007

 

Success Breeds Failure

A lot of people, including our own Mark Dunn, are talking about the retreat from retreat the execrable Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) is tentatively embracing, but the effect of the President's successful change of Iraq strategy, called the surge, is rippling though the Democratic Party generally. They have not stopped the war or even slowed it down much despite even recent lame efforts and so are ready to move on to matters on which they have not so totally failed. Or so says the Politico.

Especially telling is this sentence: Meanwhile, Democrats are planning to shift their attention to the economy when they return next week.

Concentrate on the economy, huh? Yeah, that should be a winner.

The GDP under Clinton grew 2.37 Trillion in 8 years, pretty darn good, in fact terrific growth. Unlike Clinton's administration, the Bush administration started in a recession not of its making. Yet even with that stumble out the blocks, the GDP has grown 2.66 Trillion under George Bush, and that's 2.66 Trillion in just 6 years. Well, that would be much better then, wouldn't it? Despite across the board income tax rate cuts (or rather because of them), the Treasury is taking in record amounts of taxes, and the overspending has slowed. Inflation is less than 3% for 2007, unemployment is 4.7%, which is close to full employment. Since August, 2003, 8.31 Million new jobs have been created, new jobs for 50 months straight, record growth. Real after tax per capita income has risen 12.7% since President Bush took office. So, the Democrats have their work cut out for them to blackguard the best economy ever. Not that they won't try, and with the help of their supporters in the media, perhaps succeed.

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This Day in the History of Big Talk

On this day in 1950, President Truman declared the United States would use atomic weapons to achieve peace in Korea. It was the right thing to do, but it never happened. We fought WWII to win, since then we've pretty consistently pulled our punches to the benefit of none.

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Thought of the Day

Things could always be worse; for instance, you could be ugly and work in the Post Office.

Adrienne E. Gusoff

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How does it taste Mr. Murtha ?

I mean the crow.....

Flat out...Murtha is a dick. Sorry for the verbiage. I wonder if he even feels uncomfortable about his past BS, in light of this new proclomation ?

“I think the ’surge’ is working,” the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president’s decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis “have got to take care of themselves.”

Malkin's cogent point.....

He qualifies it by insisting the Iraqis need to do better on political reconciliation, a conclusion also reached by, um, everyone.
Oh, and he’s suddenly in the mood
for a compromise on that timetable he’s been insisting on.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

 

The Choice is Getting Obvious

The top three Democrats running for President ran like scared little girls (no offense to Hillary) from that most beastly of foes, the Fox News Channel. In a time when war is being waged against us by a small but well financed legion of lethal true believers, that faintness of heart should disqualify the lot of them. The Republicans running for President, on the other hand, knew they would be treated shabbily by CNN in the farce last evening called a YouTube debate, but they went on anyway.

And they were treated shabbily. Several of the questioners were lying about their affiliation, called Republicans or undecided, when they are clearly on the record as promoting or working on the team of Democrat hopefuls. Michelle Malkin slices and dices CNN on that front.

But the best analysis on the bias in the selection of the questions I've read so far is by Fred Barnes here. His best paragraphs:

But it was chiefly the questions and who asked them that made the debate so appalling. By my recollection, there were no questions on health care, the economy, trade, the S-chip children's health care issue, the "surge" in Iraq, the spending showdown between President Bush and Congress, terrorist surveillance, or the performance of the Democratic Congress.

Instead there were questions--ones moderator Anderson Cooper kept insisting had required a lot of time and effort by the questioners--on the Confederate flag, Mars, Giuliani's rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, whether Ron Paul might run as an independent for president, and the Bible. The best response to these questions was Romney's refusal to discuss what the Confederate flag represents. Fred Thompson discussed it.

[...]

By my count, of the 30-plus questions, there were 6 on immigration, 3 on guns, 2 on abortion, 2 on gays, and one on whether the candidates believe every word in the Bible. These are exactly the issues, in the view of liberals and many in the media, on which Republicans look particularly unattractive. And there were two questions by African Americans premised loosely on the notion that blacks get nothing from Republicans and have no reason to vote for them.

I hate the very format of these so called debates, and the fact that people like loopy Ron Paul (who really came off as a crazy old man) are included, but at least the Republicans have the fortitude to face an actual hostile and biased format. The Democrats run from the mere (and probably false) preception of bias.

Of course, Democrats generally don't think we are even at war. Alternative reality indeed.

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This Day in the History of Hard Lessons


On this day in 1812, the last elements of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armée retreated across the Beresina River in Russia (actually Belarus) on two pontoon bridges, having fought their way out of Russia after abandoning burned out Moscow on October 19. The battle of Beresina lasted four days and caused the French further heavy losses. Of the 675,000 soldiers who went into Russia on June 24, roughly 25,000 made it back to Poland before the end of 1812.

What's Waterloo compared to that?
How could Napolean have stayed in power to the end of his days? Not invaded Russia. How could Hitler have won the war? Not invaded the Soviet Union. Anyone seeing a pattern here?

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Thought of the Day

Paradise is exactly like where you are right now... only much, much better.



Laurie Anderson

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

 

This Day in the History of Fate Smiling on the United States


On this day in 1941, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, our main line of defense in the Pacific during the first part of the war, departed Pearl Harbor in order to deliver F4F Wildcat fighters to Wake Island. The Lexington did the same at Midway. Elsewhere, the Langley was in the Philippines; the Saratoga was near San Diego: the Ranger was in the Caribbean: the Yorktown was in Newport News; and, the insect named Wasp and Hornet were also stationed in the Atlantic. So none of our 9 carriers were in Pearl 9 days later. Whew!
On December 7, 1941, Japan had 8 large carriers. By September, 1945, we had 28 large carriers, Japan had none (although 3 actually survived the war, damaged and obsolete).
Don't tread on us.

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Does Bill Clinton Ever Get Tired of hearing His Own BS ?

Bill Tells Iowans that he " Opposed Iraq From Start "


"Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning....

Say WHAT ???



Ahem...Au contrair..

"In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now -- a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program."

President Clinton Address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff February 17, 1998 http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/02/17/transcripts/clinton.iraq/

"People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons."

Former President Clinton During an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" July 22, 2003 http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/07/23/clinton.iraq.sotu/


"The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.
The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people."


President Clinton Oval Office Address to the American People December 16, 1998 http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html



So....uhhh... Bill....you were against removing Saddam from the beginning......even though the best way to " end that threat " is with a " new Iraqi govt".........Uh huh. Yup.



All the more reason for everyone opposed to the lying ass Clintonistas to get 1 or 100 of these stickers and pass them out.






 

Rocky Mountain Troll

On the advice of a smart liberal friend, I've lately reverted to my default position about Property Law Professor Paul Campos who writes for the Rocky Mountain News on Tuesdays, which, like most of us, is to ignore him. However, I read his column yesterday and I'm angry.

By the way, I'm using troll in its online meaning, which is someone who writes loathsome, unsupported things about political figures, and am in no way referring to Campos' somewhat toad-like visage.

Here's what the well reasoned and sober professor wrote about Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO 6th).

It's worth emphasizing that Tancredo is not a racist nut exposing his paranoid delusions on some fringe Web site. He's a racist nut who has made his paranoid delusions the centerpiece of a bona fide Republican Party presidential campaign.

Campos calls Tancredo, whom I've met and heard speak on occasion, a racist. Oh yeah? What race does he hate?

Because he is so mealy mouthed, Campos immediately backs off his calling Tancredo a racist with this: Actually I don't know if Tancredo himself is a racist, and the question holds no interest for me. How dissembling. But he doesn't mean it. This comes next. Regarding immigration, he talks and acts exactly like a racist would and, when judging a politician, that's the only thing that matters...

So we're ready for the proof of the racist talk and action to follow. He feints towards calling the Republicans racists and nativist for opposing illegal immigration (which is neither racist or nativist), but then he goes for the historical underpinning.

I refer to the history of the post-Reconstruction South, where a decades-long terrorist campaign carried out by private citizens, often with the tacit support or active participation of local government and law enforcement, managed to undo much of what was accomplished during the Civil War and the years immediately afterward.

Campos refers to the Ku Klux Klan, a racist organization almost exclusively manned by Democrats. Actual history is that many southern Democrats from before the Civil War through 1964 were racist, Professor, but what has that to do with the modern Republican party?

The post-Goldwater Republican Party, of course, has drawn much of its electoral strength from the resentment and rage the modern civil rights movement engendered...

Ah, the so-called southern strategy, the Jedi mind trick we knuckle dragging Republicans used to switch the Klan joining Democrats into Republicans. This is a Joseph Goebbels like Big Lie, of course; there are plenty of Democrats left in the south and many of them seem proud of their Klan activities. I can name one who is third in line for the Presidency, the President Pro Tempore in the Senate, former Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd (D-WV). Anyone now in the Congress who is a Republican and was in the Klan? Crickets chirping. The number of Republican Klan members in history approaches zero.

Then Campos quotes from a 1939 Life magazine (published by liberals) which is very non pc about Joe Dimaggio, et al., but Campos draws the wrong lesson, in his special troll like way.

Tancredo, whose grandparents were Italian immigrants, doesn't need to be reminded that, until fairly recently, Italian-Americans were considered only imperfectly "white," and indeed were credited with the same virtues (musicality, athleticism, passion) and vices (laziness, promiscuity, criminality) attributed traditionally to black people.

Now we've come so far that Rudy Giuliani, a philandering blowhard with lots of corrupt friends and a taste for authoritarianism, can be the leading contender for the Republican nomination, despite his unambiguously Italian name.

That, I suppose, is a kind of progress.

Nativists, who dislike any immigrant, legal or illegal, have existed since immigrants in serious numbers started coming here. That hatred of foreigners is not racism, because most of the immigrants were the same race as the nativists. You have no excuse to continue to confuse the two concepts and you should be ashamed of yourself for the troll like name calling rife in your opinion piece (as well as the silly attempt to rewrite history and make the Klan Republican or modern Republican like--that's alternative reality stuff). But something tells me the troll Professor has no shame.

UPDATE: I originally wrote Klu Klux Klan but that's wrong. It's Clu Galugher and the Ku Klux Klan (from the Greek for circle Kuklos, also the name of a sort of CIA of the Confederacy). Diomedes pointed that out and I corrected it. Sorry.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

 

This Day in the History of French Resistance


On this day in 1942, the French Navy at Toulon scuttled nearly all its ships and submarines to keep them out of the hands of the Nazis, who had conquered France two and a half years earlier, but had allowed, for a while, the semblance of a French government, called the Vichy government. The Vichy French controlled the modern and deadly French Fleet, as long as they didn't leave port. There are few nations with a longer, more glorious history of destroying their equipment to keep it out of enemy hands than France.


I am also getting a little sick of hearing about the heroic French Resistance during WWII. Between the period June, 1940 to April, 1945, far more French men and women collaborated with and even joined up to fight along side the Germans than fought against them in the Resistance. Indeed, more people 'joined' the Resistance after May 8, 1945 than had joined it before then. Still, there were brave French men and women, mainly men, who suffered and died fighting the Bosch after their country's defeat and the ruining of the French Navy was in a certain light another such heroic act. Viva la France!
UPDATE: I got the date wrong. The end of open collaboration and the real start of nearly everyone being in the Resistance was in September, 1944, when we liberated Paris and then kicked the Germans out of the rest of France. My mistake.

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Thought of the Day

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.



Thomas Paine

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Monday, November 26, 2007

 

Perfectly Timed Photos


Some photos capture more detail than the person there, holding the camera, could possibly perceive. Like the 120mm mortar round coming out of the tube, or the 155 round just ahead of the explosion below. I think that's a German self propelled artillery piece.

U.S. Army Pfc. Jerry Cleveland (left) and Spc. Brett Mitchell fire a 120mm mortar during combat operations in the Da'udzay Valley in the Zabol Province of Afghanistan on Oct. 23, 2007. Cleveland and Mitchell are attached to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The operation is a joint Afghan National Army and ISAF mission to clear anti-government elements from the Dawzi area in the Zabol province. DoD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Downen, U.S. Army.

They may be attached to the 4th, but one of them has a 1st Armored Division (Old Ironsides) on his shoulder.

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Making a Right Turn

A lot of people can trace their political affiliation back to a book or an event or a discovery of some sort. Many on the right, especially center right guys and gals with slight libertarian wash, trace it back to a book by Ayn Rand. I found her unreadable, but Rand cognoscenti tell me I started with the hardest one. My first step to the right and modern conservatism came from a conversation with a friend.

I had grown comfortable with a belief in the evils of the extreme edges in the political continuum were at equilibrium, in a yin yang pattern. If there was some rise of say, political murder, on one side, it was balanced by a later (or earlier) spike in political murder by the other side. For me (and most Americans) the excesses of the Left were balanced by the excesses on the Right. Specifically, the absolute horribleness of the Communists were balanced by the equally evil nature of the Nazis.

Then Diomedes pointed out to me that the Nazis were on the Left too.

"What?" I asked, as my whole world order collapsed. "No, they're not." (I was in the same sort of denial that many people I know now are in--the Nazis were extreme right wing, they believe, and the facts just don't matter; but I'm getting ahead of myself).

Then why were they called National Socialists?

...and slowly, very slowly, as I read the standard books, and then as much as Mein Kampf as I could stand, and then a lot of other things, it dawned on me that the Nazis were indeed lefties-- national socialists as opposed the international socialists we call the Communists.

I've had the same problem convincing others that Diomedes had with me. I usually rely on the name, National Socialists and German Workers' Party, and ask the doubting Thomases if they think the name was ironic or a fraud. Then I hit them with the speech Hitler gave in 1927 which he started with the words-- We' are Socialists. We are the enemies of [capitalism]... Then I'm pretty much out of ammunition.

To the rescue has ridden Bruce Walker at the American Thinker with more proof than you can shake a stick at that the Nazis were lefties, socialists as their name sort of implies (apparently secretly).

It is an important first step, knowing the truth of history and the very dangerous, and, lets face it, anti-human nature firmament which underlies the core of lefty beliefs, and this Truth, even if it cannot set you free, can certainly lead to having the rose colored scales fall from your eyes to be followed by an ever more accurate perception of current world events.

By a ratio of at least 100 to 1, almost all the political murder in the 20th Century was by the left. The Soviet Union collapsed catastrophically leaving a legacy of cold, grey misery. Most of what's wrong with America today traces itself back to socialist ideas. I could go on and on.

Knowing these things, how can any smart person be a lefty?

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This Day in the History of French Resistance


On this day in 885, a huge fleet of long ships, with perhaps 30,000 Danish Vikings aboard, pulled up the river Seine into Paris; and so began a 9 month, unsuccessful seige of the city of light. The fierce Danes took both banks but could not breach the defenses on the two islands in the center of Paris, Ile-de-la-Cite and Ile-St.-Louis. There are rumors of Danegeld being paid to make the Vikings go away. Could have happened.

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Thought of the Day

The power of illustrative anecdotes often lies not in how well they present reality, but in how well they reflect the core beliefs of their audience.



David P. Mikkelson

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

 

Global Warming Sleight of Hand

Some people are talking about ethanol produced from corn or sugar cane (and other alcohol fuels) as a "solution to global warming": Here, here, and here, ad infinitem. (Although that last site did say it seemed "too good to be true").

Here are the chemical formulas for combustion of the two main alcohols used for fuel.

Methanol combustion is: 2CH3OH + 3O2 → 2CO2 + 4H2O + heat
Ethanol combustion is: C2H5OH + 3O2 → 2CO2 + 3H2O + heat

Notice anything about the right side of the equations, such as the inclusion of carbon dioxide in the product?

Here is the chemical formula of the burning of gasoline (octane): 2C8H18 + 25O2 = 16CO2 + 18H2O + heat

I'm no chemist, but is there the slightest advantage to burning alcohol over gasoline at least as far as carbon dioxide production is concerned?

I notice that the number of produced carbon dioxide molecules is greater in the gasoline equation, but then so is the heat. Is there lower CO2 emission, per measure of generated heat, in the alcohols' combustion? Any at all? I'm asking because the answer has so far eluded my Google search. (I couldn't decipher the Wikipedia entry).

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This Day in the History of Events Described in the Bible


On this day in 2348 B.C., the Great Deluge, or Flood inundated the World, or so many Biblical scholars tell us. It could have happened, at least on a local scale. The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is actually pretty good reading, tells a similar tale. I recall seeing something about archaeological evidence of a big flood in the Black Sea area. I'm not sure about the animals part, however. Two of each insect? Really?

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Thought of the Day

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

Helen Keller

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

 

She Blinded Me With Science

It's not that long, although it's pretty loony, but here is a report on what some modern physicists have said about our gazing on the Cosmos. Key sentence:

"Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.

So let me get this straight; a few homo sapiens, on a planet orbiting an insignificant star in the unfashionable western end of an insignificant galaxy, one of hundreds of billions of such galaxies (each containing on average a hundred billion stars) have shortened the life of the whole universe merely by passive observation. Incredible doesn't begin to cover it, Professor.

This is, in part, why we right wingers are very skeptical of the weather reports, 100 years from now, we're getting from other either loony or agenda driven scientists.

Studies of Japanese macaques have shown that older male monkeys have little ability to change or even notice new things, so perhaps this is just my advanced age preventing me from seeing the truth, but I have thought, for about 10 years now, that modern Physics has left the realm of science and has entered the strange new world of pseudo-religion, with weird, unverifiable but grandiose ideas about life, the universe and everything.

Quantum Zeno effect, my butt. A watched pot boils at just the same time as an unobserved one does, it just seems to take a long time because we have no precise internal clock. Jeez.

These guys should just admit they have no idea what's causing the observed things in the Universe and leave the solipsism to popular Latin American authors.

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This Day in the History of Humble Beginnings


On this day in 1944, over a hundred U.S. B-29 Superfortress bombers attacked Tokyo for the first time since Capt. Jimmy Doolittle's raid in 1942. The 29 was a superior airplane, designed to bomb from high altitude, but the jet stream and usual cloud cover played havoc with the bomb sights' accuracy and, from height, the bombs came close to the intended targets only 1 out of 20 times. Hard to believe, but true. We were also suffering horrendous losses of planes as the Japanese day defenses--high altitude fighters and large caliber anti-aircraft cannon--were very effective. Within 9 months, however, we had destroyed most of the Japanese cities, causing a million plus civilian casualties, and indeed had nearly run out of targets of significant military value. The turning point was when Gen. Curtis LeMay had the bombers drop Model E-46 incendiary clusters (containing long thin tubes of fuel), magnesium bombs, white phosphorus bombs and napalm from 5,000 feet. That was devastating to cities made primarily of wood and paper.

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Thought of the Day

If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.

James A. Thomson

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Friday, November 23, 2007

 

Sacrifice for the Earth


I'd like to introduce Toni Vernelli, the dedicated environmentalist (who aborted her baby and had herself sterilized because she thinks having children is selfish and is bad for the Earth) to The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, aka the Shakers, who started with 9 in England at the end of the 18th Century, moved to America and over the next century made 200,000 converts. They could only spread through conversion (or adoption) because they were celibate--no kids. Complete celibacy is tough; so there was a lot of turnover yet at their height, around 1840, they had 6,000 full time members. Now there are 4. It's difficult to establish a lasting movement that breaks the essential rule for all other life here on Earth (have children which have children).

But I can do Toni one better; it's selfish to consume things. It's bad for the Earth for any human to consume the oxygen in the air because each breath adds to the CO2 levels, ever rising. Don't wait for crabbed old age to take you. Off yourself now and have them dispose of your body so that methane and CO2 are not produced. That would really help the Earth. I'm only sort of kidding.

UPDATE: I see the Shaker analogy is not a difficult one to make. Oh well, there's a certain genius for seeing the bleeding obvious.

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This Day in the History of Getting Serious About Our Enemies

On this day in 1945, U.S. wartime food rationing of meat, butter, and other foods, ended. Those items had been going first to the troops fighting Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, our toughest opponents since 1814. Difficult for us under 60 to believe we got that serious about winning WWII.

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Thought of the Day

I've always followed my father's advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.

John Wayne

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

 

Recycling Falsity



A few years ago, MoveOn.org ran a Thanksgiving online ad basically supporting defeat, but when they showed troops behind the overdub of "150,000 American men and women are stuck in Iraq" they showed Brit troops, in Brit desert camouflage (and shorts). Kinda embarrassing. I tried to help out the MoveOn types with a brief tutorial on American and British Desert camo here, but apparently it didn't take. As Michelle Malkin notes, the ad is running again.


The current subtext is: We still don't care who the troops actually are or what they actually want, we want our political way, damn the consequences.

This attitude is a shadow of the actual Democratic betrayal of the troops' hard won accomplishments in Viet Nam (an attitude which cost them the majority of voters for President for a generation or two).

The Brits also don't celebrate Thanksgiving, so this is just another meal for them, not the tryptophan inducing chowdown we Americans are enjoying today.

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Thought of the Day

Using the [New York] Times' calculus, "most Americans" have also enthusiastically embraced soccer and the metric system.



Ann Coulter (commenting on this Times' quote: "Some polls show that the majority of Americans agree with proposals backed by most Democrats in the Senate, as well as some Republicans, to establish a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.")

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This Day in the History of Good Intentions Falling Short

On this day in 1542, the New Laws were passed in Spain prohibiting enslavement of Indians in the Americas. The earlier system, called encomienda, allowed each landowner of usually Spanish, often Conquistador descent, to tax and compel the labor of up to 300 native Americans. The New Laws helped shield the conquered Indians from the worst abuses of the system but they only lasted for about 3 years and then the encomienda system returned in full force (and it would last until it was replaced by the hacienda system in 1791) Although it was not the chattel slavery the imported Africans suffered in the New World, the serfdom like system kept the Indians down--poor, undereducated and exploited--for the benefit of the progeny of the European conquerors for centuries after the conquest. A slightly different encomienda system was also established in the Philippines.

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Why I So Rarely Listen to Government Funded National Public Radio

"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

Charles Dodgson

Here is an interesting, and completely nuts, part of an interview this past Monday of former Al Gore feminine side, earth tone advisor, Naomi Wolf, in which she compared our center right Republican President to National Socialist totalitarian dictator Adolf Hitler. Her Tweedledee logic is not as rigorous as one might hope for.

COHEN: There’s never a line in this book that says George W. Bush is just like Hitler or Mussolini or Stalin, but there’s enough that after a while, there definitely seems to be the air of some comparisons happening there. Isn’t that a bit extreme to compare our president to these historical figures?

WOLF: Well, again, I stick very rigorously to the evidence. You had the Nazis unloaded coffins at night. We saw coffins being unloaded at night. They talked about enhanced interrogation, meaning torture. Karl Rove talked about enhanced interrogation, meaning torture. They said, you know, we’ve got to invade Czechoslovakia, because it’s a staging ground for terrorists. We said we had to invade Iraq, a country we’re not at war with, because they’re torturing their ethnic minorities, it’s a staging ground for terrorists, and they hate our freedoms. I don’t need to draw an analogy. The analogies are there.

COHEN: But in a sense, aren’t you to a certain degree fighting fear with fear? You’re making analogies here to Stalin and Hitler. Isn’t that a bit fear-inspiring as well?

WOLF: We should be afraid. Look at Pakistan. It was pushing toward major democratic reform, and overnight, they rounded up the lawyers, they subverted the constitution, they fired the justices, and now, it’s done! So there are any number of ways that very quickly, under the circumstances we have now, the president could close down our open society. And I would say that he already has substantially closed down our open society. But quite apart from that, history shows that when millions of people rise up in a democracy movement to restore the rule of law, there’s very little than can stand in their way, so we need a democracy movement in America.
(Emphasis added).

To be fair, NPR followed this up with a German, Josef Joffe, editor and publisher of Die Zeit in Berlin, who said that comparing the Patriot Act to the rule of Hitler is "almost obscene," and that with Guantanamo, "anyone comparing it to the Gulag or the concentration camps doesn’t know what he or she is talking about."

But let's just look again at the statements in bold above.

The Nazis were known for unloading coffins at night? News to me. I can't tell if she's talking about secret murders of Jews and Gypsies, etc. (for which very few coffins were used) or what. But keeping our military coffins from being exploited, photographed as they come off the plane, for the dignity and privacy of the fallen soldiers' families, would be a very foreign concept for the Nazis who glorified the war dead in very public ways. Whatever Naomi is talking about, this is about as weak an 'analogy' as day old white tea.

Czechoslovakia a staging ground for terrorists? Perhaps Naomi is confusing the faux causas belli the Nazis gave for the invasion of Poland with their occupying, with Europe's stamp of approval, part of the western edge of the current Czech Republic in order to 'protect' the German nationals living there? Whatever part of history she is vaguely remembering, it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with our recent history with Iraq.

Gulf War I, with a UN coalition, largely us, against Iraq did not end with a treaty but merely with a cease fire, with numerous conditions none of which the late Hitler like dictator Saddam Hussein fulfilled. We were in fact still at war with Iraq in 2002 before we returned to finish the job the next year. That may not be logic, but it is indeed history, Naomi.

Yeah, Naomi, President Bush has so "closed down" our open society that you appear on the government funded radio and openly compare him to the epitome of 20th Century evil. You had not the slightest fear in saying your inane things, I bet.

The tiny German non-violent resistance in 1943 known as the White Rose (die Weiße Rose) passed out seven mimeographed fliers critical of the conduct of the war. They were caught passing out the last one and 5 days later the Nazi government was cutting their heads off for treason. Yeah, Naomi, we Republicans are just like them.

A corollary to Godwin's Law is: In a contemporary political discussion, whoever mentions the Nazis first has lost the argument.

Naomi has lost the argument.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

 

Another Suicide Bomb from Hollywood

Saturday Night Live, back when it was funny, made fun of director Brian de Palma with a faux trailer for "The Clams." SNL writers correctly noticed that de Palma 'borrowed' liberally from better, earlier directors especially Alfred Hitchcock (maker of The Birds). Every year, started the SNL thing, director Brian de Palma picks the bones of a dead director and gives his wife [Nancy Allen] a job...

De Palma now has borrowed from himself and remade the bad Viet Nam movie he made years ago, Casualties of War, with Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox. Now it's about a rape/murder in Iraq and is called Redacted. It opened in a limited number of theaters this past weekend and did very poorly even by indie standards, 50th, with a take from 15 theaters of merely $25,628. Michael Medved said this was possibly the worst movie he had ever seen. Good enough for me.

De Palma did make a good movie, Sisters, but that was back in 1973. His next movie will also pick the bones of himself and his greatest hit, The Untouchables.

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This Day in the History of French Savior Faire

On this day in 1783, Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier, a professor of physics and chemistry, and the Marquis Francois Laurant d'Arlandes became the first European men to fly (as opposed to just jumping from heights). Their hot-air balloon lifted off from La Muettte, a royal palace in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. They flew nearly 6 miles in 25 minutes, reaching an altitude of around 300-ft. Spectators included Ben Franklin and King Louis XVI, who offered to send up two prisoners, but Rozier wanted the glory of being the first to go into the atmosphere. Most of us, probably based on an often played episode of Monty Python, think it was the Montgolfier brothers, Étienne and Joseph, who first flew in a hot air balloon. Nope. Those guys had publicly demonstrated the first unmanned hot-air balloon a few months earlier, on 5 June 1783, but they were too chicken to go themselves and had sent up a second balloon manned by animals on 19 September 1783 to verify that air travel was safe for living beings. Except for a fire or hard landing, what were they afraid of?

(h/t Today in Science History)

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Thought of the Day

Adspicere oportet quicquid possis perdere.



Syrus



One ought to watch whatever one can lose.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

 

4 insurgents getting killed by gunfire

The original text accompanying this said it was an A-10, but the rate of fire of that plane's only gun, the General Electric 30mm, 7 barrel gatling type GAU-8 Avenger, is 3600/min. or 650/sec. When it fires, it sounds like a saw not a machine gun. This is pretty clearly an M233 chain gun on the 'chin' of an Apache helicopter. That gun, also in 30mm, has a rate of fire about 10/sec. Since it fires two 2 second bursts, you would expect 40 rounds and indeed the round counter, center right low, shows 303 rounds to start and 263 at the end. 40 rounds. The firing shakes the forward looking infrared (FLIR)camera which is pretty clearly hovering (as opposed to strafing).

Very nice shootin', Tex, and good that the dog got away as well.
10 30mm rounds tends to spread you around a little, don't they? Man, oh man.


 

Studio Ghibli AMV - Here Comes The Sun

A great song, and I like this more than most Beatle songs, deserves a great video--here made from clips from some of the best Studio Ghibli anime. Ah, the memories.


 

Animals - The House Of The Rising Sun

This remains my favorite song by this Brit (Newcastle-on-Tyne) blues group, part of the first British Invasion. Where I used to like the lead singer Eric Burdon's vocals here, now I think the real artistic merit in this version comes from Alan Price on the organ.
The Animals were more folky than I liked, less bluesy than the Stones in the 60s; still, they did the blues proud from time to time and the best blues tune they did was this.


 

This Day in the History of Great Victories, Just Before Disaster


On this day in 1950, having crushed the North Korean Army starting with the amphibious landing at Inchon on September 15, 1950, U.S. troops, the major part of the UN contingent, pushed to the Yalu River, within miles of Manchuria in northwest North Korea. The Chinese would enter the war with attacks on American forces within days and kick us out of North Korea (and from Seoul, for a while), committing ultimately about 780,000 troops of which 400,00 would be killed (they admit to 'only' 148,000). The photo is part of the destruction of Hungnam in December when we bugged out of North Korea.

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Thought of the Day

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.

Leonardo da Vinci

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Monday, November 19, 2007

 

This Day in the History of Bad News for the Nazis

On this day in 1942, Soviet forces took the offensive at the Battle of Stalingrad. The German 6th Army under Paulus had taken 95% of the city but had to leave its flanks outside Stalingrad manned by Romanian forces (with some Italian and Hungarian forces), who did not stand up to determined Soviet attacks.

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Thought of the Day

Quod tacitum velis esse, nemini dixeris. Si tibi ipsi non imperasti, quomodo ab aliis silentium speras?

Seneca (attributed)

What you want to keep secret, tell no one. If you could not control yourself, how can you hope for silence from another.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

 

Do Any Of Us REALLY Care ?


Should the steroid investigations have been conducted by the government to begin with ?


I understand that perjury and obstruction of justice are against the law....but, is this worth the money spent ?



Thursday, November 15, 2007

 

Insanity Is the mainstream in California ?

WTF ?

When California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills on Oct. 12 that essentially turn the state's public schools over to homosexual and transgender activists, there was virtually no media coverage outside California. There still isn't.
Beginning in January 2008, California public schools must teach children as young as 3 to 5 years old that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle and that kids can choose their "gender." This means banning the terms "husband" and "wife" for the more progressively inclusive term "partner." "Moms" and "dads" will morph into sexually neutral "parents." Textbooks will be rewritten to blot out any reminder of married-couple-led families as a social norm. Gender-confused kids will get to use the restrooms of their choice. Any expression of negativity toward deviant sexuality will be punished as "bigotry." The coming changes are so radical that they produce gasps or professions of disbelief from people who hear about it from sources outside the mainstream media.
Bruce Shortt, an advocate of private schooling who writes a periodic report called "the Continuing Collapse" about problems in government schools, provides this analysis:
So far, the media have maintained a near total news blackout on this development.
A recent article [at Medill Reports online] on homosexual gains in the schools reflects how the advocates of legislation to mainstream deviant lifestyles plan to respond to queries from naive or fellow travelling reporters:
With the October signing of Senate Bill 777, California is the most recent state to have seen a battle between the two sides. Its sponsor, state Rep. Sheila Kuehl of Los Angeles, said the bill did little more than make language in the education code consistent with language in the state's other anti-discrimination laws. Discrimination based on sexual identity, she said, had been illegal in California for eight years.http://news.medill.n...
So, the official story line is that SB 777 just makes technical changes that bring the Education Code into conformity with other laws that have been on the books for a long time. In other words, "nothing to see here folks, just move along."
Of course, "Zelda" Kuehl is right in a sense. After all, we could pass legislation requiring Jack Daniels to be served in school cafeterias, and then claim that we are just making the Education Code consistent with other laws that have been on the books for years (the Volstead Amendment was repealed over 70 years ago, and drinking alcohol is legal in California).
Leaving aside the question of any prior California legislation regarding deviant lifestyles and ADULTS, the relevant question is whether Zelda's "advanced thoughts" on this subject should be inflicted on children. The reporter, as you will note, didn't really get to this, and she entirely missed the importance of California's brave new definition of "gender."



3 to 5 year old kids ......this is truly a WTF moment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

 

This Day in the History of Waging War Against Civilians


On this day in 194o, German planes bombed Coventry, England, a city with very little military significance, destroying or damaging much of the city. One of the big churches, a cathedral, was left bombed out there with a new engraving on the wall, simply "Father Forgive." A beautiful thought from a very ugly act.

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Thought of the Day

Bibamus, moriendum est.



Seneca the Elder



Our death will happen, let's drink.

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Gay-Baiting Giuliani

From James Taranto's Best of the Web




There's almost a year to go before the presidential election, and already the Angry Left is employing gutter tactics against the Republican front-runner. One ugly theme has emerged:

They make Giuliani sound like Boy George. In fact, as we've noted, he's more Monty Python, having donned a dress on a couple of occasions purely for comic effect.
It's especially sad to see Andrew Sullivan, who styles himself a champion of gay rights, resort to a rank appeal to homophobia in order to score cheap partisan points.

This is purely a WTF moment for me.......

A) Rudy has dressed in drag for comedic value on a couple of occasions.

B) I thought liberalism was supposed to be the bastion of tolerance, even if Rudy were a cross dressing homo.

Oh, and read the rest of it...Howard Dean's comments are freaking priceless.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

 

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

In criminal jury trials, the loser gets a chance to have each of the jurors polled, that is, to hear each juror repeat the verdict the judge just read. We prosecutors called that getting kicked in the head 12 more times, especially when the public defenders requested it, as they nearly always did. You may wonder why I'm recalling that bit of ancient, personal history. Here's why:

The Democratic leadership (Reid, Hoyer, and Schumer, et al.) plan, incredibly, to try to micro-manage the conduct of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan by putting, yet again, a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq in the newest spending bill. They hope to lose hold, yet again, a vote on this vain, 41st attempt before Thanksgiving.

They couldn't do it when we weren't winning the war earlier this year; they certainly won't be able to do it now that we are doing much better.

I just sat through the prepared statements the leaders (except Pelosi) gave at a press conference today, rerun on C-SPAN (such is the non-stop adventure my life has become) and it was painful to watch such abject self delusion. Get this--the new reason for the Democrats to stop the war before we win it--we're spending too much money on it. The Democrats were complaining we were spending too much money. I'd laugh if it weren't so pathetic.

I wondered if my partisanship is blinding me to the things that might make this a good idea after all. I certainly can't think of any, indeed doing it, trying to strangle a win in the cradle, holds for me great sulphurous whiffs of desperation. So I checked around with some of the still sane lefty bloggers who even acknowledged the renewed plan revealed at the conference, and lo, here is what huge war critic, and Time writer, Joe Klein wrote:

Also obvious: There are fewer votes now in Congress--and less cause--to cut off funding for the war than there were last Spring. A renewed campaign on the part of the hapless Democratic leadership to cut off the supplemental funds will only increase the public sense of Democratic futility. It will also play into the very real, and growing, public perception that Democrats are too busy wasting time on symbolic measures (like trying to cut off funds for the war) and shoveling pork (the water projects bill) to pass anything substantive for the public good. Too much time, and political capital, has been wasted fighting Bush legislatively on the war. I'm sure the President and the Republican Party are salivating over the prospect that Democrats will waste more time and capital over it this month...especially at a moment, however fleeting, when the situation on the ground seems to have improved in Iraq. Democrats need to think this over very, very carefully before they proceed. (Emphasis added).

So it's not just me. Everyone can see this is a mistake on the part of the 'hapless Democratic leadership.' Well, nearly everyone. Arriana H. thinks the Dems should just block the funding: But the truth is, Democrats have all the votes they need to stop the war -- if they are willing to use the power given them by the Constitution to block the supplemental funding bill unless it includes a deadline for bringing the troops home.

I'd call that support of yet another kick in the head.

There's certainly a lot of anger from the ultra left (or tragically anti-Iraq war) about the Democrat's inability here. Witness: ...in fact they can stop the war any Goddamn time they want, and what they're really saying is, "We don't have the balls to stop the war. We stink of fear for our jobs and nothing is more important to us than that, certainly not mere trifles like the lives of our citizens, or the Constitution."

Retreat is so ingrained in the Democrats regarding Iraq that they have to retreat now from their former retreat on retreat.

(h/t Glenn Reynolds)

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Continued Congressional Failure

The Democrat controlled legislature is now 0 for 40 in attempting to limit the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan through spending. Is such failure inevitable with small majorities in both houses? Or is it really bad leadership? Or...?

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This Day in Local History


On this day in 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike sighted the just over 14,100 foot mountain which now bears his name, during an expedition to locate the source of the Red and Arkansas Rivers in Colorado. He tried to climb the mountain but failed due to deep snow. So how did he get his name of a peak he never climbed? Early wussification. Pike was captured by Spanish authorities in Santa Fe. Released, he fought at Tippecanoe and was killed in 1813 by blast debris outside York (now Toronto) when retreating British blew up their ammunition stores. Maybe not the most distinguished military career ever.

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moveOn Says "Jump"...Dems ask " How High ? "

Via Boortz

Democrats have appointed their new soft-money man, expected to build a colossal independent money machine to elect a Democrat in 2008. And who did they choose to head their campaign? Washington's director of MoveOn.org Tom Matzzie. You may know Matzzie for his hand in the "Betray Us" ad that ran in the New York Times. That's quite a guy the Dems have chosen. He has left his job at Moveon.org.
Matzzie will be running a $100 million plot that centers around "issues and character." He was hired just two weeks after the largest donors in the Democratic party got together in Washington to discuss where they will put their money in the '08 race.
He will head an organization, which will advise 527 groups on how to spend their money to help the Democrats. These 527s are groups named after a section of the tax code that allows them to influence elections so long as they disclose their donors and expenses.
OK ... why is this a big deal? Remember, several months ago MoveOn.org bragged that they "owned the Democrat(ic) Party." Well, now it looks like they've made good on their boast. MoveOn.org wants to run a major part of the Clinton/Democrat fund raising ... when MoveOn.org says "jump," Democrats ask "how high?"





Sounds to me like the dems have already picked their candidate....moveOn for president, with the face of Hillary.

 

Thought of the Day

Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club.

Thomas H. Huxley

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Monday, November 12, 2007

 

Agenda Science

I watched two shows this past weekend on TV, or most of them. One was a history of Earth from formation to recent times, called How the Earth Was Made and the other was a global warming support show called A Global Warning. They both were on the History Channel and both talked about, among other things, two periods in Earth's history, really ancient Earth history--the time 650 million years ago when the Earth about froze solid, and the Permian-Triassic extinction about 250 million years ago when 19 out of 20 species didn't make it--the worst extinction event ever. Here's some background.

The idea that the Earth had been a frozen sphere for about 10 million years, a long time ago, is relatively recent, about 15 years old. The theory is called Snowball Earth. Clever, no?

No one is sure what caused the worse extinction event ever but there are plenty of theories and most of the recent ones have seemed to coalesce around the Siberian Traps and what's called a mantle plume, when hot lava destined to become basalt pours out over a vast region. In the worst extinction, the P-T extinction, basalt covered about a 5th of Siberia. Remember the basalt. The Siberian Traps theory replaced the asteroid strike theory. Oh, and the mantle plume heated the world and nearly everything died.

OK, back to the shows. How the Earth Was Made was relatively straightforward and appeared to want to show the latest in scientific knowledge about Earth history. Here's a paraphrase of how it described the cause of Snowball Earth--a supecontinent of all the present continents pressed together, called Rodinia, stopped the convection of warm currents north and south so the poles got colder, the white snow and sea pack ice at the poles grew, thus the albedo increased, further cooling the Earth (they made a really big deal of albedo--the whiteness of the snow and ice) and it went positive feedback until even the tropics on land were a mile deep in ice and the oceans at the equator near frozen solid. Volcanoes and the break-up of Rodnina caused the ice and snow to melt. As a 'good out of bad' thing that followed, the Cambrian explosion of life forms happened next and all the current phyla, orders and families of animals and plants, and many others no longer with us, evolved in short order, including us chordates.

The same show then said that the P-T extinction was caused when another supercontinent, Pangea, had the mantle plume in what is now Siberia and it got really hot, less oxygen in the sea and nearly everything died. (OK, the explanation was longer but that's the basic story).

The agenda driven show, Global Warning, said of a frozen Earth that there was a big eruption of basalt creating lava on Rodinia, which reacted with the rain and stripped out all the CO2 and it got cold. Some rocks do react with CO2 and strip it out, but there was no mention in the show of ocean currents or albedo. CO2 keeps us warm; without it the planet freezes, was the message conveyed.

Global Warning on the P-T extinction was different too, and, to my way of thinking, self-contradictory. The massive eruptions in Siberia put CO2 into the atmosphere, the show explained, it got hot because of all the CO2 and nearly everything died. No mention of basalt on Global Warning. Now, if a vast expanse of basalt 650 million years ago stripped out the CO2 from the atmosphere and froze the Earth, why didn't the even bigger expanse, millions of square miles of basalt in the central Siberian section of Pangea, do the same thing 250 million years ago? Ha! Riddle me that, batman.

Either the massive volcanic eruptions put enough CO2 into air to change things or they didn't. Either the basalt, with rain, leached the airborne CO2 out into bicarbonate or it didn't. Volcanoes producing CO2 and basalt can't be the same explanation for opposite effects--for both freezing and boiling. Well, they can't if you're a scientist serving the truth, but they seem to be able to if you are pushing an agenda, namely, that CO2 is the only greenhouse gas that matters (it's not--invisible water, vapor and clouds are 28 times more important than CO2); and when you're pushing the idea that if there is too much CO2 in the air (nod, nod, wink, wink), we'll all cook and croak. If you're rewriting ancient history to support the current scientific fraud/fad, then any ancient event can certainly be enlisted to do double (and opposite) duty.

I love this sort of show, I just wish that politics didn't make them so unreliable

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This Day in the History of Military Justice


On this day in 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War II Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal. Tojo was found guilty of the following crimes:
1. Waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law.
2. Waging unprovoked war against China.
3. Waging aggressive war against the United States.
4. Waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth.
5. Waging aggressive war against the Netherlands (Indonesia).
6. Waging aggressive war against France (Indochina).
7. Ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and others.

He was hanged in Sugamo Prison outside Tokyo on December 23, 1948. Tojo remains the only head of state to be executed for war crimes.

Shortly after the surrender, Tojo had a doctor mark with charcoal on his chest where his heart was and he shot just on the mark, but didn't die. There is a convincing historical argument that Tojo was merely doing what the Emperor directed but MacArthur chose to protect the Emperor. Tojo, many Japanese believe, was a scapegoat who did only what he had been ordered to do. Only following orders is no defense to war crimes, however, but I'm not sure the defense of duress has been fully explored.

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Thought of the Day

Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus.

Terence

Without food and drink, love grows cold.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

 

The Numbers Tell a Heartening Story

Good guy serial commenter, Prague Twin, turned me on to the fact that the never eradicated anti-Semitism in Europe had raised its particularly ugly head in Prague late last week when neo-Nazis (skinheads) decided to celebrate Kristallnacht by marching in Prague's Jewish Quarter. I wondered how many marchers there were (I decided that a thousand or more was decidedly bad news). Then I read this story about the 'march' and my heart sank with my misreading of this opening sentence:

Brandishing yellow stars and red flags, more than a 1,000 people rallied in Prague's old Jewish quarter Saturday to block a far-right march on the anniversary of a notorious Nazi-era pogrom against Jews.

A thousand? Oh no, but wait, they were blocking the march. Oh, that's OK then. I read on:

Prague's mayor Pavel Bem said police had managed to keep apart most of the 400 neo-Nazis and about a 1,000 anarchists counter-demonstrators from entering the city's old quarter.

400? That's all? Screw them then, they couldn't even get to half of the numbers of people opposing them. In a population of millions, there can certainly be 400 oddball losers without their existence being any comment on the society in general.

But, curiouser and curiouser, I read on. Let me state here that I, in my ignorance, accept the political branding of the skins as ultra right wing. I personally think more anarcho-know nothing, but perhaps that's just me. I'm lost, however, when the counter protesters are labeled 'anarchists', especially when the mayor, to his credit, joins them; is he an anarchist too? But back to my point.

The MND [skinheads] march, officially to protest the Czech military presence in Iraq, was banned after a series of court judgements, but the neo-Nazis nevertheless maintained their call for a demonstration.

What? The Czech military presence in Iraq is something the skinheads are against? They don't want Europeans killing Muslims? Really? I need to learn more about European skinheads.

Anyway, in Prague, the counter-protestors outnumbered the neo-Nazis two and a half to one. The citizens of the Czech Republic appear to have their priorities in order. Things seem not quite as bad as I once thought.

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Cross-Quarter Days

What we think of as some of our traditional Christian holidays are usually older festivals which the Christians took over. Few scholars doubt that Christmas was actually a much older festival celebrating the return of the sun--the rebirth of light into the world--after the shortest day on the Winter Solstice, December 20 or 21. Easter, likewise, was clearly, originally an old Spring fertility festival, or perhaps you thought that Easter eggs and Easter bunnies were symbols of something else. As we celebrate things near the solstices (and to a lesser degree at the equinoxes) we also tend to have holidays on or within a few days of the midway point between solstice and equinox--the Cross-Quarter days.


The Celts had names for them: Samhain (Nov. 1); Imbolc (Feb. 2); Beltane (May 1); and, Lughnasadh (Aug. 1). That last should rightly be Mid-Summer, but generally Mid-Summer is celebrated on the Summer Solstice in late June (so much for the mid).


I find it interesting that we still have modern, albeit not that important, holidays on each of these days or close enough. There's Halloween (and All Saints Day and All Souls Day/Day of the Dead) for Samhain. Imbolc has lapsed to near meaninglessness with Groundhog's Day. Walpurgis Night (April 30) has some drinking and bonfire burning still in central Europe and May Day was pretty big in the Soviet Union but has become pretty unimportant lately (unless you think Cinco de Mayo is the slightly delayed version here in America for Hispanics). May 1 is also the Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, somewhat important to Catholics. The least of them is the August 1 day which in the Northern Hemisphere is Lammas, "Loaf Mass," the blessing of the wheat harvest. In America, this festival has migrated to July 4 where it is roughly celebrated in the same, traditional way, with outdoor family meals and bonfires (now fireworks), but it's still strong in Ireland and Switzerland on the original day. Of course, it is possible that July 4 has also taken over the purpose of the older Summer Solstice festival as well. That's a tough call. I'd put that to another holiday as explained just below.


Memorial day at the end of May and Labor Day at the beginning of September now mark the start and end of Summer here in America even though the real start of Summer and Fall lag by three weeks or so and thus those modern holidays steal the thunder the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox used to have.

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This Day In the History of the Catholic Church's Consolidation of Power


On this day in 1215, the Fourth Council of the Lateran was convened by Pope Innocent III. Its main addition to the Church's catechism was transubstantiation, but it also charted a course for the Papacy to have at least theoretical dominion over Europe's secular leaders, the popular image of which remained intact until the Reformation. It confirmed that there were but seven Sacraments of the Church--Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Ordination, Anointing the Sick, Matrimony and the Eucharist.


That's Innocent III, looking a little like Stephen Fry.


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Thought of the Day

Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.



Horace Mann

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

 

This Day in the Long History of Anti-Semitism

On this day in 1975, the U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution equating Zionism with racism. It was a stupid resolution for a number of reasons and more evidence, if you needed it, of the utter uselessness of most functions of the UN. Our great UN Ambassador John Bolton got this resolution nullified, but never got much credit for it.

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Thought of the Day

Spectatum veniunt; veniunt spectentur.

Ovid

Some come to see; some come to be seen. (Regarding theatre attendance)

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Friday, November 09, 2007

 

Pelosi and the Alternative Reality Democrats

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Nob Hill) yesterday proved her inability to see reality vis a vis her soon to be 15th unsuccessful time the House Democrats have attempted to put a troop reduction time table in an appropriation bill for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. She repeated Harry Reid's non-prophetic words from April that the surge change in tactics is "...not working," and immediately channeled her Viet Nam War years to say: It's a war without end. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it.

What?

Well, I think anyone can see her point IF they ignore all of the following:

1) The reduction in attacks on coalition forces, including Iraqi forces and policemen;
2) The reduction in Sunni on Shia (and vice versa) violence;
3) The defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq and the clearing of it from Baghdad;
4) The slowing of private militia fighting;
5) The ever increasing effectiveness of Iraqi forces;
6) The ever increasing defection of former insurgents to the side of the still somewhat feckless national government in Iraq;
7) The repatriation of Iraqis who have fled Baghdad and Iraq itself;
8) The near absolute pacification of al Anbar, Nineveh and Salahaddin provinces (which once were considered 'lost' but now are so quiet that my cousin in the Marines there since Summer declares that he is very, very bored); and,
9) The ever increasing number of tips from concerned local citizens which result in military success.

Yeah, if you ignore all that stuff, you could say the surge is not working and there is no hope for anything but endless war in Iraq.

But those under reported good things in Iraq are getting harder and harder to ignore, which is why many are looking on that sort of standard Democratic rhetoric as delusional.

Care to bet if this latest attempt to manage the war through the purse strings wins the 223 votes the last failing surrender effort got?

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Lions for Lambs

I, and a lot of right wingers, have noticed the plethora of anti-war war movies lately (and how horrible they have done in the box office) and we are waiting to see if any new ones can buck the trend. Today Lions for Lambs starts and you can already see reviews on IMDB by mere fans, and others of a more professional nature, who have seen it. This one over at the NRO by Peter Suderman struck me as both pretty funny and dead on, although I have not yet seen it. Behold:

Imagine if one of Hollywood’s most famous and outspoken liberals got a couple of his big-star buddies together and made a movie about the Iraq war. Imagine if it was an earnest movie, not an obnoxious one, that tried its hardest not to be overly aggressive, but that stubbornly refused to do anything except promote its own political convictions — including provide even a shred of entertainment. Hold that thought.

Now imagine, on the other hand, a class of college sophomores in a playwriting class at a mid-level liberal arts college, one of those small, well-appointed institutions that turns out class after class of reasonably well-read world-changers, with six-figure debt, and iPods brimming with ultra-hip, obscure bands. And imagine, that after cramming on Brecht and Kushner and Miller, this class of future NGO staffers receives as its first assignment, a one-act play about “a contemporary political issue.”


Got that? Now take those two ideas and merge them, and you’ll have a pretty good approximation of Lions for Lamb.

UPDATE: Box Office Mojo posted a $2.1 plus million opening day estimate. That ain't so good. That puts it at #4 and the best it could possibly do opening weekend is therefore about $7 mil which is lackluster to put it mildly. It don't look too good for the future unless there is good word of mouth and a better second week, which is pretty rare.

A movie about medal of honor winner Sgt. Smith taking on 200 guys with a .50 early in the war or about the door to door in Fallujah or about the doomed seal team wiped out to the next to last man in Afghanistan . That's what we want to see, Hollywood, you morons. We can watch liberals talking earnestly on any TV news show for free.

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What Some Women Can Be Talked Into


Like most American men, I know who Jenna Jameson is (although I'm a little proud to say that I've never seen her do her stuff on film (or is it 100% video now?)). But there must be a reason why she went from the above sexy/lovely in 2006 to the below horrible/mutant she appears now. I mean a reason other than her having sex all day every day for the last 15 years.

Women everywhere, don't get your lips pumped up! It makes you look terrible. Trust me on this.


(h/t Cracked--a near daily pleasure)

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This Day in the History of Good Things

There is a lot to choose from in German history for this day, Abdication of the Kaiser, formation of the Schutzstaffel (SS), Kristallnacht, but I choose to go with the happiest news. On this day in 1989, the East German government gave up the ghost and threw open the border crossings in Berlin and elsewhere and thus the infamous wall fell and soon thereafter the whole rotten Communist mess in East Europe and the USSR. Oh Happy Day.

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Thought of the Day

Inuriam facilius facias quam feras.

Syrus

It is easier to do a wrong than to endure one.

(Christians might disagree).

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

 

Climate Change - Is CO2 the cause?- pt 4 of 4

The last bit of the lecture by climatologist Bob Carter, but by no means the least. He discusses the problem with the placement of weather stations and the probable skewing of the temperature record to hotter than it really is. Another outstanding part of his lecture. You get the feeling that this is what real science should look like.


 

Climate Change - Is CO2 the cause? - pt 3 of 4

Climatologist Bob Carter explains the several reasons for doubting the recent 'chicken little' predictions about global warming and discusses several systems for temperature homeostasis.


 

Climate change - Is CO2 the cause? - Pt 2 of 4

Climatologist Bob Carter on the warming and cooling record from the last 400,000 years from deep sea cores. Neither the magnitude nor the rate of climate change we're undergoing is anything new or remarkable.


 

Climate Change - Is CO2 the cause? - Pt 1 of 4

Climatologist Bob Carter's best work here is to put the recent 150 year history of a slight warming trend into a much larger and grander historical context. Well worth your time in this You Tube sized bite. Three more to follow.


 

Jimmy Carter--Cat Murderer

The handwriting of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is much better than mine, but in case you can't read it, here is the transcript:

5/13/90

To Sybil [Carter's sister],
Lamentably, I killed your cat while trying just to sting it. It was crouched, as usual, under one of our bird feeders & I fired from some distance with bird shot. It may ease your grief somewhat to know that the cat was buried properly with a prayer & that I’ll be glad to get you another of your choice.
I called & came by your house several times. We will be in the Dominican Republic until Thursday. I’ll see you then.

Love, Jimmy

This is strangely not that weird, considering who it is. He used .22 birdshot to scare the cat from a distance and the spreading pellets killed it. What a maroon!

You know, it makes more sense when you recall the killer rabbit episode. Aren't animals sometimes supposed to know things we don't? Just asking.

(h/t Say Anything)

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This Day in the History of Horrible Misteps Which Ultimately Don't Matter


On this day in 1923, Adolf Hitler and General Erich Ludendorf staged a pathetic and unsuccessful attempt at a coup d'état (in German, a Putsch) starting at the Nazis' favorite beer hall, the Bürgerbräukeller (where they served Löwenbräu ) in Munich. If the Wiemar Republic government had been smart, it would have executed Hitler; but it merely jailed him for a while and within 10 years Hitler and his National Socialists would complete the Putsch through the ballot box, with the enthusiastic support of Germany's youth.

As an aside, Hermann Göring took a bullet in the groin during the Putsch and was in pain for the rest of his life, for which pain he became addicted to pain killing drugs. Kind of an early karma, to my way of thinking.
Above is a very creepy stamp from the Nazis commemorating the Putsch.

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Thought of the Day

Di nos quasi pilas homines habent.

Plautus

The gods use us humans as throwing spears.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

 

Punching Way Above Their Weight Class

I have often made fun of our neighbors to the north, the Canadians, who have the second largest nation in the world (mainly wind blown icy rocks and bare dirt), about 32 million people, most of them very polite, and combined armed forces with a total of 62,000. In case you can't tell, that's way, way too small. 170,000 would seem a minimum. They have relied on us to protect them for a couple of generations now and used the 'remora' benefit of not having to use much of their tax revenues on the military to build hockey rinks or something.

But the Canucks, if that's not a pejorative term, are with our brave NATO allies in Afghanistan where nearly the only troops who venture out from their redoubts are English speaking--Brits, Aussies, US and the Canadians. And the Canadians have been doing a good job. Really quite respectable. Well done, lads. Nice goal, eh?

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This Day in the Short History of Reagan Mistakes

On this day in 1986, the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Act was signed into law by President Reagan, permitting approximately three million illegal immigrants to remain in the country legally. The bill contained border enforcement language which was never effectively implemented and now we don't know how many tens of millions illegal immigrants there are in the United States. We have just narrowly escaped making the same mistake in comprehensive immigration reform. Most Americans want us to enforce the laws that exists. Not too much to ask as far as I'm concerned.

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Thought of the Day

Varium et mutabile semper femina.

Virgil

A woman is aways slippery and changeable.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

 

Kucinich Has His Funny Little Man Moment in the Sun

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Across the 8th Dimension, Ohio) brought the long threatened bill of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tried to table it and at first the vote was mainly along party lines--Dems for, meanie right wingers against, but then Representative John Shaddegg (R-AZ) convinced plenty of fellow Republicans that it would be a lot more fun to let Kucinich and his ilk talk the Vice President down, so about 160 of them changed their votes and the Dems, seeing that the table motion was failing big time, tried to switch back. After about an hour or so voting, the table motion failed 162-251. Hey, Dennis, when the loyal opposition is voting to keep you and your ilk talking because they think in the long run it will help them, perhaps you might consider sitting down and shutting up. Just a thought.

There was an Empire Strikes Back moment when the Dems got organized and sent the bill of impeachment off to the judiciary committee where it will probably moulder until mooted by the inauguration of a new administration.

Michell Malkin, et al. has a blow by blow account here.

It was painful for me to watch the Republicans while in power completely blow it; this is kinda fun. In the words of Duke Ellington's friend and drummer Joe Harris, "Dis band should disband."

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Articles of Impeachment

Representative, and joke candidate for President, Dennis Kucinich, (D-Alternative Reality in Ohio), when he is not taking directions from a silently hovering, gigantic, triangular alien spacecraft, is spearheading articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. Don't laugh at the choice, if you did it against the President first, Dick Cheney would become President. That's a shudder inducing thought for Dennis Kucinich and his ilk.

Here is a list of his co-sponsors: Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Albert Wynn, William Lacy Clay, Yvette Clarke, Jim McDermott, Jim Moran, Bob Filner, Sam Farr, Robert Brady, Tammy Baldwin, Donald Payne, Steve Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Ed Towns, and Diane Watson.

Here is the complete text via Michelle Malkin.

So, that someone with a different opinion exists makes the statements of the Vice President about Iraq, Iran and al Qaeda "high crimes and misdemeanors." Who knew? It must be something like thought crime.

Dennis Kucinich also reveals that the President is next. Of course.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight Ashbury) had pledged that impeachment was "off the table." She has proved, by the paucity of Democratic achievement in the House, that she is not much good at bipartisan co-operation. Has she lost control of her own party as well?

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

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This Day in the History of Political Forks in the Road


On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected U.S. President and the country was on its way inexorably to a bloody civil war. Lincoln, the first Republican President, defeated three other candidates (John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Steven Douglas), but he received less than 40% of the total popular vote, very little of it in the South which was solidly Democrat.

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Thought of the Day

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.

W. Somerset Maugham

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Monday, November 05, 2007

 

Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss

None of the left leaning readers of this little blip of a blog have reacted to my question about the extreme one-sidedness of political murders in the 20th Century. The fact is that the left (excluding the National Socialists) murdered just under 100 million, according to The Black Book of Communism, while the political murders by the right barely numbered one million. For current liberals it's a being extremely bothered by the mote in the other's eye while ignoring the beam in their own kind of thing. One ex-patriot readers points to some of the 20th Century dictatorships in Central and South America in a counter accusal of the right. The victims of the right wing dictatorships in all of Central and South America are relatively small and are part of the one million figure. Some have pointed to the blood thirsty Shah of Iran and his dreaded and vicious secret police, the Savak. Oh, yeah, I heard they were bad; but, I ask, how many did they murder? Crickets.

The followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini say anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000. Ouch, that's a lot, but is it accurate?

Well here is an answer from Iranians. For the period 1963 to 1979, 3,164 were killed by the Savak. Well, that's a lot less.

What about since the Shah was deposed in 1979 and the benevolent paradise of the Iranian Islamic Republic was established; how many of the Mullah's political enemies have been executed since then? Steven Hayward, in his book about the triumph of President Jimmy Carter's administration, The Real Jimmy Carter, says that more people were executed in Iran in the first year of Khomeini's rule than during the entirety of the Shah's Savak's harsh reign.

Here are some more figures. The Brit paper The Telegraph reports executions of Iranians merely for political party affiliation, in just the year 1988, which numbered over 30,000.
For the period prior to that, namely 1979 to 1986, Amnesty International recorded at least 6,500 executions. Since then, it is difficult to get reliable figures.

OK, reviewing the bidding--for the period 1963 to 1979 (16 years), under the Shah, 3,164.

For the period 1979 to 1989 (10 years), under Khomeini, at least 36,500.

Boy am I glad Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter helped get rid of the Shah, he was a bad human rights abuser.

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