Saturday, May 01, 2004

CNN.com This is off of the front page of CNN, under the main headline and the "More Headlines" section. It just jumped out at me, and it might just be me but, it seems there's an awful lot of death on this page: "

  • Saudis: Gunmen worked at oil compound
  • Toddlers' bodies found in Texas floods
  • Computer glitch grounds Delta flights
  • Arab fury over Iraq prison photos | Video
  • SI.com: Kentucky Derby win triggers $5M bonus | Gallery
  • Air show marks acrobatic pilot's death
  • Man killed in roller coaster fall
  • Gun safety teacher shoots himself in class
  • Hollywood writers in contract deadlock"

CNN.com - Gun safety presenter shoots self: "He drew his .40-caliber duty weapon and removed the magazine, according to the police report. He then pulled back the slide and asked an audience member to look inside the gun and confirm it wasn't loaded.
Witnesses said when the agent released the slide, one shot fired into the top of his left thigh. The gun was pointed at the floor."


It could just be me, but it sounds like he did a pretty good job of conveying how important it is to make sure there isn't a round in the chamber. What's the problem?

Independent Women's Forum (via InstaPundit): "Obvious questions -- Who are these 9/11 families? How do they have any useful knowledge about preventing another Sept. 11? Why is it a good thing that they're stroking Richard Clarke? -- are never even raised in a Dowd column. Instead she describes one of the four widows on parade as 'the lovely Kristin Breitweiser of New Jersey, whose husband died in the south tower,' and that, ipso facto, is enough: She's lovely, her husband's dead, now shut up."

A great investigation into why Maureen Dowd's columns are similar to soft porn. I must say Dowd has bothered me for quite some time, and if you read enough of the back pages of this site, you'll find more than one criticism, and at least one fisking. It's gotten to the point where I simply cannot read more than one paragraph of hers without flying off the handle.

Yet I've never understood what it is, beyond her unfailing liberalism, that so turned me off. And this article gets at it: her style is as cheesy and poor as the writing in a nudie magazine. (Not Playboy, Playboy has some good writers, but "TitF*ckers," and "I Crave C*ck," and the like.) I excerpted this little segment above, of course, not to point out MoDo's moronic word play, but the way she and too many other pundits (Ann Coulter, for example) completely dismiss an opposing point of view by running you right around it before you have a chance to make an argument. It's brilliant, and obnoxious.

I read on, however, and find this golden nugget of three paragraphs: "Then there's her shallowness. Sometimes when she's skittering around, Dowd happens upon a notion she likes a lot. Rather than develop it into an actual idea, though, she just repeats it endlessly, like an 8-year-old with a knock-knock joke. Take her latest column, April 25's 'The Orwellian Olsens,' which, after its opening line of 'It's their reality; We just live and die in it,' consists entirely of 25, mostly one-sentence 'In Bushworld...' aphorisms.

Examples: 'In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying...' 'In Bushworld, we're making progress on the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.' 'In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.' And so on.

Set aside for a moment that the title of this column is obscure (not until 'In Bushworld,' No. 21 is it clear that Dowd is comparing Bush and Cheney to Mary-Kate and Ashley) and that these 'Bushworld' statements are awfully easy to parody: 'In Maureenworld, soldiers would never die in battle.' 'In Maureenworld, we can assume that before the war on terror, terrorists weren't a problem.' 'In Maureenworld, comparisons between a President who believes in God and people who think women should be stoned to death for religious reasons can be made with a straight face.' And so on."


Brilliant.

Friday, April 30, 2004

CNN.com - Macedonia admits staging raid, killing innocents: "Macedonian police gunned down seven innocent immigrants, then claimed they were terrorists, in a killing staged to show they were participating in the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, authorities said Friday."

This is one of the most disturbing things I've ever read.

Bush Lied!! IV
Book Names Iraqi in Alleged '99 Bid to Buy Uranium (washingtonpost.com) (via InstaPundit): "It was Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as 'Baghdad Bob,' who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium.

That's according to a new book Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq had been trying to buy enriched 'yellowcake' uranium. Wilson wrote that he did not learn the identity of the Iraqi official until this January, when he talked again with his Niger source."


But, no, Iraq had no interest in obtaining uranium. Not in Niger, at least, right? Hmm... seems like that whole argument is evaporating. And, remember, Bush never claimed they had obtained uranium from Niger, simply that they had pursued it.

UPDATE [4/30/2004 - 16:13]: For those who don't remember, Joseph Wilson was the State Department representative sent by the CIA to Niger to investigate unsubstantiated intelligence that Iraqis had been trying to acquire yellowcake uranium in that country. Wilson returned, filed a report that said he could not prove or disprove the claims. He then went a step further, writing an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, I believe (might have been the Times), stating how certain he was that no Iraqi had sought uranium in Niger. Subsequently, Bob Novak published a column that announced that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, had gotten him the job of going to Niger, and that she was a CIA operative. There was then a big to-do about the possibility that members of the Bush administration had illegally 'outed' Ms. Plame as a form of revenge on Wilson.
As my brother points out in the comments, it's miraculous that he's now acknowledging that there was an Iraqi seeking uranium in Niger.

Good Old Zell From today's Political Diary: "[Zell Miller] the 72-year-old Democrat has decided to take on one more cause before his retirement this year. United Press International reports he has introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment that provided for the popular election of Senators. 'Federalism, for all practical purposes, has become to a generation of leaders some vague philosophy of the past that is dead, dead, dead,' he told his fellow Senators on Thursday. 'The reformers of the early 1900s killed it dead and cremated the body when they allowed for the direct election of U.S. Senators.'

Before the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913, Senators were selected by their respective state legislatures. The Founding Fathers envisioned the House, where members were elected from districts, as the chamber that would represent the popular will and be closest to the citizenry. The Senate was designed as a more deliberative body that would represent the states as political entities.

'The election of U.S. Senators by the state legislatures was the linchpin that guaranteed the interests of the state would be protected,' Mr. Miller told colleagues. 'Direct election of senators, as good as that sounds, allowed Washington's special interests to call the shots, whether it's filling judicial vacancies or issuing regulations. The state governments aided in their own collective suicide by going along with the popular fad of the time.'"


It's an interesting idea, and one about which I'm not sure what to do. Anyone have any thoughts?

UPDATE [4/30/2004 - 14:44]: IchiBlog has a nice round-up of some thoughts on this subject. His general conclusion is that returning election of Senators to the state legislatures would be a good idea.

OpinionJournal - Taste: "But the real question is whether a public figure should enjoy all the benefits, spiritual and material, of a faith that he has betrayed."

A great piece from a Catholic perspective on why Kerry should not be taking communion, even if he is allowed. I've expressed my views on this before.

While this column does not address the issue from the separation of Church and state perspective, I don't think that matters. I've outlined my views in comments on a piece at seditious libel, as well as one at IchiBlog.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

My apologies for the lackluster day today. I'm coming up on finals, as well as a busy weekend, so the next few days will likely bring more of the same. I'll try to blog as often as possible. Thanks for the patience.

The Volokh Conspiracy: "Have you ever had a premonition? Did you once have, say, a passing thought about an uncle, only to receive a phone call five minutes later informing you that the beloved relative has dropped dead? If so, this probably struck you as eerie. You might have vaguely believed it was ESP.

Was it? Let's see. Suppose you know of 10 people who die each year. Furthermore, suppose you think of each of them once annually. There are 105,120 five-minute intervals in a year. A simple probability calculation shows that there is a 10 in 105,120 likelihood that you will, as a matter of chance, have a thought about one of these people in the five minutes before you hear of their death. Multiply this likelihood by the population of the U.S. (about a quarter of a billion people) and you find that roughly 25,000 people each year -- about 70 a day -- will have a 'psychic' experience of this sort. In fact, it's pure coincidence."


Creepy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

CNN.com - L.A. beaches to be smoke-free: "Los Angeles County is getting 13 miles of smoke-free beaches."

You have GOT to be kidding me. It's an open space, by definition, and now we're making smoking illegal. This is getting ridiculous.

BLACKFIVE: Taking Chance Home (via InstaPundit)
Read it, no excuses.

Life and liberty are beautiful things, for which all men strive, which all men deserve. From the birth of this nation, we have held these rights above all others both for ourselves and for the world. It is the purpose of the United States to bring these things to every man, regardless or race, creed, or nationality. We must never turn away from this mission, and we must never forget those who have fought for this goal before us or those who will fight on after we are gone. We cannot turn away as long as there is a single human being suffering the indignity of serving another or death at another's hands. Life and liberty are God's gifts to the world, and it is every man's reason for being to bring them to those who have not experienced their blessing. We are all soldiers in this fight, and we must never forget that fact.

Whether you think we're going about the battles in Fallujah, Najaf, and the rest of Iraq properly, we are doing what we are meant to do. Disagreement with the means is fine, and must be heard. Dissent from the mission cannot be forgiven. Who are we to sit comfortably in the US while men, women, and children around the world are subject to the evil led by Saddam and others? What right do we have to say that the lives of 1, 100, or 1 million American men and boys can be valued above the freedom of a nation? If you think we shouldn't have gone in, if you think it wasn't the right time, you are wrong. If you think that the next theater shouldn't be pursued, that it won't be the right time, you are wrong. If you think diplomacy and back-channels are sufficient until exhausted, you are wrong. It is always the right time. We are at war. Not only with terrorists, but with anyone who hates freedom, anyone who would deprive it of another. It is our duty to see that this evil is defeated.

I know that this seems simplistic. I know that, at times, diplomacy is the only way about things. I know that we cannot rush to war without assessing the consequences. But at all times, we need to be prepared to fight the next battle, to challenge the next foe. We can no longer stand idly by while freedom is trampled around the world. We will not defeat evil now, we will not defeat it in my lifetime, and we may not triumph ever, but we cannot stand down until we do.

You may ask me how I can support President Bush when I disagree so fundamentally with some important stands he has taken, both economically and socially, both foreign and domestic. This is how. He understands this. He sees that this is our role in the world. He sees that this ranks above all else as the challenge threatening society, threatening the fabric of civilization. I believe that he will carry this fight to whatever battlefield is necessary. This is the one goal where God is unquestionably on our side. He will not let us fail, and He will forgive our shortcomings so long as we remember this mission. There will be losses along the way, but only at the expense of great gain. It can never be wrong to sacrifice your healthy, your safety, your wealth, even your life to set another man free. May God bless this mission, may God bless all those who have pursued it through history, may God bless the men and women who fight at this very moment, and may He never let us abandon this course.

I write this post having just finished the film We Were Soldiers. I highly recommend it to the world: hawk, dove, and everyone on the spectrum inbetween. It carries many complex messages which I am obviously still digesting. In this moment, what I carried away from it is the absolute importance of my words above. Please, say a prayer for the safety of the world.

UPDATE [4/28/2004 - 21:17]: CNN.com - Poll: Iraqis conflicted about war, its impact: "Nearly half the Iraqis polled in a survey conducted primarily in March and early April said they believed the U.S.-led war had done more harm than good, but 61 percent of respondents said Saddam Hussein's ouster made it worth any hardships." (emphasis added)

A couple of things about this. First of all, the headline on the front page at CNN.com says "Iraqis polled: War did more harm than good but worth it" That's a lie, if less than half said the war did more harm than good. At the very least it's misleading.

Second, many people have asked me, in relation to my above post, how I define freedom, how I know when we're setting people free and when we're just exerting our concept of government on them. A poll like this is a sign to me that these people feel more free. They are glad Saddam is gone, and I maintain that we did a good thing.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Combat: Fierce Battles in Najaf and Falluja Dim Hopes for Accord: "In another development the Americans were watching, reports from inside Najaf said the growing anger of residents there against Mr. Sadr and his men, who have sown a pattern of lawlessness since their uprising in the city began this month, had taken a startling new turn, with a shadowy group killing at least five militiamen on Sunday and Monday.
Those reports, from residents who reached relatives in Baghdad by telephone, said the killers called themselves the Thulfiqar Army, after a two-bladed sword that Shiite tradition says was used by the patron saint of Shia, Imam Ali, the martyred son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. The group distributed leaflets in Najaf threatening to kill members of Mr. Sadr's Mahdi Army unless they fled Najaf immediately, according to accounts."


I want to hear more about this "Thulfiqar Army." Hopefully the press will pick up on it.

CNN.com - Specter in narrow win: "Veteran GOP Sen. Arlen Specter narrowly won a fifth term, after a close primary battle with Rep. Pat Toomey, who argued to Pennsylvanians that Specter simply wasn't conservative enough."

How can CNN make such an amateur mistake? A primary does not win another term for anyone, unless, perhaps you consider an uncontested race, which this certainly is not. I hope they correct this soon, because it's shameful.

UPDATE [4/28/2004 - 1:34]: It has apparently now been corrected to: "Veteran GOP Sen. Arlen Specter narrowly won a shot at a fifth term, after a close primary battle with Rep. Pat Toomey, who argued to Pennsylvanians that Specter simply wasn't conservative enough." (emphasis added)

OpinionJournal - The Real World: "It's looking more and more as if one of the best reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein was that it was probably the only way to get rid of Oil-for-Food."

This is a good piece outlining why Saddam was a threat, but I have to take dispute with Ms. Rosett's perspective on it, as outlined in this opening sentence. She seems to forget that many, many on the left, and some on the right, in this country were calling for another way to completely eliminate the Oil-for-Food program: an end to all sanctions. If sanctions were lifted, the theory goes, the Oil-for-Food program would be superfluous, as the Iraqi people would receive open trade, and enough food and medicine to sustain the country. I wish Ms. Rosett had addressed this, as she leaves the door for this argument wide open.

The problem is, she is right in her closing statement: "Basically, Oil-for-Food was Saddam--just slightly harder to spot, swaddled as he was in that blue U.N. flag." Lifting sanctions would not have solved this problem, it would merely have lifted the blue flag. Yes, more money would have gotten to the people of Iraq. Yes, the baathists would certainly have been better off. But the people he was executing on a regular basis? They would have continued dying. The people he refused food, work, basic healthcare, and even housing? They would have continued suffering. The money Saddam funneled to terrorists, as Ms. Rosett outlines? It would have continued flowing. We need to be clear: the only way to end Oil-for-Food for the benefit of the Iraqi people was to set them free, to take away the man who robbed them at every turn, for his own benefit and to support his mission to destroy western society. Saddam needed to go. We are paying a huge price for taking on that challenge, in every innocent Iraqi death, and every American soldier we lose. But there is no question that the Iraqi people now have a potential they could never have gained on their own. There is no question that we must see this through to the only acceptable end: a free Iraqi people, living without fear from their own countryment, and those who seek to destroy them from without.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Investigative Report - Saddam's WMD Have Been Found (via InstaPundit)
I really don't know what to make of this. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

CNN.com - Stradivarius worth $3.5 million stolen: "It can be returned -- no questions asked -- to the artists' entrance of the music center next door to Disney Hall where the orchestra performs."

There's an inherent paradox here. I mean, if you want the guy to return the instrument, you probably shouldn't be announcing that it's worth $3.5 million.

CNN.com - Army asks ski resorts to return its howitzers
This is perhaps one of the funniest sounding, legitimate headlines I've ever heard.

CNN.com - NYU student sleeps for months in library basement
If the stories my Dad tells me about his time at MIT in the 70's are true, then this kid isn't all that special. MIT guys have lived in libraries for much, much longer than 8 months. It's just not news because they're doing it by choice.

CNN.com - U.S. forces kill 43 insurgents near Najaf: "U.S. forces have killed 43 Iraqi insurgents in fighting near the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday. An anti-aircraft position was also knocked out."

In response to an article about Iraqi soldiers "repeatedly firing upon American aircraft" patrolling the No-Fly zone before the Iraq war, I once said that I believe no one should ever live long enough to repeatedly fire on Americans.
Similarly, I'd like someone to explain to me how we allowed them to posess an "anti-aircraft position."

"'Weapons are being stockpiled in mosques, shrines and schools. This explosive situation cannot be tolerated by those who seek a peaceful resolution to this crisis,' Bremer said."

Also of concern is this situation. Saddam used to build bunkers and other military sights below, in, and around schools, hospitals, mosques, etc. It's a smart tactic, as our sensitivity to collateral damage makes these targets very difficult to attack. We certainly don't want to further inflame the locals by storming into their mosques. But, what are we supposed to do if attacks are being staged from these locations? Does anybody have a creative solution? I'd love to hear one, because the prospect of attacking schools and mosques is not a pleasant one, even if they're empty at the time.

OpinionJournal - The Western Front
Good piece by Mr. Miniter about the diplomatic work done by the Pentagon. He discusses ideas that I'd never given much thought before. And he doesn't fully fellate Secretary Rumsfeld, either.

"Abort Bush"
Pro-choicers, I command you: read.
It's good for pro-lifers too, as an interesting account of the protest that you won't see most places.

yaledailynews.com - Rallies ask officials for flexibility: "During a late afternoon rally on Beinecke Plaza yesterday, professional students tried to present to Levin a petition with 461 signatories demanding more loan forgiveness from Yale."

Look, I'm the first to admit that I'm the opposite of an economist. For those of you out there who know what you're talking about, I'd love some comments to explain debt forgiveness to me. I understand in IR that sometimes a country undertakes large amounts of debt under one government, and needs to get out from under it in order to advance. I also understand that there are other reasons in this context when debt forgiveness makes sense.

What I don't understand is that how these so-called "professional students" (the YDN's term) have the gall to demand the same, holding Yale accountable for their state. If you go to graduate school, you know going in what it's going to cost. If you don't have the means, and aren't prepared to deal with debt coming out of it, then maybe you shouldn't make the choice to attend that school. To my way of thinking, it is not Yale's responsibility to provide anyone with an education -- it is your choice to take advantage of a system, with full knowledge of your responsibilities. Even protesting tuition before you attend the school, I might understand. But once you've made the choice, you have to deal with the results. You have entered a contract to attend school for a certain price, and that includes the contract to pay back what you borrow to cover that fee.

Seriously, if anyone can explain to me why these people are entitled to "forgiveness" (I'd call it mooching), please educate me.

UPDATE [4/27/2004 -15:40]: It appears that Mr. Kirchick at Off The Fence agrees with me: "Listen, if you cannot afford to go to graduate school, please, do not complain that Yale is being cheap in not giving you enough money. Yale owes you nothing, get it? If you don't like this fact, then do something else with your lives. Does anyone see students from the Law school or Medical school complaining? And they're paying for their entire education!"

It'd be nice if someone who disagrees with me weighed in...

Lileks - Who art in heaven.: "Oh GOD said my daughter, not yet four.
'What did you say?'
She got the uh-oh look, and now I was in the thick of it again. How to explain that God is a bad word. If you know what I mean.
'We don't say that when we're mad, sweetheart. We say it in church, or when we're praying, but not when we're mad, because God doesn't like that.'
So now God, that amorphous guy-in-the-sky concept, is suddenly Old Testament God, vengeful, toting up your errors.
'It makes him sad,' I added. 'Because you're saying it when you're mad, not when you’re happy. Say 'gosh' instead. Or say 'drat.' That's more fun to say.
Later that day I told her to put away her shoes, and she said:
'Oh, Gah-' quick look at me '- sh. I said gosh.'
Later, at dinner:
'Oh God.' I shot her a look. She held up her pink bear. 'He said it.'
He doesn't speak. He's stuffed.
'I talk for him. But I didn't say it.'
All children are lawyers at heart. Looking for the loophole."


Priceless. Then there's this:
"[...]it would seem to indicate that the[se] guys [Al Quaeda] lack the tactical acumen. They have several goals: first, get the US out of the region. Second, destroy all the regional governments they don't like. Third, conquer the world. If they were as crafty and canny as feared they'd take these steps in the proper order, but they appear to want to do #1 and #2 simultaneously, which is remarkably stupid. The US, in response to terror attacks in Iraq, will carefully attempt to convert the miscreants to jam, if that's what it comes down to. But if the Al Qaeda et al hits Saudi Arabia and Jordon before achieving the first objective, they just get more grief: Arab governments are less likely to play nice. They're more likely to disappear huge numbers of people, raze villages, apply cheese graters to your scalp to get confessions, etc. Your average Jordanian may be passively rooting for American defeat out of the usual stupid sense of solidarity, but take out 15 blocks in Amman and suddenly he wants something done against these guys. This may be the one thing that makes the Arab Street rise up: it gets leveled, by Arabs."

I've been saying this for a while, but I'm certainly not the only one. Hopefully they don't read our blogs (unlikely, since they're not allowed to read anything by the infidels), and they won't wise up.

UPDATE [4/27/2004 - 00:48]: CNN.com - Saudi police believe al Qaeda suspects cornered: "Saudi security forces say they believe they have cornered four suspects, including al Qaeda's top coordinator in the Arabian Peninsula, in an area northwest of the capital Riyadh."

Let's hope this turns out better than when the Pakistanis had Al Quaeda cornered a few weeks back. And honestly, I hope we don't here what the Saudis doe to them. I could do without the outrage from the left.

Middle East Newsline (via InstaPundit): "Sudan has ordered the removal of Syrian missiles and weapons of mass destruction out of the African country.
Arab diplomatic and Sudanese government sources said the regime of Sudanese President Omar Bashir has ordered that Syria remove its Scud C and Scud D medium-range ballistic missiles as well as components for chemical weapons stored in warehouses in Khartoum. The sources said the Sudanese demand was issued after the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry confirmed a report published earlier this month that Syria has been secretly flying Scud-class missiles and WMD components to Khartoum."


As Glenn put it: "Very interesting. And I wonder where Syria got them?"
We'll likely never know, but I'm sure those who read this blog regularly know what my theory is. Anyone like to make a different assertion? Feel free to do so in the comments.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Mouse created without father: Scientists turn egg cell into surrogate sperm.: "The team made the animals by combining the nucleus of one female's egg with that of another, essentially creating a mouse with two mothers."

Let's start with how creepy this is. Then, let's move on to its impracticality. Why do I say it's impractical? Because using two eggs means that every single creature you produce will be a female. It would make way more sense to use two sperm cells, and cut the women out of the loop.

My apologies for this non-political post.

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: "Bush and Kerry 'are closely matched nationwide among registered voters,' according to a new Marist Poll. 'Bush has the support of 47% of the national electorate compared with 44% for Kerry.'
But in the 17 battleground states, 'Bush receives the support of 44% of registered voters and Kerry receives 47%.'"


Wouldn't it be ironic if Bush won the popular vote, but lost the election?

This FOXNews.com poll bears out the results of my minipoll, and my general impression: "Many Bush voters say the main reason they are supporting the Republican incumbent is because he is 'doing a good job' as president (28 percent), with the next most popular reason being his character (19 percent), followed by his positions on the issues (14 percent) and leadership qualities (11 percent).
For Kerry voters, over a third (38 percent) say the main reason they are supporting the senator is 'He's not Bush,' while others cite his positions on the issues (22 percent), and the simple fact that he is a Democrat (11 percent)."

The New York Times Sunday Book Review > 'Alexander Hamilton': Rich Uncle of His Country: "Today our liberal/conservative debates tend to pit the advocates of government against the advocates of the market. Today our politics is dominated by rival strands of populism: the anticorporate populism of the Democrats and the anti-Washington populism of the Republicans. But Hamilton thought in entirely different categories. He argued that ''liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.'' He wanted a limited but energetic government that would open fields of enterprise and give new directions to popular passions."

David Brooks writes a great review of what sounds like a great book about a great man. Great. I think I've found my first beach book of the summer. I might lead off with The Official Handbook of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, but that should be a quick read. I also want to get my hands on David Brooks' own upcoming text, On Paradise Drive : How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense, and Rudy Giuliani's Leadership. Why can't summer be longer?

CNN.com - Study: Coast Guard plan inadequate: "The Coast Guard, one of the nation's five armed services, hired the RAND Corp. to evaluate whether its 20-year plan to update its surface and air fleets would be adequate to handle future demands.
The study, to be released Monday, concluded that the service needed two-thirds more cutters and a larger number of aircraft than the original plan recommended."


Can we please all say a little prayer that, when the CG goes to Congress to request the necessary additional funding, it is granted?
Seriously, I'm very interested to see how Congress responds to this study. My bet is pork-barrel grants that do little or nothing to acheive the necessary modernization. Or maybe the Dems will start screaming about how the Bush administration leaned on RAND to come to this conclusion to ratchet up their domination by fear? OK, so I'm a little cynical today, but can you really dispute the probability that what needs to be done will be sidetracked by Congress?

WSJ.com - Appeasement Never Works (sorry, subscription only): "The withdrawal of our troops is just what the terrorists wanted -- the terrorists who attack Iraqis in Iraq, and those who attacked Spaniards in Spain. They are the same. They want the same thing. They have the same objectives, one of which, without doubt, was the withdrawal of our troops. And now they have it. This is hardly the best step for us to have taken after the attack Spain suffered on March 11. Our message to the world is one of abandonment; we have also signaled the value of murder as a way to secure political objectives. If Spain is weaker as a consequence of our withdrawal from Iraq, the terrorists are now stronger. The government has taken the path of appeasement, which history shows to be the worst way to handle threats. Appeasement does not protect one from danger; instead, it fortifies the danger itself."

You've heard it before, from me and from others, but former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar does a great job with this piece explaining why Spanish capitulation to terrorists puts both Spain and the rest of the world at greater risk. It's a lesson that you would have thought was learned by Chamberlain at Munich -- apparently not. If you have access, read the whole thing.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Abortion Rights Advocates Flood D.C. (washingtonpost.com): "Sponsors had received a permit for a crowd of up to 750,000 people."

I refer you here.

UPDATE [4/26/2004 - 4:03]: I feel so dirty for it, but I posted a comment on the rally turn-out to DailyKos. Maybe I can knock some sense into those people. I'm going to have to be careful, though. Now that I receive the Kerry campaign emails, and I'm registered at DailyKos, I might be infected by liberalism. So, faithful readers, keep an eye on me.

CNN.com - Thousands gather for women's rights rally This article has a picture posted with it, in which a woman is holding a sign that reads "Against Abortion? Don't Have One!"

I've heard this argument made many times over, and it's been used in the several abortion discussions at seditious libel. The problem is, that argument only works with people who believe that the entity in a woman's womb is a fetus and no more. It fails to account for the fact that many pro-lifers (including myself) believe strongly that life begins at conception. Therefore, from my perspective, by not trying to change the law, I am standing by while millions (approximately 38 million since Roe v. Wade) of innocent, unborn children (not fetuses) are killed. That doesn't leave me the option of, as Laura put it, "If you believe that life starts at conception and that, therefore, abortion is immoral: don't do it. Live a vibrant, beautiful, successful, amazing life without ever needing to have an abortion, and let people learn from your example, the same way you try to encourage people to do anything else that you consider moral."

So, pro-choicers, if you want a bit of my advice on strategy, stop making this argument. It makes sense to you, but it's never going to convince a pro-choicer. I understand it, but it doesn't get at the root reasons for why I oppose legal abortion.

Day By Day by Chris Muir, cartoon for: 4/25/2004
HA!