Friday, February 04, 2005

Simply Awesome
Iraqi insurgents resume deadly attacks:

The Iraqi police have investigated a case in the village of al-Mudhariya, which is just south of Baghdad. The villagers there say that before the election insurgents came and warned them that if they voted in last weekend's election, they would pay.

Now the people of this mixed village of Sunni and Shia Muslims, they ignored the threat and they did turn out to vote.

We understand that last night the insurgents came back to punish the people of al-Mudhariya, but instead of metering out that punishment the villagers fought back and they killed five of the insurgents and wounded eight. They then burnt the insurgents' car. So the people of that village have certainly had enough of the insurgents.
That is one of the coolest things I've ever heard.

This just in
Just heard on CNN that, according to the most recent number, Bush's first term resulted in a net gain of 119,000 jobs. So much for the Dems' old line that he's the first to lose jobs since Herbert Hoover.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Rumsfeld should resign!
Oh, wait. Turns out, he did: "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says he twice offered President Bush his resignation during the height of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, but the president refused to accept it."

Honestly, that doesn't surprise me. And if you've ever read Rumsfeld's Rules, then you shouldn't be surprised either. For example, a rule towards the end of the second section says: "Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance." And then there's the next one: "If you are lost — 'climb, conserve, and confess.' (U.S. Navy SNJ Flight Manual)"

I highly recommend you read the whole thing.

Great Move
It's been a while since I discussed political strategy here, probably because the election is over. But, it's time once again.

I just received an email from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, with the subject line "Preserve Social Security." The text says:

President Bush is committed to keeping the promise of Social Security for today's seniors while strengthening Social Security for our children. In his State of the Union speech speech [sic in original] the President discussed his plan to save Social Security for younger workers by allowing them the choice to set aside portions of their salary in personal accounts so they can start creating their own nest egg for retirement. The Social Security benefits for those at or near retirement will not change.

Unless we act now, Social Security will be bankrupt by the time our children retire.
To help educate the public about the President's plan, the RNC this week launched a new Web site: www.preservingsocialsecurity.com. This Web site will provide up-to-date news, facts and ways for people to get involved in the debate.

Get involved now! Go to www.preservingsocialsecurity.com and sign an online petition asking your Senators to work with President Bush to preserve Social Security.

With your help we will preserve Social Security and make sure it is around for our children and grandchildren.
This is just a great move. Bush will clearly be subjected to claims from Democrats that he is trying to destroy Social Security—and I think ultimately the Dems will win on this issue—but here the Republicans get out early and peg their plan as the one to preserve the retirement program. If it takes hold, it will be much harder for Democrats to convince people that the Republican plan will destroy Social Security, and could even put them on the defensive side of things.

I'm not saying it'll work, but it's the best play open to the Republicans here.

What?
This sentence is just atrocious: "It takes a bit of practice, and in many cases it's far easier just to endure the hassle of pushing buttons."

Read the article though—this is some weird technology.

I love hypocrisy
Isn't it great when a YDN column lamenting the fact that high school students underestimate the importance of civil liberties and civic ends: "Luckily, the [federal] Department of Education has already put into place an initiative to 'provide high quality civic education curricula to elementary and secondary school students' through its 'We the People: Citizen and the Constitution' program. I only hope that this program will get the funding it deserves, and that a future attitudes study will produce more favorable results."

She's upset that people don't understand the value of freedom, and she advocates ceding further control of local schools to the federal government. The irony of this is almost laughable to me—if only it weren't so sad.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Full Text
Full text of 2005 State of the Union speech

I know I said that I would post my thoughts tonight, but I'd like to let them soak in a bit first. Accordingly, I will give you my take on the speech tomorrow—that's a promise.

Overall, though, I thought it was pretty good. Certainly, he did a better job of outlining the Bush Doctrine and his Social Security hopes than I've ever heard him do before. Also, no one can deny the fact that he is a significantly stronger public speaker than he was at the beginning of his first term.

Now we stay tuned for the Democrat response.

Stay Tuned
State of the Union thoughts to be posted as soon as it's over... don't go away!

More Terrible Reporting
CNN.com offers an article stating Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling: "Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors."

The one thing I wanted to know once I saw this headline was "under what administration?" Does the article say that anywhere? No, of course not, despite the fact that it is an important piece of information. If you just read the headline, and the first few paragraphs, the immediate implication is: we have no right to be upset about Oil-for-Food scandals, because we did nothing to stop it.

Well, there's a problem. This happened under the Clinton administration, not the current one. We also let Bin Laden go under Clinton—does that mean he shouldn't be punished now? There is a reason that Bush was elected, there is a reason that he was reelected, and it has something to do with the fact that there's no ambiguity about such things anymore—we simply won't tolerate it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Are you ready for some football?
Sweet.

(Author's note: yes, I know that the title of this post referrs to Monday Night Football, not football in general.)

Scientists = Liars
CNN.com offers the headline 'Scientists: 'Birdbrained' doesn't mean stupid, but dictionary.com clearly defines "birdbrain" as: "A person regarded as silly or stupid."

Now, if scientists said birdbrained shouldn't mean stupid then they might have a point.

Can't let it go anymore
He said it again. As quoted by Best of the Web: "I am actually personally opposed to abortion. But I don't believe that I have a right to take what is an article of faith to me and legislate it to other people."

My article of faith is that abortion is murder. Since I believe that, a part of my article of faith is that allowing abortions to continue legally without working to change those laws would make me an accessory to each of those murders. But that's precisely what John Kerry wants me to do.

The problem is, articles of faith can conflict in ways that protecting one inherently violates another. In other words, he needs to find a new way to say this.

Immature Media, right?
Despite repeated claims from MSM participants that blogs cannot cover the events as well as traditional correspondents, and that their coverage will be less-accurate, the Belmont Club uses a form of fisking to show how their piece (written months ago) outshines a recent Newsweek piece on the same topic. Even if you read just the first few, you'll learn a lot about the dedication of many bloggers. (via InstaPundit)

CIA contributes to delinquency of miners
Heh.

Monday, January 31, 2005

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' not the issue
David Bookstabber writes the YDN with a logical explanation of the ROTC debate, and why it doesn't involve questions of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The important paragraphs: "Soldiers are required to deprive themselves of many civil liberties while in the service of our country. It may surprise civilians to learn that these constraints go far beyond haircuts and earrings to encompass strict limits on free speech as well as social and sexual behavior. Furthermore, this code of conduct is open for review by all three branches of the federal government.

It is true that any other employer would be charged with unlawful discrimination if it enforced a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on sexuality. But note likewise that any other employer would be hauled into court for enforcing such strict and arbitrary physical requirements as does the military, for forcing employees to at times work 100-hour weeks for below minimum wage, or for intentionally putting its employees in mortal danger. Yep, the military is pretty special."


UPDATE [1/31/2005 - 17:23]: For those wondering, Lexi's comment is referring to the signature at the bottom of the article, which reads:

David Bookstaber '99

Jan. 29, 3005
Way to go YDN...

And Yet...
According to Paul Boutin: "Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)
Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)"


And yet, Glenn Reynolds points out that reporting behavior of the MSM, despite some initial optimism yesterday, has returned to expected patterns.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A special place in heaven...
...was earned today: "Baghdad Police HQ reported that at 1200 hrs today, Police Constable Abd al Amir was killed in the line of duty at the Khalil bin Walid Polling Center in the Yarmuk section of Baghdad. Abd al Amir identified a suspicious man wearing an explosives belt, and immediately tackled him, shielding the lines of voters with his body, and dying instantly when the terrorist detonated his belt."

It's Kerry's Fault!!
As I said from the beginning, John Kerry was a poor choice for the Democratic nomination—but I'm getting a little sick of all this criticism of him for the loss. For example, most recently Soros felt the need: "Billionaire investor George Soros -- who spent $26 million in the failed effort to defeat President Bush -- said challenger John Kerry was 'a flawed candidate,' Bloomberg reports.

Said Soros: 'Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative.'"


If you invest in a company that goes bankrupt, sure, the company is to blame—but so are you for making a poor investment. All of these Democrats who blame Kerry obviously didn't do their job in getting the candidate they wanted, or in getting past Kerry's faults. Turning that on Kerry is just wrong.

UPDATE [1/31/2005 - 1:20]: Then again, Jake does have a point.

A Big Fizzle?
CNN.com - Iraqis vote amid violence: "Insurgents carried out more than a dozen attacks across the country on Sunday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 71 others.
At least eight suicide bombings took place during the voting. There are reports of a ninth, but CNN has not confirmed those reports."


First off, that's headline's a lie: most Iraqis voted far away from any form of violence—a few witnessed bombings, grenade tossings, shootings, whatever.

More importantly, today was it. Today was the day that, if ever the insurgency was going to show its force, it would have. Instead, we get a mere 8 (possibly 9, CNN has not confirmed yet) bombings and 8 other attacks. It sounds like a lot, but considering how afraid of this insurgency we're supposed to be, it's not all that impressive. Plus, they're reporting higher than expected turnout.

Today's a good day.

UPDATE [1/30/2005 - 12:14]: John Cole points to The Shifting Goalposts: "First, they said the elections couldn't/wouldn't happen.
Then, they said they would happen, but they would be wracked with violence and no one would vote because the ballots were too confusing or the security situation would keep people away from the polls."
Exactly.

UPDATE [1/30/2006 - 13:59]: A couple more, from two posts found over at Andrew Sullivan.

First, all of these photos of Iraqis holding up their blue-marked fingers with pride warms my heart. These people are voting for the first time in their lives, even facing threats of death, and doing so with beaming smiles. Congratulations to them.

Next, you may notice that Sullivan has a post written by a friend in Baghdad, declaring that the insurgents lost today. It made me realize something that I should have realized earlier, but let me try and outline it here.

The left has been declaring for months that our war in Iraq is merely providing recruitment material for Al Quaeda. We've declared war on Iraqi civilians, the story goes, and so they'll declare war in return.

But there's another part of the equation that people forget: we're not actively targetting civilians, while the insurgents are. Every single one of our raids is aimed at people who have already targetted us. Every event with major casualties is initiated by the insurgency, either against civilian politicians, or Iraqi forces, or American soldiers. If our behavior, designed to minimize innocent death, is a recruiting poster for our opposition, then theirs is an even bigger one for our cause. Today, I think, presented the truth in that fact.