Saturday, February 12, 2005

Every year apparently a guy gets on a boat in Formosa, forgets to wipe himself and we get the flu!
Ahhh... the immortal words of Lewis Black.
Anyway, apologies for the non-existant blogging today, which is likely to continue tomorrow. I've been taken down by what I can only assume is the flu and I'm spending most of my time in bed.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Maybe there's a bigger problem, Bill
Political Wire pointed me to an article in which the WaPo quotes Bill Clinton on the internal strife of the Democratic party: "We've got to stop beating on each other and redirect our fire against the people we disagree with."

It sounds so logical, doesn't it? But there's a bigger issue at the base—they are arguing with people they disagree with. The Democratic Party, by making itself the party of inclusion for so long, has turned itself into a big circus tent, full of people who are likely to agree on maye one issue, maybe not even that. The centers of cohesion are vast, and the party is held together these days by little more than the fact that the Republican centers are different. It's gotten so bad that, in order to maintain its opposition-party status, the Democratic Party is even ceding unifying issues, like Social Security reform, that had been in its bailiwick.

So, you see, Bill probably should have phrased it a little differently, to reflect the fact that the Dems are in no way united, and do have fundamental differences among themselves—he just wants them to turn their mutual animosity onto a mutual enemy isntead of each other.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Not good.

Also, for all of those who said "if we're going into Iraq because we think they're trying to get nuclear weapons, why aren't we going into North Korea, who we're pretty sure already has them?" your thesis and this recent report offer your explanation. We can't treat North Korea the way we treated Iraq precisely because they already had them, whether they would admit it or not.

The problem is, their border with South Korea is within artillery range of Seoul, South Korea—meaning that even if we took out all of their missiles, all they'd need to do is put one warhead on one artillery shell, and wipe out the South Korean capital.

And the people who make this argument are the same ones who refuse to acknowledge the good offered by the bunker-buster technology the DoD is trying to develop—the mini-nukes that would allow us to take out any underground warhead storage.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Bud ad made me happy
And this only makes it better: "Last Thursday I was on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Portland, Ore. There were four servicemen returning home for a two-week leave from Iraq. As the plane arrived at the gate in Portland, the pilot mentioned and thanked the servicemen for their service and asked that they be allowed to disembark first. As each of them walked toward the front of the plane, the rest of the passengers erupted in spontaneous applause. It's tough to do a standing ovation in an MD-80, but that's exactly what they got.
The feeling of appreciation of the passengers on the plane was palpable as they patted the servicemen on the back as they walked by and said 'thank you.' Best of all, it was real people expressing appreciation for the service of these men. A commercial could not have done the moment justice."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Paying lip service to diversity
Every now and then we see get one of these "Yale isn't diverse enough" columns in the YDN. Not surprisingly, this one follows suit in lamenting the fact that Yale doesn't have enough blacks on faculty: "According to a 2002 report in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Yale had the lowest percentage of black tenured professors in the entire Ivy League. (That fact is more distressing given that even at the top-ranked school, Columbia, only 4.3 percent of tenured professors were black.)"

And the editor who penned this column focuses on the unfulfilled promises of the Yale administration, praising their words amidst this criticism: "Every time they are challenged on the University's record, they offer clear statements emphasizing their hopes of building a student body and hiring a faculty that, in Provost Andrew Hamilton's words, more closely 'mirrors the diversity of society.'"

But if we're trying to reflect society, then why are less than 10 percent (closer to 3 percent) of faculty members conservatives? And more importantly, why doesn't the YDN ever criticize that fact? If the true goal is diversity of a societal basis, and not strictly a visual, skin-based logic, then we should be more concerned about this.

Never understood it to begin with
Today's OpinionJournal column from Brendan Miniter: "If George W. Bush is a cowboy, then one of his most trusted hands just brought in a stray. Thanks to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent trip to Europe, Germany is now promising to rejoin the herd migrating toward Iraqi democracy. This was not how it was supposed to be. Last year John Kerry claimed only he could bring in the wayward European cattle."

I wondered when he said it what basis John Kerry had for claiming that only he could get other countries to begin participating in the coalition effort to build up and stabilize a democracy in Iraq. I also thought it was a dangerous precident to set, that if foreign governments don't like the current administration in this country, they can make their desires clear and throw their weight behind one candidate or another, subtly altering elections here to their benefit—it's just another way that Kerry wanted to keep American interests secondary to foreign ones.

Anyway, read the whole thing. He goes on to point out: "It should be said that this was the likely result for whoever won the White House last November. Europe cannot long afford to isolate itself from the United States. [...]
Nations are not second-graders, even if they sometimes act like it. Refusing to share one's military toys or threatening to not be their friend is not enough to create a vast trans-Atlantic rift. In his 1796 Farewell Address, George Washington noted that there are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests. The speech has often been used to justify an isolationist foreign policy. But in fact, Washington advised the nation to get involved in foreign affairs only when it is in this nation's interests to do so, while expecting the same from other nations."

Which was precisely the argument of many (including myself) who supported the Iraq war when France, Germany, and Russia balked: the debate should not be about international consensus, it should be about whether or not this is the best path for this country. Again, not the debate Kerry wanted to have—and part of the reason he lost.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Read, Learn
Ann Althouse takes a look at the separation of church and state, with some interesting conclusions. It's short, so I recommend you just read the whole thing.

Changing Coverage
A headline on today brought to mind the way the coverage of the Iraq war has changed. The headline reads: Suicide bombers kill at least 27 in Iraq.

So what's new? In the early (and even more recent) days of post-war coverage, headlines only tallied the casualties among non-Iraqi soldiers—Iraqi deaths were only reported in the article body. Now, we're given the sum total of casualties in a given day. Why? Because overall casualties are declining slightly, and coalition-non-Iraqi casualties are beginning to show significant decreases. MSM responds, of course, by sexing it up.

Moreover, this disproves Teddy Kennedy's claim that American forces are the problem, as Iraqis are clearly the increasingly common target of insurgents.

Some truth on stem cells
The Yale Daily News effectively offers the conservative take on embryonic stem cell research, as presented by a priest with a graduate-level neurobiological degree from Yale. A key selection: "'You hear all these patient-advocacy groups that say 'Don't take away our hope,' but it would be a misguided hope if we pushed them in this direction,' he said. 'Meanwhile, hundreds if not thousands have been cured by adult-type and umbilical-cord stem cells.'"

Read the whole thing.