Saturday, December 31, 2005

 

What Media Bias?

Media Research Center has a great 2005 round-up. Enjoy. After getting riled from reading the first few samples of outrageous reporting you'll begin to laugh. It really is humorous to see the bizarre juxtaposition of cluelessness with self-rightousness played out on the national stage.

Friday, December 30, 2005

 

Investigation begins

The Justice Department has opened an investigation regarding the recent leaks about the classified domestic surveillance program run by the National Security Agency. (from CNN)

It will be interesting to see if there are more investigations to come for some of the stories/leaks reported by the New York Times and other media.

 

Mechanic Prank

Be sure to check your headlight fluid!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

 

Who knows?

Pete Townshend seems to:

While a traditional album is not expected, Townshend said new music will emerge, although it was unknown if it would be in a physical or digital format. "No, it is not an 'EP,' " he says. "It is a truly inspired idea."
For a long time an 'album' or about 35-45 minutes of music seemed necessary to justify some kind of new material release from musicians. This way of thinking produced countless albums/cds with a few worthwhile tunes and several tracks of garbage recorded only to fill time. It was like a student with a good idea trying to fill the mandatory x-amount of pages for an assignment regardless of weather or not the idea was worth more than one page.

Sure, it helps that Townshend is not exactly hurting for money but I like his attitude on both the small and larger scale. I'd like to see musicians take a different approach to releasing music and can see the changes have been coming for some time now. If a few or even just one song is all an artist is inspired to write I don't see anything wrong with leaving it at that. I realize there might not be as much of a payday but it is a more honest approach and technology (downloading music by the song) makes it more possible.

Friday, December 23, 2005

 

A teacher who doesn't deserve to teach

“The teacher stopped reading and told us no one comes down the chimney,” Jamey said, curling into a ball on the couch, bracing her chin on her knees, her voice shrinking away like melting ice cream. “She said our parents buy the presents, not Santa.” [Emphasis added]


Got to love that metaphor. What kind of moron tells young children that Santa Claus doesn't exist?

Farrisi said she considered approaching the school’s administration with her concerns about how to handle Santa Claus in class. Instead, she said, she decided to add a disclaimer to her lesson.

“Those same children are going to know someday that what their parents taught them is false,” she ex-plained. “There is no Santa Claus.”


I know what Farrisi was thinking. Kids are just little adults and they should not be lied to. I will bet $10k that this woman did not vote for Bush. Damn hippies.


 

Another Year-end Review

I enjoy year end reviews much more than meaningless new year's predictions. Here'a another one, from TimesWatch.org, "Quotes of Note Best of 2005."(HT The Anchoress)

 

Media-Manufactured Controversies: 2005 Year in Review

From NRO:
==========
So apparently Bush authorized the NSA to listen in on phone calls to and from numbers with known terrorists ties. Great. It was about time.

Why is this controversial? I come home and the Democrats and the press are acting like Bush declared himself dictator-for-life and had Alan Dershowitz publicly executed.

This episode got me thinking, and in the spirit of the year-in-review round-ups everyone likes to do in December, I would like to present: Media Manufactured Scandals — the Year that Was:

January:
The press whips up a frenzy over the $40-million cost of Bush's inauguration. The AP runs a story that asks, "With that kind of money, what could you buy?" and answers:

200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.

Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.

A down payment on the nation's deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year.
400,000 pairs of tennis shoes for the indigenous fisherfolk of Barangay Wawa! Prescription drugs for diabetic elderly transgenders in border communities! All the wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

The Washington Times put an end to this fun when it reported that "a review of the cost for past inaugurations shows Mr. Bush's will cost less than President Clinton's second inauguration in 1997, which cost about $42 million. When the cost is adjusted for inflation, Mr. Clinton's second-term celebration exceeds Mr. Bush's by about 25 percent."

February:
The press goes to war against President Bush's pitch for Social Security reform, declaring in story after story that the goal of the plan is to return America to the Great Depression. The AARP portrays Bush as an uncaring man who thinks America's seniors should live on catfood, although they have a hard time articulating this message with their mouths full of Medicare-subsidized antihypertensives and viagra.

Read more

March:
It becomes impossible to turn on the TV without seeing Terri Schiavo, although the politicians hardly acquitted themselves any better than the media during that national nightmare.

April:
The media try to whip up a scandal about Tom DeLay, with the NY Times and the Washington Post teaming up to report old news on the same day. First, the Times reports that DeLay's wife and daughter are on his campaign's payroll. Given that his wife and daughter work for his campaign, this is about as shocking as discovering that I receive payments from National Review (which is pretty shocking, but beside the point). The same day, the Post reported that a trip DeLay took to Russia might have been funded in part by Russian lobbyists. The Post reported on the shocking quid pro quo that resulted:

Unlike some House conservatives who scorn [support for the International Monetary Fund] as "corporate welfare," DeLay proved to be a "yes" vote for institutions bolstering Russia in this period. For example, DeLay voted for a bill that included the replenishment of billions of dollars in IMF funds used to bail out the Russian economy in 1998.
Aha. So DeLay visited Russia, after which he voted "yes" on a routine funding bill for the IMF after it had already bailed out Russia. Congratulations, Washington Post. Another open-and-shut case.

May:
Newsweek reports that several Korans have been flushed down the toilet at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Dozens were killed and injured in the ensuing riots in the Middle East, and shortly thereafter Newsweek's source on the story backed off from his report. The ensuing investigation found that such claims had no basis in fact, although it did find several incidents of detainees defacing each other's Korans.

June:
Anybody remember the Downing Street Memos? The press, after being reprimanded by the left for ignoring the memos, tried to make them an issue by running a number of stories about them in June. But nobody understood why they should matter, and the press immediately dropped them when the CIA leak investigation became the scandal du jour in...

July:
When special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald forced Time's Matthew Cooper to testify and jailed NY Times reporter Judith Miller, the media started focusing all their attention on the case. As press personalities painted the White House as an organized crime syndicate worse than the mob, they also defended Judith Miller's decision to protect her anonymous source -- a defense that coincided with a deluge of speculation fueled by enigmatic statements from "lawyers familiar with the case."

August:
Even the power of a story that allowed the press to bash the White House and navel-gaze at the same time could not compete with the chance to exploit a dead soldier and his mother on 24-7 cable TV. Yes, August was the month of Sheehan, in which reporters transformed a crazy anti-American radical into a "soft-spoken woman" on a quest for answers, all the while making fun of President Bush for taking a vacation when he clearly should have been discussing Iraq policy with the irrational and tendentious protesters on his lawn.

September:
After a category 5 hurricane hit the city of New Orleans, a structural flaw in a levee design approved by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1990s resulted in a catastrophic flooding of the city. Showing its newfound dedication to "holding people accountable," CNN reports that President Bush's decision to start holding tee-ball tournaments on the White House lawn contributed to the wind patterns that spun the hurricane towards the residents of New Orleans. Wolf Blitzer connected the dots, observing that these residents were "So poor and so black."

October:
Joseph Wilson makes a triumphant return to the airwaves when Scooter Libby is indicted for lying to a grand jury. Not content to report the story of a White House aide who allegedly perjured himself and obstructed justice, the media signed on to the Democrats' agenda of re-debating the issue of pre-war intelligence, starting with breathless coverage of Harry "Granny" Reid and Dick "Turban" Durbin as they throw the Senate into closed session on the first day of...

November:
The media go into hysterics when the LA Times reports that the U.S. military has been paying Iraqi newspapers to promote good news about Iraq. Joe Wilson immediately calls for an investigation into who leaked this classified national security information.

December:
Which brings us back to where we started this post. We're listening to terrorists' phone calls. I can't for the life of me understand why I should be upset by this. But I'm sure, in the coming weeks, the media will do their best to convince me I should be.

Of course, this is only a partial list that I put together this morning. There's plenty I'm sure I missed and plenty of days left in the year for the media to manufacture more scandal. Please send me an e-mail if you think of a good one and I'll be posting additional nominees occasionally for the rest of the year.

[ 12/20/2005 09:06 AM ]
==========

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

Music to my ears

Iran bans all Western music but...

"Don't take this man (President Ahmadinejad) seriously," said Pari Mahmoudi, a teen driving in the capital, as the Eagles' "Hotel California" blared from the car speakers.

"This president speaks as if he is living in the Stone Age. This man has to understand that he can't tell the people what to listen to and what not to listen to," said Mohammed Reza Hosseinpour as he browsed through a Tehran music shop.

Hopefully this attitude triumphs elsewhere in Iran as well.

Monday, December 19, 2005

 

Lightening Strikes

Horse does not get out(see previous post). Colts 13-1.

I've always respected the honesty of the members of the '72 Dolphins when discussing their perfect season. They all seemed to reject the notion that you root for someone to break or tie your records. Some in the media who cover sports speak negatively of this attitude and I'm not sure why. It could be selfishness on their part in wanting to see a record fall for the pure specticle or perhaps it is some political correctness creeping in and promoting sharing of such records.

A few years ago a women college basketball player was allowed to score a basket and thus break the school scoring record despite her leg being in a cast from an injury. Both teams played a part in this stunt. I thought it stupid. The record was set by someone who missed time due to injury. Conspiring to let someone score uncontested just for a record seemed to make that record worthless.

Bob Griese ('72 Dolphins QB) displayed some of this mentality:
"In the end, I was sorry to see them lose, because it would have been great for a team like that to win them all," Griese said. "It's not like they are the Oakland Raiders, where it would be hard to root for them to go undefeated."

Sorry to see them lose? I don't believe that. The rest of the Dolphins are more honest but at least he acknowledged that some teams are more difficult to root for. I would have been less disappointed with the Colts achieving perfection that the '85 Bears for the same reason Griese was opposed to the Raiders.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

 

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

Next from UCLA, bears have bowel movements in the woods.

 

"Iraq is worse than Vietnam."

Cindy Sheehan takes her point of view to its logical conclusion. Well, the proper conclusion would probably be a self-immolation. Look for a Cajun Style Cindy on the lawn of the White House some time next spring.

Friday, December 16, 2005

 

Delusional at the Kos

the guys at Decision08 have a great round up of loony-left responses to the historic and apparntly wildly successful voting in Iraq (71% turnout?!! friggin amazing). You should read the post but I will repeat one of the comments here as I thought it was rather insightful:
I really don’t understand this kind of perpetual, preening cynicism. It’s naivete tarted up as worldliness. I mean, maybe you indulge in it when you’re 18 and you don’t know anything, so you pretend you know everything. But you know, there’s a time to put away childish things…
Spot on and well said!

Bill C:

It is a sign of maturity to admit you are wrong. GW has admitted that the administration was wrong about WMDs in Iraq. I think it is time for the left to admit that there were more than one reason for the invasion of Iraq and that the burgeoning democracy in Iraq is helping to remake the Middle East. Well?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

 

Oedipus for the internet age

MAN DATES GAL ON INTERNET FOR SIX MONTHS -- AND IT TURNS OUT SHE'S HIS MOTHER!

Skirt-chasing playboy Daniel Anceneaux spent weeks talking with a sensual woman on the Internet before arranging a romantic rendezvous at a remote beach -- and discovering that his on-line sweetie of six months was his own mother!

"I walked out on that dark beach thinking I was going to hook up with the girl of my dreams," the rattled bachelor later admitted. "And there she was, wearing white shorts and a pink tank top, just like she'd said she would.


Later, Daniel stabbed himself in the eyes.

And his father Paul -- Nicole's husband of 27 years -- wasn't too happy when the story hit the news and his beer-drinking buddies made him the butt of their jokes.

"Dad was ticked for a while and he forbid Mom to talk to anybody on the Internet ever again," said embarrassed Daniel.


I should hope so. At least his son didn't kill him and move into his house.


 

The Case of the Empty Cases

After purchasing a new iPod (with video!) I decided to start transferring some of my CDs via iTunes so I would have them all in one convenient place. I've been pretty good about taking care of my CDs over the years and have accumulated over 300 since I first purchased a CD player way back in 1986. The CDs have always been kept in alphabetical order by artist and then arranged in chronological order.

Since my new iPod has video I decided to purchase a video clip from MLB.com of the last out of the White Sox World Series victory in game 4 and the winning HR in game 2. However I soon discovered that they cannot be played on my iPod since they are Microsoft products (format) and cannot be converted since they are 'protected'. No big deal since I only invested $0.99 in them.

Back to my CDs. As I go throught them one by one I am discovering that some of my CD cases are empty! Hmmm. Who is to blame for this? It's not Microsoft. I wonder. I have always been consistent in putting them back in their case when done with them. Perhaps someone else has had access to them?

 

Secure Driver’s License Campaign

The dual use of terrorist imagery

The Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License has created an ad campaign designed to persuade the states to adopt a single national standard for the issuance of drivers licenses. The intent is to make more difficult for terrorists to obtain them.

USA Today quotes James Zogby, president of the Washington-based Arab American Institute, as saying the billboard is "bigoted."

"I think the motivation is anti-immigrant," Zogby says. "They are creating fear ... over Arabs. The message is very clear: 'Arabs are dangerous, Arabs should not get driver's licenses.' "

The first billboard of the campaign, minus the Arabic script, will go up soon in Raleigh, North Carolina:



According to the group's web site, North Carolina was chosen as the first state targeted because the largest Hezbollah cigarette smuggling operation in the United States was based there and it is issuing licenses to undocumented individuals from out of state who cannot get state-issued ID where they live. USA Today has more:
"For us, the issue is terrorism. It's certainly not about racism," says Colleen Gilbert, the coalition's executive director. "We're trying to highlight the fact that the 9/11 hijackers had 60-plus driver's licenses. It's not about immigration for us. It's about security."

North Carolina did not issue any of the licenses that were obtained by the 19 hijackers in various states, and it has tightened up its licensing process during the past three years, says state Department of Transportation spokesman Ernie Seneca. He says the state now requires applicants to provide multiple forms of identification.

Seneca says his department objects to the billboard and has received complaints from people who find it offensive.

"It's misleading, totally inaccurate and offensive," Seneca says. "They're entitled to their freedom of speech, but North Carolina is not the right place for its campaign. They ought to look elsewhere."
What a ridiculous statement, especially the 'go away' bit. Sure, the image of a man wearing a kaffiyeh while holding a grenade and a driver's license is offensive to some. So what? There is nothing misleading or bigoted, as Mr Zogby claims, about it.

With a twist, the group inverts actual terrorist propaganda to convey reality. The terrorist figures were lifted directly from terrorist web sites and the billboard serves to successfully reinforce in the public mind the demonstrated ability of terrorists to secure driver's licenses and use them in furtherance of a spectacular terror plot. Very clever. I hope their campaign proves effective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

 

Illinois To Subsidize Loans To Illegals

The state of Illinois is creating a special loan guarantee benefit specifically designed for illegal aliens. The Chicago Tribune editorializes:
Under Blagojevich's plan, the state will back below-market-rate loans for people who have little or no credit history, no bank account and no Social Security number. The loans wouldn't be limited to those who are here illegally, but that's clearly the primary target.

That means if the borrower defaults on the mortgage--say, the borrower is arrested and deported--the state's taxpayers would be on the hook for the balance of the loan.

There are believed to be as many as 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. Eyeing the big market potential of this population, some lenders have begun extending mortgages to workers despite their inability to document their legal status.

Assuming that risk is a business decision that lenders make. But there's no reason for the state to shift the financial risk away from participating lenders and onto taxpayers, which is what Blagojevich's program would do.
What the Trib means is that there is no legitimate reason to do this. And what is the logic behind conferring privilege upon an outlaw class?

 

Evidence the Housing Bubble has popped

Investors Retreat From Housing Market


In markets such as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C., where investor activity had been heated, fewer people are competing to buy properties as an investment, real-estate brokers and housing analysts say. Some investor-owned properties are returning to the market for sale. With the pace of price appreciation slowing, some investors who were betting on quick profits are instead being squeezed.

The apparent pullback by investors is recent and is just beginning to show up in national data. Evidence of the development can also be seen in a number of markets that had until recently been a hotbed of investor activity. As speculators withdraw from the market in San Diego, for instance, the number of investors buying property has fallen by nearly half, estimates Russ Valone, president of MarketPointe Realty Advisors, which tracks the San Diego housing market.


Expect to hear more stories like this:

Some investors are already getting pinched. Barry Fiske, an account manager, teamed up with a friend to buy a bungalow in the oceanside town of Hingham, Mass. The pair tore down the house and put up a three-story Victorian home that went on the market in October, priced at $889,000. After three price cuts, the asking price is now $799,000 and the opportunities to profit are "marginal," Mr. Fiske says. "We probably spent more than we originally intended to," he adds.

Robert Cayouette, a computer programmer, has put down deposits on 10 homes under construction in Florida, figuring he'd quickly flip them and make a profit of about $30,000 apiece. The first of those purchases, a three-bedroom home in Port St. Lucie, is expected to close this month. But Mr. Cayouette has learned he'll be lucky if the house fetches $285,000, or $10,000 less than his original purchase price. "I wouldn't be able to flip it if I wanted to," says Mr. Cayouette.

With home prices growing faster than rental rates, investors who decide to rent out their properties rather than sell them often can't make enough to cover mortgage payments, taxes and other costs. Arash Yazdi, an information technology consultant, decided to rent out his $465,000 townhouse in Merrifield, Va., this fall after a deal to sell the home fell through. He figures he's losing about $1,000 a month.

Just like the internet stock bubble except that it is much harder to sell a house than a stock. I cannot say that I am shocked. However, after watching the stock bubble get more and more ridiculous, the deflation of that bubble is far from over, I was prepared to watch this bubble scale even greater heights of investor/speculator stupidity. Of course, I am glad it won't. My plan is to buy a home in Chicago in the next three years and I will be able to afford a lot more home if the market cools down; falling off a cliff would be nice, too. If this is the end of the housing bubble it will drag the economy into recession in the next eighteen months. All we need is an inverted yield curve. Hey Mr. Bernanke!

Oh yeah, now might not be a bad time to check your financial institutions exposure to the real estate market. Short term rates which affect variable rate mortgages have risen sharply in the past two years. Also, holding onto municipal bonds of states that have enjoyed substantial revenue for increased property taxes might not be a good idea.

Regulatory guidance on mortgage lending, now in the works by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other bank supervisors, will give a focus to negative-amortization mortgages and payment-option adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, considering the "payment shock" these loans can carry for unwitting borrowers, Mr. Dugan said.

"In the last two years ... we have seen a spike in the volume of payment-option ARMs, which are no longer confined to well-heeled borrowers who can clearly afford them," Mr. Dugan said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Consumer Federation of America.




 

Too, Tooo, Tookie Gooodbyyeee

Too, Tooo, Tookie, we won't cry.

Couldn't resist. Just wish I could remember the song that inspired this post.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

 

Good Riddance, Tookie

Few have been more deserving of execution than Tookie Williams

Though I have problems with its implementation here in Illinois, I was happy to see that Tookie Williams was finally executed last night. Few have deserved it more.

Its doubtful that I would even be writing about Williams but for his morally bankrupt celebrity supporters helping the loony left make such a specacle of it all. Wretchard articulated something I've thought about but haven't been able to put into words:
But when you think about it, every alternative to the Death Penalty is premised on the assumption that jail provides a better way of removing dangerous persons from society. Once the impermeability of jail can no longer be guaranteed -- because holes in the cell walls are being poked by 'activists' -- then it makes sense to execute perps while you can. Of course, there's something nigglingly wrong with this. After some thought I realized what I thought it was. Issues of guilt and innocence; crime and punishment have been distorted by the political process. How else do you have Ramsey Clark defending Saddam and European investigators refusing to provide cooperation because it might lead to the Death Penalty? Crime stops being about criminals and their deeds and becomes yet another battleground in the culture wars. It becomes less about human beings and more about political agendas.
As Jesse Jackson makes obvious:
Reader Denise R. writes, "I was listening to [KFI host] John Zi[e]gler, he actually asked Jesse Jackson the names of the victims on a couple of occasions and his microphone was taken from him by Judge Mathis (the TV judge) and broken. He also was pushed by Jackson supporters, after that happened he was forced away from Jackson by Sheriff's Deputies.]
Captain Ed quotes a prosecutor who sums up my feelings about the death penalty pretty well:
Getting rid of the death penalty means that we have to also consider the foreseeable consequences of guaranteeing criminals that they can kill as many innocent people as they want, for whatever reason at all, without even facing the theoretical possibility of placing their own lives at risk.
I also must note that whatever position celebrity activists take on an issue, I instinctively take the opposite position. I'm not sure its worth my time to put any thought into such matters any more. In fact, I can think of no better moral barometer -- obverse moral barometer, that is -- on any issue than Snoop Dogg. There isn't one positive thing I can say about that guy. I did find it interesting, though, that he was on the intro to Monday Night Football last night. I have voiced my displeasure to both ABC and the NFL. A lot of good it'll probably do.

Monday, December 12, 2005

 

News from Iraq?

Hey isn't there some good news coming out of Iraq today? Must be, because I haven't heard any mention of Iraq on CNBC yet today.

John O adds: Here's more overlooked good news from Iraq:
Saddam Hussein loyalists who violently opposed January elections have made an about-face as Thursday's polls near, urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack.

In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Graffiti calling for holy war is now hard to find.

Instead, election campaign posters dominate buildings in the rebel strongholds of Ramadi and nearby Falluja, where Sunnis staged a boycott or were too scared to vote last time around.

"We want to see a nationalist government that will have a balance of interests. So our Sunni brothers will be safe when they vote," said Falluja resident Ali Mahmoud, a former army officer and rocket specialist under Saddam's Baath party.

"Sunnis should vote to make political gains. We have sent leaflets telling al Qaeda that they will face us if they attack voters."
More overlooked good news here:
An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine and other media partners, includes some remarkable results: Despite the daily violence there, most living conditions are rated positively, seven in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve in the year ahead.

Surprisingly, given the insurgents' attacks on Iraqi civilians, more than six in 10 Iraqis feel very safe in their own neighborhoods, up sharply from just 40 percent in a poll in June 2004. And 61 percent say local security is good — up from 49 percent in the first ABC News poll in Iraq in February 2004.

Nonetheless, nationally, security is seen as the most pressing problem by far; 57 percent identify it as the country's top priority. Economic improvements are helping the public mood.

Average household incomes have soared by 60 percent in the last 20 months (to $263 a month), 70 percent of Iraqis rate their own economic situation positively, and consumer goods are sweeping the country. In early 2004, 6 percent of Iraqi households had cell phones; now it's 62 percent. Ownership of satellite dishes has nearly tripled, and many more families now own air conditioners (58 percent, up from 44 percent), cars, washing machines and kitchen appliances.

There are positive political signs as well. Three-quarters of Iraqis express confidence in the national elections being held this week, 70 percent approve of the new constitution, and 70 percent — including most people in Sunni and Shiite areas alike — want Iraq to remain a unified country. ... Preference for a democratic political structure has advanced, to 57 percent of Iraqis, while support for an Islamic state has lost ground, to 14 percent (the rest, 26 percent, chiefly in Sunni Arab areas, favor a "single strong leader.")
Captain Ed gets it right wheh he says "it's beginning to look a lot more like victory -- everywhere but in Howard Dean's office and the American media, which continues to ignore these developments."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

How true it is



John O adds: Could such defeatism have continued into April, 1945? Considering recent statements from Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Ried and John Kerry, it would seem so. Wretchard observes:
The purely military war in Iraq is over and America has won. The US casualty count carefully kept at Global Security has never gone back to its 2004 levels and (in my view) probably never will. But though the politics may be bloody, the dynamics of the electoral arena described by Iraq the Model suggest something quite revolutionary has taken place.
But more important than all of this is the fact that in these few years, we have witnessed the birth of a sensibility that was buried for decades -- Iraqi patriotism. This sense is currently represented in three political alliances/parties that ignore the ethnic and sectarian issues in their platforms. Relatively speaking, they are looking at Iraq as a whole.
Factions are struggling for control of Iraq through the ballot. Assisted by bombs, intimidation, bribery, and disinformation it's true, but through the ballot.
Clearly we have achieved a great victory in Iraq. But Democratic defeatism will have long term concequences. Bryan Preston:
Our enemies are no longer intimidated, as they were in early 2003 after we had handily taken down two rogue states in 18 months' time. Our allies are wary, and are planning ways to counter the threats they perceive in their own way. That may sound good, as though it gets us off the hook. But it doesn't. It only means that the Pax Americana is probably over.

The perception of defeat that the Democrats have created from the win in Iraq has made the world a far, far more dangerous place for the next several decades.
Indeed it has. In fact, if one really thinks about conduct of the Iraq war, one will notice the pernicious effect Democratic shenanigans had on it -- and will have on US policy going forward. Wretchard:
If the objective of OIF were to forestall the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability among "rogue states", there is no getting around the fact that it has hardly affected the development of such weapons in Iran and North Korea. And if it's goal were to prevent chemical weapons from reaching terrorist hands -- weapons that are widely available on the arms black market -- the invasion would be useless as well. The only sense in which OIF would have diminished both the nuclear and chemical weapons threats to America was to the degree in which it succeeded in sending a deterrent signal to states considering supporting terrorist groups. This is the consideration which is not only explicitly missing from the pre-war intelligence estimates but largely absent from the subsequent discussion about whether "Bush lied and people died". The strange omission of geopolitical goals from the story of OIF will continue to have unfortunate results, because the measure of the war's success or failure never lay in its ability to neutralize atom bomb manufacturing facilities -- those are by all accounts operating day and night in North Korea -- but the degree to which it has deterred 'rogue states' from sponsoring terrorist organizations. If the Murtha resolution is any indication, what OIF has proved to every rogue state watching is that another OIF is unlikely to ever happen again. What started out as a demonstration of resolution intended to deter terrorist state supporters of terrorism has morphed into proof that all such demonstrations are hollow -- at least for now.

Although the pre-war intelligence estimates of Iraq now turn out to be inadequate in many ways, its principal defect was that it attempted to measure the wrong thing. It ought to have focused on the extent to which Iraqi Ba'athists and regional terror groups would have mounted a Lebanon or West Bank type defense; identified the key hurdles in creating a replacement Iraqi state; and specified the requirements necessary to win this campaign in an impressive and overwhelming manner in order to demonstrate to the rogue state audience what the consequences of aggression against the United States were. But this subject was verboten, and so instead intelligence spoke to the strategically irrelevant minutiae of Yellowcake and centrifuges, casting a wavering light, like the drunk searching for a lost coin in the story, not in the area where it would be found but in the only place he could shine a beam.

 

Sex ed for 6yr olds

If you thought the recent case of 6year olds in California being subjected to a sex survey was disturbing this will make you sick (HT AJStrata). An educational center in Belgium has opened a new permanent children's exhibit on AIDS.
The initiative is hailed with enthusiasm by the entire press. “In the exhibition you are allowed to peep into the bathroom and overhear what is happening in the bedroom. Even dirty jokes are permitted,” one newspaper burbles.
At least the author of the article has a wry eye for this sort of stuff. The article begins:
In Belgium the World Aids prevention day is a day of celebration for many. First and foremost for those who earn a living by it...
I wonder if abstinence is mentioned as an AIDS preventative.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Thomas Gone

The White Sox officially cut ties with Frank Thomas today. This came as no surprise. While I am sorry to see Thomas leave and perhaps pursue career milestones while playing for another team the timing may not be all that bad. If this were a year ago Thomas might have missed the World Series team completely and that would have been a real shame. As it is he played a limited role but he was a part of the team. He might not be a part of future White Sox success but at least he ended his time in Chicago with 12 HRs in 100 at bats while playing for world champs.

 

Microsoft fined!

I think $32MM is a rounding error on their balance sheets.

This is humorous:
GWACHEON, South Korea - South Korean antitrust regulators ruled that Microsoft Corp. abused its software market dominance, fined it $32 million and ordered the company to offer alternative versions of its Windows operating system that country within six months. Microsoft said it will fight the decision in court.

Looks like Microsofty netted over $12Billion last quarter. At that rate it would take them all of 6 hours to pay off this fine. No wonder they're determined to fight it!

In related news:
A major U.K. retail store and three of the largest PC vendors worldwide still have no plans to sell the version of Microsoft Windows that does not contain its media player, five months after the version was released.

Recall how the EU forced Microsoft to offer this product and even forced them to change it's name! (Love or hate msft the thought of European bureaucrats dictating a U.S. company's marketing campaign is ridiculous.) This episode clearly illustrates the 'benefits' of gov't meddling in private enterprise.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

 

Another Boring Book Suggestion

1) Do you have any interest in finding out why the Pentagon is picking the brains of floor traders at the Merc?

2) What does Improv's "Harold" format have to do with the $250,000,000 "Millenium Challenge" war game held in 2002 as a precursor to invading Iraq?

3) What do these tests say about your conscious vs unconscious views on topics such as race, gender, age and, oh yeah, politics?

To find the answers to these questions and more, check out "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. And don't forget that you still should try to make time to read "The Tipping Point" - it was an even better book.

Monday, December 05, 2005

 

The Response to Hurricane Katrina

For the Blanco administration, politics mattered most

Last Friday, the state of Louisiana released 100,000 pages of memos, handwritten notes, e-mails, phone logs and other documents requested by congressional committees that are investigating the response to Hurricane Kartina. Evidently, politics took priority at the highest levels of the Blanco administration:
For the state's part, Blanco's chief of staff Andy Kopplin e-mailed employees Sept. 4 saying they needed to get national supporters to say "that the federal response was anemic" and asked them to point out budget cuts to levee programs.

While Blanco's office wanted to blame the federal government, the documents show that her staff didn't want it to appear as if the federal government was seizing state power.

When Bush visited New Orleans on Sept. 5 Blanco was initially supposed to visit evacuees in Houston, but Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher didn't like the idea of Bush being in the state when the governor wasn't. "Reinforces the notion that she's not in charge and LA needs to be federalized," she e-mailed Kopplin.
Via Bryan Preston, who comments:
The more I think about this, the more of a smoking gun I think it is. Blanco had her top personnel working not on storm relief, but on political relief. Rather than working strategies to get food and transportation lined up, they were lining up an air war against President Bush. Her actions are beyond criminal, and her decisions are beyond appalling. What we see in the Blanco communications is an attitude in which saving herself from political fallout took precedence over saving stranded people from floodwaters.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

DNC Sounds of the Season

Hilarious satire from Mr. Right about a DNC "seasonal" recording featuring some familiar (if somewhat altered) tunes, as well as one or two originals. A sample:
Sen. Ted Kennedy
"Your Grandma Got Run Over by My Lexus"

Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie & John Huang
"We Three Bagmen of Orient Are"

Monica Lewinsky
"The Little Hummer Girl"

Minister Louis Farrakhan
"I Ain't Dreamin' of No White Christmas!"
Funny stuff.

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