Saturday, April 29, 2006

Where were you?

I was standing at the kitchen sink filling the coffee pot with water. I had the radio on, listening to NPR’s Morning Edition. They took a break from the national feed at ~5:48am for local news or weather. Same as the day before. Same as the day before that.

“I don’t know what this means, but we just received a report that a small plane has struck the World Trade Center,” the local announcer says at the break.
I looked out the window. I switched on the TV. I watched the second plane fly into the tower.
I stopped thinking.
While I sat frozen I knew I wasn’t alone. I thought of so many other people who must be transfixed at the same moment.
While that happened a third plane hit the Pentagon.
Life changed in those moments. I had the luxury of sitting in shock on my couch. But some people had to keep going. There were people to rescue in New York and Washington. There were other planes in the sky. There were policemen and firemen and air traffic controllers and military staffers and commanders who needed to do their jobs.

There were citizens who needed to act, to do something, to prevent a fourth plane from wreaking its havoc on one of America’s cities.
Please make the time to see United 93. Remember the moment you first heard of the attack against America. Marvel at the fact that within only an hour and a half our fellow Americans had managed to organize and counter attack and prevent a complete victory by our enemy.

Is there any choice but war?

At some point, enough is enough and one must go to war.

Iran can't keep it's mouth shut. They really don't care about winning. If they did they would be all quiet and sneaky, setting everything up carefully while pretending to be our friend before striking like a snake and taking the western world down.

Instead every day there is a new comment from Iran about eliminating Israel, striking back against the US, sending missiles to Europe, yadda yadda yadda. The latest, which I've learned of through two posts on LittleGreenFootballs today:
...paints a pretty clear picture. If we attack Iran's nuclear complexes in order to eliminate that aspect of their threat Israel must, simultaneously occupy and neutralize the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Southern Lebanon. If that were to happen, odds are good Egypt sends troops into Gaza and Syria rolls into Lebanon (to occupy the rest of that country, not immediately to counter-attack the Israelis.) Full scale war in a matter of days.

We have to cut off the nuclear head of this snake. More than that, though, we need to eliminate the regime in Iran, which so desperately wants to increase their standing in the world by speaking out against America and the West in general.

Question: Does that mean that we need to bomb Iran's nuclear sites to get this started?

Answer: No.

The nuclear threat that Iran poses to the world can be eliminated through many means. The most obvious is to blow the sites up. This is difficult and expensive and we might not get all of them. It also leaves the mouthy Iranian figureheads in place to jump on Al Jazeera and explain how evil and mean we are, thus enhancing their status as martyrs and calling more people to the cause.

Iran's overactive mouthpieces have instead given us a much better option. Iran has made it clear their mission is to destroy a sovereign nation, a nation recognized by the UN as legitimate. They have made threats of death and destruction against the US and anyone supporting our cause. They have made threats to bomb our subways or buildings or planes. They have openly supported the flow of weapons and support to the insurgency in Iraq. They are pals with Syria, who is up to no good. They have ties with Hamas, the "democratically elected" leadership of the Palestinian Authority, a group hell-bent on the destruction of that same UN recognized neighboring stae of Israel. They fund and supply Hizbollah in Lebanon, keeping the local Lebanese population in a constant state of fear, regularly shelling Israel, and threatening to do worse. Oh yeah - and they are 3 months to 10 years away from a nuclear warhead, depending on who you listen to.

We have a tremendous set of reasons to eliminate the current government of Iran. It's time to do it. Forget the nuclear sites. The funding and support for that will end immediately if we take Tehran. No country could sustain such a technologically advanced research program while there are foreign soldiers on their land. Send in the Marines, not the Air Force.

But if we go in, as I said, Israel must simultaneously attack its neighbors. It must because they are ready to attack Israel. No sense just standing there taking the punch. Much better to strike first and make it impossible for that punch to be thrown.

If Bush is nervous that now is not the right time (it is!) another possibility would be to neutralize Syria, either by sending in troops or cutting them off from the world community and preventing them from continuing to funnel money and materiel from Iran to everywhere. This is a bad option in the long run becuase it will take so long for any resolution of the situation. But if we're afraid of war outright, it is an option.

All in all, it does not look good right now. I only hope that the Bush Administration is building up its forces and plans as we speak and planning of the invasion and over throw of Iran post haste.

Old Glory

Ya know? I never knew the Star Spangled Banner came in 4 verses. Thank God that Rosie was only allowed to mangle that first verse...

Courtesy of Michelle Malkin:

(The Defense of Fort McHenry)
September 20, 1814
By Francis Scott Key

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Getting old...gracefully

Seniors are overwhelmingly happy with the Medicare Drug Plan. 30 million have already signed up. Despite that success, despite this survey by the AARP stating:
  • 78% of those enrolled say they are satisfied
  • Only 20% of respondents feel they are not saving money
  • 63 % say their coverage is better than or equal to their past coverage
  • only 17% say their coverage is worse.
...NPR's Morning Edition still ran another negative piece today, focused on the deadline that hits in 2-weeks. So hard for the MSM to change it's tune...

The Human Trafficking Business

Bush addressed the United Nations on September 23rd, 2003. He had three main themes in the speech:
  1. The Iraq War to date - success, challenges, meaning, etc.
  2. WMD Proliferation - the challenge that presents to the world body
  3. The humanitarian challenge:
    1. AIDS treatment & prevention worldwide
    2. Famine mitigation
    3. Ending the human sex trade
There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade.
This last point seemed so incongruous with the rest of the issues he discussed. But I'll save that for another day. Think about how it relates to the Immigration debate.

Many of the people who are brought into our country illegally are brought in a state of debt by coyotes from Mexico or packed into shipping containers from China, etc. This human trade is deplorable. This trade deserves the attention of President Bush. I think he would change his tune if someone reminded him of the moral aspects of this debate.

Trafficking in humans, whether for personal gain, to fill the sex trade or to bring in cheap labor for a US business owner is a disgusting, deplorable act. We should target it aggressively, end illegal border crossing, then figure out how to deal with the 10 - 12 million illegals already in the country.

First things first.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Home sweet home...

...this makes me want to move back to the home of the Gateway Pundit...

Jim Talent solves immigration

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I've heard of a social disease, but this...

When I read this, I thought I thought of the Best of the Web. So an an homage to James Taranto's witty style...

Please note the hightlighted section...

Cheers, women! If you want to tune up those brain cells, then have a drink. A continuing study of more than 3,000 New York City residents found that women who had one or two alcoholic drinks a day scored 20% higher on standard cognitive tests than women who didn't drink or consumed less than one a day. The researchers, from Columbia University, say the difference remained after adjusting for income, marital status, race or other disease factors. the average age of study participants was 65. The correlation was not found in men, but this may have been because there were very few men in the study who never drank. Now if only there was some cheery news about alcoholism.

(From the 4/24 issue of Businessweek, pg 88, "Innovations" column... available online, but need a subscription.)

Let it Snow...

Tony Snow is an inspired choice for the White House press secretary. I've always perceived that position as Public Relations, not journalism. It's always been about controlling the information flow. And I'm sure it will to a large degree maintain that character. But when you're controlling the delivery of the information what you are not doing is telling the truth. And that leaves you fundamentally exposed. Because somone else may be about to release that truth themselves.

It has long been a complaint of mine that the White House should be able to defuse the conflict they have with the press more effectively... simply by telling the truth, or by being straight-forward with the White House position on a topic. The Bush administration will not win over the press corps by speaking this way... but they will strengthen their support with the voters, the people of America. The people are very good at recognizing the truth. We know that the MSM is going to apply their spin to every story. What's been missing is a serious alternative for the MSM to compete with.

Tony Snow is connected with the conservative media channels. He knows how to talk to them. And now he will be doing that on behalf of all of us from the podium at the White House. Our story will be told.

The danger is that as a journalist he is used to talking about both sides of a story, and as a commentator Tony is used to speaking his mind on a topic. Now as the WH press secretary he will have to hold the company line on everything. That may prove challenging for Tony the individual. I'm sure he's already thought this part through, let's hope he aces this challenge. If he executes well we will get more of the results we asked for when we cast our votes in 2000 and 2004 and the Bush legacy will be much more secure.

But... execution has been this administration's weak point... stay tuned...

Monday, April 24, 2006

As Heard On NPR

During the news update at the half hour this morning (~7:30am PDT) the newscaster told us that the president of Iran "renewed his criticism of Israel today..." what exactly does that mean, to "renew" the criticism. Did he take a break? Yesterday was he talking to his people about sitting down for a game of parcheesi with his good buddies the Israelis? Does any time in between rants against the existence of Israel, including sleep, count as holding back? Sigh.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has a post on this today...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Speaking up...

I thought this was insightful (found it on PowerLineBlog...)

http://www.dartblog.com/data/005547.html

I've been wondering about this since it happened. Apparently, as the liberals on NPR rejoiced in pointing out numerous times this week, she started her heckling just after bush completed a sentence about the benefits freedom of speech would offer the people of China. And according to Joe here, she was able to heckle for a few minutes before the Secret Service whisked her away.

Is it possible that this was a put-up job by the Bush Administration? No state dinner, Cheney sleeping in the corner, no promises to accomplish big things together as nations... and a protester speeks freely, one who held a press pass obtained after the White House approved a dissident and oppressed Chinese reilgious/social organization as a press entity.

There are people who feel the Bush administration is crooked, backhanded and always up to conspiracy. There are time, like this one, where I agree wholeheartedly. Not all battles need be fought with guns.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Great Debate

Tonight turned into an impromtu dinner outing with a few coworkers. A few glasses of wine into the meal and politics swarmed in. My favorite situation: Iwas completely surrounded. Two lefties in front, one at either side, my back (literally) to the wall. I lead the charge, fearlessly, and we debated immigration and Iraq and jeffersonian democracy. It was a great conversation, at least for me.

In case you didn't see it, the Brits have lost there minds. Robbing a house? Expect only a slap on the wrist... Why this rule is ridiculous:
  • The cops now have permission to decide when and against (or for!) whom they'd like to enforce the rules. You better hope you are one of the people they like
  • The bad guys have guns. The good guys don't. They are illegal. Now the bad guys can use them to threaten the police so the police will enforce or ignore the laws according to the whims of the armed. Hope you have a gun.
  • There is no rule of law if the law is not applied equally across all spectrums. Why should one person respect the law when he knows it only applies to himself? Society cannot survive.
It's insane. I wish I had travelled to Europe before the madness began. Paris, London, more... it may, and very likely will, be a very different place by the time I manage to get there.

DeLays DeLays DeLays...

Ok, so a quick return to the DeLay bit... first because I misspelled it all the way thru, the second becuase I missed a little yesterday.

It seems pretty likely at this point that if DeLay himself wasn't involved in fuzzy, criminal behavior, his closest advisors were, which make it exceedingly difficult to deny he knew what was happening. I'm not so naive to think differently.

That doesn't change the fact that he did the right thing, in the end, by stepping down. By voluntarily taking himself off the stage he leaves seat open for the best candidate to step in and move the conversation back to the issues of the day insteda of hte actions of one man.

Monday, April 03, 2006

QotD

Like all Americans, I like big thing: big praries, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads -- and herds of cattle too -- big factories and steamboats and everything else. But we must keep steadily in mind that no people were ever yet benefitted by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virture. It is more important that we should show ourselves honest, brave, truthful, and intelligent than that we should own all the railways and grain elevators in the world. We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received and each of us must do his part if we wish to show that this nation is worthy of its good fortune.


-Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted in Paul Johnson's
"A History of the American People"

The Humble

Tom Delay is stepping down. It's a brilliant move. For years now the Democrats have made a tremendous ruckus about the "political corruption" of the majority Republicans. They have chosen to focus on Tom Delay. They have painted him as The Very Visage of Corruption. The left has made every possible effort to take him down, hoping that the GOP as a whole would follow his fall.

I remember being very frustrated for months while I waited for Delay to step down as Speaker of the House, to take himself out of the limelight, to allow the focus to shift back to the party and the agenda. Gracious move number one was when he did step aside, a move which lead to a remarkable and cleansing debate within the Republican caucus and base as John Boehner was selected as the new Speaker.

This is gracious move number two. Humbly fading into the sunset even though he won his primary last month. And now, looking back, it is plain to see that waiting so long to take both of these steps was a great idea. The Dems were raring for a fight. He simply picked up the ball and walked off the playground.

In their confusion the Dems will crow and cluck for a while they caused his downfall... that he stepped down because of imminent prosecution or the burden of scandal or such. But I won't believe it. He is too shrewd of a political operator for that. He knew it was his time to step down. He had lived out his fifteen minutes of fame, tasted glory, stood upon the mountain top and saw the whole world laid out beneath him. Yet despite the power and influence he held in his hands, he has remained a humble man.

The strategy that Delay has implemented here is brilliant. He didn't stand pat and wait for the attack. He didn't rush headlong into battle. He didn't yearn for glory of victory on a blood-stained battlefield. He simply laid down his weapon, took his wife's hand, and turned aside.

Now the Dems only have Bush to vilify. And you know what's brilliant about that? Bush can't run again in 2008. They are girding themselves for battle... and there will be no enemy. And the Republicans will win again.

It's almost too easy.

Two of my co-workers were ribbing me today about Delay. The conversation will be boisterous tomorrow, I have no doubt. I look forward to it.

Barbarians at the Gate

Allah Pundit added this to Michelle Malkin's website this weekend. A deeper look at social conditions in the immigrant suburbs surrounding Paris, particularly the group that attacked Ilan Halimi, a 17-year old jewish boy reeled in, tortured for 3 weeks then killed. Horrifying to think that such danger might be lurking just outside the City Of Light.

I have not yet traveled to Paris... I hope it is a place I still want to visit when that time comes...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

But I support the troops!

Time for the Sunday Rant. The Sunday LA Times has an absolute doozie front page center. I slid the plastic sheath off the paper early this morning, slid off the plastic string insde, and casually flipped the paper to have a look at the front page. The photograph on the cover caused me to catch my breath.

It is gruesome. It is pornographic. It is a frozen scene from a snuff film.

The broken, bloody and bandaged face of a soldier in Iraq stares unseeing out of the center of the page.

Bringing Back the Wounded With Heart, Soul and Surgery
screams the main headline.

The subheadline: "Injured troops are swept up in a lifesaving process unmatched in past wars - reaching hospitals in minutes and the U.S. in days."

That sounds good... but that image... then the rest of the subheadline: But their agony doesn't end on the battlefield."

The paper is clearly confused... do they want to write an historical piece about the conditions for wounded soldiers in the conflicts America participated in? Or is it going to be an anti-war tract attempting to disgust us with the gritty realities of combat hospitals?

I was actually conflicted as I stared at the image. An article comparing the treatment of wounded soldiers in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam... Iraq I and Iraq II (2003)... as a history buff, well, I would love such an article. I've read much in this vein in regards to the Civil War, but never the Revolutionary War. But I know the LA Times better than that. They have a history with me. And despite their past slant against everything Bush and Iraq and War on Terror I am always willing to give the paper the benefit of the doubt.

So I read the article. The bulk of the print shown is telling you about the horrific injuries suffered on going into detail about plucking rocks out of the flesh of the wounded soldiers. Most of the photos match the first for horror.

What this article is not:
  • It is not an historical piece. It spends very little time laying out the coditions of battlefield hospitals in previous wars. Not even a casual mention of M*A*S*H
  • It is not a description of the passion, committment, sacrifice of the men and women working in these hospitals to try and save lives
  • It is not a piece to descirbe the impressive logistics that have been implemented to get the soldiers off the field, treated and back stateside in 4 days. The men, the supplies, the flights, the dedication
Perhpas this is a matter of interpretation. I think not. These photos... to want to publish these photos... you have to be sick...

...and you have to believe that America should lose this war to the jihadis. Otherwise, you wouldn't go so far... you wouldn't put the broken image of a soldier front and center on the biggest paper in one of the biggest cities on the biggest circulation day...

This is how the jihadis are winning the media battle.

In the beginning...

The inagural post... I was reading a post on another's blog, recovering from a brilliant 33 mile bike ride along the beach... I wanted to add a comment to the blog... and the next thing you know I'm publishing my very own.

A blog is born.