Monday, November 30, 2009

Climate Change Whitewash Continues.....

The WaPost's Juliet Eilperin spends two dozen paragraphs telling us about the challenges facing those who would wish to enact measures to limit man's contribution to global climate change without a single reference to the scandal raging in the world of climate science as a result of the hacked East Anglia emails.

Update: A friend refers to this as akin to "your dog eating your homework".

Kathleen Parker and Republican Purity Tests

I've never been much of a Kathleen Parker fan--I see her as kind of my side's Maureen Dowd--good looking, lightweight, a little snarky and a little superficial. She's got a column out in yesterday's Post in which she takes a faction of the Republican National Committee to task for their promotion of a Ten Point summation of conservative principles--and the suggestion that the RNC not provide funding to any candidate who does not agree with eight of them.

I'm no stranger to ten point plans, as I've put forward my own "Ten Principles for a Republican Renaissance".

I think Parker goes a bit over the top in her objections to the RNC proposal--what's come forward is hardly a suicide pact. Here are the ten principles put forward by the RNC faction....

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing, denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership

While I find these to be too closely tied to "in the moment" political issues (rather than timeless principles), they don't seem to be overly dangerous to the party. I would hesitate to use them as a "purity" test, assigning some fixed score to the fund-worthiness of would be candidates. As I look at the list, I'd vote no on #'s 5,6,7 and 10--which would of course, keep me from getting any cash from the Party. Here's why I'd go the way I would:

#5--Not sure I oppose amnesty for "ALL" illegal immigrants. I'd be in favor of an amnesty that looked a lot like--0h, maybe Ronald Reagan's amnesty of the mid 80's.
#6--Hogwash. We have civilian control of the military, and war is a political act. The President should NEVER be a rubber stamp for his generals. Oh--and by the way--GWB's generals on the JCS ALL OPPOSED THE SURGE.
#7--Makes it sound like we treat the Norks and the Mullahs the same. We shouldn't. Our policy goals are too important to have a "one size fits all" approach.
#10--All restrictions? Should a ten year old be able to buy and Uzi? This is so broad as to be meaningless.

That said--having a set of guidelines-standards if you will--against which to measure candidates is a good idea. The Party should have some method of evaluating candidates--obviously with the ability to raise money and the ability to actually win the seat also playing a part. Inflexibility in such a test would be stupid--what if there were a good candidate in a heavily Democratic region who agreed with 6 of the 10 points above (the the likely Democrat would agree with far fewer)? Would the Party deprive this Republican of funding? That would be silly as far as I'm concerned.

Moving One Step Closer To An Israeli Strike.....

Iran does not fully appreciate the position in which it is headed; buy oil futures now.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Apple a Day to Keep Obamacare Away?

This NY Times article mentions a recent study by Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. "[He] found that if trends continued, annual health care costs related to obesity would total $344 billion by 2018, or more than 20 percent of total health care spending. (It now accounts for 9 percent.)

Dr. Thorpe also said that if the incidence of obesity fell to its 1987 level, it would free enough money to cover the nation’s uninsured population."

Even if the cost contribution is half what the study purports, the reduction in obesity would be worth it. Yet, we don't see any of the advocates of the current version of health care "reform" as vociferously advocating this angle. It's easier to take people's money. I say we start picketing....

"Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, them saddlebags(beer-bellies) have got to go!"

Groh Gone

Al Groh has been sacked as the Head Coach of the UVA Football Team, a move I've been advocating for four years now....his 2007 season gave him a new lease on life as coach, one that should have ended in 2006.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time Magazine Is Ridiculous

Time Magazine's Cover story this week designates the 00's as the "Decade From Hell", adding to the recurrent social phenomenon of thinking that the times one lives in are somehow "special" and that whatever the issue, it is just more meaningful because those other things--well, they happened to a bunch of dead people. Rubbish.

This really is just another way for the media to bash George Bush, who happened to be president for 80% of this period.

In the article, they qualify their "scope" to post WWII--but I just don't get how the 1970's don't blow the 00's out of the water. Let's review (links provided for Time subscribers):

1. Tail end of Vietnam War
2. A few natural disasters.
3. Richard Nixon
4. Jimmy Carter
5. "Whip Inflation Now"
6. Malaise Speech
7. Iran Hostage Crisis
8. Disco
9. Leisure Suits
10. Gas Lines
11. The Mustang II
12. Jonestown
13. Joyce Carol Oates
14. Munich Olympics
15. Red Brigades
16. Litter

I could go on...and on....and on.

But we now live in the Age of Obama--a man who tells us that this is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression (wrong) in order to make us feel we're living in notable times. He vexes over his decision in Afghanistan, as if he's the first President to face issues of war and peace.

No, the 2000's weren't particularly bad, but nor were they particularly good. But that doesn't fit the anti-Bush narrative.

$6 Trillion......

One estimate for the cost of Obamacare.....

Tiger's Wood Lands Him In Trouble...

...or insert your own golf-as-a-sexual-euphemism headline here. There are unsubstantiated reports out this morning that the lacerations Tiger Woods suffered early Friday morning were not as a result of a car accident, but rather a scorned Swedish supermodel.

Apparently, Tiger prefers the company of leggy brunettes.

Remember to follow through on that backswing, Elin.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iowahawk on Climaquiddick

Rand Simberg seems to have coined the Climaquiddick phrase (though I can't seem to find where--I only find others referring to him having made it up--sounds like Biblical research)--referring of course to what he suspects will be the media's attempt to "whitewash and minimize" the growing scandal of global warming sycophants.

Apparently, the incomparable Iowahawk has gained access deep into the Climate Change Tower of Orthanc (or East Anglia University, as it is known in Middle Earth).

Every time I read the words "East Anglia", I think of Monty Python sketches--whenever "East Anglia" was cited, they'd pause on the first syllable just a tad too long---as in "East Ang.....lia".

On Lou Dobbs' Political Aspirations

Lou Dobbs is exactly the kind of guy I don't want in politics, and I hope his quixotic musings about entering the fray are designed to support a book sale or some other business proposition.

I have two basic problems with Dobbs--his attitude and his politics.

1. Dobbs is the quintessential angry white man. I mean this from the standpoint of temperament, not politics. On the occasions in which I've paused long enough on his former show to evaluate him, I've come to see the furrowed brow, the agitated tone, the "who should we blame" approach. This man does not inspire; he does not lead; he does not evoke the "better angels" of his viewers nature. He whips them into an emotional frenzy of blame, anger, and negativity. He does a fine job of letting "us" off the hook while blaming "them"--whoever us and them may be. America does not need politicians who play to the crowd. America needs politicians who lead the crowd. Sally's fine job analyzing the 2009 Virginia Governor's race here on this blog (re)introduced us to a politician with solid conservative instincts AND a positive message of progress in Mr. McDonnell. We need more McDonnells and fewer Dobbs.

2. Dobbs is what Ross Douthat calls a "radical center populist"--you know what I call a "radical center populist? A political weather vane. Radical center populists stick their finger in the air, test what is popular with the electorate, and ride the wave. They have no fundamental, unshakable political beliefs from which enlightened policy springs. This is a particularly dangerous brand of politics, as one comes to surf the wave-tops of whatever passion is currently animating the masses without ever really moving in a substantial policy direction.

I'll not be jumping on the Lou Dobbs bandwagon, friends. Would be interested to read opposing viewpoints.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obama Pardons Courage; Had Been Major Campaign Donor

A nice touch. In a longer clip, he cites his administration "creating or saving four turkeys." Funny stuff.

In a related item, Joe Biden pardons a yam.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

I'm gonna post this sucker and then not come back to the CW until Friday. In the meantime, feel free to share something for which you are thankful.

I'm thankful that I grew up in a house with parents who loved each other and loved their children. It has made all the difference.

But Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me...

Once again, the President reminds us that we are in the midst of greatness:

"Yours is the first official state visit of my presidency, it is fitting that you and India be so recognized."

So let it be written. So let it be done.

H/T: National Review Online

Pick-up Trucks

A peeve here--not yet a pet peeve, but on the way up the scale.

I am on the road many days at 0530 or earlier. With me are a considerable number of pick-up trucks, some of whom are likely tradesmen on their way to the jobsite.

What I have come to notice at this ungodly hour is the disproportionate number of times that I am tail-gated by people driving pick-up trucks. Again, there are probably a higher relative number of trucks on the road at this time--but the observation carries through the day--especially when you add SUV's to the mix.

So my question of you pick-up truck and SUV drivers--do you drive differently in your truck than you do in a passenger car? Am I really off base on this one?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SNL and Obama

I'm far too old to stay up and watch Saturday Night Live these days--so Youtube and Hulu help me stay up on what's going on in NBC's venerable old Saturday night fixture.

This season has been a good one--Mr. Obama's Presidency is giving the writers plenty to chew on. This opening from last Saturday's show is pretty funny--though from the 3:35 mark on, it is hilarious.

Oh--and before you (you know who YOU are) go and start getting all "CW's inconsistent, CW's inconsistent" on me for praising SNL for its sendups of Obama--while being quite critical of them for their sendups of Sarah Palin--there is a difference here, one that clarifies the distinction. You see, I don't know who plays Obama in these skits, I don't have any idea what his political affiliation is, and I don't know whether or not he actually supports President Obama. He is parodying a public figure in a spirit of comedy, and it is funny. What Tina Fey did was to give voice to her own political desires by carrying out a relentless public campaign that she made no bones about when not in character. That's the difference.

WaPost Reports on Growth In Nuclear Power's Popularity

Here's an interesting story about one of my favorite topics, nuclear power. The US--land of cheap coal and natural gas--has fallen way behind in our nuclear infrastructure. The spectacular startup costs are at least partially to blame, with a significant portion of that cost coming from the protests and lawsuits that are sure to attend new construction.

Hopefully that tide is turning. There are presently 22 reactors before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and many in the Obama Administration are seeking to stoke additional interest with federal loan guarantees--something of which I am very much in favor.

And from the Rahm Emmanuel school of never waste the opportunity created by a crisis--I'll turn a deaf ear to the anguished cries of the global warming crowd, as it is their frenzied kvetching that is causing the environmental movement to become less opposed to new nuclear--citing its abiding carbon neutrality.

We should move forward with nuclear energy for one reason and one reason only--diversifying our energy supply. We cannot ever hope to mitigate the control exercised over us by oil producing nations if we do not move to some kind of alternate energy for the movement of vehicles on our roads. To me, electricity is the natural path. To respond to an exploding demand for electricity (in a carbon neutral way, dearies), we must invest in nuclear power.

The War on Terror Did Not Create Nidal Hassan

Friend Tim invites my attention to the incomparable Christopher Hitchens' (incomparable, except on religion, where I find him tired and shrill) attempt to frame the recent Fort Hood terrorism in the proper perspective. There as you may remember, Nidal Hassan (I will resist the convention to grant famous murderers the custom of the use of all three of their names). Hitch is writing largely in response to Robert Wright who--in a recent NYT editorial basically engaged in a bit of intellectual open-field running. The intelligentsia had previously been avoiding the obvious fact that Mr. Hassan's act was one of wanton terrorism (so as not to feed the hysteria that would surely attend such knowledge in this country; always--in their view--one Bill O'Reilly show away from the lynch mob) . Wright's nifty new move is to recycle the worn and vapid meme that "the war on terror radicalizes--and creates more terrorists".

We've heard this one since the beginning of the war on terror, generally espoused by some very wise and seemingly very rational apologists for inaction. They tell us that the terminology of war is misplaced, they tell us that this is largely in international criminal network best dealt with as a law enforcement and diplomatic threat. But most of all, they tell us the War on Terror creates terrorists.

It occurs to me that FDR's speech on December 8th created tens of millions of radicalized Japanese in one fell-swoop. LBJ's step up of Mr. Kennedy's war in Southeast Asia had a similar impact. This is what war does--it creates enemies. In the process of the conduct of war, sometimes more enemies will be created as the enemy gains allies and or successfully propagandizes at home.

This element of recruitment and radicalization among an enemy is not peculiar to Islamic terrorists, nor is it particularly something to be feared. It is part of the sturm und drang of war, something that war planners take account of, and something that a war ultimately aims to target (in many instances). Ever heard of "breaking the will" of the enemy? This is what is broken--the support among the populace, the farm system for the fighting forces, the desire to keep fighting (or to keep surrendering one's sons to the siege guns of the enemy).

Mr. Wright's position--and that of those who would have us assume a different posture in the War on Terror--is a "turtling" strategy, one where they hope that hiding in our shells will provide us with the protection we need. Don't anger the radicals, or they'll become terrorists. Nonsense. Show the radicals that becoming a terrorist is a poor career choice.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome Back....

...from the weekend. I say that because from the latest tracking stats I have, it appears as though the readership of the blog takes at least a 50% dive on the weekends. Trouble is, your blogging team tends to put some pretty good stuff up on the weekends, when we presumably have more time on our hands.

I have a question for those who tend not to visit the site on the weekends--when you return to the site during the week, do you go back and read the posts that you missed? I ask that because some of you have told me that the sometimes you come to the site and the volume of "new" information is so great that you don't have time to go back and read what you had missed.

I'm asking this as a way to gauge whether I (and the others) should throttle back on our own weekend blogging. Your inputs are appreciated, especially those of you who read the blog but don't chirp up in the comments all that much.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turns Out, They Really CAN Be Choosers

If he can say "Hey, Buddy, do you have some spare change?" he can also say "Welcome to McDonalds. May I take your order?" -- Charles Barkley quoting Michael Jordan after Sir Charles reached into his pocket to give some change to a "homeless" man who had just asked them for money

I passed a fellow Friday who I used to see during my daily commute from Bolling AFB via the Anacostia Metro station years ago. At the intersection just outside the station, religiously, during each rush hour, rain or shine, daylight or dark of night, was this always smiling gentleman, who just so happened to be quite an intrepid entrepreneur. Indeed, he must be a genius of marketing and salesmanship.

This able-bodied, affable gent owns his own business--free and clear. It is the business of getting people to pay him in return for the most high quality, masterfully crafted nothingness never made. No no no!!! He is NOT a grifter who deceivingly bilks people out of their money on the promise of goods or services he has no intention of rendering. Not at all. His customers are, in most cases, repeat customers who are keenly aware that his product is a smile and a "God Bless You" and his service is a free money transfer. That's it. And he is exceptionally effective at it. I used to watch this amazing man and his dedicated commuter fan club who he had, through the power of his personal magnetism, convinced to give him their money...routinely, reliably and generously. Most of those who hand him paper currency out their window often follow it up with a "fist bump". It appears, "hip factor" is also one of the services he provides.

I'm not sure at what level of reduced brain function a human's ability to choose ceases to exist but I am certain of this: that gentleman has an ample margin above that level and has absolutely CHOSEN to become and remain a beggar. I suspect it's a relatively simple business calculation. He's probably earning pretty decent cash, absolutely tax free. He probably, despite his income, remains eligible for handouts from the District of Columbia's ample taxpayer-funded social programs, and he is likely eligible for various and sundry Federal social program handouts. My guess is that he uses them, at least during the holidays, IF he isn't vacationing in Tahiti. Oh, and my experience was that he had most weekends off. And he's always closed on holidays.

When we say "Don't feed the bears" we say it out of concern for a bear's well-being because we also know that the bear is capable of surviving best when it chooses to live (and, so I hear, defecate) in the woods. Feeding the bears encourages them to adopt an existence that is neither good for the bear nor the people with whom the bears share habitat. In other words, feeding bears "handouts" rather than letting them naturally work for their sustenance, encourages them to be less bear-like and more people's pet-like. It appears to give those who feed them a sense of goodness ("I've helped this poor creature to survive") and coolness ("Can't wait to facebook these pics--my friends will think I'm pretty hip to have fed a bear"). How pitiful that any person suffers such low self esteem.

So what does it mean when these commuters do the same thing to a human who comes up to their cars to feed? Just like the bear, he has a choice. And just like those who feed the bear, those who "feed" the humans and try to turn them into some sort of pet who feeds their own self-esteem are encouraging a fellow human being (who quite clearly has the ability to function physically, to show up reliably for work, to interact with people in a pleasant manner, and to convince people to do something most people do quite reluctantly: give away their money for absolutely nothing in return) to choose a lifestyle where he will never realize the satisfaction in earning a day's honest living.

I would never suggest to anyone how to distribute his or her own money (except my wife, and that suggestion has met with abject failure). But I wonder whether this street corner entrepreneur might not be heading up the sales staff at some major corporation if his current commuter "customers" would instead of money, give him credit for possessing the ability to work, think and real humans.

Oh yeah, and a closing note from Sir Charles:

"Poor People have been voting for Democrats for the last 50 years ... and they are still poor." - Charles Barkley

Real Fair Trade Coffee

If you're going to shell out $5 for a cup of coffee, you might as well do it with a smile.

Let the double entendre jokes commence...

Yet Another Reason To Love The Marines

From my brother Tom's Facebook Page. I realize this is cherry-picked stuff...but the point is well-made.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tough Love

A police officer in Arkansas allegedly tasered an unruly 10-year old girl at the behest of her mother. I used to get the wooden spoon. How times have changed.

Gorbachev In 2012

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came out swinging against the policies of the current Russian regime, and hinted yesterday that he may return to politics in some fashion. He urged Vladimir Putin to restructure the economy and cut government spending. "We have paternalistic expectations of government support," he told a conference gathered at one of his charitable organizations.

Hmm...reduce reliance on big government; restructure the economy, presumably away from central planning toward market-based reform and ensuring political freedoms?

Sounds downright conservative.

Truly, the world has been turned on its head

Dems Seek to Tax Plastic Surgery

I'm all for this! In fact, can we make it retro-active so that Speaker Pelosi's "work" can help fund Obamacare?

A Funny New Blog

Not sure I'm ready to link to it as a regular read, but the concept is pretty funny. Introducing Sarah Palin's Uterus, a blog designed to drive Andrew Sullivan insane...

H/T: Instapundit

Friday, November 20, 2009

Racism. It's Not Just for People Anymore.

If anyone has ever adopted an animal from the SPCA (which I strongly encourage), you know how sad it is to see all the animals in there that are desperate to find their forever home. So animal shelters have to get creative at times in getting the word out on their animals. The Norfolk SPCA has attempted some such creativity--in conjunction with the holiday shopping season's Black Friday, they're having a Black Friday of their own, and all black pets (which are difficult to place, for reasons I don't understand), will be available at a discounted rate.

You know where this story is going, don't you? Yep. The local NAACP has expressed its dismay on how 'it's insensitive to African Americans who came to this nation as slaves and were sold.'

If anyone reading this can explain to me the connection, please help. And the good news is that not only is the Norfolk SPCA standing by their Black Friday event, but neighboring Virginia Beach is now hosting their own Black Friday event.

Anthropogenic Global Warming A Lot Of Hot Air?

The internet was abuzz this morning when news broke that the computers at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (aka - Hadley CRU) were hacked overnight and over one thousand emails and other documents were released into cyberspace.

Allegedly, many of the emails suggest that much of the AGW information disseminated by several prominent climatologists over the last decade or so either exaggerated the true impact of AGW or suppressed it altogether.

Uh oh.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

All Time High (April 1 2009): 192.2
Diet start (June 1): 189
Last Friday: 168.6 (10/30/09)
Today: 171.0
Goal: Sub 150

Moving in the wrong direction, obviously. Couple of reasons: 1) while I've been eating the things I should be eating, I've been eating more of them. 2) when eating out, I've begun to work the "appetizer" back into the rotation 3) Didn't weigh in the past two Fridays---been hiding.

No excuse. Gotta get back to work on this.

But enough of that--what's on your mind? Anything you need to get off your chest? Anything our President has done or hasn't done that is worthy of comment?

This is your day! Fire when ready, Gridley.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jealous, Aren't You?

Charles Murray on Glen Beck

Murray nails my objections to Glen Beck (throw Limbaugh in there for good measure) in a superb blog entry.

Feeling The Heat, Obama Administration Distances Itself From Mammogram Study

Ah yes, Hope and Change, promises to "end the politicization of science". We'll go where the science takes us. Right. So we'd expect the Obama Administration to come out fully in support of the findings of the independent US Preventive Services Task Force, right?

Not so fast, partner. Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius has ridden in to assure us all that the federal government will continue to sanction ridiculous defensive medicine and wasteful procedures that have little total impact on breast cancer survival rates, tell us that the new study "caused a great deal of confusion and worry among women and their families across this country," and she stressed that they were issued by "an outside independent panel of doctors and scientists who . . . do not set federal policy and . . . don't determine what services are covered by the federal government."

No comment on the content or conclusions of the study. Just the first step in discrediting a truly expert panel by stressing they were "outside" the policy making process (good thing too, as we all know the real experts are right there in the Obama Team). Step two in discrediting the study comes later in the story, when we're told that for good measure, Sebelius later informed us in an interview with CNN that the task force members were appointed by the Bush Administration, leaving the obvious conclusion that their findings must of course, be tainted by their appointment.

The Senate Has A Healthcare Bill

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has brought forth a bill for consideration by the Senate that blends the two major committee-born bills that had previously been wending their way through the Senate.

This bill has the primary advantage of being only slightly better than the House version, though this relative difference is akin to a choice between Maoism and Stalinism.

At $848B, the bill is indeed less expensive than the House version, and as we'll hear repeated over and over in the coming days, CBO projects it will cut the deficit by $130B. Of course, CBO is required to score bill as they are written, and for any of the "deficit reduction" to actually occur, the Congress would have to behave quite differently than it has for the last--oh, forty plus years of quasi-socialist medicine known as Medicare and Medicaid.

Reid has a less-onerous public option in his bill (state based "exchanges", from which states may "opt out"--though they may not "opt out" of the cost), and it is paid for with cuts to Medicare and through a tax on "gold-plated" health insurance policies (as opposed to the House bill, which levies a direct surtax on income above $500,000 for individuals and $1,000,000 for families (a 5% surtax, in addition to Medicare cuts).

Reid has done everything he possibly can to hold his fractious caucus together on this, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to convince his "moderate" Democrats from Red States to go for this.

So now we have the other side's playbook--the House as expected, has come forward with a horrific, expensive, and socialist takeover of the American healthcare system. The Senate has come forward with something just short of that. Republicans and Conservatives must align themselves against these bills even as they continue to advocate for positively messaged reforms--greater choice, greater market access, and lower costs.

Jesse Jackson On Being A Black Man

"You can't vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man." There you have it. Being a black man isn't just a cultural, racial, and social thing. You must THINK a certain way. Hogwash.

Iran Is In Israel's Crosshairs

With each and every step the Iranians take away from a deal on uranium enrichment, we get one step closer to Israel taking aggressive action.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diversity and The Gifted/Talented

It seems that minorities are under-represented in the Commonwealth of Virginia's "Gifted and Talented" programs, which is of course, grounds for great concern in the office of the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (and soon to be ex-Governor of said Commonwealth). And so, the state's Education Department is launching a study.

Yes--let's do increase diversity in the gifted and talented programs. Let's put some special ed kids in there--you know--to diversify the student body (every class needs a kid who eats paste). Let's put a few "C" students in there too, in order to prop up the flagging self-esteem of some of our G/T kids whose bumper stickers and Kaplan courses aren't enough validation.

A Little Helping of Sour Grapes From....The WaPost

Sorry to go to this well (again)--but the WaPost this morning provides so much material, it is hard to figure out what NOT to comment on.

This one's a winner. It seems that the Post's relentless advocacy of Creigh Deeds (unsuccessful) candidacy for Governor has put the folks there into a little snit. So much so, that they've now begun to reach out and whack Governor (Elect) McDonnell for his friends and donors--in this case, Pat Robertson.

Didn't they get enough of this during the race? Was McDonnell's attendance at Robertson's Law School not something the Post already informed us of (ad infinitum, ad nauseum)? Is there any secret that Robertson and McDonnell are politically acquainted?

Don't get me wrong--I think Robertson's a bit of a wing-nut. But what's the point of this editorial, except to take a cheap shot from the second place podium.

WaPost in the Tank for Obama, Part 335

Washington Post "analyst" Alec MacGillis rides in to the rescue of an administration suffering from the pesky (Democrat) Congressional scrutiny over the number of jobs "created or saved" by their (non)stimulus package. His defense? Accounting for such things as the creation or "saving" of jobs is just hard, darn it! And besides--you guys (Congress) asked for these numbers--why, we wouldn't even be keeping them, they're so hard to track if it weren't for your meddling.

The Politics of Mammograms

So the second massive study in 12 years to reach the conclusion that routine mammograms for women in their 40's could be doing more harm than good has hit the streets and the reaction has been predictable.

Those who see this as nothing more than a ruse to cut total health care costs are accusing study proponents of abandoning women's health. Study proponents point to the size and scope of their study, and its non-ideological emphasis.

Here's the deal--you don't get to complain about rising health-care costs and tort reform (to discourage defensive medicine) at the same time you score cheap political points by questioning the timing or rationale for a study like this one. At some level of abstraction, we've got to go with the numbers. If the numbers tell us that there are too many false positives resulting in too many unnecessary procedures that have little or no impact on the survival rate--then we've got to go where the data takes us.

This really is an important test case for whether or not we're serious in this country about health-care reform--even the kinds of health-care reform that I and many readers of this blog want. If you want to control costs, you've got to discourage unnecessary procedures. If you discourage unnecessary procedures (known to some as "rationing"), some will slip through the cracks. Is this a risk we as a society are willing to take? Those who support Pelosi/Obamacare are dead wrong if they think the direction they are taking us in does not drive even more of these choices. It will, and patient care will be impacted.

Buyers Remorse at Cato?

I've written here before about my affinity for The Cato Institute, the premier libertarian think-tank in DC. I think they are intellectually honest, and they generally do a good job of helping to shape major policy debates by representing the all-important "small government/individual rights" view. Besides that, my homey Dr. C is a big wig there.

That said, I came across this little doozie on the Cato website this morning, dropped there by another big-wig, David Boaz. In it, Boaz brings our attention to yet another encroachment of big-Washington government upon our daily lives, an initiative to have the Feds provide oversight to subway systems.

I'm glad Boaz and Cato are on the beat here--but they simply don't have the standing to do so, given that Cato was an intellectual birthplace of Liberaltarianism, the fusion of liberal principles and libertarianism that rose up as a reaction to some of George Bush's policies. What I'm getting at here is while strict libertarians may have had some issues with GWB (as did strict Conservatives for that matter), did they really think they'd get anywhere in a one-night stand with modern American liberals? Did they really think that once they got in power, the left would suddenly transmogrify into a free-market, low regulation, bong-hit supporting movement (well, I suppose they are getting a little return on their investment in the Administration's treatment of medical pot)?

Libertarians need to make peace with the fact that they'll always be unhappy politically, because neither of the parties goes far enough for them, and neither of the major movements (conservatism or liberalism) aligns closely enough either. But the plain truth of the matter is that the Republican Party and the Conservative movement will always be closer to Libertarians--even when Libertarians try to make us jealous by "sleeping around".

Military Senior Mentors Cashing In

This story is an absolute scandal. These retired flag and general officers should be highly regulated and closely watched.

Besides, then there'd be more cashing in for "Junior Mentors"!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Deserve A Porsche

When the SCHIPs are down, make health care a children's crusade. Obama's Organizing for America today announced the winner of it health reform video challenge - a 30 second spot entitled "I Deserve Health Care", a short comprised entirely of children describing tales of future misery that will befall them because their parents couldn't afford health care.

(Democratic) Tricks Are for Kids

This little tutorial is the latest measure our Department of Commerce's Census Bureau has devised as an apparent stop gap measure made necessary because those two radical conservatives entrapped ACORN into the alleged and patently unjust appearance of supposed impropriety and rendered them ineligible to perform their unequalled service of providing reliable, accurate data about potential democrat voters, real or imagined. No problem, there is another demographic who is quite comfortable making up things and playing "let's pretend". No, not Hollywood elite, I mean, yes, them too, but we can't pay them enough to bother them with REAL work, so they're out. No, the government's solution to replace ACORN is "school kids". Yep. You know, those cute little buggers who run around still unaware of things like personal volume control, the myths of holiday beings of altruism, and, conveniently, political agendas such as the census in the hands of people who are intent on getting more votes and more money for social programs (and hence their social program government jobs) irrespective of the veracity of the data they harvest.

It's the only way to get illegal immigrants counted? Unless you are counting them to determine how big a bus we need to carry them back to the border, I have two words: "so" and "what".

It's the only way to get actual citizens who are hiding from the government (i.e. fearful of being apprehended for a prior crime)? Hey, same two words.

Okay, then, what about all the LEGAL immigrants who don't speak English? I'll bet I got you on that one, Mudge! You're right, Alter Mudge, you did. I need two new words for that one: "learn" and "english".

Look, even the cold-hearted, uncompassionate bastard that I am realizes an accurate census is difficult to achieve. But using kids, although a considerable step up in reliability from ACORN who the Bureau was once intent on using, makes me wonder to what length we'll go to achieve the political agenda of the NeoSocs.

[Insert from]

On Bowing To Japanese Emperors

I've avoided this one simply because I really didn't know the protocol involved...I still don't, but the kids of the UCONN College Republicans have a little primer to help the President see how other dignitaries have handled the "meet and greet" with the Emperor. Classic.

H/T--Mary Katherine Ham at The Weekly Standard-- who is incidentally, one of the hottest conservative women out there....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Governor sued for balancing the budget. That bastard!

From my beloved hometown comes the news that Gov Tim Pawlenty is being sued by the Democrat-controlled state legislature for the cardinal sin of...balancing the state budget.

Last summer T-Paw enraged the legislature by vetoing one tax hike after another to balance the budget. They gambled that eventually he'd be forced to come to the negotiating table. They gambled wrong, and he decided instead to make some real cuts to the bloated state budget.

So they sued him. They insist they're not suing him, but unless you're deaf, blind and dumb, you can see what they're up to.

I'm thinking this has to help Pawlenty.

600 Million Screaming Chinamen Can't Be Wrong

CNN reporter Emily Chang claims she was detained in Shanghai after displaying a tee-shirt on camera depicting Barack Obama as Chairman Mao.

Meteoric Rise and Shine

All you east coast US/Canada star watchers set your alarms for around 0330 tomorrow morning and go outside to watch the Leonid Meteor Shower. Although it is unlikely here to be of the intensity that another meteoric star, POTUS, will be able to see from Asia, it should nevertheless prove worth your while since we will have a new moon and Mars will be positioned on a radial that gives it the appearance of being the source of the meteors. The Leonid gets its name from its apparent origin being the constellation, Leo, but its actual origin is, of course, a comet, Tempel-Tuttle, which visits our "inner" solar system once every 33 years leaving a trail of comet "dust" which, when impacting our atmosphere, creates the appearance of "falling stars".

Picture from NASA (

Phil Donahue Appointed National Phthalates During Pregnancy Association (NPDPA) Spokesma....Spokesperson

Unfortunate little revelation here from study results announced in the International Journal of Andrology where women who had been exposed to certain types of a substance known as "phthlates" gave birth to sons who exhibited "less masculine" forms of play behavior.

Apparently, the two forms of phthlates that were most attributable to this outcome are prevalent in products ranging from hospital surgical tubing to cosmetics. Anyway, thank goodness we aren't testing these sorts of things on's just so much better when we find out about outcomes like this when little Johnny asks Santa for a Barbie and Ken Playhouse.

By the way, just how long have these phthlates been around anyway?

Barack Obama Promises a "Full, Military Trial" for KSM

Too bad it was Senator Barack Obama...


Hey FOX, Great News From The Great One at the Great Wall

"I am a big supporter of 'non-censorship'" -- B.H. Obama, speaking to students in China.

I couldn't help but be tickled by this story of (the) one tasting (the) one's own medicine in the Washington Post today. A handful of excerpts that caught my increasingly jaundiced eye:

The 7 p.m. news broadcast of CCTV is the most influential in China, reflecting the official government line and serving as the main source of television news for most people outside the major cities. But Obama's arrival in Shanghai was not even the lead story -- it was seventh in a line of stories that began with one on President Hu Jintao returning from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore.

[You mean the government plays an active role in limiting access to stories that are less than complimentary to it?]


When CCTV did mention Obama's visit, well into the broadcast, it was in a story of less than a minute that just noted his airport arrival and his meeting with the mayor of Shanghai. There was not a word about the forum with students, which the White House had billed as the marquee event of Obama's first trip to China.

[wait a minute, do the Chinese officials not understand what 'marquee event' means and who deemed it such?]


"I really agree with Obama's slogan, 'change' " said Jiang Yimeng, 19-year-old high school graduate. "I think the U.S. is more open than China."

[Apparently, it is no longer sufficiently clear a distinction that Jiang felt comfortable saying, "I know the U.S. is more open than China."]

and, finally,

Shi Tingchong, also 19 and a high school graduate, spent a year as an exchange student in Ohio. "I'm here because I worship him," she said. "I think he is someone who can really listen to us. Chinese government leaders just read from what's written down on documents."

[It would be patently unfair of me to criticize a young Chinese student, even with a year in Ohio, for mistaking teleprompters as being distinct from documents.]

Oh, and by the way Mr. President, that "non-censorship" thing? Back here across the Pacific, we have a nifty little term for it: "free speech".

If We Can Avoid Luxury Tax and Jail and Land on Chance, We'll Pay You Back Next Trip Around the Board

Looks as if Government Motors Corporation (GMC) is marching steadily toward its own economic recovery...just as one would expect with the new board of directors at the helm. It is making promises of paying back money it owes in the midst of a post-bailout, post-government take over, post-bankruptcy quarterly earnings report of MINUS $1.15 Billion.

No sweat. As in MONOPOLY, it isn't real money anyway.

A Long Time Ago...

Some on this space have recently expressed a feeling of bittersweet disappointment after a reunion concert of a band of their youth failed to transport them back to a gentler time and place . Last night, I may have found a loophole in the space-time continuum.

I took my nine-year old son to a performance of Star Wars In Concert at the Wachovia Centre in Philadelphia. The show consists of a full orchestra (the Royal Philharmonic) performing John Williams' original compositions from all six movies in front of a three-story high definition movie screen. Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C3PO for all six films, appears live and provides a narrative of the saga.

John Williams has composed music for some of the most successful films of all time; and if you have a chance to see this concert (it's touring), you'll understand and appreciate his contribution to these films even more.

I was nine myself when the original Star Wars was released. And for a few hours at least, both nine-year olds were transfixed and transported to a galaxy far, far away...

A Ten-Year Old Nails What Being a Captain Is All About

A friend sent me this, written by a 10-year old boy and published in the newsletter of the Society of Marine Port Engineers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

If You Aren't Outraged, Then Someone Other Than Bush Must Have Done It

A few days late but thought it worth discussing. The Obama Administration Justice Department seized assets from several Islamic mosques inside the United States last week. It received what I would call "responsible reporting" (log it!) from the MSM. Read this article from the Baltimore Sun and see if you agree. Balanced reporting, explains the degree to which the government excluded the activities of the attendees of these mosques so as not to impede their First Amendment rights and to only seize the assets associated with those mosques (and other income earning real estate) where they had evidence (via phone taps, and other "Constitution-trampling activities" of the Bush Administration's Patriot Act) that it was supporting the Iranian government's ties to terrorist activities. FBI agents had even been videotaped going through dumpsters outside of various mosques, yet there was no public outrage, fueled by righteous indignation reporting and claims of trampling the Constitution (except in Democracy Today--but even there, they were uncharacteristically reserved in their "outrage"). Perhaps it's because, like so much else where the MSM has gone milquetoast on us, The One declared that he would NEVER do such "expedient" acts in the name of national security. Therefore, this is clearly beyond critical review:

The Sad State of the Republican Party in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Maryland

This is what passes for a Republican Party in my adopted home. Ridiculous.

Pac Sand, Baggers

President of the Pacific Obama, during his meetings with ASEAN leaders, apparently announced that he was bringing Obamachange to the world economy as well:

Mr. Obama, in a speech Sunday, took his appeal for a new world economic order to the leaders of Asia that must help make it happen. He said the United States would strive to consume less, save more and restructure its economy around trade and exports. But he appealed to Asian nations to make their own economies more dependent on domestic consumption than U.S. profligacy.

Like POTPAC, apparently, I am not much of an economist, but I wonder how does T.O. intend to deliver on this commitment to his PacPals? Don't get me wrong, curbing our consumption of imports and having more personal savings both appeal to me, but in this age of government-intervention in my personal decisions (those personal decisions where my choice does not involve the death of another human) I am deeply suspicious of the mechanisms he has in mind for his continental subjects east of The Pac.

Doesn't "strive to consume less" mean the same thing as "purchase fewer goods and resources"? If so, does this mean POTPAC is intending to enact policies to cut back US manufacturing of products for which consumption of resources is generally considered a necessity? At the consumption of goods level, does that mean that POTPAC has plans for our remaining personal discretionary earnings with which we tend to make such purchases?

And as for his "appeal" to Asian nations, isn't "make your own economies more dependent on your own domestic consumption than [continued] US profligacy pretty much the bellringer that he has little faith in American economic recovery? Or perhaps that he has great faith that his vision for a socialist America will in fact be realized and that his PacPals better get hot on reconfiguring their economies because POTPAC is taking America back to the Good Ol' Days:

Uh Oh--Did the Dems Piss Off Seniors?

Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (which acts as an independent technical adviser to both the Congress and the Administration--as the article says, sort of like the CBO), has released a report saying that the recent bill passed by House Democrats would "sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday".

Here are some more juicy bits from the article:

"The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether."


"In the face of greatly increased demand for services, providers are likely to charge higher fees or take patients with better-paying private insurance over Medicaid recipients, "exacerbating existing access problems" in that program, according to the report from Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services."

What we see here is more evidence of the fact that the all powerful goal of universal coverage is going to come at the cost of wrecking what we already have in place. Medicare and Medicaid are already sub-optimal--and they'll only get worse from here if the Dems get their way. But the damage will not be limited to those already poorly administered examples of socialized medicine. It will soon come to ALL of our privately administered health insurance. All in the name of universal coverage for illegal aliens, young people who choose not to get care and those already enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid that the studies miss.

Our First "Pacific President"? Give Me A Break

The One is in Asia, part of his record first year of international travel (Nero, Rome)--and in a speech he referred to himself as "America's first Pacific President". Putting aside for a moment the fact that he is wrong (see John J. Pitney, JR on NRO), what IS IT with this guy, having to make virtually everything about HIMSELF? Now, I know what some of you are saying..."CW, it's awfully ironic that YOU would say such a thing, as you've never shied away from a self-referral." True enough--but all I can say is if I AM GETTING SICK OF IT, more humble and well-adjusted people damn sure ought to be going out of their minds by now.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wanna See Something Way Cool?

Watch this video. It is a reconstruction of the US AIR Flight 1549 last summer, the one that ditched in the Hudson. Serious professionalism from the flight crew AND the air traffic controllers. Nicely done by all.

H/T: Instapundit

Not Everything Is Bigger In Texas

A woman in Waco, TX has been charged with theft by deception for lying about having cancer in order to raise money for breast enlargement surgery.

Authorities say Trista Jay Lathern spent $10,000 raised during a benefit in her honor on a boob job. Lathern went as far as shaving her head in an effort to look more like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Ooo, a method actor.

Lathern is alleged to have wanted the impants to try to save her seven month marriage.

A case where the ends, however noble and spectacular, do not justify the means.

What I Wish My Videos Looked and Sounded Like

Check out Alfonzo Rachel's latest PJTV effort. Three minutes that every Republican ought to watch, and ought to appreciate.

KSM et al To Be Tried In Civilian Courts in NYC

I guess you could see this one coming, given statements the President has made and the waffling, unimpressive performance of his Attorney General thus far. Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his gang of merry men are going to be tried in the civilian criminal justice system in New York. Word is that all five of these miscreants will be tried together, and that prosecutors are likely to seek the death sentence.

We've talked here about "alternative futures"; that is, the strategic planning technique of looking at a number of "realities" that may develop, and then thinking about how one would react to those futures. I think some "alternative futures" thinking is in order here.

Firstly, I think the most likely outcome of this trial is that it will be 1) long 2) a circus 3) a proxy for Democrat/Obama retributive behavior toward the Bush Administration and 4) fatal to KSM and probably at least one or two others (as in, they will be convicted and they will earn the death penalty.

But let's think about another alternative future, shall we? Let's think about a future in which KSM gets off--not fully, of course, but winds up guilty of some crime other than one that earns him a one-way ticket to his 76 virgins. Can you imagine the political blow-back that will accrue to the Obama Administration if that is the case? Is this likely? N0t nearly as likely as the scenario described above, but MY GOD, how ruinous it would be if it were to come to pass.

Let's get one thing straight--military commissions, held in Guantanamo, could have worked. The Congress--working closely with the Justice Department and the DoD--could have created a military commissions framework in which these fellows could easily have been tried--one that would have passed Supreme Court muster and one in which the circus that will surely come would have been minimized. But no-- now the trial will become at least partially a trial of the Bush Administration--and a casualty of that process could be justice. Once this trial becomes focused on "waterboarding", all bets will be off and Katy bar the door.

Finally--these men are not criminals. They were unlawful combatants who perpetrated an act of war upon the United States of America. Trying them in our criminal justice system is a miscarriage of justice, and extends unto each one of them any and all liberties enjoyed by every American citizen when he or she steps into a courtroom. This is not the way it should be.

UPDATE: A nicely done editorial from NRO

Friday, November 13, 2009

A New Recommended Site

So yesterday I was at a business function and I had the opportunity to speak with a very bright woman, but I was unable to comprehend exactly what it was that she did for a living (though she did explain it).

So when I got home last night, I Googled her to see if I could get a better handle on it, and lo and behold, I found that she has a blog. Not only a blog--but a very literate, funny, and CONSERVATIVE blog.

So I am happy to introduce you to Pied Patter--The Iterate Ramblings of a Brilliant Mind.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

I'm not even gonna get on the scale today. It's been ridiculously rainy and cold, my running has suffered, I ate a chinese food dinner and a pizza dinner this week--I think I'll just put this off until next week.

But I will NOT put off BFFFFA!

What's on your mind people? Are there any subjects that you're dying to share? What's got your attention these days?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We're Doomed, Exhibit #27a

Clothes shopping circa 1959...

Clothes shopping circa 2009...

Which way are we evolving again?

Jonah Goldberg is Wrong--Islam IS The Problem (sort of)

I think Jonah Goldberg is the smartest guy on our team--he's witty, self-effacing, and ridiculously well-educated. I agree with him almost all the time, and his mention of this blog on National Review Online was a huge deal.

Jonah's got a column up at NRO, and then a few blog posts that follow. In this work, Goldberg attempts to take on the difficult questions raised most recently by the terrorist acts at Fort Hood--and whether, as some on the Right would have us believe, Islam itself is "the problem". Goldberg ultimately believes that "The problem with formulating a serious public policy based on the assertion that Islam is the problem is that you guarantee Islam become even more of a problem. It's a bit like Schrodinger's cat. Right now Islam is both problem and solution. If we decide on one, we foreclose the possibility of the other." While evincing a genuine respect for those who do feel "...that Islam is, if not the problem, then at least it is a major problem", he ultimately believes that the more we focus on this as a problem with Islam, the more likely we are to push moderate Muslims into the Jihadist camp.

As I read through Jonah's work yesterday, I was reminded of an exchange I had during a weekend foreign policy seminar a few years ago, in which a pretentious French (but I repeat myself) academic apologist for world Islam was lecturing us on the folly of our policies. In an exchange, I opined that we had not sufficiently focused on Islam itself as the major contributor to extremism--to which he answered with a great dismissive laugh, "ha, ha, ha--would would you do, kill a billion Muslims in order to eliminate the problem." "No", I answered. "I actually don't remember us killing a whole lot of Russians in winning the Cold War. We exposed the emptiness of their ideas--this was the path to victory."

So I was somewhat interested in this part of Goldberg's analysis:

The problem with the Communism analogy is that Communism really was a novel and artificial imposition on society. You could appeal to Ukrainians as Ukrainians in an effort to get them to reject Communist ideology. The rhetoric of freedom had salience both as an appeal to individualism but also to national and cultural self-determination (we didn't call them "captive nations" for nothing). Islam isn't like that, at least not in most places (one exception that comes to mind is Iran where a Persian, nationalist, identity seems to many to be as authentic as the post-revolutionary ideology that rules the country now). In most Islamic countries, Islam isn't a foreign ideology imposed by revolutionaries from within or without. Islam is central to the culture, integral to their identity. Only a relative handful of Russians took great offense when you insulted Marxism, because Marxism was never central to the Russian identity. Indeed, my hunch is that at least in the years between Stalin's death and 1989, you were more likely to invite a punch in the nose from a typical Russian by insulting Tolstoy than by insulting Marx.

Jonah makes excellent points here about the NATURE of Communism and the NATURE of Islam. I agree--there are differences. Where he and I part company is in the IMPACT that such differences have on OUR approach to dealing with them as threats. Fear of radicalizing moderate Islam is insufficient reason for holstering one's rhetorical and ideological weapons, as it is this great mass in the middle that supplies the tacit support for and economic funding to--radical Islam. Without moderate Islam--there is no radical Islam.

So when I say that Islam IS the problem, I mean that the great mass of Muslims in the world who go about their business every day living their ordinary lives--but who nod their heads in agreement at every Tel Aviv pizza parlor bombing and who cheer the actions of Major Hassan. Some say that these reactions aren't Islam per se, but are more POLITICAL reactions to world and social events. I'd like to believe that is the case, but I am unpersuaded, especially given the propensity of moderate Muslims to mention religion in their implicit or explicit defense of these actions.

Others say that identifying Islam as the problem is a misreading of the basic tenets of a great religion--I say this isn't a theological debate, it is an existential struggle, brought about by a radical desire of a thin slice of modern Islam to re-establish a Caliphate. If--as defenders of Islam would have us believe--much of the modern rhetoric of Islamic extremism is inconsistent with Islam--then it is the responsibility of moderate Islam to cleanse itself of not only the rhetoric but of the impulse to support extremism. And, it is not only reasonable for US policy to strive to bring about this internal debate--it is ultimately likely to be the most successful path to settling this dustup on terms agreeable to the West AND to Islam.

So when I say that "Islam IS the Problem", I mean to be specific in defining "the problem". The problem to me is the great heat sink of support that moderate Islam provides radical Islam, and the rhetoric of religious unity and purity in which it is wrapped. There may be nothing wrong with Islam AS A RELIGION--but in its modern cultural expression, it is flawed--and focusing on it as "the problem" or "a big part of the problem" seems prudent to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

It is a good thing for us to spend a day thinking about the sacrifices made to make this land free. I think today about my Dad, the guy whose three years in the Navy created my 21. I think about LCDR Pat Dunn, a helluva propulsion engineer, a damn fine friend and a victim of the attack on the Pentagon. I think about the attack on the USS STARK on the day before I was commissioned in the Navy, and the men killed mostly while they slept.

I think about seemingly endless mid-watches in CIC with a truly great Naval Officer and an even better friend--known to many of you as Mudge. I think about the daily, unremitting pressure of working in the rare air of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the constant competence married to intellect and humor that was and is---Sally. I think about the early days on the ship that couldn't shoot straight, and the wonderful twenty-plus year friendship that came from that tour with BigFred.

I think today about what a sublime honor it was to command a destroyer, and how painlessly easy a job it was--not because of any great skill or talent I possessed--but because I had the good fortune of great mentors in life who taught me the value of setting the tone and then getting out of the way. I think today how fortunate I am that a ridiculous number of my "Facebook Friends" are Sailors who served with me in BULKELEY, who take great pride in our ship and who love to tell me about it.

I think about Kegger, Gordo, Butthead, and Vork. I think of Main Pecker, Jim Gannon, and the Ops Officer who got seasick virtually every day.

I think today about families around the country who miss their sons and daughters; some hoping that they'll come home soon and some because they know they never will.

I think today about the Navy SEAL I had a meeting with last week, honorably holding down a Pentagon nut-roll job all the while knowing that he'd rather be out there somewhere in the suck doing things that SEALS do. I am thankful that we have men like him. I could become distraught if I began to think of an America without them.

I think about a Marine Major I know whose safety I pray for more than any other husband of a former girlfriend I have.

I think about the miserable winter of 1777 at Valley Forge when the nation could have been stillborn but a great man kept it all together. I think about the better than half-a-million men killed to deliver on the promise made in 1776 yet delayed four score and seven years.

I think of the Rangers at Pont-du-Hoc; of the Marines at Fallujah, of the Navy at Leyte, of the Air Force over Hanoi. I think of the fights we've been in and the reasons we've been in them. I marvel that there are people in the world ignorant enough to believe that Americans have any real desire to be fighting in their shithole backyards.

But most of all, right about now I'm thinking about the thousands of Americans spread out around the world--Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Europe, Africa, at sea--allowing us to sleep soundly whilst they stand ready to visit violence upon those who would do us harm (Orwell). I am proud of them, and I am grateful to them.

A Stimulant To Stimulate The Stimulus

Keith Hennessey has picked up on an observation made by Stuart Varney over at Fox News the other day that President Obama appears to be planning additional stimulus on top of the $787 billion measure he signed last March. Varney bases his assertion on remarks made by the President last Friday. The money quote:

"We will also build on the measure I signed with further steps to grow our economy in the future. To that end, my economic team is looking at ideas such as additional investments in our aging roads and bridges, incentives to encourage families and businesses to make buildings more energy-efficient, additional tax cuts for businesses to create jobs, additional steps to increase the flow of credit to small businesses, and an aggressive agenda to promote exports and help American manufacturers sell their products around the world."

The implications of this statement are stunning. This is a call for additional spending of money we don't have on top of the trillions we can't pay for (also not inclusive of the $1.5 trillion price tag for health care when all is said and done).

If I was a freshman blue dog in a republican district, I'd be a little nervous.

Nick Gillespie Reminds Us of Government's Reach

Nick Gillespie is one of the heavy hitters at Reason Magazine and Tune into this interesting little video describing the details of a battle between UPS and FEDEX, and how UPS is turning to the Feds (through the Teamsters) to screw FEDEX and raise their labor costs.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Taken For A Ride

Continuing with the Green theme, Chrysler has quietly announced plans to scrap its electric car division - nicknamed ENVI for the environment - and will absorb the design team into its "normal vehicle development program." Read - there won't be an electric car in Chrysler's short- or mid-term future.

Chrysler had touted its electric car technology in its hat-in-hands pitch to the Feds last Winter, and as late as this past August had received $70 million in grants from the US Department of Energy to develop a test fleet of hybrid pickup trucks and minivans.

No word yet from Chrysler on whether it intends to return the grant.

Brits Show Courage On Nuclear Power

If only we'd figure this one out....we're wasting precious time and resources on lots of chickens--t ways to produce energy that simply don't scale up. All the while, we've been doing it right for fifty years by harnessing the power of the atom.

You want reliable? Go nuclear. You want green? Go nuclear. You want to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy? Go nuclear. You want to REALLY be able to take your private transportation fleet electric? Go nuclear.

But no--not here. Not as long as Harry Reid is content to take $800M a year to build out Yucca Mountain while all the while refusing to allow any waste to be stored there (oh, and by the way, what we call waste the French call "fuel"--because they reprocess). We'll continue to pour good money after bad buying up millions of acres of land to dot with windmills and solar panels, instead of citing new reactors on the already approved sites throughout the country.

Our blindness to the benefit here is simply inexplicable.

What Passes For News At The Washington Post

Today, we're treated to this story (news? analysis?--it really isn't clear, at least in the online additions) in which our intrepid reporter (under the subheadline "It's a Grand Old Purging...") recounts the inside story of Dede Scozzafava's withdrawl from NY 23.

It really is part of the narrative that Ms. Scozzafava--who "fava's" 1) card check 2) gay marriage 3) the stimulus 4) Obamacare and 5) is married to a union organizer--was a "moderate" Republican. This is hogwash--the woman was a liberal, pure and simple. There is little or nothing but political opportunism in her choice of the Republican Party--as the district had previously been solidly Republican for decades.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where Were You When The Wall Came Down?

Tigerhawk's got this question on his site, and it made me think about it. You see, unlike a good deal of my generation, I don't have a very clear memory of this event--a little ironic for a guy so into politics and world affairs, huh?

I will rely on any old shipmates who read this to confirm, but I am almost certain we (the USS MCCANDLESS (FF 1084)) were down in the Caribbean doing Counter-narcotic operations--receiving news of this great miracle by naval message/news service every few hours. The iconic photos, the video--I saw none of it.

Where were you? What were you thinking? Do tell!

Who Really Brought the Wall Down

It was the Hoff...

You know it to be true.

Whatever Obama and Pelosi Do Will Be Good

No, I haven't lost my mind.

Had occasion to spend some time with some more liberal friends this past Sunday. Both are urbane, worldly, graduate school educated folks who have, in the past, exhibited an intellectual curiosity about life that has weighed heavily in my calculus to maintain friendships with them. Yesterday, they demonstrated a complete abdication of civic responsibility that strained credulity and those bonds of friendship. Despite having previously given health care reform as a major reason for supporting President Obama's candidacy, both were surprised to see that the House had passed "something" on health care. Not it had passed, but that there had a been a big debate about it until midnight. "Was it any good?" Naturally, I responded that from where I sat, "no." Then I asked the logical question, "But if health care reform was one of the main reasons for your support, shouldn't you at least be interested in the details?" No answer. They, of course, were dismayed to hear about the Stupak amendment. I said a quick serenity now under my breath and changed the topic so as not to ruin my Sunday.

I have no illusions about the useful idiots*, but this exchange got me to wondering how many of the supposedly informed liberal voters have essentially handed over the reins to their folks and assume that everything is going to work out for the better. Trust, but verify. Maybe because Reagan said it, they've categorically dismissed it as bad advice.

*used by both sides

Ronald Reagan At The Wall

No less effective than the trumpets at Jericho--"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

No Terrorism Here, Move Along

The world's first vicitim of Pre-Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome ('cause that's really the only rational explanation for Nidal Hassan's act) is reported to have tried to make contact with Al Qaeda. Not that he's a terrorist or anything.

Tunku Varadarajan on "Going Muslim"

Maybe it was a coincidence that this Maj. Hasan is Muslim and that he executed his fellow soldiers. We'll find out in due time. Nonetheless, this politically correct overcompensation to avoid even the slightest consideration that his actions, if not born completely from his religion, may have been significantly influenced by the more radical elements in it, is ridiculous. Mr. Varadarajan at Forbes agrees.

A Little Reminder from Instapundit

Sure do.

H/T: Instapundit

Martin Feldstein and Perverse Incentives

A great column here by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, laying out for us why Obamacare's insistence on guaranteeing insurance to those even WITH pre-existing conditions provides a perverse incentive to drop healthcare altogether. A rational, healthy young person would be a fool to buy healthcare--pay cash for doctor's visits and if something catastrophic comes up, why, no insurance company will be able to turn you down. Fine them, you say? Fines in the current bills still provide our fine young cannibal with over $360 a month in extra walking-around money.

Hat Tip: Greg Mankiw

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Great Autumn Day

I'll get back to Pelosi care tomorrow morning, but for now, I'll just think about the perfect Fall day we had today. Our farmer was out and took down 60 acres of soy beans--when the combine was headed in the other the direction, the girls climbed up on the truck to consider jumping into the carnival-like bean ocean.

We went for our first farm-stomp of the fall, back through the woods and along the stream. Lots of deer out and about, and the fields will be teeming with them over the next few days as they find the soybeans the farmer left behind.

Never fear Mudge, I obtained my Virginia out of state hunting license today, the waterfowl stamp should be in the mail, and I got my HIP number--so hunting trip #2 can proceed to the planning stage.

A good day indeed.

What's In A Name?

From the New York Times, reporting on President Obama's effort to rally House Democrats in advance of yesterday's health care vote:

Mr. Obama, during his private pep talk to Democrats, recognized Mr. Owens election and then posed a question to the other lawmakers. According to Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who supports the health care bill, the president asked, "Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care? All it will do is confuse and dispirit" Democratic voters "and will encourage the extremists."

It would appear now that even The One is using sexual slang to marginalize dissenting opinion.

Does this mean people can now start referring to the anti-Prop 8 crowd as "c**ksuckers" without reprisal?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Second Law of Freedomdynamics

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Two years prior, President Reagan made his famous "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech in which he also stated after noting that it was the 22nd anniversary of JFK's visit to Berlin and that three American presidents since had visited:

"We come to Berlin, we American presidents, because it's our duty to speak in this place of freedom."

Well, there is already ample critique (and interesting defense) of our current American President's view of that "duty" and while I certainly have my own strong opinion on the matter, I am, rather, writing this because of the article I read today about witnesses to the fall of the wall recollecting their experiences of that day and night. I remember that day, watching from home, having recently returned from a deployment that included a port visit to the USSR, in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula where a year before, the Soviets rammed one of our guided-missile cruisers in international waters of the Black Sea. What I was watching on TV had to be the beginning of the end of the C0ld War and I still recall how privileged I felt to witness this transformation of freedom that was about to impact the globe. In the article, a former US Soldier reflected on the inability of the East German border guards to process the crowds of people seeking to pass through the checkpoints:

"Restrictions had been loosening for weeks as Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans and other captive people streamed out of Eastern Europe to freedom in the West. After several weeks of unrest in East Germany, officials there announced that all citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. "As soon as the East Germans made the announcement, thousands of people came down to the wall in both the East and West," Anderson said. “We weren’t sure what was happening. "In the East, the border guards at first were pushing people back, they were trying to check identity cards,” he continued. “But then the pressure became just too much, and they just let people stream through. When they met West Berliners, it was the start of the most joyous celebration I have ever seen.” The first wave of people came at night, and thousands more came the next day. People climbed atop the wall, and East German border guards finally knocked a hole in it to ease transit, Anderson said. Tens of thousands of people drank champagne and threw flowers. U.S. soldiers just waved everybody through. "We were as happy as they were," he said.

In thermodynamics, the second law dictates that heat cannot flow from a colder medium to a warmer one. I wonder, is there anyone alive who really believes that all this historic outpouring of international joy being remembered as we approach the "fall of the wall", was because the free people in the west now had the opportunity to become communists?

Party Purges on the Left

Lots of kvetching in the media these days about evil, horrible conservatives trying to boil out nice, reasonable moderates from the Republican Party. Seems that the strategy is also at work on the left, as looks to fund primary challengers to any Democrat who opposes healthcare legislation.

Libertarians vs. Neo-conservatives

Maybe a little wonky for general discussion, but I am fascinated by fissures on the right--not in the way the New York Times or Rachel Maddow is, mind you, but from the standpoint of organization theory and team dynamics.

Libertarians simply can't stand neo-conservatives. Here's a taste of that view from the founder of The Cato Institute, Washington's premier Libertarian think tank. Titled "The GOP Should Dump The Neocons", the main point here is that neo-conservatism's supposed happiness with big government and foreign policy adventurism really rankles Libertarians.

On the other side, I don't find myself seeing Neo-conservatives making a big a fuss over Libertarians. I think most actually admire Libertarianism, though they have come to conclude that Libertarianism is at best an alloying ideology, not sufficient on its own as a governing instrument.

I'm inclined to think that the successful movement will blend some of neo-conservatism's sense of American exceptionalism with some of libertarianism's mistrustful view of government. There's a certain intellectual contradiction at work in libertarianism's focus on individual freedom and liberty stopping at the 12 mile line off this nation's shores--of that I am certain.

No Thanks, I Just Lost My Appetite

Iron Chef America has announced a surprise ingredient that I just can't stomach.

The Decline of Law and Order

For years, Law and Order has been one of the few really great shows out there (along with Top Chef). Anyone else like it?

Or rather, does anyone else STILL like it? This year's season premiered with an episode about torture ordered by the Bush Administration, with Sam Waterston uttering the line 'it's about time someone prosecuted them.' Thanks for your subtlety. MESSAGE: someone needs to go after the last administration.

Last night featured back-to-back episodes. The first one featured a subplot about the police chief suffering through chemo treatments. Her son and husband encourage marijuana use to get through it, and she resists, citing her role as police chief. But she clearly succumbs, as her own superior at the Department takes her aside later and tells her he smells pot on her-and passes her some breath mints and a card with how to discreetly get more pot. MESSAGE: marijuana must be legalized.

The topper, though, was last night's second episode. A woman is killed because she stumbles on to the truth about an expensive drug with few actual benefits but that is a cash cow for big pharma. So big pharma becomes a pinata for all of the actors, with Sam Waterston uttering another gem: 'and this is why we can't get a health care plan passed in this country.' MESSAGE: insurance companies evil and the roadblock to progress.

I don't know how the last episode turned out, because we turned off the TV at the healthcare plan comment, and I sent a note to NBC saying we were done watching this show until they dropped the political agenda. I'm longing for the Fred Thompson/Jerry Ohrbach episodes and wondering why I can't even enjoy a favorite TV show with some sort of point being made.
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