Friday, August 26, 2005
You see, I moved into a new house recently. It's a great house in most of the particulars, including the grounds. The one major problem that has become the object of my own personal jihad is the thistle, cockleburr and other assorted noxious, #*)(*#$&@)(*&!!! pests of the flora variety.
I started out by going around and pulling the things out by the roots. They were 6+ feet tall when we closed, across the entire yard. I suspect the dirt they used around the foundations when filling in was contaminated with thistle seed, but whatever the case the stuff was thick. Sort of like Iraq and its environs before the invasion. Lots of bad guys from wall to wall, and they pretty much had the run of the place. Oh, sure, Europe and others tut-tutted, but they weren't going to be bothered with cleaning it up. Wasn't their problem. My neighbors called the city, too, but nothing got done really.
Then I (the marines) came in. I had my weapons, like gloves (body armor), muscle (tanks) and roundup (munitions). I first went across the entire yard and pulled out the major bad boys until there was more grass than thistle (invaded and kicked the Baathists out of power). Then I've continued to pick and/or roundup every thistle I see on a near-daily basis (grind down the insurgency).
I (the marines) can't quit, though. If I (the marines) quit now and pack it in, there are still a few shoots (baathists) that can multiply and grow out of control. However, if I (the marines) keep at it long enough, there will be a point where there are no shoots (terrorists) left to keep surprising me (the marines).
Of course, even if you eradicate weeds (terrorists) entirely from your yard and the area around it (Iraq and surrounding area), it can blow back in on the wind. All it needs is fertile ground (non-hostile environment), water (money), time, and the will to live and grow. But if you keep at it long enough to fully eradicate the problem, any recurrence from the vagaries of the wind tends to be minor and is fairly easily controlled if you stay on it and don't give it a chance to develop a root system.
Yeah. I like that. I'm a
I especially like Arthur's link to the perfect example of why reporters and newspaper editors are such lying, two-faced skunk-weasels:
Colonel Thomas Spoehr is annoyed with New York Times reporter Michael Moss, for what I think is a good reason.
Spoehr is the director of materiel for the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story.
Here is the story as Spoehr tells it:
Last year, senior leaders of the Army became aware of technological developments which make it possible to improve the "Interceptor" body armor worn by our troops.
Only read the rest if you're a lefty moonbat or you don't have health issues that will be negatively affected by high blood pressure. The military has done some bad things in its time, but it also has a lot of nasty tricks played on it by the media.
It makes me categorically disbelieve ANY of the nasty things the media has said about it in the past. As of right now, I refuse to believe, hollywood notwithstanding, that there were widespread incidents of "destroying the village to save it", rapes, murders, etc. in Vietnam. The only major incident I know of personally that has been verified by somebody other than a dork sitting in the air conditioning of a hotel is My Lai. As far as I'm concerned, until somebody other than a media type, or somebody depending on media types for their info can show me different, the rest of the media's storyline on Vietnam is a load of crap, and all of it put together is not worth the info I got once from a man who was a sniper there. Horse's mouth is the only way to go when you can get it. And that's a large part of what blogs are about.
UPDATE: And another one from the "Paper of Record". There's no depth too low for the NYT, apparently. Are they trying to patent the Dowdification process or something?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The Turkish interrogators in Istanbul's high-security prison wanted to be polite; they wanted to show respect for Islam. They offered their prisoner, an Islamist named Luai Sakra, 31, a chance to pray during a pause in questioning.
They'd done the same thing with earlier suspects. The move was supposed to establish trust.
But this prisoner reacted a bit differently. "I don't pray," Sakra answered politely, "and I like alcohol." When the baffled officials didn't want to believe him, he elaborated: "Especially whiskey and wine."
It wasn't the only surprise the Syrian-born suspect presented to investigators. Turkish anti-terror officials held the suspected al-Qaida member for four days. Just after his arrest two weeks ago, Sakra admitted to planning strikes against Israeli cruise ships; he hoarded 750 kilograms of explosives for the purpose. When some of those explosives went up in flames in his Antalya apartment, he fled.
What Sakra told officials during his interrogation suggests a deep jihadist career. The Syrian, who knows weapons as well as he knows his whiskey and wine, has obviously played a far more important role in the terrorist underground than officials first suspected. According to his own testimony, he knew about the London bombings before they happened, and supported the pilots on 9/11.
They say many of the biggest terrorists are the ones you don't hear much about. My antennae are twitching with this one.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
An interesting article on the minds of suicide bombers... a quote from Dr. Theodore Dalrymple, a psychiatrist who works in a British prison;
For example, a Muslim rapist I know wanted to become a suicide bomber, having become convinced that the West was rotten to the core, deficient in moral worth, because it took the word of a mere woman against his.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Let me see if I've got this right. You see, I live in a country where everything is based on the Koran, it's ruled more by Imams and Religious Policemen than by the nominal "King"; to see what that means in practice, just keep on reading this blog to find out. To the south is Yemen, where the standard fashion accessory is the AK47, and it makes the Wild West look like the Regency Tea Rooms in Bath, England. To the east is a collection of minor Sheikdoms that are relatively liberal, but too small to have any influence. Further east we've got Pakistan that is only prevented from becoming an Islamic Republic by the will-power of its lonely President, and Afghanistan, say no more. To the north-east we've got Iran, with a new super-conservative-Muslim President who's going to make his own nuclear weapon, which he'll no doubt call "Allah's Bomb".
And now, Messrs B, B and B, you're going to allow the previously-secular Iraq, our northern neighbour, to turn into yet another Islamic Republic paradise. And where will they get their inspiration from? From the Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of course. They'll feed off us, and we'll feed off them, in a never-ending competition to be the nastiest, most repressive, most intolerant, and most stupid theocracy in the entire world.
Yesterday I wrote a note to the state department letting my displeasure at their performance in this Iraq constitution matter be known in terms pungent enough that I had to tone down the draft before sending so it had some chance of not being dismissed as a crank. I suggest anyone who reads this do the same.
UPDATE: forgot link.
Well, he messed up. Bad. You'll see. You may have heard of the murder of Steven Vincent in Iraq. He was one of the select few anti-idiotarian journalists covering events there; one of the few with guts enough to get out of his hotel and go around talking to Iraqis and reporting what's actually going on.
This was unacceptable to Cole, who went on the attack in a manner of which high-school gossip columnist Maureen Dowd would be most proud:
Was American journalist Steve Vincent killed in Basra as part of an honor killing? He was romantically involved with his Iraqi interpreter, who was shot 4 times. If her clan thought she was shaming them by appearing to be having an affair outside wedlock with an American male, they might well have decided to end it. In Mediterranean culture, a man's honor tends to be wrought up with his ability to protect his womenfolk from seduction by strange men. Where a woman of the family sleeps around, it brings enormous shame on her father, brothers and cousins, and it is not unknown for them to kill her. These sentiments and this sort of behavior tend to be rural and to hold among the uneducated, but are not unknown in urban areas. Vincent did not know anything serious about Middle Eastern culture and was aggressive about criticizing what he could see of it on the surface, and if he was behaving in the way the Telegraph article describes, he was acting in an extremely dangerous manner.
Vincent's wife responds with claws unsheathed:
Mr. Cole -
(I refuse to call you professor, because that would ennoble you. And please change the name of your blog to "Uninformed Comment", because that is precisely what the above paragraph is.)
I would like to refute this shameful post against a dead man who can no longer defend himself against your scurrilous accusations, a dead man who also happened to be my husband. Steven Vincent and I were together for 23 years, married for 13 of them, and I think I know him a wee bit better than you do.
Yes, Steven was aggressive in criticizing what he saw around him and did not like. It's called courage, and it happens to be a tradition in the history of this country. Without this tradition there would have been no Revolutionary War, no Civil War, no civil rights movement, no a lot of things that America can be proud of. He had made many friends in Iraq, and was afraid for them if the religious fundamentalists were given the country to run under shari'a. You may dismiss that as naive, simplistic, foolish, but I say to you, as you sit safely in your ivory tower in Michigan with nothing threatening your comfy, tenured existence, that you should be ashamed at the depths to which you have sunk by libeling Steven and Nour. They were on the front lines, risking all, in an attempt to call attention to the growing storm threatening to overwhelm a fragile and fledgling experiment in democracy, trying to get the world to see that all was not right in Iraq. And for their efforts, Steven is dead and Nour is recuperating with three bullet wound in her back. Yes, that's right - the "honorable" men who abducted them, after binding them, holding them captive and beating them, set them free, told them to run - and then shot them both in the back. I've seen the autopsy report.
Oh, dear lord, READ IT ALL. I've rarely seen a bigger hole ripped in a self-satisfied, sanctimonious and odious academic. A delicious sight to behold. My deepest sympathies, as well as my profound respect, go to Mrs. Lisa Ramaci-Vincent, who is clearly a lady to contend with even as she grieves.
Monday, August 22, 2005
It's real, people:
Rockets are getting us nowhere fast. Since the dawn of the space age, the way we get into space hasn't changed: we spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on a rocket whose fundamental operating principle is a controlled chemical explosion. We need something better, and that something is a space elevator—a superstrong, lightweight cable stretching 100 000 kilometers from Earth's surface to a counterweight in space. Roomy elevator cars powered by electricity would speed along the cable. For a fraction of the cost, risk, and complexity of today's rocket boosters, people and cargo would be whisked into space in relative comfort and safety.
Read the article. This is a bonafide idea that actual people are working on...current rocket technology should be confined to weapons systems and space demolition. I've begun to believe that a REAL oil shock, like $200 per barrel, might finally get people's heads out of their rears and thinking about things like this, and better batteries, and how to convert solar energy to hydrogen better and so forth.
It's time to take the next step as a species and figure out how we're going to sustain the kind of life we want. Oil won't do that forever, and the environmentalists aren't helping anybody or anything with their current insanity. Ideas like this need to be thought through and, when we get it figured out, exploited to their fullest potential. The best is yet to come.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
In a surprising role reversal, Hollywood is about to deliver bad news to the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and, to a lesser extent, other big-city dailies around the country. Every major movie studio is rethinking its reliably humongous display ad buys in those papers because those newsosaur readers are, to quote one mogul, “older and elitist” compared to younger, low-brow filmgoers — so it makes no sense to waste the dough.
Wait, it gets worse: I’ve learned that at least two Hollywood movie studios have decided to drastically cut their newspaper display ads as soon as possible.
This news couldn’t occur at a worse time for the LAT and NYT, which both receive the lion’s share of those very showy $100,000-plus full-page after full-page movie display ads. At Spring Street, editor Dean Baquet just moved into the power office on Monday, and publisher Jeff Johnson only took over his hot seat on June 1. In Times Square, culture editor Sam Sifton has barely put his stamp on the section since assuming the post in May. Now comes a body blow to their beefed-up cultural coverage.
Okay, my circuits are overloading with instantly-appearing ideas about why this might be.
First, the LAT and NYT suck. I'm sure there's a few head-in-the-sand die-hard liberals who love their coverage. They have a 0% slice of the conservative pie except for bloggers who love to slice and dice their editorials and point out how their editorials often directly contradict their news sections. For God's sake, the NYT has Maureen Dowd and Paul freakin' Krugman as their flagship columnists.
Next, have you seen a theater marquis in the last couple of years? It looks like a cross between the TV rerun lineup I used to watch when I got home from grade school and the lineup I got to watch on Saturday mornings. Bewitched, Scooby Doo (2 times!), Starsky & Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard, Brady Bunch (again twice!) and the list rolls on. You know it's only a matter of time before Jessica Simpson will star in I Dream of Jeanie. With that kind of lineup, old DVDs of cheesy Sci-Fi and Horror flicks a la Mystery Science Theater start looking really like a really competitive option for my entertainment dollar. Where's the new When Harry Met Sally? What happened to the glory days of movies that you hadn't already seen before they wrote the script?
I'm not surprised that an industry whose cartoons far surpass their regular product is having trouble coming up with ad money. Not at all.
UPDATE: Oh, holy crap, I just checked on a hunch. Jessica will be getting a call if she hasn't already, most likely.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I guess there's a little trouble in the workers' paradise. Though, one of the commenters draws a historical comparison that I hadn't really considered and that bears careful watching:
If I recall history correctly, one of Japan's main motivations for its aggression that promulgated WWII in the Pacific was grabbing oil and gas fields to meet the needs of its energy-starved nation. Today we have China's booming economy leading to energy demands that it cannot meet. Add the concept that one way to quell internal unrest is to foster patriotism by channeling your country's emotions and energy against some perceived foreign threat, as Iran did against "The Great Satan" to counter dissatisfaction with the mullahs, and you have an increasingly toxic situation on the mainland. There have been recent stories about China's dramatic military build-up, some of which apparently caught U.S. China-watchers by surprise. It makes you wonder what they're up to.
Just a cautionary thought. Not a very pleasant one, though.
Wow. How do you suppose the antiwar crowd would react if it wasn't just Over There? Bombers over Honolulu? Or LA? That prospect sort of makes the Iraq thing look like an insignificant skirmish.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
It's hard to know which version is the correct one. I don't put a lot of faith in British news organizations of course, especially when they get a whiff of something that they might be able to twist into racism, but there seems to be a very clear-cut difference between the two versions of this story. I'd like to see the footage they're talking about, hear the police response, and judge for myself.
I really don't trust ANY media to do my thinking for me anymore. I wish they'd stop trying to "frame the issue" and just give me the goddamn facts already.
LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?
CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.
This is a theme I keep seeing over and over and over again, over the last couple of YEARS. The only reason I know anything AT ALL about afghanistan other than the occasional bomb exploding or helicopter being shot down is because of Chrenkoff with his wonderful Afghanistan series and those like him.
The blogosphere, or at least the Right side of it, is alive with reports of great things happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don't read or hear boo about any of that in the MSM. And yet I overheard a couple of people I don't even know the other day talking about how well it's going in Iraq (one of them apparently had a relative or friend serving there) and why don't they see or hear any of the great things in the news that they hear regularly from the horse's mouth?
The media managed to lose for us the only war we've ever really lost ("the war is now unwinnable"). That worked well when the media wanted us to lose and there weren't inconvenient things like cell phones and blogs to muddy the waters and spoil their plans. This time around, it's not going to their plan, and I get the feeling they don't like it or know what to do about it.
I was screaming for war in the case of Afghanistan. Lefty straw-men about 9/11 and WMD aside, I was foursquare behind war against the old Iraq regime on other grounds (though I still haven't ruled out a Hussein connection with either 9/11 OR WMD, preferring to let history tell its own tale). As far as I'm concerned, withdrawal is not an option until the job is done, and then it becomes job one. NOT BEFORE. Or the 1800+ brave men that have died in that conflict sacrificed everything for nothing.
One other note: these jihadis know the smell of things like fear and defeat. If they smell it on us, you'd better not get any ideas about just pulling up stakes in Iraq and our troops coming home to live happily ever after. There will be a short time of regrouping and resupplying, and then the bombs will start in earnest, only this time they will blow up grandma while she's waiting for a bus in Phoenix, or little Billy and all his classmates riding a schoolbus in Dubuque, or Linda and a two hundred others as she's riding the commuter train from Washington to New York.
Our defenses against this kind of thing are mostly a joke, given the PC atmosphere that prevails right now (that'll change with the first bombs and the Muslims that aren't slaughtered by "vigilantes" will be rounded up and detained or deported, but the first bombs will succeed). The ONLY thing that has prevented that sort of thing so far is that there is a perfectly good place in their own backyard to go and blow themselves up.
Take away that, and they'll be coming here sooner or later. Unless we thrash them, and they are seen by the world to be thrashed and are either dead or know themselves to be thrashed. That's our hope, and we're winning. No turning back now.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Saturday, August 13, 2005
As soon as I can afford it (about a year or two, if the plan works out), I'm going to get one of those hybrids and figure out how this guy rigged his car to be able to plug it in, and then I'm going to religiously plug it in EVERY SINGLE night. It's time for each of us to do WHATEVER we can to stop shipping our hard-earned cash to the middle east. Maybe we'll suddenly see a drop in the seemingly endless amount of financial support on the part of religious and political zealots for those who are killing our troops. Plus, I'm guessing it would be a net gain on my pocketbook. I can get behind that as well.
In the chain of events that followed 9/11, the news media put an almost immediate and voluntary blackout on the audio and video recordings of that horrible morning. That's the only way they could smoke-screen the public while putting their full effort behind pressuring our leaders not to respond except to send grief counsellors to the victims' families and wonder loudly and frequently why they hate us.
Many have argued (without evidence) that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. They may or may not be right. It's immaterial. In at least one important and undeniable respect, Iraq had EVERYTHING to do with 9/11...9/11 showed us what happens when we ignore our enemies and their threats. We ignored Bin Laden and the towers fell, almost bringing our whole economy with them. We had been ignoring Hussein's repeated threats and aggression against the enforcers of the no-fly zones in Iraq. What could they have done if they had had, as every intelligence agency in the world was on record as believing, weapons that could not only destroy a couple of buildings but an entire portion of the city? Millions dead in Manhatten alone.
But my beef right now is with the media. How come we never see even a fleeting glimpse of footage from that morning on the news? Why do I have to go to the internet when I want to be reminded of why it's necessary that we sacrifice our young men and women in places like Afghanistan?
9/11 changed the way I look at the world. I was already moving from liberal to conservative...9/11 just accelerated that process for me. But I was NEVER a foreign policy hawk...quite the opposite. That was because I had no idea that people could want to do such harm to innocent people. Note that in the case of 9/11, it's not that they were aiming for Bush or the pentagon and missed. I would almost even understand the attack against the Pentagon if it weren't for all the innocent people who died on the plane. But those cowards couldn't attack the people they most wanted dead, so they simply killed whoever they could. Like janitors, and waiters, and businessmen, and keyboard jockeys not unlike myself whose vicious crime against Islam was that they showed up for work on time that morning.
And I'm REALLY tired of hearing from people like Bill Maher how "brave" these whackos were/are. They're cowards. They believe the only SURE way to paradise is to kill themselves for their twisted cause. They couldn't live good lives and love people and help people and do the hard work it takes to be the kind of person God would admit into his Presence. No, it's far easier just to learn how to fly a plane, force your way into a cockpit and kill yourself in a completely pain-free way.
They were cowards. Suicide bombers in Iraq, Israel and elsewhere are cowards in exactly the same way. And they won't win in the long run, but they'll cause others a lot of pain and grief before their "cause" is shown to be stupid and they are defeated by men of real courage and honor.
And for that I hate them as I hate no other person living or dead. On the very small chance that I should die in a terrorist attack, I pray to God He gives me a chance to make at least one of them suffer for his cowardice before I die. It's the only way I can conceive of enjoying hurting or killing another human.
I hate them for making me feel that way, too. I always had thought I was better than that. I guess I'm not after all.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
But you don't really hear things like this:
Palestinians abandoned a quest to build the world’s longest sandwich on Wednesday after health officials told them their 750-metre construction risked rotting in the West Bank summer sun.
Hundreds of volunteers spread a 750-metre bun on tables along a dusty roadside in the West Bank city of Jenin, long a hotspot of Israeli-Palestinian violence. But the attempt was called off for health reasons before volunteers got a chance to add 180 kg of mortadella meat, 350 kg of tomatoes and 250 kg of green peppers.
You know August is a slow news month when you get stories like this from the Middle East. And it's DEFINITELY a sign of progress when something goes wrong for the Palestinians and you hear a Pali say something like "There must be a conspiracy against us by other competitors" instead of "It was the Jeeeewwwwwwwwwssssssss!!!!"