Monday, January 31, 2005

Now That's An Impudent Finger!

Go here!

On The Relevance Of The Left

John, from Iberian Notes, gives us the following report:
Get this story from Televisió de Catalunya's website today.

World Social Forum calls two days of demonstrations against the American occupation of Iraq

The World Social Forum has called out to social movements around the world to demonstrate on March 19 and 20 against the American occupation of Iraq. This call was made from Porto Alegre, in Brazil, at the summit of the social movements, where for the last five days representatives from those movements from around the world have been meeting. The World Social Forum will close this Monday with a summary of this convention.
(Read the conclusion here.)

News From Tim Blair

Tim Blair directs us to this description of Condi Rice, which is only slightly more demeaning and racist than the description in an editorial by Mike Carlton from Sydney Morning Herald, given in passing, after he delivers us this gem concerning President Bush:
The little Corsican corporal had a few decent victories to his escutcheon. Lodi, Marengo, that sort of thing. Not so this strutting Texan mountebank, with his chimpanzee smirk and his born-again banalities delivered in that constipated syntax that sounds the way cold cheeseburgers look, and his grinning plastic wife, and his scheming junta of neo-con spivs, shamans, flatterers and armchair warmongers, and his sinuous evasions and his brazen lies, and his sleight of hand theft from the American poor, and his rape of the environment, and his lethal conviction that the world must submit to his Pax Americana or be bombed into charcoal.

Difficult to know what was more repellent: the estimated $US40 million cost of this jamboree (most of it stumped up by Republican fat-cats buying future presidential favours), or the sheer crassness of its excess when American boys are dying in the quagmire of Bush's very own Iraq war.
Tim Blair sums it up well:
That's almost every single anti-Bush cliche in just two paragraphs. Well typed, Mike.
(Read the conclusion here)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Now That's Gun Control

This comes from our friends at ?No Pasaran!.:

This is a picture from an annual Swiss youth shooting competition in Zurich.
That rifle is the SIG Strumgeweher (assault rifle) model 1990 (Stgw 90), a selective fire, 5.6 mm rifle with folding skeleton stock, bayonet lug, bipod, and grenade launcher. The Stgw 90 is a real assault rifle in that it is fully automatic, although that feature is disabled during the competition. Every Swiss man, on reaching age 20, is issued one to keep at home. Imagine all those teenagers firing this real assault rifle while their moms and dads look on with approval, anxiously awaiting the scores.
(Read the conclusion here)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Lest We Forget: Robert Byrd

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Muzzy, of Blogizdat, wrote the following concerning this cartoon:
If you really need to an explanation for Chris Muir's Day By Day cartoon today, please read the article on Senator Byrd from this past Friday's New York Post, as well as this article from 2001 on Senator Byrd by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin.

(If this were a Republican Senator, with the same past, obstructing the confirmation of an eminently qualified African American Female presidential appointment, the other side would have gone berserker. But in this case, they condone what Senator Byrd is doing because there is no low to which they will not sink in their ongoing attempt to harass and embarrass the duly-elected President of these United States. Just remember what I told you during the election campaign: they are the Party of Hate.)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Former President Carter

had no balls, but he did have connections. Drink This... writes about a current "connection" in trouble. (Does anyone remember BCCI?)

On Deck With The Dweebs

I came across this report, while reading The Diplomad, from a Naval Officer on the USS Abraham Lincoln regarding the activities of bureaucrats, politicians, and news crews in the tsunami disaster area. The military - solving problems; bureaucrats, politicians and news crews - creating problems.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hope For 2006

I have memories of a Mark Dayton campaign ad which featured him, in a flannel shirt, walking across a farm yard. His un-natural gait suggested the possibility of a physical disability, or the presence of a fence post inserted rectally. I'm betting on the fence post. This memory came to mind as I listened to quotes from him during his questioning of Condi Rice and statements regarding her in the Senate. Our senior senator has been on his own since the death of Senator Paul Wellstone and has found himself wandering aimlessly through the barren desert that is his own mind. Without the clear guidance of a more gifted politician (and more thoughtful ideologue), the best Senator Dayton can do is start each day with the mantra "What Would Wellstone Do?" Apparently the result of that meditation is a script written by a college sophomore intern. (Question for Senator Dayton: Have you ever read a report from the Senate Intelligence Committee or attended a briefing given to or by that committee?)

On the bright side, we have an election in 2006. Senator Dayton must compete and, evidently, must raise money this time. A blog which is very much on the leading edge in this upcoming election is Dayton v. Kennedy. While I am not yet sure about Kennedy, I am very sure of my desire to replace our current senior Senator. As their masthead says:


Mahjoob Comments On Tsunami Aid

Find the cartoon here. (Hat tip to CaribPundit)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Anti-Americanism Again

John, from Iberian Notes, has a link to a review of Barry and Judith Colp Rubin's book, Hating America: A History. John quotes the final paragraph as a summary, but there are many points in the body well worth reading. The following item caught my eye:
Europeans constantly complained that American women talked too much and didn’t know their place. Some sarcastically referred to the United States as a “paradise for women.”
One European of that era that came to a different conclusion was Alexis de Tocqueville, as quoted by Vishal Mangalwadi in his piece What Made America Greater Than Europe?:
During 1831-32, five decades after the successful American Revolution and four decades after the failed French Revolution, a French magistrate came to the United States of America on an official visit. He used the occasion for an unofficial investigation into the success and consequence of American democracy, and published his findings in a two-volume classic: Democracy in America. Toward the end of the second volume, Alexis de Tocqueville, says to his European readers,

"I have recorded so many considerable achievements of the Americans, if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women[1]."

[ 1] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, tr. George Lawrence, ed. J. P. Mayer (HarperPerennial, 1988) P.603
(Dr. Mangalwadi develops a theme which ties together America's heritage of Protestant theology, puritan morals and belief in individual liberty, which results in, among other things, relative equality for women.)

In closing:
Nevertheless, Hating America is an otherwise comprehensive guide to the development and spread of yet another paranoid ideology—one they note bears a disquieting similarity to anti-Semitism, its ancient and evil sibling.
If one considers that America has the most clearly Judeo-Christian heritage of any country, it wouldn't seem so odd that anti-Americanism would be so much like anti-Semitism.

See also The Roots Of Anti-Americanism for additional resources.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Dog Ate My Homework!

No, actually BLOGGER ate my post regarding MOB night. At that point I lost the will to live, much less to redo that post. (My wife wanted me to get on with preparing for the project mentioned below.)Go see The Impudent Finger, Solablogola, and Blogizdat regarding the evening. (Lesson re-learned: Save often.) My computer at home will be out of commission for several days while my floors are being refinished. Thus, posting will be light (instead of the normal "lightweight") for about a week. This post is coming from my work computer, a situation which is not condusive to any volume of posting (or spell-checking for that matter).

(Correction: The post referred to above is actually immediately below this one with Sunday's date, but not its title. It wasn't there Sunday after I published it, but it did show up Monday. Go figure.)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Spent the evening with Muzzy, the very Impudent Sola-Man and many others at Keegan's Irish Pub in beautiful Northeast Minneapolis for a meeting of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. Muzzy reports (lies) on the evening here , here and here. The Impudent One tells his lies here and here. John from Crazy But Able has photographic evidence (on the main page, but not the permalink) that the above reports are lies. Doug from Belief Seeking Understanding introduced himself and live-blogged on Muzzy's computer. Doug from Bogus Gold stopped by to meet Muzzy. Captain Ed and Mitch Berg were kind enough to say hello. ( Thanks to the Northern Alliance for putting this event together. Thanks to Captain Ed for taking the time to answer my question. Thanks to Keegan's for putting up with us.)) I apologize if I have forgotten anyone. The corned beef and cabbage was excellent. A good time was had by all.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

From The Local Talent

  1. The Impudent One captures a candid moment by Barbara Walters concerning Jimmy Carter's - uh, errr - "performance".
  2. Muzzy ponders the mystery of perfection found on the city bus.
  3. Muzzy plunders his personal past to give us a lesson in values clarification.
  4. Muzzy gives us an insightful tribute on Martin Luther King Day.
  5. And much more.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Not Michael Moore's Big Fat Bodyguard

If you have heard the news story that Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested in New York for carrying an unregistered firearm, read this correction. This story does require commentary on two points.

The first is the obvious hypocrisy of Michael Moore. Given his views on gun ownership, why does he have private bodyguards? (Please note that the letter does not categorically state that Mr. Burk is not currently nor ever has been Mr. Moore's bodyguard. The only uncategorical statements of fact relate to the particular evening of the arrest.) If the local police are good enough for the rest of us, why aren't they good enough for Mr. Moore? Mr. Moore has figured out something the rest of us learned long ago: the police will arrive after the crime has been committed. I live in an inner city neighborhood with a very good (but VERY busy) police force. Ten squad cars will arrive within five minutes of a reported shooting. (I've witnessed this.) For lesser crimes, take a number and get a pot of coffee. The police are generally more helpful than the city or county attorney. Given this, it is rumored that many people in my very liberal neighborhood own firearms. Mr. Moore, give up your (hired) guns!

The second point is that the man arrested seems to have committed no criminal offense. He followed standard practice when traveling with a firearm. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal to fly with a firearm as long as it is properly secured in checked luggage. The airline must be informed of the presence of the firearm, which he did. You are allowed to pass through locales enroute to a destination. (Different rules would apply if he were staying in New York.) He was not carrying his weapon on his person (which he is licensed to do in several states). This sounds like the bad nexus of an ignorant airline staff with an equally ignorant police force. Any criminal charges stemming from this incident (if all the facts are as currently known), could only have a political motivation. I wish Mr. Burk the best and a pox on those who instigated this arrest.

(Hat tip to Tim Blair.)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

If Only The CIA Were That Competent

I read Chrenkoff's piece last night on Sarah Boxer's NY Times article on Ali, formerly of IraqTheModel, now at Free Iraqi. Follow the links, particularly Jeff Jarvis, for much more commentary. Read the comments and note the meme, as Jarvis notes, of this as an entertainment piece. Add to this the Belmont Club. In view of all this, It seems like a good time to launch this on my blog.

Check this out, also. No doubt a CIA operation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

An Analysis Of Cultural Differences Regarding Torture

Chrenkoff ponders cultural differences concerning torture. Evidently it really is more serious to have someone laugh at your mighty sword than to have them cut it off . Read through to the end and follow the link to Tom Heard, who proposes a clever solution to ensure the just treatment of prisoners.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

French Whine And Jeez

?No Pasaran! delivers Confirmed information about France. Read this and this.

Soft-Power Europe

?No Pasaran! reports to us the "Soft-Power" vision of Europe's future. Perhaps we should remove our troops from the Balkans so European "Soft-Power" can maintain peace there. Would someone remind me why we still have troops in Western Europe at this point in time?


Drink This... brings us The fear of God continues with this... After informing us of the latest paranoid screed from CAIR, she summarizes:
So, let's see if I'm straight on this...

The Jews just want to help tsunami survivors regardless of their religion, but have been refused.

The Christians want to ensure the survival of tsunami survivors, regardless of their religion, by providing them aid and in the process want to show muslim survivors an alternative to the "religion of peace."

The Muslims want to ensure the survival of muslim tsunami survivors, as long as help isn't from the hands of infidels or at the risk of the survival of Islam. Allah only knows of their concern for non-muslim survivors.

Heh. Glad I'm not a member of that peaceful religion.
She provides a link to Anti-CAIR.

Here are some sources for additional reading on a lawsuit filed by CAIR against Anti-CAIR: articles on CAIR (Google search of FrontPage Archives)

(You know, that screed from CAIR does not sound all that different from a press release from the Democratic Congressional leadership. Maybe CAIR does have a point.)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Vermont Taken By Storm

The Lefty Yuppies of Vermont have a new source of enlightenment. I found this article while researching the murder of a New Jersey family on the New Jersey Independant Media website. No news or commentary on the hate crime murder, but we do have a report on Air America taking the place of Rush Limbaugh in Vermont. I am sure that Al Franken fits better with their demographic, but conservative talk radio works because it is an alternative, not an echo. The echo chamber just got louder. Howard Dean, call your office.

Yes, It Can Happen Here

UPDATE: Arrest have been made in this case and the suspects apparently had robbery as their motive. Post updated here

Tim Blair points us to a New York Post report concerning the murder of a family of four in New Jersey. From the Post:
Armanious' fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia - who would have turned 16 yesterday. "She was very religious and very opinionated," said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS. A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment.

"When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia," said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore's great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross. (emphasis added)
Chalk one more up for "the Religion of Peace". Or may be a threat followed by a murder is all just an unfortunate coincidence.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Three Out Of Four Ain't Bad

Welcome back Sola-man. And he is back with a bang in a piece entitled Ridley Scott's Rewrite.
Being a fan of Blade Runner, Gladiator and Blackhawk Down, I was looking forward to Ridley Scott's new film, Kingdom of Heaven. Then I found this article from the Telegraph. It sounds like we are going to be assaulted again with another Hollywood revision of history.
Read the rest to find out why Sola reaches this conclusion:
So, "historically accurate" has nothing to do with reporting history factually; it's about rewriting history to make it "fair". I've got news for you, Ridley. History isn't fair. It is what it is what it is.

Friday, January 14, 2005

U.S. Torturers

(From Jonah Goldberg at The Corner via CaribPundit)
After I was captured, my hands were tied behind my back and I was struck repeatedly in the face with an open hand. After enduring the beating I was thrown on the water board, where under questioning the enemy would drown you till the verge of losing consciousness, only to revive you and start all over again. Then a black bag was secured around my head and throat which made it difficult to breathe. I was confined to a three by four foot tiger cage with a coffee can for a toilet. Loud music blared from speakers in the compound and I was repeatedly dragged from my cage for more beatings and interrogation. At night when it was freezing the guards would pour cold water on me. I was deprived of any food for five straight days.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well that is only part of what EVERY U.S. Navy and Air Force pilot and flight crew goes through in survival school. The Army does it for their special forces guys as well. We do this to our own people for training but we can't do it to terrorists? Incredible.
Yes, but do they yell at them and laugh at the size of their units?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Roots of Anti-Americanism

Our friends at ?No Pasaran! give us 250 Years of Anti-Americanism. They direct us to A Geneaology of Anti-Americanism by James W. Ceaser.
America's future will bring the "greatest mediocrity in all fields: mediocrity of physical strength, mediocrity of beauty, mediocrity of intellectual capacities - we could almost say nothingness"
But enough about American public school education!

A Geneaology of Anti-Americanism is well worth the read as it traces the history of the idea of Anti-Americanism. This quote concerning that old fascist Heidegger (They didn't tell you that in Modern Philosophy class!) caught my eye (emphasis added):
America and the Soviet Union comprised, one might say, the axis of evil. But America, in Heidegger's view, represented the greater and more significant threat, as "Bolshevism is only a variant of Americanism." In a kind of overture to the Left after the Second World War, Heidegger spoke of entering into a "dialogue" with Marxism, which was possible because of its sensitivity to the general idea of history. A similar encounter with Americanism was out of the question, as America was without a genuine sense of history. Americanism was "the most dangerous form of boundlessness, because it appears in a middle class way of life mixed with Christianity, and all this in an atmosphere that lacks completely any sense of history." When the United States declared war on Germany, Heidegger wrote: "We know today that the Anglo Saxon world of Americanism is resolved to destroy Europe.... The entry of America into this world war is not an entry into history, but is already the last American act of American absence of historical sense."
(Read the conclusion Here!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chrenkoff's Tsunami Roundup (Hammurabi's Code, Too)

Chrenkoff has an excellent roundup of tsunami news here. (Surprise!, surprise! - The UN is still a bunch of trouser snakes.)

And now for something completely different - Chrenkoff on Hammurabi's Code. (OK, it is actually part 6 of a series by a guest blogger, Dan Foty. Links provided to parts 1 - 5.)

Not The Death Of A Salesman

A man I respected greatly died this weekend. He did not "pass away", but he did "go to a better place". He died at an age when one might expect such a thing, but those who love him cannot believe his time has come. He remained clear minded, wise and full of wit up to his last days.

Dr. Ralph L. Byron, Jr. was a general and oncological surgeon by profession. He leaves many healed bodies as a legacy. But more than that, he was a healer of hearts in the employ of The Greast Physician. That would be his choice as his greatest legacy. He loved those around him - family, friend and stranger, because he loved God first.

Reading a passage he wrote years ago will help you understand this man:
When the alarm went off at 5:30 the next morning, I was really tired. It was much tougher than the first morning.

At the end of two weeks I took inventory. Somehow, after the first two or three days, I seemed to feel wider awake on five hours' sleep than I'd been on six. My work at the hospital had gone well. I decided to continue the prayer time.

Week by week, God was not only becoming real to me, He was becoming the meaning in all reality, and the hour which had started out seeming so long now became more and more precious. My whole life, in fact, was different, and I knew the investment of time was paying off.

Eight months after I began my prayer experiment, I got a call to duty with the Marine Corps. A group of us arrived for basic training at Camp Pendleton. I stood in the door of the barracks looking down the rows of double bunks where 10 doctors and 45 line officers would be sleeping. When and where would I find a quiet hour for prayer?
(Read the conclusion here.)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Mark Steyn On "Why Do We Hate Us?"

Mark Steyn is dead on as usual. Here are some selected quotes:
In fairness to the Saudis, they've just upped their pledge to $US30 million. But for purposes of one final comparison, consider this: a single Saudi telethon in 2002 managed to raise $US56 million. That was for widows and orphans of Palestinian suicide bombers, those deceased as well as those yet to blow. It seems nothing gets the wealthy elite of Riyadh and Jeddah adding the zeroes to the cheques like self-detonating on an Israeli bus.
The path of the tsunamis tracked the arc of the Muslim world, from Sumatra to Somalia; the most devastated country is the world's most populous Muslim nation, and the most devastated part of that country is the one province living under the strictures of sharia.

But, as usual, when disaster strikes it's the Great Satan and his various Little Satans who leap to respond. In the decade before September 11, the US military functioned, more or less exclusively, as a Muslim rapid reaction force - coming to the aid of Kuwaiti Muslims, Bosnian Muslims, Somali Muslims and Albanian Muslims. Since then, with the help of its Anglo-Australian allies, it's liberated 50 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That's not how the West's anti-war movements see it. I found myself behind a car the other day bearing the bumper sticker, "War Is Costly. Peace Is Priceless" - which is standard progressive generic autopilot boilerplate, that somehow waging war and doing good are mutually exclusive. But you can't help noticing that when disaster strikes, it's the warmongers who are also the compassion-mongers. Of the top six donor nations to tsunami relief, four are members of George W. Bush's reviled "coalition of the willing".

What was it the Romans said? "If you seek peace, prepare for war." It's truer than they know. It's because Australia's prepared for war that it can do all the feelgood humanitarian stuff - such as landing 10 army engineers in Banda Aceh to attach a mobile filtration system to the decrepit mains pipes and thereby not merely restore the water supply but improve it.
It shouldn't be necessary to point out the good deeds of Australia and its allies these past two weeks. But it is, because of the grand panjandrums of Western self-loathing. Peter Jennings, the smug Canadian who anchors America's ABC News (which is broadcast on Sky News Australia at 10.30am AEST), reported the other day that "in the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf, citizens are being urged to do more . . . Ironically, the controls on Muslim charities after 9/11 may be keeping contributions down."

Ah, yes. If it weren't for the US cracking down on Saudi money-laundering to terrorists, Sumatrans would be able to wallpaper their new homes with Arab cheques. Maybe it's time for the western self-loathers - Jennings, The Guardian, Melbourne Age cartoonist Bruce Petty - to ask themselves: Why do we hate us?
Read the rest here. (Hat tip to ?No Pasaran!.)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Relationship Between Liberty And Morality

Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi follows a discussion of Alexis De Tocqueville's observation that America is great because its women are great with this story from his own life in India: (emphasis added)
"A Non-Magisterial Judgment

As mentioned earlier in the book, we began our service to the poor in village Gatheora in 1976 by training Village Health Workers (VHWs). Dr. Mategaonker and his staff would come to our farm twice a week to teach village folk how to stay healthy, prevent diseases, and cure simple ailments. The village families wouldn't allow women to attend these classes,6 so we had to begin by training young men. After a few months, after we had bonded and become free with each other, the VHWs conveyed to us their considered opinion: "You Christians are very immoral."

"What do you mean?" I was taken aback, since the jury had reached this verdict after due deliberation. "How are we immoral?"

"You walk with your wives holding their hands," they explained "Our wives walk at least ten feet behind us. You take your sister-in-law to the market on your scooter. Our wives are too modest to sit behind our bicycles, and they cover their faces in front of our fathers, uncles, and older brothers."

I had no clue how to answer my accusers. But Vinay, my older brother, had lived there longer. He responded with brutal frankness: "Come on you guys! You know perfectly well that the truth is exactly the opposite. You do not allow your wives to uncover their faces in front of your fathers and brothers because you trust neither your father, nor your brothers, or your wives. I allow my wife to go to the market with my brother because I trust her and I trust my brother. Our wives can walk in the fields with us and visit you in your homes because of higher moral standards. You chain your wives to your kitchens and imprison them behind their veils because you are immoral."

I thought this was the end of our friendship, but to my utter amazement, every one of the VHWs agreed with Vinay without a whisper of protest. They may have remained skeptical about our morality, but their own moral standards they knew first hand. I was grateful for Vinay's insight, for I had never seen the connection between morality and liberty, morality and the status of women, and the status of women and the strength of a society. I should have known better because our village was less than twenty miles from Khajuraho, where every imaginable sexual act had been carved in stones to adorn Hindu temples. My ancestors' religion of sexual perversion had enslaved our women just as it did in the pre-Christian Greco-Roman civilization. Slavery was then sold as "morality." The consequence? Not one girl in our village had gone beyond the fifth grade because the nearest middle school was three miles away and it was too risky to send a girl so far out of sight. It took time for the VHWs to recognize that what they considered "morality" was, in fact, an enslavement of women. Morality is meant to liberate. Morality without liberty is slavery; liberty without morality is destructive.

[ 6] The only women who went to other peoples' farms were landless laborers from untouchable castes."
Now, go read the rest.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Tim Blair On the UN, Europe and Australia Aid

This post from Tim Blair covers (wonderfully well) the following points:
  1. The UN is incompetent to the point of embarrassment.
  2. Diplomad is a source worth reading on the above topic (and many others).
  3. Europe's response is similar to that of the UN.
  4. Australia deserves recognition and gratitude for its response to the tsunami. (Tim Blair is a good source for disaster aid news in general.) One more reason to love the Australians.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Travelogue: A Canadian Travel Service

I stumbled across The Blogging Tories while I was checking out my place (Crawly Amphibian) in the TTLB Ecosystem. (This is as close as I come to caring about sports scores.) The opening paragraph caught my eye,
Despite the fact that we have many great conservative bloggers, Canada's blogosphere lacks the depth and organization of our American cousins. The Blogging Tories is an attempt to centralize conservative Canadian blogs into one central list. Unlike the American electoral system, which is predictable in its timing, the Canadian blogosphere has little idea when the next election will be called. Many speculate that the current minority government will fall after the upcoming budget in March. If this happens it is imperative that Canadian bloggers band together to form a comprehensive and organized alternative to the liberal mainstream media.
This is their very attractive link button:

And then there is this and this. Great fun!

This all looks like a great place to start a tour of Canadian blogs. (I have linked to Ravishing Light before.) Next challenge will be to get Blogrolling to accept the button in my blogroll.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

How The Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq

Read a condensed version at Barcepundit and the full version at FrontPage Magazine. Restoring Iraq to the full glory of the Saddamite Regime is the (leftist) White Man's Burden. This article brings to mind the leftist argument that this war is illegitimate because we haven't found weapons of mass destruction and this very fine response:
"How are we supposed to find hidden and buried WMDs in Iraq if, wherever one digs there, we just keep finding mass graves?" -- poet Nelson Ascher

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

One Flew Over The (Not So) Cuckoo's Nest

Go to The Asylum and check out the anvil work done in OK, Let's Dance. The American press is taken to task for its "stingy" theme. (Is that ringing in my ears caused by that hammering, or are the voices in my head singing?)

What's Missing From This Strib Editorial?

The Stingy U.S./An Appalling Performance is the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper's assessment of the response of the United States to the disaster in the Far East. And just to be sure there is no confusion, they add:
As the Bush administration is wont to say, actions speak louder than words, and America's actions in recent days have painted the United States as a rich, self-absorbed and uncaring nation that had to be shamed into anything approaching appropriate concern about this catastrophe. The Bush administration's handling of this crisis has been inept beyond belief.
And what was the evil Shrub doing?
From the very first hours it was apparent this was going to be an almost unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Yet Bush remained at his Texas ranch where, aides said, he spent time cutting brush and bicycle riding. He uttered not a single public word about what had happened in Asia.
This, of course, has raised some criticism:
The criticism began almost immediately, and it did not come only from a U.N. official. Comparisons were drawn, for example, to the additional $80 billion that Bush has requested for the war in Iraq and the $30 million to $40 million that his January inauguration will cost.
(One might be tempted to ask if these critics can spell non sequitur, but that would smack of the ad hominem.) Some other choice quotes:
At every step of the way, however, the official U.S. response to this disaster has been seen as grudging. That's not good, especially at a time when much of the world reviles the United States for its unilateral actions in Iraq that have taken such a horrific toll on civilians.
By its niggling contributions and by Bush's silence, the United States has strongly suggested to the world that it doesn't care all that much.
The editors do recognize that "there are practical limits to the amount of aid the relief pipeline can handle" and that "managing the release of U.S. funds into that pipeline is important, to ensure the money isn't wasted." This is followed by "what should have happened immediately:"
Dressed in a somber black suit and subdued tie, President Bush should have called an impromptu news conference in Crawford Sunday afternoon. He should have reported to the American people and to the world that the United States stood with the suffering people of Asia and would do everything in its power to help them. To that end, he should have said, he has directed that $1 billion be pledged to the relief effort, to be released as needs are identified. Further, he should have said he has been in touch with leaders of the affected countries and offered whatever U.S. military capabilities might be helpful in meeting both the short-term relief needs and the longer-term reconstruction challenges.

This pledge of $1 billion, he should have said, is but the first American assistance in what will be a very long and difficult recovery for the affected region. He should have ended by saying that the American people send their heartfelt condolences to all those who lost loved ones -- and especially to the thousands of parents whose children were lost. We embrace you in your loss, he should have said, and while we cannot make that loss disappear, we will be with you every step of the way as you recover from this disaster.
(The wardrobe advice is a nice touch, as if that barely house-broken steer herder Shrub doesn't own a Brooks Brothers suit.) Now let us return to the original question: what's missing from this Strib editorial? We could grant all the arguments in this editorial and there still would be one very glaring omission in their article. This is "what should have happened immediately:"
As American private citizens have normally been the primary source of charitable giving; we, the editorial board of the Star Tribune newspaper, pledge a donation of $1000 each to any one of the fine charities listed here (hat tip to Muzzy) or to the disaster relief fund at our church or synagogue. We have also begun a fundraising campaign among Star Tribune employees seeking a suggested donation of $50 each which will be matched $.50 on the dollar by the Star Tribune Corporation and by the parent company, McClatchy Company. We have called on the President to lead by example and feel it would be hypocritical to not practice what we preach. Therefore, we encourage all our readers to follow our example and contribute generously to disaster relief for the victims of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and to not forget those effected by other recent disaster such as the hurricanes in the Caribbean.

Furthermore, the Star Tribune newspapers will establish an ongoing disaster relief fund by dedicating 1% of our gross profits annually to this purpose and by establishing a voluntary employee payroll deduction. The Editorial Board will contribute $1000 each over the next year to help fund this project. We know some local churches, synagogues, and other organizations already have such funds and would encourage many more to establish them.

Above all else, we would encourage everyone to dedicate part of their personal budget to personal charity. It does not matter if the need is down the street or across the ocean, help when help is needed. Personal charity brings with it the necessary element of personal responsibility for all parties involved. The possibility of a scandal of the magnitude of the UN "Oil For Food" Fraud is unlikely if we all monitor how our contributions are used.

We must also remember that we cannot expect gratitude in return for our contribution. France and Germany, for their own reasons, will always say too little, too late. To much of the Muslim world, which will be the primary beneficiaries of much of this aid, we will continue to be "The Great Satan". No, we must do this because it is right, because we must "love our neighbor as ourselves."
I would hope that this announcement would be published soon, followed by a press meeting with all parties involved dressed in a somber black suit and subdued tie, but I won't hold my breath. Why advocate for free action when it is easier to advocate for charity at gunpoint. (If you don not think that description is accurate, try not paying your taxes.) Perhaps it is the Star Tribune's estimation of its Blue State readership that it cannot expect a positive response to the above appeal.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Joining The Captain In Battle

Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters has an excellent proposal for those who have not yet contributed to disaster relief. To quote:
At Captain's Quarters, we're declaring January 12th World Relief Day. I ask that CQ readers donate their take-home pay for January 12th to the tsunami relief effort at World Vision. Obviously, we cannot hope to match the funds raised by governments -- but we can show what a handful of determined private individuals can do to help. If you can't afford to donate all of your take-home pay for that day, please donate what you can.
This is an excellent proposal and to that end I have placed a "Donate Here" button for World Vision Disaster Relief in my sidebar. If you donate via this website or want to make a pledge toward Captain Quarter's January 12th World Relief Day, leave a comment and I will pass it on to Captain Ed. ( I could not identify such a mechanism at Captain's Quarters, so I did it here. Maybe I just missed it.)

I disagree with the Captain as to whether or not private donations will surpass governmental aid . I see that as a distinct possibility and am quite certain that American private donations will surpass the governmental aid from France. Look at what has been raised by for the Red Cross. I have not been been able to find a total for World Vision, but heard on Hugh Hewitt Monday night that their goal is $25 million in the U.S. and $50 million worldwide. My church released $20,000 to two organizations in Sri Lanka this past week and will send much more as they identify local mechanisms for doing so. But this does not mean that we can rest on this. Consider Captain Ed's proposal as a starting point for changing priorities in your life. I have already contributed to this cause once and plan to make a monthly contribution for the next five months. At that point, I will assess whether to continue contributing to this cause or if my donation will go elsewhere. Forgive me for repeating this but "give like Democrats vote: early and often."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Muzzy Goes Hammer and Tongs After Nick Coleman

Muzzy brings out the big guns in 01-01-05: Mencken, Powerline and Nick Coleman. His analysis and commentary are spot on and deserve to be read. You should also check out his additional post here. Muzzy is in fine form once again.

If you really like the sound of that hammer, take a look at this list of those who have lined up to drive the point home. (Hat tip to Muzzy for "Nick Coleman Is A Space Alien.)