A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

BEALed

I think Susie of Practical Penumbra coined the term in this post. A “Beal” is a reflexive reason for not doing something:

“I can’t blog today, I have a Beal”

“What’s a Beal.”

“It’s the reason I can’t blog.”

In the comments of the original explanation, one of Susie’s readers made it into an acronym: Blogger Ennui, Apathy, and Lethargy. Basically you don’t feel like writing because you don’t feel like writing.

Well, I’ve got it. I can’t figure out if it’s because:

1) Winter is coming, which is generally a period of sluggishness for me. The BEAL concept was first articulated last winter, in fact.

2) President Bush won the election, robbing me of some of my drive to blog. It’s hard to get excited about crushing the political left when they’ve just recently been pretty well crushed.

3) I really want to spend my computer time playing EverQuest II. This seems like a likely explanation, but the fact is that I still have time during lunch to blog when I can’t play EQ II. I still can’t think of anything interesting to say.

However, the term BEAL did make me think of Jennifer Beals, the woman from Flashdance. That, in turn, made me think of Jessica Biel (they’re pronounced quite similarly, you see) and so I decided to post a picture of her.


Jessica Biel Posted by Hello

I think poor Jessica got in trouble for this shot (among others). It was a bit too provocative for her character’s squeaky-clean image in whichever WB show she was starring at the time. I happen to like it, and I think it’s classy enough to not make a big deal about. She’s a free adult, after all; if you don’t like sexy young actresses, don’t buy the magazines their pictures appear in.

Wow. A whole post about having nothing to post. And you got a picture of Jessica Biel.


S

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Saturday, November 27, 2004

John Dies at the End

What can I say? I found Pointless Waste of Time a couple years back, and got hooked on this amazing story that was at the same time side-splittingly hilarious, and spine-tingling horrific. Stephen King and Douglas Adams all at once.

The story is finally done. Why this isn't actually published or on film is beyond me.

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Friday, November 26, 2004

Where's the Plan?

Kerry's grand (and secret) plan, that is.

You know... the one for victory in Iraq.

Or how about the one for the War on Terror.

Or the Economy...

Could we at least see a bill from him proposing funding for a Rapid Response unit for at-risk Hamsters?

I mean he doesn't really have to worry anymore that the President will try to steal his precious plans to win the election.

C'mon Johnny... give us a peek!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Giving Thanks

I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as the point when the year starts winding down. Any elections we might have had are over, Florida’s long summer has come to an end, and the final month of the year is upon us. It’s a time to reflect, a time to think about what we’ve said and done and accomplished over the past eleven months. Yeah, the end of the year is a good time for a holiday called Thanksgiving.

Especially this year.

Like many other Americans, I have a lot to be thankful for in general. I’m thankful that we live in a prosperous, secular democracy, a society where I’m free to do and believe as I will. I’m thankful that I have a great family and excellent friends, people who stand by me and make me feel wanted and loved. I’m thankful that I’m smart enough to analyze and understand complex ideas; I’m also thankful that I understand there are folks who are much smarter than me and that I’m lucky to have the opportunity to learn from them. I’m thankful that my worldview allows me to tell right from wrong with a fair amount of ease and accuracy, and I’m thankful that I’ve found the courage to stand behind those principles. I’m thankful that I’m willing and able to speak my mind when I feel it’s necessary, consequences be damned.

There are more specific, more pertinent things to be thankful for in 2004, however:

I’m thankful that a chance accident revealed my Mom's life-threatening situation. I'm even more thankful that the resulting surgery ended up with her being alive and well. Though much of the long road to a full recovery is still ahead of her, she’ll be having turkey and stuffing with us tomorrow - in her own home and with no help needed from a nurse or caregiver. You have no idea how important something like that is unless you’ve been through it. Trust me.

I’m thankful that courageous guys like these are out there protecting me, the people I love, and the nation I believe in with all my heart. I’m also thankful that men and women who are just as brave are there to care for our soldiers when they inevitably pay for our freedom with their blood. We owe all of them a debt we can never hope to repay; we can only try to live a life that is worthy of their sacrifices.

I’m thankful it’s still the Cowboy and not the Frenchman. Here’s to four more years of tax cuts and dead terrorists. Damn straight, Frank.

I’m thankful someone finally decided that if we want to go into space, government might not be the best way to get us there.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to put my ideas out into the world. I’m happy that you good folks read them, and I’m ecstatic when you respond. Blogging is the next wave of the information revolution, and I know how immensely lucky I am to be just a small part of it.

To all of you, a happy Thanksgiving. May your friends be true, your bellies full, and your beds safe and warm. And may you remember to be duly thankful for all of it.


S

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Silent America Speaks Louder than Words

Bill Whittle's new book is called Silent America: Essays from a Democracy at War. It's finally ready for ordering; I'm getting three copies (one for my own bookshelf and two as gifts). As always, you can read all of Bill's essays for free by visiting his blog ... they just won't be bound together in an attractive hardcover edition which you can then fly out west with to have Bill sign.

It occurrs to me as I'm witing this, plugging Bill's book: Do you all know why President Bush won the election? It's not because of Kerry's mistakes or Swift Boat Veteran ads. It's not because of faked documents from CBS or a massive turnout of Evangelical voters.

It's simply because the people in this country who think like Bill Whittle still outnumber the people who think like Michael Moore.

And speaking of that bloated windbag Moore, FilmThreat magazine has named him Coldest Hollywood Personality. According to the article, "cold" means "the polar opposite of the hottest celebrities: these are the least powerful, least-inspiring, least-intriguing people in Hollywood."

And it looks like some veterans are sending Moore letters about their military experiences, just like he asked. Only I don't think he's going to like what's in them very much. Is he really so out of touch with America that he thinks he's not going to get three or four times as many pro-Bush letters as against?

Or does he even care about that? Moore certainly won't flinch at ignoring 100 letters that support President Bush to get 25 that don't; misrepresentation isn't a crime to Michael, it's a methodology.

Regardless, I'm happy to see public opinion swinging against him and his deceitful nonsense.


S

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Friday, November 19, 2004

It’s Called Cold Fury for a Reason

If I absolutely had to pick a favorite blog, it’d be Cold Fury. There are a lot of close seconds, but Mike and Joe consistently bring the ribs that I like best to our big blogospheric barbeque. A case in point is this post by Mike, which I missed earlier in the week. He really runs the loony left through with their own skewer, and then proceeds to give them a thorough and well-deserved grilling.

I seriously, wholeheartedly recommend to everyone – liberal readers especially – that you go read that post in its entirety. To get you going, here’s the basic idea: Mike stipulates that all of the horrible crap the left has been saying about us is actually true. We really are going to round them all up and put them in concentration camps. Bush actually is Hitler, and the ovens are warming up to roast every last liberal dissenter. The war was all about oil, too, and we can’t wait to use it to power our endless conflict with the third world.

Liberals have been spewing such bile from the rooftops since 2001; now that the worst has come to pass (again), where is the action such horror demands?

… there’ll be no health care at all for the poor (whose numbers we will be increasing by every means we can think of), and if you dare to complain about life in the New Conservative Amerikkka, we’re going to kill you for it.

All of that: so stipulated. Now, the question for you moonbat Lefty baglappers: what the hell are you going to do about it?

I mean, seriously; if you truly believe that all this is now in the process of happening right before your very eyes, doesn’t it become incumbent upon you, as the most basic imaginable of moral obligations, to do something to prevent it, or overturn it? I mean, obviously, you tried peaceful means of stopping us, but that didn’t work—because us right-wingnuts rigged the election and disenfranchised everybody. And you can’t go to the courts because they’re in the Bushitler’s pocket too, all the way up to the Supreme Court, which you’ve been saying for four years now illegally handed him the White House after the tainted 2000 “election.” So your last legal, nonviolent means of resistance has been taken away from you, and you can’t even count on the media to publicize the reality of what’s going on because of their right-wing slant, their fondness for the status quo, and of course the fact that they’re really nothing but money-grubbing corporations themselves whose only concern is the bottom line.

So what’s left, Lefties? Where do you go from here? What are you gonna do about it?

I’ll tell you what you’re going to do about it: you’re not going to do one damned thing but continue with your whining, that’s what, and it’s not because deep down you’re all cowards either. It’s because deep down, you know you’re full of shit. You don’t even believe half the stuff you’re currently crying about yourselves.


The rest – coming both before the excerpt above and continuing long after – is even better. I’ve never seen anything that challenges the left in quite this way. It’s brilliant. Liberals are going to hate it.

Go read it. Right now.

I might have this week’s Alliance Filthy Lie Assignment up later today, if there is enough time during lunch to write something.


S

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Walk a day in Their shoes...

I purloined this from Powerline, ..."I want to pass on this email from a Marine in the 11th MEU":

This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does.

This is one most don't hear:
A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives.

The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag.

But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares.

This is the story everyone hears:

A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face.

The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"

The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing.

And now, another Marine has the possibility of being burned at the stake for protecting the life of his brethren. His family now wrings their hands in grief, tears streaming down their face. Brother, should I have been in your boots, i too would have done the same.

For those of you who don't know, we Marines, Band of Brothers, Jarheads, Leathernecks, etc., do not fight because we think it is right, or think
it is wrong. We are here for the man to our left, and the man to our right. We choose to give our lives so that the man or woman next to us can go home and see their husbands, wives, children, friends and families.

For those of you who sit on your couches in front of your television, and choose to condemn this man's actions, I have but one thing to say to you. Get out of your recliner, lace up my boots, pick up a rifle, leave your family behind and join me. See what I've seen, walk where I have walked. To those of you who support us, my sincerest gratitude. You keep us alive.

I am a Marine currently doing his second tour in Iraq. These are my opinions and mine alone. They do not represent those of the Marine Corps or of the US military, or any other.


Related? THE PRESS IS HIDING THE SLAUGHTERHOUSES OF FALLUJAH (JunkYardBlog)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Judgment Withheld

Well, it’s the big story everyone is blogging about: The questionable killing of a wounded Iraqi insurgent by a US Marine. Caught on tape too, much to the delight of radical Islamists in Iraq and anti-war fools here in America. Another PR catastrophe a la Abu Grhaib is on the way!

Personally, I think this post by Dale Franks (hat tip to Mike of Cold Fury) sums it up best; I was instantly reminded of my own reaction when I read his first couple paragraphs.


You know, there’s a part of me that just doesn’t care. These "insurgents" have been booby-trapping bodies. Wounded people have opened fire on our guys. So screw ’em. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. These are bad guys, and they’re killing our men, so whatever they get, it’s better than they deserve.

But, almost immediately, the second thought is that this can’t be condoned. This is precisely the type of thing that eats into a unit’s discipline, and changes them from soldiers into a very, very lethal armed mob. It eats into the core of what being a soldier, rather than a simple killer is all about.


I’m in complete agreement; my first instinct is to immediately jump to the Marine’s defense. Bodies have been booby trapped, and dying insurgents have pulled weapons on soldiers that were trying to take them prisoner or even treat their wounds. In fact, the Marine we’re talking about here had had, just the day before, someone in his unit killed by exactly that tactic. Is it any wonder he took a cautiously aggressive approach? Clearly the other Marines behind him didn’t believe the insurgent was incapacitated; they can be heard yelling “He’s faking! He’s faking he’s dead!” on the tape.

But like Dale says, you also have to consider the possibility that this was a brutal act. Though I’m still inclined to support this Marine, our forces cannot be allowed to become an unruly, superbly-armed mob. Military discipline is what keeps tired, angry, adrenaline-charged troops from slipping into complete callousness and bloodlust. That being the case, I believe the current investigation is the correct thing to do. No one – not even these humblingly brave Marines – are above military law and the justice it seeks to ensure. I hope they get to the bottom of this quickly.

And I hope that the shootings in that mosque were as justified as I think they were.


S

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

BPCP Update

The Blogosphere Political Compass Project has been updated. Go to the BPCP permalink page for a complete list of participants and links to their sites.


BPCP Graph 15Nov04 Posted by Hello

Just a few new respondents this time; I'm hoping the slowdown is at least partly because of my hiatus and the distraction of elections. Thanks to all who are participating, and bloggers who aren't should send in their results. Linkage will ensue!


S

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Monday, November 15, 2004

Monday Linkfest

Today’s mission: 1) Get through Monday at the office. 2) Visit Mom on the way home from work. 3) Buy a new video card after visiting Mom. 4) Waste rest of life playing EverQuest II.

Assuming Comp USA hasn’t started protecting their video card supply with a piranha-filled moat, I think I can handle it. Those of you with hardware expertise are welcome to leave suggestions in the comments; I need something that is DirectX 9 compatible with pixel shader and vertex shader compatible hardware and has 64 MB of texture memory. And I’d like to keep it under $200.

Here’s what’s going on around the blogosphere this morning:

One of the best side-effects of Bush winning re-election is that Frank J.’s In My World series can continue with all of our favorite characters intact. Today’s installment features the all-to-seldom seen Melinda Hawkish:


"FOX News lets you carry a gun?" Bush asked.

"This is America," Melinda answered, "I don't need permission from anyone to carry a gun."

"Actually, it's Iraq," Buck said.

"Whatever." Melinda then turned to her camerawoman. "Make sure you have the lens cap off this time; this is a historic peace summit and we have a FOX exclusive."

"Okay, but can I have the flak jacket on the way back?"

"No."


Speaking of funny, Cox & Forkum always have great political cartoons on their main page. Some of their recent offerings – like this and this – have been really good. My favorite is this one, however:


Cox & Forkum 11Aug04 Posted by Hello

I wonder if the left – or the mainstream media – will ever really understand what happened in the 2004 presidential election.

And lastly, it looks like S. Michael Moore – perhaps the blogosphere’s most unfortunately-named Libertarian – is back to posting over at FukiBlog. He’s got a great piece on tax reform which includes an interesting link to something called “The Fair Tax”. The Fair Tax idea seems like a good one, though I’m certainly no tax expert and I’m sure there are a hundred reasons why opponents will say it can’t or shouldn’t be done. I'll be reading up on this when time permits.

Michael has also brought back Girl Friday, and his most recent entry is a picture of Josie Maran. Miss Maran is the only model I can actually recognize just by looking at a photograph of her; she came across as remarkably bright and sexy in an interview I happened across last year, separating her from the herd of cute, nameless chicks on magazine covers.

Excellent choice, Michael. Later, good readers. I who am about to game salutes you!


S

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Might Europe descend into violence Again?

Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?

Read this scary article highlighing the very real problems of a rapidly increasing Muslim population that refuses to assimilate.

How's this for a statistic:

Today, Muslims are a majority among children under 14 in the Netherlands' four largest cities.

I guess a fair question the Islamo-fascists must be considering is, how many dikes have to be blown up before the Netherlands capitulates? I don't know though.. considering the Dutch people seem to collectively own a pair, maybe they'll face the hard task ahead for them.

Expect to see this sort of behavior increasing throughout Europe. It's been ocurring in France for years, not that you'll hear any of this on the evening news. It's even too un-PC for Fox news.

This sort of scenario is why America must start enforcing it's Immigration laws, starting with defending our borders, and refusing citizenship to anyone who cannot speak English.

Assimilation of immigrants is absolutely necessary.

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Friday, November 12, 2004

Sweet Mistress EverQuest

This is frickin' awesome! With krakatoa posting all these interesting political and philosophical topics, I'm free to blog about mindless fluff. Tomorrow he will have an analysis of Post-Modern Literary Theory and its relationship to Transnational Progressivism; I'll post a series of Tyra Banks photos and entitle it Boobs are Great!.

So, EverQuest II came out this week. My roommates, in what can only be a concerted effort to ensure my soul is sold to Sony as quickly and cheaply as possible, actually put Best Buy coupons on my desk. By next week my ass will be all but cemented to that comfy desk chair, with my social life, exercise schedule, and work ethic slipping into the realm of distant memory. By Christmas e-mails will receive a dismissive and angry response: "How dare you interrupt me while I'm making the perilous descent into Innothule Swamp! Don't you realize I must slay this fearsome Will-O-Wisp to obtain a Greater Lightstone!?!". Spring will find me a shivering wretch, mind-melded to my PC and subsisting on a diet of Ramen noodles, coffee, and Winston Lights. By summer it'll be time for deprograming and rehab; if you guys really love me you'll reserve a suite at the Betty Ford Clinic through August 2005.

I've always believed that Marx's second-greatest blunder was his belief in "historical inevitabilities". As far as history goes, I'm probably right. But in the world of gaming, certain paths are simply destined to be trod by a nigh-infinite line of hapless geeks.

Once again into the breech, dear friends.


S

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Detailing Groupthink

Thanks again to Rug for another nice link.

This article explains the dynamics of groupthink in Liberal Academia, but it fairly applies to the phenomena across a range of scenarios.

It serves to emphasize my desire for a better debate to break out in this country. I have high hopes for the power of the internet in introducing new ideas to people who otherwise might never have seen a differing political opinion.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Whither Humanity?

This started as a response to the rationalization against war in Iraq by a friend and flowed into a much larger thing. She stated "I don't see why Hussein was any more evil in the past few years"...


He wasn't any more evil. Such a thing would have been impossible. You cannot govern over rape-rooms, the torture and execution of children, and the slaughter of civilian dissenters by feeding them feet-first into plastic shredders and descend any more into evil in my book.

The question for me, and I suspect in part for Bush, is: Does a civil society allow such atrocities to continue, merely in exchange for more inexpensive comforts?

The "no blood for oil" argument against the war has been proven false. Hypocritically, "blood for oil" was indeed the status quo. For cheap oil, America and the rest of the world had turned a blind eye to the atrocities of an area of the world where 7th century tribal law is prevalent.

Bush's foreign policy on it's face states that we will not suffer a country to support terrorism. The 9/11 commission listed chapter and verse Saddam's proven links to terrorism.

But his policy also suggests a question much much bigger, and far more profound: Is there such an intrinsic value to life that obliges the powerful and influential of the world to extend protection to all those living under brutal rule?

A prosaic example: If you witnessed your neighbor shoot one of his children, and then start hunting for his other children, and you have your neighbor in your own sights, what is your responsibility?

To me, it is really just that simple. I know our constitution very clearly lays out the government's responsibility to protecting only it's citizens. Yes, a cogent argument can be made that creating democracies around the world makes U.S. citizens far safer in the long run. Leaving aside that argument, I submit that our collective conscience demands more of us than simply ignoring the tragedies outside our own borders. I submit that making the noble effort to bring peace and prosperity to the world is far more important than the quasi-noble terrestrial application of Star Trek's Prime Directive. The horses have already left the barn; closing the gate now isn't going to make things any better, and may prevent them from returning on their own.

The status quo led to Rwanda. Led to the Balkans, and the Sudan genocides. Led to Nazi Germany. Led to Soviet Russia. Led to Pol Pot and Baby Doc, etc. etc... The status quo, in other words, led to the loss of over 100 million lives; murdered in the 20th century while the rest of the world coccooned itself in it's high-browed rationalizations.

Are we no better than that? Ignore for the moment the potential added horror of allowing those sorts of despots to prosper and plot with 21st century weapons. Are we really so civilized that we will watch and intellectualize as another 100 million people die? Have we really become so old or if you prefer, so advanced that we have forgotten the importance of waging the war against the ever fertile darkness of humanity's evils?

I am better than that dammit. I am a child of privelege in the sense that I was born American. I am a child of privelege in the sense my parent were loving and encouraging in my intellectual, physical and moral growth. And in a larger sense, I bear the great responsibility and honor of being a child of Ronald Reagan and his vision of America; her history and destiny:


"...But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."


I wear the badge of "idealist" with honor. I am one, and I hope that the civilized nations of the world come to hold the same aspirations, and, in the words of Dylan Thomas, I hope that we never stop raging:


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close
of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men
at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning
they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave
by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and
sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who
see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there
on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of
the light.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Anger Delayed is Anger Denied

Let me tell you, kind readers, that I wrote one hell of an angry rant last night and had it all ready to go for this morning. It was very, very personal - the kind of thing you'd be more likely to see written by the brash and wonderful Serenity than by me - but a couple hours of exercise and a good night's sleep allowed me to think better of it. As much as this is my space, you good folks don't come here to witness every last sling and arrow of my personal life.

So we'll leave it at this: Being excluded is a bitter thing, especially when it comes from an unexpected direction at an unexpected time. However, it's probably best that I write this particular incident off as mere thoughtlessness rather than rank, intentional duplicity. That's the highest road I can take and still remain in touch with the reality of the situation.

Now seeing as how krakatoa posted plenty for us to read today, I'm going to spend my blogging time on the Theistic Evolution essay I've had bouncing around my head these past few days. It should be up after lunchtime tomorrow.


S


And one hugely important post-script: Happy 229th Birthday to the United States Marine Core! Birthday wishes from Go Daddy can be found here; The Zoo echos the sentiment, and encourages all Americans wise enough to appreciate their freedom to raise a glass in salute to the fine men and women of the USMC.

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Post election, Liberal Myths Die (part 1)

Yet another pillar of the Leftist's peace platform begins to crumble under the weight of honest intellectual scrutiny.

This from a Harvard Associate Professor, no less.


Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable
assumption
(emphasis mine) that terrorism has its roots in
poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors.
However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences...

...Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of
political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism.


Hat Tip to my friend Rug, who never participates anywhere outside of Fark, on the rare times he's not actually banned from commenting there.


How about OIL?

I can't be the only one to have seen Reuter's election day headline Oil Up to $50 as Bush Leads Early Vote. Or the Nov 3 headline Oil Surges Back to $51 as Bush Nears Win. Or this one. et. cetera... Until the tide changed. Journalistic integrity demanded some rationalizing... and a wavering market gave rise to a bit of nihilistic hope... and even outright defeatist triumphalism... but finally even Reuters learned that yes, there is great cathartic appeal to mercilessly beating a dead horse named Bushitler... (yes... a but is coming...) "But the market quickly refocused on more fundamental matters..." Nuh, uh!

This is one poor Red-state Rube scratching my thick neanderthal head with calloused knuckles trying to figure out how oil's plummeting price suddenly has no political connection at all. Let me see if I can figure this out now. Bush NOT dipping into our strategic reserve, and instead building it up, was a good thing? Who could have guessed? Hmmm... a man as nuanced as John Kerry surely had this pegged, right? Well... in a word... No.

JOBS anyone?

One of the left's biggest sticks this year was that Bush was going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss in jobs. They had this right at least, yes? Hmmm... maybe Bill over at INDC Journal isn't using that New Math (tm) that is so in Vogue with today's NEA.

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Monday, November 08, 2004

News from All Over

Yesterday marked the beginning of the end for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; the moment Prime Minister Allawi gave the go-ahead to retake Fallujah, al-Zarqawi became a dead man. There are those who believe his fate was sealed when President Bush won the election … I believe he still could have surrendered until the troops started moving in yesterday. Regardless, time’s up.


Outside Fallujah, 08Nov04 (AP Photo) Posted by Hello

To the brave Americans and Iraqis who are now charged with liberating that city from al Qaeda terrorists and Baathist insurgents, we wish you Godspeed.

Speaking of matters military, I can’t help but notice that Enjoy the Draft has not been updated since the election. One would think that our good buddy John Aravosis would be redoubling – nay, retripling – his efforts to warn young people about the draft, now that the man he accuses of wanting to reinstate it has been elected to another term. Yet there is nothing new on his site except a few forlorn comments by dejected liberals of the “woe-be-unto-you-conservatives-for-doing-this-to-us” variety. Could this be because John never really thought there was going to be a draft, and his site was just an attempt to scare young voters into the Kerry camp? Might Enjoy the Draft, having now outlived its usefulness, been abandoned by this leftist wretch like a rumpled Kerry-Edwards lawn sign?

Perhaps we should all ask John by e-mailing him, hmmm? Oh yes, I think that’s a fine idea.

And this story is back. Again. Let me be perfectly clear: I’m a staunch evolutionist. I am convinced by the available evidence that the theory is correct; you can look for a creator if you like, but if one exists you’d better be prepared for the fact that he works through evolution. However, hounding the creationists out of the conversation to the degree that you won’t even let them put a sticker on a textbook is, in a word, excessive.

50 years ago we had the Scopes Monkey Trial. Things were so bad we had to fight to get evolution taught in schools at all. Nowadays the creationists are relegated to putting stickers on biology textbooks – one completely devoid of mentioning God or religion, I might add. We’ve won. Let them have their damned sticker, fer chrissakes.

And lastly, brave young Patrick Holland is getting adopted. This is the kid who fought for about two years to be emancipated from his scumbag father … the man who murdered his mother. It’s over now, and 14 year-old Patrick can get on with his life, in a new family who seems to love him very much. Good job, kid. Well done.

Enjoy your week all, and remember to exercise. You’ll feel better.


S

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Friday, November 05, 2004

A few words of encouragement for my Liberal friends

I wrote this in response to a friend who voted for Kerry, and in his subsequent disapointment, lashed out at another friend of mine:

For what it's worth, whether you believe it or not, there are huge numbers of Bush voters who aren't religious, and who aren't sold on all his policies. Especially those secret policies Hollywood seems to have convinced themselves exist: We won't be allowing a Christian Conservative revolution with mandatoy prayer and round-ups of tree huggers and queers into concentration camps. The camps will be reserved for big-mouthed celebrities! :D

Part of that moderation however, requires that rational people on the left don't spin into bizarro land filled with bitterness, but instead work to retake their party from the Howard Deans and Michael Moores and meet us halfway. This will be accomplished with the calm presentation of ideas. The race-baiting, class warfare and Bush=Hitler hyperbole of the extreme left has no basis in reality, and no place in the marketplace of ideas. As long as that sort of stuff dominates the Democratic party, that party will not ever compete effectively.

If the Democratic party decides to escalate the hyperbole, and tries to block Bush at every turn, it will most likely have the effect of realizing it's worst nightmare. The American people want progress, not petty and juvenile screeching. If it sees that from one party, there will be a severe lack of voter turnout on the Democratic side. And you can bet that religious fundamentalists from the Right will try to fill that void. Power unchallenged always corrupts.

If the left moderates itself, and gives the moderates on the right a place to move to if/when the Right tilts too far, then the Democratic party will have fulfilled it's primary obligation as a political counterbalance, and nobody loses.

The biggest loser of all in this election was the MSM. Because of it's un-repentant and over the top bias, it has lost it's stranglehold on information. It is losing it's power to choose what news it subjectively determines is "Fit to print." People now have many viable options for choosing raw data, polished information or out and out spin if they so desire. Personally, I peruse sites for all 3, from both sides of the political fence in making my decisions, while completely shunning ABC, CBS and NBC. I occasionally watch PBS or Brit Hume on Fox, but I primarily get my information from the internet. I highly recommend it over any broadcast medium. When people make informed decisions, everyone is a winner. Because even if the result is counter to what you might personally like, at least you can be comforted that the result was carefully considered.

The biggest winner in the election, thanks in no small part to Kerry himself, is the American people. We have been pardoned a repeat of the juvenile 2000 antics, and have a president, like him or not, who has won both the Popular and the Electoral vote. The Right are vindicated in their faith in Bush, and the Left are freed (if they choose) of the crippling tactics of deligitimizing a sitting president, and can instead work productively on real ideas to compete with today's Conservative.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Who Fights?

A couple weeks ago an old college friend asked me a question in the comment thread of this post. Though I doubt he meant to be accusatory, he was, more or less, calling me a chickenhawk (someone who is not in the military but is willing to commit troops to battle). War supporters are used to this; if I had a dollar for every chickenhawk accusation leveled at me over the past three years I’d be able to take both my buddy and his wonderful fiancé out for a nice dinner and plenty of drinks … and like me, they have fairly expensive tastes in that regard.

Now, I use the inclusive “we” when writing about America’s fight against terror: We have to smash Al Qaeda, we have to end Saddam’s tyranny, we have to bring secular democracy to Arabia. I also use lots of personal and possessive pronouns: My country, our war, they won’t take me without a fight, etc… Some people see this as a problem; after all, it’s unlikely that I’ll actually do any fighting. The most I can claim is that I pay my taxes, give $50 or $75 a month to charities like Spirit of America and Operation Gratitude, and try to support our troops with my nominally readable prose. Is that enough? Does that make it my fight? Or am I just doing those things to clear my conscience, allowing me to live fat and happy here at home while someone else does the fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq?

The answers, as best I can see them, are no, yes, and I don’t think so.

First of all, we civilians shouldn’t kid ourselves: Nothing we do or give can ever match the sacrifice of the soldier. It’s great that we pay our taxes, and vote for people who will see to it that the money is spent on giving our troops the best possible equipment and training. It’s wonderful that we donate to charities that make our soldier’s lives a little more comfortable and their jobs a little easier. I’m happy when I see “usmc.mil” and “airforce.gov” among my visitors, and I sincerely hope that what they read here makes them feel appreciated. But none of that amounts to dry shit when compared to someone who actually puts on that uniform, picks up their weapon, and says, essentially, “Anyone who wants to hurt an American tonight is going to have to come through me first.” What civilians like me do is, at best, responsible and kind and supportive. What soldiers do is courageous.

What I can say for myself – and it’s true for almost every non-military war supporter I know – is that if my country asked for my service, I’d answer "yes" in a heartbeat. Without a second thought. Like many, I called a recruiter in the worrisome days after September 11th, 2001. The recruiter said "How old are you". I said "Thir-". He said "We’ll call you if we really need you." I keep myself in fairly good shape, but I’m not the wiry, quick-recovering testosterone golem that I was at 19. And the military knows it.

So, like many millions of others, I’m relegated to the sidelines unless the war escalates into a huge, World War Two-scale emergency. I’ll have to stick with responsible, kind, and supportivecourageous will only come if circumstances get truly dire (which we all, of course, very much hope they do not).

But back to the question now: Is it my war? Do I have the right to say “We’re winning, or we should go here and do this, or our guys are doing a great job”? Well, what’s the other option? That civilians aren’t allowed to have pro-war positions? That we can gripe and squeak with the anti-war nitwits if we like, but if we want to get behind the military with our words and thoughts and prayers we’re not allowed? That we’re somehow being disingenuous because we agree that it’s better to kill their killers before those killers come to get our civilians again?

That’s absurd.

I understand very, very well that it’s not my ass getting shot at in Fallujah. But I also understand that it’ll eventually be all of our asses if someone doesn’t go to Fallujah and do what needs to be done. When I say I or we or our I’m intentionally using those words, because radical Islam wants me and us and ours destroyed. Hopefully this war will never rise to the level where ordinary civilians have to take a fighting role – in fact, the reason we’re fighting it the way we are is to ensure that doesn’t happen – but if we do, I’ll be the first to volunteer. My life means a lot to me, but the survival of my civilization and species means more. And there is no way I can prove any of that to a doubter; those who are willing will simply have to take my word for it, and those who aren’t can privately sneer at my presumed cowardice. Your call.

In any case, it is unlikely that I’ll be a warrior in this or any other war. It won’t be me who liberates nations from thugs and theocrats. I won’t bring democracy to the oppressed and prosperity to the poor. And I won’t come home on a medical C-130 or, worse, in a flag-draped coffin. But I will do one thing: I’ll try as hard as I possibly can to be a citizen who is worth the sacrifices our soldiers make for us. Not a griper but a supporter. Not someone who makes a Marine think “What the hell am I doing this for?”, but instead someone who makes him say “These people are worthy of my protection and I know they appreciate what I’m doing.” Not all of us can be – or need to be – brave soldiers of the republic. But we all definately should be citizens deserving of their courage and sacrifice.


S

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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Works on the Cloven-Hoofed ...

...but apparently not the Fearsomely-Clawed.

Krakatoa sends me this article, which shows us that some people need to pay closer attention to the grim lessons of Sigfried & Roy's magic act. Was this man's faith imperfect, or did he just skip his morning dose of thorazine?


S

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Americanus Victricis!

Thank whatever gods there might be, it’s finally over … and we’ve won. Though about 48% of the country doesn’t feel like it, they’ve also won. They may never realize that such a thing is true, and most wouldn’t admit it even if they did; I doubt the isolationists and anti-war weasels went back to Roosevelt and Churchill after WW II and said “Gosh, you were right – defeating Hitler was the right thing to do.” But they were saved from the Third Reich right along with everyone else. Good for them.

We should be big enough not to gloat … too much. Trust me, there are one or two people who’s faces I’d love to rub in our triumph, but that would just be petty and small of me. Better to get on with the business of being elated:

John Miller of NRO has an interesting list of election winners and losers.

Frank J. owes us a happy dance. He’s soliciting song ideas; my submission is Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. Not that I’m among Katrina’s many millions of fans or anything … I just think it’d be funny to make poor Frank dace to it. And it is a happy song for a happy dance. I’ll update this entry with a link as soon as Frank gets that posted. You betcha’.

Finally, Bill Whittle has a few words of exultation and relief that it’s easier to link to than write myself. Suffice it to say that I once again agree with Whittle completely. And do I detect a bit of foreshadowing from the blogosphere’s best right-of-center essayist? Could a certain book actually be on its way? Stay tuned you shall! Yoda commands it!

A couple big, long-planned essays later this week. For the rest of today, work – food – sleep.


America Victorious! Posted by Hello

Congratulations, ya’ll. We did it.


S

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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day '04

Congratulations to Sandor's mom on her convalescence!

Here we are. Only the first or second most important election of my lifetime, apparently to be decided by a handful of, um, undecideds.

Good God, how utterly depressing is that?

I suppose that's being simplistic and un-nuanced. The polls are missing vast legions of potential voters:

The Republicans have an enormous get-out-the-vote effort targetting evangelicals and the ever-elusive Sept. 11'th cell-phone democrats.

And of course, the Democrats have a similar effort targetting crack-heads, cartoon characters and cemetaries.

Links? Screw it... no time for links when I'm on dial up. We've all seen the stories anyway, right?

Good luck, everyone. This country is going to need it today.

The world is going to need it today.

This is a turning point every bit as big as the one we experienced in 1980.

Oh, and whichever way it turns out, here's hoping for it to actually be over without lawsuits.

VOTE everyone. You know you really care. And if you don't, vote anyway and pull the lever for Bush, 'cuz I sure as heck care. ;)

UPDATE:

Count on Bill to say something substantive.

I don't agree with Mr. Whittle on all accounts however. He seems to think the 2000 elections were more important, owing to the decisive action taken by President Bush after 9/11.

I disagree:

This election is more important than 2000, if only for the reason that there is no question we know the stakes. We consciously decide this election the attitude the U.S. will take in the face of clear and present danger.

A Gore win in 2000 would have delayed action at worst. If he had won, and not gone after our attackers, you can be sure a Republican would have won easily today, as more attacks would have followed.

Bush's policies have apparently made us safer. That we haven't been attacked post 9/11 amazes me no end.

More importantly though, and most significant to today's election, Bush's policies have made our children's and grandchildren's lives safer, if, and this is a big IF... IF his policies are continued.

If they are abandoned today, the pendulum swings the other way, and future generations will pay a horrible price for our cowardice.

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Monday, November 01, 2004

All is Resolved in Early November

Politically speaking, I feel like we’ve been pushing a car up a shallow rise for the past two years or so. I’m sorry I had to run home and attend to a sick family member just as we got to the steepest part, but family comes before country and there was simply no choice. What was supposed to be a 5-day hospital stay turned into well over two weeks, and there was a point about 10 days ago where things looked pretty grim indeed. But medical science – and Mom’s considerable constitution – held out and eventually won the day. She is doing much, much better now and should be coming home from the hospital later today or tomorrow … the long, twilight struggle of rehabilitation is still ahead of her, but at least she is here (and largely whole) to undertake it.

So, I turn my attention back to this car called victory and this hill called politics. I have heard much these past few days: Supporters of both candidates predicting a landslide win for their guy; supporters of both candidates hanging their heads in sorrowful acknowledgement of an inevitable landslide win for the other guy; the ardent hopes of honest people expressed in both poetry and prose; the dishonest, 11th-hour skullduggery of cheats and fools; and the exasperated groan of an exhausted partisan … “I don’t want Kerry to win, but more than anything I just want this to be over.” I know how he feels.

It’s common knowledge that I’m voting for President Bush tomorrow. Most people also know that I’m a registered Democrat, and that except for a brief stint as a Libertarian I always have been. That’s changing on November 3rd, though: Independence here I come. I’m done with party politics until one comes along that can keep a tighter rein on its extremists and doesn’t sideline good men like John McCain and Joe Lieberman in order to cater to such fanatics. Better to miss out on the primaries but keep myself free of entanglements with the nutjobs on either end of the spectrum.

Within 48 hours my Mom will be out of the hospital and our President for the next four years will be elected – as the big, bold letters say, much is resolved in early November. Rather than stating and re-stating lots of hopes and reasons, I leave you instead with a link: American Digest’s Fifty Reasons Why. Vanderleun states, quite eloquently with both words and pictures, why (hopefully much more than) half of this country is voting for George Bush. The first ten should be plenty for anyone who is patriotic, tough-minded, and intellectually honest … the other 40 need only serve to reinforce the point and shut the braying pie-holes of pasifist appeasers, seething America-haters, and plain old damned fools.


President Bush and Ashley Faulkner Posted by Hello

And to my pagan friends: Happy New Year. May any gods that exist guide Americans to choose wisdom and strength over slick style and empty promises, here on the eve of history.


S


Update: MEMRI has a more complete translation of Osama bin Laden's recent "warning" to Americans. It seems that our favorite murdering jackass is trying to get folks to vote against President Bush after all. You'll never see this in the mainstream media; unlike Osama, they know very well what the American reaction to such a threat would be and who'll end up in The White House because of it. Hat tip to Bill Whittle of E3.


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