Alpine Summit

Friday, September 30, 2005

Yon: Rhma's Coming to America

Michael Yon reports on the final mission of "Deuce Four." An army unit with which he's been embedded for 8 months. The final mission of this unit was saving a little girl with a heart condition.

Much world travel has convinced me that the “average American” is a good person. But even a good person needs information in order to act effectively on their best impulses. Oftentimes, good things do not happen simply because information does not make it to the right people.

I believe this was the case for a sick little Iraqi girl named Rhma. American “Deuce Four” soldiers found Rhma one night in Mosul. She needed serious medical attention. Doctors, nurses and others back in America, along with the soldiers in Mosul, worked diligently on behalf of this child, and eventually they generated the support required to get Rhma the treatment she desperately needed. But it wasn’t just Americans: I also saw offers come in from the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, among others.

Stories like this sicken me when I think people like this are assigning moral equivalence between our troops and the terrorists. Read the whole thing, and if you live in NM, call your local news station and ask them to cover this story. People need to know about these sorts of things.

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United Ninnies

Glenn Reynolds links to a story on the U.N. attempting to wrest control of the Internet from the U.S. I'm glad we're soundly rejecting this.

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.

"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development.


The U.N. has been trying for a couple of years now to try and get their grubby, speech-silencing, hands on the Internet to start censoring any dissident speech. It used to be: "we want to stop dissemination of threatening and dangerous things (like child pornography). This was soundly rejected since it's already illegal in the U.S. to do such things and it is, in fact, member nations of the U.N. that are the problem. Now it's "we want control over things that involve the entire world and give the third world countries their (un)fair share of the Internet." Which far overstepps the charter of the U.N. in my opinion and reaks of socialism.

Not only that, but they don't even care that it's the U.S. that created the Internet--using its own defense funds to do so. Just like everything else the U.S. comes up with, we are expected to give it away. Then, once the countries have what they want, criticize us for having a larger defense budget when other countries spend a fraction of the money but have comparable militaries and wonder how we can spend so much money.

Hey, U.N.! You want the Internet? Come and get it. I can't think of a more worthless organization constantly trying to gain more and more power over individual nations' sovereignty-- especially the United States.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Site Maintenance

I decided to move the position of my comments/trackbacks links. In so doing, something bad happened and they don't seem to be anywhere now. I'll try and fix them soon.

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Roberts Confirmed!

Well, I'm glad he finally got confirmed. I read a news story saying he's the youngest chief justice since 1801.

Roberts, 50, will be the youngest person in the exalted position of chief justice since John Marshall, an appointee of President John Adams. Marshall took office in 1801 at the age of 45.


That WaPo article really isn't bad in terms of giving a good overview of history etc. I was wondering what the breakdown of the vote was, and here it is. Notice that the "yeas" are a bipartisan majority while the "nays" aren't. The ONLY people to vote against this were Democrats--the craziest ones, too. True, there were plenty of Democrats who voted for him, but my point is that the ones who voted against Roberts are the partisan hacks.

There was absolutely no reason to vote against Roberts, and the fact that these people did shows their policies and views are dictated by being against Republicans and Bush than through any mode of critical thought.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What I've Been Up To

To those of you who read my blog, I thought I would let you know about the career choice I've made yesterday. I've decided to join the Army. I'm going to start signing papers and getting the process started on Monday.

I'm hoping to join up as an officer. I'm not sure if I'll even get accepted, but I'm confident. Assuming I get an officer slot, I'll go to basic for 3 months then to officer candidate school (OCS). After that, I'll enter into the Army as a second lieutenant. I get 5 chances to choose different jobs around the Army before they just put me where they want me-- which is most likely going to be infantry. I'm still trying to find 5 things, but my first two choices are going to be Finance Corps, and Intelligence. I have a friend from my fraternity who is a tank commander; I've thought about that, too.

So, why would I join the Army? I'm sure my friends will wonder why, considering recent events. I've decided to do this because I've always felt a debt to my country and especially the military for all they have given me in my life. I was raised in the military, and my father has been saved more than once by the military. Also, as I've said before (maybe not here), the absolute best people of the highest character, whom I've met, are/were in the military. My dad shares this view with a few exceptions. I know it's a hard standard to live up to, but I'm going to do my best.

Another reason I've decided to join up is because of the career opportunities. I've looked through a few financial jobs in the private sector and the Fed (Federal Reserve Bank), and they are testaments to mediocrity. There really aren't any jobs where I want to be right out of college. The jobs I want demand at least 4-6 years of experience. All the entry-level stuff is boring. I think I'll find excitment in the Army. I realize I may not get finance corps and that I may get put into the infantry, but I'm not really worried.

Anyway, that's my big life choice and hopefully it will pan out. The recruiter is taking me for a physical in Denver at some point and is willing to get me in shape for this year. I'm finishing school in May, and hopefully going to basic training shortly after that. I'll keep you posted.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Women on Campus!

As sort of a follow-up from the "diversity" thing from yesterday, TCS has a column about the number of women outnumbering men on college campuses and how colleges are to blame.

One would be to treat it the way we treat other "underrepresentation" issues in higher education: By wondering what universities are doing wrong. There seems little doubt that universities have become less male-friendly in recent decades, to the point of being downright unfriendly in many cases. The kind of statements that are routinely made about males and masculinity in classrooms and hallways would get professors fired if they were made about blacks, gays, or many other groups. Sexual-harassment policies start with the presumption that men are guilty, and inherently depraved. And colleges now come at the tail-end of an educational system that is (compared to previous decades) anti-male from kindergarten on, meaning many males probably just want to get out as soon as they can.

No kidding. I always remember females being propped up and praised far more than males growing up. Teachers would constantly (and purposefully) ignore a male student willing to answer a question, then arbitrarily pick a girl to answer. All I've heard my entire life is "women are somehow better than men." During a psychology class, women were described as "emotionally more mature" than men; which really just means they're more prone to fly off the handle and panic when something goes wrong, rather than logically working out the problem (like a man would).

That said, I have never felt like other groups were being promoted beyond any other group at my university. At least, not in the classroom. The University of Wyoming, because of its conservative nature, has a very diverse group of people and we all more or less get along and are quite tolerant of each other's viewpoints. Even a lot of the whacko lefties here are willing to have a civil conversation with you.

In terms of official university policy, there is plenty of propping up of "non-traditional" students. This doesn't go towards the detriment of white males, though. I'm also assuming you know there are exceptions to the rule anywhere you go. Some professors are horrible about making gender/race distinctions and base their entire world-view on black/white/asian/male/female.

But getting back to the women/men ratio... I have noticed women are going to my school than men. It's interesting. My favorite part about this is the implication that women will have fewer men to choose from:

USA Today underscored that this imbalance in favor of women isn't just an impression, but fact:
Currently, 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men. That gender imbalance will widen in the coming years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education.

This is ominous for every parent with a male child. The decline in college attendance means many will needlessly miss out on success in life. The loss of educated workers also means the country will be less able to compete economically. The social implications -- women having a hard time finding equally educated mates -- are already beginning to play out.

But the inequity has yet to provoke the kind of response that finally opened opportunities for women a generation ago. In fact, virtually no one is exploring the obvious questions: What has gone wrong? And what happens to all the boys who aren't in college?

Awesome. My chances are improving! :)

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Monday, September 26, 2005

What the...?

I just got an e-mail from the president of my university about diversity. This sounds to me to be more of him trying to artificially prop up these chosen programs of "diversity" (many of which involve blaming the white men for all their troubles) than anything else, because there doesn't seem to be much of an interest in minority programs.

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

At the beginning of this new academic year, I would like to reaffirm the need for each of us at the University to help bring the diversity to campus that is representative of Wyoming and the nation. While the challenges are substantial, we must not waiver from this commitment. There are many ways to contribute:

Students and curriculum. We want to recruit a diverse student body, to provide a welcoming environment, and to ensure that all students who leave the University of Wyoming are prepared to work and live in an increasingly diverse society. We value the programs for which diversity is a central focus of scholarly work, including African-American Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano Studies, and Women's Studies. Academic departments must help support these programs, through their hiring plans, through lasting instructional commitments, and through adjustments in teaching assignments for faculty members who contribute by teaching in these programs. We also appreciate the faculty who advise students to take courses in these departments, and who find creative ways to broaden discussions of diversity and internationalization in their classes in all of UW's academic departments.

Hiring practices. I encourage you to help us diversify the faculty and staff as well as the student body. An important first step in faculty hiring is to insist on fair, open searches that are national or international in scope and that encourage people from underrepresented groups to apply. You might want to invite Nell Russell from UW's Employment Practices and Affirmative Action Office to be part of the discussions undertaken by your search committees.

Community activities. I also urge you to participate in the activities and programs organized around affirming difference. Examples include Martin Luther King Days of Dialogue (in January), the Shepard Symposium for Social Justice (in March), the Multicultural Resource Center, the Rainbow Resource Center, and other initiatives.

Other resources. There is a "diversity" quick link on the UW homepage which provides information about the wide array of academic programs, student organizations, and support services offices that are committed to diversity. The President's Advisory Council on Minorities' and Women's Affairs (PACMWA) has a Diversity Resource Guide that can be downloaded from their website at http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/pacmwa/.

These resources may be of special interest when you are recruiting new students or employees.

We all need to play a role in affirming diversity at UW. We are all stakeholders, we are all responsible, and we are all stewards in this important work.

Sincerely,

Tom Buchanan
President

I'm certainly not one to advocate the burning of crosses in black people's yards, but I'm also not one to teach acceptance of all viewpoints and ideologies. Tolerance: yes... acceptance? No. I'll tolerate gay people and defend their right to be a functioning member of society, but I don't accept their lifestyle. When they start making out with their butt-buddy in public, I draw a line.

When women's studies professors tell their class that women taking their husband's last name is a sign of the maleocentric manocracy, I don't accept their view; I'll tolerate it, though. Speaking of which- how is that "diverse?" It's merely divisive and antagonistic towards men!

ANYWAY, my point is, if you say something bad towards minorities or women, it's racism/sexism. If you say something bad towards white males or christians, it's "diversity." Also, since Wyoming is 90% whites anyway I would say that, if anything, UW is far more diverse than the rest of the state. I just thought this letter was stupid and thought I'd comment. Whenever the word "diversity" pops up, my eyes tend to glaze over because I know what will follow will be worthless liberal, hippy, feel-good claptrap.

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Army Corps of Engineer's New Name: Louisianna Corps of Engineers

Both senators from Louisianna have drawn up a bill that would increase project funding for the Army corps of engineers (ACOE) from under $400 Million to $40 Billion. That's BILLION with a 'B.'

Louisiana's congressional delegation has requested $40 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, about 10 times the annual Corps budget for the entire nation, or 16 times the amount the Corps has said it would need to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 hurricane.

Louisiana Sens. David Vitter (R) and Mary Landrieu (D) tucked the request into their $250 billion Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act, the state's opening salvo in the scramble for federal dollars.

The bill, unveiled last week, would create a powerful "Pelican Commission" controlled by Louisiana residents that would decide which Corps projects to fund, and ordered the commission to consider several controversial navigation projects that have nothing to do with flood protection. The Corps section of the Louisiana bill, which was supported by the entire state delegation, was based on recommendations from a "working group" dominated by lobbyists for ports, shipping firms, energy companies and other corporate interests.

The bill would exempt any Corps projects approved by the commission from provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act. It would also waive the usual Corps cost-sharing requirements, ensuring that federal taxpayers would pay every dime.


So, not only are they getting way more money than any other state in terms of ACOE funding, but the citizens of Louisianna wouldn't have to pay for any of it. Sure we get the bill, but Louisianna gets all of the benefit.

I really feel for Louisianna (and the rest of the south hit by Katrina/Rita), but this is absolutely ridiculous! Louisianna is already getting BILLIONS in aid excluding private donations, and now they want BILLIONS more?! This seems like opportunism on the part of Louisianna's Congressional representatives and other state leaders.

With the public eager to help Katrina's victims, President Bush and Congress have already approved $62.3 billion in spending for the Gulf Coast. But some budget hawks are grumbling about the impact on the deficit; the Louisiana delegation's $250 billion bill would cost more than the Louisiana Purchase under the Jefferson administration on an inflation-adjusted basis. Some critics of federal water projects said the $40 billion Corps request could make the delegation look especially greedy and undermine support for the state's reconstruction plans.

You don't say.

Corps funding is only part of what Louisiana wants. The 440-page bill also includes $50 billion in open-ended grants for storm-ravaged communities and $13 billion for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, along with mortgage assistance, health care, substance abuse treatment and other services for hurricane victims. It also includes hefty payments to hospitals, ports, banks, shipbuilders, fishermen and schools, as well as $8 million for alligator farms, $35 million for seafood industry marketing, and $25 million for a sugar-cane research laboratory that had not been completed before Katrina.

The bill did not specify where the money would come from, but several billion dollars a year would presumably flow from a provision allowing Louisiana to keep half the offshore oil and gas revenue paid to the federal government, a long-standing demand of the state's delegation.


It seems that leaders in Louisianna are simply using this disaster to get the pork spending projects denied in the past, resurrected. Not to mention their desire for special treatment above any other state accepting funding for ACOE projects. This bill better not even make it past committee and Bush damn well better not sign it if it somehow magically makes it to his desk. The way things are going, though, I'm not too thrilled with Bush's spending policy and the worst part is that I can see him signing this.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

NRA Goes to New Orleans

I meant to blog about this before, but never got around to it.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District in Louisiana today sided with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and issued a restraining order to bar further gun confiscations from peaceable and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

“This is a significant victory for freedom and for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The court’s ruling is instant relief for the victims who now have an effective means of defending themselves from the robbers and rapists that seek to further exploit the remnants of their shattered lives,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

Joining LaPierre in hailing the U.S. District Court decision was NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. “This is an important victory. But the battle is not over. The NRA will remedy state emergency statutes in all 50 states, if needed, to ensure that this injustice does not happen again."


If there was a time to have a gun for self-defense, this would be it. Sure the Army is running around and has been authorized to shoot people, but as long as the people aren't stupid, they should be fine. Also, just because there's an emergency situation, doesn't necessarily mean that constitutional rights should be foregone. I would say that if New Orleans is as chaotic and crime-ridden as the MSM says while the authorities are as incapable at dealing with the problem as the MSM says they are, then it's up to individuals to take care of themselves and their property.

Once I get out of school and have a decent job, I'm starting up my membership with the NRA again.

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Spooky

Soldiers are experiencing the ghosts of New Orleans- literally. It's kind of spooky, actually. Cool; but spooky.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's All About the Numbers

I'm listening to the Hitchens/Galloway debate right now, and Galloway mentions the number dead. First off, he accuses Bush of killing thousands in Fallujah and that it's somehow a bad thing. He neglects to mention that those "thousands killed" were terrorists. He assigns a moral equivalence to the terrorists and our troops; that somehow our troops are on par with people who kill innocents, cut off their heads and blow themselves up to kill as many civillians as possible.

Anyway, what I noticed was that he not only mentioned the dead in Iraq (with speculative numbers), but he also mentions the wounded and maimed. This will certainly inflate numbers of those "hurt" by this war. I seem to be noticing them (liberals) mention this more and more. The numbers of dead are not large enough to affect the emotions of the public, so now they're including wounded to try and inflate them to greater numbers... or am I just hearing things for the first time?

Also, Hitchens makes a good point that if you believe the only casualties of this war are being caused by coalition forces, then you're views are seriously flawed and aren't even worth considering.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I Believe Our Children Are... Idiots

I read a letter to the editor in my rag of a school paper today and a freshman majoring in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management (hippie) wrote a criticism of the price of gas in America right now.

Dear Editor,

Our fuel outlook needs to change.

The price of fuel has gotten out of hand. We will probably never see low gas prices again. People are already preparing for even higher prices. We need to curb the increasing price of gas by introducing more bio fuel into the mix. We have enough crops to supply a good portion of the demand. We need to build more sites to produce bio fuel so that it can be used widespread.

There needs to be legislation to limit the oil companies from raising the prices beyond a certain point. We have many alternatives that we can use but we choose not to.

Now, I understand that business, and commodity markets, aren't exactly everyone's cup-o-tea, but this kid is completely ignorant of how the world works- illustrated in this case by his grasp (or lack thereof) on the oil industry. I felt it was my duty as a business major to respond to this idiocy and hopefully negate the stupidity he's trying to inflict on people.

I wanted to respond to Dustin Southworth’s comments on oil prices. While he may know plenty about the environment, he knows very little about capitalist markets.

Mr. southworth’s first point that we are paying too much at the pump isn’t really true. While gas prices are indeed higher than we’re used to, in real dollar terms, we’re still quite a bit below the prices some of us paid in the 70’s during the oil embargo. We’re also paying far less for gas in America than our counterparts in, say, England(roughly $8/gal). So in terms of the rest of the world, our gas is still dirt cheap.

Southworth then says that by introducing more bio-fuels “into the mix” the price at the pump will go down. The problem with this is that it requires refining companies to outfit their operations to process bio-fuels on a much larger scale. This involves a lot of investment to outfit refineries, set up distribution chains with farmers, and any other host of logistical issues that not only cost time and money, but there would be no guarantee the price of oil will stay at a price to make all that effort profitable.

Southworth closes out his letter by saying we should introduce legislation to limit the price oil companies can charge for their product-- bad idea. The same thing was tried with electricity in California, and we all saw what happened there. The problem is that while our companies are limited to selling their product at a certain price, OPEC, from which our companies have to buy a lot of oil, are free to sell at whatever price they want. So as the price of oil is set higher and higher by OPEC and the international futures market, the profit margins of our companies gets thinner until they have no profit. When that happens, there isn’t any disposable money to spend on research or other things such as alternative energy.

It may be frustrating to pay $3/gal for gas, but it’s actually a pretty fair price given that the price at the pump is determined more by OPEC and futures markets than by our own gas companies. This issue is far more complex than simply pressuring our representatives to punish companies for trying to maintain profit margins. There are many factors to consider: demand on crops, jobs, tax revenues generated, etc. and I would encourage Mr. Southworth to take an economics class and learn more about how markets work before calling for the proverbial heads of oil companies.

I'm sure the hippies on campus will find some way of spinning this into some evil conspiracy theory on the part of these corporations, but whatever. I guess the first obstacle is hoping the hard-left people at the paper consider printing my letter.

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Recap of the Hanson/Huffington Debate

This recap of the Hanson/Huffingtion debate was really concise and well-done:

Actually, to be honest it’s not really a debate at all, it is a massacre. Huffington is totally outclassed - she couldn’t even stay on topic for two minutes before wandering into some misguided rant about Wal-Mart (!) or Hurricane Katrina (?). But where the hell are the real intellectuals of the left? I seriously want to hear some proper persuasion, one way or the other, on any number of interesting topics. I want to be challenged and hear opposing points. And instead we get Huffington - and this is the best she can do? It was embarrassing to watch. Nothing but a confused, rambling tirade about every disconnected “anti-bush” talking point she could think of. But the thing is, this is par for the course with the modern left.

This is the real reason the left is losing ground. Anyone who actually pays attention to what they are saying can’t avoid the conclusion: they are absolutely full of shit. How can they expect to get support when they just make it up as they go along?

Modern left thinking is nothing but a confused mess of half-truths, shallow and woefully inadequate analysis, rapidly changing topics, logical missteps, appeals to race and/or class, and sanctimonious bluster; whatever well-meaning ideals it supposedly started with. It is, quite simply, doomed.

Perfectly worded and extremely true. One thing I noticed about Huffington (and left-wing arguments in general) was her Tu quoque, ad homenim, and straw man arguments. She was indeed horribly off-topic for most of the debate.

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Schroeder: "You Vill Let Me Keep My Power, NOW!"

So Gerhard Schroeder lost the elections and is crying like a little baby.

BERLIN - A belligerent performance by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a TV talk show after German elections, which his party narrowly lost, has drawn widespread criticism and fuelled alarm the country could be lurching into a political crisis.

Despite coming in behind conservative challenger Angela Merkel, the Chancellor - in an interview with all leading candidates after Sunday's elections - insisted he had won and should remain German leader.

This means Schroeder is locked in battle with Merkel who insists she should head the next German government. With both sides digging in their heels the impasse is likely to remain for weeks and could even force new elections - which some analysts say is Schroeder's secret goal.

"I wanted to win!!! Waaaa!!!" Talk about disgraceful. As if he were actually taking a page from the Democrats here in America, he's trying to cast doubt on a close, but obviously decisive, election for the sake of getting a second chance of keeping his power outside of the construct of law.

I'm really not surprised that he lost this election considering the train wreck that used to be the German economy. While Germans are at least pragmatic enough to recognize that Schroeder's socialist plans for the country have been a bad thing, they still haven't learned their lesson, apparently.

But those images tell only part of the story. Laden with huge welfare costs and rigid labor rules, the world's fifth-largest economy has been sputtering for years -- and seems worse than ever. Growth is negligible, and the official unemployment rate this year hit 12.6 percent, a postwar record.

Counting those parked in make-work schemes or forced to retire early, economists put the real jobless rate as high as 22 percent -- a staggering 18 million people.

...

In a recent poll conducted for Der Spiegel magazine, 56 percent of West Germans and 66 percent of East Germans agreed that "socialism is a good idea that has so far been poorly implemented." In another survey for Stern magazine, 79 percent said the government was not sufficiently protecting the country from the "excesses" of capitalism and globalization.

In the end, one big problem facing a potential Merkel government is that Germans have utterly lost faith in the ability of politicians to solve their country's problems, pollster Reinhardt Schlinkert of Infratest-Dimap said.


At least they're on the right track. Perhaps in another 20-or-so years, they'll realize that socialism is an intellectually and pragmatically bankrupt economic system. One thing that has really hurt Germany in recent years is its entrance into the EU. They've been bankrolling French (and other EU members) debt and even more socialist policies for years now. Since Germany is the economic powerhouse of the EU, they get all the bills. Another interesting point is that Schroeder, as a last ditch effort to win over the voters, tried moving away from his socialist agenda.

Opinion polls suggest that Schroeder, 61, will lose. His government cut taxes and curbed parts of Germany's lavish welfare state, but the changes either did not go far enough or have not worked fast enough to help him. Schroeder's Social Democratic Party suffered a huge defeat in a May state election, prompting him to call an early national vote.

Capitalism has been the bedrock economic system since human history began that has worked the best for societies. It's the only system that equitably rewards hard work, and negatively reinforces sloth. It's a meritocracy where those who deserve more of a limited supply of goods and services actually get them. Sure it has its problems, and sure it doesn't feel good to say "too bad" to homeless people, but that's how it works. One thing that counters this flaw in capitalism is the generosity of successful people. This isn't socialism, though, because the people aren't being forced to give up their wealth- they're choosing to share it with the less fortunate.

It seems that Schroeder, as well as the German public, are learning capitalism is the best economic system to run a country the hard way. Hopefully
Angela Merkel will earn the "Margaret Thatcher" title given to her when she takes over Schroeder's job.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Where's the Beef?

The Mirror, a british paper of unknown leanings and credibility, has published a scathing criticism of America because NATO rations sent to help Katrina victims are going to be burned. Why? Because the beef contained in the rations is from England. (By the way: I really liked how they inserted pictures of black people to imply racism in America... oh THAT bias.)

"The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are Nato approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.

"Under Nato, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness."



Now, at first one would want to complain about how this is just more bureaucracy at work. Actually, they are protecting these people. While American soldiers are entitled to eat these rations, I would imagine America's soldiers don't partake for the same reasons the FDA isn't allowing civillians to eat them. It's a clever way for the author to say "American soldiers can eat these, but poor people can't." While it's technically true, in practice it's not true at all.

Sure, these people are hungry, but would you rather they be fed with tainted beef? England has had troubles- many troubles- in the past with their beef standards. What do you think would happen if Bush, or our government in general, were to allow that into the country and people subsequently got sick from it? We would hear calls for heads to role and questions of "how could the government let this happen?" Well, as hungry as those people may be, I would rather let them go hungry for a while than taking the chance that they could contract a disease that would affect the rest of their lives.

Being in college, I look for any way I can to make a little extra money. One way you can do this where I go to school is to donate plasma. You can get paid up to $200 a month for doing this. However, because my dad was stationed in Germany during the 80's and I MIGHT have had tainted beef, I'm unable to donate plasma and must continue working for my money (pfft). Sure, that's just stupid bureaucracy, but that's how it is. A lot of these people are impoverished and that $200 could make a lot of difference in their lives. If we let them eat these rations, though, then that option is closed to them- not to mention the blood donor pool gets that much smaller for companies who are always looking for more blood/plasma.

So, sure it sucks these hungry people are going to see a bonfire of food, but it's better than possibly making their lives even worse than a pang of hunger.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Hanson v. Huffington

I was catching up on LGF's page and found a link to a video of a debate between Victor Davis Hanson and Ariana Huffington. Oh man! Huffington got REAMED by Hanson and it was beautiful. The question of the debate was: "Is America an imperialist country?" Hanson addressed (not) all the reasons that we aren't an imperialist society, and Huffington did nothing but make straw man arguments and ad homenim attacks against Bush et. al. Oh yeah, then turn around and accuse Hanson of doing it- typical left-wing tu quoque attacks. The video is streaming real video, so if you don't have real player, get it; it's worth the spyware. I wish I had a downloadable version somewhere as this would make an awesome addition to my hard drive, but whatever.

Also, the Q&A section was good. Hanson got to stick it to some crazy libs. If you don't already, read VDH's columns (link in my blogroll). He is an absolutely brilliant man full of wonderful insights and fantastic arguments and historical examples for the conservative viewpoint.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

War on Men Continues

According to some "scientists," being patriarchal is why men die sooner than women. Oh, and how do they measure the level of patriarchy? Why, the murders of females, of course.

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In a somewhat unexpected finding, societal male dominance over women -- patriarchy -- may help explain why men have a lower life expectancy than women worldwide.

British researchers analyzed rates of female murders and male death rates from all causes in 51 countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. The prevalence of violence against women was used to indicate the extent of patriarchal control in each of the countries. Socioeconomic factors were also taken into consideration.

The study found that women lived longer than men in all 51 countries. The study also found that those countries with higher rates of female murders (indicating higher levels of patriarchy) also had higher rates for male death and shorter male life expectancies, compared to countries with lower female murder rates, the researchers said.

I hope I don't have to explain to anyone the idiocy associated with this. By measuring the amount of patriarchy in this "study" as the level of 'how many women were killed' is absolutely nonsense. Did they discount the female-female murders? That isn't even the issue! By measuring patriarchy as they do, they are exhibiting an opinion on their research that patriarchy is based on women being killed. That's innacurate at best and downright sexist overall.

Wikipedia has a description of patriarchy as thus:

A patriarch (from Greek: patria means father; arché means rule, beginning, origin) is a male head of an extended family exercising autocratic authority, or, by extension, a member of the ruling class or government of a society controlled by senior men. The word patriarch also denotes certain high-ranking bishops in some hierarchical churches; see patriarch; the word patriarchy (or patriarchate) in that case refers to his seat and domain.

Nowhere in there does it say a requirement for patriarchy is to kill women. Not to mention that I don't know too many countries where this (women being killed because a man is brought up in society to show his manliness by killing women- maybe the middle east...) is the case. I know in America, for the most part, marriages are partnerships more than a patriarchy and women have just as much say as a man on what goes on in this country.

Also, there are documented cases where monestaries and convents were examined and showed the women still living longer than the men. How would this study explain that, when there are no women for the monks to kill? Absolutely ridiculous.

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More On Racial Profiling

LGF has a post about a girl being fired from the school paper, the Daily Tar Heel, at UNC - Chapel Hill for expressing her opinion.

I want all Arabs to be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport.

I don’t care if they’re being inconvenienced. I don’t care if it seems as though their rights are being violated.

I care about my life. I care about the lives of my family and friends.

And I care about the lives of the Arabs and Arab Americans I’m privileged to know and study with.

They’re some of the brightest, kindest people I’ve ever met.

Tragically, they’re also members of an ethnicity that is responsible for almost every act of terror committed against the West in the recent past.


That's basically the crux of her argument. She doesn't really do a good job of arguing for racial profiling, but that doesn't mean she isn't right. To say she wants all arabs strip-searched within 100 yards of an airport etc., is emotionally driven and sensational language; however, when you're talking about an opinion column where such things are fair game.

The editors claim they fired her because "she lied to her sources and readers." My favorite quote from the editor's response is this little bit:

Unlike two DTH alumni who resigned from The Reidsville Review this summer, Bandes didn’t inaccurately quote anyone. (I have her notes as proof.)

But you don’t necessarily have to make things up to get them wrong or to mislead the reader.

This is the bottom line: Bandes told the three people quoted in her column — students Sherief Khaki and Muhammad Salameh, as well as professor Nasser Isleem — that she was writing an article about Arab-American relations in a post-9/11 world.

That’s not what happened; that’s a major problem.

Racial profiling was, in fact, part of their conversation. But it wasn’t their entire conversation. At no point did Khaki, Salameh or Nasser ever think the only quotes Bandes would use would be their comments on the subject.

I asked Bandes as I read her column whether the quotes were accurate; whether they were fair; whether they truly represented the feelings of the people quoted.

She said yes.


So, her sources didn't think those quotes would be used, so the fact that they were is a journalistic integrity issue? Give me a break. Anything discussed in the interview, and subsequently said by the interviewee, is fair game on which to report. He continues thus:

Now, I don’t know if Bandes simply misrepresented herself or whether she intentionally fudged things when she talked to her sources. But either way, when I talked to all three of them Wednesday, they told me they felt not only lied to, but betrayed.

None of them support racial profiling. None of them want Arabs to get “sexed up” as they go through the airport. And none of them thought Bandes would use their words the way she did — callously and without regard for their actual meaning.

In other words, their quotes were wrong, even if the words were correct. They were used recklessly and thoughtlessly.


He uses a "veneer of journalistic ideals" as LGF says. Which is not valid in this instance because it was an opinion column. Opinion columns are merely the opinions of their writers on paper. Journalistic integrity is never an issue with opinion writers in any main-stream papers like the New York Times because they recognize it's just an opinion and should not be read as news. Why should it suddenly be an issue with a column by a college student?

The real reason she was fired (and not just reprimanded) was because, while controversial views are usually accepted, Bandes' controversial views weren't liberal in nature. Had they been views on why all gay students should be allowed to walk around campus butt-naked for the sake of "understanding" and "tolerance," she would be given a medal. Why would I say this? Because, unlike others who have been in similar situations, she was not allowed to write an apology column which she says she was working on for the next print.

Jillian Bandes, a junior from Florida, was the author of the column that ran in Tuesday’s edition of the school paper. She says she was just stating her opinion on airport security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was never given an opportunity from The Daily Tar Heel editors to defend herself.

...

After running a letter to the editor Wednesday from the Muslim Students Association denouncing the column and questioning the validity of some of the comments in the article, Chris Coletta, opinion editor for The Daily Tar Heel, met with Bandes Wednesday afternoon to inform her of her termination. Bandes said she was never given an opportunity to write a column apologizing to offended students, a practice that has precedent with the paper. She said that was going to be the topic of her next column.

Bandes was fired after writing just three columns for The Daily Tar Heel.

“His mind was already made up,” Bandes said of Coletta. “There was really no contest.”

Coletta refused to go into detail about the firing saying only that, “It’s unfortunate. I wish it didn’t have to happen.” He also said that his only public comments on the situation would be made on his Daily Tar Heel blog, The Bullhorn, the editor’s blog and a column published Thursday.


So, he was muscled into firing her because the MSA pressured him. Don't talk to me about journalistic integrity, Coletta. The MSA has been responsible for several anti-Israeli opinions and other rhetoric indistinguishable from what the terrorists are saying. I wouldn't be surprised if they threatened to suicide bomb him in the name of Allah if he didn't fire her.

Bandes was able to respond to Colette's defense through a letter to the editor (her "apology column," I guess).

But what I did was not journalistically out of bounds. My sources agreed with racial profiling, and I simply added my two cents.

I was also fired for apparently misleading my sources on what I was writing about. I thought I had made it clear that my article was about both 9/11 and racial profiling when I spoke to each individual.

As I wrote, I focused more on the latter topic. And I regret misleading them, even if I had no intentions of doing so.

But after asking each source several times what he thought of racial profiling, even if I did not explicitly tell them, I would’ve thought that they would understand what a large focus of my article would be about.

I’m deeply saddened that my sources have been harassed and have received death threats. I’m slightly put off by the profanity and hatred that has been thrown my way, and I’m extremely resentful for being called racist.

But this is the product of ignorant readers, not my writing.

...

A friend said it best: “The court of public opinion is vaster and stronger than the kangaroo courts of college Orwellianism. If you cannot be attacked on the grounds of truth — then all they have to attack you with are names and slanders and distractions from the truth.”


So the MSA was behind the complaint, and her interviewees received death threats... hmm. One thing I do know about the public discourse on university campuses is that the conservative viewpoint is always the view on trial. It's always the offensive viewpoint, and it's always the viewpoint that needs to be explained. Then, when it's clear the view is the much better one, it's shouted down and denounced anyway. Leadership of school papers play a major role in keeping this farce going.

Part of the problem is also on the side of conservatives for being too apathetic about these things. In fact, I'm going to pay closer attention to the Branding Iron and perhaps complain about the constant political cartoons by Mike Luckovich and "Bushitlerhalliburton" columns they constantly print.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

If Only...

If only there were more black mothers like this, perhaps stealing and other steriotypes for blacks wouldn't be as true:





The problem is, instead of taking responsibility for themselves, such blacks (the ones that steal and go to prison) have been convinced that it's whitey's fault that they do such things. It's nice to see a mother take a pro-active approach to trying to get her son to recognize that it's HIS fault for stealing. Now, if only such pragmatism existed in the black leadership...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Christian Carnival Is Up!

My "House Divided" post was linked... it's really exciting for me- my first carnival! Anyway, check it out it's full of a lot of really good stuff.

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Popularity Contest

Ankle Biting Pundits has the latest gallup information on Bush's approval ratings. Despite the media's best efforts, his approval rating is going up. His general approval rating is at 46% up from 45% last month. It's low, but not entirely unpopular or condemning. ABP lists the breakdown of who thinks what.

One thing my friend always whined about when I agrued with him was how Bush's popularity kept going down. Well, it's going up now, and I don't think he's really done that much differently. I don't expect the same righteous posturing from my friend anymore; but I'll probably still get it, anyway. I think the difference is actually the slipping grip the media has on public attention. People disapprove when they're interviewed, but then find out 'Bush != Hitler' (for you programmers out there) from such places as the blogosphere, and primary sources on the internet, and change their minds.

One thing I'm happy about is that Bush took responsibility for the failings of the federal government in the Katrina relief effort. Of coure, the NYT (where I read this) spins it that Bush claims the whole thing was his fault when he actually just claims responsibility for his end of the deal.

One thing many people of all colors of political persuasion have pointed out are the failings of the government, at various levels, in reacting to hurricane Katrina. So, who picks up the slack when such things happen? Why, it's the eeeevvvillll kkkapitalist kkkorporations!

The New York Times had an article in the business section today about how corporations from all over the marketplace (biotech, to drug companies, to wal-mart, to banks) are donating money, goods, and services in the Katrina relief.

Amgen, the biotechnology company, is donating $2.5 million to relief efforts, focusing on dialysis and cancer patients. On top of millions of dollars in cash and equipment, General Electric donated a mobile power plant to restore capacity to a fuel transfer station in Louisiana. Emigrant Savings Bank deposited $1,000 into the account of each customer in the areas hardest hit. Employees of Papa John's spent the last week in Biloxi, Miss., in a pizza trailer handing out thousands of six-inch pies.

Employees at many companies are also collectively matching, sometimes surpassing, direct corporate contributions. Even many companies that are geographically removed from the disaster are responding with remarkable largess. Amid all this, it seems that cash donations, especially anything less than $1 million from the largest companies, are considered tight-fisted.


Liberals are always complaining about how they have to take care of themselves. I guess it would be a hassle when they're more busy trying to tell others what they should be doing, but I digress. Anyway, liberals are always wanting more government entitlements and cradle-to-grave handouts. The most recent example of this is perscription drug benefits. Now using the Katrina debacle and social security as models, are perscription drugs really what we want the government to be handling? The public marketplace has done a far better job of this than the government ever could.

Corporations are rising to the challenge out of a spirit of charity but also to burnish their image. The money spent not only redounds in good will but also serves to publicize a company's products or business.


So, not only are they doing this because of a philanthropic motivation, but they're also doing it for public image reasons. When government officials piss off their constituents, they maintain their office until the term expires, and move on. When a company pisses off its customers, it goes out of business. The requirements for companies is far more stringent than for a politician. There was a great picture of Wal-Mart trucks waiting to deliver supplies 3 days after the hurricane. That, to me, is just phenominal and lives up to the "blessing" part of "mixed blessing" I say to describe Wal-Mart.

The sheer volume of donations has been overwhelming. In the last two weeks, Georgia Pacific sent 65 truckloads of consumer goods - toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cutlery - to relief organizations, more than three times the amount it sent all last year during hurricane season.

In addition to its $17 million in cash donations to relief agencies, Wal-Mart has shipped more than 100 truckloads of goods - diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, even beds - to the Gulf Coast.

If the pace of corporate donations continues - at $312 million and counting, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy in Washington - it is likely that the dollars given by businesses will surpass those given after disasters like the Sept. 11 attacks and the Asian tsunami.

"The response has been really quite stunning," said Peter Hero, president of the Community Foundation Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif. "Even though many of those companies don't have plants or business operations in the South."



Compare this to if we were a socialist (or even communist) society where all profit and wealth was given to the Government for redistribution. There would be no available funds or supplies companies could dip into to pick up the slack the government left blowing in the wind (no pun intended). As a matter of fact, you would have shortages and poverty even without the disaster. Think: USSR and the bread lines.

The government would probably try raping the companies for all the wealth they could squeeze out of them, but end up breaking the backs of the companies in the process and only causing more damage economically. Bottom line: capitalism is awesome, and socialist liberals are once again proven wrong.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Biased Commentary

Michael Yon, that 'conservative hack for Bush,' writes about the comments of LTC Erik Kurilla, a wounded soldier from Iraq. Read the story of how he was wounded here. It includes pictures of him in action as well.

In between the daily secret reports Kurilla has brought to his hospital room so he can track his battalion, the Commander watches television news, increasingly frustrated by what he sees as a clear, and inaccurate, negative bias. “When you get the news back here in the states, it’s all doom and body counts. I only wish the American public could see the incredible progress that is being made every day in Iraq, particularly in places like Mosul.”

What a surprise. Yet another soldier complaining about how the media has spun this war into some doom and gloom misery with absolutely no positives. Oh THAT liberal bias.

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Lost in Translation

Dory at Wittenberg Gate, the creator of the Christian Carnival, talks about a paper written by Leland Ryken; a professor of english at the University of Oregon. The paper is about choosing a Bible specifically, which translation is best to use.

His conclusion is that it's best to use more literal translations, also known as "word-for-word," rather than dynamic equivalence or "thought-for-thought" translations. His point was that the literal translations aren't perfect reproductions, but the mistakes are more a language barrier than anything else. At the same time, the dynamic equivalent versions express an opinion of how the words are supposed to be read, and hence, the opinions of the committees who interpreted the book are within their version of the Bible.

He cites several examples of how this applies and many of them are indeed similar in wording, but not the same in meaning. He cites several Bible versions and their exerpts to back up his claims. I have to say he makes a really convincing argument as to why more literal translations, such as the King James Version, should be preferred over more paraphrased versions such as The Message or The Living Bible.

My own personal preference is the King James Version of the Bible. It's written in Middle English, but is a very literal translation (NKJV uses modern equivalent words, but all I have KJV). I do, as Ryken mentions, have trouble from time to time with the wording in the KJV. During those instances, I read different versions, NIV (New International Version), DRB (Douay Rheims Bible), and ESV (English Standard Version) being my preferred, to see what the thought behind it was (as a matter of fact, Ryken lists the ESV as a literal translation). I do recognize that translations are going to be different when viewed through the lens of an interpreter, but they're also good to jumpstart thinking on a particular passage.

Sometimes I need help with literal translations and reading more interpretive translations is good for that. So, while I prefer the literal (KJV), I don't just sit unsatisfied in ignorance after reading something, I see what others think about that passage and then decide for myself what I think is really being said. The dynamic-equivalence Bibles are perfect for that.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

A House Divided

Aaron, filling in for Lee, wrote about about a recent eruption of violence in Belfast and all I felt was disappointment.

I think both Protestant and Catholic groups are sorely lacking in decent religious leadership in this part of the world. I wrote before about how people who want to perpetrate violence on their fellow man will find any excuse to do so. Well, here's an example of Christianity being used instead of Islam. However, unlike Islam, Christianity advocates peaceful resolution to conflict and love towards "disbelievers" and to help one another in the spirit of love. There are several passages in the Bible pertaining to conflict resolution and loving one another no matter what; so I feel fully justified in saying that neither of these groups are behaving biblically, and that Christianity really isn't the issue. It's about wanting to fight and finding an excuse to do so.

Protestant extremists threw homemade grenades, gasoline bombs and other makeshift weapons Saturday and at least a dozen police and two civilians were wounded in the latest fury over a restricted Belfast parade.

At least six officers were injured by flames and shrapnel from homemade grenades and gasoline-filled bottles on the nearby North Circular Road.

Officers on the North Circular Road took cover behind their armored vehicles after hearing bursts of automatic gunfire. In east Belfast, police said another six officers suffered mostly superficial injuries as they kept apart rival Catholic and Protestant mobs.

In rioting that ran from Saturday afternoon until early Sunday, police equipped with body armor, shields and flame-retardant boiler suits repelled the attackers with plastic bullets and mobile water cannons.

The mayhem spread at nightfall to Ballyclare and Newtownabbey, two predominantly Protestant suburbs of Belfast. Several buildings on Belfast’s northern outskirts were set on fire.

On the Shankill Road, more than 1,000 people confronted police units, who responded with plastic-bullet volleys and water jets. A helicopter’s spotlight overhead illuminated the mayhem. At least two civilians were injured.

British army engineers erected truck-mounted canvas screens in hopes of blocking Catholics’ view of the parade. But several hundred Catholics gathered on the road, and some stood on their rooftops to observe the drum-thumping procession. Both sides shouted vulgar abuse at each other.

Northern Ireland’s so-called “marching season” this year last turned violent on July 12, when several hundred Catholics attacked police with grenades, gasoline bombs and other weapons after an Orange parade passed the IRA power base of Ardoyne in north Belfast. About 100 officers and 10 civilians were wounded.


Aaron mentions that since peace deals have been brokered, many more have killed themselves. This only proves my point that they were doing this more for their own desire to kill, maim, and destory, than to actually fight for God.

Suicide rates in Northern Ireland have risen since the end of the Troubles, according to new research published today.

A University of Ulster report revealed that the violence which raged for more than 30 years may have kept people from taking their own lives.


You can't prove causality from this, but assuming this is the reason people are killing themselves, it proves my point that they're more concerned with hurting others. If it was about religion, these people certainly wouldn't be killing themselves: Catholics or Protestants.

I don't care that I'm not intimately involved with this situation and that there is a lot of history behind it, I care that Christian religion is playing a part to further the hurt of man. That's why I'm not religious- I'm faithful.

My faith is perfect: my faith is Christianity. I derive my spiritual beliefs from the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples as outlined in the Bible. I do not subscribe to a specific denomination (which makes me protestant in the eyes of the Catholics, I guess). I'm not going to do (or not do) something simply because my Pastor or my Pope says so (unless they can explain biblically why I should).

I'm not going to believe that because a fellow fallen human being is credentialed as a minister by other fallen human beings credentialed as ministers, bishops, or priests that they automatically have a direct line to God and by extention, authority to tell me how to live spiritually. My spiritual leaders are just that- leaders. I follow them at my own behest and learn from them when I can; but I'm not blind and do not follow blindly. I recognize that they are just as blind as I am looking for the same thing: God.

I do not believe that an organization run by imperfect beings, claiming to be more perfect than the rest of us, is somehow perfect (see here and here). To know the difference between a movement of the holy spirit and deception, I guage such feelings against the Bible's teachings.

Religion is a horrible thing. It's horrible because it makes it far too easy for people to fall into an attitude of groupthink. The recent situation in Belfast is a perfect example of where religion leads people. Faith is where God's glory is. It's pure, clean, and untouchable by human hands. The faith of Catholics and Protestants is exactly the same- but their religions are different; and to some, worth killing and dying for.

To every Christian: be more concerned about what God is being worshiped rather than how he's being worshiped; and know that violence in the name of the God in the Bible is not inspired by the holy spirit.

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Colonel Rick Rescorla: A True Patriot

Rick Rescorla, a true American hero of every sense of the word, was in the world trade center when it was attacked on 9/11. His story is truly humbling and should be taught to all people. As I mentioned before here, I couldn't hope to be half the man this guy is.

At the same time it's saddening that after surviving so much in his life, he's done in by the same evil he predicted. As they say: you don't see the face of God in disasters, you see it in the people who help those affected. Truly, God could be seen in Col. Rescorla. Because of his actions, only 3 Morgan Stanley employees died- and who knows how many others were saved by his actions.

If you read nothing else this week, read this man's story in awe an humility.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Chickenbeavers?

LGF linked to this great perspective on the "chickenhawk" mantra you hear from the left about those who are for the war (hawkish), but won't sign up to be put in harms way (chicken). Yeah, clever. Anyway, those same people are now saying how we should have more troops in New Orleans and elsewhere to help with the relief. Done With Mirrors turns it around on those people.

So let's keep playing chickenhawk; let's apply it to another situation. "Don't advocate government actions that will involve sacrifice unless you're also putting yourself directly in the place of those who may be asked to sacrifice."

Don't call for more government action to help the poor people stranded in New Orleans unless you drove down there as soon as you heard the news and personally waded through the sewage and took some of them out of the Superdome and into your home. (Not impossible, some college kids did it).

Don't call for better canal walls and levees in New Orleans unless you are willing to take two years and go down there personally and build them.

Don't call for a more aggressive FEMA unless you've put in a job application there. Don't call for a quicker and more effective use of U.S. military resources in the disaster zone unless you've spent the last two years encouraging healthy young men and women to enlist, and supporting the Defense Department budget.

Looks stupid to me, too, but put up or shut up, chickenbeaver! Hey, your game, not mine.

Awesome. One thing I've noticed from these sorts of lefties is that they absolutely despise the military and all it stands for (honor, duty, loyalty, and baths). It's because of that that their statement of "we support the troops, we want them home now" just doesn't fly with me.

You can't support someone if you disagree with what they're doing or what they've chosen. If you want them home when they voluntarily joined up and assumed the risks, you're saying you know what's better for them than they do- that doesn't seem very supportive to me. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I could see the point if our troops were 10, but they're not. Our troops are grown boys and girls and can make their own decisions. Nobody forced them to join the military and I'm quite sure they could be making far more money as civillians. To imply (or say) that they are somehow children incapable of personal decisions is not supportive; it's disrespectful at best, and downright derogatory at worst.

So let's see, you don't agree with their mission, you don't agree with their decisions, and you don't think they're capable of self-governance. So what, then, is it that you support about them?

Sorry, I got off on a tangent because my friend and I were talking about this the other day. As for this, I doubt any of those lefties will put up OR shut up. I'd prefer they do both, but I'll settle for one.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Serenity

So there isn't much going on that isn't already being (or has been) said politically, so I thought I'd pimp a movie I'm really looking forward to seeing. It's called "Serenity" and it's the movie version of the TV series "Firefly" currently being shown on SciFi. The show got a small cult following early on, but only 13 episodes were made and it was sort of buried.

Well, now there's a movie and it should be awesome. I love SciFi movies, and I REALLY like stories that have anti-heroes rather than the Superman-types that never do any wrong. The anti-hero is more realistic because he has a strong moral character, yet deals with moral ambiguity and lives in that gray area between good and evil.

The movie comes out September 30th and will be awesome. Go see it if you think you can handle SciFi awesomeness. AWESOME!

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Thoughts On Evil

I listen to Ravi Zacharias, an apologetics speaker. He has a weekly downloadable program called "Let My People Think" where he spoke about evil. He addressed the idea that since there is no common base on which to judge good and evil, there can be no evil since anything can go and one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter so-to-speak. He made some good points and it's politics-free.

His point was that simply asking "what is good" or "what is evil" are incomplete questions because they're taken out of context. He suggests the bedrock foundation of how to determine what is good or evil is by seeing the nature of God. Indeed without God, there is no baseline for which to judge acts as evil or good. In Habakkuk, he asks why God would allow such things to happen. The quote Ravi uses is completely interchangeable with questions asked about terrorism and Islam today.

What I find interesting is that when you come to the incomplete conclusion that anything goes, it's a result of asking an incomplete question of "what is good/evil." The right questions are the ones with definite answers. When the answer is "whatever you want," then it's not a good question. The only way to have a definite answer on what is good or evil is: "is this what God would approve?" When you take God out of the equation, you lose the definition and hence, the validity of the question.

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Not Fonda Iraq

So Jane "Hanoi" Fonda has decided to cancel her "hate America" tour in Iraq on a hippy bus. Why? She doesn't want to steal Casey Sheehan's mother's thunder.

Jane Fonda told me yesterday she's scrapped plans for anti-war bus trip next March. As well, Fonda will be making only two appearances this month on another rally with controversial British politician George Galloway, not the eight that were widely misreported in the press yesterday.

Why the change of plans? Certainly, Fonda is still very much against the war in Iraq and in favor of helping our troops there. But she said that she didn't want to distract people from Cindy Sheehan's bus trip, already under way and gathering support.

Sheehan, who camped out in front of President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch last month, is now on her way to scheduled appearances around the country.


This woman is so self-important that she thinks anybody, least of all the troops, cares what she does, thinks, or says. The fact of the matter is that she hates America. The real reason she cancelled her tour is because her purpose all along was to create more anti-American rhetoric ("I saw the killing fields and Bush's war has slaughtered thou- no, MILLIONS... ... but I support the troops [please don't call me unpatriotic]!"). Now that Casey Sheehan's mother has done that already, why should Fonda risk her own neck for something in which she believes? I mean, after all, putting your life on the line for something you believe in is for knuckle-dragging morons, right Ms. Fonda?

Also, how did Fonda plan to help the people doing the very work she is against? Like JimK said in his podcast the other week: "...what are you supporting, the uniform?" I guess this is her idea of helping the troops... whatever. Baby killers are baby killers, right? What does it matter what side of the war they're on?

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Left v. Right on Katrina

I came across this roundup of left and right websites referring to Katrina. I think it isn't complete in that there are plenty of Right blogs blaming Bush (Right-Thinking being one of them) and left blogs only caring about aiding victims. Still, it's illustrative of what I was talking about before how the left wants to blame Bush for the whole thing.

Craig's List is the only one linked there that is actually trying to do some good. The people running that site are hardcore whacko lefties, but at least they can serve a purpose here- which is a new trick for hippies.

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Bush Halts Food Delivery

I don't really know what to make of this news.

Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said.


I don't know if the air restriction was a secret service thing or what. My first impression is that this is some bureaucratic flaw and it's absolutely stupid that they would allow food to simply sit on trucks while Bush visited. I'd love to see some more details on why this happened, but it seems to me that Bush unwittingly hurt people by visiting the devastation. Someone should be at LEAST reprimanded for this- whoever is responsible for it, anyway.

Of course, the liberals are spinning this, saying Bush wanted devastation to make him look good when he visited, but I think that's more of the "he can do no right" among leftists. Had he not gone, you would hear plenty about how Bush didn't show up because he doesn't care. It would seem it's catch-22 for Bush no matter what he does.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Penns Aren't Paddles

Sean Penn, the actor who brought us such classics as this, decided to grab the spotlight again by "helping the children" in a boat that was all but swamped by PR people and other members of his entorage. His boat sprung a leak and the motor failed forcing them to paddle through the New Orleans street and save themselves.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: "Whatever I can do to help."

With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"



He's just a media whore. Penn is the perfect example of the self-important attitude many actors have about themselves. "Hey, I'm famous! That makes me an authority on all things on which I wish to speak." I guarantee you he only went there for the publicity and it simply backfired on him. He'll probably also start using this as some indictment of Bush... somehow. The classic "I've been there and so I can say that Bush sucks" tactic will come into play I'm sure.

If all Penn wanted to do was help, then why did he need to bring his personal photographer with him? It also sounds more like Mr. Self-Important was getting in the way more than helping... a small price to pay for the priceless photographs of Penn's non-caring for people, I guess.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Leftist Reporting: Thy Name is AP

So I was reading another story about how other countries are helping out during this disaster and (of course) came across a liberal slant in the reporting.

The United States historically has aided victims of disasters, but it is not universally recognized as providing the level of aid expected of a rich nation.

In July, President Bush resisted British Prime Minister Tony Blair's ambitious goals for assisting Africa, though Bush took steps to double U.S. aid to more than $8.6 billion by 2010.

The United States, which has the world's largest economy, lags behind other rich nations in the percentage of its giving to nations in Africa, the world's poorest continent.

This was tactfully (by tactfully, I mean "not tactfully") inserted into a story about how the U.S. has been offered foreign aid. This has absolutely no bearing on the subject of the article and is merely the author's (editor's?) way of inserting their opinion into a news piece. Notice that it merely pays lip service to America being the most charitable nation, but that its percentage of giving isn't high enough. This is a leftist talking point that came out after the tsunami disaster in India and here we're finding it in a news story. What a surprise.

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Lap It Up

Lee posted a story on the Smoking Gun about men learning life's little lessons.

SEPTEMBER 2--Strip clubs pretty much have two rules. Don't touch the dancers, and when "Cherry Pie" fades out and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" starts up, your lap dance is over. Last Tuesday that second rule was learned the hard way by two New Mexico teens making their first trip to an Albuquerque area "exotic dance club." According to the below criminal complaint filed in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, Craig Everett and Malik Wakji, both 18, were hanging out in Fantasy World's VIP room with Orchid and Carmela when the music stopped and their bill came due. And their damage for sitting through 41 consecutive songs (82 dances)? Almost $2500. Everett and Wakji, who between them could only come up with $550, explained to cops they "did not know that a new dance started with a new song." But that excuse didn't sway the cops, who hit them each with a felony charge for falsely obtaining services.

SG has the actual police reports, but that just about explains it. My friend, who is older than me, took me to a strip club once for my 18th birthday and bought me a $40 lap dance as a present. The girl was deaf and I was actually more fascinated at how she would use the vibrations from the bass of the music to coreograph her movements to the music than I was with her (extremely nice) topless figure inches from my face (ed. This was during a time when I really hadn't grown in my religion, so don't hold it against me... oh, and I'm not gay- I swear).

The way they did it at the strip club I went to was that you paid up-front for the dance and it was up to the dancer how long she wanted to continue. The standard was one song, but my friend, being the casanova he is, would get two every so often.

After that evening, I discovered that strip clubs really aren't worth all the money people spend and, in fact, are quite dirty places (literally, and morally). Though I do have it on good authority that the Thai strip joints are way more entertaining- they shoot ping-pong balls at you.

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The Ones - But Not the Only

So following up on what I wrote about last time, citing Yolo Cowboy's comment about the lack of foreign aid to Katrina victims, I heard this on NPR on my way to work this morning and felt a little better- if not downright amazed.

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - More than 20 countries, from allies Germany and Japan to prickly Venezuela and poor Honduras, have offered to help the United States cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Accustomed to being a rich donor rather than on the receiving end of charity, the United States initially seemed reticent about accepting foreign aid, but later said it would take up any offers. The hurricane devastated New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing hundreds and possibly thousands.

"Anything that can be of help to alleviate the tragic situation of the area affected by Hurricane Katrina will be accepted," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.


The liberal bias thing aside ("seemed reticent because we usually give aid and not receive it" comment), I think it's pretty cool that other countries are actually going to give money to us to help pay for the damage.

Earlier, President George W. Bush said in a television interview that the United States could take care of itself.

"I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it," Bush told ABC's "Good Morning America."


Again, ignoring the liberal bias thing ("Bush is too proud to take help from anyone" comment), Bush is doing the right thing by not depending on this foreign aid. He recognizes that ultimately this is our problem, and we're the ones that must deal with it. Depending on someone else really doesn't jive with our culture because it makes us dependent on other nations to get through this tragedy.

McCormack said there had not been a change of position over accepting foreign aid and White House spokesman Scott McClellan also said later the United States would take up offers of help.

The State Department said offers so far had come from Canada, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Britain, China, Australia, Jamaica, Honduras, Greece, Venezuela, the Organization of American States, NATO, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, South Korea, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Assistance ranged from medical teams, boats, aircraft, tents, blankets, generators and cash donations.


The list is fairly decent. With some exceptions, these are the countries that are truly America's friends (yes, China too) because the've shown to be willing to help us in our time of need (after all, a lot of them owe their existence to us). We certainly have strained relations with some of them, but friendships are like that sometimes and it's good to see them put politics aside for the sake of helping people. As a quick aside, why is Greece listed twice?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a vocal critic of the United States, offered to send cheap fuel, humanitarian aid and relief workers to the disaster area.

The State Department did not comment on Venezuela's offer but several officials smiled at the gesture from Chavez, who on Wednesday called Bush a "cowboy" who failed to manage the disaster.

Cuban President Fidel Castro, a close Chavez ally, led a minute of silence in homage to victims of Katrina in parliament on Thursday. The parliament then returned to normal business with a resolution attacking Bush over the Iraq war.

I'm all for countries sending aid, and it's nice to see these countries helping out, but I also think that we shouldn't receive aid from other countries on moral grounds. Chavez is a dictator and, while it certainly isn't a crime, is good friends with Castro. That should tell people enough of what kind of person he is and how he runs his own country. I'm more inclined to believe that Venezuela is merely playing politics with this move rather than wanting to actually help.

I also liked how the reporter inserted that little bit at the end about parliament then voted to criticize Bush over Iraq. I guess that could be viewed as liberal bias, but it only makes me agree with Bush more on the matter. I'm certainly not going to agree with Castro's puppet government on international matters. I'm not surprised that most hippies in this country would agree with red Cuba, either.

All in all, though, it's good to see other nations reciprocating our generosity.

Anchoress has a post on how the blogosphere is chipping into the effort as well. The Internet is facilitating charity for this disaster. What a thing it is to see!

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