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Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Swing Set

Big news in Britain:

A hotel owner in Weston-super-Mare is offering swingers' sex parties in an effort to boost his business.
Rod Dodson, owner of the child-friendly Baymead Hotel, says he'll offer "fun and frolics" for £30 on Friday and Saturday nights.

He says coach parties no longer bring enough financial reward and often leave the hotel in a mess. "Quite simply I have empty rooms and I want to let them," said Mr Dodson.

Why don't we have swinging hotels?

Star Wars

Remember the Strategic Defense Initiative? Every good leftist knows SDI, or "Star Wars," is just an evil right-wing boondoggle and a bribe to the vaunted military industrial complex. Every good leftist knows it won't ever work:

We, the undersigned graduate students and research staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's science and engineering departments, believe that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program (commonly known as Star Wars) is ill-conceived and dangerous. Anti-ballistic missile defense which is sufficiently effective and reliable to defend the population of the United States against a Soviet attack is not technically feasible. Efforts to develop a system of more limited capability will only induce a build-up of offensive missiles by the Soviet Union, jeopardize existing arms control agreements, stalemate current strategic negotiations and, consequently, accelerate the nuclear arms race and undermine international security.

Participation in SDI by individual MIT researchers would lend the University's name to a program of dubious scientific validity, and give legitimacy to this program at a time when the involvement of prestigious research institutions is being sought to increase Congressional support. Researchers who oppose the SDI program yet choose to participate should therefore recognize that this would contribute to the political acceptance of SDI.

The likelihood that SDI funding at MIT would restrict academic freedom and blur the distinction between classified and unclassified research is greater that for other sources of funding. SDI officials openly concede that any successful unclassified project may become classified. The structure of SDI research programs also makes it likely that MIT will be part of a Research Consortium with other universities and industries who will be doing classified research. Moreover, the potentially sensitive nature of the research may involve may invoke legal restrictions required by the Export Administration Act.

The SDI program and its political acceptance depend crucially on the participation of individual scientists and engineers at all levels of research. As one step towards halting this program, we pledge neither to accept SDI support nor work on projects funded by SDI, and encourage others to join us in this refusal. We hope together to persuade Congress and the public to support this deeply misguided and dangerous program.
(MIT anti-SDI Petition)

I have a question: if missile defense is so impossible, why are the Japanese buying it from us?

Japan should be able to shoot down North Korean missiles on its own. This is the most recent announcement from Japan's Defense Agency, and it is already causing the usual controversy in Japan and protests from its neighbors in East Asia.

Last month the 2003 edition of Japan's White Paper for Defense urged the country's policymakers finally to give the green light for missile defense in order to be prepared to deal with "unpredictable threats, such as ballistic missile and terrorist attacks". The Defense Agency followed up on the White Paper and is requesting 200 billion yen (US$1.7 billion) for fiscal 2004 and 2005 to buy US Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) anti-missile systems as well as US SM-3s (Standard Missile 3).

The SM-3s, to be deployed on Aegis destroyers, are designed to intercept incoming missiles from outer space, and the PAC-3 system, deployed at four ground-to-air missile units, are set to shoot down missiles before they hit the ground.
(Asia Times)

Don't those folks know they're throwing their money away?

And the Europeans: what's gotten into them lately?

An European consortium, led by France and Italy, have begun a $3.5 billion project to develop a theater anti-ballistic missile system based on the existing Aster 30 system. The project includes the purchase of 1,400 missiles and other equipment. The current Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile will undergo software and mechanical improvements between now and 2014, at which point the "Block 1" missile will be able to take care of any short range (under 600 kilometers) ballistic missiles. The Aster 30 is a 15 foot long, 979 pound, two stage missile that can hit targets as high as 66,000 feet and 100 kilometers away. Development of the Aster 30 began in 1990, and it was accepted for service in 2000. A shorter range version, the Aster 15, is being used aboard French and Italian warships. The first "Block 1" Aster 30s are to enter service in 2007. If this project shows good progress, other European nations said they will buy in.
(Strategy Page)

Hey lefties: imitation is the sincerest form of refutation.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Robeson Stamp

Paul Robeson will be honored with a US postage stamp:

The strong, humanist glow of Paul Robeson, the legendary Black actor, singer, athlete, intellectual and civil rights activist, will grace the U.S. Postal service's Black Heritage stamp series come January.

"It will serve as a centerpiece for Black History Month celebrations throughout the nation," says postal service spokesman Roy Betts.

Robeson's simultaneous contributions to American culture and civil rights awareness are practically unequaled by any of his peers. His death during the turbulent civil strife of the 1960s was fitting in that he risked career and status during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s to get civil liberty protections for African Americans codified into law. It was as if the old lion had passed the baton to the next generation.

During the communist-baiting American political landscape of the 1950s, as epitomized by the demagogic Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), who hauled scores of Americans before Senate hearings to testify on their affiliations with Communism, Robeson's passport was yanked and he was forbidden to travel abroad because of speeches he gave at Black churches and concert halls.
(Black Entertainment Television)

Is this a good decision? As a singer, he remains unequaled. As an actor, well you decide for yourself. He can credibly claim to be a civil rights pioneer. With these points in his favor, a stamp bearing his likeness would seem uncontroversial.

But why honor a apologist for Communism? Here's an excerpt of Robeson's obituary for Stalin:

In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin - the shapers of humanity's richest present and future.

Yes, through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. Most importantly - he has charted the direction of our present and future struggles. He has pointed the way to peace - to friendly co-existence - to the exchange of mutual scientific and cultural contributions - to the end of war and destruction. How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom. He leaves tens of millions all over the earth bowed in heart-aching grief.

But, as he well knew, the struggle continues. So, inspired by his noble example, let us lift our heads slowly but proudly high and march forward in the fight for peace - for a rich and rewarding life for all.
(North Star Compass)

Reference: A page of Robeson's thoughts about the workers' paradise.
Reference: Robeson's speech accepting the Stalin Peace Prize.

I suppose we could overlook his devotion to the world's worst ideology. After all, we do the same for countless college professors. But when he slandered all black Americans, he crossed a line.

In 1949, Robeson traveled to Paris to attend the "World Peace Conference." Here's the offending insult (from an excellent biography):

The year 1949, however, proved to be a turning point in the campaign against him. While touring Europe during the first half of the year, he gave a speech at the World Peace Conference in Paris in which he declared, "It is unthinkable that American Negroes will go to war in behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations... against a country [the Soviet Union] which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind." This statement was greatly distorted in the United States and provoked a storm in the media, the State Department, and among several "respectable Negro leaders," including Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Walter White, national secretary of the NAACP. White explained that Robeson did not speak for "the overwhelming majority of the Negro people" and cast doubt on his loyalty as an American citizen. Various other prominent African-American figures, such as folk singer Josh White, Jackie Robinson, and Max Yergan were induced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to issue similar statements condemning Robeson.
(emphasis added)

Taking him at his own words, I don't think he was misquoted. Black people wouldn't fight for America? Wouldn't fight against national, socialist tyrants? Outrageous! Think of the folks he insulted.

Modern war is all about logistics. After Operation Overlord (the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe), the United States Arsenal of Democracy needed to refuel and reload. Who handled the critical task of resupply? The all-black Red Ball Express. They greased the treads of Patton's Third Army's tracks. They were the margin of victory during the Battle of the Bulge:

Now come the worse battle of all on Dec 16,1944, Germans broke thru thin held Allied lines in the Ardennes, the only reserves Ike has was the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions close by. We loaded onto trucks, big ones, with not enough winter clothing, food, or armor, the Red Ball Express drove us up to the town called Bastogne, Belgium. There we made a tailgate jump, went forward to make contact with the Germans, then set up a defense of the town of Bastogne. Little did we know just how bad the situation was—all along the Ardennes front lots of small and large battles were taking place. All we knew was hold the town of Bastogne keep all the roads leading past us secure and hope for the best. Only way to describe this battle was that it was C-O-L-D. Freezing. It did not take long before the Germans surrounded us at Bastogne. The 101st A/B held against all odds. I think about mid-December, Germans came to the front lines asking that we surrender, or be annihilated. The famous reply from General McAuliff was NUTS .
(HBO's Band of Brothers Shrine)
(emphasis added)

The (nearly all-black) 761st Tank Battalion was America's arrow aimed at Hitler's heart. They landed at Normandy, attached themselves to Patton and didn't stop stabbing eastward until they'd cut through the Siegfried Line:

One of the saddest chapters in American military history has been the treatment of African-American soldiers. Nowhere was this more brutally apparent than in World War II, where many volunteered for combat in hopes of earning civil rights and were instead shunted aside as cooks and stevedores, truck drivers and orderlies.


One unit that fought with incredible elan and distinction was the 761st "Black Panthers" Tank Battalion. The commanding officer of the tough 17th Airborne Division was reported to have remarked later that he "would prefer to have five tanks from the 761st than to have any larger comparable number from any other armored unit."
(Military Book Review)
(emphasis added)

Reference: 761st Tank Battalion Shrine.
Reference: US Army 761st combat record.

Translation: hard-earned respect.

The Tuskegee Airmen flew Mustangs over Europe. They flew against some of the Luftwaffe's best. And none of the bombers they protected ever fell due to fire from a Messerschmidt.

The 99th Fighter Squadron received two Presidential Unit Citations (June-July 1943 and May 1944) for outstanding tactical air support and aerial combat in the 12th Air Force before joining the 332nd Fighter Group. The 332nd Fighter Group received the Presidential Unit Citation for its longest bomber escort mission to Berlin, Germany, March 24, 1945. They destroyed three German ME-262 jet fighters and damaged five additional jet fighters without losing any of the bombers or any of its own fighter aircraft to enemy aircraft.
(Tuskegee Airmen)

A perfect record against the national socialists. But according to Robeson, they wouldn't fight against socialists.

It's not an exaggeration to say that black Americans saved the AoD and saved the world from fascism. From the examples above (by no means comprehensive), you can see they provided the margin of victory. Why would Robeson say these heroes (and their successors) wouldn't defend America from the evil empire?

I'm kinda-sorta inclined to forgive him. Shedding the tropes of tribal politics is hard. Only America has tried so hard to expunge them, and while our record is the best, it isn't perfect.

How long did we take to settle the whole English-French-German tribal conflict? Pretty much the whole Nineteenth-Century. But we succeeded, and proceeded on to the other fights. (The EU might take a page from our book here, but don't hold your breath.) In the Twentieth Century, we took on the rest of the world's tribal fights. We're still working on it.

Paul Robeson challenged America to confront its anti-black prejudices during the Jim Crow era. Good for him. But as a solution he advocated Stalinism (even after the revelation of the Stalinist horrors). And he unleashed a slur on the best of black America. He questioned our ability to shed our internecine conflicts in the face of an obvious enemy. He suggested that black Americans weren't entirely patriotic.

Does he really deserve the of a US postage stamp? While he was an exceptional American, he revered Stalin and suggested a wide slice of America might be disloyal. Those little postage stickers unify us, and oughtn't be honorifics to people who extolled an enemy ideology.

With his unambiguously checkered past, Paul Robeson doesn't deserve a stamp. I'd rather see a series of stamps dedicated to black American war heroes. Wouldn't you?

Compiling the Christmas Gift List

If you have friends into fine literature, here's a suggestion:

Indian writer Aniruddha Bahal has had the dubious honour [sic] of winning the Literary Review's Bad Sex In Fiction award.

Bahal triumphed over a shortlist which included former Today editor Rod Liddle, Hollywood film-maker Alan Parker and authors Paul Theroux, Paolo Coelho and John Updike.

Excerpts from his award-winning sex scene - involving a woman who drops her trousers to reveal a swastika shaven into an intimate area - were read out to the audience.

How bad is it? Here's an excerpt:

The author's winning scene includes the extract: "She is topping up your engine oil for the cross-country coming up. Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time...

"She picks up a Bugatti's momentum. You want her more at a Volkswagen's steady trot. Squeeze the maximum mileage out of your gallon of gas. But she's eating up the road with all cylinders blazing."

If your erotic fiction is safe for work, you probably need another draft.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Check out Cira:

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a dog, able to move large boxes with one nose. It's a bird, It's a plane no it's Cira.

Cira is a very friendly lop with a lot of personality. She is very adventurous and will not let anything get in her way. She runs across tile and wood floors with lightening speed. She bounds up stairs two at a time. She moves everything out of her path including boxes and dogs. When she is finished her mission she will sit down next to you and ask for ear rubs. She sprawls out on the floor and soaks in all the attention until it is time to explore once again. An added benefit to Cira's exploration is she will clean all the dust bunnies out from under the sofa.

Cira changes from a lop to an up-eared bunny through out the day. While she is chilling her ears hang down. As she runs around her ears fly straight out looking like a airplane. If she hears activity in another room her ears stand up. Her curiosity will put her in the middle of everything.

She gets along well with dogs. She will sneak up on sleeping dogs and either wake them up with a surprise attack or snuggle up close for a snooze.

She would love a home where she would be able to run and explore until her hearts content. If you can provide Cira with a home please consider adopting her.
(Washington DC HBS)

A Bunny who gets along with dogs? Wow! That's amazing! Mind, it all depends on the dog. If you've got a dog and you want to adopt Cira, be careful! Here are some tips. Here are some more.

As always, I don't trust dogs. But I'm an old dog/bunny cold warrior. The above stories are heartwarming, but not persuasive. Maybe some day the dog and the bunny will lie down together and be friends. Don't hold your breath. But if you think you're a peacemaker, you could do no worse than give Cira a try.

Pay Your Respects

John lost a good friend:

In recent months, I knew Max wasn't going to be with us much longer. His weight loss accelerated recently because it became a lot harder to get him to eat. We'd started giving him Kitty Vite and wet food, trying to get some calories into him, but even that was spotty. Still he remained himself. He gave no signs of distress, didn't act like a sick animal at all. I was preparing myself, but figured we had a little time left. The last time I saw him alive was last night. He climbed up on the back of the sofa near me and lay down on the folded blanket up there, content as he could be.
(Peshloni Tourist Office)

If you wondering why a bunny is mourning a cat, remember that pets do appreciate living outside nature's red teeth and claws. Max made his peace with people and had a good, long life. Even though I didn't know him, I miss him.

We are winning

Wrechard discusses the latest ambush's tally:

That is not quite correct, because Operation Iron Hammer, on which the statistics are based, does not count up Special Forces operations nor does it fully tally the efforts which may not be part of the operation. Enemy WIA who have escaped capture are also not part of the tally, but on the other hand, neither does Yoshida seem to count US wounded when computing his 15:1 casualty ratio. One of the reasons that the body count business felt into disrepute was the difficulty of creating a utility function that would translate these metrics of agony into a decrement in military strength. After all, the loss of a American infantryman, while not different from the loss of an Iraqi in human terms, represents a materially different quantum from a hastily trained feyadeen.

Having said that, this sample suggests an overwhelming defeat is engulfing Ba'athist forces. The principal reason is that the enemy losses are eating up his seed corn. Most of the enemy taken by Iron Hammer are captures. In the harsh arithmetic of combat, a capture hurts the enemy, especially a clandestine enemy, much more than an KIA hurts US forces. Every enemy POW is a source of intelligence information, especially when the prisoner is a ranking officer or key operator. By contrast, the Ba'athist's have no known American prisoners in their custody. In similar fashion, most facilities raided by US troops yield up intelligence documents, weapons and stashes of cash. To appreciate the damage, imagine the enemy overrunning not one but several tactical intelligence centers together with its files, per week, every week.
(Belmont Club)


What's most important is what's unsaid. We captured several Baathist POWs. How many did they capture?

Thought so. We are winning.

Evil Hippies

Doesn't Mary hit the nail on the head?

Hippies are not about peace, love and understanding anymore. When it comes to fascism and genocide, their attitude is let it be – in fact, some actively encourage and participate in it. They’re not liberal, they’re not anti-authoritarian in any way, shape or form.
(Exit Zero)

And hippies love Castro, the Western Hemisphere's last slave-owner. Doesn't that say everything?

The Carrot or the Sock

Up in Canada, manners no longer matter. If you say the wrong thing, the government will stick a sock in it. Law Professor David Bernstein chronicles the sad fate of Canuck free speech in his latest essay:

The decline of freedom of expression in Canada began with seemingly minor and understandable speech restrictions. In 1990, the Canadian supreme court upheld the conviction of James Keegstra, a public-high-school teacher, for propagating Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic views to his public high-school students, despite repeated warnings from his superiors to stop. Keegstra was convicted of the crime of "willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group," which carries a penalty of up to two years in jail. Criminalizing hate speech, the court stated, was a "reasonable" restriction on expression, and it therefore passed constitutional muster.

Like you, I truck not with national socialists. Or socialists, for that matter. Nevertheless, I think we can agree that Canada (and Germany) take exactly the wrong approach to them. Banning them just makes them more 'dangerous,' and more popular. There's got to be a better way.

When the national, socialist organizations come to town, I take pictures of them, post them on this web log and laugh at them. And it gets results.

Anyway, the best part of Bernstein's essay is the part where the lefts are hoist by their own petard:

Moreover, left-wing academics are beginning to learn firsthand what it's like to have their own censorship vehicles used against them. For example, University of British Columbia Prof. Sunera Thobani, a native of Tanzania, faced a hate-crimes investigation after she launched into a vicious diatribe against American foreign policy. Thobani, a Marxist feminist and multiculturalism activist, had remarked that Americans are "bloodthirsty, vengeful and calling for blood." The Canadian hate-crimes law was created to protect minority groups from hate speech. But in this case, it was invoked to protect Americans.

Here's what Thobani said. The money quotation:

But the people, the American nation that Bush is invoking, is a people which is bloodthirsty, vengeful, and calling for blood. They don't care whose blood it is, they want blood. And that has to be confronted. We cannot keep calling this an understandable response. We cannot say yes, we understand that this is how people would respond because of the attacks. We have to stop condoning it and creating a climate of acceptability for this kind of response. We have to call it for what it is: Bloodthirsty vengeance.
(That speech)

She said that less than a month after the second day of infamy. Tasteless? You bet. Illegal? In Canada, yes.

Oh come on! There's a wrong way and a right way to deal with these cretins. Here's the right way:

What I really admire about this woman is how she articulates her anti-American themes at a conference that is intended to deal exclusively with the subject of violence against women. The way her female intuitiveness picks up on relevancy is extremely impressive.

I am, of course, a little confused. I can’t help wondering why Thobani wants to live under the umbrella of the bloodthirsty American fascist regime. Surely she would be much happier – and safer -- under the Taliban in Afghanistan. This breaks my heart, because I am sure she wants to escape the prison of American-led Western culture and flee to live under the Taliban. She must be strapped for cash.

Thus, I have decided to start a collection for Thobani, so she can go live in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. That way, she can be far away from any culture that is influenced by the empire "soaked in blood."
(Front Page Magazine)

That's how it's done.

Overseas Opportunity

I suspect this will be of interest to a few of this web log's faithful readers (no, not you):

"The demand for so-called 'nerds' in developing nations has never been greater," explains sociologist Peter Pendlon. "They need lab researchers to battle deadly epidemics, computer wizards who can help to bring their economies into the 21st century, and many other 'science geeks.'"

These emerging African and Asian nations are rich in natural resources and money is no object -- brainy folks willing to work overseas are guaranteed handsome incomes. But the number of American pencil-necks is dwindling, as plummeting math scores demonstrate -- and overseas demand is fast outstripping the U.S. supply, the Washington expert says.

"Third World countries are racing to educate their own people in math and science as fast as they can, to generate their own crop of homegrown nerds, but that will take decades, of course," says Pendlon, speaking at a recent D.C. conference on global trends.

"To accelerate the process, at least 11 countries are quietly introducing 'intellectual-breeding' programs. And to ensure the best gene pool, they've begun to import Americans with proven math and science skills for the explicit purpose of reproduction."

While some countries like Nigeria recruit sperm donors, others entice the often-bespectacled, sex-starved social misfits with promises of a chance to bed down with one or more of "our beautiful, exotic local women."
(Weekly World News)

Can't make this stuff up!

Arsenal of Democracy

James at Hell in a Handbasket writes a skeptical post about military Segways.

Sure, it's a crazy idea. But quite tame compared to others. For example, did you know that back in the Fifties, the AoD wanted to ride into battle on personal flying saucers? In fact they still do. When you think about it, a flying saucer is good for scouting and spotting targets for Paveways.

Saucers and lasers: perfect together.

Monday, December 01, 2003

The Politics of Nothing

Tonight, let's compare and contrast. First here's Representative DeLay (R):

Which brings me to security. What do we want American security to look like 15 years from now? Now, the War on Terror may not even be over 15 years from now. We don't know. But it will have a very different emphasis. Rather than liberating people from terrorist regimes, the civilized world will instead focus on cultivating the fledgling democracies that will have replaced them. Rather than being recruited by terrorist organizations, young men and women in nations like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran will be recruited by businesses and universities. Rather than fearing a North Korean dictatorship, we'll be cheering a North Korean democracy. It's my opinion that in 15 years the Axis of Evil will simply no longer exist, that major state sponsorship of terrorism will be a thing of the past. We will have a global coalition of allies and a track record of successfully liberating oppressed people, helping them establish democratic institutions and welcoming them into the international community. And all of these things will happen because American conservatives are committed to absolute victory in the War on Terror, and we understand its terms, unlike our friends in the party of appeasers.
(Front Page Magazine)

And now former Governor Dean (D):

Howard Dean launched a full-throated attack on President Bush's foreign policy acumen Sunday, saying Bush has "no understanding of defense," is conducting diplomacy by "petulance" and lacks "the backbone to stand up against the Saudis."

Amid a crush of well wishers seeking autographs at a high school here, Dean said of Bush: "I think he's made us weaker. He doesn't understand what it takes to defend this country, that you have to have high moral purpose. He doesn't understand that you better keep troop morale high rather than just flying over for Thanksgiving," as Bush did in visiting Baghdad.

At another town hall meeting, in Manchester, Dean added: "Mr. President, if you'll pardon me, I'll teach you a little about defense."

The Democratic presidential candidate assailed Bush for having announced "that he was going to cut the combat pay" for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and for having "cut 164,000 veterans off" from health care benefits.


Dean said that "the president is about to let North Korea become a nuclear power" because of his "petulance" and his dislike for that country's leader, Kim Jong Il. He chided Bush for not challenging Saudi Arabia for "using our oil money" through religious schools "to train the next generation of suicide bombers."

Blaming the war in Iraq on Bush's "bullheadedness," he said the president is "incapable" of winning international support for reconstruction efforts because "he managed to insult all the people whose help we need, gratuitously." And he took a swipe at Wesley K. Clark, lumping him in with rivals Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) as someone who "recommended" the war.
(Washington Post)

Which of these guys is thinking ahead? Who articulates a strategy for winning the War on Terror?

I think Dean comes off as incoherent. He proposes to win the war by increasing military health care benefits. He faults Bush for not pre-empting North Korea. If Dean has a better plan, he's sure holding it close to his vest. Now would be a good time to reveal it.

Unfortunately, Dean's got squat. Other Liberals are saying as much:

I desperately want to want a Democrat to win in 2004 (no, that's not a typo). I'm unhappy as hell with Bush's domestic policies; I think the GOP 'hand the keys to the Treasury to our donor base' is arguably worse than the Democratic version of the same thing; I doubt that the kind of tax, employment, energy or domestic security policies that I want to see implemented will make the grade in a Republican Administration.

But I've got two large roadblocks in my path.

The first is that I need to see a credible response to what I see as a multinational Islamist threat. Note that 'using the criminal justice system' and 'seeking UN action' is not, prima facie, a credible response.

Bush has done a lot wrong as I note, but he seems to be doing one thing right.
Yes, the postwar was imperfectly planned. But perfect plans only exist in movies made by Joel Silver. reality is be definition messy, contingent, and frightening - as we are seeing today. His trip and speech meant a lot to me; I've demanded for a while that he show an 'iron butt', and I'd have to say it will be hard for him to get up from the table after what he's done now.

The second is that I want to see a Democratic ideology that embraces America instead of holding it at arm's length.
(Armed Liberal at Winds of Change)


C'mon Democrats. I'll say it again: you can't beat something with nothing. Bush has pre-emption (the Democratic strategy formerly known as Forward Engagement). If you don't like it, build a better mousetrap.

If you can't articulate your own strategy, steal one. I recommend you nick Massive Retaliation. Call it something new, like the "One Free Nuke" rule. At least it's something, and it's a start.

If you Democrats don't take the trouble to come up with a winning strategy, then whoever wins your national primary will have to run as an empty suit. Like those chances?

Hi folks, I'm back

Probably should have told you I'd be away for the holiday. I hope your Thanksgiving was great.

Seeing the family again was great. We talked about the usual subjects: movies and the war and stuff.

A question for you readers: what film best summarizes the War on Terror? (No, not the first five minutes of The Naked Gun.)

I used to think the answer was High Noon. After all it's an Atlas story. Everybody relies on the town's sheriff to uphold law and order. But when a recently released prisoner swears to assassinate the sheriff, the townsfolk desert him. He's left standing in the street with a worthless Article V declaration in his hand, and must fight evil (almost) alone.

That's a good match, especially because it's a Western movie, and the hero is a cowboy. Quintessentially American. But is there a better one? After arguing the point over Thanksgiving, I must concede there is. And it's from another genre owned by Americans: the rocketship movie.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is the story of a man (Klaatu) who comes from a highly advanced civilization. He announces to the world that he and his ilk won't stand for all this nonsense any more. If the world wants to cooperate and pull together, fine. But if they continue to be up to no good, they get Gort: an unstoppable, semi-robotic, walking arsenal capable of burning out the whole planet.

That Klaatu: you're either with him or against him. And to think people thought the film had a pacifist message!

Agree, disagree or suggest a more fitting film. I'm going to go rent both flicks and quite possibly put either or both in the Bad Movie Shrine. Speaking of the Shrine, a new review is almost complete. And I promise you'll love it. It's quite timely, and that's all I'll say for now.

Lastly, I owe a few folks a picture:

Better late than never!


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