Friday, December 31, 2004

"Stingy," "Only the UN counts," and $350 million and counting

Jim Geraghty over at the perpetually-to-be-renamed KerrySpot usefully rounds up the blogosphere's commentary on "Stingygate". And then came Jon Podheretz's broadside today, which is a huge fist-pumper.

Even as that poor bastard Jan Egeland was falling on his butt backpedaling from the UN's latest anti-American slur (He was "misinterpreted," ya know...), a fresh outrage was forthcoming:

The President has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world’s response.

But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN.

“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.

“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”

There's only two - make it three - possible reactions to such a declaration.

Ed Morrissey chose the first one: incredulous indignation.

Short's anti-American bias shines through in this ludicrous and blatantly stupid assertion. The notion that the UN has any moral authority, let alone be the sole sanctuary of it, should have been universally dismissed in the Oil-For-Food corruption that Kofi Annan has tried to cover up all year. As I recall, that also started as a massive relief fund for victims of the UN's unwillingness to give Saddam the boot instead of starving the Iraqi people to death. The Sole Bastion Of Moral Authority managed to put billions of dollars into Saddam's pockets while enriching the member-states that made sure no one unseated Saddam.

Don't forget the up close and personal outreach in Congo that the Secular Saints Of The Order Of Blue Helmets performed to the women and female children. They spread love - in the form of exploiting the females of almost all ages in exchange for food and water, turning the refugee camps into their personal seraglios and worse.

It's the Clueless Clares of the world who sacrifice the downtrodden of the world to the brutal and incompetent clutches of the UN for the greater purpose of having a single world government. The idea that Short can make this kind of assertion with a straight face shows the depth of corruption on the radical Left. I say bravo to George Bush for bypassing the grifters and rapists of the UN.

That blistering is worthy of lamination and framing, I think. Like, in Kofi Annan's UN office, for however much longer he still has it.

My reaction is one of cynical amusement. This is precisely what I would have expected a UN drone and brain-dead lefty to say. Not only is it morally obtuse, as Cap'n Ed points out, but it's also impenetrably ignorant. As a practical matter, without the United States the United Nation's couldn't tie its own collectiv(ist) shoelaces. As Jonah Goldberg points out in his latest column...

The United States supplies more than one-fifth of the United Nations' total budget (and 57%, 33% and 27% of the budgets for the World Food Program, the Refugee Agency, and Department of Peacekeeping Operations, respectively). We've been the United Nations' biggest donor every year since 1945.

And yet...

[W]henever there's a catastrophe, Uncle Sam is asked to dig deep into his pocket for more money.

Which is redundant:

American citizens, partly thanks to those stingy low taxes, send some $34 billion in private aid around the world every year. That's 10 times the United Nations total budget. America's Christian ministries, private foundations and agencies all do far more in direct charity and aid than the United Nations. But bureaucrats - some who've grown fat on oil-for-food money - measure stinginess in terms of support to the bureaucracy, not to the constituency the bureaucracy was intended to help.

But that's just cash flow; it's in non-cash contributions where the rubber truly meets the road:

America guarantees global stability by keeping the sea lanes open, by preventing North Korea from invading South Korea and China from seizing Taiwan. We did it by preventing Saddam from keeping Kuwait. We ignored the United Nations and intervened to stop genocide in Yugoslavia, and we have 150,000 troops in Iraq working to create a democracy - while the United Nations is still too scared of terrorists, and too anti-American, to help.

In the current crisis, we have now sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a maritime squadron from Guam and an amphibious ship carrying a Marine expeditionary unit to the Indian Ocean to provide assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief.

All of which is to say, in short, that the United Nations is a total and complete fraud as the "world government" that Clare Short deludes herself that it is. It's nothing more than a sandbox for starry-eyed globalists, thieves, murderers, dictators, terrorists, anti-Semites, and America-haters (amongst which is a great deal of overlap).

The Bushies know this. That's why they simply bypassed it and put them in their appropriate place, whining and yapping to be given a seat at the table. And, as at many a family holiday dinner, the President seated them at the equivalent of the card table in the living room, like the puerile internationalist urchins they are.

That's the third response, and perhaps the most poetically just as well.

Meanwhile, our disaster relief outlays continue spiraling upward. Good thing our motives for such generosity are pure, and not directed at kissing ass at Turtle Bay.

Rossi should forego the letters to Grinchoire and just see her in court

Republican Dino Rossi on Wednesday urged his Democratic rival in the closest governor's race in state history to join him in calling for a revote, the latest twist in the topsy-turvy contest. "The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn't just bad for you and me - it is bad for the entire state," Rossi said, reading from a letter he said he sent to Democrat Christine Gregoire. "People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election."

I was finishing up at the end of the day Wednesday when I heard Rossi make this announcement on Seattle's KVI radio. All I could do is shake my head and chuckle. I guess it makes for a nice little PR gesture, but this whole post-election process has not been about "niceness," it's been about power.

As I have written on previous occasions, after election night Rossi found himself in the worst of all possible positions (save for getting blown out). He was a Republican in a "blue" state with a lead far too miniscule to withstand the inevitable Dem cheating that was warming up in the on-deck circle. At that point he had a choice: take the "high road," avoid the Dems' gutter tactics, and hope that lead would hold; or fight fire with fire and do all in his power to protect his victory.
He opted for the former, and proceeded to watch helplessly as his Grinchian foe buggered him out of his hard-won prize. State election law makes no provision for any additional recounts, and while it does allow for a new election to be ordered, there's no way that either state courts - which, as we have seen, are heavily Donk - or the state legislature, which now has Dem majorities in both houses, are ever going to put the governorship up for grabs again now that their candidate has it firmly in hand.

And, as you might have expected, Grinchoire balked, chortling through a spokesman, "It's irresponsible to spend $4 million in taxpayer money on a new election just because you don't like losing this one."

Except, of course, that Rossi didn't "lose this one." He won it and had it stolen away from him. And if the hand recount had somehow preserved Rossi's lead, you can bet your belt buckles that Grinchoire would be demanding a new election, and that the Dem state establishment would have been quick to give it to her.

But then, as the oldest principle of warfare teaches, "know your enemy." Rossi either didn't or wasn't prepared to do what it took when the time came, and he paid the price for it. Or, put another way, he "didn't want it enough." Now he's reduced to issuing pathetic letters that earn him public ridicule that, to my thinking, damages his public image far more than just contesting this travesty in court ever would.

In his remarks Wednesday evening, Rossi said that he'd be calling for a new election even if he had won the hand recount. And you know something? I believe him.

No wonder Grinchoire mugged him so easily.

And, no doubt, will repeat that performance four years from now.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Plumbing the Depths

One fine summer's day Paul Mirengoff, Scott Johnson, John Hinderaker, and Nick Coleman were passing the time down by the Mississippi River waterfront in downtown Minneapolis. Well, okay, the Powerline trio was there to enjoy a rare day off, and Coleman was there to try and retrieve all his hatchets so he could sell them on Ebay, but I digress.

The Deacon, feeling the urge to relieve himself, and after a cursory look finding nobody else in the immediate vicinity, and really not giving a damn what Coleman might think, decided to be a little daring and whipped it out to go in the river. Noticing their colleague's actions, Big Trunk and Hindrocket decided to join him.

Coleman, afflicted with what the blogosphere had long since recognized was one of the worst cases of penis envy the world had every seen, was determined not to be so visceraly, to say nothing of metaphorically, out-done, and stepped right up beside them.

After ten or so seconds had passed, Deacon quipped, "Boy, this water is cold!" Next to him, Big Trunk added, "Yeah, and deep, too!" Not to be outdone himself, Hindrocket cracked, "And the bottom is as muddy as the old song says!"

Looking furtively at them, Coleman muttered, "What water....?"

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Is Nick Coleman "Wake4Democracy," or do all bitter libs sound alike?

The only thing I should have to say about the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Nick Coleman, whom Brother Hinderaker aptly describes as "a little-read, third-rate columnist for a second-tier daily newspaper," and whom I describe from his byline pic as "Brent Spiner after several dozen dioxin injections," is, "Who the hell is he?"

Ah, the power of the blogosphere.

But then I've seen Coleman's like (or should that be "ilk"?) before on One member, who went under two dozen different handles after we finally locked him out for misconduct, originally sparred with me many a time as "Wake4Democracy." Like most of our resident libs, he showed up in the usual state of frenzied rage over the very existence of the Bush presidency, and got his frenzied rage stoked considerably by getting his ass whipped by yours truly (and others) on a regular basis.

The Powerline-Coleman war (which is a war in the sense that this massacre in Mosul today was a "battle") isn't taking place in the same venue, of course, which, given Coleman's disinclination to face his nemeses head-to-head, would seem to give the "little-read, third-rate columnist" the remarkable distinction of being an even bigger pussy than my old friend Wake, who counted among his parting shots impersonating me on-Forum and posting an avalanche of racist, libelous messages to try and ruin my online reputation.

I'm guessing hacking onto Powerline's site and duplicating that performance is vastly beyond Coleman's capabilities, but if you appear to see Hindrocket, Big Trunk, and Deacon suddenly sounding like David Duke, Fred Phelps, and Jimmy Swaggart, keep this in mind.

At any rate, many bloggers big and small have weighed in on Coleman's blithering today, so I won't go through it line by line.

Well, okay, I will, but not with windy analysis far in excess of any substantive content that may actually have found its way into his rant by sheer random chance.

Oh, hell, you'll just have to take your chances.

The end of the year is a time to bury the hatchet, so congratulations to Powerline, the Twin Cities blog that last week was named Time magazine's "Blog of the Year!"

Now let me get a new hatchet.

Given where he proceeds to bury the first hatchet, isn't the second one kind of redundant?

These guys pretend to be family watchdogs but they are Rottweilers in sheep's clothing.

{scratching head} Your guess is as good as mine. What family does Coleman imagine they keep an eye on? What is the "sheep's clothing" meant to symbolize? The "rottweiler" crack could only refer to writing style, which doesn't come within a parsec of Johnson or Mirengoff. Hinderaker would come closest because he leavens his scholarly tomes with a noticeable sense of humor, which I would think would generate a parallel with "baying hyenas" instead.

Ironically, it's Coleman himself who displays the most "rottweilerian" characteristics.

They attack the Mainstream Media for not being fair while pursuing a right-wing agenda cooked up in conservative think tanks funded by millionaire power brokers.

Leaving aside the fact that Big Media stopped being "mainstream" several forged documents ago, how is pursuing a right-wing agenda "unfair," particularly when PL is quite transparent about its point of view and that the site is devoted to its advocacy? If Big Media would just be honest about its bias instead of embarrassingly trying to insist up and down that they don't have one, even in the midst of their headlong plunge into the ultraleft fever swamps, they might start regaining a fraction of the ton of credibility that they've squandered.

The aforementioned "agenda" actually predates "conservative think tanks," and in fact helped to spawn them, including the Claremont Institute.

As to "millionaire power brokers," do you want to say "GEORGE SOROS!" or shall I?

They should call themselves "Powertool." They don't speak truth to power. They just speak for power.

That's just Marxian gibber-gabber.

The lads behind Powerline are a bank vice president named Scott Johnson and a lawyer named John Hinderaker. If you read Powerline, you know them better by their fantasy names, Big Trunk (that's Johnson) and Hind Rocket (Hinderaker). I will leave it to the appropriate professionals to determine what they are compensating for, but they have received enormous attention from the despised Mainstream Media and deserve more.

Yes, the already-infamous penis reference. Although that might only refer to Johnson; could Coleman be invoking homophobic imagery regarding the "hind" in "Hind Rocket"?

I guess only "the appropriate professionals" could determine that with any degree of confidence.

I wish I didn't have to do it, because I already get ripped a lot on the site, which thankfully also has had some nice photos of bikini-clad candidates for Miss Universe to keep me company. But I accept Powerline's contempt; I am only a Mainstream Media man, while Big Trunk and Hind Rocket are way cool. They blog.

What Coleman means, of course, is that he thinks PL should get more negative Big Media attention, for which his pathetic column is supposed to be the down-payment. Given how he flatters himself in his second clause above, he makes his infuriated consternation at PL's accolades in Time about as inconspicuous as a nose zit on prom night.

What he has against cheesecake is anybody's guess (I could speculate that that might be a hidden reason behind the possible homophobic implication of the aforementioned ostensible penis reference, but given Coleman's geezerly veneer, it could be just that he never got any when it mattered, and now couldn't perform if he did). But the overt martyr pose is definitely something he doesn't want his readers to miss.

Almost like "bikini-clad Miss Universe contestants."

I work for a dopey old newspaper committed to covering the news fairly...

If I credited Coleman with having even the faint ghost of a sense of humor, I'd take that as an attempted tweaking irony. But I have no doubt that he really, truly believes every word of it. Because, in his mind, "pursuing a left-wing agenda cooked up in editorial board rooms and funded by millionaire power brokers and an army of hard-left 527 organizations" is "covering the news fairly."

Fairly for his agenda, that is.

Thus does another liberal project his own corruption upon his opponents, and give himself a moral gold star for his crusading efforts.

If Extreme bloggers...

IOW, conservative bloggers.

...who know nothing that happened before last Tuesday, had the same commitment to serving the public, I wouldn't have a problem.

IOW, if "extreme" bloggers dutifully and dociley converted to liberalism.

But like talk radio, they are dominated by the right and are only interested in being a megaphone without oversight, disclosure of conflicts of interest, or professional standards.

IOW, the blogosphere is yet another communications medium in which libs are getting their asses handed to them precisely because they can't compete and can't stack the deck against their adversaries, which is what "oversight, disclosure of conflicts of interest, [and lack of] professional standards" - none of which he ever so much as specifies with a single charge vis-a-vie the Powerline guys - really means.

Time magazine's "Blog of the Year" is not run by Boy Scouts. It is the spear of a campaign aimed at making Minnesota into a state most of us won't recognize. Unless you came from Alabama with a keyboard on your knee.

Hmm. If Powerline is the "spear," with whom does Coleman really have his beef? This is more than purloined martyrdom; it's egomania run amok.

It's also, come to think of it, another veiled penis reference.

As to the transformation of Minnesota, it is not, in fact, very far from turning "red" as it is. The governor, Tim Pawlenty, is a 'Pubbie, as is Senator Norm Coleman (hopefully no relation). And after his embarrassing conduct of the past few months, it's not difficult to see Marvelous Mark Dayton getting cashiered in '06 from the Senate seat he purchased as a hobby four years ago.

It'll never become "Alabama," which Coleman (Nick, that is) evidently equates with "hell," but bear in mind just how far into Toontown the man has wandered already.

But enough. It's time for auld acquaintance to be forgot.

That's the second time he pulls back the hammer before ramming it down again. You think he's got a boner for these guys?

So as a gift to Powerline, let me try my hand at some blogger-style "fact-checking."

If Coleman were to make a habit of this, he might actually become a journalist.

1) "It's totally unexpected," Johnson, the banker, told the newspaper after Powerline won "Blog of the Year."

But the Aw Shucks Act doesn't fly. Powerline campaigned shamelessly for awards, winning an online "Best Blog of 2004" a week before the Time honor. That online award was a bloggers' poll, and Powerline linked its readers to the award site 10 times during the balloting, shilling for votes.

Sure, for the Wizbang-sponsored award - which they didn't win. So did every other competing blog. That was part of the fun, and was mounted in that spirit. Indeed, it was lib blogs like DailyKos that got carried away and started taking it as seriously as if it were an election campaign.

Why Coleman conflates that with the Time recognition, which couldn't have been expected (unless he thinks PL has moles high in the upper reaches of the AOL-Time/Warner hierarchy), can only be explained by, well, a pointed absence of fact-checking.

2) "We keep it very much separate from our day jobs," said Hinderaker, meaning the boys don't blog at work.

But they do. Johnson recently had time at his bank job to post a despicable item sliming Sen. Mark Dayton. If I had the money they think I do, I'd put it all in TCF. Then I'd pull it out.

More assumptions in lieu of research. First, I think it's a safe bet that all three gents are sufficiently advanced in their careers that they don't have to punch a time clock. Second, I think it's also safe to say that because they are advanced in their careers, they are more than capable of maintaining them and also finding time to blog on the side.

If "Saint Nick" had bothered to, oh, I don't know, call up Hinderaker or Johnson or Mirengoff and ask, I'm sure they would have told him basically the same thing.

And he probably wouldn't have used their quotes, since it didn't fit in with his "agenda."

Beats me how Coleman can think PL "slimed" Mark Dayton. In point of fact, they ridiculed him mercilessly for his version of the Full Bore Linear Panic, which put them in the company of countless other blogs and much of official Washington, D.C. I also can't fathom why he would think that they would assume "a little-read, third-rate columnist for a second-tier daily newspaper" would be rolling in the dough.

Maybe Hindrocket should hit him up for a contribution.

3) Powerline sells thousands of dollars in ads, including one for T-shirts that say, "Hung Like a Republican."

But does Powerline or its mighty righty allies take money from political parties, campaigns or well-heeled benefactors who hope to affect Minnesota's politics from behind the scenes? We don't know, and they don't have to say.

And Coleman doesn't bother to find out. Doesn't stop him from slipping in the scurrilous innuendo, though. Ditto the "thousands of dollars in ads" comment, which implies tens or hundreds of thousands when even a couple grand would technically fit the definition.

What's he got against "hung like a Republican" t-shirts? Heck, I thought his "mighty righty allies" line was kind of catchy, myself.

But (not to quote Coleman) enough. It's getting late. And Brother Hinderaker did a nifty job of direct self-defense already. I particularly like these two snippets:

Poor Nick Coleman, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's worst columnist, devotes his entire column in tomorrow's newspaper to attacking us. I'd like to respond to his charges, only I can't figure out what they are.


Bizarre references like this one have, however, caused me to wonder about his mental health.

I wouldn't so wonder, personally. Coleman is, plainly and simply, an ultraliberal in the Bush era. As such, he is incapable of sounding sane because his ideology forbids him from recognizing just how much the political landscape has shifted out from underneath him. And Powerline is a big, fat reminder of it right smack in his own backyard. That, to answer Hindrocket's rhetorical question, is Coleman's point.

Yep, life is good....

There are no atheists in foxholes - except when they need Someone to blame

Whenever there is a natural disaster, whether a hurricane or a swarm of tornados or an earthquake - or, as happened a few days ago in the Indian Ocean, tidal waves triggered by a massive undersea earthquake - one thing you can always count on is militant Christophobes coming out of the woodwork to harass the brethren with the age-old blasphemy, "If your God is a loving one, how could He let something like this happen?"

Right on schedule, Martin Kettle of, as you might also have expected, the British leftist tabloid The Guardian, answered the call.

I'll take the salient passages one at a time.

Earthquakes and the belief in the judgment of God are, indeed, very hard to reconcile. However, no religion that offers an explanation of the world can avoid making some kind of an attempt to fit the two together. And an immense earthquake like the one that took place off Sumatra on Sunday inevitably poses that challenge afresh in dramatic terms.

There is, after all, only one big question to ask about an event of such destructive power as the one that has taken place this week: why did it happen?

In fact, earthquakes and divine judgment do not require reconciliation. The former are a natural phenomenon, and the latter can (and have) come via many different avenues, of which temblors are but one.

Why the Sumatra quake happened is the same reason most quakes occur: sudden, catastrophic fault slippage. If Mr. Kettle knows somebody who has inside information that the Almighty directly caused this slippage, he didn't disclose this detail in his column.

As with previous earthquakes, any explanation of this latest one poses us a sharp intellectual choice. Either there is an entirely natural explanation for it, or there is some other kind. Even the natural one is by no means easy to imagine, but it is at least wholly coherent.

Note the implication that people of faith "must" believe that there is something other than "an entirely natural explanation" for the quake and resulting tsunamis. Again, I know of no theist, much less Christian, who is suggesting any such thing, and Mr. Kettle doesn't mention any.

But what do world views that do not allow scientists undisputed authority have to say about such phenomena? Where do the creationists stand, for example?

Well, speaking for myself, my "stand" is that "a massive tectonic rupture on the sea bed generated tremors through the ocean. These unimaginable forces sent their energy coursing across thousands of miles of water, resulting in death and destruction in a vast arc from Somalia to Indonesia." I don't know what other "stand" Mr. Kettle is expecting "the creationists" to take, unless his "stand" is really as arrogant as to believe that "scientists should be allowed undisputed authority," and that there is a necessary conflict between Christianity and science. If this is the case, he's living about five centuries in the past.

Note that he goes about half that far for a historical reference in his next graf:

For most of human history people have tried to explain earthquakes as acts of divine intervention and displeasure. Even as the churches collapsed around them in 1755, Lisbon's priests insisted on salvaging crucifixes and religious icons with which to ward off the catastrophe that would kill more than 50,000 of their fellow citizens.

Fine. Once Mr. Kettle manages to find a time travel device, goes to the eighteenth century, and brings back some interviews with Lisbon's priests, I'll be happy to peruse what they have to say. Meanwhile, the rest of us live in 2004 (for three more days, anyway), and for some reason he can't seem to find any theistic contemporaries to echo their priestly antecedents in Portuguese.

Others, though, began to draw different conclusions. Voltaire asked what kind of God could permit such a thing to occur. Did Lisbon really have so many more vices than London or Paris, he asked, that it should be punished in such a appalling and indiscriminate manner?

Voltaire was a [de facto] atheist. In the present context, that simply shows that Mr. Kettle's "camp" has changed far less over the centuries than the one it bitterly and obnoxiously persecutes.

Yet it is hard to think of any event in modern times that requires a more serious explanation from the forces of religion than this week's earthquake. Voltaire's 18th-century question to Christians - why Lisbon? - ought to generate a whole series of 21st-century equivalents for all the religions of the world.

Why? On what grounds are "the forces of religion" required to be held to account for the alleged actions of a Supreme Being which people like Voltaire and the author maintain does not exist? Indeed, that very premise is more irrational than anything such professional scoffers have ever attributed to their philosophical foes.

Why the Indian Ocean basin? Well, sir, where would you have preferred the quake to occur? Maybe if you'd spend some time "on your knees," the "Man upstairs" could oblige you.

A non-scientific belief system, especially one that is based on any kind of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do, however. What God sanctions an earthquake? What God protects against it? Why does the quake strike these places and these peoples and not others? What kind of order is it that decrees that a person who went to sleep by the edge of the ocean on Christmas night should wake up the next morning engulfed by the waves, struggling for life?

Christianity is not "non-scientific." That is a typically false stereotype perpetrated by atheists to denigrate and marginalize believers as "non-intellectual."

In reality, the Bible abounds with references to nature and natural processes, and thus frequently touches on the various sciences. Those who say the Bible is not a book of science have not read it very attentively. The writers, of course, do not attempt to formulate these statements in the terminology of a modern chemical or biological treatise. They use everyday language comprehensible to all readers, describing the phenomena in simplest terms. Nevertheless, they are always amazingly accurate, even when tested by the most vigorous scientific requirements.

Note some of the anticipatory scientific insights in Scripture. It would take an entire book to discuss these in detail, so I will limit the list to those areas pertinent to the current context, with each listed as a key phrase, with pertinent Bible reference. Even then, the list is only a sampling of the many such passages that might be cited.


Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7, Isaiah 55:10)
Evaporation (Psalm 135:7, Jeremiah 10:13)
Condensation Nuclei (Proverbs 8:26)
Condensation (Job 26:8; 37:11,16)
Precipitation (Job 36:27-28)
Run-off (Job 28:10)
Oceanic reservoir (Psalm 33:7)
Snow (Job 38:22, Psalm 147:16)
Hydrologic balance (Isaiah 40:12, Job 28:24-26)


Principle of isostasy (Isaiah 40:12, Psalm 104:5-9)
Shape of Earth (Isaiah 40:22, Psalm 103:12)
Rotation of Earth (Job 38:12, 14)
Gravitation (Job 26:7; 38:6)
Rock erosion (Job 14:18-19)
Glacial period (Job 38:29-30)
Uniformitarianism (II Peter 3:4)

God, in short, created science when He made the cosmos ordered and comprehensible and made man in His own image, with an intellect that could investigate and understand it.

Rather than playing semantical games, to say nothing of using the tragic deaths of tens of thousands, to score the usual points against the "fundies" by asking questions to which the only honest answer is, "I don't know," perhaps Mr. Kettle and his like-minded fellow travelers should take a peek at Genesis 3:17-19:

"And unto Adam [God] said, 'Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, "Thou shalt not eat of it," cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

This is the curse on nature brought about by original sin. And natural disasters are part of that curse.

But if Mr. Kettle just insists on blaming what he would otherwise dismiss as "the cosmic muffin," maybe he can settle for Phil Brennan's conclusion:

Nowadays we tend to blame natural disasters on God. "How can a merciful God allow such things to happen?" people ask. Well, Nature's God designed this universe to be self-regulating and most of the so-called natural disasters are simply part of that ongoing re-modernizing process.

Sure humans get hurt, humans suffer, but suffering and need are the LORD's way of drawing his erring children back into his embrace. There are no atheists in foxholes, the old saying goes. And there are damned few of them when trouble strikes and we fall to our knees recognizing God's supreme dominion over all things and the absolute dependence of everything upon Him.

Anyone with two cents worth of brains recognizes just how far this world has strayed from God over the past 100 years. We've been wallowing in a pit of slime. We can expect Him to do what must be done to draw us back into His embrace.

Keep in mind: what God wants is to have everyone of His children united with Him in eternity, which is all that matters. What happens here on Earth is transitory - sooner or later it comes to an end. Eternity is forever.

UPDATE: Janet Daley brings up the whole other side of this issue in her London Daily Telegraph column that I'm embarrassed to admit I left out. Here's the money graf:

In fact, there is no logic in the sceptic's argument - or, at least, not the logic that he assumes. If terrible events are to constitute evidence that God does not exist, then every wonderful event - every cured cancer patient, every child rescued from a fire - has to be evidence that He does. The unbeliever would, by his own reasoning, have to accept that all the fortunate things that have ever happened were proofs of God. [my emphasis]

Not that the rising number of unbelievers is linked to rationalism.

Very nice.

Once again, to the degree that this angle isn't purely cynical, it's a case of viewing God as the genie in the lamp. Rub it when they want something from Him, beat on it when they want to blame Him for their misfortunes (natural or man-made), but for pity's sake, don't offer anything in return, or thank Him for their blessings, or acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they are morally accountable to Him.

Perhaps one lesson of tragic natural occurances like this one is that it just doesn't work that way. If so, that's one lesson Christophobes are determined not to learn.

After all, it's far easier to just blame "The Great Vacuum Fluctuation" instead.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pax ChiCommica

Is it just me, or does Red China seem to be awfully active the world over of late?

In Africa...South America...Russia...and, yes, North America as well.

Lev Navrozov over at Newmax is a constant, if lonely, voice warning of the mortal threat Beijing poses to the West and the world at large. Trends like the aforementioned make it easy to understand his concern, even if he never has, to my knowledge, adequately explained just exactly what "molecular nanoweapons" are and just exactly how they can neutralize our nuclear deterrent.

At the risk of sounding a tad conspiracist, it makes one wonder if it might not be the ChiComms who are pulling the jihadists' strings to their own nefarious ends (see Revelation 16:12).

"Hands off the tits! Hands off the tits!"

I've made more or less constant fun of the Transportation Security Administration ever since Congress, in its infinite wisdom, federalized the airport security function three years ago. Undertaken for the ostensible purpose of shoring up the competence, professionalism, and performance of a critical post-9/11 function that was purportedly in a state of shambles under the direction of private security firms, the TSA has been, as I predicted three years ago, a running joke, a travesty of what it was supposed to be, and a more or less complete failure.

And now comes the latest piece de resistance: to smuggle weapons or explosives onto American airliners, all the terrorists have to do is either recruit women with big boobies or top-of-the-line transvestites.

Well, actually, it appears that the boobies don't even have to be all that big.

"A New York attorney meets this week with the Transportation Security Administration hoping for more clarification on airport searches. About two dozen women have complained the searches were abusive."

Abusive in what way, you may ask.

"In response to numerous complaints from women, the government has ordered airport security personnel to avoid touching female passengers between their breasts when performing patdowns.

"Security screeners now will keep their hands to the 'chest perimeter' of women unless detection equipment picks up the possibility that they are hiding explosives between their breasts."

"Chest perimeter." My, oh my. This is why I've given up trying to come up with parodies of this kind of thing. Bureaucratic reality is just too ridiculous for even me to keep up with.

I wonder, just how specifically is the "chest perimeter" defined? Does that mean screeners can give 'em a squeeze, or shove 'em together? Or does the "perimeter" begin at the nipples and extend outward? C'mon, voyeuristic minds want to know. And, you know, the women who consider this aspect of "transportation security" to be "abusive."

When did using boobies as bongo drums at airports get into security SOP? Why, a scant three months ago - since September 22nd, to be precise - when two Chechen women with bombs in their bosoms blew up themselves and the pair of Aeroflot jets they were on, killing ninety Russians in all.

I guess the wonder isn't that funbag pat-downs became a TSA fringe benefit, but that this procedure remained in place for as long as it did before women started whining about it. If the next successful 9/11-style strike is carried out, in whole or in part, by women who secret weapons where screeners hands can now no longer go, I wonder if the inside of the "chest perimeter" will be open-season again.

And, pardon me for noticing, but if explosives can be nestled between love mounds, there would seem to be another "private area" up which they could be inserted. Are TSA, um, "wands," er, "covering" that, uh, "base" as well?

Forget it. Even as parody I don't want "twat perimeter" to enter the bureaucratic lexicon.

Monday, December 27, 2004

We're Fighting Syria and Iran, Not Iraqi "Insurgents"

From the Jerusalem Post via Powerline:

"The US is contemplating incursions into Syrian territory in an attempt to kill or capture Iraqi Ba'athists who, it believes, are directing at least part of the attacks against US targets in Iraq."

I concur with Brother Mirengoff that "this seems like good news." There's no persuasive reason why the Ba'athists, whether Iraqi or Syrian, should be given a safe haven from which to launch anti-Coalition attacks inside Iraq with impunity. This is just sheer common sense, and also applies to Iran's similar barely-clandestine war against us in the same theater.

The JP's "senior Administration official" insists that the U.S. isn't considering full scale hostilities against Syria. I'm hoping that's just spin designed to keep the proverbial "cat" from getting out of the bag before we're ready to unleash it. If, indeed, the Syrian regime is conducting its portion of this guerrilla war against us and the Iraqi people, that cannot be described as anything other than an active state of war warranting a full response on our part. And, once again, the same goes for Iran, for several huge additional reasons.

Micheal Ledeen reiterated this stubborn fact again last week:

Unless you think that Iraqi Defense Minister Shaalan is a drooling idiot, you must take seriously his primal screams against Iran and Syria ("terrorism in Iraq is orchestrated by Iranian intelligence, Syrian intelligence, and Saddam loyalists"). Indeed, there has been a flood of reports linking Syria to the terror war, including the recent news that the shattered remnants from Fallujah have found haven and succor across the Syrian border....

The terror war in Iraq was not improvised, but carefully planned by the four great terror masters (Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) during the infuriatingly long run-up to the liberation. They made no secret of it; you have only to go back to the public statements of the Iranian mullahs and the Syrian Baathists to see it, for top Iranian officials and Bashir Assad publicly announced it (the mullahs in their mosques, Bashir in a published interview). They had a simple and dramatic word for the strategy: Lebanon. Assad and the mullahs prepared to turn Iraq into a replay of the terror war they had jointly waged against us in Lebanon in the 1980s: suicide bombings, hostage-taking, and religious/political uprisings. It could not have been more explicit....

The clear strategic conclusion remains what it should have been long before Coalition troops entered Saddam's evil domain: No matter how strongly we wish it to be otherwise, we are engaged in a regional war, of which Iraq is but a single battlefield. The war cannot be won in Iraq alone, because the enemy is based throughout the region and his bases and headquarters are located beyond our current reach. His power is directly proportional to our unwillingness to see the true nature of the war, and our decision to limit the scope of our campaign.

I've said all along that Iraq couldn't be our last military campaign if the GWOT was to ultimately be won. One respondent on called that assertion "madness." But I tend to think of it in terms of the old Autolite car parts commercial: "You can pay me a little now, or a lot later, but one way or another, you're going to pay me."

"Faster," indeed.

Which is Greater: Israelis' Suicidal Urges or Palestinians' Genocidal Ones?

At a time when the long-overdue death of PLO chieftain Yassir Arafat has generated yet another wave of brain-addling "peace" hopes so overpowering that even Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is succumbing to the urge to appease his country's blood enemies, it is little short of divine intervention that at least one voice of sanity remains in the Holy Land.

In the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick tells it like it is, with the bark on, to wit: that Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is militarily insane and morally bankrupt.

An example of the former is her citation of the former commander of the Israeli Defense Force's Southern Command, who says that the fence around Gaza has thwarted about 30% of the unsuccessful Gaza-based terrorist attacks on Israel, while IDF operations inside the Gaza Strip are responsible for stopping the other 70%.

Once Israel pulls out, there will be no more such operations. Which means, by definition, a 70% increase in terrorist attacks from Gaza into Israel proper. And don't forget that part of this "peace" drumbeat is the removal of that aforementioned fence, as well as the one in the West Bank.

That's the principle practical objection. The moral objection is staggeringly powerful:

"Israel is the first Western state to call for the forced removal of Jews from their homes, simply because they are Jews, since the Holocaust."

The passage goes on at some length from there, but this sentence, I think, conveys the underlying point just fine all by itself.

Remember when people used to say of the Holocaust, "Never again?" Apparently fewer and fewer people do.

Or ever did in the first place.

Even in Israel itself....

"Israel freed 159 Palestinian prisoners Monday as a gesture to Egypt and moderate new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, but he called for a 'serious release' of thousands of security detainees."

George Santayana must be spinning in his grave.

[Hat tip: Powerline]

This is How "Blue"-Staters "Reach Out"

Here's a token of esteem a Canadian reader sent to Matt Margolis over at - and on Christmas Day, no less:

If I EVER come face to face with ANYONE who voted for sorry excuse for a human being known as Bush, I would bash their head in with a lead pipe and shit down their throat. I hope the terrorists come and blow your piece of shit country to bits, you worthless piece of dog shit! I hope the Iraqis kill every last US war criminal that is currently occupying their land. I PERSONALLY vow to hunt you down and kill you and everyone you love. You deserve nothing less.

Somehow I doubt this individual would be so belligerent if he was face-to-face with Mr. Margolis. It's the nature of this medium that anybody can be a badass when hiding behind an anonymous, AOLized handle.

But what caught my eye about this little missive is its similarity to a threat that was made against me and a sysopial colleague over at some five years ago. Our would-be assailant was a bit more creative - "splatter your blood and eyeballs on the walls" and "rip out your entrails and jump rope with them" were the two phrases that stuck with me.

It didn't phase me all that much since I live in the Pacific Northwest and the threatener resided in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida area. Perhaps it was naive of me, but I had difficulty picturing this guy (who was not exactly well-to-do) dropping several hundred bucks on air fare to back up his attempts at menacing. My colleague, however, had just taken a vacation in, you guessed it, Tampa-St. Pete, having posted his plans in the public forum, and didn't learn of the threat until his return. Needless to say, he was more than a little miffed that no action had been taken against our wannabe stalker, since he might have been a threat to my colleague's wife and kids as well.

All of which is a roundabout way of urging Mr. Margolis to report this threat and get this asshole neutralized by one means or another. Even if his correspondent never intends to follow through, the part about "I PERSONALLY vow to hunt you down and kill you and everyone you love" is not couched in any mitigating language whatsoever. It is a direct homicidal threat, and for that alone this sicko should be put away.

Dubya's Judicial "In Your Face" to the Dems

This is why Republicans love George W. Bush. The Dems stuff his judicial nominees in '01-'02? He takes control of the Senate away from them. They filibuster his judicial nominees in '03-'04? He increases their disadvantage by another four seats.

Of course, it would have been nice if he'd fought for his nominees during these bienniums instead of using his choices as election props, but at least he's sending them back up again for a third time. The message couldn't be any clearer: these are my choices and I'm going to keep sending them up until they're given an up or down vote. Period.

Democrats professed surprise and disappointment at the President's lack of "bipartisanship," but they're not really all that relevant anymore, and even if they were, they're so hopelessly and predictably full of crap that you can practically verbatim map out what they're going to say. Which is another way of saying that I don't really give a frog's fat leg what they have to say about it.

What does interest me is the statement of incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter:

"It has been my hope that we might be able to approach this whole issue with some cooler perspective," he said in an interview. "I would have preferred to have some time in the 109th Congress to improve the climate to avoid judicial gridlock and future filibusters."

Mr. Specter, who said he had been talking to both Republicans and Democrats in order to improve the chances for compromise, said it might now be "difficult to change the atmosphere with the submission of these names."

Well, now, I'm sure the Donks would be just delighted with "compromise" if it meant the President caving and replacing his constitutionalist selections with activist and/or stealth libs (a la David Souter), as Senator Specter quite openly suggests. That's the kind of "bipartisanship" that once dominated the Beltway for decades during the long, dark years of Democrat rule. Once again, the President is sending an unmistakable message: That era is over, and "compromise" is henceforth a two-way street.

Specter was hasty in underscoring that he (still) gets that message:

But he said the President was, in any case, entitled to do as he had done and that as chairman he would "play the cards that are dealt," in trying to get Mr. Bush's nominees confirmed.

Can any level-headed observer really claim to be confident of that assertion given (1) who uttered it and (2) the comments on whose heels it so closely follows?

Republicans from the White House on down are going to rue the day they let Arlen Specter have that gavel, mark my words.

Senator Feinstein Misses the Point

Captain Ed goes to "sport fishing with power saws" lengths to slice & dice the Donks' latest windmill-tilting attempt to jettison the Electoral College.

Their rationale was set forth last week by DiFi:

In introducing the amendment, the Democrat from San Francisco is joining Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who last month introduced a similar proposal in the House, which she said she would reintroduce in the 109th Congress that convenes on January 3rd.

The two California lawmakers say the current system makes most Americans election bystanders, pointing toward the recent campaign in which President Bush and his Democratic rival, Senator John Kerry, focused almost all their time, energy and campaign funds on a handful of undecided states in search of their electoral votes.

The Cap'n observes that under the direct system DiFi proposes, "a handful of undecided states" would be traded in for a handful of mega-states in which the Dems, by definition, would do better.

My observation is a bit more straightforward: Only twice in the past 180 years has the winner in the Electoral College not also triumphed in the popular vote, and that includes the election held seven and a half weeks ago. Indeed, Kerry's only shot at winning depended precisely upon eking out a majority in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, precisely the formula that Dems spent the past four years decrying when it worked against them in 2000. Conclusion? You can take away the Electoral College, but the underlying political dynamic that has consigned the Democrats to minority party status will still remain.

Maybe this is an implicit shot across Kerry's bow warning him against running again in 2008. But as an exercise in partisan system-rigging, to say nothing of civic/constitutional "reform," this scheme is flatter than week-old soda pop.

An In-Person Visit Beats a Personal Signature ANY Day of the Week

Per the AP last Thursday:

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited wounded soldiers and brought holiday greetings on Christmas Eve amid tight security at an air base in northern Iraq where an insurgent's attack killed 14 U.S. troops and eight other people earlier this week. [my emphasis]

Hoping to demonstrate compassion for soldiers' sacrifices, Rumsfeld landed in darkness and walked immediately from his plane to a combat surgical hospital where many of the bombing victims were treated after Tuesday's lunchtime attack on a mess tent. The most seriously wounded already have been transferred to a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Out of concern for security, Rumsfeld's aides went to unusual lengths to keep his visit a secret prior to his arrival, with only a few reporters and one TV crew accompanying him on an overnight flight from Washington. [my emphasis]

In an interview aboard the C-17 cargo plane that brought him to Mosul, Rumsfeld said he'd been planning to visit U.S. troops here long before the deadly attack Tuesday, believed to have been carried out by a homicide bomber.

"The focus of the trip is to thank the troops and wish them a Merry Christmas," he said.

Two comments about the above:

1) I don't care what anybody says about Rummy, it takes balls the size of cantaloupes to go to Mosul literally within hours of that suicide attack, particularly when he was already scheduled to make the visit. Indeed, the terrorists just missed possibly snuffing him by that very same margin.

2) Do you suppose the Associated Press is bent out of shape by the Pentagon successfully keeping Rumsfeld's trip under wraps, in light of the AP's friendly affiliation with the jihadists? If the AP had known, might they have passed on the tip to their terrorist friends?

Seems like a fair question to me.

[Hat tip: Powerline]

FAA to Make Air Marshals Dress up in Clown Costumes

This is how Michelle Malkin began her December 15th syndicated column:

"Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the nineteen September 11th terrorists to wear 'I heart Osama' T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

"No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

"Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL. That means collared shirts and sports coats - even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando."

Ponder this for a few moments. Take an additional few minutes if you need to. Does this make any sense with additional rumination? Sure doesn't to me, unless Mr. Quinn wants his air marshals to be taken out by terrorist hijackers carrying out the next round of 9/11-style attacks.

Passengers certainly aren't missing this exercise in conspicuity. "The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents over 22,000 federal agents including air marshals, notes that civilian passengers have publicly outed marshals on countless flights since the Sept. 11 attacks. Air marshals have recounted receiving thumbs-ups and thanks from travelers nationwide....Indeed, on an infamous American Airlines Flight 1438 from Chicago to Miami, two air marshals, dressed conspicuously in their professionally mandated suits, received the following greeting from a passenger walking down the aisle: 'Oh, I see we have air marshals on board!'"

One air marshal, who spoke only on condition of anonymity out of fear for his job (give that one some skullsweat when you get the chance), said, "Under the current policies of Director Quinn, airline passengers are actually safer flying on aircraft that do not have air marshals on them." [my emphasis] Another sarcastically referred to Quinn's dress requirements as the "kill-me-first dress-code policy."

What can possibly explain this idiocy? Mr. Quinn spent over two decades in the Secret Service, to which Ms. Malkin speculatively attributes his "fashion taste." Doesn't satisfy me, however. The hallmark of the Secret Service is supposed to be professionalism and competence, not "dressing for success," and certainly not bureaucratic numbnuttery. Besides, does it really take a security background to grasp that both air marshals and the passengers they're charged with protecting will be far safer and better off if the former are maximally indistinguishable from the latter? Or does Mr. Quinn really believe that jihadists will be intimidated by spit & polish?

On her blog, Ms. Malkin posted a series of grateful emails from air marshals endorsing her column and the stand it takes on their behalf, as well as a copy of the Quinn memo mandating the dress code he and his surrogates insist doesn't exist.

It sure is a buzzkiller that such a moron is in charge of airline safety in the ostensibly anti-terror warrior-controlled Bush Administration. One could have pictured somebody like Mr. Quinn having no difficulty at all staying on in his current post had John Kerry been victorious last month. Given that, what then is GDub's excuse for keeping him on the job? And what will his White House say if al Qaeda effortlessly box-cuts the sticking-out-like-nudists-in-Amish-country FAMs out of the way and plunges one or more airliners into the Sears Tower, a nuclear power plant, and, well, the White House?

One thing's for certain: Tom Quinn is extending them an engraved invitation.

[Hat tip: Captain's Quarters]

Friday, December 24, 2004

Do WaGOPers realize they're the Washington Generals?

Here's a statement from Washington Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance:

This count is not over. This battle is not over.

Actually, it's both. But I don't want to say it too loudly, since this is more spunk than I've ever seen Evergreen state 'Pubbies display in my lifetime.

Throughout this process we have opposed efforts to change the rules.

And failed thanks to Democrat courts. Which means that you were fools to believe that this process was ever going to be fair, and should have been in the muck cheating away right alongside the Donks.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did just that yesterday so we are aggressively fighting under those new rules.

Under which you have even less of a prayer of winning than the actual law they re-wrote. Why not take it to the SCOTUS, like the Dems were threatening to? We're sure as hell not going to get a fair shake here.

Today, in counties across the state, Republicans formally requested County Auditors to reconvene canvassing boards in order to reconsider legitimate votes cast for Dino Rossi that were erroneously rejected.

That's what you should have been doing for the past month. It's too late now. Even if Secretary of State Sam Reed waits to certify this felonious result until next week, you'll never be able to gin up 131 additional votes from across the state as efficiently as the Dems did in their King County stronghold.

These voters are no different from voters in King County whose votes were counted today...

Sure they're different - they voted for Rossi. So their votes will never be allowed to be included. It'd violate state election law, doncha know.

...and recanvassing is allowed under Supreme Court’s recent decision until the Secretary of State finally certifies the election.

Only for Democrats. Not Republicans. In fact, if Republicans had been mining votes right alongside the Donks, I have no doubt that the latter would have sued to stop them from doing it, while they continued right on doing it themselves. And the courts would have enjoined only the GOP.

Unfortunately, we'll never know now.

In fact, one county, Thurston, has already reopened their process after first certifying their results.

That won't last long.

Several counties have either agreed to hold new canvassing board meetings or are seriously considering doing so.

That won't last long, either.

This activity will continue, and we ask the Secretary of State to delay final certification until we know every legitimate vote has been counted.

Dream on, Mr. Vance. You can't field your third-stringers at the Super Bowl, get your head handed to you, and then ask for an additional quarter at the two-minute warning on the grounds that you forgot at which hotel your first-stringers were staying.

You trusted in the system and the rule of law in a one-party state that has long since subverted both. You should have known better, Senator Rossi should have known better, and now it's come back and bitten you in the ass.

We believe Dino Rossi is the legitimate Governor-elect of the State of Washington and we will continue fighting to protect his election.

Dino Rossi is the legitimate Governor-elect of the State of Washington. But in Washington, legitimacy is irrelevant; power is all that matters.

And power remains, and ever shall remain, with the ruling Donk hegemony in Olympia, and its new Governor, Christine Gregoire, until such time as the Republican dissidency is willing to do whatever it takes to overthrow them.

And what the past seven weeks have shown is that the Washington GOP is a long, long way from that level of ruthlessness.

Nice try, gents. But as I said from the start, "Get ready for Governor Gregoire."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Hot on the heels of WaDonk state chairman Paul Behrens declaring late yesterday that losing gubernatorial candidate Christine "the Grinch" Gregoire had pulled a "miraculous" eight-vote margin of victory rabbit out of her hat, the Washington Supremes, reversing their decision of just last week barring the inclusion of over 3,000 previously rejected ballots in the hand recount, succumbed and gave the Dems what they wanted, overruling Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend and ordering 723 separate rejected King County ballots to be counted, effectively turning the entire recount process into a re-vote instead.

Thus have my original suspicions been sourly confirmed. Let's review, shall we?

Republican candidate Dino Rossi won the first count by 261 votes. He won the machine recount (which featured the usual King County shenanigans) by 42 votes. Before the hand recount, I wrote:

"State election law entitles Miss Gregoire to request a hand recount - partial or full - provided her campaign pays for it. Pleading poverty, naturally, the Dems have already declared their intention to request a partial recount, which will, of course, be conducted in their King County (Seattle) stronghold. If they can't fabricate another 43 votes there, I'll volunteer to be one of her palm-frond wavers (assuming I can get the time off from jury duty). Once Gregoire takes the lead, the state has to conduct a full hand recount, a method that everybody who isn't a Dem agrees is a far less reliable means and far more vulnerable to fraud. There's no way on Earth that Rossi can win such a recount (unless the GOP engages in the same tactics, which is unlikely in the extreme). And if he challenges that result in court (far from a certainty, given the supine docility of pachyderms in this state), well, there's not a judge in this state that isn't a Dem hack.

"End result: get ready for Governor Gregoire."

I wish I could take credit for Karnakian prescience, but I can't. I've simply lived my entire life in this state and watched Dems here and across the country for twenty-five years. It's a great incubator for impenetrable cynicism, something that is as close to an infallible guide in dispensing political analysis as can be found in this present veil of tears.

And so, the game ends. WaDonks were able to do what Al Gore never could in Florida four years ago - fabricate a lead. And, just as I predicted Gore would do back then if he'd been able to overtake George Bush, today Behrens immediately called upon Dino Rossi to concede. Not unlike a rapist demanding that his victim smoke a cigarette after a very similar procedure.

It's a shame that such a buggering has to happen to as class an act and quality a human being as Rossi. Here's a guy who overachieved, who ran a top-drawer campaign, followed the rules, made stunning inroads in a state as "blue" as this one is, and who has stayed above the fray and maintained those same standards for the past seven nightmarish weeks. And his reward? Having a figurative Louisville slugger shoved up his ass and being told to yelp, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

The worst part is that very classiness has been turned against him. And really, that's the gamble that any Republican takes in such circumstances. As long as Dino could hold onto the lead, the scheming and cheating of his Grinchian foe and her henchmen would be irrelevant; but if their corrupt machinations succeeded, he would then be forced to either give up or plunge into the same mire in a desperately belated attempt to regain what he been stolen from him.

His lead did not hold. Now he stands at this revolting fork in the road.

And remember: the courts are solidly, irredeemably Donk. The SCOW has already flip-flopped, and there's no reason whatsoever to suppose that they won't flip right back in the most brazenly partisan fashion when Rossi comes to them seeking the same succor.

The modern American political landscape turns on one fulcrum above all others: does the Democrat want it too much, or does the Republican not want it enough?

In Ukrainington it didn't matter how much Dino Rossi wanted the governorship - the fix against him was in before he even got into the race.

At least he didn't get poisoned.

UPDATE: Those 723 selective mystery ballots padded the Grinch's ill-gotten "lead" to 130 votes. Not quite as much as I was expecting, actually.

And there's nothing that Rossi can do, since any legal challenge would have to go through the same courts that helped Gregoire rob him in the first place.

I've read frustrated "We'll show THEM!" speculation about Rossi coming back in '06 to take his revenge out on Maria Cantwell, but that's akin to Charlie Brown yelling "Just wait till next year!" after his latest 123-0 shellacking. Republicans simply cannot compete for big statewide offices in Ukrainington. Plus, as this gubernatorial process has demonstrated, if one does, s/he'll never be allowed to collect his/her victory. Bear in mind also that two years in politics is a very long time, especially to maintain the level of anger and outrage that pachyderms are (or are they?) feeling right now. Dems across the country did maintain theirs after Florida 2K, but it didn't get them the White House back, now did it?

Washington is a "blue" state. Period. Not "powder blue," not "purple," but absolute navy "blue." And nothing short of a coup, or an invasion from the "red" state coalition to effect regime-change in Olympia, is ever going to change it.

No "orange" revolutions here. in Ukrainington, liberation can only come from...well, not ballots.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Snarlin' Arlen Isn't "Irrelevant"

Like Ed Morrissey, I was cheered to see Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) reshuffle his committee assignment lineups and stick pro-life Midwesterners Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) onto the Judiciary Committee in order, presumably, to strengthen the hand of President Bush for the next round of nomination jihads. Unlike the Cap'n, I don't think this makes "the Specter issue" "irrelevant" in the least.

While Brownback and Coburn will help, the colleagues they replaced (Larry Craig of Idaho and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia) weren't exactly in Lincoln Chaffee territory. More to the point, even with the committee split now at ten Republicans and eight Democrats, it will still only take one defection to block a nominee from passing out to the Senate floor, and the most likely defector is the one Frist so foolishly handed the gavel.

One can replace the deck chairs with plush recliners, but the Titanic will still be the Titanic, aboard which every Bush judicial nominee with the slighest smidgen of respect for the law and the Constitution will ride straight to the bottom courtesy of its turncoat captain, without minority donks having to lift a filibustering finger.

Frist hasn't accomplished anything other than to ensure that the Right's frustration level will skyrocket that much faster.

Nine Years Later, It's Still [CENSORED]mas

This essay I posted back in 1995 is, regrettably, even more applicable today.


Now that the "holidays" have passed, and most revelers have recovered from their New Year's hangovers, it is time to reflect upon the officially enforced AWOL status of what used to be known in ancient times (circa 1960) as [CENSORED]mas..

TV spewed "Happy Holidays!" wishes every which direction, especially local newscasters (TV news, by the way, is what Ken & Barbi did when they grew up; and brother, have they been fruitful and multiplied...) Scoreboard graphics during football games were festooned with the same greeting, as though all networks' equipment was implanted with the same computer virus. Its pervasiveness, though, was the equal of its vacuous genericity. Or hasn't it struck anyone that wishing others "Happy Holidays!" could be done year-round? The next holiday is Groundhog's Day (except for the groundhogs, of course), and then comes Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day, and so on. I'm going to spend Flag Day sending out greeting cards to everybody I know wishing them a "Happy Holiday!", since any old one seems to do.

"Season's Greetings!" is another randomly twisting piece of verbal fluff caught in the spin cycle of the godless. What exactly is that supposed to mean? There are all manner of different seasons: meteorological (spring, summer, fall, winter), hunting (elk, deer, muskrat, mink, goat, fiddler crab, spotted owl, liberal), sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, post-, strike-shortened), cooking (dill weed, barbecue spice, celery seed, minced onion, parsley flakes) - well, that one is seasonINGS, but in the great there/not there of the "Winter Festival," what does that matter?

Brian Ward of West Orange, NJ was reprimanded by a high-school principle for singing "God rest ye merry, gentlemen," on school property. Supposedly his exercise of his Constitutional right to free expression "degraded" the religions of fellow students who don't have a "holiday" around the Winter Soltice. At Tufts, Secret Santas have become Secret Snowmen because the store declared that "we're not all Christians," the premise apparently being the misconception that ol' Kris Kringle chose the moment of You Know Who's birth to crash through the stable roof, and squashed Him beneath the inn room he brought for Joseph and Mary.

The public-school calendar in Portland, OR lists every December "holiday" imaginable - Kwanszaa, Hannukah, and that pagan favorite, The First Day of Winter - EXCEPT the C-word. Excision by omission wasn't enough for the city of Pittsburgh, which actually renamed the season of that JC guy's birth "the Sparkle Season." Apparently nobody told the city fathers (and mothers) that those sparkles will go away by putting one's head between one's knees and breathing deeply into a paper bag.

For every instance of silence (other than "Silent Night," of course) and insipidity, there is also the jackboot - with bells attached. At Grand Central station in New York, a [CENSORED]mas tree - which is NOT a [CENSORED]ian symbol - was erected on the condition that it be "balanced" by a menorah instead of a nativity scene. Naturally, a group of Muslims took offense and demanded more "balance" by supplanting both the nativity scene and menorah with a carbomb. Authorities gave up, and the tree fell over, whereupon endangered species activists launched a protest against the destruction of still more spotted owl habitat.

The winner in the cowardice category is the mayor of Richmond, VA, who caved in to the Advocates for Intercultural Richmond subcommittee of the Human Relations Commission and agreed not to put up a [CENSORED]mas tree for fear of offending Richmond's enormous Muslim and Korean communities. Instead, the mayor unveiled (oops, sorry, Muslims) a "Unity Tree" - a large fir with lights and decorations. No, I don't see the difference, either, unless the decorations looked like little sticks of dynamite.

Closing this truly vicious circle ("May the broken...), another New Jersey school held a contest the object of which was to write down as many "[CENSORED]mas characters" as possible in the allotted time. One team, obviously ignorant of the "holiday spirit," quickly jotted down that JC guy, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, etc. They got a zero. Why? Because their teacher only awarded points for Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, the Norelco Santa, the Energizer Bunny, Ed McMahon, and President Clinton. The answer "Newt Gingrinch" was worth double.

We are reminded, one more time, of the pretzel into which the First Amendment has been twisted. For [CENSORED]ians to simply exercise their right to freedom of expression is held to be an infringement upon those same rights of their lost countrymen. The cultural majority must be muzzled and repressed to suit the prejudices of the cultural minority, in the hopes that if it can be perpetuated long enough, majority and minority will change places, and those accursed religious kooks can be silenced permanently. An extreme extrapolation, it is true, but we're dealing, in the Religious Left, with extremists. Just ask "Father Frost," the yuletide imposter the old Soviet communist regime conjured to usurp the throne of the God-Man whose name is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The Soviet Empire is a pleasantly fading nightmare, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is still at the right hand of God.

Menorahs do not offend me, nor Christmas trees or Salvation Army Santas. Let Kwanzaa afficianados celebrate whatever it is they celebrate to their heart's content. But anti-Christian bigotry that treats religious traditionalism as being subversive - THAT I have a problem with. It shows just how much the world needs preaching, and a-preaching I am gonna go in 1996.

[And 2005.]

Call it my New Year's resolution.

Rossi's First Break

Maybe Christine Gregoire won't steal the Washington gubernatorial election after all....

"A judge Friday granted a state Republican Party request to block the counting of hundreds of recently discovered King County ballots in the governor's race, which the GOP's candidate is winning by just a few dozen votes.

"Even if the election workers wrongly rejected the ballots - 150 of which were discovered Friday - it is too late for King County to reconsider them now, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend said.

"The issue of the ballots could prove pivotal: With all but King County finished with a hand recount, Republican Dino Rossi was leading Democrat Christine Gregoire by 50 votes.
From reading state law and state Supreme Court decisions, 'it is clear to me that it is not appropriate to go back and revisit decisions on whether ballots should or should not be counted,' Arend said."

I must say I am floored by this ruling as I was by that of the Washington Supremes last week. I'm also pleasantly surprised that the state GOP had the balls to file suit to block this open Dem attempt at vote fraud, and the brains to do so outside of King County, where it would almost certainly have failed. Given that Judge Arend's ruling cites the SCOW's earlier decision regarding a separate vein of 3,000 mined King County ballots, it's safe to say the WaDonks' appeal will go nowhere.

Of course, they're vowing to take it to the SCOTUS, and even the UN Security Council if necessary. Hopefully once it gets there, we can change the state's locks so as to ensure a festive time at Governor Rossi's inauguration.

All Hail Powerline....

....Time magazine's doubtless reluctant (and therefore amply worthy) choice for Blog of the Year. Which puts them several notches up on Newsweek.

Forget the 1985 teen gross-out movie starring Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards; these guys are the real "Revenge of the Nerds."

(I can say that because I'm also an honorary "Tri-Lamb," and a substantially portlier one as well. In fact, take Brother Hinderaker, ad a beard, a gut, corrective lenses that would hack a divot in the bridge of his nose, and an extreme aversion to ties, and...God, I really have let myself go, haven't I?

Well, other than the beard, of course....)

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Week of Hell - Epilogue

As I wrote at great and haphazard length, my December - or at least the first half of it - pretty much sucked across the board. Between a nightmare of a budget season, a head cold, and trying to fight off jury duty, I just was not a happy camper.

Then, last week, things finally started breaking back my way. My cold passed through my system, the budget finally got done, and while I had to go through the jury selection process, I escaped assignment in rather amusing fashion. This was crucial for this past weekend, when my dad was scheduled to come over for a visit that included his grandkids' school >>>***CHRISTMAS***<<< program and their Sunday School equivalent at our church yesterday. So the decks were all cleared.

Then, Friday morning, I awoke with not just a relapse of the cold I had just shed, but a version unimaginably worse than its predecessor. It was the maximum blitz of head/chest colds. My sinuses swelled to brain-crushing proportions and simultaneously became slightly more inflamed than if I'd snorted a bottle of Ronsin lighter fluid. My eyes were watering like a rainbird. My head was more stuffed with mucus than plaque in Ted Kennedy's aorta, yet I couldn't blow out so much as a single booger, and every attempt made my face feel as if it was going to burst right off the front of my skull. And garnishing it all was an endless racking dry cough that yielded not the slightest speck of phlegm even as my lungs threatened to make an impromptu appearance, and very effectively exacerbated all the other aforementioned symptoms.

My focus went from having a good time with my dad to trying desperately to keep from infecting him. Which, of course, meant very little conversation, if for no other reason than to try and keep my bronchial tubes from turning inside out.

And, as an added bonus, on Saturday my daughter came down with the flu, including a 103-degree temperature.

Fortunately my condition was sufficiently improved by yesterday to at least make an effort at salvaging the weekend (which included an entertaining newspaper clipping from eighteen years ago that I'm going to make use of in some fashion), but it sure made the gains of last week pyrrhic ones.

Now we have to decide if we're going to traverse the entire state of Ukrainington to spend Christmas with my in-laws, or if just my wife and the kids will go, or if we all stay home. By that time, of course, my son's fever will probably have snapped, but Mrs. HardStarboard will have at least a lungful of fluid, and I'll probably have my next sore throat.

Maybe we can hire an ambulance to take us to Palouse....

Why Rumsfeld Must - and Will - Stay

You'll never see a better, more comprehensive case for why the Rummy-bashers, particularly RINOs like Chuck Hagel and John McCain, should be told (politely) to go to hell than Dafydd ab Hugh's reply to Captain Ed's (slightly) anti-Rumsfeld leanings today:

Point-missing alert: if the Donald were to die or resign for, say, health reasons, Bush would be free to pick someone who was basically a Rumsfeld clone, insensitive enough to push critical reform through, even if it ends the careers of fine people. I don't know if such a person exists right now, but Bush would have a free hand to seek him (or her), and the war -- which depends upon us reforming how we think militarily - would remain winnable.

But if Rumsfeld were forced out via the death of a thousand paper cuts, especially if Republican senators succeeded in ousting him, then his successor would be forced upon Bush by those same rebellious senators: the president would have to name someone who would look to McCain for confirmation every time Bush gave an order. Everything would change.

Forget about reforming the military; that's the main, underlying point of contention here, though nobody on the dump-Rummy side will admit it. They want to go back to what is familiar to them... to massed armies ponderously waddled into place -- a tactic that works well when dealing with a mass invasion of one country by another but is utterly helpless in the situation we're in now and likely will remain in for the forseeable future: fighting a war against stateless terrorists who swarm like angry ants first at one spot then another, who have no territory to conquer, no real command and control structure to disrupt, who consist of a series of disconnected, autonomous cells spread across three quarters of the globe, linked only by shared ideology and the internet.

Yes, in 1990-1991, we sent about half a million men into Kuwait to kick out Hussein. I had to use a range there, two different years, because it took us six months to get them in place in Saudi Arabia prior to the attack, followed by a lengthy aerial bombardment.

You saw what happened in Iraq in 2002-2003 (another range!) when a similar delay was induced by the decision - taken at the demand of several of these same Republican senators - that we try to get the U.N.'s blessing: Hussein shifted the WMD stockpiles to Syria, many of the worst terrorists set up bases there (from which they now move into Iraq, organize attacks, and fade to safety again), and a strategy was hatched whereby Hussein's forces faded into the population then turned to insurgency.

We cannot allow such delays in the future. That is exactly why Rumsfeld was opposed to monkeying around with the U.N. in the first place, according to everything I have seen: he knew what a months-long delay would mean, but he was overruled by the President. Now the very thing that Rumsfeld warned about, that Hussein would have too much time to prepare some sort of defense that we could not predict, has come to pass; and the very senators who forced that situation on us are trying to use it to fire the guy who warned against it! [my emphasis - hell, it's almost verbatim what I posted over at over two years ago]

Colin Powell desperately wanted us to go to the U.N. Not because Powell is a bad guy but because he is an unimaginative guy: he cannot envision any other way of fighting a war than to mimic the same strategies and tactics that we used in World War II (and Korea, and Vietnam, and so forth) and that Powell studied at the Army War College. He's good at it, but it's all he knows. To a carpenter, every tool looks like a hammer and every problem like a nail.
So if those who, like Powell, cannot envision fighting the kind of war we need to fight today manage to oust Rumsfeld, they will likewise demand he be replaced with one of them, or at least someone who thinks like they think; and they will have considerably more power and support then than they have now, having proven themselves stronger than Bush: they will get what they want.

And we will lose the war. We will flounder exactly as the Russians did in Afghanistan, and for exactly the same reason: rather than fighting a new style of warfare that keeps the enemy staggering around like a blind hound in a meat shop, we'll be sending well-advertised tank columns through the Khyber Pass to be blown up by the mujahadin.

The McCainiacs, of course, will blame Bush; McCain or his clone will be the next president, and the collapse will accelerate. They will prove to the American people that the Republicans are even worse at dealing with defense and security issues than the Democrats, and we'll have another period of four or five straight presidential victories for Democrats, as we did in 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948. (And the Democrats probably would have won in 1952, if Eisenhower hadn't run.) This will coincide with a collapse of American power and a retreat into Fortress America, to be hit again and again by terrorists because we're not forward-deploying against them.

That would be a catastrophe, Ed... and nearly all of it would be traceable to Bush having knuckled under to the demands of a bunch of thugs, several of them Republican: that Rumsfeld be ousted because they're more afraid of real reform than they are of an American collapse.

Well, okay, that penulatimate paragraph is a bit of a stretch. Besides, Hillary Clinton is going to be the next POTUS in any case, and by the time she ascends people are going to be calling her the return of Attila the Hen - until about twenty-nine seconds into her Inaugural Address. But the central point of getting one shot at commonsensical foreign and defense policy in the current conflict is air-tight. The very notion of common sense in foreign and defense policy is, indeed, as radical as it is critical; the slightest retreat from it will disintegrate into an inevitable, and irretrievable, rout that the nation's survival as we know it cannot withstand.

Regardless, you KNOW something else is at work when Rumsfeld's (which is to say, Bush's) enemies descend so deep into pettiness as to snipe at him for not having personally signed condolence letters. Given that the whole "unarmored Humvee" flap was yet another Big Media hoax, which is why this new angle was resorted to in the first place, it would seem to be yet another fizzled and feeble gambit.

Still, you expect this sort of rot from the donks; that's just what they do. Not for the first time, however, do I find myself wondering what it will take to make Republicans in D.C. realize that they're in the majority and that that means they get to run the country. For six years the majority played Washington Generals to Bill Clinton's Harlem Globetrotters, and for the past four it sat there and let the other side, its head now replaced by an even bigger mouth, revel and wallow in libel and slander and sedition virtually unopposed. And now, at the GOP's moment of greatest triumph, when a generation or more of national hegemony beckons, the usual gang of idiot "moderates" arises to prop up the DisLoyal Opposition yet again.

Funny, isn't it, how the man who is supposedly the dumbest homo sapiens in the Beltway - the re-elected President of the United States - seems like the only elected pachyderm who "gets it."
Also immensely reassuring, since that's the trumping reason why Rummy is going to remain precisely where he is - "embattled," one suspects, to his detractors' bitter end.

UPDATE: Jon Podhoretz lays out the details here.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Why Do You Think They Call It "Sex Education"?

Oh, man, I just love this one:

"Parents opposed to New Brunswick's sex education curriculum say the program's resource material includes Internet links to pornographic websites."

I'm tempted to say, "So? What did you expect from a sex education course?" This is simply your modern tax dollars at work.

But it gets better. Or worse, depending upon your point of view.

"A group of parents met Tuesday with Education Minister Madeleine Dube to outline their objections to the sex-ed curriculum for grades 6, 7 and 8, which includes discussions on oral sex, mutual masturbation and sexual pleasure."

Wow, that sure dates me. I don't remember any such discussions in ninth grade health class. Sounds to me like the rain-slicker-and-kleenex crowd is so entrenched that they have no fear of being open and honest about their true agenda.

And then this one, which had me falling out of my chair in laughter:

"The parents also presented Dube with a list of websites for youth from a reference document for the program, including one site that offers links to an online sex-toy store that sells 'bedroom adventure gear.'"

HAHAHAHAHAHEHEHEHEHAHAHAHYUKHYUKHAHAHA!!!!!!! "Bedroom adventure gear"! Oh, my god, that's hilarious!

Not to mention inevitable when you let such people get entrenched in the public education monopoly.

Or perhaps I should say, "buried to the hilt...."

Maybe they should rename the course "Classroom Adventure." The next step would seem to be teachers demonstrating techniques and positions for their students, and then dividing the class into "lab teams" to conduct their "collaborative homework together." One week they could do hetero couples, the next threesomes, the next homo couples, and the final exam would be an in-class orgy. Oh, don't worry, they'd pass out plenty of condoms, and the school nurse would be prepared to perform any abortions deemed necessary.

I remember Mad magazine once describing sex ed as the place teens go to find out what they've been doing wrong for the past few years. It was a joke then. These days, parody doesn't seem to be possible.

And yet....

Um, Mr. President, Can We Have a Talk...?

I don't want to get into the details of President Bush's mugging of House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner on the intel reform bill. But there are two other actions of the White House this week that do quite a bit more than prompt a raised eyebrow.

One was his lavishing $20 million in direct aid on the PLO as it prepares for the masquerade of January 9th "presidential elections" to replace Yasser Arafat. Brother Mirengoff at Powerline aptly described this as "a corporate bailout for terrorists" after the late, enflamed, bloodthirsty old kingpin sucked all the previous boodle we and others had poured into their coffers drier than the surface of the Moon. For heaven's sake, Marwan Barghouti, the Jew-killer who is in the slammer serving five consecutive life terms, is still thinking about throwing his hat into the so-called "ring." How could George W. Bush possibly dignify such corrupt totalitarianist farce by deigning to acknowledge it, much less subsidize it?

But this is even worse.

"The United States expressed confidence in Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday and said he should remain at the helm of the United Nations, an abrupt turnaround from its refusal to back him last week after a U.S. senator called for his resignation. The statement from U.S. Ambassador John Danforth, who said he was speaking on behalf of the Bush Administration, aligned the United States with the 190 other members of the United Nations."

Somebody help me understand this. We didn't care what the "190 other members of the United Nations" thought when we invaded Iraq to uphold eighteen Security Council Resolutions against the regime of Saddam Hussein, but that same Bush Administration folds like a K-Mart deck chair over the opinion, expressed quite reasonably by Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) and echoed by other Hill GOPers, that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is a corrupt, authoritarian hack and accessory to genocide in Sudan, Iraq, and elsewhere who should be thrown in jail at the very least for the appalling crimes he has committed and as a downpayment on the complete fumigation and rehabilitation of Turtle Bay, assuming such a thing is even possible.

Nope, I still don't get it. I mean, it's not as if the President had to echo Senator Coleman, but couldn't he have kept mum and let his silence speak for him? Coleman might just as well drop his investigation if even the Bush White House is going to kneecap him. And the Bush White House might as well implement John Kerry's entire foreign policy if it's going to bow down at King Kofi's throne after all the meddling crap it's taken from that crooked pseudopotentate and the den of weasels, thugs, and dictators he represents.

As omens go, this one is far short of encouraging.