Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hold That Thought ...

Another bird flu outbreak in China

In reporting another bird flu outbreak, this one in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Health Minister Gao Qiang said yesterday China "would never cover up cases" of bird flu in humans. (source)

Odds on that proving true, anyone?

A Timetable By Any Other Name ...

Go on over to Blogs4God and check out the cover of "Military Strategy for Pinheads: Your guide to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory." Then roll on over to La Shawn Barber to read all about it.

MSM Prophets Fail Again

Last summer, some MSM voices were saying gas prices were going to continue to rise this time around, because of increased demand from China and India and a world-wide refining shortfall, remember? Hmmmm:
Oil prices briefly slipped to their lowest level in 5 1/2 months Wednesday as warm weather persisted throughout the U.S. Northeast and supported expectations that U.S. oil reserves are sufficient for the winter.

Analysts suggested the downward trend would continue in the short term, pointing out that over the past three months, the market has seized on a series of developments that support the rationale for cheaper oil.

After touching a low in Asian trading of $55.72 _ a level not seen for a front-month contract since June 13 _ light sweet crude for January delivery was down 34 cents at $56.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Europe.

In London, January Brent crude futures on the ICE Futures exchange fell 18 cents to $54.14 a barrel. (source)

Also from your frieindly MSM bubblehead: Things are going badly in Iraq and global warming can be stopped if we'd just stop driving SUVs.

Schwarzenegger Turns Left


Ahnold has appointed a former top Grey Davis aide and former executive director of the corrupt Cal. Democratic Party, Susan Kennedy, to be his chief of staff.

How fitting, and how disappointing. The voters reject the entire slate of initiatives that would have begun the process of killing the monster Davis left, and Schwarzenegger responds by hiring the creature that fed the moster. He's turned to the dark side ... well, the grey side ... of California's political spectrum.

Some will say this is just an honest appraisal by the gov of where his administration stands today, and that he's acknowledging he has to deal with the Dems. But in California, dealing with old hack Dems like Kennedy is dealing with the devil -- the party she once ran is so in the pocket of trial lawyers and unions that we will never retrieve this state from the brink by cozying up to them.

Competing quotes, first Kennedy, scaring me very badly:
"The bottom line is that I believe in this man...and where he wants to take get past the partisan labels and to get things done."
Now Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families:
"This is like George W. Bush appointing Hillary Clinton to be in charge of his administration." (source)

A little consolation: Daniel Weintraub disagrees and calls the Kennedy selection of Kennedy "a smart move."

Update: Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez summed it up, saying, "It leaves many Democrats, as well as Republicans, wondering if Schwarzenegger has any core values at all."

Hybrid Faces

A woman in France has become the world's first face transpant recipient. Says BBC:
The woman had lost her nose, lips and chin after being savaged by a dog.

In the controversial operation, tissues, muscles, arteries and veins were taken from a brain-dead donor and attached to the patient's lower face.

Doctors stress the woman will not look like her donor, but nor will she look like she did before the attack - instead she will have a "hybrid" face.
Apparently, the brain-dead donor was alive when the tissue was taken, which is just plain creepy, not to mention ethically challenging. That may explain why it occurred in France.

Doctors said they would have to wait to evaluate whether she would be able to look down her new nose at others as well as other French people do.

PC Writing In Washington Times?

In an otherwise intersting story in today's WashTimes about how French pols are falling all over themselves to appear tough on terrorism and immigration, we find this passage:
Also yesterday, France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a new anti-terrorism bill that would increase the use of video surveillance .... The bill would allow mosques, department stores and other potential targets to install surveillance cameras and would lengthen prison terms for terrorists and those supporting them.
Mosques?! There was one incident of attempted arson of a mosque by ticked off Frenchmen during the riots, but numerous cases of successful arsons against Christian churches by the Muslim rioters.

France should just allow surveillance, period, because any excluded category of property would become the next target of rioters. By narrowing the scope of the law, the French are showing that they remain in denial about what's going on in their country.

Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 3

This appears to be the year Christians are fighting back against the Secularists' drive to purge Christmas from our vocabulary. From AP:
Hastert Wants 'Christmas,' Tree Together

WASHINGTON -- If it's a spruce tree adorned with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments displayed on the Capitol grounds in December, it's a Christmas tree and that's what it should be called, says House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Hastert, R-Ill., in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, recommended that the annual Capitol Holiday Tree, as it has been called the past several years, be renamed the Capitol Christmas Tree.

"I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree," Hastert wrote to Architect Alan Hantman.

His office said the tree began to be referred to as the Holiday Tree in the 1990s. Spokesman Ron Bonjean said the reasons were unclear.
Unclear?! Really?! Maybe this will jog your memory, Mr. Bonjean:

Marine Corps Times On Massey

In verifying that AP is yet to run a correction on any of its three false Jimmy Massey stories (it hasn't) I came across this Marine Corps Times article on the ex-Marine turned Cindy Sheehan sidekick. (The publication is by subscription only; this is from Nexis. Forgive me Father, for my copyright sins.)
Staff sergeant's 'outing' is justified to some,
but Massey takes high road

By John Hoellwarth; Times staff writer

Leathernecks with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, feel betrayed. They're angry. And now they feel like they're beginning to get even.

A staff sergeant who went to Iraq with them wrote a book accusing them of wartime atrocities. Now, a reporter has written an article that says former Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey's claims in interviews, speeches and court testimony are untrue or exaggerated.

"I think it's awesome that the report is out. I think he's getting what's coming to him as far as being found out," said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Saintpierre, who was a platoon sergeant in the battalion's Lima Company.

Marine spokesman Maj. Doug Powell said the Corps investigated Massey's claims, but it failed to turn up anyone who could corroborate his allegations.

Officers who served with 3/7 said Powell instructed them not to take a position on Massey, but no similar guidance was given to Massey's peers in the enlisted ranks.

Responding to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, Cpl. John Colonder, who served beneath Massey in Iraq, wrote a letter to the paper, saying: "He was fired in Baghdad for being an ineffective leader. Jimmy Massey became angry at the Marine Corps and 3/7. ... He was angry that he was fired and embarrassed that he was sent home early."

Massey acknowledged his troubled performance in Iraq during a Nov. 11 interview.

"I think I was ineffective because I didn't necessarily believe in the missions that were put forth," he said. "A lot of intelligence reports over-inflated what was going on on the ground."

Massey also said he became depressed while deployed, and that also affected his leadership ability.

But Gunnery Sgt. Sandor Vegh, a platoon sergeant in Massey's company, said Massey lost respect among his fellow Marines when he admitted his problems.

"What idiot in his right mind comes out in Karabilah and says he's on medication and he couldn't think straight?" Vegh said. "That's not a confidence booster for the Marines. He was kind of sketchy the whole time, but he came out and said he was on medication. ... I would have just thought he was weird."

Massey said in the interview that he was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Zoloft after telling the regimental surgeon about recurring nightmares involving civilian casualties. But he said he never spread the word. Instead, he told one fellow platoon sergeant that he felt himself slipping into a bout of clinical depression, and the word spread on its own.

Massey previously had been diagnosed with depression during a stint on recruiting duty.

Now he's out and about, talking up all he sees as wrong with the service he once proudly represented. And he's not getting rich doing it, either. Massey said he's three months behind on his car payments and he didn't make enough money last year to file a tax return. His book, which was published in French only, is unlikely to become the kind of hit that gets turned into a movie, as was the case with "Jarhead," by Anthony Swofford, which offers a different but somewhat unflattering view of Marines at war.

Speaking out

Vegh, who coincidentally appears in both Massey's book and "Jarhead," is among the most affected by Massey's accusations. He recalled that when Massey testified on Dec. 7, 2004, in Canada at the refugee board hearing of an accused deserter, he specifically named Vegh as having participated in atrocities.

Vegh's response is to dismiss Massey as "a foul non-American pathetic individual."

Massey did not return the favor. He said Vegh had always been "a good Marine."

Massey maintains that his book and his anti-war work are not at odds with the values he learned and prized in the Marine Corps, nor are they inconsistent with his oath or commitment to his former brethren.

"The taxpayers are the ones who paid for the bullets that went into those civilians," he said. "My honor, courage and commitment is given to them."

But Gunnery Sgt. David Wilson, an instructor at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said Massey's claims were a disgrace to the Corps.

"Staff NCOs in the Corps are the consummate professionals who influence subordinates as well as the upper echelons of the command. When a Marine staff NCO speaks out, he will be heard," Wilson said. "It's a damn shame [Massey is] a staff NCO."

In fact, Wilson continued, Massey is no longer deserving of the title Marine.

"We have ceremonies where we bestow the honorary title Marine on people who deserve it. We should have a ceremony to strip the title from people who don't," he said.

But Massey said the Corps will always be a part of him.

"I've got the Marine Corps tattoo on my right forearm," he said. "That will never go away."

Unbelievable Arroagance: LATimes

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information ...
Is the LATimes writing about its "gropinator" story on Gov. Schwarzenegger that ran just before the election? Or its environmental coverage, which routinely quotes greenies and regulators, but not the regulated community?

No, of course not. This is the LAT's big expose:
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Faced with a terrible dilemma -- to report good news about reconstruction, victory over terrorists or the upcoming election, or to manufacture negativity -- the LAT has decided to take on the roll of the pot, so it can call the kettle black.

Every Saturday and Sunday, the LATimes is full of "news" articles it accepts from others and runs ... for a price. And, "many of the articles are presented ... as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists." I actually lifted that last line from this morning's "expose," but it describes the articles in the weekend real estate sections, in which advertisers get to run their own stories, which do appear "as unbiased news accounts ...."

Granted, there's a significant difference in news value between "Pleasant Acres offers four floor plans" and the article mentioned in the expose, "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism." But what's the damage if, as the LAT admits, the stories are factual?

I've seen a lot of garbage in the LAT over the years, but this is one of the worst cases of manufactured negativity I've ever seen. And, thanks to Memeorandum, we see that the anti-freedom Left is eating it up:
And now we find out that, of the papers which remain open, the owners are taking money to run ginned up propaganda pieces trumpeting the United States. Freedom of the press. I guess that one didn't make it into the new Iraq constitution. (Middle Earth Journal)

It's just more bull****, the same tired **** of trying to spin as much as possible and at any cost. It's always a big part of any president's job to influence the media. But in the case of Commander Codpiece, it's all about blatant deception, tomfoolery and dirty tricks. How can anyone not be cynical? (The Peking Duck)
Yes, I'm cynical, but my cynicism is directed at MSM that make an anti-Bush, anti-war argument out this. Where is their expose on Al Jazera's editorial policies? Where is their expose on the positive role of a free press in Iraq's emerging democracy? Where is their expose on Beijing's imprisonment of journalists that don't suit their fancy?

Nowhere of course. Those stories are MIA, along with their expose on how they ran Jimmy Massey's lies about US attrocities without the least bit of fact-checking, and without a single correction after the lies were pointed out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who's Christian Peacemakers?

Any civilized human being will sympathize with this statement on the Christian Peacemaker Team's Web site, lamenting the kidnapping of four of their brothers in Iraq:
We were very saddened to see the images of our loved ones on Al Jazeera television recently. We were disturbed by seeing the video and believe that repeated showing of it will endanger the lives of our friends. We are deeply disturbed by their abduction. We pray that those who hold them will be merciful and that they will be released soon. We want so much to see their faces in our home again, and we want them to know how much we love them, how much we miss them, and how anxious and concerned we are by what is happening to them.
Before getting to the next paragraph, which whittles away at my sympathetic reaction, let's pause for some scripture. It appears beside the statement, and it's something of a vision statement for the group:
Matthew 5:43-44 "You have heard that is was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Note that Jesus said "Love your enemies." He did not say "Hate your neighbor." In fact, He would have you love both your neighbor and your enemy, but that is lost on the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who say in the second paragraph of their statement:
We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has worked for the rights of Iraqi prisoners who have been illegally detained and abused by the U.S. government. We were the first people to publicly denounce the torture of Iraqi people at the hands of U.S. forces .... (emphasis added)
Only hate can explain so profound a misstatement of the situation in Iraq, where the US had UN resolutions in hand before going to war, where we've made clear our intent not to be occupiers, where Saddam was the oppressor and we are the liberators, where the Iraqi people are establishing a constitution that gives them more rights than they've every had, and yes, where there are bad guys that need to be detained ... but not tortured.

It is interesting to note that the bio of only one of the four captives, the American Tim Fox, mentions that he is a Christian, specifically a Quaker. The others, Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, have bios full of words like activist, pacifist and conflict resolution, but nothing about Christ or church.

The site says the group was "Initiated by Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers with broad ecumenical participation" and mentions a number of other liberal congregations as participants. It's clear they see pacifist activism as a sound way to witness the gospel to others.

But with statements blaming the US and Britain for the capture of their activists, they discredit the gospel. Humility and honesty requires them to say that it is they themselves who are responsible for their capture, and that the terrorists who captured their representatives are far less peaceful and far more in need of the gospel than the American and British troops.

Good News On France's Riots

Listening to Hugh's show today it hit me, so I called in. There's good news in the French riots -- the torching of 9,000 Renaults and Citroens has certainly improved the planet!

Politically Incorrect Monikers

CAIR must be rallying its attorneys even as you read this because this is just the sort of insensitivity towards Arabs that drives them nuts.

It turns out that the "Big Nose Bandit" who's robbed 21 banks in Southern California is a fella named Amir Hossein Saadat. Not only are the cops being insensitive about his nasal volume, they're making the incredibly biased assumption that he is, and I'm quoting here, "of Middle Eastern heritage."

He's still on the loose. If the FBI and local sheriffs know what's good for them, they'll change his monkier to "Appropriately Sized Nose Bandit."

Photo credit and story: OCRegister

"Sorry, Judge, I Was Trying To Get These Papers Out Of My Pants And ..."

Berger pleads guilty to reckless driving

The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Former national security adviser Sandy Berger pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless driving after an officer clocked him at 88 mph in a 55-mph zone. A judge fined him $250.

Berger did not speak during his brief appearance before Judge Richard Horan in Fairfax County General District Court. His lawyer entered the guilty plea on his behalf.
More here.

A l-Jaz May Sue For Bush Memo

As it prepares for the March launch of its English-language affiliate, Al-Jazera is thinking about going to court in order to get the memo recording the now-famous Bush-Blair meeting in which Bush supposedly said he wanted to bomb Al-Jaz's studios in Doha, Qatar.

The UK Guardian quotes Al-Jaz managing director Wadah Khanfar:
"Al-Jazeera is not just a TV station. It has become something people are very attached to. People are angry."
Is this an admission that Al-Jaz is in fact a terrorist mouthpiece? Is that what Khanfar means by "not just a TV station?" And while I'm asking questions, how about this one: Would the people be angry if Al-Jaz reported the matter in a fair and objective way?

Back to Khanfar:
"We demand to know what's happened. We need to know for the sake of history, for the sake of journalism. It has historical value."
Here, for its historical value, is my earlier list of the reasons why the president obviously was not serious, if he said anything at all about Al-Jaz. This is the list of military bases the US operates in Qatar, which we would never jeopardize by doing something stupid like bombing a terrorist mouthpiece:
# Al Udeid AB, QA
# Camp Snoopy, QA
# Camp As Sayliyah QA
# Doha, QA
# Doha IAP, QA
# Umm Said, QA
# Falcon-78 ASP, QA
# Mesaieed, QA
Hot links are provided to each of these facilities at the Global Security web site.

Quote Of The Day

Following up on yesterday's post regarding the disturbing portrayal of kids and parents in the new "Yours, Mine & Ours" film, here's Dr. Dan Kindlon, a Harvard child psychologist:
"We use kids like Prozac. People don't necessarily feel great about their spouse or their job but the kids are the bright spot in their day. They don't want to muck up that one moment by getting yelled at. They don't want to hurt. They don't want to feel bad. They want to get satisfaction from their kids. They're so precious to us - maybe more than to any generation previously. What gets thrown out the window is limits. It's a lot easier to pick their towel up off the floor than to get them away from the PlayStation to do it."
I see myself far too much in that quote, and thank my wife for her forcefulness in rearing the three Incredible Daughters. Being from a family of eight kids, she necessarily knows more about discipline than I do.

Dr. Kindlon's quote is just part of an excellent article, Kids Gone Wild, in last Sunday's NYTimes.

Quacks And Bucks

No, this isn't about ducks and deer; it's about docs and dollars.

Like one Mississippi doctor who stopped seeing patients and instead spent his medical career in two-minute episodes of X-ray viewing. Dr. Ray A. Harron would look at a lung X-ray, note that it proved exposure to asbestos or silica, and move on to the next X-ray.

For this, he made millions, as his work was pivotal to the litigation mills that churn out questionable lawsuits against mining and manufacturing firms. To understand the scale of the business, consider that Harron personally opined on 75,000 cases, never seeing the patients and rarely appearing in court.

For this work, he now is under investigation, as a Congressional investigation and other city or state investigations into the asbestos/silica lawsuit manufacturing industry get under way.

What's particiularly interesting about Dr. Harron's story is that it's reported by the NYTimes. The story is written with the "presumed guilt objectivity" the right often senses in NYT stories. Now it's directed not at corporate America, but legal America.

About time.

Green Anti-Semitism

The Green Party of America -- impressive political force that it is -- called yesterday for a campaign of boycotts and divestments against Israel in order to "guarantee human rights for Palestinians."

Besides ignoring the fact that they are utterly insignificant and no one cares about what they say or want, the Greens seem to have missed the fact that Israeli Palestinians have rights, including the right to vote -- something they don't have in most other Middle Eastern states. They also must have missed the photo of the near-riots that occurred when worker passes for Palestinians were re-issued by Israel. Boycotting Israel would put many Palestinians out of work.

Oh, you might want to give a call to the Green Party of Wisconsin member who is behind the campaign. Look him up; his name's Mohammed Abed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 2

The City of Encinitas in northern San Diego County decided to change this coming weekend's celebration from Holiday Parade to Christmas Parade -- and three community groups and a Jewish Temple have announced boycotts.

Here's the mayor:
"The first 50 years of my life I went to the Encinitas Christmas Parade. Somewhere, somehow -- nobody seems to know who -- somebody changed it. I changed it back."
He told AP it was no big deal. Well, it is a big deal to the Girl Scouts -- shame on them! Once they were an upstanding group, but they've been so seized with political correctness that they are threatening to pull out of the parade in the name of diversity, which more and more is synonymous with idiocy.

Also pulling out is the town council of nearby Leucadia and (uh oh!) the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Southern California ... which I could understand if it was "Burmese," but "Bernese?"

Rabbi David Frank of Temple Solel says it will be hard for his congregation to participate in "this specifically Christian observance." Why? It celebrates the birth of a Jew who formed the religion practiced by most of the soldiers who freed the victims of the holocaust.

(Sources: NCTimes, AP via Nexis)

No News On Howard AFB

The Panamanians supposedly opened bids for the acquisition to development rights for the mothballed Howard Air Force Base last Friday. The Internet's mum -- no news to report.

Shipping trade papers may pick up something later this week, but it may be quiet for a while as the Panamanians review the bids and negotiate with the primary contenders.

In case you haven't been following the story, China's in the bidding, as are interests from the US, England and Mexico. Should China succeed, it would have control of both the Atlantic and Pacific ports of the canal, and an airfield in the Western Hemisphere.

All brought to you by Jimmy Carter, who some Dems still think was a great president.

See also:
State Watchful On Howard AFB Sale
Howard Still Under The Radar
China Could Use Howard As Air Force Base
State Clueless On China's Plan To Bid On Panamanian Air Base
More On Commies At The Canal
China's Panama Grab Threatens US

Biggest Blogosphere Take-Down Yet

The government of Canada crumbled today in a no-confidence vote that might never have happened were it not for the relentless blogging on the Adscam scandal by Captain's Quarters.

The good Capt. was not subject to Canada's repressive restrictions on the media, so he blogged merrily away -- and the Canadians, God bless 'em, just went ahead and got their news from him.

Read all about it.

Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas

The American Family Association recently went through two Memphis-area newspapers searching for the word "Christmas" in the ads of major retailers.

Only one retailer -- McRae's/Belks, hardly a national brand -- mentioned Christmas in its ads. Not mentioning Christmas were Target, Office Max, Sears, STaples, Lowe's, J.C. Penny, Dell, Best Buy, Walgreens and Kroger. And this was in the heart of the Bible Belt!

Here's the Target home page. You won't find a single reference to Christmas there ... although if you scroll down, you'll find they've been proactive about avoiding a replay of the Salvation Army flare-up of last year. Lest you think all that Christmas-y red is on the page because it's Target's site, here's the JC Penny home page.

Duke Rides Off Into Sunset

What a cryin' shame. One of the foremost hawks on the hill, Duke Cunningham, has resigned after admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractor MZM, which used Cunningham's influence to secure $65.5 million in defense intelligance contracts in 2004 alone.

Cunningham's crime is all the worse because it discredits the GOP's efforts to increase national security in the post 9/11 era. It will feed the media, the liberal Dems in Congress and the leftyblogs with lots of fodder for attacks on the GOP, the military and the GWOT.

Materialism felled Cunningham, just plain crass materialism. His honor is gone, but his record remains. In memory of the old Duke Cunningham, here's an excerpt from on what was the zenith to today's nadir:

10 May 1972

This was a bad day for the Vietnamese Peoples Air Force, losing eleven aircraft. Navy fighters destroyed eight MiGs, six by VF-96 in USS Constellation (CVA64). Three of the MiG-17s were downed by one VF-96 crew, LT. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and his RIO, LT(JG) Willie Driscoll, flying a Phantom F-4J, ShowTime 100. Combined with two earlier kills on 19 January and 8 May, the victories would make Cunningham and Driscoll the first American aces of the Vietnam War and the first to make all their kills with missiles.

They were participating in a strike against the Hai Dong railyards, on flak suppression, when a score of enemy fighters challenged them.

Cunningham's Phantom carried two AIM-7E Sparrow long-range missiles, eight AIM-9J Sidewinder short-range missiles, and twelve "Rockeye" cluster bombs. After dropping their bombs on some warehouses, Showtime 100 loitered to cover the A-7 fighter-bombers still engaged. Responding to a call for help, Cunningham took his F-4J into a group of MiG-17s ("Frescoes"), two of which promptly jumped them. Heeding a "break" warning from Grant in Showtime 113, Cunningham broke sharply and the lead pursuing MiG-17 overshot him. He instantly reversed his turn, putting the MiG dead ahead; he loosed a Sidewinder and it destroyed the MiG.

Showtime 100 and his wingman Grant climbed to 15,000. Looking belwo, Cunningham saw a scene "straight oout of The Patrol." One flaming MiG was plunging dwon, eight more circled defensively, while three Phantoms went after the MiGs within the wheel. These were at an extreme disadvantage, due to their low energy state.

VF-96 Exec, Cdr Dwight Timm hasd three MiGs on his tail, one being very close, in Timm's blind spot. Seeing the danger to the XO, in Showtime 112, Duke called for him to "break," to clear the Phantom's hotter J-79 engines from the Sidewinder's heat seeker, thus permitting a clear lock on the bandit. But Timm thought the warning was about the other two, distant MiGs, and didn't heed Duke's first call.

After more maneuvering, Cunningham re-engaged the MiG-17 still threatening his XO. He called again for him to break, adding, "If you don't break NOW you are going to die." The XO finally accelerated and broke hard right. The MiG couldn't follow Showtime 112's high speed turn, leaving "Duke" clear to fire.

Calling "Fox Two," Cunningham fired his second Sidewinder while the MiG still inside the minimum firing range. But the high speed of the Fresco worked against it, as the Sidewinder had time to arm and track to its target. It homed into the tail pipe of the MiG-17 and exploded. Seconds later, Cunningham and Driscoll, finding themselves alone in a sky full of bandits, disengaged and headed for the Constellation.

The Third MiG

As they approached the coast at 10,000 feet, Cunningham spotted another MiG-17 heading straight for them. He told Driscoll to watch how close they could pass the MiG's nose, so he could not double back as easily to their six o’clock. While this tactic worked against A-4s back in training at Miramar, it turned out to be a near-fatal mistake here. ... A-4s didn’t have guns in the nose.

The MiG's nose lit up like a Roman candle! Cannon shells shot past their F-4. Duke pulled up vertically to throw off his aim. As he came out of the six-G pull-up, he looked around below for the MiG. MiGs generally avoided climbing contests. They turned horizontally, or just ran away. He looked back over his ejection seat and was shocked. There was the MiG barely 100 yards away! He began to feel numb and his stomach knotted, as both jets roared 8,000 feet straight up.

In an effort to out-climb the MiG, Cunningham went to afterburners, which put him above the enemy aircraft. As he started to pull over the top, the MiG began shooting. This was Cunningham's second near-fatal mistake; he had given his opponent a predictable flight path, and he had taken advantage of it. Duke rolled off to the other side, and the MiG closed in behind.

Not wanting to admit he was getting beaten, he called to Willie, "That S.O.B. is really lucky! All right, we’ll get this guy now!" With the MiG at his four o’clock, he nosed down to pick up speed and energy. Cunningham watched until the MiG pilot likewise committed his nose down. "Gotcha!" he thought, as he pulled up into the MiG, rolled over the top, got behind it. While too close to fire a missile, the maneuver placed Duke in an advantageous position.

He pulled down, holding top rudder, to press for a shot, and the MiG pulled up into him, shooting! He thought, "Maybe this guy isn’t just lucky after all!" The Communist pilot used the same maneuver Duke had just tried, pulling up into him, and forcing an overshoot. The two jets were in a classic rolling scissors. As his nose committed, Duke pulled up into his opponent again.

As they slowed to 200 knots, the MiG's superior maneuverability at low speed would gave him more advantage. A good fighter pilot, like Kenny Rogers' poker player, "knows when to hold, and knows when to fold." This was the MiG's game; it was time to go. When the MiG raised his nose for the next climb, Cunningham lit his afterburners and, at 600 knots airspeed, quickly got two miles away from the MiG, out of his ATOL missile range.

But maybe Duke wasn't such a good poker player, because he went back for more. Cunningham nosed up 60 degrees, the MiG stayed right with him. Just as before, they went into another vertical rolling scissors.

As the advantage swung back and forth, Driscoll called, "Hey, Duke, how ya doin' up there? This guy really knows what he’s doin’. Maybe we ought to call it a day."

This enraged Duke; some "goomer" had not only stood off his attacks but had gained an advantage twice! Not what he wanted to tell his squadron mates back on the Constellation.

"Hang on, Willie. We’re gonna get this guy!"

"Go get him, Duke. I’m right behind you!"

Driscoll strained to keep sight of the MiG, as Duke pitched back towards him for the third time.

Once again, he met the MiG-17 head-on, this time with an offset so he couldn’t fire his guns. As he pulled up vertically he could again see his determined adversary a few yards away. Still gambling, Cunningham tried one more thing. He yanked the throttles back to idle and popped the speed brakes, in a desperate attempt to drop behind the MiG. But, in doing so, he had thrown away the Phantom's advantage, its superior climbing ability. And if he stalled out ...

The MiG shot out in front of Cunningham for the first time, the Phantom’s nose was 60 degrees above the horizon with airspeed down to 150 knots. He had to go to full burner to hold his position. The surprised enemy pilot attempted to roll up on his back above him. Using only rudder to avoid stalling the F-4, he rolled to the MiG’s blind side. He tried to reverse his roll, but as his wings banked sharply, he briefly stalled the aircraft and his nose fell through. Behind the MiG, but still too close for a shot. "This is no place to be with a MiG-17," he thought, "at 150 knots... this slow, he can take it right away from you."

Now the MiG tried to disengage; he pitched over the top and started straight down. Cunningham pulled hard over, followed, and maneuvered to obtain a firing position. With the distracting heat of the ground, Cunningham wasn't sure that a Sidewinder would home in on the MiG, but he called "Fox Two," and squeezed one off. The missile came off the rail and flew right at the MiG. He saw little flashes off the MiG, and thought he had missed. As he started to fire his last Sidewinder, there was an abrupt burst of flame. Black smoke erupted from the Fresco. It didn’t seem to go out of control; the fighter just kept slanting down, smashing into the ground at about 45 degrees angle.

Too bad that memory isn't the one that will follow Duke to his grave.

Clowns Gone Bad

Ronald MacDonald has been arrested and charged with robbing a Wendy's. Read it here.

What next?

Reason Again To Support Operation Soldier

Here's a story of an Army hero whose family was helped recently by Operation Soldier:

Specialist Michel Ornelas, of the Delta Company 1st / 184th Infantry California National Guard, attached to the United States Army, is like many brave young men and women serving America. Brave, proud, and dedicated to protecting America.

Serving in Iraq, Specialist Ornelas was proud of serving with his fellow soldiers, and his sacrifice proved what a dedicated, brave patriot he truly is.

On September 23rd, 2005, while serving in Iraq, scouting for terrorists near Baghdad, the M113 Armored personnel carrier Specialist Ornelas and his crew was in was hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).

The engine compartment and crew compartment ignited in flames. Specialist Ornelas was critically wounded as shrapnel tore through his right leg, breaking both major bones in the leg. However intense the pain and injuries were, Specialist Ornelas was still looking out for his crew, as he was able to force open the rear hatch door, allowing his crew to escape from the burning vehicle, undoubtedly saving many a soldier’s life and his own.

While Specialist Ornelas recovers from his wounds at Walter Reed Army Hospital near Washington DC, his family from Madera, California, has traveled to be by his bedside to give him the love and attention this fine patriot deserves. It is with great honor and humility that Operation Soldier, tries to offset the financial burden that the Ornelas family endures with travel expenses and has made a small contribution of $1000 to help alleviate the financial concerns they may have.
There are thousands of brave young men and women like Army Specialist Michael Ornelas, who have been injured while proudly and selflessly serving for us. It is often an insurmountable financial burden for their families to visit them, but with your support, Operation Soldier can help more families visit their injured loved ones.

If you can, please consider contributing to Operation Soldier, so thye may continue to help these fine young patriots and their families.

Meathead Running?

Does Meathead want to follow Ahnold as Governor?

It looks like Rob Reiner has succeeded in placing his second initiative on a California ballot. The first one was directed at newborns through age five kids; the new one is targeted to preschoolers. Get moms to like you; get elected.

One million people actually signed Reiner's petitions calling for higher taxes on the wealthy in order to fund state preschool for all kids in California. Yeah, it's a Meatheaded idea, but look who's idea it is.

Reiner's name is frequently heard as a possible Dem candidate for governor, and in filing his petition signatures, he said, "We're building a very broad coalition and we're going about this in a very responsible way and we're not trying to shove something down people's throat by fiat."

Alpha Romeo, then. My throat's feeling quite jammed up despite his reassurances, which sound to me like they were issued by a Dem political machine.

Also appearing to be headed for the ballot despite my earlier prediction that Californians are wearying of initiatives:
  • Two initiatives would hike cigarette taxes by $1.50 a pack to $2.37. One would use the taxes to fund hospital emergency rooms; the other would give health insurance to uninsured children. Neither makes sense because there's no nexus between smoking and the proposed expenditures.
  • One initiative that would allow convicted sex offenders to be jailed indefinitely. Fine.
Less likely to qualify because funding is not yet nailed down are one initiative that would establish a state border patrol, and one that would enact new laws on identity theft.

(source, photo LATimes)

Losing The Perception War

Writing in the Chicago Sun Times, Mary Laney gets it right:
There are those who would like to set a date by which we will withdraw American troops. That's like playing poker and telling which cards you have and when you intend to play them. It doesn't work in war.
The news out of Iraq is bad, but the facts out of Iraq are good. Laney points at the sources of thise problem: Revisionist Dems, anti-war media, and president Bush.

I agree with all three. There's not much we can do about the first two, but it seems like we should be able to pressure the president to do something about his own contribution to the problem. He's teaching us you can be winning the ground war and air war, but unless you win the perception war, you're in trouble.

Laney has a suggestion:

There's too much static noise out there regarding the war. It's filling a vacuum caused by the administration's failure to keep us regularly updated on what is happening throughout Iraq. It's time for the Bush administration to step up and tell us what is going on -- with regular reports, weekly updates, fireside chats, talks with soldiers -- through the entire country of Iraq.

We're getting our reports from hotel rooms in Baghdad. It's time for the whole story from over there.

The milblogs are doing just that, but they're not mainstreaming into America's living rooms; they're not defining the debate. So it's up to the Administration. It started with its initiative last week, but that's got to be just a beginning.

h/t RCP

Yours, Mine And Nobody's

Mark Steyn worries about the political correctness of Hollywood in this week's column, but after seeing the Fonda/Ball "Yours, Mine and Ours" and the Quaid/Russo "Yours, Mine and Ours" this this weekend, my worries are deeper.

Steyn wonders why Hollywood doesn't protray terrorists. That's easy. The produces and directors are afraid they'll be targeted, and they don't want to die. I'm wondering why Hollywood has stripped movies of all decency, warmth and positive lessons, and that's harder to answer.

The first YM&O was made in 1968, as the anti-war and hippie movements were beginning to gain steam. It was the summer of love and the DNC convention in Chicago. The movie brushes up against these events ever so lightly, but is undiverted from its purpose, which is to have some fun and teach some decency.

The kids get in a bit of trouble, getting Lucille Ball drunk, but basically they see that their parents are good for each other, so they decide to be good for their parents. There's discipline, and positive response to discipline.

Our favorite scene, since we're raising three daughters, was when Fonda talked to Ball's oldest daughter about sex, since she wanted very much to get caught up in the sexual revolution that was running riotously through society at the time. He told her what sex was about: Having babies with the one you love, within the institution of marriage -- with diaper-changing, schooling, worrying, loving all coming with it.

And she looked, listened, thought about it, and agreed.

Contrast that with YM&O II and you see lessons about freedom, not discipline, a "cat's away, the mouse will play" attitude among the kids, and smart children conniving against clueless parents.

Russo's character stands as everything that's wrong with today's "my children are my friends" parents. In one scene, one of her brood drops a watermelon down the stairs and she just smiles with a "they're expressing their creativity" kind of way.

In the end, her style prevails. Oh, it's moderated a bit by Quaid's military discipline, but it prevails.

YM&O I was made for parents; YM&O II was made for kids, and the lesson kids take away from it is we rule, we do what we want, PARTY! and parents can be fooled.

It's been a bad 37 years for Hollywood.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Europe And Its Arabs

Jytte Klausen, a Danish-American, has spent the last two years studying Europe's Arab community and the problems it faces in integration and assimilation. She's spoken to more than 300 of Europe's leading Muslims, resulting in the book The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe.

Here's a lengthy interview with Klausen from Der Spiegel's English edition. Hoping they don't track me down for a copyright infringement, I'm running big pieces of it because it includes insights we don't normally find here in America. I've cut some, though, so you might want to click through and read the whole thing:
SPIEGEL: You seemed quite surprised to discover that many of the members of this "Muslim elite" you questioned were not part of the second generation of immigrants, as you had expected, but were actually fairly recent first generation immigrants. What does this tell us about Muslims in European society?

Klausen: Many of the people I spoke to had come to Europe in their twenties, either as political refugees or as students. They were already educated, and that was critical for their self-esteem, that they already had that faith in themselves. There was a real difference between those Muslims who had moved to Europe and those who were born there. Those who had moved here would say to me: "Things are much worse where I came from. Here I can sit and talk to you without worrying about the police." By contrast, the people born in Europe did not take that view -- they were much more likely to say: "Europe has made all these promises to us and hasn't kept them." They were much angrier, and scored much higher in all the alienation tests I used.

SPIEGEL: And what does it mean for that second generation, whose parents came to Europe presumably for a better life, are they becoming a lost generation, an underclass? And if so, what can be done about it?

Klausen: In Europe, we have an education system which we have relied on in the past as a means of integration and a gateway to opportunity for all sorts of people. I myself am the first generation of my family to be university educated, and I only got a degree because it was free. My family did not have to pay for it. I think we have to think very carefully about why the education system is not working for the younger generation. Many of the leaders I talked to stressed there was a lack of early integration into politics, through youth groups and so on, saying it is not happening for young Muslims because the established political groups are skeptical, mistrustful of Muslims, they are aware of the political consequences of having Muslims elected to political offices and promoting them to leadership positions, even in youth groups. One exception to that rule was in Sweden, where the trade unions and other political groups have really encouraged young Muslims to get involved, but I didn't see that anywhere else, and I think it is very important that parties and groups start promoting Muslims to political positions.

SPIEGEL: Obviously if those groups start doing that now, it will be good news for youngsters who are in their early teens, but what about those who have gotten lost in between? Is there a serious threat, of further home-grown terror attacks like in London and Amsterdam and of the emergence of what some are calling a "Generation Jihad"?

Klausen: Yes. Two years ago when I started on the work for this book, I realized that there are many large cities in Europe that have a quarter to three-quarters of the population living without civil rights. They are living in highly socially and economically segregated areas with no mobility at all. I thought then that in many ways, Europe was like America prior to the civil rights movement. This was prior to the riots, but there was a real sense that this is a ticking time bomb and nobody is paying attention and it will lead to violence. There is a stark difference between the rioters and the terrorists, though. The only thing they have in common at all is that they are predominantly Muslim. The terrorists are better educated, many of them actually have jobs, they have all traveled internationally -- to Pakistan for example -- they are very international. By contrast the rioters are terribly domestic, very isolated.

SPIEGEL: One of the big problems you focus on is the lack of proper religious leadership in the form of properly trained imams in Europe who speak the language of the country they are working and preaching in.

Klausen: There is a real fear of radical imams. I spoke to a lot of people who were worried their children would fall into the hands of the radical imams because they are already alienated -- one woman told me her son had come home and said to her, "They all think I am a Muslim, they all expect the worst from me, that I am a radical, so I might as well do it." People think they can't take their children to the mosque and give them a version of Islam that is compatible with having proper aspirations for themselves in terms of education and integration. And then there is the language issue -- another man I spoke to in Stockholm said to me: "What good is a Saudi Arabian Imam to me? I am a Swedish Muslim."

SPIEGEL: Some countries, like Germany, are already taking steps to foster the growth of a so-called "Euro-Islam" and you mention in the conclusion to the book that you believe this European Islam is emerging. How would you characterize it?

Klausen: The revolutionary new Islam is what is called Islam of the Book, and it is based very much on an individual's own readings of the Koran, on each person sitting down as part of a prayer group and figuring out what Islam means to them. Usually there is no imam, and everybody has the same relationship to Islam because they can all read the text. That is already the Islam of Europe, the Islam of the next generation, the inter-ethnic Islam. It is all about a textual reading of the Koran, in local languages, and there are broad variations of interpretation, everything from neo-orthodox understandings where people say: "I must wear the hijab, because that's what the book tells me." Other groups say: "There is nothing in the Koran which tells women they must wear a hijab, only that both men and women should be dressed modestly." I think what is important is that when European governments step in and try and resolve issues around Islam, that they are attuned to this diversity, that they do not just work with traditionalists, because if they do, then we are going to short-change that new thinking which is going on and which should be stimulated and encouraged. ...

SPIEGEL: We've recently seen problems in France and in Britain involving some of the areas where many Muslims are living in close-knit communities or ghettos like the banlieues. Do you think something needs to be done to change this? Does Europe need a big gesture like the bussing schemes which were attempted in the United States?

Klausen: Yes, I think Europe does need a large, dramatic gesture. If you look at the Bronx, for example, and LA, the renovation projects there have actually worked. It takes a long time, a decade and a half, but to start a building program, to go in and start razing these public housing projects is actually meaningful. ... I think one of the big lessons from the US desegregation program is that one has to be careful not to reach for really coercive measures, and bussing did create a horrible conflict.

SPIEGEL: You interviewed people in six very different countries - is it possible to say where integration policies are working best and where they aren't?

Klausen: There are some striking differences. Partly that is to do with the history of immigration to a particular country, but also it has to do with basic geographical and economic factors. For instance Denmark and the Netherlands are doing much better in educating young immigrants, but they have the worst employment records for immigrants, that is in part because they have very lenient anti-discrimination policies, practically non-existent, and also because they are reliant on small employers to create jobs. In many ways, France is simply the country that has failed in the last 10 years, more than any other, though that is partly because France's economic growth has been really poor. By comparison, Britain has had a pretty robust economic growth and that makes it easier to absorb this younger generation. Talking to Muslim leaders about what they think is needed, they all said they wanted to see more anti-discrimination legislation. I pointed out that the EU's rules on it, which came into effect two years ago, were the first of their kind, and yet it is still legal in most of Europe to stop someone from renting a room in your house for whatever reason you decide -- religion, race, whatever. And these things are not being addressed. It is about a change in mindset, and there is no quick fix for that.

SPIEGEL: Do you see the situation in France as a hiccup in the process of integration, or is it a warning sign of a phenomenon which could spread to other countries that have large Muslim populations?

Klausen: I think that many local governments are very anxious right now. There are a number of communities where unemployment rates regularly hit 40 to 50 percent -- towns around London for example, Luton, Tottenham, where you could imagine something like the riots happening, but I think one has to bear in mind the French geography, the city planning was a big issue in this case. I can't see something like the riots happening in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood, where the local authorities have worked hard. ...

SPIEGEL: Is the problem simply European racism?

Klausen: There was a lot of sentiment among the people I spoke to that Europeans really have a problem with pluralism. It goes very deep. In my personal experience I am shocked by the kind of statements people feel free to make about other people. In Europe you have politicians and others who say things which would be completely unacceptable in the United States. A Danish newspaper, for example, recently ran a competition for cartoonists about how to draw a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed -- things like this are a deliberate effort to insult. The lack of respect and understanding for other people's sensitivities is extraordinary. I also think the Muslim community is a bit at fault here -- and this is where I stick my neck out -- because I think there has been a tendency for many Muslims to circle the wagons, and for moderate Muslims not to speak up, not to willingly display that disagreement among Muslims is okay. The truth of the matter is that Muslims are like everybody else, they have different views of what their faith means and they disagree among themselves about what the solutions are and those problems. An open debate would be very useful to everybody, because we would get an overall view of where possible compromise positions are.

Interview conducted by Bryony Jones

For years the Europeans have looked down their noses at Americans because of our complex race relations issues, but it seems like we've been doing better than them all along.

With Friends Like Kucinich ...

Dennis Kucinich is unhappy that the LATimes dismissed from its staff one of the only people in America as cracked as he is. In a letter to the publisher, Kucinich and 23 other ultra-left congressionals attribute to columnist Robert Scheer much of the whackiness of this set, including (with my comments in blue):
In 1996, Scheer criticized welfare reform for its effect on the poor as soon as the economy turns south. Better to keep them wholly dependent on Dem largesse than teach them to fend for themselves!

In 200 [sic], Scheer predicted the Bush/Cheney ticket's close ties to the oil industry would ensure consumers would "feel the sting from the exorbitant price of gas." We'll let the date typo pass because what's important here is how paranoia, hate and anti-oil trump good ol' supply and demand every time with these guys.

In 2001, Scheer identified the dangerous precedent of the Patriot Act. He forecast the attack on our basic liberties. Name one normal American who's been negatively impacted by the Patriot Act. Name one person who's "basic liberties" were impacted who was above suspicion. And name all the names of all the people whose lives have been saved because an act of terror wasn't carried out thanks to intelligence gained through the Patriot Act. What a bunch of Sept. 10-ers!

In 2003, Scheer was already making a strong case for the U.S. getting out of Iraq. That would be before the Iraqis were free, before the purple fingers, before the trial of Saddam, before the spread of hunger for democracy throughout much of the Arab world. How very commendable.
Don't let these looney electeds go unchallenged. Email the LAT publisher today and let him know you think it's just great they've booted Scheer. Here's his email address:

Thank You, LA Times

Mr Jeff Johnson
Publisher, LA Times

Dear Mr. Johnson:

I am writing to thank you for terminating Robert Scheer -- a sentiment that was strengthened dramatically when I read the letter you received from Dennis Kucinich and his Congressional colleagues criticising your act.

Mr. Scheer is an angry writer who lets his anger ride roughshod over research, reasonableness and respect. His tone and his accusations are not appropriate for a mainstream newspapers, and I see your termination of Mr. Scheer as an indication that you are correctly seeking more balance in the Opinion section in order to slow or reverse the circulation losses the LATimes is suffering.

It seems that Mr. Kucinich and his colleagues are attempting to use their Congressional weight to threaten the freedom of the press. As a single citizen, I rarely agree with the LA Times' editorial position, but I support your right to staff your paper as you see fit, and feel it is inappropriate for members of Congress to send a delegation letter in order to exert pressure on a newspaper publisher.

I encourage you to continue improving the once-great LA Times, and to do that by bringing more balance to the news coverage, as well as the Opinion section.

Laer Pearce

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Withdrawal Worries

Everyone's setting up the withdrawal option: Biden's op/ed, Condi's comments, speculation about Bush's speech next week in Anapolis. Here's how the LATimes puts it:
Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict.
But even the libs in downtown LA see the potential for problems:
The developments seemed to lay the groundwork for potentially large withdrawals in 2006 and 2007, consistent with scenarios outlined by Pentagon planners. The approach also tracks the thinking of some centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior representative of his party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Some analysts say the emerging consensus might have less to do with conditions in Iraq than the deployment's long-term strain on the U.S. military. And major questions about the readiness of Iraq's fledgling security forces remain, posing risks for any strategy that calls for an accelerated American withdrawal.
Hello? Anyone for taking a look back at history so we don't repeat our errors? The fall of Saigon led to Pol Pot, North Vietnamese "re-education" camps and repression in Burma. Leaving Iraq too soon in the early 90s led to the continuation of the Iraq debate in the early 00s.

Here's an appropriate word of caution, from No End But Victory (Show them the motto: "First peace, then withdrawal") --
Make no mistake: If American troops withdraw before the Iraqi security forces are prepared to take care of themselves, we will lose Iraq to complete barbarism. And if that happens, the Administration will have won itself no friends–either among those demanding withdrawal from the very beginning or among those demanding that we stick it out until the job is done. Worst of all, American security interests, prestige and credibility will suffer a monumental setback.

Media Pessimistic About Iraq

That's got to be the "dog bites man" headline of the day, but sometimes even the obvious news is big news.

This comes from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which routinely surveys on the question, "Should America mind its own business internationally?"

Asked if efforts to establish democracy in Iraq will succeed, we find journalistics very pessimistic -- just one-third think the efforts will be successful. We the people, at least 56 percent of us -- think it will be successful, with only 37 percent think we'll fail. In contrast, 63% of the news media thinks we'll fail.

Also telling is that foreign service officials think worse of the prospects for democracy than journalists -- and that the military is more optimistic than even the general public. Seventy-one percent of foreign service officers think we'll fail, and 64 percent of the military thinks we'll succeed.

Stop Off-Planet Drilling!

Will that be the next battle cry of the Greens? It might be if the theories of those who hold that oil is not produced by the decompositon of ancient organic matter holds true. From GreenieWatch:

Below is an amusing email from Andrew Nimmo (Space Development Council secretary -- to Benny Peiser in which he also advances reasons to be skeptical about the "fossil" origin of oil:


If Jerome Corsi or anyone else is really interested in the "fountain of youth" as far as oil is concerned, I can tell you exactly where it is. Right above your heads in the sky. There's oil galore up there!

A number of asteroids are what is called 'carbonaceous chondrites' and back in the 70s as I recall, a number of these were spectro-analysed. Virtually all of them turned out to be partially made up of what was called "oil-like sludge". On average, 10% of every carbonaceous chondrite appeared to be made up of this - and the vast majority of all of the thousands of relatively large asteroids so far discovered are carbonaceous chondrites.

Should our planet really ever run short of oil, I guess the oil companies could probably afford to go up there and import some, but it would almost certainly turn out to be very politically incorrect to do so. Do the 'fossil-fuel' folk really think our asteroids once teemed with life? Personally I don't, but I do very much suspect the oil off Mexico's shore probably came down with the dinosaur-killer itself. No wonder there were world-wide fires!

Biden On Why Dems Are Dangerous

Of course, Joe Biden didn't set out to write on op/ed in WaPo on why Dems threaten the future of America, but that's what he ended up with. Here's an indisputed leader of the Democratic Party, the senior Dem on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a man who sees himself as president and has assembled the sort of top-tier staff such men assemble.

And here's the fruit of all that excellence, the best the Dems can offer. He begins,
The question most Americans want answered about Iraq is this: When will our troops come home?
Yes, that's an important question, but Americans capable of thinking back to 9/11 have a different primary question: Are we being effective in stopping global terrorism? We want our troops' heroic deaths to be for a victorious cause.

Then he presents his plan:
First, we need to build political consensus, starting with the constitution. Sunnis must accept that they no longer rule Iraq. But unless Shiites and Kurds give them a stake in the new deal, they will continue to resist. We must help produce a constitution that will unite Iraq, not divide it.
Forgive my naivity, but isn't there an election in Iraq on Dec. 15, in which free Iraqis will vote in their elected representatives who will finalize the constitution our troops' blood has helped move forward? The Sunnis understand all this more than Biden does.

If we are to cut and run, what influence will we have in helping produce a uniting constitution? Our efforts in that regard are longstanding and ongoing -- or they will be if Biden and his ilk let them continue.
Second, we must build Iraq's governing capacity and overhaul the reconstruction program. Iraq's ministries are barely functional. Sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water and a lack of electricity are all too common. With 40 percent unemployment in Iraq, insurgents do not lack for fresh recruits.
I wonder what a President Biden would do that's different than what's being done? Would he still be repeating these big Dem lies? Would he admit that there was sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water, a lack of electricity and unemployment under Saddam, and that we're continuously improving the Iraqis quality of life?

Would he ignore, as he does here, the number of "insurgents" recruited from foreign lands because there aren't enough Iraqis for Zarqawi's campaign against Iraqis? Would Biden admit that the Sunnis he so wants included in the constitution are the ones who are blowing themselves up in order to kill the Shiites?

The third goal is to transfer authority to Iraqi security forces. ... The president must set a schedule for getting Iraqi forces trained to the point that they can act on their own or take the lead with U.S. help.

What is this fixation with schedules? Is it akin to the Dem's strategy for better schools: Set goals, pour in money, then say you've met the goals? Isn't the right strategy simply to train, train, train and equip, equip, equip, until Iraqi forces are fully capable? Would setting an unreasonably short schedule alter the timing of this fully supported strategy? No, it would only weaken the results.
We also need an effective counterinsurgency strategy. The administration finally understands the need not only to clear territory but also to hold and build on it. We have never had enough U.S. troops to do that. Now there is no choice but to gamble on the Iraqis. We can help by changing the mix of our forces to include more embedded trainers, civil affairs units and Special Forces.
We should have had more troops in, they say now, as they say they want the troops out. Wanting more troops has always been the Dem's weak excuse for hawkishness, but it requires them to say they know more about military strategy than the generals running the campaign -- so they simply say it's the president who's saying he knows more about military strategy than the generals, not them.

How exactly would more troops be effective against IED's? And excuse me, but haven't we already begun changing our mix of forces? And if we begin siezing and holding terrorities, won't we really be the occupation forces he criticizes elsewhere in this piece?

And I can't wait until the Iraqi press translates "no choice but to gamble on the Iraqis" and passes it on to everyone in Iraq. Won't Zarqawi have fun with that? Won't it help his shakey in-Iraq recruiting efforts?

This is one of the best Dems? That's scary -- but not as scary as the fact that John Kerry, saying much the same stuff, got 47% of the vote.

There Ought To Be A Law

It's a good thing Imam Fawaz Damra, the leader of Ohio's largest mosque, is behind bars and awaiting deportation. (source, h/t Michelle)

It's a bad thing that a man who openly supports terrorism and the killing of Jews is the man more Ohio Muslims turn to for teaching than anyone else in their state. And it's a bad thing that he's the man many point to as an example of Islam being a religion of peace. And finally, it's a terrible thing that a country at war doesn't have better laws to take care of people like this.

Look at his picture -- he appears to be the epitome of the "good Muslim" CAIR is telling us we should welcome to America. Here's how NPR started a profile of him:
For more than 10 years, Imam Fawaz Damra was among Cleveland's most respected religious leaders. The head of the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland attracted a congregation of 5,000 and built Ohio's biggest mosque. The 40-year-old Palestine immigrant became a leading advocate of cooperation among Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Yet we have recordings of Damra dating back to the late 1980s advocating terrorism, but he's been on the streets every day since Sept. 11 even though he lied about his ties to terrorist organizations when applying for citizenship -- and was convicted for it.

Being convicted of immigration fraud is not sufficient grounds for expulsion.

So this convicted imam returned to his mosque and his Islamic Center, where he spewed his private rage that was so different than his public pronouncments: His private Jews "are the sons of monkeys and pigs" filth and his "terrorism and terrorism alone is the path to liberation" filth. And we let him.

We're only getting Damra because feds found evidence that he raised funds for terrorist groups. We need new laws, better laws, that are hard, very hard, on terrorists on our shores -- those who lied and raised money like Damra, and those who are just hanging out waiting to be activated.

Friday, November 25, 2005

No News Yet On Howard

The Panamanian government opened bids today on the former US Howard Air Force Base, and someone -- the US, England, Mexico or China -- got control of it.

I've been scrubbing the internet to see if there's any news, but as has been the case since I dug up this story several weeks ago, no one's paying attention.

Will China have an airbase in Central America to compliment the ports they operate at both ends? Hopefully, we'll find out soon.

See also:
State Watchful On Howard AFB Sale
Howard Still Under The Radar
China Could Use Howard As Air Force Base
State Clueless On China's Plan To Bid On Panamanian Air Base
More On Commies At The Canal
China's Panama Grab Threatens US

650,000-Year Ice Core: Questions


The latest Rosetta Stone of the global science debate -- the 650,000-year ice core bored out of Anarctica -- is being presented by MSM in absolute terms. The articles I've read quote no one but people who believe the core shows the impact of humans on the environment, as if no argument can be made against this stuff.

But watch: The assumptions about the core will begin to be picked apart, and MSM will be nowhere to be found to cover that. Here's one hole in the study to poke around in. The LA Times buried deep this paragraph:
Scientists are eager to look further back into earth's climatic past. About a million years ago, the earth shifted from ice age cycles that were 40,000 years long into cycles that were 100,000 years long. This shift from a "40K world to a 100K world" is a major mystery, said Oregon State's Brook, and will require a core that reaches deeper into the ice and much further back in time.
What caused this change a million years ago? Certainly not human intervention into climatology; nevertheless it happened. Yet the princes of global warming refuse to accept that if there are permanent changes afoot in global climate, it's conceivable they could be another planetary shift like the one a million years ago.

Over at the NYTimes article, we find this:
While the overall climate pattern has been set by rhythmic variations in Earth's orientation to the Sun, the records show that carbon dioxide and methane consistently made the interglacial climate warmer than it would otherwise have been, said Thomas Stocker, one of the researchers and a physicist at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
Where did carbon dioxice and methane come from during the earlier cycles? Obviously not humans. There were enough natural sources -- volcanoes, biomass dynamics, etc. -- to lengthen a warm period, but the global warming princes want us to discount this today and place the blame on human elements.

Update: Jon Jay at GreenieWatch has this to say about the study:
So a study of "the composition of the atmosphere between 400,000 and 650,000 years ago" suddenly tells us about "the modern atmosphere"??? And a study that looks at times scales of "tens of thousands" of years suddenly tells us something about the last 200 years??? Go figure!

China Opens Internet Portal

The Chinese central government has opened a news portal in English. Check it out here. Part fact, part fantasy. Check out some of the white papers; they'll remind you that toilet paper, too, is white.

Shows I'm Glad I Missed

Here's an NPR blurb spotted by property rights hawk and OCRegister commentator Steve Greenhut:
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the right of local governments to seize private property to spur economic development. Since then, Congress and at least 38 states have moved to defend property rights. Some experts warn the flurry of new legislation could block necessary development projects.
As Steve puts it at Orange Punch, the OCR's blog:
Unbelievable. Yes, such consequences might be that liberal planners and wealthy developers can't bully people around as much. I can live with those consequences, can't you?
By the way, the developers I work with rarely if ever use eminent domain. They do it the old fashioned way: They pay for their land, or they use land that has been in their ownership for generations.

Canadians Find New Ways To Hate Bush

"I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."
That's former Canadian minister of defense Paul Hellyer discussing the need for "exopolitics" -- relations with extraterrestrial civilizations whose UFOs "are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

And why is it so important to focus on exopolitics today? You have to ask? It's Bush!
"The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."
Today, Iraq, tomorrow the galaxy! And the staid, reasonable Canadians at the University of Toronto; how did they respond to Hellyer's speech? They gave it a standing ovation.

A spokesman for exopolitics summed up all their insanity:
“Our Canadian government needs to openly address these important issues of the possible deployment of weapons in outer war plans against ethical ET societies.”
Bush's actions (i.e., supporting space-based weapons for use against terrestrial threats) are on their face unethical while utterly uknown beings from who knows where are on their face ethical.

It's Bush hatred to interallactic levels.

h/t Memeorandum

UN Protection For Strange-Tailed Tyrant

No, Kim Il Jong isn't dressing up in drag again. Bashar Al-Assad isn't having hemorrhoid problems. And Fidel's still fitting into his khakis.

Here's the strange-tailed tyrant, now protected by a new UN treaty:

NoKo's Christian Persecution

Today, as millions of Americans mark the start of the season celebrating Christ's birth by the religious ritual of going to the mall, William F. Buckley remindes us how difficult this world can be for Christians. His examples come from North Korea:
The report tells, among many other accounts, of a woman in her 20s who was washing clothes in a river. A fellow washerwoman saw a small Bible fall out of her basket and reported her to the authorities. She was executed by firing squad.

That martyr got off lightly. Nine years ago in South Pyongan province, a unit of the North Korean army was assigned the job of widening a highway connecting Pyongyang to the nearest seaport. Demolition of a house standing in the way revealed, hidden between two bricks, a Bible and a list of 25 names: a Christian pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders and 20 parishioners. The 25 were all detained and, later that month, brought to the road construction site, where spectators had been arranged in neat rows. The parishioners were grouped off to one side while the pastor, the assistant pastors and the elders were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller. As if following a script written in early Roman history, they were told they could escape death by denying their faith and pledging to serve Dear Leader Kim Jong II and Great Leader Kim Il Sung. They chose death.
Buckley's primary source is Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea's Prison Camps.

Evil always gets its due; but North Korea's evil is so profoundly awful and has hurt so many (and could hurt so many more through its nuclear program) that the world really needs to stand up to Kim Il Jong and tell him, "That's enough!"

h/t RCP

Thursday, November 24, 2005

France Tightens The Screws

The Muslim riots in France and the al Qaeda connection to its mosques is making France behave in ways that are very sensitive.

First the al Qaeda/mosque connection, thanks to Sheeps Crib:
France's internal intelligence agencies reported in the last two years that 40 percent of the imams in France's 1,000 principal mosques had no religious training and downloaded material from pro-al Qaeda Web sites for their Friday sermons. The fiery harangues were designed to attract young jobless Muslims to the mosques -- and extremist causes many imams espoused.
And more evidence for those of us who believe there's more than economic depravation behind the French riots, also from Sheeps Crib:
Satellite dishes protrude from almost all apartments in the cankerous Muslim housing projects. The Qatar-based Al Jazeera reaches 'hoods in Europe's Muslim and sub-Saharan African suburbs. For the last two years youngsters have been proselytized via the Internet to become jihadis for the Iraqi insurgency. They use the Internet to locate mosques in Syria and Jordan where they can find shelter on the way to Iraq, as well as places to report for training and combat assignments.

Much as the authorities try to avoid lending credibility to Islamist influences, the cops on the beat say Islamist beliefs coupled with desperation over a hopeless future are a major motivating factor. The young Muslims scoff at their parents for accepting menial jobs and belong to criminal gangs with a religious identity to feed their drug habits and steal mobile phones. And since Oct. 27, they tell each other their 'hoods are Baghdad in France.
Now, does this (from BBC) sound like the reaction of a country that thinks the riots were just about economic depravation?
France's lawmakers have voted to accept anti-terror measures which would boost video surveillance in public places. The bill will allow cameras to be used on public transport and in places of worship, shops and other public areas.

The house will take a final vote on the whole bill on Tuesday. The upper house will discuss it in January.

Mr Sarkozy told parliament the country should brace itself for a terror attack.

"We are not in the least protected from this war because its instigators are unpredictable," the interior minister said. "The possibility of violent acts being committed on our soil is a real one."
The government is taking this action in the face of civil rights advocates who are howling loudly -- but the bill is likely to pass because French electeds found something resembling a spine during the riots.

It's nice to see France beginning to get back on board in the GWOT, even if they no doubt will fo about it in their own strange way.

It Must Be Thanksgiving

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Lucy pulling away the footbool and Charlie Brown going "AAUGH!"

Every year at Thanksgiving-time, Charles Schulz would put Charlie Brown through the predictable paces again, and every year Charlie Brown convinced himself that this would be the year he kicked the ball.

And isn't that the other side of thanks: eternal optimism?

Thankfully, The Answers Are Yes

"First, are the metrics of this war in the terrorists’ or our favor? Are the Iraqi security forces growing or shrinking? Are elections postponed or on schedule? Are Europe, Jordan, Lebanon, and others more or less sympathetic to a war against Islamic terrorism in Iraq? Are bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi more or less popular or secure after we removed Saddam? Is al Qaeda in a strengthened or weakened position? Is the Arab world more or less receptive to democracy in the Gulf, Egypt, Lebanon, and the West Bank? And is the United States more or less vulnerable to a terrorist attack as we go into our fifth year since September 11?" --

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things You Might Forget To Pray For

Take a moment to think about it, and you'll probably conclude that Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday. Thanks, food and family, without great over-production or over-spending -- what could be better?

When you bow your head in prayer tomorrow, there are many obvious things to pray for -- like our troops and their families -- but there are some things that might not cross your mind.

Pray for the jihadists. They are creations of God and God loves them. As hard as it is to say a prayer for them, they need your prayers, especially the one that asks that they find a God who grants them mercy and grace, instead of one that demands works, particularly violent works, in order to get to heaven.

Pray for the whacked out extremists, especially those who are your opposite on the matters that mean the most to you -- the pro-abortion set, the anti-globalization crew, the separation of church and state set. The funny thing is, the best prayer for them is one for peace ... their peace.

Pray for the tsunami and earthquake victims. Their pain and suffering isn't over yet, but with each day they get more distant from our thoughts.

And don't forget to pray for yourself in the frenzy of praying for others. Take a quiet moment to ask God to give you strength in the areas where you need it, and most of all, just to honor him for all he's done for you.

And, if I may, thank you God for the Internet, the blogosphere, and all the wonderful people who come by to read CS-M because of the gifts You have given me.

Turkey In The Straw Poll

Hugh's started a periodic staw poll for president (GOP only, of course). It's got some fun features, so click over and vote. Here's the results.

Go Crawl Under A Rock

The Earth Liberation Front claims responsibility for setting a fire that destroyed four new townhomes in Hagers Crossing Maryland. Says ELF:
"We warn all developers that the people of the Earth are prepared to defend what remains of the wild and the green." (source)
Gee. Where do you suppose the people were from who were going to live in the homes, if not the earth?

And what will the ELF defend the earth with? Gasoline bombs made from materials manufactured in plants built where it used to be wild and green! Shouldn't they be boycotting things that come from our industrial society?

And shouldn't they be boycotting their own homes and living in trees and under rocks?

CNN Apologizes For X - Sort Of

"We obviously regret that it happened and are working on the equipment to ensure it is not repeated."
And with that, the "momentary glitch" -- 2005's version of the "wardrobe malfunction" -- is over and done with, according to CNN. Evidence already was pointing pretty clearly that the big X on the VEEP's face was technical, not political, in nature. CNN explained today, according to AP, that:
The "X" is something used by a computer to mark a space where one visual element is to segue into another, and is normally not seen by a viewer. The network likened its appearance to a computer that inexplicably freezes.
Well, excuse us for thinking the worst. It is CNN, after all.

Update: Maybe we ought not ask to be excused. Daily Pundit offers a recording of a conversation between the CNN switchboard and a woman named Preska Thomas, in which the switchboard person said the X was deliberate, was freedom of speech, that the president and vice president "should stop lying," and "if you don't like it, don't watch."

Switchboard operators do not speak for companies. But will CNN track down and fire this guy? If they don't, they might as well have put the X up deliberately.