Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dave Reinhard nails it

Today's column by the Oregonian's Dave Reinhard hits the nail on the head in the discussion about the media's rush to expose classified programs working to track down terrorists.

It opens with a mock letter to the editor of the New York Times:
Dear Bill Keller: Remember me? We met in the elevator here at The Oregonian recently. Your decision to expose a secret program to track terrorist funding got me to thinking I had better write and apologize. I don't think I was sufficiently deferential on our brief ride together. I treated you like the executive editor of The New York Times who used to work for The Oregonian. I had no idea I was riding with the man who decides what classified programs will be made public during a war on terror. I had no idea the American people had elected you president and commander in chief.
That about sums it up, because Keller is making decisions he has no business making -- decisions on which government programs should be secret and which should be exposed to the light of day, regardless of how many Americans might be at risk of death as a result of their exposure, regardless of whether their exposure is motivated by illegalities by the government or vendettas against it. Decisions that, until this war, were made by the President.

Reinhard's whole column is worth a read, but here's the conclusion (with my emphasis):
Not to worry, you tell us, terrorists already know we track their funding, and disclosure won't undercut the program. (Contradictory claims, but what the heck.) You at the Times know better. You know better than government officials who said disclosing the program's methods and means would jeopardize a successful enterprise. You know better than the 9/11 Commission chairmen who urged you not to run the story. Better than Republican and Democratic lawmakers who were briefed on the program. Better than the Supreme Court, which has held since 1976 that bank records are not constitutionally protected. Better than Congress, which established the administrative subpoenas used in this program.

Maybe you do. But whether you do or not, there's no accountability. If you're wrong and we fail to stop a terror plot and people die because of your story, who's going to know, much less hold you accountable? No, the government will be blamed -- oh, happy day, maybe Bush's White House! -- for not connecting dots or crippling terror networks. The Times might even run the kind of editorial it ran on Sept. 24, 2001. Remember? The one that said "much more is needed" to track terror loot, including "greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities"?

Keep up the good work -- for al-Qaida.
Oh, and one related point, from an email sent to Hugh Hewitt today and quoted on his blog:
If the Times*2 do not experience ***GENUINE PAIN*** here, we will be effectively giving a "pocket veto" over intelligence operations to the Main Stream Media, as conflict-adverse incumbents both elected and bureaucratic, will gauge all potential covert ops in terms of political blowback when the Op is blown in the MSM....

this will, i contend, in addition to fostering EVEN MORE caution amongst the Intelligence Mandarins regarding Ops, will effectively give a COST-FREE veto over Plans and Ops to every employee of an Intelligence Agency, who is willing to invest in a cellular phone call to a reporter from a MSM outlet willing to print/broadcast it...

And if Times*2 aren't REALLY SPANKED HERE, that will be very, very many MSM entities....
That's why the leakers must be investigated, discovered and prosecuted. And part of that investigation must include the subpoena, testimony and -- if necessary -- incarceration of the media players who think they're above the law because they have the Pentagon papers playing in their iPods 40 years later.

Peggy Noonan, part II

Peggy had another good quote in today's column, this one about the New York Times (ellipses and emphasis mine):
But one senses the people who run the Times now are not so much living as re-enacting. They're lost on the big new playing field of American media, and they're reenacting their great moments--the Pentagon papers, the Watergate days. They're locked in a pose: We speak truth to (bad Republican) power . . .

This is the imagery that comes to you when you ponder the Times. It's the imagery that comes unbidden when you ponder the national security stories they've been doing. They're all re-enacting. They're acting out their own private drama in which they bravely stand up to a secretive and all-powerful American government.

I think it's personal drama in part because there's no common sense in it. Common sense tells you that when the actual physical safety of Americans is threatened by extremists who've declared a holy war, and when those extremists have, or can get, terrible weapons that can kill thousands or tens of thousands or more, and when the American government is trying to keep them from doing what they'd like to do, which, again, is kill--then you'd think twice, thrice, 10 times before you tell the world exactly how the government is trying, in its own bumbling way, which is how governments do things, to keep innocent people safe and bad guys on the run.

. . .
It's sad. Though I guess if you're the Times you take comfort in the fact that even though you're not as important as you used to be, you're just as destructive as ever.

Quote of the Day: on Hillary Clinton

From Peggy Noonan today, on the junior senator from New York (first two ellipses are mine):
Media people keep saying, as Hillary gears up for her presidential bid, that her big challenge in 2008 will be to prove that she is as tough as a man. That she could order troops to war. That she's not girly and soft.

This is the exact opposite of the truth. Hillary doesn't have to prove her guy chops. She doesn't have to prove she's a man, she has to prove she's a woman. No one in America thinks she's a woman. They think she's a tough little termagant [definition: A quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew] in a pantsuit. They think she's something between an android and a female impersonator . . . She does not seem like someone who would anguish and weep over sending men into harm's way.

And in this, as president, she would be deeply unusual . . . Hillary is like someone who would know she should be moved but wouldn't be because she couldn't be because . . . well, why? That is the question. Maybe a lifetime in politics has bled some of the human element out of her. Maybe there wasn't that much to begin with. Maybe she thinks that if she wept, the wires that hold her together would short.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Don't take your toys & go home

Earlier this week in National Review, the editors suggested that -- in the aftermath of the New York Times' decision to expose the Treasury Department's terrorist finance tracking program -- the White House should revoke press credentials for the newspaper's reporters:
President Bush, who said on Monday morning that the exposure “does great harm to the United States of America,” must demand that the New York Times pay a price for its costly, arrogant defiance. The administration should withdraw the newspaper’s White House press credentials because this privilege has been so egregiously abused, and an aggressive investigation should be undertaken to identify and prosecute, at a minimum, the government officials who have leaked national-defense information.
I think this would be a big error. Essentially what it would say to the country is that the Bush adminstration is a bunch of crybabies. You didn't play fair, so I'm taking my toys and going home!

The latter part of that National Review paragraph, however, is entirely appropriate: investigate, identify and prosecute the leakers, who did so with the knowledge that they were breaking laws they agreed to follow when they took their jobs. And if that means that a few reporters are subpoenaed with the expectation that they reveal their sources or follow the trail of Judith Miller to the graybar hotel, so be it.

I also think it's somewher counter-productive for the Congress to consider resolutions condemning the media for these revelations, despite the emphasis Hugh Hewitt (someone I respect and admire) has put on such resolutions. The media couldn't care less what the Congress has to say about the way it does its job, and will spin any such resolution to make it appear the government wants to infringe on the media's First Amendment rights (watch for all the usual key phrases: "censorship," "chilling effect," "Big Brother," etc.). It will also cast the Congressional action as a Republican willingness to deal in political gamesmanship instead of facing the important issues of the day.

(It might be rightly called gamesmanship, were it not for the fact that the Times decision has likely hurt our fight against terrorists and put American lives at risk. Other than that, it's all political.)

The censorship charge is ridiculous, of course -- no legitimate public figure is arguing that the New York Times didn't have the right to run that story. The legitimate argument is two-fold: the Times should have exercised self-restraint and recognized how such a story would affect the security of the United States and its citizens; and having made the decision it did, it will have to face the consequences of that decision.

Obviously, there is a political consideration at play in both situations, one that must be considered. If the White House and/or Congress say nothing, it comes across like they're admitting they got caught in something illegal. And I'm not advocating at all that the adminstration stay mum. In fact, I loved what Tony Snow said in a press conference earlier this week:
...the New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know in some cases might override somebody’s right to live, and whether in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans....

In response, one of the things Bill Keller said is, "It is not our job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal or effective." Well, it is your job to exercise editorial judgment. All of us got into this business -- I've been in journalism 27 years -- when I got into the business, one of the things that everybody learns is you have to exercise editorial judgment. I daresay many people in this room have been faced with difficult decisions in their careers, and probably all of us have had stories where we killed them because there was somebody's own privacy right or interest involved.

So you simply cannot say, we got this story, we're going to publish it, but we don't have to worry about whether it's legal or effective. In this case, I think it does bear on the debate.
But the bottom line is that Congress and the White House must weigh their responses carefully so that they come across as rightfully pointing out how the media's actions have degraded our nation's security, how a few government leaks have violated the law, and how our neighborhood is less safe now that the terrorists have another clue about how to avoid detection. All without sounding like whiners in the process.

US just wants that oil money . . . for Iraqi salaries?

Jim Geraghty at National Review's TKS blog points out some good news from Iraq in (of all places) the New York Times from earlier this week. Here's a link to the story, as printed in the Indianapolis Star.

The line that the U.S. went to Iraq for oil is one of many, um, erroneous assumptions about that conflict. Instead, the oil is being sold on the world market, and the cash is being used to fund the Iraqi government. Since the Iraqi government doesn't have to fund wars and weapons, some of that money is going to increase the salaries of public-sector employees, which make up almost half of the Iraqi workforce.

Public-sector employees used to collect the equivalent of several dollars every month under Saddam Hussein. But since the American invasion, Iraq's oil revenue has helped these Iraqis to earn several hundred dollars a month. Gotta love a 100-fold salary increase.

The side benefit of that is that kids don't have to work to help their families get by, so the kids are free to go to school. In the last three years, the number of children enrolled in schools nationwide rose by 7.4 percent. The increase greatly outpaced Iraq's population growth during the same period. Some of the growth is due to families fleeing violent regions, but even violent regions are seeing growth.

"Fathers can provide food for their families," said Abdul Zahra al-Yasseri, a teacher in Karbala in southern Iraq. "Kids don't have to work to help their parents anymore."

Monday, June 26, 2006

National Champs

Congrats to Coach Pat Casey (one of the nice guys) and the Oregon State University baseball team, which defeated North Carolina 3-2 in the deciding game of the College World Series tonight in Omaha.

The words "National Champions" and "Oregon" have a nice ring together. Even if it is the Beavs.

"Arrogance is not fitting for a fool"

OK, it's a line from one of my kids' Veggie Tales movies, but it's fitting in this case. In the movie, it's aimed at Haman as he plots to send his enemies to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. In real life, it's the New York Times, and Editor Bill Keller, who are the arrogant fools as they plot to send their enemies to the Island of Perpetual Ridicule and Failure.

(I know, it's a stretch, but it worked when I thought of it.)

And exposing the foolish arrogance is Andy McCarthy, who, I have to say, rocks. I've said it again and again and again and again (and a couple more than that), but it's true.

His column in today's NRO is the latest example of classic Andy McCarthy: a clear-thinking conservative who recognizes that the only way we will defeat the forces of evil, those who would kill Americans because they are Americans and for no other reason, is through thorough intelligence (emphasis mine, because this is the key issue with the Times' decision to publish information that helps our government track terrorists):
How do you get such intelligence? Your options are few. The terrorists you capture, you squeeze until they break. Since your laws and protocols forbid physical coercion, you must employ psychological pressure — relentless detachment and loneliness that may render a battle-hard, hate-obsessed detainee hopeless enough and dependent enough on his interrogators to tell you the deepest, deadliest secrets. So you move your captives to places where they will be isolated, and forlorn, and … eventually — maybe after a very long time — moved to tell you what they know about their fellow savages.

Otherwise, you use your technological wizardry to penetrate their communications. You use your mastery of the global web that is modern finance to find the money and follow it — until you can pierce the veiled charities and masked philanthropists behind the terror dollars. Until you strangle the supply lines that convert hatred into action.

All the while, you never underestimate your enemies. You know they are clever, resourceful, and adaptive. You know they study you, just as you are studying them. More effectively, in fact. After all, when you find their vulnerabilities, there is still due process. When they find yours, there is murder. Mass murder.

Life or death. Which one it will be turns solely on intelligence and secrecy. Can you find out how they next intend to kill you, can you stop them, and can you prevent them from knowing how you know … so you can stop them again?
So what to do with the Times and its relentless anti-Bush crusade, which includes a willingness to print any tidbit that might conceivably embarrass or hurt the adminstration's efforts? What to do with the Times' rationale for printing this information?
Is there some illegality going on in the government’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program? No, no laws have been broken. Is there some abuse of power? No, there seem to have been extraordinary steps taken to inform relevant officials and win international cooperation. Why then? Why take action that can only aid and comfort the enemy in wartime?

Because, Keller haughtily pronounced, American methods of monitoring enemy money transfers are “a matter of public interest.”

Really? The Times prattles on about what it claims is a dearth of checks and balances, but what are the checks and balances on Bill Keller? Can it be that our security hinges on whether the editor of an antiwar, for-profit journal thinks some defense measure might be interesting?
And, McCarthy continues, what to do with a group of government employees willing to break the law in order to further the Times' agenda? Isn't there a public interest in "public officials [who are] endangering American lives," whose willingness to reveal classified information displays "both a profound offense against honor and a serious crime"?

Yeah, right:
National-security secrets? All fair game. If it’s about how we detain, or infiltrate, or defang the monsters pledged to kill us, the New York Times reserves the right to derail us any time it finds such matters … interesting.

But the media’s own sources? That, and that alone, is sacrosanct. Worth protecting above all else.

National-security secrets, after all, are merely the public treasure that keeps us alive. Press informants are the private preserve of the media.

And they’re just more important than you are.
Don't fool yourself by thinking the Mainstream Media is acting in our country's best interest. Keller and his cohorts may be foolish enough to believe such rubbish, but their arrogance is showing through.

"Breathtaking arrogance" by the New York Times

That was the charge made by Treasury Secretary John Snow, in a letter written to New York Times Editor Bill Keller, on the latter's revelation of a program to track monetary transfers by terrorists (emphasis mine):
You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.
Or at least, used to be incredibly valuable. Before a government leaker and the New York Times decided they didn't have to follow the law.

Hugh Hewitt 1, NYT -4

This morning on his blog, Hugh Hewitt thoroughly dismantles the arguments by New York Times Editor Bill Keller over his paper's publication of information on the government's use of banking information to track terrorists. It's fairly long, but it's good to read the whole thing in order to see the arrogance and misleading arguments that Keller uses to defend the indefensible.

As Hewitt says at one point about Keller's argument that "while it is too early to tell, the initial signs are that our article is not generating a banker backlash against the program" (emphasis mine):
He doesn't know how the financial community will react, but he can be assured that the terrorist network is working hard on figuring out new ways to transfer money now that they know with certainty and particularity how we were tracing the old transfers. Further, allies across the globe must now know that no matter how legal the level of cooperation extended us in our hunt for terrorists, there is no guarantee of secrecy because the New York Times will publish anything and everything they can discover under the standard articulated here.
It's too bad that Mr. Keller refuses to submit to an interview with Hewitt, as any claim of objectivity would be thrown out the window and he would be revealed for the biased hack he is. But then, he knows that. It's why he won't answer direct questions about it, while holding the media above the law.

Keller concludes:
I can appreciate that other conscientious people could have gone through the process I've outlined above and come to a different conclusion. But nobody should think that we made this decision casually, with any animus toward the current Administration, or without fully weighing the issues.
And Hewitt responds:
I don't believe him, and there is no reason to believe him. The paper has been waging a war on the war and on the Adminsitration for years, so it has no credibility when it comes to arguing its good intentions.

What matters though is the statement that "other conscientious people" could have reached a different decision. In fact, they did. The Congresses and the presidents of the past have passsed laws about what is classified and who can release it. They didn't include the editor of the New York Times in the group that can make national security decisions. Mr. Keller decided he would risk the national security of the United States and the lives of its citizens. He has done so before and will no doubt do so again.
Again, read the whole thing. And do it while imagining what this information does to the effort to track down the people who want to kill your neighbor's son in Iraq, or blow up the Sears Tower, or pump poisonous gas into a subway tunnel.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Quote of the Day (tomorrow)

This is from the main editorial in tomorrow's Opinion Journal, written by U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum about intelligence documents that discuss the presence of WMDs in Iraq:
The president is the ultimate classifier and declassifier of information, but the entire matter has now been so politicized that, in practice, he is often paralyzed. If he were to order the declassification of a document pointing to the existence of WMDs in Iraq, he would be instantly accused of "cherry picking" and "politicizing intelligence." He may therefore not be inclined to act.

In practice, then, the intelligence community decides what the American public and its elected officials can know and when they will learn it. Sometimes those decisions are made by top officials, while on other occasions they are made by unnamed bureaucrats with friends in the media. People who leak the existence of sensitive intelligence programs like the terrorist surveillance program or financial tracking programs to either damage the administration or help al Qaeda, or perhaps both, are using the release or withholding of documents to advance their political desires, even as they accuse others of manipulating intelligence.
It goes on to make an interesting comparison (intentional or not, I'm not sure) about those who use the media as a tool:
Information is a potent weapon in the current war. Al Qaeda uses the Internet very effectively and uses the media as a terrorist tool. If the American public can be deceived by people who withhold basic information, we risk losing the war at home, even if we win it on the battlefield. The debate should focus on the basic question--what, exactly, we need to do to succeed both here and in Iraq. We are dismayed to have learned how many people in our own government are trying to distort that debate.
(I can already hear the far left yelling, "The American public have been deceived by an administration that withheld basic information about going to war!" If you really believe that, you might think about cutting out that fifth cup of coffee in the morning.)

The question is, which is the enemy: the Al Qaeda operative who slips disinformation to the New York Times? The New York Times, which prints it? Or the U.S. government employee that deliberately withholds or distorts information that might bolster the president's arguments?

I vote for all three. And I believe the tide is turning against them all.

2,009 miles

That's how far my family has driven in the last 10 days, as part of a vacation to Utah and back.

This is the first road trip I've taken with my kids, and despite their frequent whines ("When are we going to get there?"), there's something about a road trip that gives you a perspective you just don't get by flying.

It's been so long since I've been through northeast Oregon, I had forgotten about the area's beauty. On the way home, we stopped at a rest stop somewhere near LaGrande and I saw a sign for a scenic overlook nearby, so I coaxed the wife into taking a short detour. Believe me when I say that a Toyota Camry is not a good vehicle for off-road use -- but when we got to the end of that bumpy, potholed, mud-puddled road, we saw this:

I used Photoshop to turn three photos into a composite, so you could see the panorama, including the wildflowers fluttering in the breeze, but it doesn't do the view justice.

I didn't even take the time to photograph the snow-capped peaks of the Blue Mountains. And that's not even talking about a stretch of I-84 south of Pocatello that was surprisingly beautiful. Not to mention the magnificent mountains of the Wasatch Range, including Mount Timpanogos; there's a drive from Park City to Provo along I-40 and Highway 189 that provides some of the prettiest views of that mountain around (if you ignore the construction; my brother said Utah residents joke that there are two seasons in the state: winter and construction).

We stayed in a timeshare in Park City, courtesy of my parents, and spent some time with them exploring the area, including a day at Utah Olympic Park with a ride down the zip line and pairing up with my 7-year-old on the alpine slide. We also had a great time watching the skiers train for their freestyle events by flipping and twisting into a 750,000 gallon splash pool.

In the timeshare, my kids spent their time (as much as we would allow) in the pool, and got to hang out with the cousins they rarely see, so it was a great time for that.

It wasn't that hot there, but at 7,000 feet above sea level, the sun makes its presence known. However, as I looked at all the ski runs just a stone's throw from our door, I thought that would be a fun place to go in the winter (though we couldn't afford to stay there without my parents' generosity).

In addition to the beauty, I developed an appreciation for Idaho and Utah in another respect: their speed limits are 75 mph in the rural areas and 65 in urban areas. As we made the trip in two days with a stop in Boise, the second day was much quicker and much more pleasant than the first day. The Oregon legislature needs to get off its hind-end and catch up with its neighbors. There's no reason, short of some tight turns, why the Columbia Gorge and eastern Oregon (or any other rural area) should be 65 mph.

Spare me the gas mileage argument -- we chose to take our Camry because gets much better mileage than our SUV, but it was our choice what we drove. And we still got 36 mpg on that stretch from Salt Lake City to Boise, which is 75 mph the whole way.

This was the first time in 10 years that I had visited Utah, and the first time that I really paid much attention to the influence of the LDS church (or as they prefer to be called, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

I have to assume that Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, maintains a wide berth around the state of Utah. Otherwise, I think his head would explode. And all those people crying about how the Republicans are supposedly trying to establish a theocracy in America? They would likely run screaming into the hills after a few minutes inside the Utah border.

More than two-thirds of the state's residents are Mormons, and I've read that more than 90 percent of the state legislators are members of the LDS church. Republicans control the state house 56-19, and the state senate 21-8. I suspect there's a fairly sizeable minority of liberals in the state who stay for the recreational opportunities, but I also suspect they don't speak up much.

I'm told that the Utah Pioneer Day Celebration, which is held in late July, rivals the Independence Day Celebration in its size and scope. (Example: "In Utah, Pioneer Day on July 24 outshines the Fourth of July and makes Christmas seem like a blip on the calendar. It marks the day in 1847 when Brigham Young led his Mormon followers into what is now Salt Lake City and declared, 'This is the spot.' ") During this celebration, many businesses and state offices are closed. I think I smell Barry Lynn's brain coming to a boil.

Nowhere was the influence of the church more obvious (other than the frequent appearance of its temples along I-15) than in its liquor laws. Like Oregon, Utah runs its own liquor stores; unlike Oregon, you can't buy anything stronger than 3.2 percent beer in the grocery store. That includes microbrews and wine. On Sunday afternoon, I went up to the little market at our timeshare to get something else, and saw a sign posted over the wine bottles that said no alcohol could be sold that day.

They label their bars as "private clubs," with what in essence is a $4-5 admission charge that lasts three weeks (or you can get an annual membership that costs about $25). If you want a double, you have to order the second shot separately; there's also a rule that you can't have more than one drink in front of you at a time, so I'm not sure how those coincide.

I'm told that some of the laws changed after the 2002 Olympics. However, to get a feel for the church's impact, I read that the state legislature proposed some rule changes to the state's liquor laws several years ago, but the bill sponsor said he was waiting for word from the church. "If they say 'No', it's dead," he said.

After reading that last part, you'd think I spent the whole time looking for a drink, but the truth is that I didn't consume anything alcoholic all week. I just thought it interesting.

So we had a great time. Good to see family. Good to see another part of our beautiful country. Good to be home.

Friday, June 16, 2006

To hell with anything having to do with a free Iraq

The idiocy and Bush hatred of the Democratic Party know no bounds.

Today in the United States House of Representatives, Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley and David Wu -- along with 145 of their closest party friends -- voted against the following:
  • Honoring all Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror
  • Honoring the sacrifices of the U.S., coalition, Iraqi and Afghani soldiers who have fought those battles, "especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and . . . their families";
  • Declaring that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;
  • Congratulating the Iraqi prime minister and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown in the elections
  • Calling upon the nations of the world to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and
  • Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror.
Why? Because they don't like that it includes a declaration "that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq."

So in short, to hell with the military, their families, the Iraqi & Afghani people, the Iraqi and Afghani governments, and -- quite frankly -- the American people by virtue of opposing our ultimate success in this war.

Why? Because the Democratic Party wants to cut and run. With three quarters of the party voting the way it did, that conclusion is unavoidable and undeniable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Zarqawi's death leads to treasure-trove of documents

Here's one of the most important ones, translated by James Lileks:
From under the desk of Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, Al Qaeda’s #1 man in Iraq as of 14:41 this afternoon

In the name of Allah the merciful and peaceful, I bring you news of pitiless vengeance. Victory is near! Thanks to the bombs of the Crusaders – Satan curse their on-board guidance systems - Zarqawi has been delivered to heaven, after a brief detour through a window frame. I know all the joyous martyrdoms have made for a hectic week. Personally, my face aches from smiling and my teeth hurt from all the cake, and I have a cramp in my hand from all the paperwork. (On behalf of HR, I would request that you cut down on the number of wives, as it makes pension disbursement rather complicated.) At the risk of dampening your commendable ardor, however, I would request that everyone refrain from glorious dying for a few weeks while we regroup.

This does not mean we are not winning. Some people look at a man who has been gravely wounded and see him as half defeated; I look at him and say he is half martyred.

Nevertheless, there are issues that need to be addressed.

The Crusaders have made several dozen raids since Zarqawi’s release from mortal concerns, and each raid leads to more. I must repeat: stop printing out Google Maps and leaving them around. At least clear your browser history, brothers.

You may have read reports that Al-Zarkawi had in his position a tiger-skinned negligee at the time of his glorious. This is Infidel propaganda. He was a man of highest moral standards. The suggestion that he made his bride, whom he nobly made full with child when she was 14, wear such a sinful garment is meant to weaken your spirit, and make you think of slim dark-eyed ripe women draped in the clothing of wild beasts, lips parted, exhaling the softest perfume of –

All warriors must take three cold showers a day, not two.

Making a whistling sound with a descending pitch in my presence was funny the first time. We all had a good laugh. It is hereby forbidden.

Our attempts to win the hearts and minds of impoverished Iraqis are not helped when you buy the extended warranty on a car you intend to explode.

Finally, patience is our ally. We need not defeat the Americans, only outlast them. Have they not abandoned every battlefield they ever entered? Besides Germany, Japan, Korea, Kosovo and Afghanistan, of course. But just as they left Somalia when their “Democrats” took power, so will they leave Iraq when the criminal Zionist Bush regime is replaced by a slightly less criminal, albeit equally Zionist, Democratic regime. The Democrats wish to quit the war and return to their important issues, such as permitting men to marry, have a child with the cloning of cells, and then abort it. Such a people cannot fight; they can only beseech the United Nations to send Danes to frown from great distances. And I need not remind you that no one was ever killed by a 226 kilogram laser-guided Dane.

Patience, my brothers. All we need to do is saw off enough heads, and they will lose theirs without the blade touching their tender throats. Now if you will excuse me, I need to speak with my bodyguards. One of them is making that whistling sound again. If I told them once, I told them

(document ends)
I love the line near the beginning that requests "everyone refrain from glorious dying for a few weeks while we regroup," but my favorite is near the end:
The Democrats wish to quit the war and return to their important issues, such as permitting men to marry, have a child with the cloning of cells, and then abort it. Such a people cannot fight; they can only beseech the United Nations to send Danes to frown from great distances. And I need not remind you that no one was ever killed by a 226 kilogram laser-guided Dane.
Hee hee.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Deadlines. Packing. Deadlines. All-nighters. Vacation coming. Deadlines. Must get more done...

glurb glurb glurb...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Eat pizza, drink beer, live forever

I was perusing Hugh Hewitt and found this news, which Hugh called The. Best. News. Ever.

Then, minutes later, I found this news at Jack Bog's site.

Every fraternity member and dorm resident I ever knew might die of ecstacy from the combination of news.

Mike McGavick: not tough on immigration

So it seems that Mike McGavick, Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Washington state, is not bowing down to Lars Larson on the immigration issue. (I didn't listen, I'm just hearing it third-hand.)

And it seems that Mike McGavick, who is challenging Maria Cantwell for
the United States Senate in Washington state, is catching all kinds of hell because he's not tough enough for the immigration purists.

So I just have one question for those of you who refuse to vote for McGavick because he doesn't share your passionate bent on the issue: would you rather be represented by Maria Cantwell until 2012?

Please spare me that line about preferring a true liberal to a hidden one. You know that McGavick, despite your insistence on the immigration litmus test, would be a huge improvement over Cantwell. And if you can't see that, you need to step away from the sweet lucy.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Quote of the Day

From Peggy Noonan in today's Opinion Journal. She's talking about voter distrust of politicians when they come up with complicated solutions to the nation's problems (particularly the current discussion of immigration), but this little snippet was an amusing aside:
Democrats use complexity as a thing to hide behind when they talk about taxes. Republicans can say, and can mean, "I hate taxes and will cut them." Democrats can't say that, because they don't hate taxes and in fact will raise them. Though they will not say it. They will say, "Tax cuts on the top 10% of income earners are nonprogressive and unhelpful, and I will cut their tax cut, or hike their taxes, and in turn make commensurate cuts on the taxes of the most deserving lower income taxpayers, though not in a way that will negatively impact the deficit."

When voters hear this they know exactly what it means: We will raise taxes.
Noonan recognizes that sometimes the solution must be complex, but voters will only accept a complex solution if they decide the politicians are sincere in their commitment to the solution, not just "using public concern as a plaything to get what will serve the political class." Her ending message to politicians: you'd better mean what you say, because any perception of insincerity will spell the end of your political effectiveness.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quote of the Day: The War on Terror

From Jim Geraghty in today's TKS, writing about the weekend arrest of terror suspects in Canada:
All over the blogosphere this weekend, bloggers mocked the press accounts suggesting the suspects covered a ‘broad strata’ of Canadian society. The names of the suspects that have been released: Fahim Ahmad, Zakaria Amara, Asad Ansari, Shareef Abdelhaleen, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, Mohammed Dirie, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, Amin Mohamed Durrani, Steven Vikash Chand alias Abdul Shakur, Ahmad Mustafa Ghany and Saad Khalid.

Well, that’s some diversity there. It’s a regular Benetton ad!

By the way, when the press insists upon saying that the suspects represent a “broad strata” when 4 out of the 11 of the released names have “abdul/abdel/abdi” in them, 2 Ahmads, 2 Saads, and 3 Mohammeds, it sends one of two messages to readers. The first is “we think you’re stupid and can’t figure out the common thread these suspects have in common”; the second is that “we in the media are stupid and can’t figure out the common thread these suspects have in common.”
I don't think the folks in the media are that stupid, so that leaves option 1. Of course, the fact that the media thinks that only confirms option 2. It's a sort of chicken-and-egg thing, I guess.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The perfect immigration solution

Courtesy of my uncle (the family jokester), here's a win-win-win solution:

1) Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border;

2) Take the dirt and raise the levees in New Orleans;

3) Put the Florida alligators in the moat.

Under that scenario, the only other question is: do we make the politicians dig the moat, or do we put them in with the gators?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A new national party? Or not...

Peggy Noonan writes a provocative column today suggesting the political climate is ripe for an alternative to the Democrat/Republican monopoly that is currently treading water in the nation's capitol. (Geez, I could get a metaphor alert from James Taranto for that lede...)
There is a widespread sense in America -- a conviction, actually -- that we are not safe in the age of terror. That the port, the local power plant, even the local school, are not protected. Is Washington worried about this? Not so you'd notice. They're only worried about seeming unconcerned.

More to the point, people see the Republicans as incapable of managing the monster they've helped create -- this big Homeland Security/Intelligence apparatus that is like some huge buffed guy at the gym who looks strong but can't even put on his T-shirt without help because he's so muscle-bound. As for the Democrats, who co-created Homeland Security, no one -- no one -- thinks they would be more managerially competent. Nor does anyone expect the Democrats to be more visionary as to what needs to be done. The best they can hope is the Democrats competently serve their interest groups and let the benefits trickle down.

Right now the Republicans and Democrats in Washington seem, from the outside, to be an elite colluding against the voter. They're in agreement: immigration should not be controlled but increased, spending will increase, etc.

Are there some dramatic differences? Yes. But both parties act as if they see them not as important questions (gay marriage, for instance) but as wedge issues. Which is, actually, abusive of people on both sides of the question. If it's a serious issue, face it. Don't play with it.

I don't see any potential party, or potential candidate, on the scene right now who can harness the disaffection of growing portions of the electorate. But a new group or entity that could define the problem correctly -- that sees the big divide not as something between the parties but between America's ruling elite and its people -- would be making long strides in putting third party ideas in play in America again.
But coming right back at Noonan is John Podhoretz, writing on NRO's The Corner:
In my book, Can She Be Stopped?, I specifically warn Republicans and conservatives about the temptation to listen to the "siren song of schism" -- the notion that they would be better off casting a protest or third-party vote in 2008. Such a vote, no matter how principled it might seem, would have only one result, and that is to elect Hillary Clinton. It is a default vote for Hillary Clinton. I wrote those words in October 2005, but I did not anticipate the degree to which they might be true only weeks after the publication of my book in 2006. Today, Peggy Noonan offers the first sustained version of the siren song of schism almost to the note.

Even though she suggests those who might join a third party would come from both sides of the aisle, any cold-eyed observer of political trends would have to look at the correlation of forces at the moment and determine that there is no earthly reason why a resurgent Democratic Party, a party that managed to drum up 59 million votes for John Kerry of all people in 2004, would actually lose votes and voters between now and then — especially since it has the ability to blame all the woes of the world on the GOP. The notion of a vital and successful third party is a pipe dream. We've existed with the two parties we have through the Civil War, major depressions in the 1890s and 1930s, world wars, Vietnam and the civil-rights era. They will be with us for a long time still.

If people cannot stomach voting Republican and need to cast a protest vote, that is their right. But nobody should be under any illusions about what it means. It means Democratic rule.
I think Noonan makes some great points, but on the whole I agree with Podhoretz. And I would argue that it applies to 2006 as well.