Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tonight's Music

The Neck Belly Reels

Sharon Shannon - Button Accordion
Michael McGoldrick - Whistle
Gerry O'Connor - Banjo
Jim Murray - Guitar
Phil Cunningham - Piano Accordion
Jerry Douglas - Dobro
Todd Parks - Percussion
James Mackintosh - Percussion

This is from BBC's The Transatlantic Sessions.

Like a hyena with dry heaves

From The Independent:

They call it the Clinton cackle. It comes out of the blue, lasts a few seconds and leaves those who witnessed it wondering if they have missed a joke. Hillary Clinton's deployment of the full belly laugh is the latest weapon used by the leading Democratic presidential candidate when she is being pummelled by reporters or rivals.

No, we aren't "wondering if we have missed a joke". We are wondering if we have a ringside seat at a nervous breakdown.

Friends say the cackle is her way of deflecting aggressive questioning. It may also be a sign of nervousness over Iowa, where she is now running second to Barak Obama, according to one weekend poll.

Hillary Clinton still leads comfortably in the national polls over her closest Democratic rivals – Mr Obama and John Edwards. But Iowa is the first bellwether state in the race, where the first major event in the nomination process occurs in early January followed immediately by the New Hampshire primary.

Defeat in Iowa would be a serious blow and may explain why Clinton is using humour to deflect criticism rather than the withering ripostes she is known for.

Mrs Clinton's friends say she has a terrific sense of humour. But her sarcastic tendencies do not go down well with Mid Western voters. So she has turned to laughter. When attacked about her many flip-flops – she voted for war in Iraq but now opposes it and she opposed universal healthcare but now wants it – she now bursts out laughing.

But she isn't using humor to deflect criticism. If that were the case she would say something funny, or at least something she hoped was funny. Her normal use of humor in the face of criticism is to deploy an incredibly hateful form of bitter sarcasm which implies the question, the person asking it and anyone who thinks that it is a relevant point is unutterably stupid and so far beneath her that she has trouble even seeing them.

What Mrs. Clinton is doing is, apropos of nothing, issuing forth with this bizarre deeply unpleasant. . . noise. I hate to call it a cackle because that word brings to mind the laugh which actress Margaret Hamilton gave to the Wicked Witch of the West in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz and Hamilton was able to infuse elements of actual personality into her cackle. The vocalization, I guess is the best word, emitted by Hillary is devoid of any trace of personality, humor and anything else remotely connected to humanity.

Clearly Mrs. Clinton's handlers have impressed upon her the fact that if she goes out in public and does what comes naturally that she will never see the inside of the White House again unless she takes the guided tour. The problem for her is that in doing what is unnatural she is managing to come off like some freakish apparition out of a mescaline nightmare.

2008 is Hillary's one and only chance at the brass ring. Right now she is out front in the national polls, but the only thing keeping here there is the sense among Democrats that she is the candidate best able to win. The instant, the very nanosecond, that something comes along and puts a crack in that illusion the entire thing will shatter.

Fred Thompson can win

From The American Thinker, long but worthwhile:

Conventional wisdom is hardening around the proposition that Fred Dalton Thompson is too lazy, ill-prepared, tired, old, lackluster, inexperienced, inconsistent and bald to make a successful run for President.

Of course, conventional wisdom rarely gets anything right. When it does, it's only by accident.
In this case conventional wisdom is not just wrong but comically so. Thompson will win the Republican nomination for two reasons. First, he's a very impressive candidate. Second, there's no realistic alternative. He will win the general election for the same two reasons.

Let's start by considering the Thompson's Republican competition.

John McCain's candidacy may not be dead, but then again, neither is Ariel Sharon. McCain has been at war with the Republican Party for a decade. The idea that he could win the GOP's presidential nomination was never more than a fantasy. His presence in the race will soon become an embarrassment, if it isn't one already.

Mitt Romney oscillates between the low teens and single digits in national polls. He does better in Iowa and New Hampshire where he has spent a great deal of time and money in the hope that he can ride a wave of early momentum to victory. It won't happen.

The only evidence that Romney can generate significant support comes from states where he has campaigned essentially unopposed by kicking his effort into high gear months before anyone else. In the last few weeks before the voting starts the political landscape will be very different and much more crowded.

Romney can't sustain the support he currently shows in Iowa and New Hampshire unless he can make himself considerably more appealing that he has managed to be so far. Even his greatest admirers usually concede that he is too slick and too packaged to seem entirely trustworthy. As the polling data so far indicates, the great majority of Republican voters are going to choose somebody else when they judge him alongside their other choices.

Oddly, Mitt Romney gives me new insight into Bill Clinton's career. I always used to wonder how much of Clinton's appeal, such as it was, depended on his flaws rather than his strengths. Could Clinton have been so charming to so many without the selfishness, the total lack of self-discipline, the sexual incontinence, the dishonesty, the flabby physique and the swollen nose? Did he depend on his repulsive and dysfunctional traits to humanize him?

Romney's struggle to connect with voters suggests that he did. Sorry Governor, the voters just don't warm to guys who are classically handsome, athletic, rich , intelligent, decent, and also ambitious enough to be supple about their political principles. You could try taking a personal interest in some interns, but that probably won't work for a Republican.

Romney would do better, despite his slippery persona, if he could only learn to communicate without dropping into MBA speak. Everything for Mitt is a PowerPoint presentation to potential investors. Consider his approach to the central problem facing our war planners - what to do about Iran? He has a five point plan:

Specifically, we must:

- First, continue to tighten economic sanctions.

- Second, impose diplomatic isolation on Iran's Government.

- Third, have Arab states join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran.

- Fourth, make it clear that while nuclear capabilities may be a source of pride,
it can also be a source of peril. The military option remains on the table.

- Fifth, integrate our strategy into a broader approach to the broader
Muslim world--including working with our NATO allies and with progressive Muslim
communities and leaders to build a partnership for prosperity.

This is drivel.

The fourth point is supposed to be a threat, but it sounds pro forma. The rest of it is perfect nonsense which leaches away any impact the anemic threat might have had. There are no meaningful sanctions to tighten. We can't impose diplomatic isolation on Iran and if we did the Iranian government wouldn't care. Arab states can't do anything to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions and even if they could they wouldn't dare. As for number five, what is he talking about? Dumping money on an Arab world already awash in petrodollars?

If I were one of the mad mullahs I wouldn't be losing any sleep for fear that Mitt Romney might be the next Commander-in-Chief. As a voter, I can't see any reason to entrust my family's safety to him. He plainly isn't the guy to inspire a nation at war.

What about America's Mayor? After the McCain campaign went on life support, conventional wisdom converted from the belief that Republicans would anoint McCain because it was "his turn" to a new and equally irrational faith. The catechism goes something like this: Republicans are probably doomed in 2008. Their only chance lies in swallowing hard and nominating Rudy Giuliani who can, supposedly, compete with Hillary for votes in left-leaning states like New Jersey , New York, Pennsylvania and California.

This argument is a hardy perennial of conventional commentary, and it is utterly inane. You can't win by appealing to people who won't vote for you under any imaginable circumstances at the cost of alienating your core supporters. Trading a perfectly good cow for a handful of beans only makes sense in fairy tales.

The Democrat Party was once the dominant political force in American life. It lost that position for two reasons. First, because the electorate discovered that Democrats, beholden as they are to leftist, anti-American supporters, can't be trusted to defend the country. Second, because voters also discovered that Democrats lacked the strength and the wisdom to defend our culture against all sorts of bizarre social experiment.

Democrats have worked very hard to draw the camouflage nets over their irresponsible attitude toward national defense. Republicans have been extremely timid about exposing it. The point of distinction between Republicans and Democrats which works most strongly in the GOP's favor is that Republicans fight back when vandals try to deface fundamental social institutions and Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the vandals. Nominating Rudy Giuliani would neutralize this advantage.

With Rudy on the ballot millions of "values voters" would stay home. Millions more who are beguiled by socialism's promise of something for nothing but often vote for Republicans anyway because Democrats are just too weird, would vote for the Dem. With Giuliani as the candidate Republicans would limp into the fall of 2008, both feet riddled with self-inflicted bullet wounds.

Giuliani's supporters like to complain about the petulance of "single issue" voters who would ignore their man's many sterling qualities and help elect Hillary merely because they have some serious disagreements with the former Mayor. This complaint is a waste of time and energy. A Giulliani nomination would hurt Republican prospects. This is as predictable as the tide and just as impervious to argument. If Giulliani's supporters insist on shattering the Republican coalition and, as a result, Hillary wins, they should blame their own arrogance not the petulance of others.

Giuliani had a clear chance to unify the Republican coalition and step forward as it's natural leader. If, at the outset of his campaign he argued forcefully that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and needs to be overturned, Republicans could have had confidence that he would stand with society's defenders and against the vandals.

Henry Clay once said he would rather be right than President. Giuliani would rather be wrong about Roe than President and by now his choice is irrevocable. Apparently Rudy doesn't understand that Roe is a travesty, which puts him squarely on the wrong side of the culture war. For both moral and political reasons, Republicans can't choose him as their nominee.

But isn't Rudy so tough on terrorism that voters will flock to him? No, he isn't. Giuliani has given no indication on the campaign trail that he has an especially clear understanding of our strategic situation. Nor has he given any indication that he will be particularly forceful in dealing with our enemies. Once again, the acid test is what he has to say about dealing with Iran. Rudy flunks that test even more dramatically than Romney does. At least Romney is talking about the subject, however ineptly.

When Giuliani talks about the "War on Terror" he says we need to "stay on offense," which presupposes that we have been on offense. We haven't. We have been trying to fight a limited proxy war in Iraq and avoid taking the fight directly to the enemy's center of gravity. That isn't offense. It isn't smart either but that's another subject for another time.

When Rudy mentions Iran at all he gives no hint that he understands that, one way or another, the road to victory leads through Tehran. He says, as does George W. Bush, that Iran can't be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Like the President, he never says how we are going to stop Iran from getting them.

Giuliani has very little foreign policy experience and he seems to be in thrall to the same establishment groupthink on the subject that has largely paralyzed the Bush administration. Giuliani was level-headed on September 11. That doesn't make him a latter-day Patton, or LeMay.

Fred Thompson is quite different from the other candidates. The conventional critiques of his candidacy all say much more about his strengths than his weaknesses.

Dick Morris complains that he is too lazy to prepare well-scripted answers to questions about local issues. In Florida, for example he deflected a question about the Terri Schiavo case saying he wasn't familiar with the details but in general he preferred local answers to local questions. To a question about oil drilling in the Everglades he said that he wasn't aware of major oil resources there but that we couldn't be in the business of putting energy resources off limits.

Each of these answers was perfectly reasonable and part of a package that is likely to have broad appeal. Neither shows a lazy candidate. They both show a mature and sensible candidate who isn't willing to pander. Thompson, unlike all the others, has important themes to project and can't be bothered to pick up a few supporters here and there by promising to serve the interests of those few at the expense of the many.

This isn't politics as usual in 21st Century America, but it is likely to sell. When it does, it will make a mockery of Dick Morris's entire career, which was grounded on the idea that pandering conquers all.

What about Thompson's experience? He never ran anything. Mitt was Governor of Massachusetts and a successful business executive. Rudy was Mayor of New York. Shouldn't those qualifications trump a lawyer who is also an actor and used to be a senator? They would if we were hiring a manager in chief, but we aren't.

We have gotten so used to speaking of the President of the United States "running the country" that most of us no longer notice how unrealistic and unAmerican that expression is. The whole point of the American Revolution was to establish a country without anyone to run it. We don't want or need a president who is inclined to run things. We need a President who leads and inspires. Fred, with his non-managerial background, is the only candidate of either party who seems to get this.

Much ink has been wasted making the obvious point that Thompson is not an "outsider." After a long career in Washington as a staffer and Senator, as a lawyer and a lobbyist Fred Thompson is as well connected as any "insider" here. But for his entire career Thompson has stood outside the bipartisan consensus that, when it comes to government activity, more is better. His commitment to governmental modesty is most often expressed as concern for the principle of federalism. That commitment put him on the short end of some very lopsided votes as a Senator.

Thompson's view on the proper scope of federal government activities is neither shallow nor passing. It has deep roots and he can defend them against heavyweight attacks. At National Review Online last spring, Ramesh Ponnuru
challenged some federalist positions Thompson took as a Senator. Thompson wrote a response which dismantled Ponnuru's arguments. Ponnuru's reply was both snarky and beside the point. It came as close to sputtering incoherence as it is possible to come in print. Ramesh Ponnuru is no fool. The man who can beat him like a rented mule in a battle of the keyboards thoroughly understands the subject of their dispute.

Thompson's commitment to governmental modesty makes him the only serious candidate for president who isn't part of the bipartisan Party of Government. He is the only candidate qualified to build on the success of Ronald Reagan and the only candidate who can counter the Democrat drive for more socialism, particularly as it applies to health care.

Reagan turned America away from the socialist morass of the 1930's and reconnected us with our deepest political traditions. He reminded us that we don't want a government, let alone a President, to run the country. Unfortunately, his successors never understood this essential pillar of Reagan's success. When George W. Bush perpetrated the atrocious statement that "when somebody hurts government has got to move," the Republican break with Reagan was complete.

Fred Thompson isn't Ronald Reagan. But he can restore the Republican Party to Reagan's default settings. He can make the GOP once again the party of the American Revolution and distinguish it sharply from the party of the French, Russian, Chinese, and Cuban Revolutions.

Does Thompson have the rhetorical skills to be the leader we need? Let's put him to the same test both Romney and Giuliani just flunked. Does Thompson understand that our problem with terrorism is now primarily an Iranian problem? Can he face that problem and discuss it in terms most Americans will understand?

Thompson's reaction to General Petraeus' recent testimony before Congress suggests that he can. Before Petraeus said a word everyone knew that our efforts in Iraq have become vastly more successful under his command. Everyone understood that Al Qaeda and Iran's proxies will probably be humiliated in Iraq unless they can adjust to the tactics we are now using with such success. The $64,000 question was this: What is Iran doing to forestall humiliation in Iraq and what will we do to stop them?

General Petraeus dropped some very interesting hints on this subject and Thompson zeroed in on them. His statement on the subject was simple and direct: "Gen. Petraeus' report also leaves me even more concerned about Iran's role in Iraq. Iran is headed down a dangerous path, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must understand that."

Thompson reinforced this barely veiled threat with his reaction to a controversy over Ahmadinejad's request to visit Ground Zero while he is in New York to address the UN. He said "I wouldn't let him in the country." He went on to say , according to the Dallas Morning News, that "the Iranian regime was a threat to Americans and should be dealt with accordingly."

At last a candidate who understands that Iran is at war with us and who is willing to speak as though we are at war with Iran. It's a bonus that he speaks in clear declarative sentences and that everything in his manner and appearance demands that you take him seriously.

When Thompson speaks the chattering class often sputters that he is too laid back, even soporific. People who have never seen him speak themselves often adopt this critique and endlessly repeat the same clich├ęs on various conservative websites - "lackluster," "underwhelming," "tired," "old," "no fire in the belly." Conservatives are hungry for a Hillary slayer and many of them fear that a thoughtful, deliberate senior statesman can't possibly play that role. They are wrong.

Watch a Thompson speech that was widely panned as dull. Just because Fred talks slowly doesn't mean he's stupid, or uninspiring. Notice that he is saying important things and saying them well. How many politicians can talk about Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind in terms which indicate that he has both read and understood it?

Consider that Fred's calm, sensible demeanor permits him to say things that would terrify many ordinary voters coming from someone who seemed less steady. Thompson can say radical things and nobody turns a hair. If any other candidate talked about overhauling social security and the tax code while we fight a global war of which Iraq and Afghanistan are mere outcroppings, a substantial part of the electorate would faint dead away. Try to wrap your mind around the reality that coming off like an old coot having a conversation as he whittles next to the pot-bellied stove down at the country store is an excellent way to attract most American voters.

Political strategists aren't known for consensus, but they all agree that the public loathes passionate and polarized politics. Attacking Hillary with self-righteous zeal like St. George all set to slay the dragon would be a tactical mistake. The best way for a Republican to beat Hillary is to talk to the American people calmly, simply and sensibly, and let her be the poster child for all the bitterness and anger of the last decade. Fred is just the man to do that.

After a recent Thompson speech in Iowa a member of the audience called out: "Kill the terrorists, secure the border, and give me back my freedom." Thompson replied "you just summed up my whole speech."

No other candidate could have carried off that quip because no other candidate is capable of delivering a convincing speech focused on those powerful themes.

Certainly Hillary's theme - A kinder, gentler America at home and abroad - can't compete. Socialism never had the electoral appeal in the United States that the chattering class expects it to have. Nowadays it is painfully passe. Segolene Royale couldn't find a socialist wave to ride into power even in France.

Besides, Hillary is indelibly stained by her close association with and the other moonbats of the pseudo-pacifist left. When the calendar reads November, 2008 the world is likely to be much less hospitable to anti-war tomfoolery than it is today. By that time either Iran will have had to cede control of Iraq to the United States giving us an historic victory, or our conflict with Iran will have broken into the open. Either way, the defeatists and obstructionists aren't likely to be in good odor. Hillary will try to cut them loose, too late.

I'm looking forward to Fred's first Inaugural Address.

I very much hope he's right. Fred is the only person in the race who has a realistic chance of winning who I truly trust.

Final Bow

I have bad news for all of you who have enjoyed the work of Cox and Forkum. As of today they have stopped producing editorial cartoons. The above cartoon is their final work and is the cover illustration of their final book, Black & White World IV. The work of John Cox will still be available at his blog, John Cox Art and the Cox & Forkum website will remain online as an archive of their work.

The whole story is available here.

They will be missed.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tonight's Music

This is The Belle Stars version of Iko Iko, a children's Carnival (Mardis Gras) song from New Orleans. The best version was recorded by The Dixie Cups, but I couldn't find a stand alone version of it on YouTube.

Here are the lyrics:

my grandma and your grandma were
sittin' by the fire
my grandma told your grandma
"i'm gonna set your flag on fire."

talkin' 'bout, hey now ! hey now !
i ko, i ko, un-day
jockamo feeno ai nane
jockamo fee nane

look at my king all dressed in red
i ko i ko un-day
i betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead
jockamo fee nane

my flag boy and your flag boy were
sittin' by the fire.
my flag boy told your flag boy
"i'm gonna set your flag on fire."

see that guy all dressed in green
i-ko, i-ko, unday.
he's not a man;
he's a lovin' machine
jocka mo fee nane

Do unto others as they have done unto others

Peggy Noonan writes:

Is it necessary to say when one speaks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that you disapprove of him, disagree with him, believe him a wicked fellow and are not amused that he means to have missiles aimed at us and our friends? If it is, I am happy to say it. Who, really, isn't?
But this has been our history: to let all speak and to fear no one. That's a good history to continue. The Council on Foreign Relations was right to invite him to speak last year--that is the council's job, to hear, listen and parse--and Columbia University was well within its rights to let him speak this year. Though, in what is now apparently Columbia tradition, the stage was once again stormed, but this time verbally, and by a university president whose aggression seemed sharpened by fear.

There were two revealing moments in Ahmadinejad's appearance. The first is that in his litany of complaint against the United States he seemed not to remember the taking and abuse of American diplomatic hostages in 1979. An odd thing to forget since he is said to have been part of that operation. The second was the moment when he seemed to assert that his nation does not have homosexuals. This won derisive laughter, and might have been a learning moment for him; dictators don't face derisive from crowds back home.

Even a couple of years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly but I have undergone an evolution in my thinking. There are some people who ideas or actions are so repugnant and so actually or potentially dangerous that decent people should not even recognize a common humanity with them.

Would Ms. Noonan seriously consider having a nice polite sit-down with Adolph Hitler to exchange views on the place of Jews in the world on the same afternoon in which he issued orders to implement his "Final Solution"? If she would then she is a moral leper.

To show even a scintilla of common courtesy to a creature like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to spit on every innocent person murdered by the Iranian regime, and there are tens of thousands of them.

To be civilized is a fine thing, but like anything it can be taken too far. The West is in danger of civilizing itself right into the graveyard.

The HWT award for the most Blatent attempt to buy votes goes to

Mrs. Bill Clinton!

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 "baby bond" from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.
Clinton, her party's front-runner in the 2008 race, made the suggestion during a forum hosted by the
Congressional Black Caucus.

"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home," she said.

The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

This is an attempt to lock up the women's vote with special attention to welfare mothers who will hope that they will be able to get their hands on that 5K well before baby's 18th birthday.

If America elects this woman to be our next president we will deserve everything we get.

Clarence Thomas bio goes on sale Monday.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Breaking his 16-year public silence on his bitter confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says Anita Hill was a mediocre employee who was used by political opponents to make claims she had been sexually harassed.

Thomas writes about Hill, his former employee in two government agencies, and the allegations that nearly derailed his nomination to the high court in 1991 in his autobiography, "My Grandfather's Son."

A copy of the book, which goes on sale Monday, was obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

He writes with indignation of the nationally televised hearings that he memorably called a "high-tech lynching." A child of the segregated South, Thomas says he was being pursued "not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony."

This is going to be a great read for a number of reasons. The pure satanic hatred which the Left spews at any minority who flees the left-liberal plantation and dares to think for themselves must be seen to be believed. And it was put on display for all the world to see in the Thomas confirmation hearings.

The book, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir can be ordered by clicking the link.

Problem is he can't win.

Tom Tancredo
Score: 53
Stem-Cell Research
Health Care
Social Security
Line-Item Veto
Death Penalty

-- Take the Quiz! --

The one that I came closest to that can win is Thompson. The Republican I agreed with least was Julie Annie, even Ron Paul, the ass-clown, scored higher. As for the Democrats I agreed with Biden the most, on three issues, and Clinton, Edwards and Obama the least (I agreed with them only on the death penalty).

All in all, no surprises.

H/T: Shooting The Messengers

Saturday morning cartoon and commercial

This is a WWII anti-Nazi propaganda cartoon from Walt Disney.

Good for you, Texas

From The New York Times:

HOUSTON, Sept. 28 — A day after the United States Supreme Court halted an execution in Texas at the last minute, Texas officials made clear on Friday that they would nonetheless proceed with more executions in coming months, including one next week.

Though several other states are halting lethal injections until it is clear whether they are constitutional, Texas is taking a different course, risking a confrontation with the court.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to stay convicted murderer Carlton Turner’s execution will not necessarily result in an abrupt halt to Texas executions,” said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott of Texas. “State and federal courts will continue to address each scheduled execution on a case-by-case basis.”

Shortly before midnight on Thursday, the Supreme Court stayed the execution of Mr. Turner, who had been scheduled to become the 26th Texas inmate executed this year by lethal injection in Huntsville.

Although the court gave no reason for its order, Mr. Turner, convicted of murdering his adoptive parents in 1998, had appealed to the court after it agreed Tuesday to consider the constitutionality of lethal injection, the most commonly used method of execution in the United States.

Several legal experts said the Supreme Court reprieve would be seen by most states as a signal to halt all executions until the court determined, probably some time next year, whether the current chemical formulation used for lethal injections amounts to cruel and unusual punishment barred by the Eighth Amendment.

You know, on the theory that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission states might want to start announcing executions after they have been performed rather than before.

Here's a serious suggestion. If the worry is that the current formula for the lethal injection is feared to be "cruel" how about giving the condemned a large overdose of heroin. They would feel a few moments of pure bliss then nothing.

Here is another serious suggestion. Since the method of execution in use at the time the constitution was written and ratified was hanging. We know that after the ratification of the constitution that nobody, no judge, no politician, no legislative body, stepped forward and demanded that hangings stop because they were "cruel and unusual". Therefore hanging becomes the only form of execution which we can know with absolute certainty passes the "no cruel and unusual punishment" test of the constitution. So let's start hanging people again.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tonight's Music

Corvus Corax - Hymnus Cantica

Complete set of Sherlock Holmes DVDs realeased

If you were a fan of the Grenada Studio's production of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries you may be interested to know that A&E has just released a boxed set of the entire series. It is on sale here for 10% off.

Before I saw Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes I believed that no one would ever top Basil Rathbone as the Victorian sleuth, but Brett has defined Holmes for the screen. As long as these performances exist on DVD there will never again be a legitmate reason to adapt any of Conan Doyle's Holmes stories for the big or small screen.

Here is what one reviewer has to say about the Granada series:

For this is as good as it gets. We have a glorious incarnation of Holmes and Watson here. Brett's Holmes - cantankerous, affected, whimsical, rude, arrogant, precipitous, charming - can only have been drawn from the deepest possible understanding of the text. There have been similar efforts along the same lines, though none so successful. No other Holmes has come close to Brett's portrayal of the brilliant but obsessed mind, teetering on the knife edge dividing madness and genius.

Brett's portrayal of Holmes is enough to lift this series above any other. But Granada (who are damn good at this sort of thing when they try) have nailed the two other vital essences of the stories and this makes their achievement unique.

Firstly we have a totally new take on Watson, a brisk, wonderfully intelligent man of action, a fearless fellow crime fighter and stalwart support. As David Burke leads Holmes round the Aldershot camp in The Crooked Man, you understand exactly what Holmes found appealing in the bluff ex-soldier, who chronicles his victories, appreciates and learns his methods and soothes his clients when Holme's interrogation causes offence. This is new and unsurpassed. . .

I agree 100%. If you, or someone on your Christmas list, is a fan this is a must-buy and the price is very reasonable considering what you get.

Al Gore is a coward as well as a liar

From TCSDaily:

As over 150 heads of state and government gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss climate change, former Vice President Al Gore, the most prominent proponent of the theory of the human-induced, catastrophic global warming, continues to refuse repeated challenges to debate the issue.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who addressed the General Assembly on climate change September 24, is but the latest global warming skeptic to receive the cold shoulder from Gore. In ads appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times, Klaus has called on Gore to face him in a one-on-one debate on the proposition: "Global Warming Is Not a Crisis." Earlier in the year, similar challenges to Gore were issued by Dennis Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All calls on the former vice president to face his critics have fallen on deaf ears.

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market think tank, launched the debate campaign in April, using ads, press releases, and other tactics to prod Gore into confronting those who reject his alarmist views on global warming.

For his part, President Klaus has not minced words on what he sees as the real agenda of those promoting climate hysteria. In an op-ed in the Financial Times (June 13, pointedly titled "Freedom, Not Climate, is at Risk," Klaus said: "Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives." Arguing that the issue of global warming "is more about social than about natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature," Klaus rejected the notion of a "scientific consensus" on climate change as an effort by a "loud minority" to impose its will on a "silent majority."

However, Klaus reserved his unkindest cut of all for the movement that has joined forces with Gore is spreading fear about global warming:

"As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning."

Gore will not debate the issue in a public forum because he knows that he would lose. Global warming, for the elites who are pushing the hysteria on the public, is not about climate change, but about growing government power.

Gore and the other elites know that global warming has just about outlived its usefulness as a hobgoblin with the power to scare the population into surrendering their economic and political freedoms, as well as a significant chunk of their wealth. They are casting about for another boogie man and until they find one they will keep global warming on life support for as long as possible.

Going into a public debate with knowledgeable opponents who have the facts and the scientific stature to lay bare how specious the foundations of your case are is not something which the global warming alarmists will find helpful.

Go read the rest of the TCS article to find out what happened the last time global warming scare mongers were stupid enough to debate the issue.

I wonder if this is going to become a problem

There is an article in the Santa Barbara Independent about Rudolph Giuliani's recent campaign stop in Santa Barbara which is interesting for two reasons. One is that you don't usually see that kind of fawning coverage of a Republican in any media outlet (if you eliminated Rudy's name and any reference to the GOP you would have thought it was the Washington Post covering a Hillary event). The other is that they casually mention that Giuliani was an hour late to a fundraiser.

Candidates have to cover a lot of ground and sometimes they have to adjust their schedules on the fly so occasionally being late is something that is going to happen, but this is the second time in a short span that Rudy has made his supporters wait.

Bill Clinton used to do this all the time, being late more often than he was on time. It is significant because it is a sign of contempt for the audience to leave them sitting there awaiting your good pleasure.

The person who does this consistently demonstrates that he or she does not regard others as being "real". Other people only exist for them as stage props or tools. To Bill Clinton any other person who wasn't giving him money, sex or adoration was useless and could be disposed of. I wonder if Rudy feels the same way.

I'll bet Dinnerjacket is scared now

From Cox & Forkum. Don't forget to check out their updated list of reasons to declare war on Iran.

Moonbats in love

CARACAS, Venezuela Sep 28, 2007 (AP) - The leaders of Iran and Venezuela cemented an alliance aimed at countering the United States while the Iranian president reached out to a new ally in Bolivia and declared that together, "no one can defeat us."

After being vilified during his U.N. visit this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled on to friendlier territory Thursday, first stopping in Bolivia where he pledged $1 billion in investment and then visiting Venezuela to meet President Hugo Chavez.

"Together we are surely growing stronger, and in truth no one can defeat us," the Iranian leader said through an interpreter. Apparently referring to the U.S., he said, "Imperialism has no other option: Respect the peoples (of the world) or accept defeat."

Chavez greeted the Iranian leader warmly on a red carpet in front of the presidential palace, where they both stood before microphones and let loose with rhetoric challenging Washington.

Oh Ooo-go give me your hot revolutionary man-love!

The Only Ones misophobic enough

MORRISVILLE - When Morrisville police officer Chris Gill handed him a ticket, Kent Kauffman coughed. Next thing Kauffman knew, Gill was charging him with assault on a government official.
Gill contends Kauffman intentionally coughed on him three times. According to Gill's report, Kauffman looked into the officer's eyes before "hacking" in his face, Morrisville spokeswoman Stacie Galloway said Wednesday.

Kauffman acknowledges that he coughed two or three times from the window of his Dodge minivan Tuesday but said it was toward Gill's waist.

"He says I coughed in his face," Kauffman said. "But that would only work if he had a 4-foot-long face."

Kauffman said that Gill cuffed him and threw him into the side of the patrol car, and that he ended up on the ground.

"It knocked the wind out of me," he said. "He kept yelling at me to get up. I told him, 'I can't move, man, I'm sick.' "

Kauffman, an accountant for Accountemps in Chapel Hill, said he developed a cough after his dog, Blair, died of kidney failure last week. He said he was still stricken Tuesday but went to work because he needed the cash.

Kauffman was traveling on McCrimmon Parkway just after 8 a.m. when Gill pulled him over for not wearing a seat belt. Gill charged Kauffman with a Class misdemeanor. If convicted, he could spend up to 60 days in jail.

Webster's dictionary says that to cough means to expel air suddenly and noisily from the lungs through the glottis, either as the result of an involuntary muscular spasm in the throat or to clear the air passages. A Wake County judge will decide the intent behind Kauffman's cough.

A quick check of the records reveals that the week before officer Gill arrested a woman for "making faces" at him. The week before that officer Gill issued a citation to a woman for "licking her arm and smelling it" in front of Gill and on the same day arrested a man for calling him a "poo-poo head".

Officer Gill has obviously been missing his nap time and has got all cranky.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tonight's Music

String Sisters - Rumble Thy Bellyful

Is Hillary a true Arkansas pillbilly?

I mean she does look pilled to the gills.

Cindy, a wanted fugitive

WASHINGTON — A bench warrant was issued Thursday for antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who did not appear for arraignment Thursday in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to face charges related to her Sept. 10 disorderly conduct arrest on Capitol Hill.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy issued the order to Sheehan around noon, a court spokeswoman said. The warrant says she is to be arrested and brought before the court. She also faces one count of unlawful assembly.

"She wasn't aware that there was a court appearance today," said Sheehan's spokeswoman, Tiffany Burns, reached by cell phone.

That's what they all say.

Thomas opens up

From The Drudge Report:

In his first television interview, in which he discusses his childhood, his race, his rise to Supreme Court Justice and his job on the nation's highest court, Clarence Thomas says the real issue at his controversial confirmation hearings 16 years ago was abortion. Saying the issue was "the elephant in the room," Thomas also tells Steve Kroft that the hearings he called at the time a "high tech lynching" harmed the country. The interview will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Sept. 30 (7:30-9:00 PM/ET, 7:00-9:00 PM /PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Thomas, whose Supreme Court positions on abortion issues have been conservative, says the confirmation hearings in which he was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee -- allegations he continues to deny -- were really about abortion. "That was the elephant in the room... That was the issue. That is the issue that people are apparently so upset about," he tells Kroft. "[That is the issue] that you determine the composition of your Supreme Court and your entire federal judiciary, it seems now," says Thomas.

He says the hearings harmed the accuser, Anita Hill, himself, and ultimately the country by setting a precedent manifested in other highly charged, media-infused events such as the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. "The process harmed her. It harmed me and we see sort of the precedent of this kind of thing begin to harm even people like President Clinton," Thomas believes. "Things are out of control. That's not good for the country. It's not good for the court," he continues, "What are we going to look like years from now if we can't get people confirmed because everybody gets to attack them. They get to draw and quarter them," he says.

In the interview, Thomas also expresses an opinion of his accuser for the first time in public, saying of Hill, who waited 10 years to accuse him, "She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed. That's not the person I knew," Thomas says. "She could defend herself, let's just put it that way... She did not take slights very kindly and anyone who did anything, she responded very quickly," he says. When Kroft rejoins, "Didn't take 10 years?" Thomas replies, "It didn't take 10 minutes."

I haven't watched 60 Minutes in well over 10 years, but I'll make an exception for this.

Hillary flip-flops on torture

HANOVER, N.H. - Sen. Hillary Clinton scored with a Democratic audience last night by contradicting her husband's belief that a terrorist could be tortured to foil an imminent plot - but what observers didn't know is she was contradicting herself, too.

"It cannot be American policy, period," Clinton (D-N.Y.) told debate moderator Tim Russert, who asked if there should be a presidential exemption to allow the torture of a terror chieftain if authorities knew a bomb was about to go off, but didn't know where it was.

When Russert revealed ex-President Bill Clinton advocated such a policy on a recent NBC "Meet the Press" appearance, Hillary Clinton won huge applause from the Dartmouth College audience with a deadpan comeback:

"Well, I'll talk to him later."

She may have to give herself that talk, too.

Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: "If we're going to bepreparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law."

She said then the "ticking time bomb" scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.

"In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President, and the President must be held accountable," she said.

Clinton's campaign did not immediately respond to numerous requests for comment on the eye-popping contradiction.

What is interesting about this is that Hillary has the Democrat nomination locked up so the wise course would be to begin shifting back somewhat to the center in order to show the sane majority of the population that she is not a lunatic moonbat (even if she really is).

So why was Hillary still playing to the nutroots community last night?

If this is representative of the kind of positions she intends to run on then the chances for Republican victory next November got got a lot better.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tonight's Music

Corvus Corax perform Corritur Ad Vocem. This was filmed during the recording sessions which went into their CD Cantus Buranus.

Miss Ann is talking

That means that YOU are listening!

Democrats should run Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for president. He's more coherent than Dennis Kucinich, he dresses like their base, he's more macho than John Edwards, and he's willing to show up at a forum where he might get one hostile question -- unlike the current Democratic candidates for president who won't debate on Fox News Channel. He's not married to an impeached president, and the name "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" is surely no more frightening than "B. Hussein Obama."

And liberals agree with Ahmadinejad on the issues! We know that because he was invited by an American university to speak on campus.

Contrary to all the blather about "free speech" surrounding Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia, universities in America do not invite speakers who do not perfectly mirror the political views of their America-hating faculties. Rather, they aggressively censor differing viewpoints and permit only a narrow category of speech on their campuses. Ask Larry Summers.

If a university invites someone to speak, you know the faculty agrees with the speaker. Maybe not the entire faculty. Some Columbia professors probably consider Ahmadinejad too moderate on Israel.

Columbia president Lee Bollinger claimed the Ahmadinejad invitation is in keeping with "Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate."

Except Columbia doesn't have that tradition. This is worse than saying "the dog ate my homework." It's like saying "the dog ate my homework" when you're Michael Vick and everyone knows you've killed your dog.

Columbia's "tradition" is to shut down any speakers who fall outside the teeny, tiny seditious perspective of its professors.

When Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist and his black colleague Marvin Stewart were invited by the College Republicans to speak at Columbia last year, the tolerant, free-speech-loving Columbia students violently attacked them, shutting down the speech.

Imbued with Bollinger's commitment to free speech, Columbia junior Ryan Fukumori said of the Minutemen: "They have no right to be able to speak here."

Needless to say -- unlike Ahmadinejad -- the university had not invited the Minutemen. Most colleges and universities wouldn't buy a cup of coffee for a conservative speaker.

Fees for speakers who do not hate America are raised from College Republican fundraisers and contributions from patriotic alumni and locals who think students ought to hear at least one alternative viewpoint in four years of college.

And then college administrators turn a blind eye when liberal apple-polishers and suck-ups shut down the speech or physically attack the speaker.

Bollinger refused to punish the students who stormed the stage and violently ended the Minutemen's speech.

So the one thing we know absolutely is that Bollinger did not allow Ahmadinejad to speak out of respect for "free speech" because Bollinger does not respect free speech.

Only because normal, patriotic Americans were appalled by Columbia's invitation of Ahmadinejad to speak was Bollinger forced into the ridiculous position of denouncing Ahmadinejad when introducing him.

Then why did you invite him?

And by the way, I'll take a denunciation if college presidents would show up at my speeches and drone on for 10 minutes about "free speech" before I begin.

At Syracuse University last year, when liberal hecklers tried to shut down a speech by a popular conservative author of (almost!) six books, College Republicans began to remove the hecklers. But Dean of Students Roy Baker blocked them from removing students disrupting the speech on the grounds that removing students screaming during a speech would violate the hecklers' "free speech." They had a "free speech" right to prevent anyone from hearing a conservative's free speech.

That's what colleges mean by "free speech." (And by the way, my fingers are getting exhausted from making air quotes every time I use the expression "free speech" in relation to a college campus.)

"Tolerance of opposing views" means we have to listen to their anti-American views, but they don't have to hear our pro-American views. (In Washington, they call this "the Fairness Doctrine.")

Liberals are never called upon to tolerate anything they don't already adore, such as treason, pornography and heresy. In fact, those will often get you course credit.

At Ahmadinejad's speech, every vicious anti-Western civilization remark was cheered wildly. It was like watching an episode of HBO'S "Real Time With Bill Maher."

Ahmadinejad complained that the U.S. and a few other "monopolistic powers, selfish powers" were trying to deny Iranians their "right" to develop nukes.

Wild applause.

Ahmadinejad repeatedly refused to answer whether he seeks the destruction of the state of Israel.

Wild applause.

He accused the U.S. of supporting terrorism.

Wild applause.

Only when Ahmadinejad failed to endorse sodomy did he receive the single incident of booing throughout his speech.

Responding to a question about Iran's execution of homosexuals, Ahmadinejad said there are no homosexuals in Iran: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."

I already knew that from looking at his outfit. If liberals want to run this guy for president, they better get him to "Queer Eye for the Islamofascist Guy."

As usual Ann nails it. I ask again, what parent would spend a dime to send his or her child to that cesspool.

A double shot of the little nutjob

Today's new word


1. A failed attempt to protect Hillary.
2. A person who won't take one for the team and inconveniently refuses to die when ordered.
3. Botched suicide.

"Some people have skeletons in their closet, I just have Hsus." - Hillary

Q: What are Hillary's favorite kind of nuts?
A: Ca$h Hsu's

H/T: The People's Cube

It all comes down to context

Julie Annie still doesn't really get it on guns

From The New York Sun:

Mayor Giuliani's speech to the National Rifle Association is a reminder of one of the great things about democracy — the education it provides not only to voters but also to candidates. When Mr. Giuliani was serving as mayor he was inclined toward a crabbed, provincial view of the Second Amendment, which says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed and which has been called the palladium of our liberties. He derided the National Rifle Association, the civil rights organization that focuses on the Second Amendment, and he launched a lawsuit against gun makers. Now that Mr. Giuliani has been campaigning to transform himself from mayor of a northeastern metropolis to president of America, he's been getting something of an education on the issue. At the NRA in Washington, it was clear that a more mature Giuliani has emerged. His endorsement of the Tiahrt Amendment, which protects the privacy of certain data on gun sales but which is opposed by Mayor Bloomberg, sets up, as our Russell Berman reports on page one, a potential confrontation with his successor in city hall as the 2008 race unfolds.

Mr. Giuliani attributed his past errors to the intensity of his fight against crime in New York City. By our lights, the great victory that Mr. Giuliani achieved against crime covers a lot of sins. But we are by no means convinced that the war on crime would have been hurt by allowing law-abiding citizens to exercise the right to keep and bear arms that is guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights. To establish, as New York has, a gun control regime that guarantees to every criminal the near certainty that the plump-looking target walking down the street will be without a gun has always struck us, as it did the Founders of America, as folly. In Washington on Friday, Mr. Giuliani called for a "renewed emphasis on the Second Amendment," but seemed to suggest, if only by implication, that the Second Amendment applied only in some regions, a point Senator Thompson called him on.

Mr. Giuliani hung back from focusing on the cutting edge of the debate — whether the right to keep and bear belongs to state militias or to individuals. He suggested focusing on the people he views as models for the Supreme Court. He cited, according to the report in the New York Times, Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Alito. All eyes are on the Supreme Court as the District of Columbia appeals to the high court a ruling that the right to keep and bear is precisely an individual right. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to grant certiorari. The best stand on the Second Amendment taken by a candidate speaking to the NRA on Friday was by Senator McCain, who debunked what he called the "hunting myth." Said he: "If you show your bona fides by hunting ducks or varmints or quail, it makes up for support for gun control. This myth overlooks a fundamental truth: the Second Amendment is not about hunting, it is about freedom."

First of all as someone who has had very little good to say about John McCain let me say that he was dead on correct. There is no right to hunt expressly recognized by the constitution but there is a right to own and carry guns in there (keep and bear arms). The Founding Fathers reason for putting the Second Amendment into the constitution had everything to do with the security of a free state and nothing to do with putting meat on the table.

As for Julie Annie the bar he has to meet is higher than the bar the other Republican candidates have to meet because of his past. As mayor of New York City Giuliani supported that city's gun control laws and attempted to stricter gun control laws on the rest of the nation by his support for federal gun control legislation and through his lawsuit of firearms manufacturers.

Giuliani bears moral responsibility for his actions as mayor. Because he did nothing to roll back New York's gun control laws he shares some level of moral responsibility for the crimes committed against those who would have otherwise been armed and able to defend themselves. Giuliani, in a moral sense, has the blood of innocent victims on his hands. The only way for him to cleanse himself of that guilty is to do all within his power to force the city of New York to comply with the Second Amendment and stop standing in the way of its law abiding citizens bearing arms for self defense.

Giuliani is not willing to take that step. He still speaks as though he believes that gun control is a legitimate crime control measure for some areas. It is not. There has never been reduced by disarming the victims and there never will be.

Oh, and for any moonbat who asked about the moral responsibility of those of us who support individual firearms ownership for crimes committed by armed criminals - there is none.

Criminals do not obey the law. That is what makes them criminals. They will not disarm themselves just because someone passes a law therefore gun control laws only affect the law abiding. This is why gun crime increased in the United Kingdom after restrictive gun control laws were passed.

They do tend to shoot back, you know

From The New York Times:

GAZA — The three Abu Ghazala fathers were in mourning, in the Palestinian way, sitting with their relatives recently in a shaded courtyard, open to the fields of watermelon and eggplant in which their children had died.

The children — Yehiya, 12, Mahmoud, 9, and Sara, 9 — were tending goats and playing tag on Aug. 29 when an Israeli shell or rocket blew them apart. “They went up to that palm tree,” said Ramadan Abu Ghazala, Yehiya’s father, pointing 300 yards away. “They went there every day.”

As the fathers, all farmers, talked, an Israeli blimp, with cameras, hovered in the sky above Beit Hanoun on the northern edge of Gaza, an Israeli drone buzzed in the air and an Israeli watchtower loomed over the nearby border. It was the blimp or the drone, presumably, that first identified the target.

Fatah, the more secular and nationalist of the two main Palestinian movements, and the opposition here in Hamas-run Gaza, has adopted the three young cousins. A Fatah flag flies over the house where they all lived. Fatah has published a “martyr” poster of the three, with Sara represented, between the boys, by a large bunch of red roses. Anyone who dies for any reason in the fight with Israel is regarded by Palestinians as a martyr, with a rapid path to heaven.

The Israeli Army said the children were playing near a launcher used to send Qassam rockets into Israel to try to kill or destroy anyone and anything they happen to land on — children, soldiers, livestock. Sderot, an Israeli city visible from here, has been the main target, and its residents live in fear, running to shelters when an alarm sounds. Sometimes they do not make it.

How nice of Fatah to "adopt" them and declare them to be martyrs since it is Fatah which is responsable for their deaths.

Here's some advice for the Palestinians. Stop trying to destroy Israel and murder Jews and this kind of thing will stop happening.

"Damn, that kettle sure is black" said the pot

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 — Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.

After nearly a week of talks at their semiannual meeting in New Orleans, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution that defied a directive by the Anglican Communion’s regional leaders, or primates, to change several church policies regarding the place of gay men and lesbians in their church. But the bishops also expressed a desire to remain part of the communion, and they appeared to be trying to stake out a middle ground that would allow them to do so.

Still, up to five American dioceses led by theologically conservative bishops may try to break with the Episcopal Church and place themselves under the oversight of a foreign primate in the coming months, said the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, a conservative Episcopal strategist.

“We’ll have the chaos here increase as more individuals, parishes and dioceses begin moving,” Mr. Harmon said. “What will happen is that we will see more of the disunity here spread to the rest of the communion.”

In a voice vote, all but one bishop supported a resolution, called “A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by Our Anglican Communion Partners.” Several conservative bishops who are considering leaving the Episcopal Church were not in attendance.

The worldwide Anglican Communion needs to realize that the issue of whether to ordain open and unrepentant homosexuals to the ministry and to sanction homosexual unions is the difference between real Christianity and a false faith with no power to save the soul.

Once they have framed the issue properly as a difference between real churches and false churches all the dithering about whether to break fellowship and expel the heretical churches should end.

A large part of the trouble the Anglicans are having in formulating a response to the dissident churches is that they abandoned the Bible as the sole guide for faith and practice when they began ordaining females to the priesthood.

If you have structured your church in such a way as to be in open defiance of Biblical commandments it is very difficult to condemn others for doing the same thing just because the sin they embrace is different from the sin you embrace.

The little nutjob promises not to stop

From The Washington Post:

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Tuesday not to give in to pressure by "arrogant powers" trying to force him to abandon his nation's uranium-enrichment program and unilaterally declared that as far as he is concerned, "the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed."

In a fiery speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Ahmadinejad denounced what he called the "master-servant relationship of the Medieval Age" imposed by the United States and other leading nations through the Security Council. He expressed confidence that God would not allow the Bush administration to launch a military attack against his country and said Iran has "spared no effort to build confidence" that it wants only civilian energy, not nuclear weapons.

His address punctuated a shadow debate with President Bush, who spoke to the assembly earlier in the day and called on world leaders to join him in a global "mission of liberation" against repressive governments such as that in Iran. Although the two men never crossed paths, their competing visions presented here framed the opening of the assembly's annual session and underscored the diplomatic confrontation between the two nations.

President Bush isn't going to get much help from the UN. In a very real sense it is little more than a dictator's club whose favorite sport is baiting the US. The fact is that most of the member nations' leadership admire Imadinnerjacketi and wish they had a nuclear program too.

In disarming Iran, as in almost anything else worthwhile, the US is going to have to act alone or with the aid of a handful of allies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tonight's Music

Corvus Corax perform Suam Elle Ires. This is from their concert DVD Gaudia Vite Live

What Osama wants

Victor Davis Hanson asks "What Does Osama Want?"

We have been arguing over al Qaeda's aims since before September 11, 2001. Some take Osama bin Laden's specific complaints seriously. But we shouldn't, as we learned this month from his latest rambling taped communique, which faulted America for seemingly everything — global warming, high interest rates, shaky home mortgages and free-market democratic capitalism itself.

Remember that in the 1990s he declared war on America for three other reasons: We had troops in Saudi Arabia. The United Nations had imposed sanctions on Iraq. And America supported Israel. Now it apparently matters little that there are neither embargoes of Iraq nor American soldiers in Saudi Arabia.

In 2004, bin Laden objected to our logical conclusion that he instead hated the West simply for its freedom. He posed this rhetorical question: "Contrary to what Bush says and claims — that we hate freedom — let him tell us then, 'Why did we not attack Sweden?' " I think we can now answer that by pointing out that al Qaeda has just put out a $100,000 murder bounty on a Swedish cartoonist who was a little too free in his caricatures of Islam. Note that Sweden has no troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, lets in plenty of Middle Eastern Muslims and wants no part of George Bush's "war on terror."

But then radical Islamists have also threatened Danish cartoonists, Dutch filmmakers, German opera producers and the pope. All have nothing to do with Iraq or Afghanistan or Israel — but simply do things that radical Islam finds blasphemous.

So aren't these constantly changing gripes of al Qaeda's just pretexts for bin Laden's larger hatred of Western-inspired freedom?

The truth is that bin Laden and al Qaeda want power for themselves, and use religious grievances and shifting political demands to try to achieve it.

In their worldview, Islam's chance for a renewed united Muslim caliphate was shattered into impotent warring nations by sneaky 19th century European colonists. They now want to reunite modern Arab nations into an Islamic empire run by the likes of bin Laden and his sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri. And they think they can pull it off for a variety of reasons:

(1) Al Qaeda claims its jihadists drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, leading to the Soviet empire unraveling. It doesn't matter that al Qaeda's terrorists numbered only a few thousand and played a minor role in the Afghan warlords' victory. Instead, according to al Qaeda's propaganda, this tiny Arab legion would become the vanguard of a world-conquering army that would move next against the United States.

(2) Bin Laden believes we will ultimately prove weak and suffer the Soviets' fate. That's why he keeps talking about breaking up our own states on the model of the now-defunct Soviet Union.

Past American hesitation in the face of attacks on our embassies, military assets and diplomats convinced bin Laden as he plotted September 11 that we would leave the Middle East to his jihadists. He sees us now squabbling over the costs of Iraq, our counterterrorism measures and Guantanamo Bay. So he still holds out hope Americans will soon leave the region in defeat and let down their guard at home.

(3) Oil is now sky-high at $80 a barrel. In bin Laden's view, the longer he is at war, the higher the price of petroleum climbs. That impoverishes Western infidels and ensures plenty of Middle East petrodollars can be siphoned off to madrassas, radical mosques and terrorists.

Bin Laden also sees how the rival Muslim theocracy in Iran has turned its oil profits into a nuclear-weapons program. He would like to replace the present Gulf monarchies with self-professed imams and jihadists. Such a single, united Wahhabi theocracy could dole out oil to subservient importers and use the profits to acquire enough weapons to unite the Arab world and prepare for the final war against us.

Bin Laden's problem then is not really tiny Israel or global warming or mortgage interest rates, but an all-powerful and free West led by the United States. It alone has the military and economic power to stop radical Islamists. Plus, we bring the more powerful message of political freedom. And American popular culture, with its informality and egalitarianism, is sweeping the globe, seducing far more adherents than does rote memorization of the Koran.

So, despite bin Laden's bragging, America remains the big stumbling block, the stronger horse. The United States alone ensures that bin Laden stays a sick man babbling in a cave — and not a Muslim caliph in flowing robes, with billions of dollars in oil under his feet and weapons merchants lined up at his palace door.

Sound absurd? So once did the notion of a crater in Manhattan and $80 a barrel oil.

But both the left-wing moonbats and the Ron Paul pod-people will insist that it is always and only the fault of the United States. If only this horrible and benighted country didn't exist the world would be at peace.

Nope, nothing racial here

I wish I could say that there was something surprising here.

There is no excuse for rising crime rates

From The Washington Post:

Violent crime in the United States rose more than previously believed in 2006, continuing the most significant increase in more than a decade, according to an FBI report released yesterday.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program found that robberies surged by 7.2 percent and homicides rose 1.8 percent from 2005 to 2006. Violent crime overall rose 1.9 percent, substantially more than an increase of 1.3 percent estimated in a preliminary FBI report in June.

The jump was the second in two years, following a 2.3 percent rise in 2005. Taken together, the two years represent the first steady increase in violent crime since 1993, FBI records show.

The uptick presents a significant political challenge for the Bush administration, which has faced growing criticism from congressional Democrats, big-city mayors and police chiefs for presiding over cuts in federal assistance to local law enforcement agencies over the past six years.

[. . .]

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, which studies crime trends, said the FBI report shows "a significant departure from the previous 10 years of fairly flat or declining crime numbers."

"What it underscores is what a number of communities have been seeing firsthand, and that is a spike in street-level violent crime," Wexler said. "For some cities, crime is back as a significant issue."

In addition to the overall number of violent-crime reports, the violent crime rate rose by about 1 percent, the FBI said. The rate measures the number of reported crimes based on population.

The causes of rising and falling crime rates are not mysterious. We have enough data about both to know what to do to keep crime to a minimum.

Crime rises first because there are people who regard crime as an acceptable way of life. The number one generator of such people are single mothers. Second crime rises because criminals use a cost/benefit analysis where the chance of getting caught by the police or shot by a victim is weighed against the chance of success.

The way to bring down crime is to first change our social spending priorities to discourage rather than encourage unwed motherhood. Our welfare money should go to what used to be called the deserving poor, that is intact families whose adult members are behaving responsibly by staying off drugs and alcohol, working or seriously looking for work and keeping their children in school and under control.

Next people should be not only allowed, but encouraged to arm themselves to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors from criminals. Police departments should provide basic safety and gun handling instruction at no cost to members of the community who have clean criminal histories.

Finally police need to be turned lose to enforce the law. This is the secret of how mayor Giuliani brought down crime in New York City. He instructed and allowed the police to go out on the street and aggressively seek out and arrest criminals.

Once caught criminals need to be jailed for periods long enough to provide a meaningful deterrent. Since the amount of money that a criminal out on the street committing crimes costs society is far greater than the cost of keeping that criminal locked up in jail the up-front cost of building more prisons will be more than recovered over time.

Rejoining the nuclear age

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 — In a bid to take the lead in the race to revive the nuclear power industry, an energy company will ask the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday for permission to build two reactors in Texas.

It is the first time since the 1970s and the accident at Three Mile Island that an American power company has sought permission to start work on a new reactor to add to the existing array of operable reactors, which now number 104.

The company, NRG Energy, based in Princeton, N.J., wants to be the first to pour concrete in the main section of the plant, allowing it to qualify for the maximum federal benefits, David Crane, its chief executive, said in a telephone interview.

NRG is applying under a new process intended to avoid the extensive delays and cost overruns in the last round of nuclear construction. In the 1970s and ’80s, more than 100 of the reactor projects were canceled, some abandoned in late stages of construction, mostly because they no longer made financial sense.

Revived interest in nuclear power, experts say, is being driven by a combination of strong growth in electric demand, high prices for natural gas and the potential for imposing higher costs on climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, which would make coal use more expensive.

Some people anticipate that reactors will be made profitable by a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, but Mr. Crane said that was not needed. More important, he said, were “robust prices” for natural gas, the fuel for most of the plants built in the last few years.

Three other companies are likely to apply for licenses by the end of the year, according to industry experts. One of those, Constellation Energy, like NRG, has also ordered parts for its plant, planned for Calvert County, Md., and says it believes it has an advantage because its reactor will be precisely modeled on one now under construction in France.

God bless them and speed their plans to completion. It is a deeply shameful thing that the United States lags behind France [spit] in the use of nuclear power.

Perhaps that is the angle to take in overcoming the certain firestorm of protest from the moonbat left. After all they all love France - if it weren't for Cuba France would be their most favorite country in the world - so surely they can't object to America becoming more like France, can they?

I would also expect less trouble from the moonbat greens this time around. They have managed to work themselves up into such a state of hysteria over greenhouse gasses and global warming that nice clean nuclear power could start to look good to them.

The fact is that we ought not to waste fossil fuels to generate so much as one amp of electricity in this country. Hydroelectric and nuclear should be how we get our electric power and our motor fuel should be made from liquefied coal.

The United States government should announce a prize to be awarded to the first company or individual who can present a working prototype of a practical (meaning that the price has to be in line with what other cars cost at the time) automobile large enough to be used by a family of four (meaning that it has to be comparable to a Ford Taurus in size) that can go fast enough to be driven on the interstate highway system (meaning that it must be able to cruise at 75 mph for at least several hours) and be refueled as quickly and easily as pulling into a gas station for a tank of gas is today. The car must be designed to run on liquefied coal and it must get at least 100 miles per gallon.

This would not be a terribly difficult goal to meet. If the car were to incorporate the extensive use of composite materials (like Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner) and were to use a true hybrid engine it could very well achieve 150 mpg or even higher.

What is meant by a "true hybrid" engine. This would be basically the same concept as used by the railroad industry's diesel/electric locomotives where a diesel engine which is designed to run at one constant speed (so that its fuel economy is maximized) is used to power an electrical generator which in turn powers an electric motor with the surplus power being stored in batteries.

The prize should consist of an amount of money large enough to offset at least 85% of the R&D costs and a contract to supply all the government's automobiles for a period of 20 or 25 years. The winning company would be given what amounted to patent protection for 2 years after which they would have to freely share the technology with all other US auto companies and foreign auto companies who manufacture cars in America. Foreign companies who do not manufacture in America would have to pay a license fee if they wished to sell cars using the new technology in the US.

The advantages of using a prize rather than research grants are twofold. One is that if the project proves impractical the taxpayers are not out one cent. The other is that the grant system actually slows down research and development. Those receiving the grants have a large incentive to stretch out the R&D process as long as possible, reporting just enough progress to keep more grants coming. With the prize system the payoff only comes if you succeed and do it first. This creates incentives to work quickly and efficiently putting money only into areas which show genuine promise and abandoning those which do not.