31 December 2006

A World of Difference

Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, dies, and the young people of Iraq are dancing in the streets.

Gerald Ford, former president of the United States, dies, and the young people of the United States, shrug their shoulders and say, "Who?"

30 December 2006

Adios, Saddam!

No, this is not a reference to Barak Obama, though Saddam is his middle name.

And no, I did not say "Hasta la vista, baby," since I have no intention of seeing him again.

The U S Military reports that the Iraqi government may execute Saddam Hussein before 2006 is a done deal. I have no problem with that. I am concerned about two things.

1) It troubles me that certain elements of the progressive movement, and in this case, that includes the Roman Catholic Church, embrace a reflexively anti-death penalty position, even though it is in the best interest of 26 million people that this man be demonstrably removed from the politica stage. And frankly, even if we put him in Supermax in Colorado, we would always be accused of holding his possible release over the heads of Iraqis to sway the attitude of their government (a la the British with Napoleon on St Helena) whether we did so or not.

Look at some of the arguments:

Cardinal Renato Martino, Pope Benedict XVI's top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the U.N., condemned the death sentence in a newspaper interview published Thursday, saying capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

After Saddam's death sentence was handed down last month, Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urged Iraq to ensure a fair appeals process and to refrain from executing Saddam even if the sentence is upheld.

Some international legal observers and human rights groups have also called Saddam's trial unfair because of alleged interference by the Shiite-dominated government. There has also been internal debate among Iraqis about legal procedures surrounding the timeframe and whether the presidency is required to approve the execution.

Like Saddam ever worried about the niceties of legal procedures.

Besides, have these guys ever read the Bible? capital punishment is all over the place. I guess the peas-n-justise types have their place in the RCC too.

2) Of more concern is the possibility that Saddam will be seen as some kind of martyr in some quarters. I had a suggestion about this a couple years ago. Since I was pre-blog, I actually sent an email to POTUS, the VP, Secretary of State Powell, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. (Yeah. I was one of those.) I suggested that since any verdict in an Iraqi courtroom under U.S. occupation could be viewed as illegitimate, we should allow Saddam to be tried first by an indiputably Islamic government which would certainly find him guilty of capital crimes. I thought we should turn him over to the Kuwaitis.

All water under the bridge now, of course. But some will still see him as a martyr.

May God have mercy on him.

Originally posted on 12/28.

Update: Saddam is dead.

One man interviews from Dearborn, MI on Fox News Channel this morning said that in addition to freeing the Iraqi people of this brutal murderer, he also "felt a little sorry" for Saddam.

I agree. To see the footage of this man, even this evil man, looking befuddled and on his way to his death must, I think, cause us to feel sympathy for another human being. Or else we are at least a few steps down the road to being him.

Which is not to say that this was not the right thing to do, because it was.

28 December 2006

The Evils of Racism

The Duke Lacrosse "rape" case is going south, fast.

Opinionjournal has a good wrap up of the case to date.

This afternoon, the race-baiting D A, Mike Nifong was charged with ethics violations by the state Bar. I am not sure, but I think that these charges while a case is still extant are relatively rare, and sign that the state bar association does not think the case holds water.

The real loss here is that three realities will be shoved under the rug. First, it is tragic that when the word broke that a major college atheletic team had been so charged, it sounded so believable. Sad comment on the college culture in America today. Second, black people in this nation still are disproportionately represented as victims of crimes,and a false accusation will not help that. Third, rape is a real and life damaging crime for the real victims (ditto).

I hope, for the sake of real victims everywhere, that not only is Nifong disbarred, but that the "exotic dancer" is charged with making false statements to police, publicly shamed and jailed.

And that the idiots who jumped on this improbable bandwagon (including identity politics players like the black "leaders" of Durham and the Duke faculty will pay through the nose as the city of Durham makes good on the false arrest verdict in the lawsuit that they will certainly settle out of court ... or lose.

Hope the extra 2 months of time in office for Nifong was worth it all.

The Right Man at the time

When Gerald Ford made his first speech as President to Congress, I think, he said, "I'm a Ford, but I'm not a Lincoln."

My dad remarked, "Let's hope he's not an Edsel either."

I remember Ford as a nice, relatively ineffective, inactive President. Which is probably just what we needed after Nixon.

27 December 2006

Reruns

The good news: John Edwards is running for president, and I think he is moderately more pragmatic than Hillary and has more substance than I have seen of Barak.

The bad news: Announcing from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, in spite of his rhetoric this morning about letting people pick themselves up, looks like we are in for more of the old Two Americas: the haves and the have nots garbage.

I was going to leave it at this, but googling Two Americas came up with this paper by the Heritage Foundation. It quotes Edwards in 2004 phrasing it this way:
"two Americas...one privileged, the other burdened...one America that does the work, another that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks."

Of course this is simply untrue. The paper goes on to debunk this. As I have quoted elsewhere, the bottom 50% of Americans (by income) pay almost no income taxes at all, so if Edwards point is that the rich get the breaks, he has it exactly backwards!

Finally, the notion that Edwards is "announcing" his run for the presidency is silly. He never stopped running. I think that he was running for '08 while he was still Kerry's 'o4 VP candidate. Scott Ott over at Scrappleface has it about right:
With just 23 months before the next presidential election, former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, announced today that he would seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2008, 2012 and 2016, but refused to comment on his plans for 2020.


23 December 2006

I ought to resist (part 2)

Actually, on a completely different subject .....

Scooter Libby is going to go on trial for supposedly lying to investigators who were trying to figure out who leaked Valerie Plame's (or is it Plah-may?) name to the press. I have blogged on this and if you do not know what I am talking about, (1) you have obviously been hiding in a cave for three years and (2) you are in many, many ways quite fortunate.

Plame and her husband, gadfly blabbermouth Joe Wilson, have sued most of the registered Republicans in America for shortening her CIA career. From which she resigned. (?)

It seems that in the upcoming criminal trial, where even the Vice President in going to testify, Joe Wilson suddenly, for the first time in three years, does not want any attention. From the Associated Press:
"Mr. Libby should not be permitted to compel Mr. Wilson's testimony at trial either for the purpose of harassing Mr. Wilson or to gain an advantage in the civil case," Wilson's attorneys wrote.
Wilson and his attorneys are aware that once the civil trial starts, this sort of motion will not work, right? Or maybe this means he now seeks to fade into the background and vanish, and the civil case - which is apparently almost completely without evidence of a cause of action - will be dropped.

Could it be that Wilson read my blog entry or at least the title? Here's hoping.

I ought to resist

I'm resisting ... I'm resisting .... I give up. I'm not resisting the temptation to post this anymore.

On a private listserve I subscribe to, I made reference to this news story. It drew this response from a clever wag:
You could call this a condomnation of Indian manhood.
Ugh.

TEC's ENS: Experts at Spin

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is coming apart at the seams. ... which is, frankly, a step up from leaking members like a sieve.

At any rate, David Virtue, a layman who reports on the goings on in North American and worldwide Anglicanism, reports that St Stephen's Church, an historic colonial parish in Heathsville, Virginia has, along with nine other parishes, voted to leave TEC.

This sort of thing is happening quite a lot lately. Members of so-called "conservative" (I would prefer "orthodox" or "traditional") parishes who find themselves unable to remain in a diocese with a "liberal" bishop (I would probably use "revisionist; Virtue like "pansexualist"), align themselves with a conservative African bishop and leave TEC.

A majority of the congregation at St Stephen's voted to disassociate with TEC and align with the Ugandan Anglican Church. The vote was a majority, and I do not have the numbers of the actual vote, but TEC's Episcopal News Service described the 30 folks who voted not to leave TEC as " a Large, Viable Remnant."

Well, since the 2003 figures show that average worship attendance at all protestant churches is 89, that means TEC is in bigger trouble than they know, if 30 is considered large.

Or they are lying ..... I mean "Spinning" through their teeth.

I once saw Barry Sanders play football ...

I once saw the Lions play the Seahawks at the Kingdump.

Now I never understood quantum mechanics because I was never could get my mind around this description that I had read about it (paraphrased).
Imagine a particle coming to an intersection, and it can go either left of right. There is an equal chance that it will go either way, and it must go one or the other. In QM, you do not say that a particle has a 50% chance of going left and a 50% chance of going right; you say that the particle is in a state of 50% going right and 50% going left ... until it actually goes one way or the other.
For some reason that is important, and I could never get my mind around it.

At the game I saw live, I was seated in the end zone up on the front of the second tier, so I had a view of the side to side action on the field. At one point Sanders was rushing toward a linebacker. Suddenly I understood QM! Sanders was 50% in a state of going left, and 50% in a state of going right ... right up til the moment the linebacker committed one way ... and then Sanders went the other. Awesome.

They need a sense of proportion

That is what I think the Progressive / Permissive Left is missing in this country. They have no sense of proportion.

So, the Federal government passes a law in 2001 which permits the FBI to see the records of what books a terror suspect is checking out from the local library, and it is Totalitarianism.

The Bush Administration refuses to give prisoners of war at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility full US criminal court rights, and suddenly he is Hitler (or is that Rumsfeld?) and American soldiers are Nazis and Soviets.

And now, we have a report that:
A man used flammable liquid to light himself on fire, apparently to protest a San Joaquin Valley school district's decision to change the names of winter and spring breaks to Christmas and Easter vacation.
What the school district calls the breaks will appear on the school calender and will matter nowhere!

Folks: get a sense of proportion, will you? Please!

Misdirected sensitivity training

The NAACP, a once vaunted and now, of what I read, mostly silly organization, has made the news in San Jose, Ca.
A school bus driver made black high school students sit at the front of the bus, triggering charges of segregation from the students, and an investigation by the school district and a civil rights group.About two dozen black students were made to sit at the front by the driver, who said he wanted to keep an eye on the students following a fight between two of them on Oct. 31.

The driver's name wasn't released by the school district.

The students claimed the driver assumed all of them were troublemakers, and complained.

Seating practices have returned to normal, and the driver was transferred to another route, but the Santa Clara Unified School District and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are looking into the matter."The fight did occur," said Tabbitha Kappler-Hurley, the district's spokeswoman. "How it was handled and what was said is part of a confidential investigation."

The NAACP has asked the school district to take steps to improve relations between staff and black students, who said they didn't feel comfortable riding the bus anymore.
It would seem to me that the NAACP should perhaps help the distict improve relations between the black students themselves, since a fight between two of them was what started this.

What ever happened to dealing with the root cause?

h/t: BOTWT

21 December 2006

Casualty

One of our local heroes is a young man named J R Salzman. 18 months ago, at the local Lumberjack games, he won the title of "World Champion Log Roller." He also appeared in a Steve Martin / Eugene Levy movie where he log-rolled as Levy.

He has spent the last year in Iraq.

From his Blog.

injured
Thursday, December 21, 2006
3:16:24 AM

comment

it is hard for me to tell you all this but i was hurt by an ied here. my right arm has been amputated below the elbow, my left has four working fingers. my legs are fine so l can still logroll! i am on my way to the hospital in germany, then back to the states for more care. i am in high spirits. i am going to be ok, but i will have a long road to recovery. please remember me in your prayers, as well as those who were injured with me. i will let you know more as time passes.

~ J.R. SALZMAN
Please keep JR and his family in your prayers.

History of the World Part III

For reasons beyond my control, I was listening to an NPR affiliate this morning for about 20 minutes. There was a discussion of the history of the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and how, during the Clinton administration, "neo-cons" were "exiled" to "thinktanks" where they "festered" with their "poisonous" world-views until Bush was elected. Then 19 "criminals" "attacked a farm field" and the World Trade Center and the neo-cons were able to "manipulate" the American people with "fear" and "lies" to carry out their evil America-dominates-the-world agenda.

The whole thing was so over the top it could have been written by Mel Brooks.

In fact, it turned out that it was a forum featuring Pulitzer Prize winning fiction author Seymour Hersh and Saddam apologist Scott Ritter.

Now I did not hear the whole program, but I heard no harsh questions. No challenges to the views or credibility of these authors. Just a say anything forum with a fiction-friendly host.

Remind me again: why do my tax dollars go to NPR?

A truly great cartoon character


Why do none of the obits that mark the death of Joseph Barbera mention my favorite character? Now perhaps he did not create him personally, but I distinctly recall that Space Ghost was a Hanna-Barbera production. And I cluelessly grew up loving it. Even if 6 buttons could produce 6000 different effects ....

15 December 2006

Darwin's Triumph


I know that I ought to be nicer than this, and I do feel badly for the families of these men, but these guys are apparently climbing Mount Hood in December without rescue transponders, and that makes them functionally morons.

It ain't called survival of the dumbest.

13 December 2006

A badge of honor for President Bush

Sometimes you can tell a great deal about a person by seeing who despises them.

In that vein, I believe that this headline,

Rep. Cynthia McKinney Introduces Bush Impeachment Bill

ought to be a gigantic check mark in the President's plus column in the mind of any sane person.

Angel in Blue!?!?!

Also known as Miss Ann ... oops apparently congratulations are in order, so I mean Mrs. Ann, formerly of Astoria and now of Portland:

You have posted comments wanting us to contact you and we have tried to contact you through the MySpace page you sent us, but I am not sure it worked. Please repost a comment with a direct email address and I promise NOT to post it on here.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Tony

11 December 2006

Class Act

One of the great running backs of all time was Walter Payton. his quality as a human being was partly demonstrated by the fact that this man's man was nicknamed "Sweetness" by his team mates, and he gladly answered to it.

I also recall hearing that one of the things that held up Barry Sanders' first contract was a demand by Sanders for a clause that if he scored 1000 yards in the season, all the members of the offensive line would get substantial bonuses. Maybe that sort of thing is common, though you don't hear about it all that much. But it shows an understanding of the team nature of the sport, which seems too rare, especially for a rookie 3rd pick overall. And by the way, they got those bonuses every year that clause was in effect. Barry never ran fewer than 1115 yards in a season.

(I have posted a little piece about watching Barry Sanders play on here.)

LaDainian Tomlinson showed that same kind of class today. He broke the single season touchdown record for the NFL in yesterday's game. When that happened, he called the offensive linemen into the end zone to celebrate with him. Then, well, here are his words from his press conference:
When we're old and can't play this game anymore, them are the moments we are going to remember, that we'll be able to tell our kids, tell our grandchildren. We can talk about something special that we did. We made history today. There's no better feeling than to share it with the group of guys that's in that locker room.
Hear that? "We're ... we ... we'll ... our ... our ... We ... we ... We ... share ... group of guys." You never would have known it was he who set the record.

Somebody gets the whole team thing really well.

Class act.