Welcome to Liberty Just in Case

Glad you stopped by. Take a look around, and let me know what you think, either through a comment or by email.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The New and Improved SETI

I'm back from my self imposed blogging vacation with an update on the SETI program from Space.com. This will be the year for space, with probes reaching Mars, and Huygens scheduled to land on Titan. What a great time to be alive, barring a few World Wars and tsunamis...well, you can't have everything.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Taking Time Off

I won't be blogging for the next week or so. Taking some time off to do repairs on the computer, and enjoy the Christmas season. Will be back sometime after New Year.

Coming Attractions: Huygens lands on Titan

January 14th marks another turning point in our exploration of the Solar System. Huygens lands on Titan, possibly discovering an ocean of hydrocarbons. Should be fun.

Monday, December 20, 2004

White Christmas

I've probably seen White Christmas 20 times. Every Christmas, my wife and I gather the munchkins together, and watch Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera dance and sing their way to helping the General.

And, yes. I have to admit it. I still have a crush on Vera Ellen. I've never seen her in another movie, and only while researching this post discovered she died in 1981. A small part of me very saddened by that. Fortunately, she lives on every Christmas at our house, and every Christmas there's a happy ending, and always snow.... Merry Christmas.

Born-Again President -- White House Hanukkah

Dennis Prager on celebrating Hanukkah at the White House.

Only in America does a president light a menorah while a Jewish choral group sings Hebrew songs and the Marine band plays American songs. Only in America do Jews feel so honored as Jews and yet so completely part of the larger culture, fully Jewish and fully part of the greater nationality. Non-American Jews (including even Canadians) are often amazed at how completely American Jews in the U.S. feel. We take it for granted, but as a former college lecturer in Jewish history, I know that this is unique.
It is quite remarkable, and a celebration of our unique heritage that such a thing can happen, and not even make the news.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Theme is Freedom

I've linked one of my favorite works on Liberty, The Theme is Freedom in Liberty Recommends. Very much worth reading to understand what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they established this nation, and the freedoms we take for granted.

About the separation of Church and State, the wall was never meant to work both ways. Government should indeed stay out of religion. This does not mean the values of faith are to stay out of government. The Founding Fathers, including Jefferson, believed Judeo-Christian tradition and values were a cornerstone of government. Their fear was of government intrusion into religion, not the reverse. It remains the great threat to religious freedom today.

The link is to the Williamsburg Charter, a forthright re-evaluation of the 1st Amendment's religion clause. Government intrusion into religious matters is indeed to be feared, and fought at every turn. The Williamsburg Charter presents a well-balanced approach to the debate, and places responsibility for civil debate on both sides. Liberty Just in Case is a fine example of that ongoing tension.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bye, Bye O'Keefe. So, What's Next for Nasa?

O'Keefe's resignation presents and opportunity for NASA. O'Keefe was a steady hand, but was far to conservative to hold the post. What's needed is a bold spokesman, not a bureaucrat. Rather NASA will find such a person remains to be seen.

The Reason for the Season: Mark's Response

Many of the traditions that have grown up around this day have nothing to do with the story itself. I think it's important to read the document:
The Birth of Jesus
an excerpt from:
Luke 2:1-20 NIV

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Most Evangelical Biblical scholars believe Luke wrote this around 80 AD. His goal was to write a history of Jesus. Most scholars believe he used the book of Mark extensively, but also relied on eyewitnesses of the events. There is far more evidence, both internally and externally for the historical accuracy of the New Testament than any other ancient document. Lee Strobel's book The Case for Christ is an readable and balanced look at the New Testament version of Jesus. Well worth reading at this time of year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The New Library of Alexandria: Google Powered

This is a huge story, only to build in the coming years:
Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web.

It may be only a step on a long road toward the long-predicted global virtual library. But the collaboration of Google and research institutions that also include Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library is a major stride in an ambitious Internet effort by various parties. The goal is to expand the Web beyond its current valuable, if eclectic, body of material and create a digital card catalog and searchable library for the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections.

Someday, we may be able to access all human knowledge through our desktops. A true Encyclopedia Galactica.

Monday, December 13, 2004

An AOL Nightmare

I told the AOL support tech, located somewhere in India, Pakistan, or Hell, that this would be my first post once I woke up from this nightmare. Ummm, I told him this as I was slamming down the phone. Not my usual style, but the conditions certainly warranted it.

Last Friday night, sitting in front of my old 850 mhz AMD Duron, Windows 98SE computer (insert laughter here) I decided to see what was going on with AOL these days. I had a nifty AOL for Broadband disc courtesy of the US Postal Service, and a fifty day free trial. I mean, why not?

No lightning or thunder rolled as I hit INSTALL. No smoke appeared from my processor, though considering it's age, it was due for some smoke, even a flame or two. But no. It just whirred along like it has since Mary Lynne upgraded it in her garage 3 years ago.

I restarted my geriatric, but still fully functional computer.

Then I clicked the very stylish AOL icon
And my virus software died.
And my spam software began flashing error messages.
And then IE, Mozilla and Opera wouldn't start.
After that, things began to get really bad.

I unistalled the demonic AOL,carefully using the Control Panel, and then restarted.

My virus software was still DOA

My spam software was complaining it couldn't use Port 110, and was therefore offically resigning until the idiot that caused the mess found the offending program.

Not even Opera would get me back on the Internet, though the DSL connection was working, and seemed to function fine.

That's when I called the 7 Eleven, er, AOL tech support.

After firmly establishing that I DID NOT HAVE A MEMBERSHIP, did not WANT a membership, and only wanted an exorcism for my possessed computer, he asked me what the problem was.

I told him.

Calmly. Without expletives.

And then I said the evil word.


Yep, browser. I told him I had unistalled Beelzebub, but his spirit remained, and therefore my browsers no longer functioned.

He said, "Oh, we do not handle browsers. This is not our problem."

Even though he agreed with me that AOL had possessed my computer, he could not FIX IT!!!! Even though it was obvious the evil came from his particular region of Hell, it was not his problem.

And his supervisor was not available, and, no, the supervisor could not call me back. Apparently the phone lines run one way in India, or Pakistan, or Hell.

That's when I told him about this post.

And slammed the phone down.


I'm back up and running now, thanks to May at SBCYahoo tech support. Took 3 days to do it.

I'm very tired.

And could care less about a made up holiday like Kwanzaa.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Journalism or Activism or Rathering with the Embeds

When reporters engineer events in order to create news, they are pushing their own agenda. They are no longer journalists, reporting the news. They are now activists, pushing their own agenda. This time, using a National Guard soldier to do it.

Volcanic Activity Beyond Neptune?

Isn't this interesting? Something is happening out there. Makes you want to go see what it is, doesn't it?

Degrees of Separation: Religion in the Public Square

Back in my graduate student days at Wheaton College, my professors told me to "think deeply." I honestly didn't know what they meant fourteen years ago. Through this website I've learned the meaning of thinking things through, then going beyond my initial gut instincts to thinking deeply about various issues.
From gay rights, to tax policies, to the ongoing World War, I've been forced to explore my own ideas and opinions, and sometimes, change those opinions.
Of the First Amendment and religion. I've been thinking about it, especially the Separation of church and state. It's caused a real slow down in posting on other topics this week. Hopefully, I can correct that.

I'm still pondering, and now realize there will likely be no single post from me on this topic, at least not yet.

While I'm pondering, I would point you to a book on Liberty Recommends on the right.
The Twilight of Atheism by Alistair McGrath. He traces the rise and fall of a philosophy that had such a profound impact on the 20th Century, but who's influence has faded in the 21st.
Also, read this link to a history of Jefferson's phrase that has caused so much change over the past century. Here's the end of the article:
If, as I have argued, the wall is a profoundly flawed metaphor for First Amendment doctrine, then should we search for a better, alternative metaphor, such as James Madison’s “line of separation”? I think not. Although other tropes may yield interesting insights, we are best served by returning to the First Amendment itself.

Jefferson’s figurative language has not produced the practical solutions to real-world controversies that its apparent clarity and directness led its proponents to expect. Indeed, this wall has done what walls frequently do: It has obstructed the view. It has obfuscated our understanding of constitutional principles governing Church-State relationships.
The repetitious, uncritical use of felicitous phrases, Justice Felix Frankfurter observed, bedevils the law: “A phrase begins life as a literary expression; its felicity leads to its lazy repetition; and repetition soon establishes it as a legal formula, undiscriminatingly used to express different and sometimes contradictory ideas.” Figures of speech designed to simplify and liberate thought end often by trivializing or enslaving it. Therefore, as Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo counseled, “[m]etaphors in law are to be narrowly watched.” This is advice that courts would do well to heed.

A wall restricts influence on both sides, and presupposes the influence of religion, particularly Christianity, is always a negative. There are many who believe, as the author of the above article does, that the metaphor of the wall of separation has done great damage to our national discourse, and is at best extra-constitutional:
The judiciary’s reliance on an extraconstitutional metaphor as a substitute for the text of the First Amendment almost inevitably distorts constitutional principles governing Church-State relations. Although the “wall of separation” may felicitously express some aspects of First Amendment law, it seriously misrepresents or obscures others. In Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State, I contend that the wall metaphor mischievously misrepresents constitutional principles in at least two important ways.
Read those two important ways. Then, joining me in some deep thinking. My Wheaton College professors would be proud of you...and proud of me.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The New Standard in Election Fraud

Hard to top Ukraine for fraud and corruption. Chicago elections of the past don't even hold a candle to this:
MEDICAL experts have confirmed that Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s opposition leader, was poisoned in an attempt on his life during election campaigning, the doctor who supervised his treatment at an Austrian clinic said yesterday.

Doctors at Vienna’s exclusive Rudolfinerhaus clinic are within days of identifying the substance that left Mr Yushchenko’s face disfigured with cysts and lesions, Nikolai Korpan told The Times in a telephone interview.

Let's hope they get it right this time.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Dowd Who Hates Christmas...and Conservatives and Apparently Men in General

No further comment necessary. Read her column for today.
It's hard to know rather to laugh or cry.
One think is certain.
This poor woman really needs some therapy, or a husband.
Preferably a husband with a conservative, even Evangelical Christian, world view.

A Health Update

Periodically, I've stepped out from behind the curtain to update folks on my ongoing health issues. For those dropping in from Blog Explosion, and hate the personal blogs as much as I do, my apologies. These posts are the primary way I communicate with friends, coworkers and family members around the world.

The asthma continues to be a severe problem.
I'm still off work, on disability, but am much more functional than in the early stages of this ordeal.
I'll be having allergy testing tomorrow, as its obvious something continues to trigger the attacks. I'm having more good days than bad ones, but still struggling at times.
I may be referred to Rush in Chicago if things don't improve in the next few days.
The sleep apnea is much improved, thanks to the CPAP machine. I no longer have to periodically replace broken windows due to loud snoring, and it has helped the asthma immensely.

Thanks for the prayers, comments and emails. They are much appreciated. Still hanging in there, and still have hopes of getting back to work soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this next post.
It is increasingly obvious that Miss Dowd is in dire need of a Conservative boy friend, or better yet husband. Her continued meltdown is a sight to behold.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Death By Committee: The Groningen Protocol Part II

Hugh Hewitt has done yeoman's work on this topic. The link is to his article from The Weekly Standard.

The protocol was already in effect, and at least four babies had been deemed disposable, and killed.

This is either a low point, or a point of no return. The establishment of "independent committees" to dispatch non-consenting humans is nothing but a death penalty committee for innocents. Once begun, it is impossible--simply impossible--to limit the concept with any bright line. Abortion, of course, has always been limited by the physical act of birth, and once out of the womb, only the most extreme "reproductive rights" advocates have argued that the baby's natural right to live can be compromised by the mother. But now the Netherlands has gone farther--much, much farther. If the "severely retarded" may be killed upon appropriate motion, second, debate, and majority vote, why not the moderately retarded? Why not the mildly retarded? Why not, in fact, anyone the "independent committee" deems as usefully dispatched.

As Hugh notes, the MSM has yet to see this as worthy of their attention, and this would have been buried immediately if not for the bloggers. It remains an important, and sad, story.

Christians: A Tutorial for The Liberal Elite

From the Boston Globe, of all places. Hat tip to Laura Ingraham and her new site for this:

IN A recent speech at Tufts University, Andy Rooney reflected on the election and said, according to The Tufts Daily, that Christian fundamentalism is a result of "a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer."

Those comments as well as the identification of the "bigoted Christian redneck" after Election Day in various editorials left me wondering: Where do these "liberal elites" get this fictional image of Christians? When did this distorted perspective begin in our cultural history? How can I work to bridge this gap?

Rooney is reflective of the "liberal elite" in America that suffers from an odd disconnect with much of America and those who voted for President Bush. With respect to Isaac Asimov, I have decided to create "The Three Political Laws of Christian Fundamentalists" for the confused "liberal elite":

* A Christian is a human being capable of independent, logical reasoning to the highest order.

* A Christian is not a mindless entity seeking to obey public religious leaders, such as Pat Robertson, John Paul II, or Ralph Reed, when voting on the future of America.

* A Christian must protect his own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the Bible.

These laws might serve a good base as these elites attempt to reach out to those in "Jesusland" over the next four years and work to correct their lenses that only allows them to see "homophobic knuckle-draggers."

The rest of the article is just as timely and profound.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Methodist Jury Convicts Gay Minister

In a secular society, I support Civil Unions for homosexuals, the same cannot be said for The Church. I've read the arguments supporting homosexuality from a Christian perspective, and simply find them lacking. From an Evangelical Christian standpoint, this ruling is a good thing. It pulls the United Methodist Church from the brink of heresy, and will prevent schism. The same cannot be said for the Episcopal Church USA. Another crisis point is fast approaching with a meeting of African Bishops scheduled for February.

The Education of Dan Rather: Peggy Noonan

A very compassionate, yet hard hitting look at the career of Dan Rather. No one else could have written this peice.

The UN Oil For Food Scandal: Reaching Critical Mass

We must wait for the full report.
We must not rush to judgement.
We must not judge these esteemed leaders too harshly until all the facts are in.
Never heard those statements from the MSM when Enron broke....
Didn't hear those statements linked to Haliburton, and still don't.
Wonder why?

The Place to Go For Avocados!

Supporting U.S. Avocado Growers

Mexico has won an important importation victory. From now on, many if not most of the avocadoes you will be seeing will come from there. If you want to support a California grower, go to Avohead.com. He's got some Christmas specials running right now. Support US growers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Groningen Protocols: Murdering Children by Committee

I'm keeping this the top post for some time. There is no more important story than this from the Netherlands:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.

The announcement by the Groningen Academic Hospital came amid a growing discussion in Holland on whether to legalize euthanasia on people incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives - a prospect viewed with horror by euthanasia opponents and as a natural evolution by advocates.

In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident.

The story ends with this:

"Measures that might marginally extend a child's life by minutes or hours or days or weeks are stopped. This happens routinely, namely, every day," said Lance Stell, professor of medical ethics at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and staff ethicist at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. "Everybody knows that it happens, but there's a lot of hypocrisy. Instead, people talk about things they're not going to do."

More than half of all deaths occur under medical supervision, so it's really about management and method of death, Stell said.

The "management and method of death" occurring under "medical supervision" and all under the direction of an independent committee. Nice and sanitary. As the story says, the slippery slope becomes a vertical cliff. This is about more than euthanasia, as bad as this sounds. It's about who chooses life and death, parents or a committee? Who decides who has free will, and who has lost that will? And who would you want on your committee, should you need it? A frightening, frightening story.

Update: 06:30 PM 11/30/04
Hugh Hewitt has spent most of his 3 hour radio show on this story, and posted to the story as well.
He draws significant parallels to the Wansee Conference. The comparison is relevant, and incredibly scary:

The Wannsee Conference, as it became known to history, did not mark the beginning of the "Final Solution." The mobile killing squads were already slaughtering Jews in the occupied Soviet Union. Rather, the Wannsee Conference was the place where the "final solution" was formally revealed to non-Nazi leaders who would help arrange for Jews to be transported from all over German-occupied Europe to SS-operated "extermination" camps in Poland. Not one of the men present at Wannsee objected to the announced policy. Never before had a modern state committed itself to the murder of an entire people.
The release today of this story on the Groningen Protocols may rank with the Wannsee Conference as the date the Culture of Death openly declared war on the Culture of Life.

Update: 09:30 PM 12/1/04
The story is beginning to percolate through the news cycle. Here's a google search of news stories as of 9:30 tonight. Sounds like Dennis Miller will spend some time on the story tomorrow night. Some bloggers are gettting into the story. Hugh Hewitt has again devoted alot of time to this story today. Mark D. Roberts has an extensive collection of links on this story. One is by a Vatican bio ethicist, who asks some pointed questions:

Some scholars have noted the existence of a great contradiction in contemporary society, a sort of schiz-ophrenic split: on the one hand, the proclamation of "human rights" and the search for the definition of "crimes against humanity", and on the other, the inability to define who the human person is, and consequently, what action should be deemed human or inhuman (cf. J.C. Guillebaud, Le principe d'humanité, Chap. I).

What it seems we are losing in our culture is the "principle of humanity".

Is it human to treat pain and to provide hospices for the sick afflicted with tumours or is it more humane to make available to those afflicted by incurable illnesses lethal drugs, whether they ask for them personally or their doctors presume that they would seek them if they could?

Who has the authority to decide whether a concept is "humane or inhumane", when human nature, the ontology of the person and an adequate concept of human dignity have been denied?

Does the person who is dying retain his or her human dignity so that no one can impose a despotism of life and death on one suffering and about to die?

This is the point: rediscovering human dignity, the dignity of every person who has value as such, a value that transcends earthly reality and is the source and purpose of social life, a good on which the universe converges (St Thomas Aquinas describes the person "quod est perfectissimum in rerum natura"), a good that cannot be exploited for any other interest by anyone (as the best of the secular moral traditions recalls, starting with Kant)

What does it mean to be human? Who has the right to end that human life? And who decides the answers to those questions? These are fundamental questions facing Western Civilization in the 21st century. How we answer the questions will determine much about how history will see this time.

Monday, November 29, 2004

NASA's Budget: What Should the Money Go For

An editorial in The New York Times I agree with. As soon as I finish, I'll go check my temperature again. For now, this makes a whole lot of sense:

Space officials have reportedly told Congressional committees they can find most of the needed money by slicing $100 million or more from this program or that until the desired cuts are reached. Our feeling is that NASA should look very hard at terminating its two costliest programs, the International Space Station, now orbiting in a partially built state overhead, and the shuttle fleet that is being resuscitated to carry parts and astronauts up to the station. Those two programs eat up much of the NASA budget for little real gain.

The main reason for completing the station, aside from a stubborn desire to finish something once started, is concern that other nations collaborating on the station would resent being abandoned. Yet the same pressures that have led many Americans to consider the station a white elephant may also be at work abroad. It may be possible to persuade our international partners to accept some losses on the station in return for a truly important role in more visionary space exploration.

The one thing that has become apparent since President Bush proposed putting astronauts on the Moon and Mars is that no such plan can gain momentum until the station-shuttle complex is shut down.

Despite the arrogant "royal we" used by the Times, the editorial makes sense. NASA has a history of pouring good money after bad. The Moon and Mars missions must take center stage, or we run a very real danger of seeing the first colony on the moon speaking fluent chinese.

Perhaps Maureen Should Listen to Her Family More

Poor Maureen Dowd. She just doesn't get it:
WASHINGTON — I've been surprised, out on the road, how often I get asked about my family. They're beyond red - more like crimson. My sister flew to West Virginia in October to work a phone bank for W.

People often wonder what our Thanksgiving is like.

It's lovely - if you enjoy hearing about how brilliant Ann Coulter is, how misguided The New York Times's editorial page is, and how valiant the president is as he tries to stop America's slide into paganism.

This year, my brothers were on the warpath about news reports that Maryland public schools did not teach about Thanksgiving from a religious perspective. "Who do they think the Pilgrims thanked?" demanded Martin. "God."

There are moments - when my brothers are sharing some snarky thing Rush Limbaugh said about me, or the latest bon mot from Pat Buchanan, with whom they grew up - that I'm tempted to stuff my ears with my mom's potato stuffing, or go off and read a book by David Sedaris about normal family life.

Got a news flash, Miss Dowd. Your family life IS pretty normal for 80% of the country. Soooo, what does that say about you? Read the whole peice, if you haven't. I couldn't agree with her brother's email more.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

And We Thought Election 2000 Was Bad

This is the first detailed story I've seen on the the votes in Ukraine. Massive fraud and voter intimidation. Worth reading what fraud really is the next time the Dems start talking about Florida or Ohio.

Been Away For Awhile

Been neglectful of the blog the past few days. Have had trouble getting down the stairs to the Computer Room at times.

Most folks know I've had some serious health problems the past few months. I don't usually use this site for personal updates, but I've gotten requests, so bear with me.

I'm having more tests this week, as the asthma is not improving enough. I'm still having frequent attacks despite multiple med changes. May be off to Rush in Chicago this week, as the docs locally have just about exhausted their bag of tricks. The CPAP machine for sleep apnea has certainly helped, but not enough. I am better, and was able to string together 3 really good days over the Thanksgiving holidays. Fell apart last night, with a lot of coughing, and breathing troubles. I've managed to stay out of the ER for a few weeks though. I consider that progress.

I still have hope that things will clear up,and I can get back to work soon. We'll see.

Thanks for the emails, and the prayers. It's helped to keep going through what has become a very long ordeal.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Photo instructions for HOW TO CARVE A TURKEY

Thought I'd post this, just to let anyone else out there see how its done. Turkey's almost ready at our house. The kids are decorating the tree, artificial this time, and I'm about to mash the potatoes. Hope this helps others as much as I hope it helps me.

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Can't imagine a way of saying it any better.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty
God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore
His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their
joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a
day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with
grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for
their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday,
the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to
the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all
the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in
rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and
protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation;
for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His
providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of
tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable
and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of
government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now
lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are
blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and,
in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to
confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our
prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him
to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in
public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly
and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people
by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws,
discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all
sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to
bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them
and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal
prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New
York, the 3d dy of October, A.D. 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Year of the Blog

A recap of the history of blogging. Great article.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Specter in the Senate: Behind Closed Doors

Robert Novak tells some of the inside story of Arlen Specter's being allowed to be Senate Judiciary Chairman. Sounds like Senator Specter saw a ghost.....

Dodging a Bullet: Frank Gaffney on the Intelligence Reform Bill

Any time the MSM and the Democrats are pushing a bill, its cause to look twice. Thanks to some courageous Congressmen, the Intelligence Bill was not a slam dunk. Just because the 911 Commission recommended it doesn't mean it should necessarily be passed. Much thanks are due these men who stopped a bad bill in its tracks.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Space Tourism Makes a Comeback

Hopefully the Senate will approve this bill as well. We'll see.

The Next Front in the Culture Wars: University Faculty

There are few who doubt the extreme left wing bias of college professors. This lack of diversity is about to be brought into the light of day through several new studies, detailed here.

Keeping the World Safe From The BSA

James Lileks makes the issue clear.

Move over, OBL – our new national threat comes from the BSA. They're a strange, religiously oriented group that's stated purposes ought to make your blood run as cold as chilled mercury. We've had remarkable success in recent years keeping them from undermining American power, thanks to the U.S. military. But now it's official, and what was once a shadowy war is out in the open.

The Pentagon has informed all bases not to sponsor the Boy Scouts of America.

Not that they ever have, mind you. Says the Associated Press: "The Pentagon said it has long had a rule against sponsorship of non-federal organizations and denied the rule had been violated. But it agreed to send a message to posts worldwide warning them not to sponsor Boy Scout troops or other such groups."

So we're still in danger. It's possible that in some distant base in a flat, empty state, some rogue officer might horribly commingle Boy Scouts and his official duties – say, showing up in uniform to teach the Webelos the Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is this bad? Simple: The Scouts make you swear an oath that mentions the Big Guy. Here's the marrow-curdling vow in its entirety, brazenly posted on a Web site they use to communicate with other cells. Ready?

"On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

Whew. Strong stuff. The God part is bad enough, but the "morally straight" line is the big cherry on the cake. But remember, please: The Scouts are a private organization; they have the right to believe what they wish, even if you disagree.

And we're talking about the Boy Scouts, for heaven's sake, not some Junior Klan League noted for torchlight parades through Jewish neighborhoods. Who has the time to worry whether the Scouts are meeting in the local library? Isn't there some real, actual evil handy you could sue?

Since the last election, we've been told that right-wing theoreticians concoct divisive social issues in secret underground labs and release them into the body politic every election cycle, clouding the minds of red-state sheep. But the Boy Scouts haven't been suing anyone for the right to hold compulsory God and country rallies in schools across the land. The American Civil Liberties Union is forcing the issue.

The people barging into the courts are the ones obsessed that Boy Scouts might be using public school rooms after hours to learn knot tying. And Scouts drive on public roads to get there, too. They even breathe air whose quality is mandated by federal regulations that take public money to enforce. Theocratic parasites, that's what they are. What's next? A 900-foot statue of Jesus on the Mall in Washington?

This may be the face of the hard, foamy left, but it's not the view of your average Democrat. Throwing the Scouts into an electrified pen that keeps them from contaminating government is not high on the list of your average Democratic concerns.

Ask one. Why are you a Democrat? "Because I believe in good jobs, health care for all, more diplomacy and strong public schools."

And you oppose the Boy Scouts, right? "What? No. My kid's a scout."

But the ACLU has practically declared them a hate group. Got the Pentagon to promise no official connections. And you'll still vote Democratic? "Count on it, friend."

Then one day his kid's Wolf Pack gets denied a permit to hold a party in a public park.

And thus do blue folks see red.

Any questions about why the left will continue to lose elections?

Perspective: Natan Sharansky, Condi Rice, And George W. Bush

When Natan Sharansky stepped into Condoleezza Rice's West Wing office at 11:15 last Thursday morning, he had no idea the national security advisor would soon be named the next secretary of state. He was just glad to see her holding a copy of his newly published book, The Case for Democracy.

Sharansky, a self-effacing man who spent nine years in KGB prisons (often in solitary confinement) before becoming the first political prisoner released by Mikhail Gorbachev, hoped it had to do with his brilliant analysis and polished prose.

Rice smiled. "I'm reading it because the president is reading it, and it's my job to know what the president is thinking."

A close friend of the president had sent over a copy several weeks earlier with a note urging him to take a close look. The president nearly polished it off during a weekend at Camp David, then suggested to Rice that she read it as well.

For nearly 40 minutes, Rice engaged Sharansky — now an Israeli cabinet member — and co-author Ron Dermer, a former columnist with the Jerusalem Post, in a discussion over how best to help democracy take root in such hard soils as Iraq, Iran, and the West Bank and Gaza.

At precisely 2 P.M., Sharansky and Dermer were ushered into the Oval Office for a private meeting with the president. They were scheduled for 45 minutes. They stayed for more than an hour. What the president told Sharansky was off the record. What Sharansky told the president was not.

"I told the president, 'There is a great difference between politicians and dissidents. Politicians are focused on polls and the press. They are constantly making compromises. But dissidents focus on ideas. They have a message burning inside of them. They would stand up for their convictions no matter what the consequences.'

"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue — despite all the critics and the resistance you faced — you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world.'"

From one of the most famous dissidents of era of the Evil Empire, such is not faint praise.

Among many valuable lessons from this article, one stands out. The left needs to get over their constant chatter that George W. Bush is dumb, or led by others. Their insistence on this stance makes them look incredibly stupid, and causes one to discount any substantive arguments they may have. In part, the Left is losing influence because stories like the above are getting out, despite the MSM's most ardent attempts to keep them quiet.

Perspectives: Victor Davis Hanson

There are some essays that are so profound it is impossible to pull an excerpt. This is one of them. Here is the last paragraph:
Quite literally, we are living in the strangest, most perilous, and unbelievable decade in modern memory.
Read the whole essay.

Perspectives: Victory in Fallujah

One of the few positive editorials to come from the press on an amazing victory in Fallujah:

The rule of thumb for the last century or so has been that for a guerrilla force to remain viable, it must inflict seven casualties on the forces of the government it is fighting for each casualty it sustains, says former Canadian army officer John Thompson, managing director of the Mackenzie Institute, a think tank that studies global conflicts.
By that measure, the resistance in Iraq has had a bad week. American and Iraqi government troops have killed at least 1,200 fighters in Fallujah, and captured 1,100 more. Those numbers will grow as mop-up operations continue.

These casualties were inflicted at a cost (so far) of 56 Coalition dead (51 Americans), and just over 300 wounded, of whom about a quarter have returned to duty.

"That kill ratio would be phenomenal in any [kind of] battle, but in an urban environment, it's revolutionary," said retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, perhaps America's most respected writer on military strategy. "The rule has been that [in urban combat] the attacking force would suffer between a quarter and a third of its strength in casualties."

Read the whole thing. Then read it again.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

2004 Weblog Awarda

Cast your vote at the link above. Over 30 categories. Very much worth looking at.

CNN Presents: The Fight Over Faith

Carol Marin does an excellent, unbiased job of presenting the Evangelical Movement. A must see for anyone interested in understanding Evangelicals, and our continuing impact on politics and culture. Interviews with everyone from the President of the Southern Baptist Convention to Barry Lynne, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. So fair and balanced you'll think you are watching FoxNews.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Underground Warfare: Belmont Club

A comprehensive report on underground warfare in Israel. The map of tunneling between Egypt and Gaza is especially worth looking at. Good Stuff, and another reason why The Belmont Club has become a must read for understanding World War IV.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Dennis Prager on Homosexuality

A powerful discussion of homosexuality in the link above. Dennis Prager (website here) Required Reading regardless of which side you find yourself on.
Thanks to Baldilocks for this article. Check out her blog. One I'll go back to again and again.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The UN Scandal Continues to Grow

The Scandal in the UN continues to grow and grow. Here's an update from National Review.

Alan Gerson, an international-law expert, has been a leader in the litigation of antiterrorist cases. He told me that when a person or an entity â?? even a government â?? has aided and abetted terrorism, its immunity can be bypassed in legal proceedings. When someone violates the "commitment to peremptory norms" â?? i.e., when it helps fund terrorism â?? it effectively gives up its immunity from legal action. The president can and should act on this idea.

The president could determine â?? and issue an order saying â?? that the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, according to the available evidence, violated that "commitment to peremptory norms" and thus waived its immunities to congressional and other U.S. legal proceedings. At that point, Coleman's PSI could issue enforceable subpoenas against the U.N., its staff, and the companies that participated in the program. The U.N. would then be in a position such that it had to either cooperate with the investigation or be held in contempt of Congress. (Which it manifestly is right now.)

The American system of government is based on the principles of checks and balances, and accountability. The U.N. is now unaccountable to anyone but its members. We give about $7 billion a year to the U.N. and its agencies. If the U.N. remains contemptuous of Congress â?? and the American people â?? it should suffer the loss of those funds until it decides to cooperate fully. There is no reason to trust the U.N. to investigate and punish those who abused the program, or to recover any of the funds that were looted by Saddam through the U.N.'s program. Congress should use its power of the purse to compel the U.N. to cooperate. And the president could make that much easier by declaring the U.N.'s immunities waived by its involvement in terror.

See you in court, Kofi.

This scandal continues to grow exponentially. It's past time for the President to step up and call it for what it is.

Testing BlogJet

I've installed an interesting application - BlogJet. It's a cool Windows client for my blog tool (as well as for other tools). Get your copy here: http://blogjet.com

I'll play with it and see if its worth paying for.

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso

Garrison Keillor on who should not have the right to vote

Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, said on November 3rd that he was heading an organization to take away the right to vote from gays, Jews, and black people. He said further that if Gays, Jews and blacks are allowed to vote, why not Canadians?

This was said at a fund raiser in Chicago for a Children's Hospital. The audience laughed and applauded in agreement.

Are you offended?
Wondering why this wasn't page one in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, or Washington Post?
Wondering why Chris Matthews wasn't screaming about this on MSNBC?
Wondering why Nightline hasn't devoted multiple episodes to these racist, bigoted comments?

The reason is that Garrison Keillor said the above about born again Christians, not Gays, Jews, or African Americans.

Here's the actual quote:

"I am now the chairman of a national campaign to pass a constitutional amendment
to take the right to vote away from born-again Christians. [enthusiastic
audience applause] Just a little project of mine. My feeling is that born-again
people are citizens of heaven, that is where there citizenship is, [laughter] is
in heaven, it's not here among us in America. ..."

Where's the outrage at this blatant bigotry? Apparently its quite acceptable to say this about Christians, as they are apparently not a protected class, and therefore can be made targets for tax subsidized humor from an National Public Radio host. And the Mainstream Media can stay silent in agreement.

I'm reminded of an old quote:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

If Garrison Keillor is allowed to get away with this, what will be next?

Hat tip to Mike Gallagher for this story.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Silencing the Christmas Bells

Okay, so I'm not following my own "shhhh-shing" advice. But this story is just to sad to pass up. How can Target, Best Buy and Circuit City not allow The Salvation Army Bell Ringers this Christmas?!?!? It's incredibly sad, and will influence where I do my Christmas shopping this year. Those bells are as much a part of Christmas as presents or Christmas trees. Shame on those stores for not allowing the bell ringers.


Peggy Noonan's post-election advice:
Everybody, take a breath.
Be Still.
Wise and Wonderful Words.
I'm gonna go to bed, now.
Without watching FoxNews.
Without reading National Review, OpinionJournal, or anything else, including blogs.
Good Night.
And, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Outrage II: The US Military Surrenders to Extortionists

The left is alive and well, at least at the ACLU. They continue their unrelenting war against the Boy Scouts. The latest casualty is the US military itself. Doesn't the ACLU have anything better to do, like robbing homeless people who wear religious jewelry in public parks? How sad that they have attacked the very organizations that has promoted freedom for decades, the US Armed Forces and the Boy Scouts of America.

Outrage I: The Laws of War

In Fallujah, a marine killed a terrorist who was apparently faking being dead. The marine had just been shot in the face the day before by a terrorist. He had witnessed, or at least heard about, other marines being injured or killed by booby trapped bodies. And he made a decision based on that.

The MSM lost the election. They went from their wonderful tracking polls showing Kerry winning in a landslide, to watching Condi Rice nominated for Secretary of State. They did everything they could to turn Iraq into Vietnam, and failed. And they've made a decision based on that.

They will seek to turn this incident into Abu Ghraib, regardless of the actual facts of the case. Is it any wonder people are turning off their TVs and turning on the blogs for information and analysis?

An Update:
I'm not a big Michael Savage fan. But tonight he said some things I firmly agree with. The soldier who shot the terrorist very likely does not need to stand trial. And the President needs to stand up and say so. His leadership is needed to quell the MSM feeding frenzy. This time, the MSM is feeding on a young Marine doing his job, killing terrorists.

We are at war. I think most Americans do not have the knowledge of history to fully understand what that means. Understanding World War II, especially the Pacific war, may help. The Japanese were vicious enemies. It was not unusual for a wounded Japanese soldier to shoot the American medic who came to help him. Per Michael Savage, an order went out to shoot Japanese wounded before touching them, due to the number of Americans killed by "wounded" Japanese soldiers.

We face the same thing in Iraq, and will face this on other fronts in World War IV. WW II was Total War. We have yet to come to grips with the idea that WWIV must also be Total War if we are to win.

Monday, November 15, 2004

PLEASE Give Us A Playoff For Division I Football!!

This is just plain ridiculous:

Computers prefer Oklahoma over Auburn - and Southern California.

The Sooners held on to second place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Monday, staying ahead of third-place Auburn because of a stronger computer ranking.

USC is still first the BCS standings with a grade of .9808. Oklahoma's grade is .9621, and Auburn's is .9350.

Last week, the Sooners led the Tigers by .0567. That lead is down to .0271.

The Trojans, Sooners and Tigers are all 10-0. Each has two games left and one loss by any of them would provide a simple solution to what is shaping up to be another BCS mess. The top two teams in the final BCS standings will play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 for the national title.

Since the BCS' inception in 1998, there's never been three undefeated teams after the regular season in the six BCS conference - Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference.

This is worse than before we had this stupid BCS system. Come on. 16 teams, 4 weeks. How hard can this be???

The Seccession Diaries: From Shot in the Dark

Great 4 part story. Remember, it's only a post, it's only a post, it's only a post.......

Irreconcilable Musings

The title alone should grab your attention. A wonderful blogger, writing on everything from politics to religion to coffee. One of those "required reading" blogs. Enjoy.

The Final Mission of the Swift Vets

When the story of the 2004 Election is written, The Swift Vets will have a prominent chapter or two:
As the evening proceeded and one Vietnam veteran after another shared the story of how veterans felt compelled to attack Mr. Kerry for his 1971 testimony branding fellow veterans as war criminals, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg leaned back in his chair in amazement. "I think some of them are too intense," he told me. "But screwing with these guys by accusing them of atrocities was one of the biggest mistakes John Kerry ever made. Thirty years later he woke a sleeping giant."
Great report on final mission, and no group has more right to say "Mission Accomplished."

The UN Oil for Food Scandal: Norm Coleman Takes Charge

Hat tip to Powerline for this article on Norm Coleman, and the coming bombshells on the corruption in the UN.

Coleman said this week's hearings will show that ''the scope of the ripoff'' at the U.N. is substantially more than the widely reported $10 billion to $11 billion in graft. But more than money is involved. These hearings also should expose the arrogance of the secretary-general and his bureaucracy. At the same time that he has refused to honor the Senate committee's request for documents, Annan has inveighed against the Fallujah offensive sanctioned by the new Iraqi government while ignoring the terrorism of insurgents. This is an unprecedented showdown between a branch of the U.S. government and the U.N.

The scandal is not complicated. Money from Iraqi oil sales permitted by the Saddam Hussein regime under U.N. auspices, supposedly to provide food for Iraqis, was siphoned off to middlemen. Billions intended to purchase food wound up in Saddam's hands for the purpose of buying conventional weapons. The complicity of U.N. member states France and Russia is pointed to by the Senate investigation. The web of corruption deepened when it was revealed that Annan's son, Kojo, was on the payroll of a contractor in the oil-for-food program.

Norm Coleman is more than a freshman Senator. Here's the end of Robert Novak's peice:

The reaction by the U.N. bureaucracy has been an intransigent defense of its stone wall. Edward Mortimer, Annan's director of communications, publicly sneered at the Coleman-Levin letter as ''very awkward and troubling.'' Privately, Annan's aides told reporters that they were not about to hand over confidential documents to the Russian Duma and every other parliamentary body in the world.

But the U.S. Senate is not the Russian Duma. These are not just a few right-wing voices in the wilderness who are confronting Kofi Annan. ''In seeing what is happening at the U.N.,'' Coleman told me, ''I am more troubled today than ever. I see a sinkhole of corruption.'' The United Nations and its secretary-general are in a world of trouble.

By association, so are those Democrats who believed American foreign policy should be governed by this corrupt organization. I doubt Mr. Kerry will have many public comments about these hearings...

Lightening the Load for the Next Four Years

President Bush is rearranging his cabinet, likely in preparation for an intensifying of World War IV. Both the CIA and the State Department have failed to become War departments. Both continue to operate as though it was still September 10th. Look for continued shake ups in both departments in the coming months, and for the New York Times editorial page to become increasingly shrill as a result. Though, in all honesty, I'm not sure how much more shrill Maureen Dowd can get without being place in restraints for her own safety....

The Specter in the Victory Responds

National Review Online has been leading the charge to keep Arlen Specter out of the chairman's seat of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read Specter's letter, and NRO's response. I still think Hugh Hewitt is right on this issue. The old saying is true: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer." For conservatives, keeping Arlen Specter close is far better than risking him going the Jim Jeffords route, and taking Snow, Collins, Chaffee and maybe even Hagel with him.

Election Reflections: More on Moral Values.

And their non-impact on the election:
The ritualistic condemnation of Christian fundamentalists neglects two things. The first: Secularists are just as likely to provoke moral outrage as are religious believers, yet we rarely read stories about the secular left. The second: Research shows that organizations of Christian fundamentalists are hardly made up of fire-breathers but rather are organizations whose members practice consensual politics and rely on appeals to widely shared constitutional principles.
As long as the left continues to use Christians as a convenient scapegoat, they won't understand the real reasons why they lost a close election.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Future of War

If you see the connections between this story and the Terminator movies, join the club. Here's the main impediment:

The military is filled with "tribal representatives behind tribal workstations interpreting tribal hieroglyphics," in the words of Gen. John Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff. "What if the machines talked to each other?" he asked.

That is the vision of the new web: war machines with a common language for all military forces, instantly emitting encyclopedias of lethal information against all enemies.

To realize this vision, the military must solve a persistent problem. It all boils down to bandwidth.

Bandwidth measures how much data can flow between electronic devices. Too little for civilians means a Web page takes forever to load. Too little for soldiers means the war net will not work.

The bandwidth requirements seem bottomless. The military will need 40 or 50 times what it used at the height of the Iraq war last year, a Rand Corporation study estimates - enough to give front-line soldiers bandwidth equal to downloading three feature-length movies a second.

The Congressional Research Service said the Army, despite plans to spend $20 billion on the problem, may wind up with a tenth of the bandwidth it needs. The Army, in its "lessons learned" report from Iraq, published in May, said "there will probably never be enough resources to establish a complete and functioning network of communications, sensors, and systems everywhere in the world."

The bottleneck is already great. In Iraq, front-line commanders and troops fight frequent software freezes. "To make net-centric warfare a reality," said Tony Montemarano, the Defense Information Security Agency's bandwidth expansion chief, "we will have to precipitously enhance bandwidth."

In today's world, bandwidth isn't much of a hurdle, and is easily solved. Skynet, anyone?

Friday, November 12, 2004

Election Reflections: The Moral Values Myth

A question has been rattling around in my head since the elections:
If the exit polls were so wrong, why are they being relied on for the number one reason for voting for President Bush? Admittedly, moral values certainly were motivators, but absolutely noone had that as a reason until the day of the election. Didn't make sense, but fit with one of the reasons I voted for President Bush, so I blew off the question.

Hooray for Charles Krauthammer, who did not blow off the question. His in depth analysis is must reading for any intelligent discussion of the election, and the post election world we live in. Here's a sample:

In the post-election analyses, the liberal elite, led by the holy trinity of the New York Times -- Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd -- just about lost its mind denouncing the return of medieval primitivism. As usual, Dowd achieved the highest level of hysteria, cursing the Republicans for pandering to "isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism" in their unfailing drive to "summon our nasty devils."

Whence comes this fable? With President Bush increasing his share of the vote among Hispanics, Jews, women (especially married women), Catholics, seniors and even African Americans, on what does this victory-of-the-homophobic-evangelical voter rest?

Its origins lie in a single question in the Election Day exit poll. The urban myth grew around the fact that "moral values" ranked highest in the answer to Question J: "Which ONE issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for president?"

It is a thin reed upon which to base a General Theory of the '04 Election. In fact, it is no reed at all. The way the question was set up, moral values were sure to be ranked disproportionately high. Why? Because it was a multiple-choice question, and moral values cover a group of issues, while all the other choices were individual issues. Chop up the alternatives finely enough, and moral values are sure to get a bare plurality over the others.

Read the whole thing. Read it twice. Makes a whole lot of sense, and has stopped the question rolling around in my head.

Away For Testing

More medical tests. Still trying to find reasons for my ongoing breathing problems.
No blogging for the next 24 hours, as I will be having a sleep test tonight.
The good news: the CAT scan was negative for cancer. Whew!

Update: 1:45 pm on Friday
The test was successful, if extremely uncomfortable. Will now await results. Didn't know sleep apnea was such a big deal, but apparently it is . The link to Sleep Apnea.org explains why.
Much thanks for the support and prayers. It is greatly appreciated. Hopefully we are on the right track, and I can get back to work soon.
Meanwhile, just finished a great peice by Charles Krauthammer below. Required Reading, folks!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Terror in the Skies: An Ongoing Series

In June of this year, Annie Jacobsen sent tremors around the world with her first person story , Terror in the Skies.
She's been doing ongoing follow ups sense. This is the latest in a horrifying series. Must reading before your next flight.

Death of a Terrorist

For the first time in a long time, I stopped watching FoxNews tonight. I just can't stomach the video of Yasser Arafat being played over and over. At least Fox hasn't provided the aura of stateman that CNN and MSNBC are giving the terrorist's death. Next to UBL, no terrorist has more blood on his hands, or deserves hell so much. Good riddance. Perhaps his removal will bring the Palestinians to their senses. I doubt it, but perhaps.

An Update:
An Appropriate Eulogy For Arafat:

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.

And this:

How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy -- the rise of modern terrorism -- without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed? If Osama bin Laden were on his deathbed, would we neglect to mention all those he murdered on 9/11?

It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

Thank you, Boston Globe, for having the courage to print the truth amongst the lies.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Seeking Solace

A moving post from the wife of a Special Forces soldier about to be deployed. Very much worth a read, and a prayer for her and her family.

Mining the Moon, the Gateway to Mars

An indepth look at what's coming. A little publicized benefit of President Bush's win is the ongoing renewal of the manned space program, and the ongoing plans for both the Moon and Mars.

Howard Dean For DNC Chaiman: YEEEAAAHH!!!!!!

I am officially throwing in my support for Howard Dean for DNC chairman. There could be no more representative voice for the Democratic Party than Dr. Dean. Anti-war, pro gay marriage, pro-abortion, anti big buisness,anti-gun and completely lacking any military or foreign policy experience, he represents everything the Democrat Party stood for in 2004, and would set the same agenda for the mid-term elections of 2006. I can think of no better person to captain the Titani..er...Democrat Party for the coming years, can you?

The Marine Corps: 229 Years Old Today

As the marines continue to destroy the terrorist nest in Fallujah, it's important to remember the proud tradition of the Marine Corps. Here's the official Marine History and Museum Division site. Very much worth a look, and a prayer of thanks for what these brave patriots have accomplished over the years.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Secession Threats From Democrats: Reprise

Some Democrats are talking secession again. Powerline gives a great run down on the arguments. Here's my favorite line:

Yesterday Rocket Man discussed Lawrence O'Donnell's support of red-state secession as an alternative to the Union with the blue states. The other Democratic alternatives discussed in Rocket Man's post ("Democrats ponder alternatives: Vote suppression, secession, and assassination") included disenfranchisement of the unenlightened and assassination of the president. Together these alternatives suggest that the Democrats are thinking their way back to their roots as the party of John Calhoun and the Confederacy, if not of the Klu Klux Klan and John Wilkes Booth.

There's a kind of logic to the talk of secession by Democrats. Their creed on abortion has evolved in much the manner that the Southern Democrats' creed on slavery evolved, an evolution culminating in the doctrine that race-based chattel slavery is a positive good. By the same token, the Democrats have come to support abortion as the moral equivalent of a positive good -- any measure that might tend to lessen its incidence is reviled.

Once again Democrats are arguing themselves into a corner about the nature of being human. They were wrong in the 1850's, and they are wrong now.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Good News From Iraq

A huge compilation of all the things going right in Iraq over the past two weeks. . It ran twenty-five pages printed. Worth a read. Lot's of great links and documentation. Something to come back as the media hysteria continues over the current drive on Fallujah.

The Specter Among the Victory

Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is under attack.

He should be.

In his arrogance, he issued a warning to President Bush not to send conservative nominees to "his" judicial committee. It was a stupid thing to do, but vintage Arlen Specter. I'll never forget his quoting of "Scottish law" during the sham impeachment trial. And I'm old enough to remember his leading the charge against Robert Bork, and adding a new verb "borking" to the political lexicon.

Many respected conservatives are now calling the Senate to "throw Specter under the bus" to quote Hugh Hewitt. NRO is leading the charge. So is Laura Ingraham. The thought is that now that we have the majority, and a mandate, we should use it, by God.

I agree with that statement, but do disagree that Specter needs to go. President Bush has the opportunity to choose at least 2, and more likely at least 3 new justices for the Supreme Court. And to jettison Specter would create an open enemy of the President's nominees, who would drag along Chaffee, Collins, Snow, and maybe even Hagel along with him. We don't need that.

I leaned that way before reading Hugh's post, but his questions reinforce this. Let Specter stay close, with a clear understanding that his chairmanship is a privilege, not a right, Scottish or otherwise.

Maybe Hollywood Finally Gets It

This makes me want to take out the inevitable loan for movie and popcorn for four to go see The Incredibles. Maybe I still have some credit on my home equity loan....

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Shades of Red and Blue, With A Little Green Thrown In.

This work of art presents the county by county vote in shades of red, blue and green, depending on the amount of votes from that county. Very much worth clicking on the link, as Dr. Vanderbrei has many other variations on the theme. A much more realistic view of the electorate in this election.

Election Reflections: A Bridge to Far

It's taken several days to read and digest all the post election info. The fact that President Bush made up 7.2 million votes since 2000 is really quite remarkable, and is evidence of the significant shift of the 2004 election.
A couple of reflections:
First, the President did win the election 4 years ago. Despite all the hysteria, he did win. The press consortium of The New York Times, Washington Post and the Miami Herald counted the votes in Florida several different ways, including the goofy ways the Gore people wanted.
Bush won.
Every time.
It's time for the left to recognize that fact.
Continuing to harp on “the stolen election” of 2000 is offensive to the millions of voters who did vote for President Bush both times, and part of the backlash that turned out additional millions this time around.
Despite the MSM, the University elites, and many mainstream churches, the left is losing the culture wars, even in the blue states.

The votes that occurred in the 11 states were not about intolerance. There has never been a time in this country when gays were more accepted, even in the "red" states, and in spite of the radical left of the gay movement exhibited in the "gay pride" parades. The anxiety was not a result of a belief that homosexual behavior is sinful, though many, including myself, believe it is. The fear is a reaction to having a core sacrament threatened, that of marriage itself.

The votes in all 11 states was a reaction to what happened in Massachusetts and San Fransisco. Yes, some went beyond marriage to outlaw civil unions, which I personally support. But the anxiety came from millions of people feeling powerless and threatened by a radical idea they do not agree with. These voters have soundly stated they refuse to be dictated to by appointed judges and left coast mayors who do not share their values.

Marriage has been seen for centuries as a union, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, between to opposites, a man and a woman. If the gay movement wishes to challenge this, they must do it in the court of public opinion. To do so in any other court threatens my right to equal protection, and displays the very intolerance so often used as a club to beat Evangelicals and others who do not share the gay agenda. Pushing the agenda through judicial fiat truly is going a bridge to far.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Election Reflections: Part I

How it happened is in Newsweek.
Why it happened is in the map above. Red and blue have become more than convenient colors. They've become symbols of the cultural divide of the country, and the cultural divide of this site. I'm still coming to conclusions on what this means long term. In the short term, its fun to watch the MSM try to come to grips with their lessening influence, and their inability to throw the election to the Democrats. Stay tuned.

A New Talk Radio Station in Chicago

WIND 560, modeled on The Patriot in Minnesota, has opened it's doors in Chicago. It fills a gap in conservative talk left open by the more locally oriented stations such as WGN, and gives direct competition to WLS 890 for those time slots not ruled by Rush and Sean Hannity.

Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager make up the bulk of the daytime programming. Michael Savage and Hugh Hewitt do prime time. Give it a listen.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Return of Peggy Noonan

I started this blog as a small email group at work, mostly letting them know Peggy Noonan's latest wisdom. It's gratifying to have her back at opinion journal. She had been an unpaid advisor to the Bush campaign, and to avoid conflict of interest stepped down from the Journal. Interesting that James Carville and Paul Begala cannot say the same thing.

Her perspectives today are important. There were some big losers and winners in this election. She lists some in her column. For selfish reasons, here's my favorite part:
Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief--CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes" attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election--the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.
Welcome back, Peggy. You've been missed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Time To Concede, Mr. Kerry. This Isn't Florida.

Mathematically, it's over. Mr. Kerry cannot win Ohio. It's time for him to step out of the stereotype of a flip flopper, and show the character of a one-time Naval Officer. To drag this out in time of war would hurt more this country. It's time.
Give it up.

If I wasn't so brain dead, I would have given folks Mr. Kerry's concession speech from one of the alternative universes. I'm just too tired and wheezy right now. Hopefully the Senator of this universe will show the same character Richard Nixon did in 1960. We'll see shortly.

I would point you to the latest post from Powerline though. Hugh Hewitt has been a voice of reason on the right throughout this election, and is indeed the only one to fully comprehend the new media of the blogosphere.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Late Night: Still To Close To Call

Stay tuned folks.
I'm too tuckered out to blog anymore.
I'm gonna sit in a recliner and watch the Screamer for a few hours.
Thanks for the comments tonight.
See ya tomorrow.

To Close to Call

Above from Yahoo is a great way to follow this long evening on the internet.
A couple of obvservations as we are early into the evening:
The media is playing this the way they said it, conservatively.
Don't get freaked out when they say a state is too close to call.
Just remember Florida in 2000. No network wants to screw that up again.
Look at the raw numbers in the link.
And take a deep breath.
It's gonna be a long night.

10:00 CST
So far Kerry hasn't made any gains over the results of 2000. Pennsylvania is a disappointment, but not a surprise.
A Media Critique:
Brit Hume and company on Fox just seem bored. They make me feel bored watching them.
I am very tired staring at the back of Larry King's head on CNN.
Just like the conventions, I find myself drawn to MSNBC as the most exciting coverage. I think I watch Chris Matthews for the same reason I watch auto racing. It's exciting, but what I'm really waiting for is the next crash and burn. So far, The Screamer has come close with Joe Scarborough, but he hasn't fallen off the track like he did with Zell Miller earlier this year.
Still gonna be a long night. But I'm feeling optimistic about Ohio and Florida and Michigan and Wisconsin and Colorado and .... you get the idea.

10:20 PM CST
There is no better site for the Dascle-Thune battle in South Dakota than here. As of right now, Thune is ahead as the counting heads toward friendly Republican counties. This has the glimmerings of a very, very good evening for Republicans.

10:45 PM CST
Florida goes to the President. He is now 33 votes away. Republicans are picking up seats in the House and the Senate. It's still not over, but looking hopeful.
Media Update:
The Screamer almost drove his little wagon right off the tracks a few minutes ago. He wanted to make the thesis that if Bush won by a close margin, it would encourage the terrorists somehow. Even Ron Reagan couldn't agree with this one, thank God.

No links, no pundits, and for Goodness sake, no polls.
The only poll that counts is today.
If you've followed this blog for long, you know where I stand. I firmly believe this is the most important election in a generation or more, and will determine the future of this nation.
So, go vote.
Vote your values.
Vote your security.
Remember 9/11/01.
Vote accordingly.
And at the risk of being accused of a cliche:
God Bless America.

One more thing:
I'll be blogging intermittently as the results come in tonight. One of the joys of the many steroids I'm currently taking for my asthma is insomnia. Hopefully it'll be an early night, a Republican win across the board, and I can concentrate on my new Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator program I got this week. Still haven't figured out how to land that darned P-51 Mustang with only 4 gallons of gas..... stay tuned.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Red And Blue States: The Enemy's View

I wondered about this from UBL when the tape came out, but figured "state" surely meant "nation." Apparently not.

The respected Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and translates Arabic media and Internet sites, said initial translations of a key portion of bin Laden's video rant to the American people Friday night missed an ostentatious bid by the Saudi-born terror master to divide American voters and tilt the election towards Democratic challenger John Kerry.

MEMRI said radical Islamist commentators monitored over the Internet this past weekend also interpreted the key passage of bin Laden's diatribe to mean that any U.S. state that votes to elect Bush on Tuesday will be considered an "enemy" and any state that votes for Kerry has "chosen to make peace with us."

The peice goes on to explain the arabic term used by the evil one, and if the interpretation is correct, does bring the terrorists down on the side of one candidate. Only the Red states will be attacked. The appeasement states will be left alone. Remember: Ten out of ten terrorists agree: Anyone But Bush.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Alternative Histories: Blogging: April 1944

A Post just in from somewhere in the Multiverse:

Everyone knows we aren't really winnng these wars with Germany and Japan. Oh, we've made some gains against the Axis of evil, but it's been 3 years, and we STILL haven't caught the bad guys who did this to us. Hitler is still sending out his propaganda, and he isn't even the one who REALLY attacked us, after all. The links between Germany and Japan have been exaggerated by this administation, to say the least. And why are we attacking Italy? Mussolini doesn't even have an army to speak of, and has never been a direct an imminent threat to this country. This President's stubborness and misjudgement in going after Germany and Italy rather than the REAL enemy, Tojo and Japan, have led us to this quagmire. And, Roosevelt obviously has no real plan for peace. Eveyone know that. It's obvious he's seeking to make this some kind of World War in order to make good his cousin Teddy's failed legacy. Everyone know that.

And look at our losses. Thousands of sons and fathers dead. And for what? We are still bottled up in England, for God's sake. And the British, and that incompetent drunk Churchill appear to be our only real allies. Oh, some small countries have joined us, due to our coercion and bribery, but the bulk of the money and the dying are coming from the United States. Everyone knows that.

That's why Roosevelt really should not be reelected. The man really is incompetent. We won't even get in to his abysmal jobs record, or the burgeoning Federal Deficit. My God, we were attacked at Pearl Harbor 3 years ago! And, he was allying with Stalin, after all. Certainly he can't be trusted to bring the war to a decent conclusion after allying with a known war criminal. And that new running mate of his! What's his name, Truman? Good Lord. What does that say about Roosevelt's judgement.

And our candidate knows how to win a war, having spent 4 months in the trenches in Belgium. Eveyone KNOWS those Trench Soldiers for Truth are all lying. Even after our candidate clarified that he did not spend Christmas with the Kaiser in 1917, but was CLOSE to Germany. Even then these 160 men won't leave him alone.

Support our Troops. And remember what our Candidate has said in battleground states from Wisconsin to Iowa to his home state of Massachussetts, Help IS on The Way. Any One But Roosevelt in '44.

The universes connect in odd ways, don't they?

Hugh Hewitt Gone From the Chicago Market?

Very sad news for the Chicago radio market. Hugh Hewitt apparently will no longer be on. He has continued to be a major conservative voice, and the most reliable and ardent proponent of blogging in the media today. He was instrumental in breaking the Dan Rather story, and has continued to be a main source for opinion during the campaign season. Hopefully some station will realize the ratings value of having such a great conservative voice, and Hugh will once again fill the Chicago airwaves soon

An Update:
Just recieved an email from Hugh. He will be on WIND 560 from 8 to 11 pm in the Chicago Market That's great news! .

Well, At Least Someone Has Absorbed the Democratic Talking Points

The Powerline Boys reinforce my first impressions of UBL's rant:

He [Bush] adopted despotism and the crushing of freedoms from Arab rulers and called it the Patriot Act under the guise of combating terrorism. . . .

It's Ashcroft's fault. Where do you suppose he got that?

It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers. This gave us three times the time needed to carry out the operations, thanks be to God. . . .

This is, of course, pure Michael Moore. Obviously bin Laden has seen Fahrenheit 9/11, or at least heard about it from other terrorists who have seen it. Just as obviously, they approve of Moore's movie.

Do you suppose there are any Democrats honest enough to be embarrassed that Osama bin Laden has enthusiastically adopted their campaign themes?

Maybe the Bumper Sticker is right:
Ten out of Ten Terrorists Agree: Anyone But Bush.

He's Baaaack.

It really is a September 11th world. UBL said alot of interesting things in this rant. One was this:
We didn't find difficulty dealing with Bush and his administration due to the similarity of his regime and the regims in our countries. Whish half of them are ruled by military and the other half by sons of kings and presidents and our experience with them is long. Both parties are arrogant and stubborn and the greediness and taking money without right and that similarity appeared during the visits of Bush to the region while people from our side were impressed by the US and hoped that these visits would influence our countries. Here he is being influenced by these regimes, Royal and military. And was feeling jealous they were staying for decades in power stealing the nations finances without anybody overseeing them. So he transferred the oppression of freedom and tyranny to his son and they call it the Patriot Law to fight terrorism. He was bright in putting his sons as governors in states and he didn't forget to transfer his experience from the rulers of our region to Florida to falsify elections to benefit from it in critical times.
The media is spouting the idea that the Bush administration UBL is talking about is W. But read the whole quote above. He's talking about Bush 41. This is a nuanced (to use a Kerry term) reference to Iraq and Desert Storm. The only difference between Usama's statement and a Michael Moore rant is that Usama has a longer term and better grasp on historical context. At least Usama knows there is and was a connection between himself and Iraq.
This is indeed a time to keep the radio on. Usama doesn't make these tapes in vain. They've always been a harbinger of an attack. So it is now. With the weakness of Spain as the template, Usama's plan has always been to influence the US election. And he intends to influence them in the same way he did before. All that's missing is a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on his cave wall.

The question has always been:
Are you voting with the terrorists, or emphatically against them?
This has been, and remains, the only issue of the most important election since 1864.
America chose correctly then.
I pray we are courageous enough to choose correctly now.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Space Exploration: Who Will Take the Lead

Yet one more reason to vote for the President this Tuesday:
John Kerry’s sensibility is mostly against the human exploration of the solar system. His votes on space exploration have been, almost consistently, negative. His hostility towards the space shuttle and the International Space Station are just one indicator of how he feels about the whole idea of human exploration and colonization of the solar system. His record on space issues tracks closely with that of the senior Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, who may be America’s single most anti-space politician since Bill Proxmire.
This article continues with a detailed look at the President's record on Space Exploration over the past 4 years. Unlike many presidents, including his own father, Bush's promises regarding the Moon and Mars have quietly been taking shape in realistic ways.

On the other hand, Kerry's record once again betrays him.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Much Needed Perspective:

There is a long history of similar American political invective. The elections of 1864 saw far worse slurs. Statesmen like Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were routinely decried as savages, baboons and senile. For all the current name-calling, no one has accused either candidate of fathering illegitimate children, turning the country over to the Pope, or being intoxicated while on the job -- standard election year slander of the past. There are no riots in the streets, as was common in 1968.

Yet the true nature of our loud divisiveness is rarely remarked upon. In the last three decades, there has been a steady evolution from liberal to moderately conservative politics among a majority of the voters, whether gauged by the recent spate of Republican presidents or Bill Clinton's calculated shift to the center. Now the House, Senate, presidency and the majority of state governorships and legislatures are in Republican hands. A Bush win will ensure a conservative Supreme Court for a generation.

Required Reading.