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Saturday January 10, 2004

The Game: Rams vs. Carolina
The Time: 3:30 p.m. Central
The Line: Rams by 7

The BoyHead and I will be at the game and will post some pics tomorrow. The winner will play either Green Bay or Philly for the NFC Championship. My best hopes for the weekend are that the Rams and Green Bay both win. Then the Rams would host Green Bay for the ticket to Houston. If the Rams win and GB loses, then we'll have to go to Philly next week. We're undefeated this year in our dome (plus, I want to go to the game), so I'm hoping for a home game. GO RAMS!!!

Funny how the liberals still don't get it. Here's an article in the WaPo entitled, "The World Just Got Safer. Give Diplomacy the Credit. Now, suddenly there is movement in negotiations with "Axis of Evil" countries Iran and North Korea as well as Libya and possibly Syria. Excerpt,

What is also clear is that the cooperation between Europe and the United States has struck the right balance between force and diplomacy. Negotiated agreements, not military operations, are making headlines. The threat of U.S. force is still there -- and should be -- but it is Europe's diplomatic engagement strategy that is now dominant. The United States, bogged down in Iraq and paying high costs for a still uncertain outcome, now clearly prefers talking to fighting. Bush seems to have turned toward Powell, who has taken center stage and is getting results. In articles and speeches, Powell has begun promoting a new "strategy of partnerships," cleverly reinterpreting the administration's policy pronouncements as if this were how it was always intended to be. It's classic Washington politics, but it is also effective diplomacy. As Blair said of the Libya deal, "It shows that problems of proliferation can, with good will, be tackled through discussion and engagement, to be followed up by the responsible international agencies. It demonstrates that countries can abandon programs voluntarily and peacefully."

It's just so naive to think that this recent success is just due solely to diplomacy. "Negotiated agreements, not military operations, are making headlines." should be rewritten as, Negotiated agreements are making headlines because of military operations. Joseph Cirincione of the WaPo probably believes that it was sheer diplomacy that convinced Saddam Hussein to come out of his "spider hole".

Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer has the correct answer to Why We Are Safer:

It is hard to believe that serious people can have so absurdly narrow a vision of American national security. The fact is that we have other enemies in the world.

Saddam Hussein was one of them, and he is gone. Libya was another, and it has just retired from the field, suing for peace and giving up its weapons of mass destruction. (Gaddafi went so far as to go on television to urge Syria, Iran and North Korea to do the same.) Iran has also gone softer, agreeing to spot inspections, something it never did before it faced 130,000 American troops about 100 miles from its border.

These gains are all a direct result of the Iraq war. A spokesman for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told the London Daily Telegraph in September that Gaddafi had telephoned Berlusconi and told him: "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."

Friday January 9, 2004

I'm sure this was just an oversight:

Last month -- while Halliburton Inc. was being accused of overcharging for fuel shipped to Iraq from Kuwait -- the Associated Press began its report by saying -- "A Pentagon audit has found Vice President Dick Cheney's former company may have overcharged the Army." Reuters began its story in a similar way, describing Halliburton as -- "the oil services firm once run by Vice President Dick Cheney." And the BBC began its story by saying President Bush -- "expects an oil company once run by his vice-president to return money if it has overcharged for services in Iraq."

But when Halliburton was, in effect, cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this week, the references to Cheney suddenly dropped out of the lead of stories from the same news outlets.

The children are unharmed??? I've seen a couple of stories like this about the sick freak who shot and killed his in-laws, strangled his baby daughter, and took three other girls (two of his daughters and one former step-daughter) with him threatening to kill them. After a chase that ended in a crash, he shot himself in the face covering one of the children in blood. Unharmed? Those poor girls. How can anyone claim that they are unharmed?

David Horowitz asks the question, "how many poor people have the Progressives starved since 1917?". It sounds like a rather large number:

The left's inability to understand the basic economic fact that people need an incentive to produce has caused the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of people in the past 75 years. But thanks to a politically corrupted media and educational system, their pigheaded pursuit of socialist fantasies goes on.

It's rather hard to tell whether Moammar Ghadhafi has had an epiphany, however he does make one salient point: The world needs to come to a consensus as to what is defined as terrorism. I would draw that line at purposely targeting civillians. Here's Ghadhafi's (poorly translated) point:

But I am sure that we shall not agree about terrorism identification. The reason is clear. And that is what is considered a terrorism against we may be an appreciable action for you, when I am against you.. and so on. Evidences are present.

A youngster trained in Beshawar, then worked in Afghanistan. Then commisioned by the British intelligence to assassinate Ghadhafi, because if the revoulution is ended, Libya should have surrendered and extradite the Lockerbie case suspects to America or the U.K. he did so, and all the worlds is witness about that but ALLAH be he exalted for above freezed the bomb.

It has not exploded inspite of burning of its fuse. That is a sign of ALLAH's miracles. If it has exploded, a number of persons would have died among which families with their children on the tribune, as well as guests.

The terrorist has confessed whatever said above . the British intelligence offer has recognized that too. It is a terrorist aer manipulated by the British intelligence in cooperation with those who came from Afghanistan.

Then, what is a terrorism against me is a repaired action and encouraged by you who consider me as your adversary.

Read the whole thing to see what sense you can make of it.

Thursday January 8, 2004

Mark Steyn, writing in the Sepectator, thinks Dean is the perfect man to drive the party over the cliff, but I particularly liked this quote about John F. Kerry:

John Kerry is the tall, aloof Vietnam veteran who enjoys saying that George W. Bush went into Iraq 'without a plan'. Au contraire, Kerry went into New Hampshire without a plan. He's been here longer than the Third Infantry Division's been in Iraq and he's bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire without an exit strategy, surrounded by a local population that's increasingly hostile.


Many have called Steve Fossett the greatest living adventurer. After five unsuccessful attempts, he finally succeeded a solo hot air balloon flight around the world in 2002. He now attempts the first solo, nonstop flight around the world without refeuling:

GlobalFlyer has a turbofan engine atop its single-seat, pressurized cockpit and will fly at speeds greater than 287 mph and at altitudes up to 52,000 feet, where it will seek the jetstream's push to give it the range to fly around the world in just over three days.

Some people have just way too much time on their hands:

What kind of friends coat your apartment and nearly everything in it with tinfoil while you're away? Here's a hint: One of the only objects that escaped the shiny treatment was a book titled "Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends."

Chris Kirk found his downtown Olympia apartment encased in aluminum foil when he returned home Monday night from a trip to Los Angeles.

The walls, ceiling, cabinets and everything in between shimmered, after the prank orchestrated by Kirk's longtime friend, Luke Trerice, 26, who was staying in the apartment while Kirk was away.

Wednesday January 7, 2004

A very long story in todays WaPo outlining the Iraqi WMD threat and what became of their programs. For the lefties who have been saying "Bush Lied" and "we just went into Iraq for oil", all of this will be great news. For the rest of us, it could be good news because it means that, if true, there are not a bunch of jihadis with Saddam's leftovers. I have been most skeptical of the lack of WMD's in Iraq because we know he had them. So where did they go? Perhaps this question is answered:

The new evidence appears to be a contemporary record, from inside the Iraqi government, of a pivotal moment in Baghdad's long struggle to shield arms programs from outside scrutiny. The document, written just after the defection of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law on Aug. 8, 1995, anticipates the collapse of cover stories for weapons that had yet to be disclosed. Read alongside subsequent discoveries made by U.N. inspectors, the document supports Iraq's claim that it destroyed all production stocks of lethal pathogens before inspectors knew they existed.

The defection of Hussein Kamel was a turning point in the U.N.-imposed disarmament of Iraq in the 1990s. Kamel, who had married one of Saddam Hussein's daughters, Raghad, and controlled Baghdad's Military Industrial Commission, told his Western debriefers about major programs in biological and nuclear weaponry that had gone undetected or unconfirmed. Iraq was forced to acknowledge what he exposed, but neither inspectors nor U.S. officials were sure Kamel had told all there was to tell.

A handwritten Iraqi damage report, composed five days after the defection, now suggests that Kamel left little or nothing out.

The author is Hossam Amin, then -- and until his April 27 arrest -- the head of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate. As liaison to the inspectors he provided information and logistical support, but he also concealed the government's remaining secrets.

The most significant point in Amin's letter, U.S. and European experts said, is his unambiguous report that Iraq destroyed its entire inventory of biological weapons. Amin reminded Qusay Hussein of the government's claim that it possessed no such arms after 1990, then wrote that in truth "destruction of the biological weapons agents took place in the summer of 1991."

Amnesty by any other name...

Under his plan, illegal immigrants in the United States would be able to gain legal status for an initial three-year period if they can prove they have jobs, senior Bush administration officials said. Estimates on the number of illegals range from 8 million up to 14 million.

They would have permission to leave the country and come back as needed, and would be able to renew their three-year visas for a number of times to be negotiated with Congress, the officials said.

Officials insisted this did not amount to a blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants living in the United States and that having a job under the temporary worker program would not provide any additional advantage for obtaining permanent residency status.

"We believe that this is an attractive program which will reduce the number of illegals here," said one official who briefed reporters in a conference call.

In addition, those outside the country wanting to work in the United States would be able to sign up for jobs if they exist. Employers would first have to show the jobs cannot be filled by Americans, who increasingly shun the types of menial labor jobs that immigrants take.

Well of course it will reduce the number of illegals here--we've just made them legal. It will not reduce the number of people flowing into this country. Here's the nut: these people are just filling jobs that Americans won't take. That's just bogus.

Here's how it really works. Suppose you have a landscape company and hire 10 illegals for $5.00 per hour. You have a competitor who also hires 10 employees (Americans) at $10.00 per hour. Obviously, you have an advantage over your competition in terms of labor costs. Now, your competitor could overcome this disadvantage by working harder, being more productive, or by being more innovative, etc. Since your competitor sees that these labor laws are not being enforced and there is no significant disincentive to hiring illegals, in order to be more competitive he will simply break the (unenforced) law. So, if there is a law that is universally unenforced, it will be universally violated.

Now, in an alternate universe, suppose that these immigration laws were actively enforced. First, there would be a serious disincentive to breaking the law. Of course, some would still violate, but for most the risk would outweigh the benefit. So what happens? We have millions of illegals filling all these jobs that Americans supposedly don't want. Americans are not willing to dig ditches for $5.00 per hour. But some may be willing to dig them for $10.00 or $15.00 per hour. Employers would simply have to pay more. Companies would have to charge more for their services and consumers would have to pay more. That's the free market at work. Some people will decide not to consume these services so there may be some contraction in certain industries (say landscaping). Again, that's the free market at work.

We can (and should) openly debate the pros and cons of granting amnesty to illegals, but to grant this amnesty while we still have tidal wave of illegal aliens entering this country is wrong. It seems odd to me that of the few constitutionally enumerated powers given to the federal government (controlling the borders), it's probably the only power that the government fails to recognize.

UPDATE: More specifics on the program at The New York Times.

UPDATE: Mark Krikorian agrees that employers would fill position currently filled with illegals by offering higher wages (he also includes better benefits, better working conditions, etc.). Krikorian makes another important point that scarcity (of labor) leads to modernization and technological advances.

A cinderblock by any other name...'s latest report notes that media outlets have been underplaying the dangers of Palestinian "rock-throwing" against Israeli soldiers. In a stunning example of a picture that is worth 1,000 words, the website shows a recent incident in which the "stones" used by the Arabs are not exactly pebbles - but full-size cinderblocks hurled down with full force.

The Senator Hillary Clinton faux pas:

The New York Democrat made the remark at a fund-raiser in St Louis, during which she allegedly introduced a quote from Mahatma Gandhi by saying: "You all know Gandhi. He ran a gas station down in St Louis." Americans of South Asian descent have protested Senator Clinton's words, saying they play into unfair racial stereotypes, in particular the notion that certain immigrants necessarily always run petrol stations.

When questioned about this, Senator Clinton replied, "Well, my goodness, you really don't expect me to be held to the same standards as others, do you? Who do you think I am, Trent Lott"?

Is 10 to 15 percent of all pet food sold really consumed by humans?

I'm simply amazed that I can sit at my computer and view pictures of the surface of mars. Too bad that we just went there for the oil.

Remember the controversy in the last election cycle about the DemocRATS ad? It made major news for several days and was the top story in the top of the hour radio news (my personal barometer) for countless hours. This was just a minor perceived smear. Has there been anywhere near the outrage about the ad comparing Bush to Hitler by Does anyone wonder why?

Of course, says that they just slipped through their screening process. Makes you wonder if the screening process actually includes viewing the ads.

UPDATE: Here's a portion of one of the ads: (via Daniel Drezner)

GRAPHIC: Hitler With Hand Raised
BACKGROUND: Sig Heil! Sig Heil!

GRAPHIC: President Bush With Hand Raised At Inauguration
BACKGROUND: Sig Heil! Sig Heil!

Just a reminder, lest you forget:

Just for the record, the Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report telling us what everyone already knows: The federal budget is drifting into a future of unprecedented tax increases, huge deficits or both. This is no secret, because the great driving force of change is the impending retirement of 77 million baby boomers and their heavy claims on federal retirement programs. But in Washington, the CBO's irrefutable conclusion won't produce any noticeable reaction, because there's already a clear bipartisan policy concerning the future: Forget about it.

All projections involve huge uncertainties, but federal spending is clearly moving toward a higher plateau. Immense tax increases would be needed to pay for this spending. In the past 30 years, federal taxes have averaged 18.4 percent of GDP, slightly higher than they are today. Raising taxes from this level to, say, 24 percent of GDP involves an increase of almost a third, amounting to $600 billion a year in today's dollars. How well would the economy fare with much higher taxes? No one knows. But choices inevitably will be made. If spending -- on the elderly or everything else -- isn't cut or taxes raised, deficits will spin out of control.

Tuesday January 6, 2004

Here's a story about progress in Iraq you're not likely to see on the nightly news:

In a development that has received little public attention, about a third the US Congress has been to Iraq since May - and the trips are shifting the political dynamic on Capitol Hill about the war.

Still, lawmakers say that the situation on the ground is more positive than press reports had led them to believe: Schools are functioning, new construction projects are starting up at a rate of 100 a day, and troop morale is better than they had expected. While they also see problems, they're coming back on the side of doing what it takes to make it work.

For Chafee, a telling moment came as an Iraqi passenger in a passing bus gave the military convoy he was riding in a thumbs up. The impromptu gesture struck him. "My head kind of snapped around to see if I saw what I thought I saw, and I did," he says. At another stop, an elderly Iraqi woman signaled the convoy by placing her hand on her heart. "I think it was a gesture of respect," he said.

Not surprising to me. I've been reading stories like this on the Internet for months. Perhaps these politicians would do well do drop the WaPo, NYT or Brokaw and spend some time reading blogs. And to think the media elite scoff at the revelation that the President doesn't read the papers.

The recalcitrant Christopher Hitchens:

VANITY Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens has launched a one-man crime spree to protest some of Mayor Bloomberg's more overbearing ordinances. In the space of a few hours, Hitchens managed to break a slew of New York's pettier laws: He sat on an upended milk crate, took his feet off bike pedals, put his bag on the subway seat next to him, fed pigeons in Central Park and sat on a subway step. He also smoked in a bar and in a restaurant.

For the more pedantic amongst you (and you know who you are):

... "loan me your ears." "Loan?" Of course not. "Lend" was and is the verb. Senator Kerry did not "loan" money to his political campaign. He lent it, in the form of a loan. Only on the ten o'clock news did he "loan" something. So, as we launch another year, let's have a review of our languishing language. Lend an ear.

"Schism." Mispronunciation is the culprit here. The ordination of a homosexual in the Episcopalian Church produced a schism which was pronounced with a hard SK by the first network correspondent and somehow it stuck. It'll happen again in 2004 --episcopate confusion so thick you could cut it with a Ka-nife, or with a pair of Skissors.

"Decimate." A time-honored habit of conquering armies, selecting every tenth man of an opposing force and killing him. Decimate is not the massacre we now assume it to be. It is selective of one-in-ten. Yet we hear the world-renowned city of Bam has been "decimated" by the earthquake. Would it were that mild.

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Fortunately, the U.N. is on the case:

Twenty-five years ago today, thousands of Vietnamese troops streamed into Phnom Penh to end the brutal four-year reign of the Khmer Rouge. But for Chum Mey, liberation spelt tragedy.

Chum Mey is one of only nine people known to have survived imprisonment in Tuol Sleng, where more than 16,000 Cambodians were sent for execution. He is preparing to give evidence at the trial of surviving leaders of the Pol Pot regime.

Under a new agreement between the United Nations and Cambodian authorities, an international genocide tribunal is expected to begin hearings in Phnom Penh this year.

Those facing indictment include the regime's No. 2 leader, Nuon Chea, nominal head of state Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary and Kiang Khek Ieu, the ruthless commandant of Tuol Sleng known as "Duch". Pol Pot himself died in 1998.

Another reason (as if we needed one) why Saddam Hussein should not be tried by any tribunal under the auspices of the U.N. or the "international community".

My guess is that this won't get the media coverage it would have if Dean were an evil, mean-spirited, right-wing extremist a Republican:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says former Gov. Howard Dean and other Vermont officials violated federal law by releasing secret protection plans for its nuclear power plant in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The NRC's charge had Vermont officials scrambling to impoundtop-secret nuclear documents the Democratic presidential front-runner wrongly made public.

Some of the documents regarding the Vermont Yankee nuke plant include so-called ``safeguards information,'' which is to be released under ``need to know requirements and . . . not publicly releasable,'' said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.

Phyllis Schlafly on the recent remarks by Tom Ridge regarding illegal immigration:

Were Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's Miami meanderings a gaffe, a trial balloon, an announcement of his department's policy, or an announcement of Bush administration policy?

His shocking words were a broadside on current law: "We have to come to grips with the presence of 8 to 12 million illegal aliens, afford them some kind of legal status some way." He pointedly did not say we have to come to grips with 8 to 12 million people who have violated our laws by entering our country illegally, and further violated our laws by using fraudulent documents to get jobs and remain here.

This is a very important issue which, unfortunately, won't get much play in the run-up to this years election. Democrats are even less inclined to get tough on immigration than Republicans. There had been some talk from the Bush camp about amnesty during the summer of 2001. But then 9/11 happened. No one would seriously consider eroding the immigration laws after a bunch of yahoo jihadis on student visas murdered 3,000 of our countrymen. Just the opposite, in fact. For the first time in recent memory, post 9/11 we began hearing about our porous northern borders. For a brief window of time, border control seemed like an important issue. Alas, how soon we forget.

Before we even begin to consider any type of amnesty we must do one thing: secure our borders. Unless we do that, any amnesty program will simply open the floodgates to more illegal immigration. If we don't stop the constant flow of illegals across our borders, amnesty is meaningless.

If we do secure the borders and enforce our current imigration policies, we could then enter the amnesty debate. Doing so beforehand is just ignoring the problem.