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Sunday June 29, 2003

IT'S NOT A DEMOCRACY. IT'S A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC. Say it loud. Say it proud. And read this:

Most people believe the United States is a country created with a democratic form of government. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Founding Fathers were almost as fearful of democracy as they were the monarchies of Europe.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, said, "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death." No doubt he was thinking of ancient Athens.


God bless Mel Gibson and his efforts on "The Passion". This film, which depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus' life, was completely bankrolled by Gibson. Please pray for Mel Gibson--taking strong stands such as this, rarely come without paying a price.

..."I'm not a preacher and I'm not a pastor," Gibson said. "But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."...

...A Catholic, Gibson attended Mass every morning during shooting because "we had to be squeaky clean just working on this," he said.

"It was a strange mixture of the most difficult thing I've ever done, along with this incredible ease," Gibson said. "Everyone who worked on this movie was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity."

When Haggard thanked Gibson for making the film, Gibson said, "I was afraid not to."


In the week leading up to our Nation's birthday, I'll try to post more articles like Dinesh D'Souza's 10 reasons to celebrate America. D'Souza is an Indian born writer who choose to become an American citizen. He has some insights that many Americans take for granted. Excerpt,

-- America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy. Rich people live well everywhere. But what distinguishes America is that it provides an impressively high standard of living for the "common man." We now live in a country where construction workers regularly pay $4 for a nonfat latte, where maids drive nice cars and where plumbers take their families on vacation to Europe.


Saturday June 28, 2003

Wow!

Imagine a gun that fires a million rounds a minute -- enough to shred a target in a blink of an eye, or throw up a defensive wall against an incoming missile.

This is Metal Storm, a weapons system that forsakes old-style mechanics for the speed of electronics.


Baghdad Bob is purportedly going to write a book about the fall of the regime. Actually, the regime has not fallen...they are just on vacation.


Salam Pax has a new post from Iraq. He has also started a photographic supplement. Excerpt,

It was a bad day to start with and things have gotten out of hand very fast. At around 9 the crowd outside the Saddam's ooops Bremer's Palace (isn't it funny how power drifts to the same places), if you would have driven towards the palace entrance that morning in a car that looked like could be media people in it you would have people mobbing your car and hitting your windshields with shoes. The reaction that day towards media that day was generally very bad.

An Iraqi camera man working for Reuter's if I am not mistaken, was hit badly on the head and had to rescued by the American soldiers. And it kept getting more and more heated wheni got there the bullets were already shot and the blood was on a couple of demonstrators shirts, the big mass had broken up. Most of them left after a couple warning shots were fired in the air as a small convoy was approaching, and here is where it all went wrong. Stones were being thrown at the journalists and US army and someone in that convoy made the decision to point the gun towards the crowd not above it. Four shots were fired. Two of them wounding two Iraqis fatally (they were taken in by the American Army at the gate and both of them died inside) and two more were injured, one Iraqi was arrested.

I really do believe that the decision to shoot was wrong. They have fired warning shots so why the decision to shoot and kill? They had a very angry crowd which became even angrier after the shooting. Doesn't say much about the ability to deal and control crowds. Bremer, having realized that the situation of the jobless military people is getting to a critical point. You don't want military trained people deciding that you are the enemy. The decision came to start paying them salaries and to start a small military, something like 40k soldiers. which is fine with me, who wants military. Let's just have a couple of them in cute uniforms parading on Liberation Day.


Friday June 27, 2003

This is certainly no way to win over the confidence of the Iraqi's:

While on duty at an Army airfield on a scorching afternoon, Sgt. David J. Borell was approached by an Iraqi who pleaded for help for his three children who were burned when they set fire to a bag containing explosive powder left over from the war.

Borell immediately called for assistance. But the two Army doctors who arrived about an hour later declined to help the children because their injuries were not life-threatening and had not been inflicted by U.S. troops.


Wes Pruden on the Supreme Court affirmative action ruling and the response to that ruling. Excerpt,

There are two kinds of Nice White Ladies. One means well, the other is just mean.

Sandra Day O'Connor no doubt means well, but her prescription for suspending the Constitution for 25 years to do something nice for "the colored folks" is a prescription for disaster, first of all for aspiring blacks.

Maureen Dowd, the columnist for the New York Times, is just mean.

Ouch!

Well, here's my take on all this affirmative action stuff. I believe it's a wrongheaded policy. You don't undo past discrimination by creating present and future discrimination. There are laws against current discrimination. Let those laws deal with any current problems. The past can't be fixed.

What I don't understand is this: affirmative action was implemented to overcome past discrimination, but now, according to the SCOTUS, diversity is the reason behind the continuance of this wrongheaded (didn't I already use wrongheaded? Oh well) policy. Why the change? Perhaps more people will buy into diversity.

I believe that diversity is an excellent goal and should be aspired to. This country has excelled, in part, to it's diverse nature. Diversity has been a very important aspect of our national character and politics since its founding. But, the important aspect of diversity isn't skin color. Diversity of skin color isn't any more important than diversity of hair color or eye color. Real diversity, diversity that matters, is diversity of thought. Diversity of thought. That's what makes this country great. It's one of our basic freedoms. Diversity of thought fuels our most productive political debates. Diversity of thought leads to great innovations. Diversity of thought really matters and should be aspired to. Placing great importance on diversity of skin color is just so, well, superficial


A Sperry Twofer. Paul Sperry on the lack of HUMINT in Iraq. Excerpt,

The U.S. "remained largely ignorant" about the intentions of Saddam Hussein's forces due to a "dearth" of human intelligence on the battlefield in Iraq, an internal military report reveals...

...As a result, U.S. troops were caught "flat-footed" by their "unconventional responses."

"When the enemy failed to act in accordance with common military practice, we were caught flat-footed because we failed to accurately anticipate the unconventional response," said Maj. Gen. Jim Mattis, in the 67-page report, titled "Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Lessons Learned."

I believe the emphasis on SIGINT over HUMINT since the Carter administration has had some deleterious effects. To paraphrase Ollie North: yeah, we can read the numbers on license plates from outer space, but we're not going to be attacked by license plates.


Paul Sperry makes some good points on the hunt for the hunt for Bin Laden, in particular and the war on terror, in general. Excerpt,

Getting more specific, Musharraf said he may be hiding in a remote and "treacherous" area of northeastern Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. He said he's sent in his own army to find him.

"It is the first time that the Pakistan army and our civil armed forces have entered this region," he said.

In other words, it's the first time they've searched that area for bin Laden even though U.S. intelligence knew he'd fled there 19 months ago.

Worse, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have never searched there, and won't now, because Musharraf still won't let them cross the border (even after they've been attacked by marauding al-Qaida fighters based in those Pakistani badlands) and Bush has agreed to this ban while pledging another $3 billion in aid to Musharraf for his "cooperation."


Well, this is encouraging news indicating that all courts are not all completely crazy. Excerpt,

-- New York's highest court will not hear an appeal by the estate of Malcolm X's widow accusing a gas station of contributing to her death by selling the gasoline her grandson used to set the fire that killed her.


Thursday June 26, 2003

An in-depth report from the UK Telegraph detailing the last stand of the killed Brits in Iraq.


Gary Andersen believes that the Baathists are seriously blundering their guerrilla war. He also has some ideas on how we should handle the situation.


This is really where it all ends, isn't it? Excerpt,

Jesse Jackson, director of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, called today for boycotts of Caucasian people, stating that "the lack of diversity in the white race is appalling and divisive."...

... Al Sharpton, who followed Jesse Jackson on the podium, demanded "sensitivity training for those white people too insensitive to be black." Said Sharpton, "All we are asking for is diversity. Why should the white man dominate yet another category? Give minorities a chance to be white, too, and we shall overcome!"

Sharpton characterized the Caucasian race as "yet another good-old-boy network," observing that a black woman in America is likely to never be called a "white male."


Jane Chastain can hear the train wreck coming:

Congress is about to fix Medicare a federal entitlement that is going broke by adding another benefit. That's tantamount to hitting the jackpot on a slot machine that just ran out of quarters.

I agree completely. I'd expect this from a democratic administration, but from the republicans? Yeah, the government is so good and efficient we need to give it more to do. Is there any doubt that they will bollix this up? What about the conservative ideals of smaller, limited government?

When has throwing piles of taxpayer money at a problem succeeded in solving the problem? Great Society? AFDC? Education?

Analogy: Suppose that we, as a caring and compassionate nation, decide that automobile ownership is an entitlement. Well, some people cannot afford cars so we should have the government provide automobiles. Gee whiz, the government's buying me a car. I don't want a Hyundai. I want a Lexus. No pride of ownership. Oil change? Tune up? Nah, I'll get another one in a couple of years. Meanwhile, the automakers (not being completely ignorant) stop making smaller, less expensive cars and jack up prices on all cars. Well, now the government has to step in with price controls. In order to still make a profit, the automakers skimp on quality and innovation...

Perfect analogy? No! But when the government gets in the act and the consumer no longer shops around, competition, and hence quality decreases. And prices increase. This is in large part what is wrong with the medical industry now. Most people have insurance which covers most costs. People don't shop around for less expensive doctors, procedures, medicines.

It's long been a democratic theme to enslave people to depend on government largesse for their every need. The republicans should know better.


This may not be a smoking gun, but it certainly shows intent. Excerpt,

The CIA has in its hands the critical parts of a key piece of Iraqi nuclear technology -- parts needed to develop a bomb program -- that were dug up in a back yard in Baghdad, CNN has learned.

The parts, with accompanying plans, were unearthed by Iraqi scientist Mahdi Obeidi who had hidden them under a rose bush in his garden 12 years ago under orders from Qusay Hussein and Saddam Hussein's then son-in-law, Hussein Kamel.


Wednesday June 25, 2003

A new hailstone record. Just imagine the updraft velocity that would be necessary to keep this baby aloft.

...HAMILTON COUNTY HAILSTONE...

AT 705 PM CDT SUNDAY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HASTINGS RECEIVED REPORTS OF LARGE HAIL IN AURORA...HAMILTON COUNTY NEBRASKA. INITIAL REPORTS STATED THAT THE HAIL HAD PENETRATED THE ROOF OF A HOME, LEAVING HOLES IN THE STRUCTURE LARGE ENOUGH TO CRAWL THROUGH.

THE STONES WERE SAVED AND PLACED IN A FREEZER AT THE RESIDENCE AND TWO NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EMPLOYEES WERE SENT TO ASSESS THE DAMAGE AND RECORD THE SIZE.

THE HAILSTONE MEASURED 6.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER WITH A CIRCUMFERENCE OF 17.3 INCHES.

THIS COMPARES TO THE POTTER NEBRASKA HAILSTONE ON JULY 12, 1928. THE POTTER NEBRASKA HAILSTONE WAS 5.4 INCHES IN DIAMETER AND WEIGHED APPROXIMATELY 1.5 POUNDS.

...LARGEST HAILSTONE ON RECORD...

PRIOR TO TODAY...THE LARGEST HAILSTONE ON RECORD OCCURRED IN COFFEYVILLE KANSAS ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1970. THIS STONE MEASURED 5.7 INCHES IN DIAMETER...17.5 INCHES IN CIRCUMFERENCE AND WEIGHED 1.67 POUNDS.


Expert Said to Tell Legislators He Was Pressed to Distort Some Evidence . That's the headline. Sounds bad for the administration, huh? If you read deep into the article you find 1) the expert didn't change a word of his analysis and, 2) his analysis was of Cuba. how bout this headline: Expert Said to Tell Legislators that He Did Not Change Analysis of Cuba. Well, that wouldn't be much of a story, would it?


Shakedown artist Jesse Jackson is at it again. His target this time is NASCAR. Excerpt,

A board member of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition says auto-racing organizations such as NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) are "the last bastion of white supremacy" in professional sports.

Speaking Tuesday at the 32nd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference in Chicago, Bill Shack said, "I want you to know that this is this last bastion of white supremacy in a particular sport. This is the last bastion."

He made the comments at a workshop called "Motor Sports: Increasing Minority Participation," and the criticism came despite NASCAR's six-figure support of Jackson's organization.

This despite all the money that NASCAR gives to Rainbow/PUSH:

Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), told CNSNews.com, "NASCAR kicks in all this money to Jackson's groups, sends representatives to Jackson's conference, and they still get attacked as "white supremacists.'"

"NASCAR is finding out the hard way that appeasing Jesse Jackson doesn't work. The more you give him, the more he demands," Flaherty added.

NASCAR has even gone so far as to implement this:

Pyne cited the organization's "mandated sensitivity training" for all employees as well as NASCAR's efforts to reach "a diverse audience" through its diversity council, intern programs and college tours.

While I'm not a big NASCAR fan, I don't believe that there are many black NASCAR drivers (don't know how many black fans there may be). But is this the fault of NASCAR. Yeah, it's a good-ole-boy network, but what's so inherently wrong with that. Many of the current crop of drivers come from long lines of NASCAR families. Maybe there needs to be more interracial marriages in these NASCAR families.

If Jesse Jackson thinks there needs to be more black drivers in NASCAR then why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is: sponsor a car and crew and hire a black driver. But that's just it, Jackson is so much interested in actually solving the issue as he is in milking it.


More bad news from Iraq. Excerpt,

An angry Iraqi crowd killed six British soldiers because the troops had slain four Iraqi civilians during a demonstration, police said Wednesday, a day after the shootings.

British forces gave civilian leaders in this town 48 hours to hand over the killers of the troops, a municipal official said.

Armed Iraqis killed two of the British soldiers at the scene of the demonstration - in front of the mayor's office - and then stormed a police station and killed four other British soldiers after a two-hour gunbattle, a pair of Iraqi policemen said.

The violent demonstration was the second in two days, apparently sparked by British soldiers' searches for heavy weapons in homes, said Abu Zahraa, a 30-year-old vendor.


Tuesday June 24, 2003

This from Yahoo from the London Daily Mirror:

LONDON (Reuters) - The Daily Mirror says U.S. troops have arrested Iraq's information minister under Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, at a roadblocks in a Baghdad suburb.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington on Wednesday.

The ex-minister, dubbed "Comical Ali" for proclaiming the defeat of U.S. forces even as they moved into Baghdad, had been hiding out at a relative's house watching satellite TV, but was caught on Monday night, the paper said in a report from Baghdad.

"He has some serious talking to do...this time," a "senior coalition source" was quoted as saying. There was no independent confirmation of the story and no other sourcing.

If you want the real dish on the Iraqi Information Minister, go here.