Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Maybe Michael Brown was a scapegoat...

It seems that Louisiana turned down assistance from the Federal government prior to Katrina. This just speaks volumes about the way that Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco made Frank Jack Fletcher and George C. McClellan look like competent leaders.

If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it is a person who gets turned into a scapegoat. And the new documents being recovered make it look more and more like Michael D. Brown and George W. Bush were turned into scapegoats. I wonder who will be apologizing to these two men for heaping blame that rightfully belonged to Nagin and Blanco, particularly President Bush, who was subjected to accusations that are now seen to have no basis.

Response to Hamas...

My response to the deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance Movement (better known as Hamas) will be short and sweet.

Yob tvoyu maht, punk.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Insanity on display...

The title is all that can really be said about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This is a guy who is hosting a "scientific" conference on the Holocaust. In reality, it is nothing more than state-sanctioned Holocaust denial that is drawing the attention of a number of creeps.

Ahmadinejad has made other statements that make it obvious that he is not a rational person. That's bad enough. But it gets much much worse. Ahmadinejad is President of a country seeking nuclear weapons.

A lunatic with nuclear weapons can only be described as a recipe for disaster. Particularly a country that is training terrorists and which has a history of sponsoring terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hizballah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command.

I have to go further than the Strata-Sphere: This man is a danger to the world.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thoughts on a rumor...

There has been some blog discussion on the rumor that Jennifer Love Hewitt is considering posing for Playboy. Both Galley Slaves and Outside the Beltway have talked about this, along with What Would Tyler Durden Do (the last one being somewhat tasteless, in my opinion).

I'm going to preface this by saying I'm not entirely objective about Ms. Hewitt. One of her songs, "Avenue of the Stars", was a source of inspiration and encouragement as I have pursued a dream. Some people complain about songs being stuck in their heads - well, "Avenue of the Stars" is stuck in a place a little lower than that, but with the first three letters being the same.

In a very real sense, I owe her a huge debt - a debt of honor, you could say. All I will say is that it is one that I do have some idea of how to repay in large part, which is a lot more than I can say for another debt of honor I owe a person whom I consider not just a literary influence, but also a friend (it is something I am somewhat ashamed of).

Personally, I hope she doesn't take the offer from Playboy. She's a wonderful singer and actress, with a current show that has done very well (first or second in its timeslot each week). From what I have heard, she's also a decent person. That said, the decision about Playboy is her decision to make - and I will back whatever decision she makes 100%. I owe her that much at the very least.

I hope Ms. Hewitt has a successful run with Ghost Whisperer, and that all of her future endeavors go well for her.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A cool site...

I usually hang out with the Dragnet channel at live365.com. I love listening to this show.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thoughts on Justices...

With the pending Senate confirmation of Judge Alito, some thoughts on the recent nominations are in order.

Chief Justice John Roberts: This was a grand slam home run. Roberts was a brilliant lawyer who handled one very bad situation (representing clients who benefited from gross judicial misconduct) quite well ("I have no brief to defend the District Judge's decision to discuss this case publicly while it was pending on appeal, and I have no brief to defend the judge's decision to discuss the case with reporters while the trial was proceeding, even given the embargo on any reporting concerning those conversations until after the trial."). He was good - he took a situation where the entire case should have been re-started from square one, and he managed to keep some of the findings intact. He's a good justice, although I would have preferred to see Clarence Thomas promoted to Chief Justice, with Roberts as an Associate.

Harriet Miers: The darkest chapter in the recent history of the conservative movement. The opposition started when a New Republic reporter misreported Miers' work with the ABA. Then, those who did not join the effort to torpedo her nomination were insulted. Why? Because President Bush had earned the trust of conservatives on judicial nominations. Instead, his pick was borked. The principles of a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote onthe Senate floor after the committee made its recommendation - campaigning on which meant a net gain six seats in the Senate for Republicans in the 2002 and 2004) were abandoned. And you can bet that smart folks on the left were taking notes. Conservatives had just handed the Democrats a big weapon for the next battle. They did so because they not only failed to think outside the box, but they also did not think through the consequences of attacking Harriet Miers the way they did.

Judge Samuel Alito: This pick also looks very good, even though Alex Kozinski was my favorite. The real risk was that Michael Luttig, who is about as First Amendment friendly as John McCain, would have been the pick. Alito got through the committee, but it was really a matter of luck. The Democrats resorted to character assassination over Concerned Alumni of Princeton, rather than to use the excuse that some conservatives had created for them in the Miers fiasco (namely, they were afraid that Miers would not pass their litmus tests). The Democrats came across as real jerks, and that meant enough people in the Gang of 14 were willing to break a filibuster. Conservatives got lucky in this battle - had the Democrats played their hand better, I think they would have been able to sustain a filibuster of Alito.

For this Congress, the Gang of 14 has worked pretty well. John McCain got stuff done, and he's going to get the credit for it. All too often conservatives seem to have been more interested in having a fight as opposed to obtaining the objective. If most of the objectives can be obtained without a battle - then take them, and fight the battle later, when the situation is better. It's Strategy and Tactics 101. All too often a frontal attack by conservatives against the left has led to a media pounding, usually followed by an electoral loss - at which point they can thump their checsts and say, "We stood on principle," while conveniently omitting the fact that the other side is all too often in a position where it is implementing their agenda.

The positives: We got two very good justices out of the deal. Roberts and Alito are going to do a fine job - and they will be around for a while.

The negatives: The Miers nomination still has left the Democrats with a weapon - albeit their actions during the Alito hearing has lessened its impact. I no longer trust the judgement of the people at National Review (both online and paper) who led the charge. The same is true for most of the others who resorted to condescension and name-calling because they had already made up their minds on Miers. One notable exception was my colleague at Strategypage.com, Austin Bay, who in his discussion of the nomination, unfailingly respected those who disagreed with him and did not stand for personal insults. This loss of trust among beltway establishment conservatives will remain with me for a long time.

Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Only the next nomination will tell. Stevens and Ginsburg would be the most likely vacancies, and that's where things will get very nasty and difficult. As for me, I'm more interested in the new baseball season at this point.

Monday, January 23, 2006

An important article on immigration.

Tamar Jacoby had a great article in the last Weekly Standard (January 23, 2006) on immigration - an issue that generates a lot of heat and very little light among conservatives.

She explains it well:
The issue appeals to a range of dark emotions: economic insecurities, fear of terrorism, and resentment about spending tax revenues on people who have no right to be here in the first place. Then there are the cultural concerns. According to Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, some 40 percent of the public think the growing number of newcomers "threaten traditional American customs and values."
The thing is - nobody has really defined "traditional American customs and values". What exactly are they? How are they threatened by people immigrating from Latin America? It is a vague phrase - and one that can easily lead to shifting goalposts.

Let's be honest - there is a very unsavory element (Jared Taylor is a regular contributor to VDARE.com) among those who have opposed President Bush's proposals on solving the present situation. We're talking what is, at best, winking at the unacceptable (somehow, Michelle Malkin lets VDARE run her columns a day earlier than Townhall.com or Creators' Syndicate). Samuel Francis was not even admitted as a racist, despite clear evidence of his bigotry. Reading President Bush's speech on his proposal, I get the impression that he has thought this problem through, and that he wants a real solution to the problem - not a political slogan or a band-aid. He's not favoring amnesty (despite many claims to the contrary from his opponents).

The fact is, we are at nearly full employment (unemployment is at 4.9%), and we have a lot of jobs that need doing. Dirty jobs, jobs involving outdoor work, jobs involving a low level of skills. And we've had one to one and a half million abortions per year since 1972 (over 34 years - that's as many as 51 million abortions), which also effects the potential labor force. In essence, it is largely an economic problem - and a problem of America's own making. In a sense, it is cultural - we have allowed abortion a foothold of at least three deacdes and probably longer, much to our nation's discredit. But in addition to that moral problem, the 34-51 million abortions have also created a huge economic problem. These are people who would be potentially doing the dirty/low-skill jobs.

What makes it worse, in my opinion, is that the anti-immigration approach costs the GOP at the polls. Not just the aftermath of Pete Wilson and Prop 187 (which turned California into a solid blue state), but the recent gubernatorial campaign in Virginia (Kilgore went from parity among Hispanic voters before his anti-illegal immigration campaign to losing 58-42). It also ticks off the business community - which is the only counterweight for the labor unions (those who support Tancredo should keep in mind that the business community can sit out elections, too).

Very simply, this issue gains some support among the base, but loses a lot among Hispanic voters, the business community (which wants to be left alone), and those who do not care for the blatant use of wedge issues. On the other hand, a constructive solution could not only provide secure borders, meet the needs of business, and it will strengthen the Republican party politically. If, that is, the Republicans can stand up and solve the problem rather than fall for the usual routines from the usual suspects. But that is going to take a very bloody fight.

It's a fight that is worth it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

James Webb got it wrong...

There have been a lot of arguments raised against going into Iraq. What is probably the most arrogant is the notion that Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism. One of those making the claim is James Webb.

He says:
I was an early voice saying we shouldn't go in, that it was not connected to the war against international terrorism, that it was not among the highest national security concerns that we should be considering.
This is in spite of:
* A memo recovered from the wreckage of the headquarters of the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi Intelligence Service) by Mitch Potter, a journalist with the Toronto Star, in April, 2003. This memo discussed bringing an envoy of bin Laden's to Baghdad to "discuss the future of our relationship with" bin Laden.

* A document recovered during Operation Iraqi Freedom points to Iraqi assistance with al-Qaeda's chemical warfare plans.

* The case of Ahmed Hikmat Shakir.

* The evidence summary against a Guantanamo Bay detainee.

How much more is needed?

Clearly, Secretary Webb either has no idea what he is talking about - or he's chosen to ignore these easily located (in the age of Google) pieces of information. Saddam Hussein's regime was clearly a state sponsor of al-Qaeda.