Friday, March 31, 2006

Calling BS on Howard Dean...

Howard Dean is telling a real whopper.

If any Republican is trying to reach out to Hispanics, it is George W. Bush, who has called for civility in the debate - a call that some conservatives have not heeded. He has been standing up to all sorts of conservatives by promoting his guest-worker plan, which these conservatives have falsely called an amnesty.

On immigration, conservatives have tolerated some very ugly people like Lawrence Auster, Michael Savage, and Steve Sailer. All too often, when their ugliness has been questioned - and not by the usual suspects (NAACP, La Raza, etc.), but by conservative outlets/individuals like the Wall Street Journal's editorial page or people who founded, the "race-baiting" card is the first to be played to avoid scrutiny. It's happened often enough that I really no longer consider myself a conservative.

That said, when Howard Dean shows he is this divorced from reality, the Democrats are not really an option. Oh, well, I have some new golf clubs - I can spend time learning how to use them.


Michael Savage's comments on the Catholic Church reinforce my earlier criticism of Michelle Malkin.

Short version, we seem to have a lot of bigots who are welcome among the critics of the President's immigration plan. Something is wrong here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I got tagged, so...

I got tagged by Crystal, so I guess I gotta play.

The rules:
So you take your mp3 player, you put it on shuffle mode, and then you ask yourself the question in bold, out loud. The song that pops up is the answer. Give it a try.

How does the world see you?
- Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett)

Will I have a happy life? - Chasing the Wind (Chicago)

What do my friends really think of me? - Overprotected (Britney Spears)

What do people secretly think of me? - Only the Good Die Young (Billy Joel)

How can I be happy?
- Be Good to Yourself (Journey)

What should I do with my life? - Let's Go Bang (Jennifer Love Hewitt)

Will I ever have children? - When You Love a Woman (Journey)

How will I be remembered? - Rhymin' and Stealin' (Beastie Boys)

What is my signature dancing song? - Dontcha Want Me Now (Debbie Gibson)

What do I think my current theme song is? - Avenue of the Stars (Jennifer Love Hewitt)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is? - Chasin' the Wind (Chicago)

What song will play at my funeral? - Genie in a Bottle (Christina Aguilera)

What type of men/women do you like? - Beautiful Disaster (Kelly Clarkson)

What is my day going to be like? - Out in the Parking Lot (Body Count)

Now, I suppose I need to tag someone...

I'll tag my mother. *Smiles sweetly*

What do you call the latest bill from South Carolina?

A good start.

There are some people you don't take chances with. Leaders of states that sponsor terrorism, serial killers, cop-killers, and child molesters are no-brainers to fall into this category.

What would make it perfect would be if South Carolina made a deal with the GRU for a blast furnace...

Welcome back...

Austin Bay, my colleague at Strategypage, is back after a hospital stay.

Glad to have you back.

More on immigration

Big Lizards has a series of good posts on immigration. His comment here (at 1:28 PM on March 28) shows that the system has gone haywire. A system that features the kind of arbitrary and capricious whims or decisions by bureaucrats is one that is going to be defied.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Card resigns...

Andy Card has resigned as White House Chief of Staff. If Ankle-Biting Pundits is correct, could this be a preview of who wins the "Karl Rove" primary? I think it is a sign. President Bush has found his successor, and it's going to be a one-term Governor of Massachusetts.

Think about it. Mitt Romney has a few things in common with President Bush. Both got MBAs from Harvard. Both come from political families (albeit Romney's father topped out as governor of Michigan, while President Bush's father was also President). Both are seen as somewhat "heretical" for the GOP (Romney has been seen as pro-choice by some conservatives, President Bush tends to be pro-immigration).

That said, Romney is not a clone of President Bush. He also has had a track record that was more successful in the business world (Did you ever go to Staples? Well, he helped provide the financing to turn it from one store to the giant it is today.). He also is better at speaking to the public. Romney also made it as a Republican governor in Massachusetts.

If Card is heading to Romney, could Karl Rove follow? If so, then romney will have yet another boost in addition to a strong second-place finish in a straw poll in Memphis - among religious conservatives. His supporters got to this straw poll, without much involvement on his part of his campaign. Against Frist (who has been unimpressive this Congress), McCain (who gets a lto of prss for trashing other Republicans), and Allen (who fell flat in this one), he could win the nomination - and the White House.

A point to remember...

From the blog of the Weekly Standard.

I'll be re-upping with them.

Monday, March 27, 2006

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...

Michelle Malkin asks:
Is the White House capable of responding to these realities without accusing its critics of xenophobia, racism, and immigrant-bashing?

Well, Michelle, you are sitting in a glass house and throwing stones. It is one thing for claims of racism to come from suspect sources (like Julian Bond or others from the NAACP when people oppose racial quotas). It is another when two out of the three founders of are raising concerns about people you have cited (specifically, Lawrence Auster and Steve Sailer). And did you know that Jared Taylor, whose stuff is often run on, the website you've promoted, happens to be very chummy with some other folks, including Don Black... the webmaster of a place called

Your crying about the White House seems to be more about the fact that trhey are simply telling the truth about the people you have cited, linked to, and have endorsed as a "great resource", not malice on their part. Particulalry on the DPW deal, when you chose to falsely describe the UAE as "demonstrably unreliable", and in the process, fuelled the betrayal of an ally.

Sorry, but I find your complaints - and your question - to be an effort to keep people from asking the questions that naturally arise from your own decisions. Time to suck it up, Michelle. Maybe you should have done a better job picking your friends.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Digital thuggery wins...

The end of Red America after less than a week, after what can only be described as a week of digital thuggery from the likes of DailyKos, MyDD, and Atrios (no links - such thuggery deserves no support), is a sign of just how far the Left will go. Many were disgusted by some of the vicious personal attacks on the author, Ben Domenech, including AJ-Strata.

There were some allegations of plagarism, which I will not link to, as I am very suspicious of their source. But I will say that I am convinced by Domenech's explanation. I've been writing for since November, 2003, and in the course of that timeframe, some of my pieces were edited. The same has happened with my pieces at That is an editor's perogative. I will not claim perfection - no human being is perfect. I've made some mistakes in my life - and I expect I will make others. I fully expect that at some point, I may run into attacks of this nature, and in a sense, already have. Last May, I was a victim of identity theft after I took on a person who left bigoted comments on Austin Bay's blog (he's been on hiatus for knee surgery, and I hope he is recovering quickly). It was quickly dealt with and condemned, but recently, I found at least one comment that troll left elsewhere. Well, I'm not the type to cut and run from a fight.

It is clear to me, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the netroots of the Democratic Party have gone off their rockers. Rather than debate on the field of ideas, they resort to threats, character assassination, and personal destruction. More than just a blog is at stake. Freedom of speech is at stake. Disagreeing with someone's views on any political issue is no justification for trying to destroy their life. Even more so if you disagree with them in a public forum, or prove effective in advancing your political views.

One other thing is worth noting: Some conservatives decided it was easier to throw Domenech under the bus than to stand by him. I don't like that attitude. In this country, it's innocent until proven guilty, particularly in the presence of numerous scurrilous attacks from digital thugs like Atrios, MyDD, and DailyKos. I think one of the biggest explanations for Republican "spinelessness" is the fact that they have all too often been tossed under the bus by people who felt that somehow, the Republicans "compromised principles" by not getting everything in one fell swoop, or by passing a bill that contained an item they found objectionable in order to get other items of their agenda. Loyalty is a two-way street - and the best way to guarantee loyalty from someone is to show similar loyalty. Yeah, you risk getting burned sometimes, but it's always worth being known to your friends as someone they can count on.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Let us hope... (UPDATED 8:34 PM EST)

That we will not need to kick a door in for the forseeable future. Because as of March 17, we don't have the tools necessary to do so. Talk about backwards logic.

EDIT: Time for some elaboration.

In November, 2004, a GAO report estimated that reactivation of both Iowa-class battleships would cost roughly $610 million ($500 for the ships, $110 million to replace the powder). The United States Naval Fire Support Association estimates that the total cost for modernization and eleven years of operations and maintenance for two Iowa-class ships would be $2.5 billion (see presentation here). The estimates to build a DD(X) range anywhere from $2.5 billion to $7 billion. Cut one hull from DD(X), get two ships - if DD(X) comes in at the low end of the spectrum. If it's on the high end, you might get even more (say, all four Iowa-class battleships and a dozen ships built around the Mk 71 MCLWG). This would be in addition to twenty-two DD(X)s. A total of 38 ships capable of providing various types of fire support from 155mm to the 16-inch guns - with very little changed in financial terms for the budget, versus twenty-four DD(X)s as the Navy wants - which gives only the 155mm shells. Who wouldn't take fourteen extra hulls?

My co-blogger's comment centers primarily on logistics, which is where professionals tend to think. Page 80 of the USNFSA report indicates that while logistics might have some problems, they will not be impossible to deal with. Plenty of barrel liners are still available at Picatinny Arsenal and Dahlgren. As late as 2001, the Navy commissioned the USS Iwo Jima with a steam propulsion plant. The turbines from USS Kentucky (an Iowa-class ship that was partially completed, then scrapped) have served on two of the Navy's fast replenishment ships (Sacramento and Camden) for over 30 years. The Midway and Coral Sea used steam turbines for over 50 years. Keep in mind, the battleships have been mostly sitting around - their turbine plants have at least two decades of service left, possibly three. And there are sailors who can operate them. They can safely steam. Powder is the big issue - and then, not that much of one. New powder can be manufactured - and the GAO estimate came in at $110 million.

The 1989 turret explosion on the Iowa also warrants discussion. After that accident, a great deal of research was done, and the accident is highly unlikely to be repeated if enough training is provided (the accident being apparently due to an inexperienced crew carrying out an overram), and corrective measures were taken on Missouri and Wisconsin. And the chance of an explosion is 1 in 38,000 on a high-speed overram (and virtually impossible on a low-speed overram - one in 1 times 10 to the -47th power).

The logistics and training might be somewhat difficult to set up, but the cost in DOD buidget terms is again pretty small. And setting up the schools for training the gun crews is not so hard when one considers that the schools closed in 1992 (according to the US Navy) after being open for about a decade. Not as hard as getting them reopened after 25 years of inactivity as was done in the 1980s.

In other words, these ships are not done yet - there's a lot of life left in them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A two-way street...

Macsmind's disclaimer on his blog warrants some comment. It seems my earlier post might have been misinterpreted.

I am not asking him - or anyone - to compromise their faith or principles. One's decision to affiliate with a particular religion (or no religion at all) is a highly personal matter - it's how one views their relationship with God. It's something the Founders of this country (many of them religious men) enshrined as the first freedom they protected. As a country, we have decided that there should be no interference with a person's religious beliefs so long as it is not harming another person.

This is one reason I had to take issue with his post that used of the picture of the Shiite pilgrims. There is another reason as well. The United States government, as well as numerous bloggers on the right, have been highly critical of the Afghan government's decision to put a man on trial for converting to Christianity from Islam. I'm not thrilled with any government putting someone to death on the basis of what church he goes to. But how can we credibly ask the Afghan government to respect religious freedom - namely, a person's right to convert to Christianity from Islam, when there is no respect for a decision to continue practicing Islam (or any other faith) from our end? This is not exactly an abstract matter for me - I had ancestors who were the subject of an extermination order in the state of Missouri about 170 years ago.

It's about being consistent. It's why I have commented on the selective outrage of Isaac Hayes. It's why I have a hard time buying calls from tolerance from the same people who refuse to show tolerance for the beliefs of Catholic Charities and the Boy Scouts of America. Are we willing to practice what we preach, even when we disagree with how they worship? There was once a saying, "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it." For matters of religion, also protected by the First Amendment, the same standard should be a no-brainer.

Calling it as I see it...

As much as I admire Macsmind for being willing to stand up to the nativist/xenphobic wing of the conservative movement, and properly describe them as "uglies," I have to call him on one of his posts yesterday. The photo used is kind of scary - a bunch of Moslems with big knives. One can imagine all sorts of nigthmarish scenarios (terrorists in training, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, etc.) from just looking at the photo. But those impressions are grossly mistaken

Now, for the rest of the story: The photo in question is of Shiite pilgrims observing the Day of Ashurah, commemorating the death of the grandson of Mohammed - Husayn ibn Ali - during the Battle of Karbala, which was the source of the Shiite/Sunni split in Islam. It's different from what we are used to here (and as a slightly-lapsed Mormon, I can point out that my religion has its own practices that could be characterized as different/unusual), but one of the things that should be noted was that during Saddam's reign of terror, those who wished to observe this holy day had to sneak in past the Republican Guard. Now, the new government of Iraq had the troops out - to protect them from thugs like Abu Musab Zarqawi. It's worth noting.

Macmind's post isn't one of his better ones, and it will make his efforts to deal with uglies in the conservative movement that much harder.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No excuse for this...

If what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her speech in South Africa about being threatened is 25% of the truth, then there need to be some chat rooms facing Federal prosecution ASAP.

Although I doubt the current measures will garner sufficient votes to pass, it is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support. And one not-so-small concern - they fuel the irrational fringe. A personal example. The U.S. Supreme Court's Marshal alerted Justice O'Connor and me to a February 28, 2005, web posting on a "chat" site. It opened:
Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment . . . an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use [foreign] laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases.

This is a huge threat to our Republic and Constitutional freedom. . . . If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week.

Nearly a year has passed since that posting. Justice O'Connor, though to my great sorrow retired just last week from the Court's bench, remains alive and well. As for
me, you can judge for yourself.

I do not think courts should rely on foreign judicial opinions when deciding domestic cases (such as Simmons v. Roper). I disagree with Justice Ginsberg on that front. However, there is no excuse for advocating political assassination. These folks are going outside the boundaries of the law, and our political system, and need to be put away for a long time.

Yet there are going to be some people who make excuses for them the way excuses have been made for other unacceptable conduct on the part of people on the right. It's one of the reasons that I no longer consider myself a conservative.

A quick re-cap...

Macsmind has been doing an excellent series of posts on the UAE ports deal.

He has accurately described the conduct of some conservatives as well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


There is just no word that fits what American and Canadian authorites announced breaking up today. By law, a person can get 15 years for making the stuff - possession is good for five years. That's good enough for a felony, but folks who molest children have proven they cannot be rehabilitated. Those who make child pornography are even lower on the scale.

What ought to be done is an increase in the penalties. Twenty years for a first offense of possession of child porn - life without parole for the second offense. For makers of child porn - the first offense is a capital one, and the condemned is executed via the old-school GRU method.

Any questions?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Selective Outrage...

That's really the only way one can describe the decision of Isaac Hayes to quit South Park.

This is a show that has lampooned Christians, Mormons, Moslems, and virtually anyone else on the planet (is there someone who hasn't been lampooned?). He had no problem with taking part in the humor then, and cashing the checks for ten seasons.

So, when it's Scientology's turn to take the jokes at its expense after it gets in the news (TomKat), Hayes suddenly gets sensitive.

Matt, Trey, I'm throwing in a twenty-year-old Brewers cap into the ring to replace Mr. Hayes. ;)

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Ben Sheets gave Brewers fans like me a scare Thursday. The good news, at least according to the Talking Brewers show (link to thread here), is that it's not that lat muscle he tore last August. Instead, another muscle is straining - overcompensating for Ben being on the shelf for a while.

A setback, but nothing serious. Thankfully.

EDIT: has a more permanent link.

Slobodan Milosevic is dead...

Good riddance.

This guy was scum, and needed to be taken out.

Friday, March 10, 2006

An ally has been betrayed...

There is no other way to describe what has happened to the United Arab Emirates over this port deal.

The elected representatives of the people have just told an ally, "It doesn't matter that you sent troops to Afghanistan, aided the victims of Hurricane Katrina, provided us logistical support in the Persian Gulf, and provided us valuable intelligence prior to the liberation of Afghanistan, we're going to call you 'demonstrably unreliable' anyway."

They did so in the face of a coordinated campaign from pundits like Michelle Malkin and Frank Gaffney, who waged a campaign of fear-mongering that was largely fact-free. When I did my piece for, I found information that disproved the "demonstrably unreliable" statement in a few simple searches via Google, the State Department's web site, and the Defense Department's web site. The United Arab Emirates is a good ally (but that may change given the recent attacks). The troops they sent to Afghanistan would have been as dead as Pat Tillman if the Taliban has attacked. The US owed the UAE loyalty in return. Congress instead betrayed the UAE.

I’ve think I’ve been consistent in that regard, being willing to criticize Colin Powell for blacklisting Carlos Castano’s United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, criticizing the decision to dump on Uzbekistan, in addition to hammering critics of the port deal for their comments about the UAE. When people assist the United States of America - and take risks doing so, they are owed loyalty. In the case of the UAE, al-Qaeda threatened to attack them. Uzbekistan assisted us despite the fact that al-Qaeda had managed to assassinate Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance two days prior to 9/11 (which had to be in the back of any Central Asian leader's mind in late 2001). All Carlos Castano did was to take on Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel on its own turf and terms, then launch a similar effort against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

There is only one real winner in this ports controversy - Iran's nascent Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And he owes a great deal of credit to Michelle Malkin and Frank Gaffney for his victory.

EDIT: Bogus Gold also comments on how some flew off the handle, naming Malkin. AJ-Strata also fires off a pair of great posts blasting the opponents and explaining what we lost.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why Webb is Wrong...

If Thomas Jocelyn's reporting at is correct, then we have what may be the start of a pattern of conduct that I'd be ready to call casus belli. We have reports of Iranian-manufactured IEDs in Iraq, as well as Iranian support of al-Qaeda. It seems bin Laden had a lot of friends who figured he would be a nice cut-out to attack the United States of America.

This dovetails nicely into the announced candidacy of James Webb for the United States Senate. Webb seems to have a lot of criticism of the administration's policies. But where, pray tell, are his alternatives? How would he propose that the United States handle a regime that was trying to acquire chemical and biological weapons, sent an intelligence officer with an al-Qaeda operative to launch a chemical mortar attack on American and British targets, and also brought an al-Qaeda envoy (representing Osama bin Laden) to Baghdad to discuss "the future of our relationship with him"? What would it take for Webb to finally decide to do something about state sponsors of terrorism, New York vanishing in a mushroom cloud? These evil regimes need to be taken out - and something will have to replace them. Why not democracy? Why not our ideology?

Suffice it to say, I think Webb needs to explain exactly what he would have done instead, and to explain why he thinks leaving Saddam Hussein in power was an acceptable alternative. Will he answer the questions, or will he retreat behind the cries of "swift-boating"that Democrats seem to prefer when they try to cut off debate?

Webb owes the people of Virginia answers.

Cross-posted at


If Aviation Leak - I mean, Aviation Week - is to be believed, the United States developed a two-stage-to-orbit vehicle. The first stage involved a modified B-70 airframe. The second stage was one of two small orbiters. Reportedly, it was operational in the 1990s.

This certainly would explain why the SR-71 was retired in 1990. This sounds an awful lot like the Aurora program that was also widely discussed in that timeframe. Funding probably was hidden inside the X-30 project (the NASP/COPPER CANYON), and some may have been diverted from the A-12 as well.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Deal with it, Michelle...

AJ Strata notes that Michelle Malkin is having a hard time with some of the criticism heading her way. It's not like she didn't have the criticism coming after her factually-challenged description of the United Arab Emirates as "demonstrably unreliable" was blown out of the water.

It's not like it was that hard to look. We live, for good or for ill, in the Age of Google. There really is no excuse for a professional pundit like Michelle Malkin to get things this wrong. A few simple searches were enough for me to find the information for my piece at Information about the UAE's general atmosphere of religious tolerance, their support of the United States in the war on terror, and how that country has helped us out in time of need.

But what makes me even angrier is how Michelle Malkin won't admit she might have made mistakes. Instead, she has chosen to cry race-baiting. For Michelle to cry race-baiting is like the Menendez brothers begging the court for mercy on the grounds that they are orphans.