Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where's the Heat?

Insanity has, I think, been best defined as doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Who gets the credit for being the first to say it is, I suppose, a debate for a different day, but I think it bears repeating here. The debate may be over as the global warming community loves to say, but the data stubbornly refuses to live up to the hype:

· Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

"There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. "Global warming doesn't mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming."

It seems the harder scientists try to prove that global warming is an undebatable scientific fact, the more reality rears it's ugly head and renders the "facts" inconclusive. The article concludes:

Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.

I find it more than a little odd that Trenbeth and Willis are in agreement that " a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming". If that's the case, would it not also stand to reason that a few warmer than normal years do little to prove the earth is even warming at all. Maybe chasing windmills pays better than using common sense

Update: AJ Strata's takedown is here. He also makes the case that the data shows were are heading into a cooling, not a warming period due to lower than normal solar/sunspot activity.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Glenn Greenwald's Crazy Logic

Glenn Greenwald chimes in today regarding the Eliot Spitzer prostituion scandal:

Regarding all of the breathless moralizing from all sides over the "reprehensible," outrageous crimes of Eliot Spitzer:
are there actually many people left who care if an adult who isn't
their spouse hires prostitutes? Are there really people left who think
that doing so should be a crime, that adults who hire other consenting
adults for sex should be convicted and go to prison?
Just as was true for moral crusaders David Vitter and Larry Craig,
there is unquestionably a healthy chunk of hypocrisy in Spitzer's case,
given that, as Attorney General, he previously prosecuted -- quite aggressively and publicly
-- several citizens for the "crime" of operating an adult prostitution
business. That hypocrisy precludes me from having any real personal
sympathy for Spitzer, and no reasonable person could defend him from
charges of rank hypocrisy. And he should be treated no differently --
no better and no worse -- than the average citizen whom law enforcement
catches hiring prostitutes.

But how can his alleged behavior -- paying another adult roughly $1,000
per hour to travel from New York to Washington to meet him for sex --
possibly justify resignation, let alone criminal prosecution,
conviction and imprisonment? Independent of the issue of his hypocrisy
-- which is an issue meriting attention and political criticism but not
criminal prosecution -- what possible business is it of anyone's, let
alone the state's, what he or anyone else does in their private lives
with other consenting adults?
Well Glenn, it becomes everyone's business and most certainly not a private matter when the subject in question is the Governor of the State of New York and the activity in question is illegal. Three clicks after typing in the search term "ny law" in Google brings this interesting tidbit:

§ 230.00 Prostitution.
A person is guilty of prostitution when such person engages or agrees
or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.
Prostitution is a class B Misdemeanor.

That's New York Penal Code, Part 3, Title M, Article 230 if I'm reading that correctly. I suppose Glenn can make the argument that prostitution should not be illegal and if Gov. Spitzer is found guilty of such, that it doesn't warrant his removal from office if the point of his rant is to ignore the facts.

Given Gov. Spitzer's history of prosecuting the same types of crimes against the citizens of New York while Attorney General, I agree the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven, but if that's all he sees as a problem in this case, then a reality check is definitely in order.

While it may not matter to Greenwald that the Governor of New York has been tied to a prostitution ring, I suspect many of the citizens who elected him would beg to differ and would choose to hold him to a slightly higher standard.

Update: Dan Riehl is a bit more, shall we say, blunt. Heh.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Math Problem?

Jonathan Alter in Newsweek today (via Memeorandum):

Hillary Clinton won big victories Tuesday night in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. But she's now even further behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. How could that be? Math. It's relentless.

To beat Barack Obama among pledged delegates, Clinton now needs even bigger margins in the 12 remaining primaries than she needed when I ran the numbers on Monday—an average of 23 points, which is more than double what she received in Ohio.

Superdelegates won't help Clinton if she cannot erase Obama's lead among pledged delegates, which now stands at roughly 134. Caucus results from Texas aren't complete, but Clinton will probably net about 10 delegates out of March 4. That's 10 down, 134 to go. Good luck.

Luck has nothing to do with it. Sure, the math might be a problem for a typical, garden variety candidate, but this is the Clinton machine were talking about, is it not? This thing is going to the convention for a floor fight. Between now and then,  the "machine" will make plenty of offers that can't be refused.  Look for a lot of arm breaking twisting between now and the convention.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No Regrets

It's been a little over a year since I last posted, so I'm not real sure what to say or where to start. I'm sure most of the visitors I had have long since given up coming by here, and I don't blame them- There hasn't been a whole lot to see.  If no one reads this now, that's ok too. This one's for Dad.

Not long after my last post, on April 30, 2007, my father passed away. The neck and back surgeries that were supposed to repair the damage he suffered in a fall one afternoon in his backyard, actually caused additional damage from which he was never able to recover. When he died, a big part of me died as well.

He used to love reading Palmetto Pundit.  Maybe it's because I was his son and that's what he was supposed to do, or maybe there were other reasons. I'm not sure exactly why, but he really liked it and seemed to get a real kick out of it. To me, it was just a way to express my opinion without getting my teeth kicked in--keyboard therapy, if you will. To him, reading what I had written was something he loved to do. 

I could look at my site meter each day and see that he'd been traipsing around. I could always count on having at least one visitor each day and his was always the one that meant the most. Sometimes he was afraid I 'd gone a bit too far, and upon reflection, I suspect he may have been right. He never failed to tell me he had read my latest post and really enjoyed it and that meant more to me than he would ever know.

In the months before he died, he was highly medicated in an attempt to alleviate pain and much of what he said was hard to understand, but one thing I specifically remember is him asking me to print out my blog posts and bring them to him to read. I never did because I thought he was in too much pain to read them. I now realize that I entirely missed the point. He didn't want to read them, he wanted me to read them to him. I never told him that I had stopped blogging when he went into the hospital, but looking back I really wish I would have printed a bunch of old posts and taken them to him.

He died and I quit. It's as simple as that. My dad's motto was "Never, Never, Never Give Up!", but I did just that- I gave up. I never changed my political views or my opinions, I just stopped caring and stopped blogging. That's the last thing my father would have wanted or expected from me.

As my father lay dying, I held his hand, leaned over and whispered in his ear three words--No Regrets, Dad. And just then he was gone, and I've not been the same since. I'm working through it, but it's still very much a work in progress.

I started thinking about what I said to him a few days ago, and asked myself honestly if I had any regrets, and I did. Chief among those regrets was my decision to stop writing and stop blogging. It's not because I feel I have anything earth shattering to say or any particular talent in this area, but because my father would have wanted me to continue. I think as much as he enjoyed reading my posts,  he also realized that no matter who else read them it was good therapy for his son. He knew that writing made me happy and in turn that made him happy. Once again, I suspect he was right.

Although I don't know exactly how much I'll be writing, I will continue writing and posting here. It may not always be political or relevant to the news of the day, (as is probably obvious from this post on Super Tuesday II) but I'll write nonetheless. Even if no one else reads it, I know I'll always have at least one visitor. No regrets.


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Friday, February 09, 2007

An Update on My Father

I thought I would pop back in the ‘sphere for a few moments to give everyone an update on what’s been going on. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond individually to all of the kind and thoughtful well wishes I’ve received via comments and email over the past couple of months, but I can assure you that each and every one has touched my heart and has not gone unnoticed.

As of today, it has been 101 days since my father was admitted into the hospital for neck and back surgery. The surgeries appear to have been successful in repairing the damage, but his recovery has been a different story altogether. I can now say that I’ve seen the real damage and suffering that can be caused by Parkinson’s disease. I wish I couldn’t.

I imagine most people primarily think of tremors and unnatural movements when they think of Parkinson’s disease, but the true effects of the disease unfortunately run much deeper. In my father’s case, it has done everything in its power to fight his recovery.

Fortunately, my father has the determination of ten men and the fight of an angry pit bull, and that is the reason I believe he is still alive. He has a large plaque with the words “Never, Never, Never Give Up!” in his room and he lives up to it every day.

Since his move from the hospital into a rehab facility a week and a half ago, he has made some significant progress. His physical and occupational therapists have commented they cannot believe someone in such poor shape can put forth such an incredible effort. Obviously, they had never met my father.

He still has a long way to go and a full recovery is still uncertain, but there has been some real reason for optimism for the first time in quite a while. For that I am truly thankful.

Your continued prayers would be greatly appreciated and your kindness and compassion has been a godsend. Thanks for caring, and as always, thanks for stopping by. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Explanation For My Absence

I've had a number of good folks from the blogosphere asking where I've been lately, and I suppose a long overdue explanation is in order. I will attempt to explain it here while at the same time preserving the privacy of my family as much as possible:

My father has Parkinson's disease and a good while back he fell in his backyard while trying to do some yard work. The initial diagnosis was a "deep bruise" that would likely heal on its own. You know, the old garden variety, take two aspirin and call me in the morning type injury.

The initial diagnosis was, to put it mildly, a complete misdiagnosis.

My father actually fractured a vertabrae in his lower back and has also required extensive surgery to rebuild and fuse together the bones with metal in his neck. Please forgive me for my inability to explain the medical terminology involved, but the doctors described it as "building a cage" around his neck not only to repair and stabilize it, but also to help protect it from further injury.

As you might imagine, having Parkinson's Disease presents a whole multitude of challenges. The best way I can describe the challenge is to compare it to the part of Newton's first law that states, "An object in motion tends to stay in motion". The doctors had to figure out how to work around his dyskinesia not only to get a good picture on an MRI, but also how to control it enough to safely work near his spinal cord. In other words, they had to figure out how to make an object in constant motion become an object at complete rest for at least long enough to make a proper diagnosis and perform the surgeries required to correct the problem. It appears they have been largely successful to this point.

Although the major surgeries are over now, the recovery appears to be far from over. We have been assured that he will recover, but it will take a multitude of baby steps instead of giant leaps.

As of right now, he is still in the hospital and I am devoting my spare time to being with him and helping him as much as I possibly can. There will also be a period of pretty intense physical therapy, the timeframe of which I am uncertain.

Ironically, my father was scheduled to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery to help control his Parkinson's symptoms on October 31st, but fell and injured himself before he could have the surgery. The fall turned out to not only be ironic, but also an unexpected blessing at the same time.

The fall not only revealed that he had chronic osteoporosis that no doubt contributed to the severity of the neck and back injuries, but it also made the doctors aware of a problem they had not previously known existed. If the surgery had been done without this knowledge, he could have been paralyzed or worse by the very surgery that was intended to improve his life. So I guess in the final analysis, my father's fall was a blessing although it sure hasn't felt like it for the better part of the last couple of months.

As to whether I will be coming back, the simple answer is I don't know, but I certainly hope so. Right now, my family needs every spare minute I have and I intend to give it to them.

As things improve, I hope to get back in the game and offer an opinion or two from time to time. For now, my father and the doctors working to help him could use all of the prayer the good folks of the blogosphere can muster. If I could ask only one thing of my visitors, that would be it. I've seen the blogosphere work wonders and prayer work miracles and we could use a little of both right now.

I can't thank you enough for your concern and I hope this very belated explanation helps to clear things up a bit. As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Rules of Engagement? Are You Kidding Me?

Below is a screenshot of the front page of this morning’s New York Post that got E. D. Hill’s blood boiling on Fox and Friends this morning; followed shortly thereafter by my own:

The author of the accompanying story, Ian Bishop, provides background as to what the fuss is all about:

WASHINGTON - Taliban terror leaders who had gathered for a funeral - and were secretly being watched by an eye-in-the-sky American drone - dodged assassination because U.S. rules of engagement bar attacks in cemeteries, according to a shocking report.

U.S. intelligence officers in Afghanistan are still fuming about the recent lost opportunity for an easy kill of Taliban honchos packed in tight formation for the burial, NBC News reported.

The unmanned airplane, circling undetected high overhead, fed a continuous satellite feed of the juicy target to officers on the ground.
"We were so excited. I came rushing in with the picture," one U.S. Army officer told NBC.

But that excitement quickly turned to gut-wrenching frustration because the rules of engagement on the ground in Afghanistan blocked the U.S. from mounting a missile or bomb strike in a cemetery, according to the report.
[Emphasis Mine]

We are fighting an enemy who looks upon our buildings and sees tombstones, yet someone in our military chain of command sees our enemy gathered en masse in a cemetery and all they see is a stop sign? I’m at a total loss for words!

Apparently the military is not denying the authenticity of the photo, but is questioning unauthorized release.
Might I suggest they also question the idiocy of these rules of engagement while they’re at it?


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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Chirping Rubble

Yes, I know, it's been awhile. I haven't updated or posted this blog for over a month because frankly, I haven't been able to muster the energy or the desire to continue wading through the cesspool some still affectionately refer to as "politics".

On one side you have a group of folks who have sold their souls and their consciences to the far left of their party and would suck sewage through a drinking straw so long as doing so would cost "evil Bush" a percentage point or two in popularity. For God's sake, we are a nation at war for our very survival and their most pressing need is picking out drapes and furniture to adorn their offices when they regain power.

On the other side you have a group of folks who have spines made of Jello and seem hellbent on letting the minority party get away with it. I've been having a hard time figuring out which is worse: The party of Bush haters or the party that is enabling them.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few honorable civil servants on both sides of the aisle, but it has gotten to the point that I'm not sure whether I could pay my water bill if I had $10 from each of them.

I align myself with the Republican party first and foremost because they are the most willing to defend this nation from our enemies, but even that no longer seems to be set in stone.

You would think using the world's finest and best equipped fighting force to eliminate those who want to kill us would be a no-brainer whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, but defending America no longer unites us; it divides us.

Today's politicians find a way to continue funding our war efforts then seemingly spend the rest of the time figuring out a way to undercut our ability to win it.

It's all about holding onto power or regaining it. I'm not real sure how useful that power will be if we wake up tommorrow with one of our major cities obliterated because our elected officials are more worried about November than they are September. The threat to our nation is real and it is right now.

I found myself watching the Inside 9/11 series on The National Geographic Channel yesterday and found myself completely caught off guard by one segment in particular: I call it The Chirping Rubble. I'm not real sure if that is the best way to describe it, but those are the words that have been running through my head like a freight train all day and is what led me to write this today. I wonder if our elected officials in Washington have heard the sound of the chirping rubble?

For those who didn't see it, I suppose an explanation is in order:

Near the end of the episode dealing with the eventual collapse of both towers of The World Trade Center, there was a scene showing rescue workers sifting through the rubble looking for survivors. It was eerily silent except for the chirping of what sounded like hundreds of beepers coming from beneath the rubble. They were the emergency locators worn by police officers, firefighters, and first responders who were running up the stairs in an effort to send everyone else down.

Each and every chirp marked the location of one selfless hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man. I don't know how many chirps there were, but it sounded like hundreds and was deafening to me.

I honestly didn't think there was anything else that happened on 9/11 that could affect me more profoundly or make the wounds of that day any deeper than they already were, but I was wrong. The chirping made the sacrifice of each of those brave souls more real than ever before. I couldn't sleep thinking of the impact it must have had on the rescue workers trying desparately to locate them and hoping beyond hope they were still alive.

Many of the best and bravest America had to offer seemed to be calling out to them from beneath an insurmountable mass of twisted steel and broken glass and yet there was very little that could be done to reach them in any sort of timely fashion. I can't imagine a more hopeless feeling, and yet I can't remember a more tireless effort in the face of such impossible circumstances.

The chirping served as a reminder that no matter who wishes us ill, there will always be those among us who will face any foe, stare down any threat, and yes, pay any price so that we all may remain free. The debris may have appeared insurmountable, but the chirping is what left the lasting impression on me.

From now on, when I hear crickets chirping on a warm summer evening, I will be reminded of the selfless sacrifice made by those who gave all for their fellow man that day and those who stand ready and are doing the same today.

It's high time for politicians of all stripes to stop focusing all of their energies on regaining power and winning elections and start focusing on defending this great nation from all enemies foreign and domestic. Listen to the chirping rubble and sacrifice your pride for the good of the country!

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Preacher of Suicide Bombing Can't Stand Explosions!

(Via Memeorandum)

Omar Bakri, the exiled hate monger known for his enthusiastic support of suicide bombing, is apparently afraid of....Bombs!:

EXILED preacher of hate Omar Bakri has begged the Royal Navy to rescue him from war-torn Beirut.

The Muslim cleric who fled Britain last year, tried to board a ship full of women and children yesterday but was turned away.

He also wrote to the British embassy asking to be allowed back on “humanitarian grounds”.

In an email to officials, dole scrounger Bakri pleaded: “The current situation in Beirut left me without any choice but to appeal to you to grant me a visit visa to see my children for one month.”

But his bid to sneak on one of our ships was blocked at harbour gates by sharp-eyed officials.

Bakri, 46, left his family in Edmonton, North London, last August and went to Lebanon after a Sun campaign to kick him out.

Charles Clarke, then Home Secretary, banned him from returning here.

The mad mullah, who hailed terrorists as “magnificent” martyrs, bought a £150,000 bolthole in the exclusive Doha district of Beirut.

In March he boasted: “When I left England I bought a one-way ticket out. I never want to see the place again.”

But cowardly Bakri changed his tune as soon as bombs started dropping.

The spineless coward was singing a different tune in February '04 (HT: Jihad Watch):

A FANATICAL pal of evil cleric Abu Hamza had told British children as young as ten they must “kill and be killed” for Islam.

Muslim extremist Omar Bakri — speaking in London’s East End — said suicide bombers were assured a place in paradise.

Bakri described such bombings as “self-sacrifice operations”.

An example would be to crash a plane on to 10 Downing Street or the White House, he told a cheering audience of Muslims, including around ten young children.

In one outburst he raged: “You must fight for the way of Allah, for the sake of Allah, to kill first and to be killed.” [Emphasis mine]

Unless, of course, you are Omar Bakri!

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

House Supports Israel 410-8, But for How Long?

(Via AP)

WASHINGTON - The House, displaying a foreign affairs solidarity lacking on issues like Iraq, voted overwhelmingly Thursday to support Israel in its confrontation with Hezbollah guerrillas.

The resolution, which was passed on a 410-8 vote, also condemns enemies of the Jewish state.

House Republican leader John Boehner cited Israel's "unique relationship" with the United States as a reason for his colleagues to swiftly go on record supporting Israel in the latest flare-up of violence in the Mideast.

Little of the political divisiveness in Congress on other national security issues was evident as lawmakers embraced the Bush administration's position.

While it is nice to see such a strong show of support for Israel, I can't help but wonder how deep the support really is. How many of these representatives will end up one day making the claim that they were "mislead" into supporting this resolution and how long will it take for them to do it?

I realize the question is a bit on the pessimistic side, but recent history-- at least on the Senate side-- proves the question is not far-fetched.

Even though the resolution was non-binding, I believe the future behavior of the 410 who voted yea will not only reveal Israel's true friends, but also those who still view events in the Middle East as nothing more than a political game.

Keep a sharp eye out!

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's About Time!

I've had modem problems for the last couple of days and have been unable to post on the Middle East conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. I have determined that maybe that isn't such a bad thing. These problems have allowed me to sit back and try to digest all of the information without having to worry about what to say about it. That said, I've decided to simply say what I think without worrying about linkage or what other sources are saying about the situation.

There are a lot of people out there who feel the need to sort out all of the scenarios and what if's and analyze cause and effect regarding Israel's response. I'm not going to do that here, but I will say that I stand by Israel and her right to defend herself and quite frankly I believe the current response is right on the money and long overdue.

Israel's course of action may not be the one the rest of the world would have preferred Israel take, and may in fact lead to further instability in the region, but I believe it is the only course of action Israel has left. They've had enough and have vowed to stop it. Who are we to offer advice to Israel on the proper course of action when we aren't the ones who have to live with it on a daily basis? We are fighting Islamic extremism in the Middle East so that we don't have to fight it here, but Israel doesn't have that choice because it has always been on their doorstep.

They're under the constant threat of terrorist attack and have been continually asked to stand down when attacks occur. Is it really fair to expect them to continue standing down? That's not what we did after 9/11! We took the fight those who did it and have taken an oath to never forget and to fight until the threat has been eliminated. It strikes me as ridiculous for people to expect Israel to sit back and temper their response so as not to inflame the situation. That's not what we did and it was not what we were expected to do!

Everyone has a breaking point and I think Israel has finally reached theirs. They have tried to "do the right thing" according to the world's standards for far too long in my opinion. They've had enough and are now sending a message that world opinion doesn't amount to a hill of beans when survival is on the line. They have vowed to take out Hezbollah once and for all just as we vowed to take out Al Qaeda, and I say Godspeed!

I don't know what will happen in the end, but I do know that good cannot triumph over if it isn't in the fight. Whether we like it or not, Israel is in the fight now and I have a feeling they're in it to stay.

Far be it from me to tell them they don't belong in it!

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Missile Snipers?

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough present an interesting theory regarding missile defense in this morning's Inside the Ring:

We have no evidence that the U.S. was able to sabotage North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile, which malfunctioned 42 seconds into launch on Tuesday and crashed.

But we do note that special operations forces (SOF) are playing an increasing role, overt and covert, in the world under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's rule. We also note that one of the reasons that SOF procured the powerful .50- caliber Barrett's sniper rifle was to have the capability to disable ballistic missiles. It's a scenario for missile defense you won't see in any literature from the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency: insert a commando behind the lines, who positions himself within shooting range of the launchpad.

"One of the original reasons for procuring the .50-caliber sniper system was to disable missiles," a SOF source says. "A round pumped in prior to launch, or during to cover the noise, in the right place would cause a catastrophic malfunction."

If we assume, for the sake of discussion, that this scenario goes beyond mere assumption and is actually the reality; then what is commonly referred to as our missile defense system is only one link in the chain. The mere possibility that this is the case goes a long way toward easing my mind.

Of course, it would make perfect sense for the first line of our missile defense system to start at the launch pad and work backwards. I'm no expert, but I believe it would be far easier to take it out or disable it while it is sitting on the pad than to rely on hitting a moving target.

Even if this scenario doesn't exactly square with reality, I think it is still clear that at least one level of redundancy is in play here. It simply wouldn't have made much sense to rely solely on a system that has not been proven to be fully reliable as our sole means of defense against a threat that is this serious.

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North Korean Missile Was Aimed at Hawaii

If there's still anyone making light of the recent failures and apparent ineptness displayed by the North Koreans in their recent missile tests, they may want to consider sobering up in a hurry:

TOKYO (Reuters) - A North Korean missile launched on Wednesday was aimed at an area of the ocean close to Hawaii, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday.

Experts estimated the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile to have a range of up to 6,000 km, putting Alaska within its reach. Wednesday's launch apparently failed shortly after take-off and the missile landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, a few hundred kilometres from the launch pad.

But data from U.S. and Japanese Aegis radar-equipped destroyers and surveillance aircraft on the missile's angle of take-off and altitude indicated that it was heading for waters near Hawaii, the Sankei Shimbun reported, citing multiple sources in the United States and Japan.

North Korea may have targeted Hawaii to show the United States that it was capable of landing a missile there, or because it is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific fleet, the paper said.

An alternative explanation might be that a missile could accidentally hit land if fired towards Alaska, the report said.

I'm not putting a lot of stock in the alternative explanation. I'm not necessarily implying that Kim Jong-Il intended to hit Hawaii, but I'm convinced he wanted to get close, if for no other reason than to prove that he could. He needs to know if our missile defense system can stop him and whether or not we are willing to use it.

Fortunately, the missile failed this time and he didn't get the answer he was looking for. However, it is worth noting that the United States experienced numerous failures of Redstone, Atlas, and Saturn V rockets before we finally orbited the earth and eventually landed on the moon.

The difference in the determination of a madman and that of a sane one can be razor thin regarless of whether the goal is good or evil. We can't bet on continued failure: If they light another candle, we must send the message that we are willing, ready, and able to extinguish it.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It Ain't A Hunger Strike If You Don't Go Hungry!!!

(Via Brietbart)

Star Hollywood actor-activists including Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon and anti-war campaigners led by bereaved mother Cindy Sheehan plan to launch a hunger strike, demanding the immediate return of US troops from Iraq.

As Americans get set to fire up barbeques in patriotic celebration of US Independence Day on July 4, anti-war protestors planned to savour a last meal outside the White House, before embarking on a 'Troops Home Fast' at midnight.

"We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch, we've even gone to jail, now it's time to do more," said Sheehan, who emerged as an anti-war icon after losing her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq.

The hunger strike was the latest bid by the US anti-war movement to grab hold of American public opinion, after numerous marches, vigils and political campaigns.
[Emphasis mine]

There is one more thing they could do: Get a clue and come to the realization that the decison isn't up to them; it's up to the terrorists! When the enemy is defeated, they'll come home.

Of course, I realize good old-fashioned logic is not a factor when it comes to the Sheehan brigade and here's proof:

The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.

"I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended," said Wilson.

Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.
[Emphasis, once again, mine]

Are you kidding me? A rolling fast? This is the brilliant idea that's going to change hearts and minds? The idea of a fast is to starve, not take shifts! Where's the sacrifice?

If they can't devote more than 24 hours at a time to their cause, why in the world would they expect anyone to give a rat's rear end about what they're trying to accomplish?

How 'bout a little "rolling" patriotism for a change?

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Islamophobia Misnomer

Dave Ursillo Jr. has written an excellent essay entitled "One Simple Word" at The topic, in short, is the misuse of the word Islamophobia and if I hadn't finished the entire essay in one sitting, I would have sworn it was penned by Bill Whittle.

Here's a sample:

Even before the dust settled at Ground Zero in New York City, I adamantly believed that the religion of Islam would persevere over the marginal sect of radicals who now threatened to destroy both the religion itself and the free world. Sensible Americans agreed with the commonly held notion that Islam was a peaceful religion. We all remembered that some years earlier, a radical Christian cult viciously struck at the heart of America in Oklahoma City. If the psychotic, hate-filled, murderous Timothy McVeigh did not speak for all Christians, then likewise, Osama bin Laden did not speak for all Muslims. Today, however, I adamantly believe that Islam has arrived at a deciding crossroads, at which the fate of the entire religion and its 1.4 billion followers will be decided. And, it’s all thanks to the fabrication of one simple word that misleads, deceives and divides: Islamophobia. [...]

The dimwits who actively exploit the term actually use it to refer to individuals who call any aspect of Islam or Muslims into question, or even the subsequent attitude which results from experience of, or caution towards, Islamic extremism. Simply put, ‘Islamophobia’ is a misnomer attributed to rational and reasonable criticism of (a) the religion of Islam and/or (b) any other particular facet of the religion or its believers, or used foolishly as a reference to a reasonable, cautious state of mind or set of actions that attempt to deal with radical Islam and/or fundamentalist Muslims. Much like the phrase ‘racial profiling,’ a distorted reference to ‘deductive reasoning,’ ‘Islamophobia’ is simply any act of rational criticism or justified cautiousness. [...]

Read the whole thing.

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Thank You, Mike!!

I would like to take a moment to thank Mike of Mike's America for filling in for me while I've been on vacation the past few days. Mike has really done an outstanding job and the posting has been nothing short of superb. It has been a pleasure to have him aboard knowing that the 'ol blog has been in his capable hands the past few days.

I've been told several times over the past few days that I couldn't have made a better choice than Mike for guest blogger, and I have to say that I couldn't agree more. It's truly been an honor to have him here. If he isn't already in your blogroll, make sure you add him. You'll be glad you did!

Thank You, Mike, for a job very well done!

(On a somewhat unrelated note, I am still "officially" on vacation and posting may be light for the next couple of days. Even though I'm reluctantly back on the mainland and am no longer at the mercy of dial-up, I still have a busy couple of days to go before I'm back up to full speed. Today is my 39th birthday, so between birthday stuff with family and friends and Independence Day plans, there probably won't be a lot of time for blogging. I should be back up to speed by the end of the week.)

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Another Ann Coulter Home Run: Liberal Treason!

Another good one from Ann Coulter. She begins:
When is The New York Times going to get around to uncovering an al-Qaida secret program?

In the latest of a long list of formerly top-secret government anti-terrorism operations that have been revealed by the Times, last week the paper printed the details of a government program tracking terrorists' financial transactions that has already led to the capture of major terrorists and their handmaidens in the U.S.

In response, the Bush administration is sounding very cross — and doing nothing. Bush wouldn't want to get the press mad at him! Yeah, let's keep the media on our good side like they are now. Otherwise, they might do something crazy — like leak a classified government program monitoring terrorist financing.

National Review has boldly called for the revocation of the Times' White House press pass! If the Times starts publishing troop movements, National Review will go whole hog and demand that the paper's water cooler privileges be revoked. Then there's always the "nuclear option": disinviting Maureen Dowd from the next White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Meanwhile, the one congressman who has called for any sort of criminal investigation is being treated like a nut. Don't get me wrong: Congressman Peter King is nuttier than squirrel droppings — but he's right on this.
Maybe treason ended during the Vietnam War when Jane Fonda sat laughing and clapping on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down American pilots. She came home and resumed her work as a big movie star without the slightest fear of facing any sort of legal sanction.
Thanks to The New York Times, the easiest job in the world right now is: "Head of Counterintelligence — Al-Qaida." You just have to read The New York Times over morning coffee, and you're done by 10 a.m.

Read it all here.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Supreme Court Hamdan Case Update

More than 24 hours since the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld decision by the Supreme Court of the United States and more analysis is coming out to clarify the good, the bad and the ugly.

I did a quick turn around various sites looking for new material. But I have yet to find anything new that Flopping Aces hasn't already excerpted and linked to. Few bloggers have the capacity to read and synthesize the amount of material Flopping Aces handles on a story like this.

A couple of quick points: I think that much of the concern on the right about this decision may be overblown. And of course the cheering on the left is out in orbit even more than usual.

Congress will address the issue and make whatever corrections are necessary. Meanwhile, we have another fault line forming for the November political battle. There are two sides here. One, those who realize we are at war and we must do all within our power to win and two, those who are less concerned with the threat of terrorism than they are with the protection of the civil liberties of those who commit atrocities outside the bounds of all legality and decent society.

Which side are you on?

The Hamdan decision exposes those fault lines, but also offers a dangerous precedent: that of the Supreme Court inserting itself into the Constitutional prerogative primarily of the President but also of the Legislature to manage national security issues in a time of war.

Both Justices Thomas and Scalia (pictured right) in their dissents spoke to the danger of that problem. Of special concern is that the Supreme Court would revise U.S. law on the basis of International treaties and extend protection to terrorists who have never been covered by the Geneva Conventions.

However, the opinion of Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation cited at SCOTUSblog seeks to allay many of those fears. We shall see.

Dennis Byrne at Real Clear Politics also debunks the left wing glee and points out what this decision does and does not do. But Dennis, like many of us, is mystified about the decisions position on Geneva Convention protections.

Lastly, Ronald A. Cass, Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law, Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law weighs in with one of the best short essays on the subject.

I encourage each of you to read the entire text yourself. Simple excerpts do not do the piece justice, but here's a sample anyway:

Liberty may have been the traditional casualty of war, but common sense is its new colleague. The Supreme Court, trying hard on the anniversary of last term's Kelo decision to find a suitable sequel, performed a rare triple loop in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. It found jurisdiction in the face of a statute directly taking jurisdiction away from the Court. It second-guessed the President on the need for particular security features in trials of suspected al Qaeda terrorists. And it gave hope to One-World-ers by leaning on international common law to interpret U.S. federal law. If that weren't enough, the (left, lefter, and far left) turns were executed in the course of giving a court victory to Osama bin Laden's driver. What a perfect way to end the term!

The case challenged the Bush Administration's plan to use military tribunals to try Guantanamo detainees as enemy combatants who are neither within the criminal law and due process protections of the U.S. Constitution nor within the protections afforded prisoners of war by the Geneva Conventions. The Administration has been assiduously trying to prevent al Qaeda terrorists from learning what it knows and doesn't know about their operations - an effort opposed by The New York Times, the left side of the Democratic Party, and most of France. Its plans for trial by military commission and its detention at Guantanamo of al Qaeda suspects captured outside the United States are part and parcel of that effort.

The five-justice majority of the Supreme Court that decided the Hamdan case yesterday showed great interest in demonstrating their commitment to upholding constitutional protections and protecting international human rights, both admirable instincts in many settings. They showed less appreciation for the fact that Americans are threatened, and thousands of innocent Americans were killed by brutal thugs - the sort who behead civilians, film it as sport, and post the video on the Internet. And the justices showed no appreciation for the fact that Congress and the President might well know more than they do about the security needs of the United States.
The President may not have made perfect choices on the procedures used for these trials. He may not have perfectly balanced concerns over fair process with concerns over national security. But the President, not the Court, has expertise on this subject. Justice Breyer's concurrence says that Congress didn't give the President a blank check to fight the war on terror. But the Constitution also doesn't give the justices a blank check to write the law. It especially doesn't give them a check drawn on a foreign bank.

Yesterday's decision may bring a smile to the faces of Bush-bashers. It should be as fleeting as the smiles with which developers greeted the justices' creativity in Kelo. Let's hope it's as easily corrected.

Read the rest. There will be a quiz on this material!

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Secretary Rice to Russian Foreign Minister: Stop Whining About Your Diplomats in Iraq

Ooops! The Russians left open the microphone at a closed session of G-8 Foreign Ministers in Moscow yesterday just in time to catch U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice give the Russian foreign minister an earful about complaints that security for Russian personnel in Iraq in the wake of four murdered diplomats was not good enough.

From the Washington Times:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking unknowingly into an open microphone, chastised her Russian counterpart yesterday for bemoaning the killing of five Russian diplomats in Iraq, saying it was wrong to focus on the deaths of diplomats when so many others are dying there.

"The implication that by somehow declaring that diplomats need to be protected, it will get better, I think is simply not right," Miss Rice said during a closed luncheon as the foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries negotiated their meeting's final statement.

The Russians, who chair the G-8 this year, fed out audio from part of the luncheon discussion, apparently by mistake.

The testy exchange came when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who hosted his colleagues, tried to insert in the text a sentence urging the Iraqi government to make efforts to protect foreign embassies in Baghdad.
"It implies they are not being taken and you know on a fairly daily basis we lose soldiers, and I think it would be offensive to suggest that these efforts are not being made," Miss Rice said. "We are making those efforts, and we are making them at quite a sacrifice."

Mr. Lavrov said the sentence was "not intended to criticize anyone" and was "just a statement of fact."

"The Iraqi Interior Ministry should pay more attention to the safety of foreign missions. If you feel uncomfortable about it, maybe we should make it shorter, saying there is a need for improved security for diplomatic missions," he suggested to Miss Rice.

She interrupted him with some asperity.

"Sergey, there is a need for improvement of security in Iraq period. The problem isn't diplomatic missions. The problem is journalists and civilian contractors and, yes, diplomats as well," she said.

"I understand that in the wake of the brutal murder of your diplomats that it is a sensitive time, but I think that we can't imply that this is an isolated problem or that it isn't being addressed," the secretary said.

The final statement "strongly condemned the barbarian killings" of the Russian diplomats, who were kidnapped by al Qaeda fighters, and said that "this tragic event underlines the importance of improving security for all in Iraq."

The verbal spat between Miss Rice and Mr. Lavrov, which lasted for most of the Iraq discussion, provided a rare glimpse of the atmosphere during their meetings and of behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

The secretary also disagreed with text calling on the Iraqis to "achieve national accord," saying they are already doing it.

Mr. Lavrov objected to a U.S.-proposed sentence about an "international compact" that would provide economic support to Iraq, telling Miss Rice that the concept had not been entirely fleshed out yet.

In both cases, Miss Rice won the argument, as reflected in the official statement.
The two ministers clashed even in public when Miss Rice repeated U.S. criticism of some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's domestic policies during a press conference. Mr. Putin will host heads of state and government from the G-8 countries in St. Petersburg from July 15 to 17. ....

Good job Condi! You go girl!

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kerry Can't See the Light. But Lie He Can

Brit Hume's Political Grapevine had this nugget:
'Sneaking Into St. Louis'?

In a fundraising e-mail to supporters two days ago, Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry wrote that President Bush would be "sneaking into St. Louis" to raise money for Missouri Republican Senator Jim Talent.

In fact, the president arrived in broad daylight aboard Air Force One for yesterday's publicly scheduled 6 p.m. fundraiser, which received television coverage.

So how did Kerry respond today? By again accusing the Republican party of "sneaking President Bush" into Missouri, "under cover of darkness." In yet another fundraising e-mail, Kerry asks potential donors to make the GOP "pay a price" for the president's "under the radar" travel.
Gee Kerry... Lot of daylight left at 6 p.m. in late June last time I checked.

And Bush is not exactly "sneaking" in Missouri. His speech is even posted on the White House web site.

Maybe Kerry's just been out in the sun too long. He's starting to act as goofy as Jack Murtha. But then he did say on the Senate floor: "So I ask my fellow Senators, are we really that frightened of somebody's willingness to go out and be stupid? In the United States of America, you have a right to be stupid."

P.S. Make sure to see the last item in the grapevine: "The American left is blaming a new culprit in the country's turn towards the Republican Party in recent years — air conditioning." You can bet that as soon as the left succeeds in getting global warming controls in place they'll ban air conditioning in the South.

Also posted at Mike's America.

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