Monday, August 29, 2005

On Vacation

I'll be back on Wednesday, Sept 7.

Update: Had a bit of time after packing. Liked this piece by the Anchoress, and also the article it links to.

Also, there is an excellent Scalia quote highlighted here:

"I am questioning the propriety — indeed, the sanity — of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society ... by unelected judges," Scalia said.

"Surely it is obvious that nothing I learned during my courses at Harvard Law School or in my practice of law qualifies me to decide whether there ought to be, and therefore is, a fundamental right to abortion or assisted suicide," he said.

Scalia also railed against the principle of the "living Constitution," saying it has led the U.S. Senate to try to appoint so-called politically "moderate" judges instead of focusing on professional credentials and ability.

"Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?" he said, to laughter and applause.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Grasping At Comparitively Worthless Straws

So now the libs are going to try to shoot down Judge Roberts because he was against the asinine idea of 'comparable worth' in the eighties. These guys keep demonstrating that they cannot be trusted with national defense, they cannot be trusted with economics, they cannot be trusted to tell the truth, and they cannot be trusted with anything. Thank heavens more and more people are starting to see them as the jokes that they are. This WSJ article examines the whole pathetic 'comparable worth' concept.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sometimes Matteo Wishes He Had HBO

This could be good. Cartago Delenda Est! SPQR! Veni, vidi, vici!

The Only People Who Should Be Allowed To Talk About Chickenhawks Are Chickenhawks

It's all pretty obvious to anyone who's achieved the age of reason (sorry, leftists), but Rich Lowry has a nice column against the chickenhawk "argument". I like his examples.


Its logic, if taken seriously, actually would boost the hawks. If only members of the military — who are overwhelmingly conservative — were considered competent to decide the nation’s posture on matters of war and peace, we would have an even more forward-leaning foreign policy. I’m comfortable letting the 82nd Airborne decide what we do about anti-American rogue states. Are opponents of the war? I’m guessing that even if you let only mothers of fallen soldiers in Iraq direct our Iraq policy, the result would be stay-the-course rather than the immediate pullout favored by Sheehan.


By the same token, we could say to proponents of leaving Saddam Hussein in power: “That’s an illegitimate position unless you yourself are willing to move to Tikrit to live for the duration of Saddam’s regime.” Or to supporters of “containing” Saddam: “You’re a hypocrite until you go help patrol the no-fly zone.” Or to advocates of inspections: “You can’t support them unless you don a baby-blue cap and sniff around his suspected chemical-weapons sites yourself.”

Why should this line of argument be limited to Iraq? “You think we should help fight AIDS in Africa? Well, go work in a clinic in Lavumisa, Swaziland.” “You oppose land mines? Go clear them from the Korean DMZ.”...“Support jobless benefits? Become a clerk at an unemployment office.”

Alas, the argument only swings one way. A few radical antiwar groups, including Code Pink and Veterans for Peace, have released a statement supporting the Iraqi insurgency. But no one is badgering its members about whether they are going to go set off roadside bombs in Baquba. Jihad is so easy when it’s someone else’s son or daughter doing all the suicide bombing!

The chicken-hawk argument is, of course, made in bad faith. If anyone should be — and usually has been — in favor of rigorous civilian control of the military, it is the left. Since when do liberals favor government on the model of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany, with the military running amok since civilians don’t have the standing to direct it? Maybe Harry Truman was wrong to fire Douglas MacArthur after all. Maybe no one should have contradicted Curtis LeMay when he offered to bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age.

The Iraq war was arrived at through the democratic deliberation of the American public, who — this is how it works — get to decide all sort of questions, even if they are not experts or don’t have personal experience with whatever is at issue. The anti-war movement would have a better chance of convincing the public of its position if it weren’t so fond of arguments that are juvenile, opportunistic and irrelevant.

The Parallels Are Uncanny

Succinct letter to the editor in response to this WSJ article:

No Vietnam Quagmire.
Art Fougner - Flushing, N.Y.

Iraq is just like Vietnam except: We occupy Hanoi. We've captured Ho Chi Minh. The North Vietnamese have just held a free and democratic election. The North Vietnamese are working on a new constitution. Yes, Iraq is just like Vietnam.

A Litany Against The Complainers

Nice job by David Limbaugh.


Do you not detect their palpable air of triumph at the apparent success of their endless carping? They seem determined to persist and even ratchet up their rhetoric until George Bush is finally bludgeoned into submission and, with his dying political breath, grudgingly issues the order to withdraw every last soldier from Iraq before resigning in shame.

They rise in indignation at any criticism of their criticism, and especially at the suggestion that they are not exhibiting characteristics, shall we say, of the model patriot. How dare anyone imply they are anything but super-patriots?

Super-patriots, after all, are those who prove their love for America by wrapping themselves in the First Amendment as they tear down this nation, its troops and their commander in chief in the middle of a war.

How dare anyone accuse them of undermining the troops? Oh, sorry, I must have misunderstood when I heard their venerated representatives and read their hate-gorged websites likening the Gitmo detention camp to the Soviet Gulag and attempting to show that the relatively isolated incidents there and at Abu Ghraib were widespread.

I must be misperceiving their efforts to establish a moral equivalence between our side and the terrorists, between our occasional and unauthorized harassment of terrorist detainees and the terrorists' suicide bombings and beheadings of innocent civilians.

I must be misinterpreting their knee-jerk sympathy for the anti-American criticism of the European Left and their condemnation of President Bush instead of the European pacifists for failing to make our action against Iraq more of a "multilateral" enterprise.

I must have been wrong in thinking I'd noticed an extra spring in their step when they "discovered" that the Iraqi people consider us "occupiers" rather than "liberators."

I must have misapprehended their ultra-shock and disappointment that the Iraqi elections went so well. Likewise, I must have misread their transparent incredulity at our soldiers' robust expressions of high morale when being interviewed.

I must be in error in assuming the Left is serious when it portrays our volunteer soldiers as having been conscripted in some draconian draft and dragged to their deaths in Iraq.

I must be misconstruing their mantra that Cindy Sheehan has "absolute moral authority," for example, to call the murderous freedom-saboteurs in Iraq "freedom fighters."

I must be hallucinating when I hear them comparing Iraq with Vietnam, when the only reasonable comparison is that in both wars the work of relentless antiwar protestors has been our enemies' best (probably only) chance of defeating us.

[more follows]

Big Surprise: Army's Advertising Fails To Inspire A Liberal

My friend Matt has a good post in which he takes a Slate writer to task for his critique of some military recruitment ads.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Excellent American Thinker article.


And “superstition” is not an inappropriate word for the more vituperative opponents of ID. The fact is that, separate from the scientific theory of evolution but mixed in with it in many people’s minds, there exists a philosophy (or what might even be considered a religion), which I shall call “evoluticism”, which preaches that some mysterious force, either inherent in or external to the laws of nature, is continually pushing things onward and upward toward a higher and more perfect humanity. In short, evoluticists believe in the Black Slab in Kubrick’s movie 2001 A Space Odyssey. This philosophical extension of evolutionary concepts is the basis of virtually all 20th century liberal philosophy and social thinking—and therefore, at least subconsciously, a part of the mindset of many contemporary scientists and journalists.

Therefore, as noted physicist H. L. Lipson once put it, when you attack evolution, you attack their religion. They are therefore inclined to be hostile to any other religion. I remember, fifty years go in a Caltech seminar room, hearing a distinguished geochemist dismiss the big bang hypothesis as “Catholic”.


In contrast, the concept of the spontaneous origin of the first cell is on very shaky ground. You must start by making a quasi-primordial soup, rich in amino acids and other building blocks of life, as Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did in the 1950’s. Then you must somehow stir it and shake it until the components spontaneously assemble to form long chains of DNA, RNA, proteins, and numerous other macromolecules—with all of the multi-thousand amino acid sequences exactly right and mutually compatible. Then you must continue stirring until the macromolecules sort themselves out into the proper groups and somehow surround themselves with membranes, with just the right sort of ion transport properties, to form organelles such as a nucleus, lysosomes, ribosomes, mitochondria, and all the other cellular components. Then you must keep stirring until all these organelles pack themselves into a cell membrane, with just the right composition of fluid in it. You have only a few billion years to shake up all these dice and have them all come up right at the same place and time.. Ready, set, go, and good luck—but I don’t think you’re going to succeed. However, if you think this scenario is scientifically plausible, then sit down and start calculating probabilities.

Alternatively, you might argue that some much simpler subcellular form of life might have preceded cells and that such “protolife” is not evident now because it would have been too fragile to survive fossilization. (Viruses don’t count since they need cellular organisms to reproduce.) I find this idea implausible because of the large number of chemical processes that must occur to maintain any form of self-sustaining life, but yes, you can argue thus. Then, go back to your laboratory and do some Miller-Urey experiments and make some protolife to show us—or at least simulate it on a computer.

In either case, according to the rules by which the game of science is played, it’s up to you to prove your assertion. Until you do so, the Intelligent Design hypothesis is a valid alternative.

But such logical and impartial responses to ID are unlikely to happen. Since the dogma of evoluticism is at the root of all liberal thinking, and since it depends on spontaneous evolution, that theory is sacred and any opposing concept is heresy and must be peremptorily silenced.. So we now have the paradox of religionists being scientific and scientists being dogmatic. We can only hope, with Pope John Paul II, that

"science can purify religion from error and superstition [and] religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes

Thinking Outside The Cracker Box

This is an interesting way to look at things.


Peter Schiff on the Kitco site tackles some myths about home equity. "Yesterday on CNBC my bullish opponent in a debate rebutted my argument that Americans saved too little by claiming that the methodology used to calculate savings was flawed as it omits the accumulation of home equity. This foolish argument, which amounts to nothing more than Wall Street’s attempt to rationalize away a chronic problem, reveals a complete lack of understanding of the concept of savings, and the important role that savings plays in a free market economy."

"Savings represent foregone consumption deferred to a future date. It amounts to a personal sacrifice, the deliberate postponement of immediate gratification. The saver makes his savings available to finance capital investment, which ultimately leads to increased productivity and rising standards of living."

"While it is true that home equity may be an asset to an individual homeowner, its existence in no way adds to society‘s stock of savings. Home equity does not require the homeowner to forgo anything [This is obvious for the case of appreciation, I'll have to think about it for the case of simply paying the principal on the mortgage: Let's see, the house was bought by borrowing someone else's savings, savings that could have financed the creation of productive assets, which a house is not. So merely paying back those savings simply gets everyone back to zero. The homeowner forewent nothing when he was handed the windfall of a boatload of cash to buy the house, and his payments simply neutralize the windfall. The original building of the house did add to society's wealth; a useful house exists now where none did before . Its changing hands adds precisely nothing.--Matteo] Nor does it free up any resources to finance capital formation. In fact, the only way a homeowner can tap his equity is by accessing someone else’s savings. Not only does home equity not represent savings, its existence actually represents a potential claim on society’s legitimate supply of savings. To the extent that it is used to finance consumption, it actually crowds out savings which might otherwise have been used to finance capital formation."

Meta Ignorance

A new definition appears in this post over at Telic Thoughts:

Meta-Ignorance: when you ridicule an intellectual view for its ignorance, but as a side-effect, reveal your own ignorance of the mocked subject.

The definition was given in response to a ludicrous anti-ID animation linked in the post. Yesterday, I stumbled across a discussion in which I tried to point out (search for comments left by Matteo in the thread, toward the very bottom) that the participants were tilting at windmills and had no idea what they were actually arguing against.

Also take a look-see at this Telic Thoughts post examining ways that the ideological extremism of the Darwinists does harm to science.


The net effect of all this is a portrayal of science as a place where the religious minded better stay out or be mum about their beliefs. Now, of course, some will say that science is friendly to certain forms of religion. True, but as Phillip Johnson aptly put these are candy-assed forms. I would include in this category deism, process theology, and theistic evolution vis-à-vis Kenneth Miller, Van Til, etc. These forms are considered okay (except by Sam Harris) to the militants because they are basically harmless to their non-telic worldview.

Why does this portrayal of science as religion hating pose a significant threat? Because it will have a chilling effect on bright, young students who might consider science as a career but because of their religious beliefs may choose otherwise. It is already well known that interest in scientific careers at least in the U.S. is on a perilous decline. With over 80% of the U.S. population believing in God and only about 0.4% atheist and 13% non-religious, where are the future scientists going to come from? After seeing the religion hating portrayal these high profile individuals and events are offering, it wouldn’t be hard to sympathize with a bright young student who might have entertained going into science instead switching to technology, the humanities, or business.

Whether or not this militant characterization is true, what it says is that science is really a boys and girls club for militant atheists or candy-assed religionists and anyone who wants to join the club better not have strong religious convictions. It is a picture that if taken to heart by students coming up will eventually lead to a scientific arena that is monolithic, lacking a diversity of personality, temperament, and openness to new ideas. In short science will stagnate in the militant party line.

Context-Free Casualties

Rush Limbaugh read from part of this Power Line post today. Good stuff. Is the MSM a bunch of traitors or just a bunch of uneducated ignoramuses (or should it be ignorami)?


News reporting on the war consists almost entirely of itemizing casualties. Headlines say: "Two Marines killed by roadside bomb." Rarely do the accompanying stories--let alone the headlines that are all that most people read--explain where the Marines were going, or why; what strategic objective they and their comrades were pursuing, and how successful they were in achieving it; or how many terrorists were also killed. For Americans who do not seek out alternative news sources like this one, the war in Iraq is little but a succession of American casualties. The wonder is that so many Americans do, nevertheless, support it.

The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made, and often fail to put military operations into any kind of tactical or strategic perspective, they assiduously avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channelled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into bizarre ideologies and terrorism. Partly this omission is due to laziness or incomprehension, but I think it is mostly attributable to the fact that if the media acknowledged that reforming the Arab world, in order to drain the terrorist swamp, has always been the principal purpose of the Iraq war, it would take the sting out of their "No large stockpiles of WMDs!" theme.

One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?

How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism"--that dreaded word--in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died--never mind that the Japanese lost more than ten times that many--without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?

Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?

We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

Perennially Amusing

This is old, and I'm sure many of you have seen it via e-mail several times, but hey.

Last week when purchasing a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?

Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2005

Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producción es $80

Right Wing News also has this good satire today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chopra On ID

Deepak Chopra isn't exactly my "go to guy" on much of anything, but he has an excellent post about the Darwin/ID debate.

Oh, The Irony

A "science trumps religion" political cartoon is linked to here (you can click on the cartoon to see the bigger original). One of the commenters pointed out something very funny about this (funny if you know the players in the evo/ID debate):

# thegiffman Says:
August 23rd, 2005 at 9:05 pm

That looks like Darwin on the left and Dembski on the right…

Subtle Humor

I noticed this small bit in Taranto today:

What Did the Control Group Get?
"Study: Placebos Make People Feel Better"--headline, Associated Press, Aug. 24

Somehow that appeals to my engineer's sense of the absurd. It's pretty funny if you think about it a little.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Jewish Hollywood Republican Bears All

Excellent essay (and yes, the pun in my title is intentional).


For a considerable period of time, I kept my level of Jewish observance a secret. I did not wear my yarmulke to Hollywood meetings. I understood, on the deepest level, that wearing your religion on your sleeve would be professional suicide. I understood that though Hollywood professed to be “open and tolerant,” when it came to religion — any religion, except for something harmless and fashionable like new-age Buddhism — Hollywood was as open as, well, the KKK.


I’m a Republican. A heretofore secret Hollywood Republican. I know men and women who are heavy drug addicts and they have no problem finding employment in Hollywood. I know men and women who are gambling addicts and they work pretty regularly. There’s even a director who was arrested for child molestation and yet was hired by Disney — yes, Disney — to helm a picture, and people defended this decision by saying even child molesters have a right to work. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these people are on the correct side of the political spectrum. They are liberal democrats.

Me, I’m a Republican. A conservative Republican. I believe passionately in free market capitalism. I believe in the Second Amendment, i.e., the right to bear arms (I even own several guns and go to the shooting range with friends from shul several times a month). I despise communism and fascism, and I believe there is a special place in hell for Islamic totalitarians and their Western apologists — probably 99.9 percent of Hollywood people.


By the way, if ever you should get into a contract negotiation with any of these kind and gentle Democrats, you’ll be lucky to walk away with your undershirt. Talk about brutal. You have not experienced pain until your lawyer calls to inform you that your regular deal has been somewhat modified — meaning you’re about to get murdered financially by some star who just minutes ago was on TV cradling some starving African child.


Script #2. I have been hired to write a bio-pic about a very famous Republican talk-show host. A man who has revolutionized the radio format. I decide that I’m going to be up front with the studio executives.

“I’m not going to assassinate this man,” I explain. “If that’s what you want, get another writer.”

“No, no, we want you to do it because you have such a good feel for character. Just be honest.”

I’m a moron. I believe them.

I go off and write the script. I hand it in and walk into a firestorm of a meeting. I’ve been too gentle with the talk-show host, they say.

“How?” I ask.

“Well, look at what he’s done to this country,” an executive challenges.

“What, he has 25 million daily listeners who adore him. What’s he ever done except almost self-destruct on pain killers — which I portray in all its awful detail.”

“But he’s a hypocrite!”

“In what way?”

“Well, he talks about family values and look how many times he’s been divorced!”

Have they read the script? The script goes into why the man cannot make a true love match. He’s a sad man. He’s a lonely man.

I ask a really stupid question: “Have any of you ever listened to him?”

They gaze at me as if I’m last week’s trash.

Just as I suspected. Not one of them has ever listened to his show. They all agree he’s not worth listening to.


The sad truth is that behind the dashing and courageous Hollywood characters up on the screen sit a bunch of cowards. A group of craven men and women who have little love for this country and who have no idea that Islamic terrorists are working hard to bring down the foundations of civilization.

These Hollywood liberals spend their lives negotiating. They believe that when the time comes they will sit down with Osama bin Laden and cut a deal. Imagine how surprised they’ll be when the cold blade hits their necks. Imagine their shock when they realize there is no negotiating with barbarians; that Osama makes no distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, between observant Jew and Buddhist chanting Jew. I hope it never comes to that, but imagine such a story line.

Actually, it would make a pretty good movie. I should try and pitch it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money, Pigs Get Slaughtered

Pretty good column about the current risks of real estate speculation.


Home sales run about 9 million a year (this includes housing starts of 2 million and existing home sales of 7 million). If over 20 percent of homes purchased are investor properties, it appears that practically all new housing starts in America are accounted for by speculative buying. If second home buyers are added into the equation, speculative and investment buying of real estate (not owning to live in) actually exceeds total housing starts!

There are problems associated with owning second homes and investor properties. Unless these properties are rented out, they yield no cash income and become cash vampires, sucking the owner dry because of escalating taxes, maintenance, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and higher floating-rate mortgage payments.

Let's look at the economics of a "poster property" in San Diego called Park Place. The New York Times reported recently that a one bedroom condo is being offered for $719,000. A prospective buyer would expect to pay about $3,775 a month for a mortgage, plus maintenance fees, taxes and insurance. These additional costs can bring the monthly out-of -pocket total to well over $5,000 a month, or $60,000 a year. However, a renter, who would benefit from the same granite countertops, hardwood floors and fantastic views, can rent a nearly identical unit for only $2,400 a month, or $28,800 a year. At these price levels, the speculator who bought in could run an annual negative cash flow of close to $31,000 if they were forced to rent because no buyers could be found.

Today's inexperienced housing investors may not realize that the hard costs (tax, insurance and maintenance) along with the soft costs (revenue lost due to vacancy, and property management services so you don't have to become the landlord) can easily eat up over 30 percent of rental income before even making the mortgage payment.

In looking at some cities with major price appreciation (New York, Boston, San Diego, Miami, to name a few), in today's world it just doesn't seem possible to buy a house or condo and expect to make an economic return renting it out! Nationwide, there are over 3.8 million vacant units available for rent. In some communities, the over-supply of rental units on the market has pushed the average rent down as much as 20 percent. There remains a surplus of rental units.

First quarter 2005 statistics indicate, nationwide, there are 440,000 new homes for sale and 2,400,000 used homes for sale. By recent historical standards, these numbers account for a 4-month supply and do not look worrisome. However, given what is really going on, this is about as safe as saying "if you see ice on a pond, it must be safe to walk on". The latest HUD statistics show that of the 107,775,000 occupied housing units, 74,488,000 - or over 69 percent - are owned (not rented). This level of home ownership is at an all time record high. In achieving this record home ownership, the following has occurred: Sub-prime buyers now account for more than 10 percent; Another 10 percent can only buy with a "negative amortization mortgage" (very popular in California where 40 percent of mortgages are negative amortization); Up to two-thirds of mortgages are Interest Only ("IO") or Adjustable Rate ("ARM"); Second homes now account for 8 percent of mortgages; and, 38 percent of homes this year have been purchased with less than 5 percent down (if this doesn't reflect scrapping the bottom of the barrel for homeowners, nothing ever would). Yet, household earnings haven't kept up!

If housing speculators stop buying, who's left to buy? The average American with a job has already bought. America has been creating new homes faster than new jobs, and it has been the home speculator, and second home investor, holding up the market for at least the past year.

Well, you know, the Dot-Com thing was so long ago, and people can't be expected to take away lessons from such an ancient event...

Sheehan Is The Last Straw For Liberal Blogger

This is good. Via Taranto.


I actually felt myself become a republican today. It was around 10am, when I read the latest update of the Cindy Sheehan saga in I then shot over to read some blogs about it, and perused the comments in some of them, which was nothing but a long series of petty (albeit entertaining) partisan bickering.

Then it happend. The good little democrat in me tied the little noose around his neck and jumped off the stool. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

Take what? The whining. The constant whining by the extreme left about the reasons for war, the incompetence of this administration, and how we’ve all been lied to, and how we should pull out of Iraq immediately, because, *gulp* our soldiers were in danger.

Guess what folks….they signed up to join the Army, not the boy scouts. Anytime your orientation to a new job involves an automatic weapon, you should be smart enough to figure out there’s danger involved. I actually read some people’s comments about many of the soldiers over there being naive….they weren’t expecting to go to war, so, they should be allowed to go home. Wow.

Soldiers know, when they enlist, that it is entirely possible they will be shipped out and never come home. It’s part of the job. The fact that people still walk in to recruiters’ offices and sign that piece of paper make them heroes. To imply that they are simple kids who didn’t know what they were getting into, or even worse, that they died for no reason, or an immoral reason, does a horrible thing. It strips their sacrifice of the honor that it deserves. Even though those folks sitting out there in the Texas fields claim to honor and support the soldiers, they obviously have been blinded by their own selfishness as to the real way to support them.

Because, long story short, we can’t end this war now. That would send the message that those bastardly little terrorists have won...

[more good stuff follows]

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Good Point

From Ace:

There is no heroism in losing a child to a car accident. Nor of losing a child to a war with which one strenously disagrees. As there is no voluntary decision to accept the loss, there is no heroism, whether physical, martial, or moral.

There may be heroism that comes after such an involuntary loss, as John Walsh displayed after losing his son to murder, and dedicating his life to getting fugitives identified and captured and locked up for a long, long time.

By the left's political lights, Cindy Sheehan may be exhibiting "sacrifice" and even "heroism" after having lost her son... but she did not display sacrifice nor heroism in losing her son originally. Neither did John Walsh.

Personally, I'm not sure what she's currently "sacrificing." I've always wanted to be a Media Darling myself, and I don't see how becoming one is all that strenuous or heroic an act.

She's being made fun of? Criticized? Having her motives questioned? Well, by that definition, George Bush must be a g*dd*mned hero himself.

Absolut Coulter

Ann Coulter opines about Cindy Sheehan.


Fortunately, the Constitution vests authority to make foreign policy with the president of the United States, not with this week's sad story. But liberals think that since they have been able to produce a grieving mother, the commander in chief should step aside and let Cindy Sheehan make foreign policy for the nation. As Maureen Dowd said, it's "inhumane" for Bush not "to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

I'm not sure what "moral authority" is supposed to mean in that sentence, but if it has anything to do with Cindy Sheehan dictating America's foreign policy, then no, it is not "absolute." It's not even conditional, provisional, fleeting, theoretical or ephemeral.

The logical, intellectual and ethical shortcomings of such a statement are staggering. If one dead son means no one can win an argument with you, how about two dead sons? What if the person arguing with you is a mother who also lost a son in Iraq and she's pro-war? Do we decide the winner with a coin toss? Or do we see if there's a woman out there who lost two children in Iraq and see what she thinks about the war?

Dowd's "absolute" moral authority column demonstrates, once again, what can happen when liberals start tossing around terms they don't understand like "absolute" and "moral." It seems that the inspiration for Dowd's column was also absolute. On the rocks.


On the bright side, Sheehan shows us what Democrats would say if they thought they were immunized from disagreement. Sheehan has called President Bush "that filth-spewer and warmonger." She says "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started" and "the killing has gone on unabated for over 200 years." She calls the U.S. government a "morally repugnant system" and says, "This country is not worth dying for." I have a feeling every time this gal opens her trap, Michael Moore gets a residuals check.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


From this financial article, which it is not necessary to read:

For our own part, we do not particularly care when or how we meet our end. We just wish to know where, so we can avoid the place.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Obvious, Well-Stated

By Ace Of Spades:

Question: If we are to credit Cindy Sheehan's opinions on war simply because she lost a son and now wishes an end to war...

...should we also listen to those who lost husbands and wives in the 9/11 attack and whose emotion-driven response was to wish for nuclear strikes on major Muslim cities and holy sites?

Just curious. Because there's a lot of strong emotion on both sides of this. I wonder -- I wonder so much -- why the LMSM is only willing to publicize the Give Peace a Chance sort of emotionalism.

Criticizing Cindy Sheehan-- The New "Hate Speech"!!!
Talk about chilling my right to dissent. Protein Wisdom notes that the left is attempting (rather unsuccessfully, as the title of my post suggests) to place any sort of criticism of Cindy "Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready For My Close Up" Sheehan as beyond the pale.

After all, she lost someone in the War on Terror.

I guess that means that Ted Olson, who lost a wife in the sneak attack that began the hot phase of the War on Terror, should be empowered to call for carpet bombings of Muslim cities if it strikes his fancy... and no criticism of his decisions will be countenanced.

Sounds Wretched

Depressing review of a the cable series "Over There" about the Iraq War. It's a quagmire. We're incompetent. We're evil. We're going to lose.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

So, When Arguing Before Congress Or A School Board, Science Doesn't Imply Atheism, Otherwise, It Does?

Interesting round-up of quotes here. Among these is this gem from Richard Dawkins, uber Darwinist, staunch atheist, and hater of religion:

In any case, the belief that religion and science occupy separate magisteria is dishonest. It founders on the undeniable fact that religions still make claims about the world that on analysis turn out to be scientific claims….The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticates and children. Every one of these miracles amounts to a violation of the normal running of the natural world. Theologians should make a choice. You can claim your own magisterium, separate from science’s but still deserving of respect. But in that case, you must renounce miracles. Or you can keep your Lourdes and your miracles and enjoy their huge recruiting potential among the uneducated. But then you must kiss goodbye to separate magisteria and your high-minded aspiration to converge with science. – Richard Dawkins, Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University

How dense. Of course these amount to a violation of the normal running of the natural world. That's why they are miracles. So theologians should renounce them why? A complete non-sequitor.

Dawkins position seems to be this:

1. The existence of God implies miracles.
2. Miracles go against the normal running of the natural world.
3. Nothing whatsoever can go against the normal running of the natural world.
4. Therefore there are no miracles.
5. Therefore there is no God.
6. Therefore religions are false.
7. Therefore the religious are morons.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think point 3 up there needs more clarification and support. What form could this take?

1. God doesn't exist (as proven by the above argument points 1-5).
2. Therefore only the natural world does.
3. Since only the natural world exists, the only things that can happen are consistent with the normal running of the natural world.
4. So, nothing whatsoever can go against the normal running of the natural world.

Case closed. A perfect circular argument.

Or maybe I'm being too cruel. Maybe the support for point 3 is this:

1. The only things that can happen in this world must be repeatable by experiment.
2. Miracles are not repeatable by experiment.
3. Therefore miracles don't happen.

But, now point 1 above needs more support. Last I checked, no Nobel prizes were ever handed out to anyone for establishing this scientifically. It's a pretty important principle. You'd think there'd be a proof for it somewhere, but I've never seen one.

Now the funny thing is, there is no scientific way to establish the impossibility of miracles, despite the non sequitor bullying of such as Richard Dawkins. However, there are pretty decent historical and courtroom-style arguments out there for believing that miracles have actually occurred (i.e. the Resurrection). If there weren't, I wouldn't be a Catholic. Generally, staunch atheistic Darwinists are unwilling to seriously address these, because they already know that God doesn't exist. I don't know how they know that, but they just seem to. They are a lot smarter than I am. That's probably it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


From Wittingshire:

Being Yourself

The same breath is blown into the flute, cornet, and bagpipe, but different music is produced according to the different instruments. In the same way the one Spirit works in us, God's children, but different results are produced, and God is glorified through them according to each one's temperament and personality (Sadhu Sundar Singh).

Following our own selfish desires--sinning--makes us, ironically, less ourselves; ask any doctor who, like my brother-in-law, works with addicts of various sorts. Their stories are all the same; the look in their eyes is always the same. By focusing on their own wants they have lost their individuality. They have lost themselves.

But if we die to ourselves, as Christ calls us to do, He does what we cannot and makes us more sharply and brightly ourselves, beautiful, distinct. With his help, we find our truest and best selves.

Worship Rules-Of-The-Road

By and large, we Catholics do not have to worry about such things, but Doug TenNapel has some etiquette tips for proper Spirit-filled Pentecostal worship. Let's be safe out there.


During worship, to make things look spooky, church culture says you must:
1. Slightly tilt head.
2. Gently close eyes...lift head a bit.
3. The hand goes up and the arm follows the hand.
4. Keep hand open, fingers lightly held together.
5. Tilt at wrist so that hand matches angle of head.
6. Now comes the body...the body is sewn to the arm which is sewn to the supernaturally lifted hand.
7. Once standing, gently drift side to side as if in a spirit-induced trance.

8. NEVER STAND FIRST. If you make this move and you're the only one, you will either look like the holiest one in the church or you'll look like a poser. Skip to step 11 for the bail out.

9. Start with just lifting the arm. If others follow with the arm, then it's a good sign to know that if you stand up so will others. If someone beats you to standing up then they have just stolen your limelight...they are the enemy and next time, beat them to the punch.

10. If the song is really hooky and rockin' you can probably ride the congregational emotion when the verse goes to chorus and just jump up. Others will usually jump up too and if they the spiritual man! If they don't follow, then...

11. You're screwed, you stood up first and now you need to find some way to sit back down. Grab your pocket like your nursery beeper is vibrating, or slowly reverse the steps that got you here as if the spirit sat you back down then caused you to drop your arm.
11a. You could double-down and cry while standing to show that you're standing because you're REALLY upset. Now everyone looking at you hating you is going to feel bad. You give them a hearty, "Screw you Philistine! I'm REALLY upset and that's why I'm carrying this burden alone!"

12. If you become one of those authorities in the church who can usually get others to stand when you stand then you might want to 'mind-jack' everyone and sit back down when the whole crowd is up. This tells them that something is wrong, and there is just as much spiritual clout to gain by correcting the gifts as there is in practicing them in the first place.

[more follows]

Another good TenNapel post here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Excellent Bob Dylan Quote

From this TenNapel post.

"I know a lot of y’all out there think y’all are rebels, but let me tell you something, you ain’t no rebel until you rebel against the devil." -Bob Dylan

Darwinism Has Nothing To Do With Atheism? Good. Take The Salamander Off Your Car, Then.

Excellent post over at Telic Thoughts.

Words of Wisdom

In all honesty, I haven't been attending to the news much since I got back from Oshkosh. So today is the first I've heard about the Cindy Sheehan deal. Via The Anchoress, this Varifrank post probably says about all that needs to be said.

Asking The Wrong Question

Nice piece on the Iraq war by John Hawkins, who notes:

[The question is] not, "Why would anyone think we can win in Iraq," it's, "Why would anyone think we could lose?"

Hollywood Finally Starts Making Some War On Terror Movies

Siding with the enemy, of course. For a depressing list of what's in the pipeline, here's yer article.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Faith Of Judges Not An Issue When They Simply Do Their Jobs

Good David Limbaugh column.


[T]he Left's loyalty isn't to the Constitution, but to certain policies that have been grafted into it by liberal activist judges who, in the process, have exhibited an abiding disrespect for the document.

If everyone shared the strict constructionists' judicial philosophy, concerns over how a judge's faith might influence his decisions would be moot, because strict constructionists don't make policy.

To demonstrate how this would play out in practice, strict constructionists, irrespective of their personal views on abortion, would conclude there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion and that the legality of abortion should be left to the states. Thus, strict constructionist Supreme Court justices, being effectively neutral on the policy of abortion, would not -- on the basis of a mythical constitutional privacy right -- vote to invalidate state laws that either legalized or outlawed abortion.

But it is axiomatic that those who don't play by the rules are always suspicious that the other side won't either. Since liberals have routinely exploited the judiciary to implement their policy agenda they fear conservative-oriented judges might do the same. Actually, they're horrified at the prospect that conservative judges might simply reverse precedent established through liberal activism, such as Roe.

Mario Cuomo gave voice to this liberal fear during the debate. Kmiec asserted that Pope John Paul II's admonition to public officials to work legislatively to limit abortion did not apply to judges, because they are not legislators. Cuomo vehemently disputed this, saying, "The law today, as we all know, is Roe against Wade. That was made by judges and it can be overturned by judges. To say that the [pope's] rules that apply to legislators shouldn't apply to judges is, it seems to me, wrong."

Quite a damning admission by Cuomo. That he so adamantly rejected the legislative-judicial distinction reveals that he fully embraces the idea that courts are a third policymaking branch.

Ironically, it is only nominees of the type Cuomo would prefer -- liberal activists -- whose faith or lack thereof, might influence their decisions on the bench, because they would not consider themselves strictly relegated to a law-interpreting function.

Of course, if you can't win elections, and judges are all ya got...

Monday, August 08, 2005

There Are No Heroes. What? It's Just A Blindfold.

The NYT has an article about the curious lack of heroes in the Iraq war. Ace of Spades wonders whether this might have something to do with the NYT. Ace has a good quip:

The NYT can't find any heroes in Iraq because it has decided, as editorial policy, that Iraq is an unheroic war. Talk about killing your parents and then whining to the judge that you're an orphan.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Little Engine That Could

Excellent ID article in the American Spectator. It starts thusly:

IMAGINE A NANOTECHNOLOGY MACHINE far beyond the state of the art: a microminiaturized rotary motor and propeller system that drives a tiny vessel through liquid. The engine and drive mechanism are composed of 40 parts, including a rotor, stator, driveshaft, bushings, universal joint, and flexible propeller. The engine is powered by a flow of ions, can rotate at up to 100,000 rpm (ten times faster than a NASCAR racing engine), and can reverse direction in a quarter of a rotation. The system comes with an automatic feedback control mechanism. The engine itself is about 1/100,000th of an inch wide -- far smaller than can be seen by the human eye.

Most of us would be pleasantly surprised to learn that some genius had designed such an engineering triumph. What might come as a greater surprise is that there is a dominant faction in the scientific community that is prepared to defend, at all costs, the assertion that this marvelous device could not possibly have been designed, must have been produced blindly by unintelligent material forces, and only gives the appearance -- we said appearance! -- of being designed.

As you may have guessed, these astonishingly complex, tiny, and efficient engines exist. Millions of them exist inside you, in fact. They are true rotary motors that drive the "bacterial flagellum," a whip-like propulsion device for certain bacteria, including the famous E. coli that lives in your digestive system.

Oddly enough, this intricate high-speed motor is at the center of a controversy that has been kindling in scientific circles for a decade, and is now igniting hot debate outside those circles. That's because, even more oddly, the implications of whether this little engine was designed are incalculably profound. They involve questions such as: What constitutes science? Did living things "just happen" by natural causes or were they designed by an intelligence? And what follows from those two competing alternatives -- in morality, education, culture, and science itself?

Update: See also this.

Bottom Line

From Ace of Spades:

You think Bush's war in Iraq is a good recruitment tool for young angry Muslim men willing to die for Allah?

Imagine the recruitment benefits of an American defeat in Iraq.

Immutable Science That Dare Not Be Questioned

A David Limbaugh column about Bush's statement re:the teaching of the ID/Darwinism controversy. Column contains these quotes from scientists:

"Our willingness," confessed Lewontin, "to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to understanding the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for the unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment to materialism. … materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door."


[T]he prestigious Russian biologist Vladimir L. Voeikov said, "The ideology and philosophy of neo-Darwinism, which is sold by its adepts as a scientific theoretical foundation of biology, seriously hampers the development of science and hides from students the field's real problems."

[Please, no comments from the Darwinist peanut gallery about quote mining. Heard it. A million times. Doesn't hold water with me. Bug someone else.]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

The Anchoress has an excellent post on Catholic sexual morality. If only more people understood and put it into practice!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Back From Oshkosh

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I'm now back from my epic small airplane journey to Oshkosh and back. Haven't looked at a stitch of news or a single blog for almost two weeks, so I have no idea whatsoever what's been going on. It'll take me a day or two to get back into the swing of things, so please bear with me...

Take a look at the photo above (click to zoom). I used the very shiny propeller spinner of a very shiny vintage airplane as a mirror. I'm the guy in the cowboy hat. Behind me is Adam, one of the owners of the plane we flew out there, and further in the distance to the right (wearing a blue-green shirt) is Py, the other owner. We had a heck of a time, fueling in Ogden, Utah, being stopped by thunderstorms in Casper, Wyoming, where we spent the night, then touring Mt. Rushmore by air and ground. After this it was into Oshkosh where we camped for 5 days, giving us weather including sultry humid and hot, violent torrential thunderstorms, and finally cool, clear, brilliant brisk weather which I expect from California in late October, not Wisconsin in July. The flight back had us refueling in Lincoln, Nebraska, and stopping for two nights in Boulder, Colorado. We rented a car and drove to the top of 14,110 foot Pike's peak. On Saturday we flew over the Rockies at 16,500 to Durango, Colorado. The next day it was on to Laughlin, Nevada; we didn't see much of the Grand Canyon on the way as we had to get an IFR clearance to fly through clouds and rain. At Laughlin we enjoyed Jet Skiing on the Colorado River, as well as plenty of Casino Buffet cuisine. Finally, it was over Death Valley and Mt. Whitney back to Tracy, CA and home!

I'll try to post a photo essay at some point...