Friday, February 27, 2004

The Third Rail

The Media Research Center outlines an MSNBC report on Social Security:
Inside this small, private elementary school in Manhattan, Mimi Basso came to work this morning thinking about retirement. She has no plans to retire, but these days, worries about getting back all the Social Security money she paid in.

Mimi Basso: “I am entitled to the money. It’s my money. I’ve saved it.”
Um, no you didn't, Mimi. The government took it. And they didn't save it either. They gave it away in foreign aid and welfare, built bridges with it and, of course, paid their own salaries with it. And if you die, Mimi, they get to keep it.
Basso conceded she lacks personal responsibility and seemingly didn’t save any money herself as she assumed others would pay for her: “The day I turned 16, I got a job. And every single paycheck has had a deduction for Social Security and for Medicare. For 34 years, I’ve been counting on this money to fund my retirement.”
Imagine if, instead of depending on a government entitlement, Mimi Basso had actually saved over 15% of her income every year, instead of having it taken from her. She could not only fund her own retirement, she could do something with the excess. Help a grandchild with college, donate to charity, go on a nice trip. This is the real shame of social security. It removes wealth from people and dependence on it condemns them to poverty.

John Kerry - Man of Vision

Saying George Bush has "no comprehensive strategy for victory in the war on terror," John Kerry laid out his vision today.
Kerry said he would protect chemical and nuclear facilities, increase security at ports and airports, restore federal funding for 100,000 police officers and add 100,000 firefighters across the country.
In other words, hunker down and pray. Setting aside for a moment how it would be possible to increase security at airports without strip-searching every passenger, Kerry's entire strategy for stopping terrorism revolves around homeland vigilence and surveillance. No mention is made of what 100,000 firefighters or police would do, other than clean up remains after an attack.

I think it is important to increase security in all these areas, and I love police and firemen, but terrorism needs to be fought where it originates, not in the cities and streets of America. And that is one concept the Democratic frontrunners refuse to acknowledge.

Further in the same article, opining on the death penalty for a child killer, Kerry said his instinct "is to want to strangle that person with my own hands." Ooh - tough guy. But once again demanding to occupy both sides of the issue, Kerry is against the death penalty (at least if he can't do it with his bare hands) only advocating it for terrorism cases. Yeah, the death penalty will put fear in the heart of a suicide bomber.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Blogs for Bush

I have added a "Blogs for Bush" banner that links to the official George W. Bush campaign blog. Why? Because this election may be the most important of my adult life. From a similar post over at Patio Pundit:

This election is all about jobs. None of us will have jobs if we're dead.

Update: I have changed the link to Blogs for Bush, which is not associated with the Bush campaign.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Jihad Watch

This was released yesterday, from Osama bin Laden's #2 man, Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahri:
"Bush, fortify your targets, tighten your defense, intensify your security measures," the voice warned, "because the fighting Islamic community - which sent you New York and Washington battalions - has decided to send you one battalion after the other, carrying death and seeking heaven."
With the release of this kind of threat, it is useful to keep in mind John Kerry's position on the matter:
"(Fighting terrorism is) primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world -- the very thing this administration is worst at."
I wish I could put both these quotes on a poster and mount one over each voting station in November.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Nader's Refrain

In announcing his candidacy on the "Meet the Press" Sunday, Ralph Nader used the word "corporate" or "corporation" a total of 21 times, a rate greater than once a minute, and universally in a negative manner.

It amazes me that, in 2004, such anti-business nonsense can be continually spouted ad nauseum without challenge. The fact is, millions of people work for corporations, millions more own corporate stock, and everyone in the country owes their standard of living to the successful practice of capitalism and business.

Nader's rhetoric has been tried in practice, and it created a society in which the people lived in abject poverty, oppressed by their government, with some of the most devastating environmental pollution known to man: the Soviet Union. It continues today in Cuba, and the continual stream of Cubans attempting to flee to America is testament to its failure. And it is Nader's vision for the future of America.

Ralph Nader apparently thinks that if we just apply Communism with him in charge this time it will work just fine. Such arrogance speaks volumes to both Nader's inflated ego and total self-delusion.

Meet the Press, Ahnold

Governor Scharzenegger was on "Meet the Press" yesterday. During his interview with roly-poly Tim Russert came this classic moment:
MR. RUSSERT: In your book, "Education of a Body Builder," you said something that caught my attention. "I was always honest about my weak points. ...I think it's the key to success in everything: be honest, know where you're weak, admit it." After 100 days as governor, what do you think your weakest point is in trying to be governor?

GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, I'm very happy that you studied so thoroughly my body-building books, and I can tell on your body that this is a whole different ball game now, Tim. I mean, look at your deltoids and your six-pack. It's amazing, so congratulations on that.
Russert took it in good humor, and I must admit to laughing out loud. Prior to that, naturally, we were treated to Russert doing what he does best: advocating tax increases:
"If they don't pass, those propositions, will you have to raise taxes?"

"You're going to have to make fundamental changes in the way California governs itself: either cut spending more or raise taxes."

"Wouldn't it be better to maintain programs for the poor and for the disabled, and for the blind, and for students, than refund $135 to Californians?"

"Pete Wilson, Republican, Ronald Reagan, Republican, when it came down to the crunch, raised taxes, fees, in order to make sure to balance the budget. You would do that if necessary."
The full transcript of the show is available here.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Military Trivia

Did you know that the Army has more boats than the Navy? It's okay, though. Because the Navy has more planes than the Air Force.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Middle East Watch

Remember the dire predictions that the "Arab Street" would rise up and explode with hatred for America if we dared touch the good Muslims in Afghanistan and then again before we liberated Iraq? What is the Arab Street saying? Here's a sample, as compiled by Thomas Friedman at the New York Times:
"Let us describe the situation of the Arabs, and especially of Iraq, had America listened to the European counsel that said: democracy is not suited to the Arabs, their culture is contrary to it. . . . See now how many countries are turning toward democracy. Even Afghanistan has a constitution. In Iraq [they are drafting] a new constitution and handing over the regime, and Libya has changed."
- Abd al-Hamid al-Ansari, the former dean of Qatar University's law school

"What we, as Arabs, should truly feel humiliated about are the prevailing political and social conditions in the Arab world — especially in Iraq — which allowed someone such as Saddam Hussein to . . . assume the presidency. We should feel humiliated that Saddam was able . . . to single-handedly initiate a number of catastrophic policies that transformed Iraq, relatively rich in natural, human and financial resources, into the poorest, most debt-ridden country in the Arab world, not to mention the hundreds of thousands killed and displaced. We should feel humiliated that some of our intellectuals, supposedly the representatives of our nations' consciences and the defenders of their liberty and dignity, not only dealt with Saddam, but also supported him. . . . The Arabs should have been the ones to bring down Saddam, in defense of their own dignity and their own true interests."
- Osama al-Ghazali Harb, Egyptian intellectual

"Iraqis are keen to take back control of their country, and many are acutely aware of the opportunity they now have to build a new and fairer society. There is once again a pride in being an Iraqi. It is this growing feeling of restored honor and the rising confidence of Iraqis which is now the target of the terrorists."
- Editorial, Saudi Arabia's Arab News
Friedman goes on to report that Syrians are forming human rights groups to demand reforms, and the Lebanese are reporting on corruption within the Palestinian Authority and demanding accountability. And John Kerry says he didn't expect Bush to "fuck it up" as badly as he did. The man is not only vulgar, he is blind as well, and undeserving of the Presidency.

Gay Marriage

What to make of this gay marriage issue? (I would say "debate," but no one is talking. Proponents are simply demanding it, and opponents are actually talking about amending the Constitution to stop it.)

What is the point of all this? Nobody is telling gays they can't live together in a committed relationship and call themselves married. In fact, everyone I know would appreciate it if they would do so, rather than hanging around bathouses and marching in parades with condoms on their heads. Are we really going through all this for the sake of inheritances and health insurance? And have the gays considered that legal marriage will also burden them with things like prenuptial agreements and bitter divorces?

I think part of the stridency from the activist gay community comes from frustration. People had stopped paying any attention to them, and they crave attention. Liberal activists garner attention by getting naked, or throwing blood on people, or torching car dealerships. Liberal gay activists do it by attacking societal norms.

Not content to love each other in private and live peaceful, productive lives, they "came out of the closet." When being "out" became no longer remarkable, they started shouting, "We're here!! We're queer!! Get used to it!!" So we dutifully got used to it. They then demanded that they be studied. So "Queer Theory" became an actual course of academic study, and they complained that they weren't properly represented on TV. So we got Ellen DeGeneras, Will and Grace, Queer as Folk, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Marriage is simply the latest vehicle to be used by a group of angry activists to flaunt convention and get themselves noticed. And once this one is behind us, there will be another one. And another one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

He's not really a bad guy. He's just a burglar.

Up at Syracuse University, officials are investigating a "blackface" incident that may turn out to be just a big misunderstanding. As reported in the Daily Orange Online:
"We were unable to find him at first," said Marlene Hall, director of Public Safety. She said that DPS officers received a second report and were then able to located the student and speak to him.

The student told officers that the face paint was camouflage - not blackface - and that he was actually on his way to rob a house, Hall said.
Think about that for a minute. A college student, faced with being charged with either wearing blackface or conspiring to commit burglary, chose BURGLARY! What kind of intellectual environment makes it worse to wear offensive makeup than to actually commit a crime? And beyond that, the Syracuse authorities sound relieved to have only to deal with a student attempting to commit burglary. Wow. University authorities find it more disagreeable to deal with an offensive student than with a criminal one. This is the road so-called "hate crimes" takes us down and it is strange indeed.

Hat Tip: Volokh

Rantel/O'Reilly Update

Rush Limbaugh must have watched The Factor last night, too. He just reiterated Rantel's position almost identically. In a slight modification, Rush asked "What if the mayor was giving away guns?" making Rantel's outstanding idea even more inflammatory.

Baseball News

The Wall Street Journal has a piece outlining how Alex Rodriguez came to be a Yankee:
If the Boston Red Sox hadn't been so brutally aggressive and then blinked when it came to paying Rodriguez about two million more per year; if the Yankees hadn't freed up some cash by messing up their negotiations with ace lefthander Andy Pettitte; if starting Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone hadn't foolishly torn up his knee by playing off-season basketball--if all this hadn't happened, then the Yankees would not now be fielding a team with the best shortstop in modern major league history.

Or perhaps we should say the best third baseman in modern major league history, which is what Rodriguez will soon be. Add one more fluke to the roster: The Boston Red Sox forgot to ask A-Rod if he would play third base.
How ironic that the highest profile deal since Babe Ruth involved both the Yankees and Red Sox, was lost by the Sox, and fell into the Yankees lap by pretty much by accident

Rantel on O'Reilly

Al Rantel from KABC radio in San Francisco was on The O'Reilly Factor last night, and he had an interesting take on the gay marriage issue.

Rantel, an openly gay man himself, is against gay marriage because, instead of "redefining marriage" as its proponents argue, the issue rather "undefines" marriage. Rantel's reasoning, and I am hard pressed to find fault, is that if the individuals are allowed to define marriage rather than the society, than it carries no societal definition whatsoever. Why can't a consenting adult marry his consenting adult child? Why not a man and three women? If two men are allowed to define their own relationship as a marriage, why not two men and two women?

Rantel went on to berate the mayor of San Francisco for ignoring California law in marrying these couples, and the media for celebrating it. He pointed out, I believe quite correctly, that if the mayor of Fresno had said, "We have a second amendment in this country, and I am going to issue a concealed weapon permit to anyone that applies," and people flocked from all over to receive one, there would be an outcry from the media about his violation of the rule of law.

It was a very thought provoking and well reasoned piece, and I look forward to hearing more from Rantel in the future.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Message Matters

I didn't agree with Bill Clinton on many issues, but at least he ran on a positive message and a vision for the future. Remember the "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" and the "Bridge to the 21st Century" themes? Sure, they were largely platitudes without substantial vision behind them, but they propelled Clinton to eight years in office.

George Bush in 2000 followed a similar tack, promising to bring "honor and integrity" back to the White House. Again, no real policy import, but at least a message of positive leadership.

Watching the news over the weekend, I was struck by the degree to which the Democrats are running a campaign while looking almost entirely in the rear view mirror. Charlie Rangle spent Sunday morning talking about George Bush's National Guard record of 30 years ago while extoling John Kerry's. When pressed futher, Rangle said the party was motivated by the stolen 2000 election.

John Kerry, meanwhile, seems to live exclusively in the early 1970's, traveling the country with his "band of brothers." And don't dare ask him why, upon returning from Vietnam, he accused the same vets he now hides behind of unspeakable atrocities and war crimes.

Where do the Democrats want to take the country in the future? That's murky water indeed. Besides raising taxes on "the rich" to incite class warfare and putting one-fifth of the US economy under exclusive federal control, there isn't much "there" there. I hope for our sake that either a) the Democrats find a positive message on which to run or b) they are soundly trounced in November. If running a campaign that has neither a positive message nor a forward vision becomes a recipe for success in 2004, the future looks bleak indeed.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Here We Go Again

News is breaking about an alleged affair between Democtatic frontrunner John Kerry and a young intern. Lets review exactly where we are:

  • John Kerry is pulling away from the field, and is a near shoe-in for the nomination.
  • Most of the so-called "moderate" Dems (Gephardt, Lieberman, Clark) have dropped out of the race.
  • A Kerry scandal stretching from now until the convention would leave him deeply wounded, with Dean, Edwards, Sharpton, and Kucinich still on board.
  • The four aforementioned candidates are too damaged, inexperienced, or downright looney to be elected to national office.
  • The only Democrat capable of commanding the national stage without benefit of a primary campaign is Hillary Clinton.
  • The story was "leaked" to a dozen reporters by Clinton confidante Wesley Clark.

  • Is it possible the Clintons have "set up" Kerry so that Hillary can take over his candidacy at the convention and "save" the Democrats from certain defeat? Will we end up with a Clinton-Edwards Democratic ticket? Certainly, Hillary would easily sew up all the liberal big city democrats, and the cheery Edwards would connect with more moderate southern and midwestern constituents. Just wondering.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    "I like to be prepared."

    Yahoo has a story about an intruder in California who got more than he expected.
    A 53-year-old woman who fired nine shots with two handguns to ward off an intruder said she tried to avoid hitting her furniture. "Priorities, right?" said Carolyn Lisle of Rancho Cordova.
    As the intruder fleed, he tried to steal a motorcycle from Lisle's neighbor, but they had heard the gunfire and armed themselves. At that point, the burglar fled, and the neighbor yelled after him "And that's just our womenfolk!"

    What a great story.

    Monday, February 09, 2004

    Al Qaeda in Iraq

    The New York Times reports on a memo written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian operative in Iraq. The memo laments the following "problems":

  • Extremists are failing to enlist support from the Iraqis.

  • The Americans have not been scared into leaving.

  • There are no mountainous regions in which to hide.

  • Further confirming the intellectual, moral, and religious bankruptcy of al Queda, the memo goes on to proffer the idea that by switching their attacks from the Americans to the Shiite majority, thereby inciting a religious civil war.
    "So the solution, and only God knows, is that we need to bring the Shia into the battle. It is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us. If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of Shiites."
    I can think of no better news from Iraq than this. The so-called insurgents are so desperate and frustrated that they are turning to fight amongst themselves. The memo goes on the descibe the frustration of the author:
    "The problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance. When the Americans withdraw, and they have already started doing that, they get replaced by these agents who are intimately linked to the people of this region. We can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like what has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation!"
    Let's hope this news receives more than a passing mention from the talking heads at the networks.

    Friday, February 06, 2004

    Zero Tolerance Blowback

    I was listening to the Mark Davis radio program this morning, and a caller made an interesting observation regarding the tragic abduction and murder of Carlie Brucia.

    The caller noted that the zero tolerance policy in schools for anything that might be construed as a weapon has created a situation in which a predator can confidently predict that each and every child walking home from school is essentially helpless.

    We will never know if this tragedy could have been averted if Carla had been carrying a little can of mace or a penknife to cut herself free. We do know, however, that thanks to zero tolerance policies the monster that killed her was confident that she would have no such opportunities.

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    Creative Cubans

    Remember back in July when those Cubans were caught trying to get to America in a converted 1951 truck? Well, they didn't make it and the INS sent them back to Cuba.

    The same guys have tried it again, and their vehicle of choice this month is a 1959 Buick! With this kind of creativity, persistence and ingenuity, these guys would be enormously successful Americans, and I say let 'em in.

    Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    Can California get any more absurd?

    A California Democrat assemblyman has introduced a Bill to incorporate feng shui into the building code.
    "Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California urges the California Building Standards Commission to adopt building standards that promote Feng Shui principles and publish these building standards in the California Building Standards Code"
    Come on, now! Since when does superstition get codified into law? And what about left's precious separation of church and state? Does that only apply to western religions?

    Tuesday, February 03, 2004

    Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

    ABC News, in a report on the annual gathering in Mecca, known as the "hajj" buries the following lovely nugget in the final two paragraphs:
    On Friday, a senior cleric called on God to grant victory to Muslims fighting around the world.

    "Oh God, give victory to the mujahedeen (holy warriors) everywhere," Sheik Saleh al-Taleb told 500,000 people in Mecca's Grand Mosque and nearby streets. "Give them victory in Palestine. Oh God, make the Muslims triumphant and destroy their enemies, and make this country and other Muslim countries safe. Oh God, inflict your wrath on the criminal Zionists."
    Meanwhile, over at MSNBC we learn that 251 people were crushed to death during a stampede. Only 14 suffered that fate last year, 35 in 2001, 180 in 1998, and 270 in 1994. Back in 1990, however, the Muslims really outdid themselves with 1426 trampled to death.

    One would think the rituals of a religion would be subject to some level of scrutiny and introspection by its adherents when so many fatalities are regularly attributed to its practice.

    I just clicked over to, and was treated to top-of-the-page story about the ricin contamination at the US Senate. There is a picture of officials in full isolation suits, working on the cleanup. A link is provided to the following "Fast Facts" about ricin:
  • It can be produced with ordinary kitchen equipment.
  • The deadly toxin can be inhaled, ingested, or injected.
  • If inhaled, ricin would produce symptoms within 8 hours, with death likely within 36 to 72 hours.
  • There is no treatment for inhaled exposure.

  • And there, incredibly, just below the Fast Facts, is this link: Video - How Ricin Is Made.

    Why doesn't Fox go ahead and post recipes for nerve agents and diagrams for atomic weapons as well?

    Monday, February 02, 2004

    Superbowl Halftime

    All the shock and outrage about Janet Jackson's exposed breast during the Superbowl halftime show is a little tiring. Sure it was intentional. Sure CBS and MTV knew it would happen. Sure it was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

    As for myself, I found Nelly's ongoing crotch grab and Kid Rock's American flag poncho far more controversial and offensive. Unfortunately, it seems Nelly's "attitude" about his privates and Kid's appropriation of the flag as clothing are no longer remarkable to the public. The debasement of our society continues unabated, and whoever decided to put MTV in charge of the show needs to be shown the door.

    Update: Sergeant Stryker chimes in with a military perspective:
    Terrorists didn't strike at this year's Super Bowl, though terror did strike viewers of the event as a "wardrobe malfunction" resulted in the accidental deployment of Janet Jackson's right breastisis during the Halftime Show. Officials are scrambling to contain the damage caused by the uncommanded mammary release, with many calling for an independent investigation into pre-Bowl intelligence declarations that Janet Jackson's wardrobe was "safe, secure and no threat to the television viewing audience."
    On a related note, a streaker got on the field at the end of halftime, and you can bet he will be charged with indecency and spent at least last night in jail. For some of us, he was the least indecent part of the show.


    Well, the article on is up, and I received two mentions and link. You can find it here, but you will have to watch an ad to read the whole thing.