Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

"I don't have an anger problem, I have an idiot problem." - Hank Hill

Zombie Dogs?!?!?

The straight scoop from the Jawa Report:

"Uh yes, you in the back" "Dr. Kochanek, is it true that you are secretly creating a race of zombie dogs fit for a Stephen King novel?" "Well, frankly, yes, son, that's exactly what we're doing here. We haven't discussed things with Mr. King yet, but we think the deal will work out. And if he doesn't want to pay us for book rights for this material, we will sic a pack of zombie dogs on him."

Stephen King was unavailable for comment due to being underneath a pack of zombie dogs.

John Walton, a true Renaissance man, has passed away

Yes, he was the world's 11th richest person, but that wasn't really what made John Walton special. The first time I ever met John Walton, he was wandering about in an office building looking for a meeting. He introduced himself simply as "John." I think I was probably in high school at the time. We spoke for a bit, and I gave him directions to the office he was looking for. Only later did I find out that "John" was John Walton. I never would've guessed it from his down-to-earth demeanor. To me, a rich guy was loud and outrageous, a guy like Richard Branson or Donald Trump. A guy who wanted you to know who he was and to know he was big stuff. A guy who wanted you to be impressed by him. In contrast, John Walton knew who he was and felt no need to prove anything to anybody. In that way, I think there may have been a little bit of Howard Roark in John Walton.

I've been a huge admirer of John's philanthropic work and was fortunate to know him casually for many years after that first chance meeting in Arkansas. Though we crossed paths periodically over those years, I'm learning there was so much I never knew of him. For example, I didn't know this:
John was a Green Beret, part of a unit code-named the Studies and Observations Group, or SOG (cover for "special operations group"), a secret, elite military unit whose operatives would be disavowed by the U.S. government if captured. SOG often conducted actions behind enemy lines and in Laos and Cambodia. John joined the unit in 1968, right after the Tet offensive. On almost every mission there was a firefight.
The rest of the article goes on to detail how John won the Silver Star for his valor. Wow. And here I thought he was larger-than-life even before I knew any of that. To me, John Walton was a hero and a giant because of what he was actively doing to help thousands of children, and for what he was working to do to help millions more. Further, unlike all-too-many philanthopists, John Walton was actually willing to take a hard look at how to solve the problems in our education system. It wasn't enough to John to throw some dollars around to make himself feel better or to get his name on something. John actually set out to effect real change, and that is all too rare. Throwing money at a problem is easy. Everybody likes you for it. Effecting real change is tough, and the vested interests in the status quo will do their best to make you pay a price for it. Throughout his life, John had the courage to go for it. The loss of John Walton is a heavy loss to our world, and God bless him for being who he was.

Michelle Malkin weighs in.

Milblogger Blackfive puts it about as well as it can be put:

John Walton was a billionaire. But he also followed his passions of building things - motorcycles, airplanes, etc. He built schools and spent millions and millions on educating children. He volunteered for Viet Nam. He could have been an Officer and probably gotten his choice of assignments, but, instead, he served as a Special Forces Medic taking care of his men - putting their lives ahead of his own. And he lived his life the best he could and died doing what he loved to do.

Now, that's a legacy.

Godspeed John

Amen, brother.

Other stories on John:


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Liberal Wing of Supreme Court Crushes Property Rights

The self-described “liberals” are in favor of taking working-class homes by force in order to give the land to Pfizer, while the conservatives express understandable outrage at this fiasco. The conservatives are working to help underprivileged black kids get scholarships for private school, while the liberals are fighting like hell to make sure that doesn’t happen. A conservative President nominates a Hispanic immigrant to a federal court, and the liberals quash his candidacy specifically because he is a “latino”. And the liberals are actually puzzled that fewer and fewer people decide to vote for them anymore?

I presume that there was a time when being a “liberal” would’ve meant, at a minimum, sticking up for poor black kids against the education cartel, standing up for the working-class family against the big corporation and helping an immigrant ascend to a federal judgeship, even if they weren’t in full agreement with all of his philosophies. That clearly isn’t what that word means these days.

So, what CAN we count on the liberals for these days? Oh, yeah…I forgot—they’re standing up for the rights of Islamic terrorists.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Communists, Go Home!!!

Props to Michelle Malkin for the link. Excerpt:

The first day of a historic U.S. visit by Vietnam's prime minister had a rocky start yesterday, as hundreds of noisy protesters lined the street outside his Seattle hotel and others heckled him at an afternoon news conference.

Chicago Tribune: The Unfinished War

Raises a very good question...

This much is certain: Suicide bombers will never rule Iraq. But when, many Americans want to know, will Iraqis rule and protect Iraq?

With that question heavy on his nation, President Bush is expected to speak often in the coming days about the future he envisions, both for Iraq and for the young Americans serving there.

Americans re-elected Bush because they trusted his judgment in difficult moments such as this. Yet the insurgents, by sustaining the bloodshed in Iraq and slowing the formation of the new government, haven't just murdered innocents. They also have shaken America's resolve. It is time for the president to step forward.

Bush is not one to quote himself. But he could do worse than explain again what he said in two moments last September, when the January election in Iraq was seriously in doubt. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he reminded skittish governments that, "Eventually there is no safety in looking away, seeking the quiet life by ignoring the struggles and oppression of others." Two days later, standing alongside interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Bush said: "The fundamental question is . . . this: Do we have the will to stay? Really, do we have the will to complete the mission?"

Richard "The Dick" Durbin's Hometown Paper Stomps Him

This isn't a Republican vs Democrat thing; it's about senior Democrats who are so over-invested in their hatred of a passing administration that they've signed on to the nuttiest slurs of the lunatic fringe. It would be heartening to think that Durbin will himself now be subjected to some serious torture. Not real torture, of course; I don't mean using Pol Pot techniques and playing the Celine Dion Christmas album really loud to him. But he should at least be made a little uncomfortable over what he's done -- in a time of war, make an inflammatory libel against his country's military that has no value whatsoever except to America's enemies. Shame on him, and shame on those fellow senators and Democrats who by their refusal to condemn him endorse his slander.

Was the Iraq War worth it?


Susan Estrich on Fox News Hype vs. Reality

As usual, Susan Estrich pulls no punches.

Surprising, though, how staunchly she's willing to defend the news network that Dean derides as the "propaganda machine for the Republican Party."

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More fun from Amnesty International...


Palpatine Calls on U.S. to Shut Down Gitmo

ATLANTA - Former President Carter on Tuesday called for the United States to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison to demonstrate its commitment to human

"The U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation ... because of reports concerning abuses of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo," Carter said after a two-day human rights conference at his Atlanta center.

Such reports have surfaced despite President Bush's "bold reminder that America is determined to promote freedom and democracy around the world," Carter said.

Am I the only person struck by this idea that the U.S. has some kind of burden to "demonstrate its commitment to human rights?" I submit to you American soldiers have amply demonstrated that committment time and time again. Nevertheless, perhaps Palpatine's right on this one. Perhaps we should send the Taliban back to Afghanistan and send the Baathists back to Iraq. Something tells me the folks there will know how to handle them properly.

Dean on Republicans

Yesterday, Dean explained his prior controversial remarks on Republicans:
The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same and they all look the same. It's pretty much a white, Christian party, and the Democrats have got everybody you can think of. . . . We have to be tough on the Republicans. The Republicans don't represent ordinary Americans and they don't have any understanding of what it is to have to go out and try to make ends meet.

In the same comments, Dean also explained that minority politicians never get elected within the Republican Party, likely managing to insult all of the elected minority Republicans.

Dean also explained that the Democrats had the advantage over Republicans because Democrats are open, friendly people (and presumably not the type to get caught up in prejudicial stereotyping of people who aren't exactly like them):
We're more welcoming to different folks because that's the kind of people we are.
In other words, Republicans, being the evil bigots that they are, shut out all the "different folks?" Dean previously explained that Republicans are "evil" and that he "hates" Republicans. So, the Democrats are open, friendly and welcoming to "different folks," just as long as those "different folks" aren't Republicans, or Christians, or something weird like that, in which case they're evil and hated. Got it.

At this point, I'm way beyond being insulted by Dean and wacko comments. At this point, he's more amusing than anything. Plus, I really believe he can't help himself. My question is, how long can Dean's fellow Democrats continue to align themselves with his shenanigans and still expect to be trusted to solve America's problems? It appears that Sens. Biden and Edwards already see the need to distance themselves from Dean. Who's next?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jose Maria Aznar: Ignore Europe

I think that's wonderful advice.

It's a shame he lost his reelection bid. We should bring him over here and elect/appoint him to something. Maybe he and Bolton could get something done over at the U.N.

NYT: A.C.L.U. Employee Resigns, Citing Concerns Over Document Shredding

I certainly hope we haven't gotten to the point where the mere fact that documents are shredded by an organization is proof of some wrongdoing.

Having said that, the A.C.L.U. claims to be an organization dedicated to openness and public disclosure of information. If the A.C.L.U. has become a document shredding mill a la Enron, that would certainly seem to be a cause for concern...

Monday, June 06, 2005

A beautiful tribute from Ford Motor Company...

Really great. I felt more emotion watching this brief ad than I did in the last ten movies I watched.

Makes you wonder why it is there are so many great ads and so few decent movies.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Joel Mowbray on Muslims Against Terror

Joel Mowbray delivers a scathing indictment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, two Muslim groups which claim to be moderate, and yet can't quite bring themselves to comdemn Islamic terrorism.

Friday, June 03, 2005

There may be hope for France...

If they listen to their enlightened countrymen at "Cherished Liberty." Babelfish does a pretty decent job of translating the site to English. Unfortunately, the road which leads from where most French are today to objective reality is long and difficult. Luckily for them, they have some intelligent people to show the way. The great tradition of de Tocqueville and Bastiat may not be dead, after all...

Your tax dollars at work...

Neal Boortz tells the story of Zach Richardson, a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. Richardson was invited to speak to the 6th grade class which had written him letters while he was serving in Iraq. When he arrived at the school, the principal overruled the teacher and promptly and unceremoniously UNinvited Sgt. Richardson, citing "regard for the safety and welfare of our children."

To a lefty, I'm sure the principal's bizarre explanation makes some sort of sense, as if Sgt. Richardson might reasonably be expected to whip out a live grenade or an M-16 and toss it to a 6th grader. To normal people, of course, the principal's explanation makes no sense at all. Lefties show up on the Sunday talk shows defending idiots like this and then wonder why normal people think lefties are completely out-of-touch. Some of us realize that this idiot principal will most certainly keep her job and will probably get a raise and/or award from the local school board and teachers' union for her amazing act of heroism.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tal-i-ban!! Get your fresh Taliban here!! Two-for-one special!! Tal-i-ban!!

And I thought cats were expensive...

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- They fed them well. The Pakistani tribesmen slaughtered a sheep in honor of their guests, Arabs and Chinese Muslims famished from fleeing U.S. bombing in the Afghan mountains. But their hosts had ulterior motives: to sell them to the Americans, said the men who are now prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000, the detainees testified during military tribunals, according to transcripts the U.S. government gave The Associated Press to comply with a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

My Army went to Afghanistan and all I got was this lousy Taliban...

Jawa Report: The Gulag Archipelego vs. Amnesty International's 'Gulags'

Outstanding piece on what a real gulag was, as compared to what Amnesty International apparently thinks a gulag is.

Michelle Malkin Asks: "What about Castro's Gulags?"

And I submit to you that's a darn good question.

Why tons of attention on America's prison on Cuba, and zero attention on the real gulags that exist in Cuba? Doesn't make much sense unless you realize how much water is carried for Fidel by the left in this country. And why would that be? Because Fidel Castro's Cuba is the left's last best hope for a real worker's paradise. Unfortunately for the American left, Russia collapsed and China morphed into what H.L. Mencken aptly described as a "bastardized version of capitalism."

Despite his horrendous human rights record, a long list of celebrities, including Jesse Jackson, Oliver Stone, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover are willing to stand up for Fidel against his critics. It was't that many years ago that Jesse Jackson addressed the University of Havana, shouting "Long live Fidel Castro! Long live Martin Luther King! Long live Che Guevara!" Oliver Stone recently described Fidel as "a very moral man" and "one of the earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult." Ted Turner describes Castro as "one hell of a guy." To Jack Nicholson, Fidel is "a genius." Naomi Campbell describes Castro as "a source of inspiration to the world." After visiting Cuba, Chevy Chase stated that "socialism works" and explained that "Cuba might prove that." Kevin Costner fawned that having the opportunity to meet with Castro was "an experience of a lifetime." The 2002 movie Fidel, starring Harry Belafonte, was so one-sided that even the New York Times described it as "an exercise not in biography but in hero worship."

Like many other Castro-worshipping celebrities, Spielberg has advocated lifting the American embargo against Cuba, explaining that he did not "see any reason for accepting old grudges being played out in the 21st century." For someone who's spent so much time and effort highlighting the abuses of the totalitarian Nazis, this seems to be a curious position. Spielberg is certainly a genius of a filmmaker, and I love his films, but I don't see how he can be disgusted by ruthless totalitarianism in the historical case, and apparently unfazed by what is going on right now to people who are still alive and rotting in Cuban prisons. If the Third Reich had survived the 1940s and succeeded in exterminating all the Jews in Europe, and that same regime was still rounding up and executing minorities today, would Spielberg be arguing for normalized relations and lamenting the nursing of "old grudges" against the Nazis? I doubt it, and I don't think he, or anyone else, should. But why the double standard when it comes to the Cuban Communists?

Nevertheless, there may be hope, even in Hollywood. Not every actor is a Castro syncophant. Andy Garcia, who's actually a refugee from Castro's Cuba, has been a lot more generous than I would be when it comes to the American media's pro-Castro bias. "Sometimes, you feel like what's really going down in Cuba is protected in a way by the American media, and it's a shame, because the truth needs to come out. People need to be aware of what's really going on down there" Gloria Estefan is another Cuban American who's not so enthralled with Castro's "worker's paradise", explaining that "[p]eople don't have a lot of information, and when they ask me about it, I tell them about the drama of exiles, the repression, the firing squads, the horror of communism."

There's plenty of information available on the web on the horrors of Cuban communism. As one small example, Babalu Blog features this touching picture this dangerous enemy of the Cuban state.

NYT: Anti-Muslim Bias Seen in Charges Against Man Linked to Al Qaeda

The tagline to this post is the exact headline to the story as published in the New York Times. I realize I'm one of those fringe flat-earth tinfoil hat-wearing wackos who believes the media is kinda biased, but doesn't that headline have at least a little bit of an agenda to it?

If you put out a headline like that, don't you have a burden to follow it up with a story that establishes: 1. The prosecutor(s) in the case suffer from an anti-muslim bias and 2. The prosecutor(s) is/are primarily motivated by that anti-muslim bias rather than the facts of the case. (Personally, I could care less if the prosecutor was as anti-muslim as the day is long, provided that the guys being charged really WERE terrorists. To think otherwise is to revive the OJ/Cochran logic all over again. Mark Fuhrman was a racist, so OJ got to go free. Perhaps the lawyers in this case should invoke the famous "wookiee defense"?!? May work!)

Although the headline doesn't explicitly state that the charges are groundless, it certainly infers it.

The article itself takes a decidedly sympathetic tone toward the accused terrorists, and quotes heavily from the defendant's lawyers and other Muslims:
The contention of Mr. Shah's lawyers that Muslims have been unfairly caught up in the government's hunt for terrorists has been echoed in recent days by many Muslims, who expressed a mixture of sadness and skepticism about the case, and described a general malaise in their community.
I'm not sure what the conclusion here is. If these men are guilty of that which they stand accused, am I supposed to nevertheless feel bad that these men were caught, since the arrests make them and their families, and some other people in their community, feel sad and/or uncomfortable? Am I expected to feel sympathy for this man who apparently brags that he could murder a little girl at the drop of a hat? I guess I don't get it...