Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wrong Again: Lance Armstrong has been absolved of the latest doping allegations. Retire in peace, my friend. You are so much better than these people.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

No Bull's Eye: Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich has tried to take a moderate approach to gun control, and now he's getting hammered by both sides.

He's a Republican in a Blue state. So he's more pro-gun than most of his constituents, but the Republicans who do live in the state expected him to do more for gun rights.

But when you're in a position like that, you have to do what's politically feasible. Whether or not he'd like to enact Texas-style gun laws, there's no way he could make it happen in that state. He's best working within the system he's given. It's a political decision.

Then again, I chose not to live in Maryland partly because of the insane gun restrictions. Virginia is more suitable to my beliefs. And that's really the problem. On some issues there is no "moderate" position. And trying to find one just makes you more enemies than friends.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American Idle: The Democrats hoped to capitalize on the Abramoff and DeLay scandals by highlighting the "culture of corruption" in the current GOP-led Congress. But then they lost their footing when several Democrats were caught in corruption scandals, culminating in the bribery of William Jefferson, who refuses to resign his seat.

How do the Republican leaders respond to this free gift from the Democrats? By criticizing the FBI for raiding Jefferson's office after he was caught in the bribery sting. House Speaker Dennis Hastert complained to President Bush that this violated the separation of powers by having the executive branch raid the legislative branch -- even though a third branch, the judiciary, approved the FBI search warrant ahead of time.

I guess nobody wants to win the mid-term elections this year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Video Hits: has a powerful video on how Al Qaeda is using the Internet for propaganda purposes, showing videos of attacks on U.S. and other coalition military targets. Be warned, the video shows actual footage of troops being attacked by roadside bombs. These are the images the terrorists are broadcasting to other Muslims to glorify their successes.

It seems the video-element of each attack is as critical as the attack itself. Without promotion of the death and destruction, the attacks lose value to the terrorists, because few people would know about them. Replaying an attack continuously makes the event more powerful. It inflicts fear in others and, I suppose, helps recruit other terrorists.

This is what our enemy is doing. Yet when the United States engages in wartime propaganda, our media ridicules us.

The Washington Post had previously published an article claiming that the U.S. military had exaggerated Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's role in Iraq in order to drive a wedge between Iraqis and this foreign-born Al Qaeda terrorist. The lead paragraph states this is meant to somehow tie the invasion of Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, but nothing else in the story supports that statement.

In reality, there's nothing to exaggerate. Zarqawi has led a deadly terrorist assault on Americans, Iraqis, and other coalition forces. He works with Osama Bin Laden, often communicating directly with him (usually crying for help). And the U.S. military has put a $25-million price on his head. No amount of propaganda could make the man seem worse than he is in real life.

Not only that, but Powerline notes that many Iraqis have grown tired of Zarqawi's troublemaking and have attacked his terrorist group and have provided information on terrorist activities. Nurturing Iraqi anger against someone who wishes them harm makes perfect sense.

The propaganda is aimed at Iraqis and others in the Middle East, not Americans. Yet American publications treat our propaganda like it is some sort of a scandal. It's not. It is perfectly legitimate. It has worked throughout history, and it can work again. Our enemies know this, why don't we?

Let's show some more of that Zarqawi blooper reel.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ready or Not: I saw the movie United 93 before I went on vacation. I also saw the A&E made-for-TV movie Flight 93 and read the book Among the Heroes. The movies were good, but I wasn't too impressed with the book. The films, especially United 93, didn't overdramatize or glorify anything. They simply stuck to the facts as best as possible, and filled in some gaps on the parts that were unknowable.

Now Oliver Stone plans to release his movie World Trade Center in August, depicting the true story of the rescue of two police officers from the rubble at Ground Zero. Unlike the other movies, this one seems to include the swelling music and overbearing special effects you expect from Hollywood treatments. But I'll reserve judgment until it comes out.

The big controversy, though, is whether it's "too soon" to make these movies. Hell, most of the real accounts of 9/11 were documented that day with television cameras. It's not like we need any visual interpretation of the events. We all know them by heart.

That said, I don't think it's possible to do anything "too soon" anymore. The world just moves faster than it ever has. Everything is on-demand and microwaved. Our attention spans have shrunk. So it's no surprise that nostalgia comes 10 times quicker than it used to.

The people who are bothered by these images will never be ready to watch these movies, right until the day they die. The rest of us want to be reminded about what this fight is about.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Return of the Donkeys: Democratic leaders are promising that they don't intend to impeach President Bush if they regain control of Congress.

Thank God for a smidgen of rational thought in this year's political debate. Despite the continuous rant from the extreme Left to impeach Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Tony Snow, political leaders are trying to appear sane. Instead, the Democrats are promising to conduct investigations into what the president is doing. And because congressional Republicans have been MIA in their role in checking and balancing the executive branch, that might be a good idea.

If nothing else, the Democrats have at least learned from 10 years ago that rabid, strike-first-blood calls for impeachment don't impress the American voters. Republicans set the political bar extremely low by impeaching Clinton on nothing charges. Despite previous Democrats' ludicrous accusations that Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time, manipulated WMD intelligence, and started a war for oil, the Democrats may finally learn that politically the best option is to take the high road.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Border's in Order: I have to admit that I really don't care about the big immigration debate. We're not going to be able to build a fence to keep everyone out. And all the manpower needed to protect the border will just cost too much to be worth anything.

Economically, the illegal immigrants do take jobs from Americans, pulling down some wages, especially for the poor. But they also drive down some costs, especially for items like food.

As for security, if any Al Qaeda member makes it to Mexico, there's no way we're going to keep him out. Let's just make sure we don't give any of them a student visa.

The situation between the U.S. and Mexico works fine the way it is. Lots of people will try to make it in looking for work. Some will succeed, some will have to succeed another day. But, overall, it doesn't concern me.

I just wonder how this became such a big issue. I'll give some credit to the Minutemen. Their cowboy antics brought a lot of media attention. Then politicians in Congress decided to make this an election issue. President Bush, whose guest-worker program is probably the best proposal on the table, got pulled into the vortex.

The only way to stem illegal immigration is to cut off the demand -- and that means cracking down on businesses that hire these workers. Since that will never happen under a Republican administration, nothing is going to happen, period. We'll just have to wait for the next big issue to take the place of this one.

Yellow Card: Iran's president, in a bold move, decided last month to allow women to watch soccer games in the upcoming World Cup tournament. The women would be segregated to a separate section, but they would be able to view the matches for the first time since 1979.

However, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, overruled the president's decision, claiming it is a violation of strict Islamic law to allow women to see men run around in short-shorts.

This is just depressing. Forget about educating women and providing them equal access under the law -- they can't even watch futbol. With all our hopes of liberalizing and democratizing the Middle East, we really have no idea how far we need to go.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

'Bout Time: The United Nations is sending peacekeepers to Dafur. Too bad there's no peace there to keep. Hopefully something can still be done. Show us how it's done, U.N.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Slacker: Man, I haven't blogged in a couple days. And now I'm going on vacation for a week. Oh well. Take care.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

White Jive: When I read this WSJ column yesterday, I was rolling my eyes after a couple paragraphs. Come this morning, I see that people are calling it brilliant.

In a nutshell, the column's main point is that we limit our use of military engagement against other countries because, well, we feel guilty about being white.

Now, conservatives aren't generally allowed to talk about race without someone calling them racist. So they tend to find creative ways to back into the conversation. However, this is one of the more perplexing ones.

The column notes that in World War II, we bombed the bejeezus out of Germany and Japan. Since then, we've been more tepid with our military might, choosing limited engagement. Vietnam and Iraq were third-world enemies, so we didn't feel the need to demolish them. But then we lost in Vietnam and spent much more time in Iraq than planned. So why the reluctance to smother them with smart bombs?

His answer is because liberals make us feel guilty for being white and powerful. That's quite a provocative and intriguing theory. Too bad it has nothing to do with reality. The truth is we're trying to limit civilian casualties.

World War II was the first war in history that combined superior air power with superior munitions. We turned Germany into rubble. But, because Germany was turning the rest of Europe into rubble, we had no choice.

After that came Korea and Vietnam. Not only did we want to avoid carpet-bombing civilians, we decided to limit our own casualties by sending fewer troops. Plus, these were third-world countries. So there really wasn't as much to bomb -- no industry to pulverize or neighborhoods to destroy to kill morale. Also with the advent of television coverage, people became less tolerant of what became known as collateral damage.

So while we could lay waste to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine if we wanted to -- even without nuclear weapons -- public opinion in and out of the United States would never stand for it. As a result, we're in for a long, hard slog.

That wasn't hard. However, such ideas are less provocative and would never get published in The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Yesterday's column is noteworthy more for its creativity than its description of reality. The power of human imagination never ceases to amaze me. Unfortunately, reality is usually more boring than that. And the news business is more about publishing incisive commentary than the truth.

Monday, May 01, 2006

No Problemo: I figured today would be the one day that the cashier at Wendy's would be sure to speak English. No such luck.

I ate lunch there today as my own test to see how widespread this immigrant boycott is. Normally nearly everyone working at this particular Wendy's is Hispanic. Today, about half were. The other half were African American. Still not a single paleface behind the counter.

So, it's true that we depend on immigrants to do our work day after day. And if they weren't here to do it, other Americans would gladly take the jobs.

And more workers means lower wages. But there are two ways of looking at that. The influx of immigrants are driving down some wages. However, they are also driving down some costs, making certain items -- like food -- more affordable.

I read something else today that puts much of this in perspective. The reproduction rate of the native population has slowed dramatically. The only reason this country's population is continuing to grow so fast is from the influx of immigrants.

And a nation's population needs to increase for its economy to grow. With the economy performing so well now, the immigrants might just have something to do with helping with that.

P.S. Apparently Blogger employs many illegals to run its Web service. It took me all day to post this, but I kept getting error messages. This calls for a federal crackdown.

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