Sunday, December 31, 2006

Obituaries of 2006

Mark Steyn has profiles of some of the luminaries we lost in 2006. Many of them are too obscure for me to appreciate, but they are all delivered as only Mark can. Here is an example:

Miss Stapleton didn’t make it to the grand old age of my old friend George Abbott, who died at the age of 107 while working on rewrites of The Pajama Game. Mister Abbott directed Miss Stapleton in a Broadway play a few decades back, when he was a whippersnapper in his 80s and she was half his age. A very vigorous fellow almost to the end of his life, he began an affair with his leading lady, and Miss Stapleton started regaling her girlfriends with rather more details than they wanted about octogenarian action. But she was insistent about his prowess in that particular department that at the end one of them responded: “Wow! Has he got an older brother?”

We should learn from China

If we are going to have a death penalty, this is the way it should be handled. Arrest them, try them, sentence them, give them an appeal, and then kill them if the appeal is upheld. Total time from start to finish is less than a year.

HARBIN -- A 33-year-old man who murdered six children after sexually assaulting them in northeast China was executed on Sunday.

Gong Runbo had been convicted at the Intermediate People's Court of Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang province, of rape and the murders of the six children aged nine to 16.

The court heard he lured the children off street and from Internet cafe to his rented apartment in Jiamusi from March 2005 to February 2006. He also lured and molested five others aged 12 and 13.

He was arrested on February 28, when a boy managed to escape from the apartment and called the police.

Gong was sentenced to death on July 13 and was ordered to pay 661,840 yuan (84,743 U.S. dollars) to the victims.

He had pleaded guilty and said he would not appeal.

The victims appealed to the court to seek compensation from the Internet cafe and apartment owners.

The Heilongjiang Provincial Higher People's Court rejected the appeals and upheld the verdict on December 20.

Obama on Abortion

It should be interesting to hear the gifted orator from Illinois explain why, in 2002, as an Illinois legislator, Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, which would have protected babies that survived late-term abortions. That same year a similar federal law, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, was signed by President Bush. Only 15 members of the U.S. House opposed it, and it passed the Senate unanimously on a voice vote.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Christmas Thought from Mark Steyn

"Nobody should be obliged to believe Jesus is the son of God, but likewise nobody should take such umbrage at trees and tinsel and instrumental versions of "Silent Night" that he would deny the reality of the land he lives in to the vast majority of his fellow citizens. Because the logic of that leads not to a diverse secular society but to an atomized ersatz non-society. And, as those other touchy types the Islamists well understand, once you put reality up for grabs, all kinds of pathologies suddenly become viable. "

That is not as warm and comforting a thought as one should have this season, but BestView wishes all who wander to these pages a very Merry Christmas.

Negotiations Anyone?

In a portion of the tape from Al qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available recently, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.

Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.

Al Qaeda evidently feels the Democrats are more likely to negotiate with them than the Republicans. He never asked Bush to negotiate. At the present time folks like John Kerry, Chris Dodd, and Bill Nelson are descending on Syria and Iran trying to impress us with the virtue of chats with despots. Even if you throw in a random RINO like Allen Specter, who is also heading to the mideast, it is hard to dispute the Zawahri analysis.

"Bush Official Shreds Documents"

This account is sad but true.

An analysis of President Bush

An anonymous reader offered the following analysis of President Bush in a comment to a blog in the Washington Times. Hard for me to find anything to argue with him about except being a bigger liar than Clinton. No es possible.

Wait Too Late Bush. I call President Bush the wait-too-late president because he eventually waits too late to be effective at anything but liberalism. He waited until the WMD was out of Iraq before going into Iraq. He waited too late to secure the Iraqi border. He waited too late to send enough troops into Iraq to bring the war to an earlier close and do the job properly. He waited too late to secure our southern border. He had six years in which to stop the flow of illegal aliens from crossing our southern border but did nothing. He waited too late to make necessary changes to save Republicans in the last election. The list goes on and on. He is the biggest conservative disappointment in history and is a bigger liar than Clinton because he lied to us conservatives about being at the least a friend of conservatives. President Bush is now more dispised by conservatives then was Bill Clinton. At least with Clinton we expected what we got.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Here is a very good opinion piece from the L.A. Times on racism which was authored by Shelby Steele, the author of "White Guilt". A sample is below.

"This does not mean that racist behavior today is somehow benign. It means that today racism swims upstream in an atmosphere of ferocious intolerance. Moreover, today's racism is no longer in concert with an overt and systematic subjugation of blacks. While racism continues to exist, it no longer stunts the lives of blacks.

Yet a belief in the ongoing power of racism is, today, an article of faith for "good" whites and "truth-telling" blacks. It is heresy for any white or black to say openly that, today, underdevelopment and broken families are vastly greater problems for blacks than racism, even though this is obviously true. The problem is that this truth blames the victim. It suggests that black progress will come more from black effort than from white goodwill — even though white oppression caused the underdevelopment in the first place.

In other words, this truth is unfair. And when whites or blacks utter it, they are instantly identified with the unfairness rather than with the truth.So propriety causes us to say that racism still explains black difficulty.

This explanation is also a source of power because it portrays blacks as victims. And wherever there are victims, there is justification for seeking power in their name. Thus the specter of black difficulty has been an enormous source of power for the left since the 1960s. To say racism is not the first cause of black problems is to put yourself at odds with the post-'60s left's most enduring fount of power."

Science to keep in mind

As you read the papers with regular stories of food contamination causing outbreaks of illness from such things as spinach, hamburgers, lettuce, etc., keep in mind one reason for much of this. Right now, the American Medical Association, the Centers of Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Association have all certified that a big reduction in food-borne illness could be realized by food irradiation. In this process, a fixed and controlled source of gamma rays are very briefly focused on the food and 99.99% of E. coli, for example are killed. There is absolutely no effect on the food itself or any person who later consumes the food. Now, for a quick quiz. Why don't we use this life-saving food preservation method more extensively. If you guessed the lies, misinformation campaign, and lobbying by liberal groups like Public Citizen with its President Jill Clayborn being aided by the liberal media, you get a gold star. They have bullied the FDA into a position where it now requires a label to state that consumption of the product is "risky". In fact, the opposite is true and non-irradiated food should be so labelled.
When an outbreak occurs like the recent on with Taco Bell as the source, the liberal media blames a collusion between industry and the government who should be increasing funds for inspections which the industry doesn't want. Nonsense.
Ironically, Mexico and other countries such as India and Thailand do irradiate food before exporting it to the U.S. So you could well be safer eating food from such otherwise backward countries than from the politically correct U.S.

Carbon Dioxide Facts and Figures

I was reading the other day that a group called Environmental Analysis and Remote Sensing Co. reported that if we scrap all the cars, SUVs, and trucks in America we could reduce greenhouse gasses by 2-3%. Of course, our economy would be brought to a halt and I would be hard-pressed to start riding a bicycle at my age.

According to this report, we could achieve this same reduction by simply putting out the open coal pit fires burning in the world--especially in China where 120 million tons of coal are consumed in uncontrolled fires each year. These fires emit not just carbon dioxide, which is not a pollutant, but many noxious gases, sulfur and soot. Left alone, these fires can burn for hundred or even thousands of years.

Armed with this information, you should now sit back and wait for idiots like Al Gore to suggest we put these fires out instead of wrecking our economy to make it comparable to the Europeans which these liberals admire so much. One action (putting out fires) would be desirable and the other (curtailing our economic activity) is not. Personally, I doubt we will see these liberal loonies stop jetting around the globe calling for the U.S. to adopt actions which lead us into economic oblivion.


While waiting in a line at the grocery the other day, I noticed a magazine with a cover story promising to list the 50 most annoying persons in 2006. I didn't look at the story and I have never really seen the TV program, but I am hearing enough about the principals on the show that I would be very disappointed if everyone on "The View" wasn't on the magazines list of 50.

Another Bush Failure

Most of the coverage you see about the recent report by the National Archives and Records Administration showing that Sandy Berger pilfered and hid documents from the archives under a construction trailer focuses on the mea culpa Berger offered that it was an "honest mistake" and that no real documents were removed---just copies. We may never know if that is the case since he admits to cutting them up with scissors and throwing them in the trash, but we do know he lied in his testimony about the incident.

My take is one which I have not seen. We all knew after 8 years that the Clinton administration was capable of misusing FBI files, losing documents required for court proceedings, and then lying about the events. Bush was expected to have different standards, at least by those of us who voted for him. This turned out not to be the case and the pitiful prosecution of Berger's case by the Bush Department of Justice is disgraceful. He should never have been allowed to plea bargain down to a misdemeanor with community service. At the same time, Bush is allowing Scooter Libby to be prosecuted about an account of a non-crime because his account of events differed from those of some reporters. This indicates to me that the Bush standards are no greater than those of Clinton and that is a shame.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sounds good to me

John McWhorter is one of my favorite intellectuals. He is like Thomas Sowell in that the liberal media mainly ignore him, but I ran across an article today in the New York Sun which everyone should read and seriously consider. Because it makes so much sense and would require us to dismantle something which is a sacred failure, it won't happen. So we will continue with the current sham of an education system.

What McWhorter suggests is that we stop universal education at the 10th grade and let the students pursue the rest of their lives in whatever way seems most appropriate. His supporting reasons are compelling to me and I would love to hear a debate in which the education establishment attempted to defend the current high schools.

Is this time different?

Here is a pretty good essay on war Presidents. The last paragraph is given below, but the whole thing is a worthy read.

Wars are often darkest just before the light. In our day, we must pray for military leadership committed to making Baghdad secure, and Iran and Syria quite afraid. Even conceived of in these limited terms, we need top generals committed, as in 1864, to victory. Many Americans will not believe it can be done. That’s the way it was in 1777, when historians estimate that as many as two-thirds of all Americans in New York and New Jersey had come to support the British. During the meandering carnage of 1863 and 1864, many Americans also gave up hope. Americans ought never to forget Abraham Lincoln’s dark year, just before the sun of victory surprisingly broke through. Contemplating the sacrifices that so many hundreds of thousands had made to keep the Union whole, Lincoln did not believe that the God who gave us liberty when he gave us life, could in the end disregard the sacrifices of so many. That is how Lincoln held on in 1864. As did Washington (and even Tom Paine) before him in the darkest days of winter 1777. Those prayers of Washington and Lincoln would not be bad for Christmas 2006, either.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I need more Bacteroidetes

There is an interesting article in Nature this month describing a study from Washington University in St. Louis that showed obese folks have a different microbial flora in the gut than leaner subjects. This was attributed to the fatter people having greater numbers of organisms in a family called Firmicutes. Evidently these organisms are more efficient in converting complex carbohydrates into sugars which are absorbed by the intestines and converted to fat. If your gut is blessed with greater numbers of Bacteroidetes, on the other hand, the carbohydrates are excreted to a greater extent and sugars which can be converted to fat are not as plentiful.
This suggests some attractive approaches to countering weight gain through manipulation of the gut flora. Surely that would be more fun than a diet and more exercise.

White Christmas

Go here to read a fascinating account of the classic "White Christmas" as could be told by only one favorite columnist. Here is a sample:

Some songs are hits - Number One for a couple of weeks. Some songs are standards - they endure decade after decade. And a few very rare songs reach way beyond either category, to embed themselves so deeply in the collective consciousness they become part of the soundtrack of society. They start off the same as all the other numbers - written for a show or a movie, a singer or an event - but they float free of the writer, they outlast the singer, transcend the movie, change the event. There were a couple of what we now think of as seasonal standards that predated Irving Berlin’s entry into the field, but neither became a pillar of the Xmas pop repertoire, because until “White Christmas” came along there was no such thing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Gay Pride March to Mecca

EMBARGO DATE: December 15, 2006, 4 PM.


Human Rights Watch,, ACT-UP, the Huffington Post and David Geffen are proud to present the March to Mecca, a celebration of peace that calls all gay brothers, sisters and people undergoing sex-reassignment to march to the holiest of holy cities, Mecca, the capital city of Saudi Arabia's Makkah province on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007.

I like to wander over to the other side now and then to see how things are going and in so doing ran into this on The Huffington Post.

Read the whole thing. It is amusing to contemplate.

Monday, December 18, 2006


From John Fund's Opinion Piece that argues Obama might not run:

"His record as a state legislator is even more liberal. In 1996, he spoke out against the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Senate approved 85-14 and Mr. Clinton signed into law. He twice voted "present" on a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. In 1999 he was the only state senator to oppose a law that prohibited early prison release for sex offenders.
" As Fund says, Hillary would love to run against that record.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Solid Science??

I always enjoy pointing out "studies" which appear in the press which can almost certainly be shown to be the result of faulty science. The latest is an article I read which can be summarized as follows:

"A study of thousands of men and women revealed that those who stick to a vegetarian diet have IQs that are around five points higher than those who regularly eat meat.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers say it isn't clear why veggies are brainier - but admit the fruit and veg-rich vegetarian diet could somehow boost brain power."

Even though this is almost certainly a bunch of hooey, I am still tempted to explore ways to get the information to certain people I know.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Intelligence Chairman not up on basics

Jeff Stein interviewed Congressman Sylvestre Reyes who will be the new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee since Speaker Pelosi passed over Jane Harmon and reluctantly decided against naming an impeached Judge Hastings. The following is a segment of that interview, but you can read the whole thing here.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Clinton bugs Diana

It says here that the Clinton CIA was bugging the phone of Princess Diana when Atta was planning 9/11 and now the dems are all upset that Bush is bugging real terrorists.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mark Steyn Analyzes the ISG

This is another great column from Mark Steyn. He focuses on just one of their recommendations, but he does it brilliantly. Read it all here.

"RECOMMENDATION 5: The Support Group should consist of Iraq and all the states bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria . . ."

Er, OK. I suppose that's what you famously hardheaded "realists" mean by realism. But wait, we're not done yet. For this "Support Group," we need the extra-large function room. Aside from Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait, the ISG -- the Iraq Surrender Gran'pas -- want also to invite:

". . . the key regional states, including Egypt and the Gulf States . . ."

Er, OK. So it's basically an Arab League meeting. Not a "Support Group" I'd want to look for support from, but each to his own. But wait, Secretary Baker's still warming up:

". . . the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council . . ."

That would be America, Britain, France, Russia, China. A diverse quintet, representing many distinctive approaches to international affairs from stylish hauteur to polonium-210. Anybody else?

". . . the European Union . . ."

Hey, why not? It's not really multilateral unless there's a Belgian on board, right? Oh, and let's not forget:

". . . the Support Group should call on the participation of the United Nations Secretary-General in its work. The United Nations Secretary-General should designate a Special Envoy as his representative . . ."

Oh, but lest you think there are no minimum admission criteria to James Baker's "Support Group," relax, it's a very restricted membership: Arabs, Persians, Chinese commies, French obstructionists, Russian assassination squads. But no Jews. Even though Israel is the only country to be required to make specific concessions -- return the Golan Heights, etc. Indeed, insofar as this document has any novelty value, it's in the Frankenstein-meets-the-Wolfman sense of a boffo convergence of hit franchises: a Vietnam bug-out, but with the Jews as the designated fall guys. Wow. That's what Hollywood would call "high concept."

More U.N. Lunacy

This might seem a big day for U.N. lunacy judging by the Title of BestView entries, but in fact every day could be filled with examples, I suspect. Now we have another guess with absolutely no more scientific basis than other global warming nonsense from this most worthless of institutions. Entire article here.

Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.

In a final draft of its fourth assessment report, to be published in February, the panel reports that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has accelerated in the past five years. It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

More U.N. Lunacy

This is the last one from Senator Coburn's web site. There is no reason to raise the blood pressure unduly, but this is just so outrageous that light must be shown on the extent of our unwise continued association with the U.N.

UNDP pays historian half a million to praise itself

In the meantime, UNDP condemns the US for not giving it millions more "for the poor"

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) paid $567,379 in 2004 for a historian to lavish praise upon itself in the form of a published book released this year entitled, UNDP: A Better Way? This included the following expenses:
  • $252,000 for the historian's 21-month salary
  • $87,639 for the "project coordinator's" salary
  • $91,559 for "research and editing"
  • $37,299 for travel
  • $26,752 for office space
  • $55,452 for purchasing mass quantities of its own book
Overlooking the fact that the U.N. must pay historians to praise itself, U.N. officials continue to criticize the U.S. for not giving more than the $108 million we give to the UNDP each year. This criticism towards the #1 U.N. donor seems odd at a time when U.N. management should be asking UNDP how many Guatemalan farmers could be trained to maximize crop yields, how many Burmese refugees could be taught to read and write, how many Sudanese survivors of genocide could be fed a meal, how many micro-loans could be administered in India for $567,379?

U.N. Kitchen Upgrade

The United Nations last week approved a $4.3 million plan for a super-luxe makeover to the Secretary General's New York apartment. The U.S. taxpayer, who covers 22% of all U.N. operating expenses, will be expected to donate $1 million towards this lush project.

Part of the plan is to spend $200,000 on a new kitchen alone. For $200,000, the U.N. could purchase 200,000 malaria pills to help save 200,000 kids suffering in Africa.

This and other examples of what happens to your money can be read daily on my favorite politician's web site nearly every day. Yes, it is Senator Coburn from Oklahoma.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Osama bin Laden Study Group

Scott Ott at Scrappleface announces a new study group being formed.

(2006-12-07) — Just a day after the Iraq Study Group released its report and dozens of recommendations to help the United States escape what it termed a “grave and deteriorating” situation, an unnamed al Qaeda spokesman announced the appointment of a similar panel by terror leader Usama bin Laden.

“Mr. bin Laden, peace be upon him, favors a transparent process of laying all of our military and diplomatic options on the table before the world,” said the source. “The civil war in Iraq hinders our efforts to establish Baghdad as the capital of our global Islamic Caliphate. Mr. bin Laden believes it’s not going well enough or fast enough, and he’s open to any good suggestions for finding a way out of Iraq,”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mr. bin Laden may terminate his stalwart second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and appoint a less controversial man who could garner broader support from the Muslim media and in public opinion polls.

However, an anonymous official at the White Cavern, Mr. bin Laden’s headquarters, provided The New York Times with a classified top-secret memo that indicates the al Qaeda leader is considering a “graceful exit” from Iraq, in order to avoid the political consequences of having the conflict drag on.

A Scientific Fork in the Road?

For several decades I taught medical students that the scientific basis of cancer chemotherapy was based on the concept that tumors were composed of cells which had been triggered to grow more rapidly and with different controls than normal cells. As a result our efforts to counter this proliferative abnormality had to be directed at discovering and targeting the slight alteration which allowed the differential growth rates of the tumor cells. Well, it turns out now that we should turn our attention to a different model. Recent evidence out of Canada suggests that it is stem cells which make cancers grow. This is based on the finding that tumor cells are quite diversified and some of them have very little proliferative potential and are thus unworthy targets of our chemotherapeutic agents currently in use. In fact, the evidence now is that when stem cells are removed the bulk of the tumor cells are not particularly nasty. So, if a tumor cell does not have the abnormal cell division potential, it poses very little threat. It turns out that in one study only 1 cell in 40,000 colon cancer tumor cells was responsible for all the growth in the tumor. Ergo, we need to change our thinking about cancer chemotherapeutic targeting.

I am struck by the way in which this could mesh with an observation by others that when we try to use embryonic stem cells to cure such things as diabetes in animal models, we almost always end up with cancers. This sad fact is no deterrent to the liberals who will not be content until we create embryos on a massive scale to pursue what now seems a dead-end in stem cell research as opposed to the use of adult stem cells which have been shown to be effective in 78 different medical conditions. This perhaps because the adult stem cells cause the proliferation of cells which are deficient in a given medical condition. Thus, nerve cell regeneration, pancreatic cells which make insulin, and other conditions are amenable to treatment with adult stem cells, but not with embryonic stem cells which have not yet differentiated.

Mark Steyn on the ISG

And the only specific strategic proposal is a linkage between Iraq and a “renewed and sustained commitment” to a “comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace” – which concedes the same ludicrous rationale that the Saudi King Abdullah and all the rest of them make: that one tiny ten-mile sliver of Jews is the reason why millions of Muslims from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Emirates are mired in dictatorships, failed economies and jihadist fever. For the Baker group to endorse this clapped out pan-Arabism is disgusting. An “Arab-Israeli peace”? What does that mean? What exactly is Israel doing to Iraq, or Tunisia, or Qatar, or any other Arabs except those in the “Palestinian territories”? To frame it in those terms is to adopt the pathologies of the enemy. Shame on Baker, Hamilton and all the rest.

Read it all here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Teachers don't understand written English

Teachers unions are supposed to promote the financial interests of, well, teachers--but not in Washington state. Here, the Washington Education Association is fighting some 4,000 nonmember teachers who don't want their paychecks raided each year and used for political activities that they don't believe in. "The right of free speech is being trampled" by the union political spending, complains Scott Carlson, a business teacher in Spokane. "And that's a right I hold very precious."

Too bad the unions don't. The WEA derisively refers to teachers like Mr. Carlson who want their money back not as free-speech advocates but "dissidents." The goal is to squash these dissidents by overturning Initiative 134, a law--approved by 72% of Washington voters in 1992--that requires unions to obtain written approval from teachers before dues are spent on campaigns or candidates. Back in March, the unions got a surprising assist from the state Supreme Court, which ruled that the paycheck protection law places "too heavy" a burden on the free-speech rights of the union.

The Washington law states unambiguously that a union may not use dues "for political purposes without the affirmative consent of the nonmembers from whom the excess fees were taken." The Washington Supreme Court somehow twisted these words to mean that the unions can spend as they wish unless workers object and affirmatively opt out. That's a big distinction, because the unions make it as time-consuming and cumbersome as possible to get the money back once they snatch it.

The case is discussed here and will go before the U.S. Supreme Court in January. Let's hope the court will help the teachers understand their liberal causes should not be supported by coerced money.

Paper Tiger

For some time now I have been uneasy about the action of the U.S. in response to the situations which have arisen in the past few years. The problem has become increasingly evident though the presidencies of the two Bushes and Clinton. In these years we have become increasingly less willing to assert our perogatives and act as the lone superpower on earth should. When Reagan took the oath of office, the Iranians released the hostages immediately. This act revealed an enlightened self-interest which is currently being exhibited again by the Iranians as they openly pursue nuclear weapons because they know that Bush is content to wait for the U.N. to pass another worthless resolution despite opposition from Russia and China. This passive response by Bush is proceeding despite repeated assurances from Ahmadinejad that he will use these same weapons to eliminate Israel.

In Iraq, you have very little talk about victory in a specific sense. Instead, we hear about wanting stability and our generals appear before congressional committees explaining why they can't defeat a militia headed by Muqtada al-Sadr. In the meantime our soldiers who were trained to wage war venture out of the Green Zone to pass out candy and soccer balls to children in the streets.

In other areas we sit by and let Putin resurrect a dictatorship in Russia while providing Iran with anti-aircraft missiles and nuclear technology to be used against us. We let Hugo Chavez solidify his hold on an important country in South America while he develops anti-American alliances with Iran, North Korea and liberals like Joe Kennedy who accepts his heating oil to help the "poor". We apologize for removing 6 Islamic clerics from and airplane, offer to provide them with a meditation room at airports while denying our children in elementary school the right to sing Christmas carols.

Osama bin Laden said early on that America would cave in as we did in Somalia under Clinton, fail to follow through on commitments liked Bush 41 did when he asked the Iraqis to rise up against Saddam, and Bush 43 is continuing in the same timid vein when he ignores his post 9/11 assertion that we would hold those nations who harbor and support terrorists to full account. Such nonsense. How frightened is Iran right now? Syria? Venezuela? North Korea?

It is all very sad and ominous.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Liberal Folly

BestView has observed several times how the loony left seems to have accepted the conclusion that man has caused the global warming and that if we don't take some ill-advised action right now to correct the situation, we are all doomed to some myriad forms of calamity. When they are confronted by the fact that the science behind this chicken-little conclusion is not settled, they say that is better to take some action "just in case".

Contrast that to their idiotic position on a missile-defense system. It is, unfortunately, advanced by Senator Carl Levin who is now going to be Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is following a long established democrat position against the development of an anti-ballistic missile system on the basis that it has not been proved to work and we should not do the research to make it work because then it might work and that would be destabilizing in some way. Yes, I know it is moronic, but that is what Levin and his liberal fellow travelers say. He objects to the situation we have now where we have tested parts of a missile-defense system and had some success because the conditions of the test were not against a missile launched by a hostile nation. So the only tests he will accept are those which would come when North Korea actually lobs one our way and the idea that we should follow the flawed logic of the wacky environmentalists and do something "just in case" is not applicable in this case.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jimmy Carter's Legacy?

It will be interesting to see how much of the following makes it into the news and public discussion. Since I consider Jimmy Carter a traitor to his country, my bias would support the view that the Professor is correct in his description of the situation. Read the whole thing here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mark Steyn Is Right Again

Here is how Mark starts his latest essay. Be sure to read the whole thing.

James Baker's "Iraq Study Group" seems to have been cast on the same basis as Liza Minnelli's last wedding. A stellar lineup: Donna Summer, Mickey Rooney, the Doobie Brothers, Gina Lollobrigida, Michael Jackson, Mia Farrow, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Jill St. John. That's Liza's wedding, not the Baker Commission. But at both gatherings everyone who was anyone was there, no matter how long ago it was they were anyone. So the fabulous Baker boy was accompanied by Clinton officials Leon Panetta and Bill Perry, Clinton golfing buddy Vernon Jordan, Clinton's fellow sex fiend Chuck Robb, the quintessential ''moderate'' Republican Alan Simpson, Supreme Court swing vote par excellence Sandra Day O'Connor . . . God, I can't go on. I'd rather watch Mia Farrow making out with Mickey Rooney to a Doobie Brothers LP. As its piece de resistance, the Baker Commission concluded its deliberations by inviting testimony from -- drumroll, please -- Sen. John F. Kerry. If you're one of those dummies who goofs off in school, you wind up in Iraq. But, if you're sophisticated and nuanced, you wind up on a commission about Iraq. Rounding it all out -- playing David Gest to Jim Baker's Liza -- is, inevitably, co-chairman Lee Hamilton, former congressman from Indiana.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pretty good analysis

From Hillbilly White Trash:

George W Bush invited James Webb into his home. Webb accepted his hospitality by showing up then snubbed his host by refusing to go through the receiving line and shake the President's hand. Mr. Bush made a point of ignoring the insult and reached out to Mr. Webb on the one area in which any civilized person would assume that they could agree - the well being of Mr. Webb's son.

Instead of answering his hosts sincere question with a polite response like, "he's fine, I just heard from him", he chose to give an answer which said, in effect, "screw off, it's none of your business". Well I'm sorry Mr. Webb but as the Commander in Chief the welfare of an active duty Marine is damned well George Bush's business.

Also, consider how much political hay the left could have made if Bush had shown no concern whatsoever over Mr. Webb's son. Would not the mainstream media's action line be something like, "Bush sends Webb's kid to war and then can't even be bothered to ask how he's doing"?

Is this the proper attitude?

I just noticed this in the paper and it seems a bit strange to have a major legal entanglement arise within a religious denomination like this.

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee is threatening to sue conservative Episcopal churches that soon will vote on whether to leave his diocese, saying individual members of each congregation's governing board will be liable.
In a four-page letter released late Friday, the bishop of the country's largest diocese, with 90,000 members, sent a letter to parishes conducting a 40-day period of discernment on whether to leave the Episcopal Church.
Thousands of Episcopalians already have left the 2.2 million-member denomination over arguments about biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual.
"I believe your successors in the future will regret that decision and its destructive consequences to the whole church," the bishop wrote of congregations threatening to leave the diocese. Any congregation attempting to leave without a negotiated settlement with the diocese "will have repercussions and possible civil liability for individual vestry members."

Liberal Compassion

The always insightful Thomas Sowell has skewered the liberals with solid evidence that despite their constant call for forgiveness of loans to 3rd world countries, a living wage for the poor, and a safety net for all, these are all governmental acts of compassion. How about situations where the actual help for someone or something comes out of their own pockets? Not so caring, it seems. You can read his essay here, but at the end you may be reminded as I was that when the press looked at Al Gore's tax information while running for President, they found his charitable contributions for an entire year was $768.00.

The Kyoto Price Tag

There is every indication that carbon dioxide emissions will become an international concern which almost matches the attention currently being paid to Britney's crotch. IBD has an editorial reporting that 90% of Europeans believe that man is responsible for the current warming trend. Even more interesting is the poll showing that 68% of them would be in favor of lifestyle restrictions to help address this "problem". The question now is how much in favor they really are. If the Kyoto accords are actually met by Europe, it is estimated the EU would lose from 1.5 to 4% of their GDP and millions of jobs. This would be 4 million in Spain and 1 million jobs a year in Britain from 2008 to 2012. The Clinton administration correctly concluded that the Kyoto Treaty should not even be submitted to the Senate because it would cost us $400 BILLION a year and nearly 4.9 million lost jobs. Maybe this would be acceptable to the Europeans since they aren't all that crazy about work in the first place, but someone should consider the calculation that each one- billionth if warming avoidance will cost $100,000. So, in order to reduce the global temperature by about 1 degree Celsius, it would cost $100 TRILLION.
As IBD points out, the loony environmentalists bemoan the cost of doing nothing (which is at least as theoretical as the calculations above), but Europeans should at least consider the cost before getting in line for a dubious remedy to a nebulous problem. The same admonition should be made to the newly empowered Dems in the U.S. Congress who will be inclined to follow everything European.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bush needs to take another look

When they first met, President Bush said he looked into Vladimir Putin's soul and liked what he saw. As Putin continues on his current path to destroy all semblance of democracy in Russia and eliminate his critics by whatever means necessary, Bush needs to reconsider what a proper soul looks like.

Diversity Anyone

The loony left is quite insistent on society providing for diversity unless that includes ideas which come from anywhere this side of Marxism. Witness the reaction on college campuses when speakers who are invited which have ideas that do not comport with their extreme ideology. Such violent demonstrations have been directed toward Ann Coulter , John Bolton, and now Tom Tancredo.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stephen Hawking says get of here

"The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet," Hawking said. "Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe.

"There isn't anywhere like the Earth in the solar system, so we would have to go to another star.

"If we used chemical fuel rockets like the Apollo mission to the moon, the journey to the nearest star would take 50,000 years. This is obviously far too long to be practical, so science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination. Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light.

"However, we can still within the law, by using matter/antimatter annihilation, and reach speeds just below the speed of light. With that, it would be possible to reach the next star in about six years, though it wouldn't seem so long for those on board."

The science fiction series Star Trek has used matter/antimatter annihilation as an explanation for the warp drive. But, in reality, he said that scientists believe that the flash of radiation produced when matter and antimatter are brought together and destroy one another could in fact one day be used to drive craft to close to the speed of light.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Ankle-Biting Pundit has a good list of things which they consider "overrated" in our culture. Many of them are right on. Some additions I might suggest are Britney Spears, Michael Vick, Dick Vitale, and European golf "analysts". The latter are as worthless as the female sideline commentators which seem to be essential for every football broadcast. On the other hand, if it keeps females out of the booth itself, go for it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Everyone knew this was coming

A lesbian couple "married" in Massachusetts has filed for "divorce" in Rhode Island, setting up a legal conundrum for judges in a state where the laws are silent on the legality of same-sex "marriage."

Read the article here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Coburn and DeMint Spending Obstacle

This is a good description of how two of the finest politicians in the United States are saving you and me money. These Senators are going to need bodyguards if they keep standing in the way of needless pork spending.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Times Here Again

From Instapundit:

For three years, pay increases haven't kept pace with the rising cost of living. Then came this year's housing slowdown, which has further squeezed family finances.

Those setbacks, however, are now being offset by rising income. Four percent may not sound like much, but you have to look back to 1997 to find a calendar year with a gain that big.

Equally significant, tamer energy prices mean that the "real" wage gains, after inflation, are above 3 percent for the past 12 months. That, too, hasn't happened since the 1990s, even though the economy has been expanding over the past five years.

"Less than 2 weeks after the Democrats gained control of Congress, wages are increasing. Imagine how much upward wage pressure there will be after the labor pool is cut by a million men due to Rangel's draft."


The loony left can't seem to stand the very existence of Wal*Mart. The complaint seems to be they don't pay enough to their workers and the benefits are not sufficient. This doesn't seem to bother the millions who willingly work there, but the liberals are really carrying water for the labor unions who have not managed to break into the workforce there and them like they did the steel industry, the auto industry, and so forth.
Since the company must be vilified, John Edwards must be part of the chorus, but he was embarrassed recently when one of his volunteers went to Wal*Mart management trying to break into the line and get Edwards a Playstation 3 when others were sleeping in lines outside the store. Of course, Edwards says his volunteer was doing this without authorization and was excercising excessive enthusiasm. Whatever. My question, however, is why a man who is so concerned with the poor worker's wages at Wal*Mart using volunteers instead of paying those who work for him?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I just ran across the term "ecosexual" and was thus interested to learn just what one is. Naturally, the best examples seem to come from California and the following is a description of one....probably not an extreme example.

San Francisco designer Rachel Pearson, 33, owns a successful line of children’s clothing made of organic cotton that also meets international fair-trade rules. For herself she favors clothing from thrift stores—“Not buying new,” she says, “eases the toll on the earth.” A vegetarian, she recycles religiously [ed: of course] and loves to pamper herself with yoga and meditation.

There’s another arena in which Pearson upholds green values, and it can create a bit of an etiquette problem. “I won’t date a guy who doesn’t recycle,” she says. “He doesn’t have to wear nonleather shoes, but he has to get it.” And woe betide the guy who doesn’t.

For a while she was happily dating a film producer from Los Angeles who, she thought, was definitely on her eco-wavelength. But one morning they went out for breakfast, and Mr. Right ordered an all-meat meal and doused his coffee with several packets of Equal. “I was dumbstruck,” says Pearson. “I think I ate my entire meal in silence. Pork plus NutraSweet? That was definitely our last date.”

Political Equality

It would be hard to make the case that either of our major political parties have the foggiest idea of how to govern. One would think they have made some sort of suicide pact to see which could self-destruct the fastest.

China has big problems

This is a most fascinating glimpse into the most basic of problems being faced by China. With billions of people and diminishing water and clean air, it is easy to predict a calamitous upheaval there in the fairly near future.

Ethics Legislation? Not so fast!

The new Congress controlled by Demos is having second thoughts on ethics reform. It must be so if you can read about it in the New York Times.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Here comes infiltration

From the Islamic Voice.

Muslim Brotherhood Office in US
Washington DC

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), in alliance with the ex-vice- president of Syria, Abdul Halim Khaddam, a staunch Ba’athist, have opened an office in Washington DC. The aim of the office is to infiltrate the US government and influence its apathy towards political Islam. Ammar Abdul Hamid, a Syrian intellectual who works at Brookings Institute, will be running the office for the National Salvation Front. His duties are to sell political Islam and Ba’athism to reluctant US government officials and to give the Muslim Brotherhood a platform in the Think Tank community of Washington from which they can preach democracy.

Pelosi Intelligence

BestView can't wait to see if Nancy Pelosi succumbs to an inclination to play racial politics and puts a corrupt and impeached Alcee Hastings as the head of the Intelligence Committee. I doubt she is that stupid, but......

Republican Minority

The newly minted minority of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to keep Boehner and Blunt as their leaders for the next session. Evidently they decided that rather than looking at fresh faces and new ideas, it would be smarter to keep those who helped create the minority in the first place. (James Taranto)

Monday, November 13, 2006


There aren't many movie reviews here since I only see about 2 movies a year, but I went to see "Borat" last evening. The main feeling I left with was one of mild depression. I must be getting old since the exception of a few chuckles scattered about, the thing was mainly just lame. Scatological humor is not my forte, I guess.

Things are tough at the top

Washington, DC – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) questioned soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) commitment to eradicating corruption with her endorsement of one of the most unethical members in Congress, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), to be Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

Rep. Murtha was listed in CREW’ report Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch). As reported in the study and by the news media, Rep, Murtha has been involved in a number of pay-to play schemes involving former staffers and his brother, Robert “Kit” Murtha.

Eight incumbents in CREW’s report lost their races to ethics issues.

CREW’s report can be found at

Minority Leader

The next big hill for the House Republicans to climb is the election between John Boehner and Mike Pence for Minority Leader. The choice will indicate whether or not the remaining Republicans understand how much trouble they are in. If they stand with the old team represented by Boehner, it will not be a good sign. Pence opposed the Bush prescription drug boondoggle during a one-on-one meeting with the President in the oval office by telling him he didn't come to Washington to add new entitlements. He also opposed the No Child Left Behind fiasco that Bush crafted with Ted Kennedy on the basis that we should not be federalizing education. With the prospect that Bush might be inclined to join with the dems to show how bipartisan he is, we need someone who can keep the Reaganesque principles in view when Bush leaves the reservation as he often does.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What we should do in Iraq

This is a very fine analysis of what we should do in Iraq. This is offered willingly since it follows almost exactly what I have been thinking.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

George Will Wisdom

At least Republicans now know where the "Bridge to Nowhere" leads: to the political wilderness.

Read the whole thing. Entertaining and astute.

A one sentence summary of the election

"The Republicans lost and the Democrats won for the same reason -- they distanced themselves from their base. "

Political Observations

It seems to me the Republicans lost their way when they lost such leaders as Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. After that, the House of Representatives shifted from trying to enact legislation based on their core beliefs to stuff which they felt would keep them in power. Conservatives don't add entitlement programs like Part D of Medicare and then belly up to the pork trough to spend so much money that nobody could accuse them of not bringing home bacon. In other words, the Republicans started acting like Democrats in an effort to retain power. This week, they learned that the Democrats recruited candidates which campaigned on basic Republican principles in order to win. If this were a legal situation, George W. could be indicted as a co-conspirator since he permitted and even abetted this behavior.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Interesting Election Fact from Opinion Journal

It was not a referendum on Iraq. One of the most pro-Iraq lawmakers in Congress, Sen. Joe Lieberman, ran as an independent and trounced anti-Iraq Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Meanwhile, of the five remaining Republican members of Congress who voted against Iraq's liberation, three lost: Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Rep. John Hostettler (Ind.) and Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa). Only two anti-Iraq Republicans will return to the 110th Congress: Reps. Jimmy Duncan (Tenn.) and Ron Paul (Texas).

Election Post-mortem

Random thoughts:

Larry Sabato and Bill Kristol were almost on the money with pre-election predictions and the polls did a pretty decent job of showing the situation in most races.

With few notable exceptions like J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, most of the House losers were replaced by someone at least as conservative. Even the loss of Santorem didn't seem tragic to me since he supported Specter in the last election instead of Toomer.

It is Wednesday morning after the election and I can't wait to hear Rush Limbaugh counter the allegation that he lost the Talent seat with his reaction to Michael Fox. Should be fun.

Hastert has to go. Good riddance to Frist. Both were terrible leaders.

The inside word I get on Pelosi is she will smile sweetly as she cuts your heart out.

Up until now the worst campaign in recent memory was run by John Kerry. This honor now belongs to George Allen of Virginia. He could have won if he had simply gone to a remote island for the duration of the campaign.

It will be interesting to see if the Republicans can work better with Democrats than they have with each other over the last 2 years. They might since much of their agenda seemed pretty liberal to me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mark Steyn on John Kerry

Sometimes life is not fair and when a political figure does something sufficiently stupid to warrent the attention of someone like Mark Steyn or Ann Coulter, the result is brutal. Here is a portion of Mark Steyn's take on the latest John Kerry episode. You need to read it all, however.

A vain thin-skinned condescending blueblood with no sense of his own ridiculousness, Senator Nuancy Boy is secure in little else except his belief in his indispensability.......Whatever he may or may not have intended (and "I was making a joke about how stupid Bush is but I'm the only condescending liberal in America too stupid to tell a Bush-is-stupid joke without blowing it" must rank as one of the all-time lame excuses), what he said fits what too many upscale Dems believe: that America's soldiers are only there because they're too poor and too ill-educated to know any better.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why polls are flawed

From Powerline.

The most difficult challenge for every pollster is figuring out which poll respondents will actually vote, i.e., are "likely voters." Pollsters try to get at this by first asking respondents whether they are registered voters. If the respondent claims to be registered, the pollster asks whether he intends to vote in the coming election, and whether he has voted in the past.

In this particular ABC/Washington Post poll, 80% claimed to be registered voters. (Question number 905.) But this undoubtedly exaggerated the number of registered voters in the pool, since as of 2002, only 66% of eligible voters were registered.

Next, take a look at question number three in the ABC/Post poll: no fewer than 70% of those who answered the telephone, and claimed to be registered voters, said they are "absolutely certain" to vote, while another 11% said they "probably" will vote and 5% said they already had voted. Those numbers add up to 86% of registered voters, and, if 80% of respondents really were registered, 69% of eligible voters.

That's not all: the 70% who said they were absolutely certain to vote were asked whether they always, usually or sometimes vote in off-year elections. The result? 95% said they either "always" (71%) or "nearly always" (17%) or "usually" vote in midterm elections.

Pity the poor pollster. An overwhelming majority of his respondents tell him they surely will vote tomorrow, and, indeed, always do. But the pollster knows that over the past twenty years, the percentage of eligible voters who actually voted in a midterm election has never topped forty percent, while the turnout among registered voters has never exceeded 72%.

Which means that in this particular poll, probably around a quarter to a third of the respondents who assured the pollster that they will vote, won't. (Here's where I need a mathematician like Dafydd ab Hugh to check my calculation.)

So how can the pollster know which of his respondents will in fact show up at the polls tomorrow? He can't know, actually. But one thing we do know from experience is that Republicans tend to turn out and vote more reliably than Democrats, no matter how much enthusiasm for the process Democrats express to pollsters. Based on experience, what a pollster really should do is weight his poll results in favor of Republicans. But I doubt whether any of them do that.

In short, we really don't know what will happen tomorrow. The election will be decided by those who show up, and somewhere up to a third of those who claim they are going to vote--and always do!--won't.

Power out in Germany

This was found on Instapundit and is pretty funny.

Remember when the lights went out in New York? The reaction at "Der Spiegel" was outrageous yet predictable. The outage was described as evidence that America was a faltering superpower with a third rate power grid.

The New York outage was simply further evidence for German media elites that America was in decline and Raubtier capitalism and privatization were all to blame. German media consumers were assured that such a massive failure could never happen in statist Europe.

In fact, the lights did go out just a few weeks later in Italy and Switzerland and Scandinavia, but the reaction in German media was neither sensationalist nor alarmist. There were no scandalous covers deriding the failures of the European economic model or way of life.

Now the lights have gone out again in Europe. This time Germany is in the midst of the outage. . . . But how could that be possible in the wonderful land of social-democratic Oz? How could a nation that has rejected brutal capitalism and amerikanische Verhaeltnisse suffer such an outage? Where are our beautiful windmills when we need them? It just isn't fair. Oh yeah, by the way: Could Bush be to blame? Maybe this is CIA sabotage...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Election

It is going to be interesting to see how the election results compare to the polls. If the polls are right, it will be a really big democratic swing in both the House and Senate. As a scientist, however, I am dubious. In order for a scientist to have any confidence in the results of an experiment, he must be comfortable with the methodology. I am not there yet on polls. At 3PM on election day in the most recent Presidential election, we were facing the certainty of a President Kerry. This remained a certainty until 9PM when it became obvious that all the polls at the exits were wrong and they were wrong in the same direction. Why was this? Here is one thought. If you call a conservative and a liberal on the phone, is one more likely than the other to take several minutes to answer questions? If you stop a liberal after he or she has voted, is that person more or less likely to take the time to participate in your exit poll than a conservative? I have no idea, but I do know that if you call me, I will hang up before the first question is asked. We do not have caller I.D. on our land-line phone, but many people do. If someone does have caller I.D. and pays extra for it, I have to conclude many of them do not even answer if they don't recognize the number. Does this situation apply more frequently to Democrats or Republicans?
Like most people, I am about sick of all the election blather and remain firm in my view that the Republicans deserve to lose but the Dems don't deserve to win. I will vote and in each case my choice is going to be a vote for the Republican and each of them will win. After that, I will sit back and see how well the results conform to the polls and the pre-election predictions of the liberal press that this will be a democratic victory.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Extreme Environments

At one time I had a research project being conducted in my lab which involved organisms which were able to grow at low temperatures. This was some 3 decades ago and there was a prevailing interest in such organisms since we had space probes to Mars, for example, which were attempting to discover if life existed elsewhere in our universe. Since that time, we have found numerous examples of life in such places as oil reservoirs, solid rock, acidic waste from mining operations, and many other places once considered too inhospitable for life. There have been bacteria found at the bottom of an Alaska pond which were frozen 30,000 years ago. When thawed, they proliferate nicely.
This has been known to microbiologists for years, but I recently read about the discovery of organisms being discovered in rocks 2 miles below the earth's surface which are able to live and reproduce using the radioactivity in uranium, and other substances to exist. Basically, the radioactivity breaks down water and sulfur to produce sulfate which the bacteria use to grow, metabolize, and reproduce. The significance of this is that these orgainsms are able to exist and reproduce in the complete absence of sunlight, which has been previously assumed to be required for all life on earth. Since this is no longer the case, life on Mars and other planets is not now considered such a remote possibility and we should perhaps go back and look at the earlier conclusion that no life can be found on Mars.

Not surprising

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. Oct 27, 2006 (AP)— A teenager who decided to get her breasts pierced for her 18th birthday faces reconstructive surgery after a flesh-destroying infection forced doctors to remove her left breast.

Doctors diagnosed Edington, who had the piercings on Aug. 29, with necrotizing fasciitis, or gas gangrene a rare condition that results from rapid bacteria growth and leads to tissue destruction. It is only the third documented case in the world of gas gangrene in the breast area, Goulet told The Paper of Montgomery County.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Iraq Solution

Conservative supporters of President Bush are rapidly coming to the conclusion that support for the current Iraqi government in general and Maliki in particular is rapidly coming to a halt. The Prime Minister has no heart for the task of confronting the Sadr and other militias and the situation can't be allowed to continue. There are two solutions as far as I can see. The first is for our military to take off the politically correct gloves and use our resources to eliminate the Sadr problem as rapidly and as brutally as necessary. This would mean we would have to stop worrying about how others see us and what the Europeans think.
The other positive suggestion is to hand oil-rich Kirkuk to the Kurds, establish military bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, and let the Sunnis and Shias fight it out. In order for the mess in Iraq to be resolved, the Iraqi people have to want freedom from Islamic domination as much as we want freedom for Iraq. Right now, that is not the case.

Water from air

There is a small private company called Aqua Sciences which has developed a way to extract drinking water from the air. FEMA now has two of these systems which in their case come in 40 foot trailers and cost $1 million each. The trailers can be brought to the site of a disaster and quickly produce 2500 gallons of pure fresh water a day at a cost of 15 - 30 cents per gallon. This compares to a cost of $15 per gallon to have water trucked in. This means that FEMA can pay off the cost of each trailer in 4 days of a single disaster.
The systems work like your salt shaker in absorbing moisture from the air. Salt is hygroscopic in that it is highly attractive of water and the water, unlike ground water is pure and can be used directly. Each trailer, however, comes with a reverse osmosis system which can also produce water from brackish or contaminated water sources at the site of a hurricane, for example.
Naturally, the military is very interested in the technology since each soldier in Iraq, for example, requires 3 gallons of water per day and water convoys are common targets for our enemy over there.
It is estimated that 1 billion people around the world lack a steady source of potable water. It would be nice to have a market like that to target with a novel technology like this. I wish I could buy stock in the company.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More from Opinion Journal

Debbie Stabenow, Michigan's junior U.S. Senator, says President Bush and Vice President Cheney don't follow the law when it comes to national security issues, and the Republican-controlled Congress has failed to hold them accountable. "The reality is, both the president and Dick Cheney don't believe they are hampered by the law," Stabenow told the News-Review editorial board. "They believe the general powers of the presidency allow them to do whatever they need to do to keep us safe.

It is hard for BestView to find a negative with her conclusion.

A view from Iraq

This letter from a sargeant in Iraq makes a lot of sense to me and it confirms my long-held thought that the U.S. should not be using its military to build a nation or a democracy. It is trained and should be used to kill people. This came to James Taranto at Opinion Journal.

There's been a lot of discussion back home about the course of the war, the righteousness of our involvement, the clarity of our execution, and what to do about the predicament in which we currently find ourselves. I just wanted to send you my firsthand account of what's happening here.

First, a little bit about me: I'm stationed slightly northwest of Baghdad in a mixed Sunni/Shia area. I'm a sergeant in the U.S. Army on a human intelligence collection team. I interact with Iraqis on a daily basis and I help put together the intel picture for our area of operations. I have contacts with friends, who are also in my job, in every are of operations in the Fourth Infantry Division footprint, and through our crosstalk I'd say I have a pretty damn good idea of what's going on in and around Baghdad on a micro and intermediary level.

I wrote heavily in favor of this war before I enlisted myself, and I still maintain that going into Iraq was not only the necessary thing to do, but the right thing to do as well.

There have been distinct failures of policy in Iraq. The vast majority of them fall under the category "failure to adapt." Basically U.S. policies have been several steps behind the changing conditions ever since we came into the country. I believe this is (in part) due to our plainly obvious desire to extricate ourselves from Iraq. I know President Bush is preaching "stay the course," but we came over here with a goal of handing over our battlespace to the Iraqis by the end of our tour here.

This breakneck pace with which we're trying to push the responsibility for governing and securing Iraq is irresponsible and suicidal. It's like throwing a brick on a house of cards and hoping it holds up. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)--a joint term referring to Iraqi army and Iraqi police--are so rife with corruption, insurgent sympathies and Shia militia members that they have zero effectiveness. Two Iraqi police brigades in Baghdad have been disbanded recently, and the general sentiment in our field is "Why stop there?" I can't tell you how many roadside bombs have been detonated against American forces within sight of ISF checkpoints. Faith in the Iraqi army is only slightly more justified than faith in the police--but even there, the problems of tribal loyalties, desertion, insufficient training, low morale and a failure to properly indoctrinate their soldiers results in a substandard, ineffective military. A lot of the problems are directly related to Arab culture, which traditionally doesn't see nepotism and graft as serious sins. Changing that is going to require a lot more than "benchmarks."

In Shia areas, the militias hold the real control of the city. They have infiltrated, co-opted or intimidated into submission the local police. They are expanding their territories, restricting freedom of movement for Sunnis, forcing mass migrations, spiking ethnic tensions, not to mention the murderous checkpoints, all while U.S. forces do . . . nothing.

For the first six months I was in country, sectarian violence was classified as an "Iraqi on Iraqi" crime. Division didn't want to hear about it. And, in a sense I can understand why. Because division realized that which the Iraqi people have come to realize: The American forces cannot protect them. We are too few in number and our mission is "stability and support." The problem is that there's nothing to give stability and support to. We hollowed out the Baathist regime, and we hastily set up this provisional government, thrusting political responsibility on a host of unknowns, each with his own political agenda, most funded by Iran, and we're seeing the results.

In Germany after World War II, we controlled our sector with approximately 500,000 troops, directly administering the area for 10 years while we rebuilt the country and rebuilt the social and political infrastructure needed to run it. In Iraq, we've got one-third that number of troops dealing with three times the population on a much faster timetable, and we're attempting to unify three distinct ethnic groups with no national interest and at least three outside influences (Saudi Arabian Wahhabists, Iranian mullahs and Syrian Baathists) each eagerly funding various groups in an attempt to see us fail. And we are.

If we continue on as is in Iraq, we will leave here (sooner or later) with a fractured state, a Rwanda-waiting-to-happen. "Stay the course" and refusing to admit that we're screwing things up is already killing a lot of people needlessly. Following through with such inane nonstrategy is going to be the death knell for hundreds of thousands of Sunnis.

We need to backtrack. We need to publicly admit we're backtracking. This is the opening battle of the ideological struggle of the 21st century. We cannot afford to lose it because of political inconveniences. Reassert direct administration, put 400,000 to 500,000 American troops on the ground, disband most of the current Iraqi police and retrain and reindoctrinate the Iraqi army until it becomes a military that's fighting for a nation, not simply some sect or faction. Reassure the Iraqi people that we're going to provide them security and then follow through. Disarm the nation: Sunnis, Shias, militia groups, everyone. Issue national ID cards to everyone and control the movement of the population.

If these three things are done, you can actually start the Iraqi economy again. Once people have a sense of security, they'll be able to leave their houses to go to work. Tell your American commanders that it's OK to pass up bad news--because part of the problem is that these issues are not reaching above the battalion or brigade level due to the can-do, make-it-happen culture indoctrinated into our U.S. officers. While the attitude is admirable, it also creates barriers to recognizing and dealing with on-the-ground realities.

James, there's a lot more to this than I've written here. The short of it is, the situation is salvageable, but not with "stay the course" and certainly not with cut and run. However, the commitment required to save it is something I doubt the American public is willing to swallow. I just don't see the current administration with the political capital remaining in order to properly motivate and convince the American public (or the West in general) of the necessity of these actions.

At the same time, failure in Iraq would be worse than a dozen Somalias, and would render us as impotent and emasculated as we were in the days after Vietnam. There is a global cultural-ideological struggle being waged, and abdication from Iraq is tantamount to concession.


Last week an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll reported the lowest public approval rating for Congress since 1992. The mystery is where do you go to find the16 percent who approve?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Liberals getting loopier and loopier

BestView loves to point out the idiotic antics of the loony left, but this may be the one that tops them all. This was in the Wall Street Journal this morning so there is no link that readers can follow to read it themselves, but here is an accurate summary of the latest liberal obscenity. It should be no surprise that this comes from San Francisco. It seems there is a section of that fair city called the Tenderloin. An owner of an architecture firm decided she would move there and try to improve and revitalize the area. She wanted to plant trees, clean up the streets of garbage and that sort of thing. Well, she soon found herself the subject of pamplets being circulated which thoroughly disparaged her efforts. It turns out that the neighborhood is populated by pimps, drug addicts, transvestites and transgenders, prostitutes, etc. Those opposed to changes maintained the residents give the Tenderloin its special personality and any clean-up efforts would destroy the atmosphere that welcomes this fringe of society who, if their world were cleaned up, would have no other refuge. One irate resident summed up the situation thusly---"This was a place where people who don't fit in, the ostracized and cast-off, could find a place of their own". The guy who was behind the objections is named Matt Bernstein Sycamore , a former prostitute and member of the gay activist group called Gay Shame. Mr. Sycamore is also known by his drag queen name, Mary Hedgefunds.
Beam me up, Scottie.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Liberals never learn

The latest example of liberal idiocy comes from California where many such examples originate. Consider Proposition 87 on the ballot for the upcoming election. This would raise the tax on all oil extracted from California by 1.5% to 6% depending on the price of oil. The logic? Well, they want to reduce energy consumption and dependency on foreign oil. In sum, they want to tax California oil so consumers will use less oil from Saudia Arabia. This is stupid enough, but they go further. This measure would cost California oil producers an estimated 4 billion dollars over the next 10 years and there is a separate section that would prohibit oil companies from passing the increased cost of the higher taxes on to consumers. So the logic is that consumers will use less of something when the cost does not increase. In fact, the net effect will be a tariff on our oil which will actually make America more rather than less dependent on foreign sources. Amazing.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The bottom line

As Thomas Sowell has said, the Republicans are disappointing and maybe even bumbling, but the Democrats are dangerous. The liberals who control the Democrat party say they "support the troops", but their actions give them away. Consider:
1. Missile defense of America---Democrats voted against it
2. Patriot Act---Democrats voted against it
3. Intercepting terrorist messages into the U.S.---Democrats voted against it
4. Tracing terrorist money flow between foreign banks---Democrats voted against it
5. Interrogating captured terrorists---Democrats voted against it
6. Reinforcing our southern border with Mexico to at least slow down infiltration of terrorists, dope dealers and other criminals---Democrats voted against it
7. Telling the world and our enemy the timetable for withdrawing from and deserting Iraq---Democrats are all for it.

If you go back and study the foreign policy failures of Carter with respect to Iran, Afghanistan, and Korea combined with the missed opportunities brought about by Clinton's insistence on a legalistic approach to terrorists like Al-qaida in the 1990s, you should see just how dangerous a return to the liberal Democratic political agenda could be.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Election Fraud

One of the things to look for in the coming elections is fraud. In the past few elections when the democrat loses, it is easily explained by those cheating republicans--even when it occurs in counties where democrats operate the machinery. Someone scared all the old black people away from the polls or made the ballots so difficult that the stupid voter couldn't understand it. If not that, there were crooked election officials like Katherine Harris, the voting machines had been rigged, or something. Efforts to have someone show a picture ID to vote like you have to show to get on a plane is just another case of intimidation, and the liberals can't stand the idea of a fair election. It is as predictable as the sunrise.

That brings me to the current election. All the polls show the democrats will win big and take over the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. My focus on election day will be on how many close races will be challenged by Democrats and how many by Republicans. I can assure you that if the dems don't actually retake the House, it will be because of fraud. We wuz robbed! There will be many close races and I am almost sure we will have weeks of suspense before the results are actually known. Should be fun.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Republicans to the woodshed

...the Republicans deserve to lose, though alas the Democrats don't really deserve to win, either. I realize that you go to war with the political class you have, but even back in the 1990s it was obvious that we had a lousy political class. It hasn't improved, but the challenges have gotten greater. Can the country continue to do well, with such bad political leadership? I hope so, because I see no sign of improvement, no matter who wins next month.

This is a summary of the reasons the Republicans have alienated their base. It can be read here.
I agree with every point and especially the Harriet Meirs and the William Jefferson debacles. The Foley matter is really the least of the offenses.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stop the presses

Some one must have screwed up badly. The Nobel Peace prize this year actually seems to have gone to someone who deserves it (contrast Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sex and Politics

Here is the lead paragraph from a Reuters article yesterday.

President George W. Bush and Republicans are sinking under the weight of the Iraq war and the Capitol Hill sex scandal, according to a flurry of polls, endangering their control of Congress in the November 7 elections.
Bill Clinton engaged in what later came to be declared non-sex since it was just oral. We now have a sex scandal on Capitol Hill because a gay Congressman sent E-mails about oral sex or whatever it was. I am getting so old I am confused about what sex is anymore.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Election Results

If you are interested in the coming elections and are dubious about such things as polls and pundits, you can get a great idea how they will come out from TradeSports. This is a futures site where you can buy and sell futures on any number of things, but one is whether or not the Republicans will retain the House and Senate. The advantage of this site is the participants are risking their actual money on the trade, so they tend to be very accurate. Each of the past two general elections have been correctly predicted, for example. Right now, the Republicans have a 42% chance of retaining the House and a 71% chance of retaining the Senate. The latter sounds a little high to me, but am I willing to go the other way with real money?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Democrat Legacy

If anyone is interested in the history of how we got where we are today, it might help to review the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the President who has destroyed the credibility of the democrats in foreign policy. Here are some of the reasons he is widely considered the worst president we have ever had.
1. Made human rights the central focus of his foreign policy and thought the U.S. had an inordinate fear of the Soviets. So, he stopped production of the B1 bomber, lifted the travel bans to Cuba, North Korea, Viet Nam and pardoned draft evaders.
2. He withdrew support for our primary ally in the Mid-east, the Shah of Iran and thought the Ayatollah Khomeini would be better because he was a religious man and the Shah was mistreating the Soviet spies who were trying to take over Iran so they could get their oil and warm water ports. This lead to the declaration of Iran as an Islamic nation and executions followed which were carried out by Palestinian hit men so the mullahs wouldn't be blamed. So much for human rights.
3. The byproduct of this blunder was the creation of the Hezbollah, a terrorist organization which bombed the barracks in Lebanon and killed 241 Marines and sailors. More recently they attacked Israel and started a war which damaged much of Lebanon infrastructure.
4. In 1979 the Iranians including their current puppet president stormed the U.S. embassy and held 52 U.S. personnel hostage for 444 days. The Carter response was a bungled rescue attempt which was conducted in a sandstorm because the pilots were forbidden to meet with the weather forecasters for security reasons. The result was a loss of 8 aircraft, five airmen, and 3 Marines.
5. Shortly after Carter kissed Brezhnev on both cheeks the USSR invaded Afghanistan. Carter was shocked. " I can't believe the Russians lied to me", he said. But, during Carter's administration the communists took over Ethiopia, South Yemen, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Grenada, and Nicaragua.
6. Compared to the pre-Viet Nam war defense budget in 1964, the 1982 Carter defense budget request was for a 45% decrease in fighter aircraft, a 75% reduction in ships, an 83% reduction in attack subs, and a 90% reduction in helicopters. As a percentage of the total government spending in 1980 our defense spending was less than before Pearl Harbor.

Credit IBD for most of these facts and Ronald Reagan for pulling us out of this morass.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another education failure

I just ran across an interesting study and survey. The study quizzed 14,000 randomly selected students at schools of higher education nationwide and tested them on such things as the Monroe Doctrine and the Declaration of Independence. Seniors failed this exam with an average score of 53%. In 16 of the 50 schools (like Brown, Georgetown, and Yale) there was negative learning. This just means that the seniors scored worse than freshmen.
Here is a snippet from the study:

Seniors lack basic knowledge of America's history. More than half, 53.4 percent, could not identify the correct century when the first American colony was established at Jamestown. And 55.4 percent could not recognize Yorktown as the battle that brought the American Revolution to an end (28 percent even thought the Civil War battle at Gettysburg the correct answer).

So, even though students arrive on campus with inadequate knowledge of America's history and institutions and in great need of improved civic literacy, institutions of higher education in America do little to facilitate this learning. On average, three years of higher learning adds a dismal 0.2 percent to students' already limited knowledge of American history and a meager 0.9 percent in government and political thought. Colleges and universities fared little better in teaching about "America and the World," adding 1.7 percent in average student learning.

My theory is the liberals who dominate the "liberal arts" are content to send their students into the world with scant ability to discern the fallacies inherent in the campaigns of demogogic politicians and the bias of the main stream media so they can orient the curriculum around the politically correct courses such as women's and ethnic studies.

Weather Forecasts

If anyone is still out there with an IQ over their hat size who still believes those who are predicting a temperature rise of some specific amount over the next 100 years, they should go back a few months and re-read what these weather experts were saying about how bad the hurricanes were going to be this year.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Understanding Islam

There is a book being recommended by William F. Buckley that goes a long way in his opinion to clarify what we need to know as we confront the actions of militant Islamists. The article can be read here. The book is authored by Mary Habeck. She is a scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, and her book, "Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror," is published by Yale University Press. A sample chosen by Buckley.

"The question of offensive jihad is ... complex and controversial," writes Habeck. "The most widely respected Islamic authorities ... all assume that Muslims have a duty to spread the dominion of Islam, through military offensives, until it rules the world. By the 'dominion of Islam' these authorities did not mean that everyone in the world must convert to Islam, since they also affirmed that 'there is no compulsion in religion,' rather that every part of the Earth must come under Islamic governance and especially the rule of the sharia.

"Azzam's definition of offensive jihad (Azzam is the principal modern theorist of militant Islam) follows this traditional understanding of jihad, noting that it is a duty for the leader of the Muslims 'to assemble and send out an army unit into the land of war once or twice every year.'" The jihadist is obliged to perform with all available capabilities "until there remain only Muslims or people who submit to Islam."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Toleration of Intolerance

Robert Sowell captures the situation once again. Read it all here.

The drive to extend Geneva convention protection to terrorists who are not covered under the Geneva convention is one of a number of dangerous self-indulgences by people who seem to think that being morally one-up is the ultimate and survival is secondary.

Senator Lindsey Graham's comment that we are going to win in our struggle with terrorists "because we are better" was all too typical of this mindset.

It would be hard to know which would be worse -- if he said it as just some offhand political rhetoric or whether he is really fatuous enough to believe it and irresponsible enough to gamble American lives rather than extract murderous secrets from captured cutthroats.

The National Intelligence Estimate

Once we get close to an election, the President's enemies in the CIA begin leaking classified material and this time it is part of an NIE which in itself is really just a summary of opinions by various intelligence agents or agencies. The hot item this time is the one which says the war in Iraq is increasing the radicalism of Islam. There are many questions regarding the validity of this conclusion, but the interesting thing is how the liberals like Ted Kennedy have latched onto this as if it were biblical. Obviously President Bush is causing us to be less secure by his actions in Iraq and we have a classified intelligence report generated last April to prove it. Someone needs to point out to morons like Kennedy that the NIE of October 2002 warned of Baghdad's weapons of mass destruction. The NIE immediately preceding 09/11 virtually ignored Osama bin Laden and never even mentioned al-Qaida. Give me a break.

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