Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Liberal crap-trap not selling

The New York Times Co. posted a $648 million loss for the fourth quarter on Wednesday as it absorbed an $814.4 million charge to write down the value of its struggling New England properties, The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Keeping Score

Most people who are making any effort to keep informed about the war we are waging in Iraq are familiar with the recent battle in which hundreds of terrorists were killed in a Palm grove by U.S. forces called in by Iraqi military. What many may not be aware of is how the liberal media reported the event. In the Washington Post, they stated in a headline that U.S. and Iraqi forces had thwarted 500 fighters who were apparently targeting a Najaf shrine with the fact that two Americans were killed in a helicopter crash.
It is now common place for the liberals who want Bush to be perceived as having failed, while allowing a disproportionate number of our military to die, focus on our casualties. Of course, any loss of our military is cause for note, but the magnitude of our losses should be kept in mind as we follow our efforts in Iraq. The Clinton administration presided over a peaceful era and there were 4,302 active duty deaths in his first four years. This is to be compared with 5,187 during Bush's first 4 years in which we were engaged in 2 wars prompted by a terrorist attack on our country.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Senatorial Idiocy

Let's see if we can make sense of this. Almost all of the loony democrats (Leiberman excepted) and some of the loony rinos are busy drafting resolutions opposing the Bush plan to send extra troops to Baghdad in an attempt to bring more security to that city. Fair enough if they don't think it will work or if it is a bad idea for whatever reason. However, this same group of phonies then turns around and UNANIMOUSLY confirms the general who just testified that more troops is what he recommends and needs to do the job for which he is asking to be confirmed.

About all the sense one can bring to this is these same senators want to be in a position to blame Bush if it fails without taking any measures to keep it from being denying a Petraeus confirmation or funding for the latest troop deployments.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The old U-turn

There has been an entertaining surge in Democrat reversals on a surge. Here are a couple of well documented examples:

1. "When the Army Chief of Staff and the secretary of state say you're going to war without enough troops, you're going to war without enough troops."
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, July 12, 2006
"No democrat supports an escalation."
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Jan.10, 2007

2. "If the commanders on the ground said this is just for one short period of time, we'll go along with that."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Dec. 17, 2006
"Escalating our military involvement in Iraq sends precisely the wrong message and we oppose it."
Jan. 11,2007 statement issued by Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer and Durbin

3."We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq to take out the militias, stabilize the country, I'd say 20,000-30,000 more."
Rep. Silvestre Reyes, chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Dec. 5, 2006
"We don't have the capability to escalate to even this minimum level."
Reyes, Jan.11, 2007

Almost all dems were for it before they were against it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hillary Warning?

Senator Hillary Clinton began her announcement of a presidential candidacy as follows:"I am in. And I am in to win." Did she want everyone to know she is not just a token candidate or was this a warning to Obama and all the other candidates still in the race beyond a certain point that they should hire extra bodyguards?

Various Thoughts

1. Whatever happened to the disappearing ozone layer? After the liberal doomsday idiots gave up on the coming ice age (back in the 70s) which would devastate life as we know it and before today's hyperventilation about global warming, there was the great concern with a disappearing ozone layer. Maybe the chicken-little fanatics can't focus on more than one catastrophe at a time.

2. There is probably no greater scandal in America than the inner-city schools in America. When Oprah Winfrey decided she wants to spend her own money to improve education in South Africa rather than give it to the losers (the education establishment) who got us into this sad state of affairs, there is an outpouring of criticism about how misguided she is and how they should be listened to prior to her spending decisions. I think much of the opposition to Oprah's efforts is based on her highly selective admission process which made it clear that entrants to her school would be highly qualified, highly motivated and most applicants would be denied admission. Liberals do not like this at all.

3. Charles Murray, in the 3rd of his essays in the Wall Street Journal, makes another valid series of points which also reflect on the failures of our education system in the U.S. Even though the vast majority of our success and advancement in this country is accomplished by the top 10% of our population in terms of I.Q., we have not devised a way to take advantage of this in our schools. Our future depends on how we educate the next generation of people who are gifted with a high level of intelligence. Instead, we construct our educational endeavors in such a way as to deny that there is such a thing as intellectual giftedness and subsequent responsibility to take advantage of that gift. Instead, we ignore the fact that there is such a thing as intellectual gifts since this implies there is an inequality of ability which is considered elitist. The result of this failure is a sense of superiority which develops in the gifted with respect to others in their classes. Murray argues that some humility should be brought to this group by placing them in situations where they can't excel and they have to simply face the fact that they can't do something----like I had to in advanced mathematics. These students need classes where they are neither bored nor coddled, but instead have their feet held to the fire.

4. A corollary to the education deficiency noted above is found in the absolute fury with which teachers and their unions fight to avoid any recognition that some teachers are simply better and more effective than others....especially with salary. At the same time, they don't want parents to have any freedom to take tax-payer money and their children to a school which might succeed where others have repeatedly failed. Teachers know that their past failures will be apparent to even the most casual observer if competition is permitted.

5. An aversion to competition is also evident in the black culture. It is well known that black students who are inclined to study, do their homework and try to succeed in the classroom are subjected to immense pressure from black classmates who accuse them of "acting white". These same students have no such aversion to competition with whites in non-academic endeavors, e.g. athletics.

5. The dems have a brilliant strategy with respect to the so-called war on terror. The left is currently disparaging all efforts Bush has invoked to prevent another attack. Their mantra is that all of these efforts are over-the-top, unnecessary, an infringement on our rights, blah, blah, blah. They want no talk about another terrorist attack. What if there is an attack? Well, regardless of when it occurs, it will be blamed on some Bush deficiency. This will be especially true if there is a dem President at the time.

6. The dems also have a great strategy with respect to the fiasco in Iraq. Whatever Bush wants to do will not work and we will do whatever we can short of actually offering an alternative or jeopardizing our political future to see that it doesn't succeed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chicken Little

Al Gore travels the world spreading his flat earth blather, but according to an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal today he carefully avoids meeting with anyone who has facts contrary to his global warming message. Even though he scheduled a meeting in Denmark with a newspaper, he didn't show up when his agent found out it would be conducted with someone with an opposite view and some facts. Since he didn't show up, the authors presented some of the things he missed out on. Gore in his movie talks about a sea-level rising 20 feet and avoids the U.N. climate estimate that it might go up 1 foot in the next century just as it did in the previous 150 years. Why does Gore exaggerate this by a factor of 20? According to Gore, Nairobi was founded right where it is too cold for malaria to occur. Now with the earth heating up so rapidly, malaria is appearing in the city. This is contrary to the World Health organization findings. Today, Nairobi is considered free of malaria, but in the 20s and '30s, when temperatures were lower than today, malaria epidemics occurred regularly. Facts don't seem to be something the number 2 man in the Clinton administration holds dear.
According to Gore, Antarctica is the canary in the mine and he presents pictures taken on the 2% of the continent that is dramatically warming and ignores the 98% that has largely cooled over the past 35 years and the U.N. panels estimate that Antarctica will increase its snow mass over the next century. Similarly, Gore points to the shrinking sea ice in the Northern hemisphere and ignores the increase in the sea ice in the Southern hemisphere. Nasty old facts again.
Gore talks about how the increasing temperatures actually kill people and mentions the European heat wave which killed 35,000 people (many when the government was on vacation one week) and avoids the larger number of deaths which will not die from the cold weather. One side of the story.
Now that the democrats are in the majority, we are going to be bombarded by this liberal claptrap as they try to undermine our economy for a dubious set of alarmist climate estimates.

Good news on Iran?

There is an editorial in IBD this morning which offers some interesting and positive perspective on the Iranian situation. First, Bush seems to be actually acting on his rhetoric. As has been reported, the Navy has moved a second battle-carrier group led by the USS Eisenhower into the region and Britain announced it has sent several mine sweepers into the Gulf region. Either something is up or it is something Iran must at least consider.

The most interesting development is on the oil front. The big question surrounding an antagonistic approach to Iran has always been what Ahmadinejad would do to oil availability and energy prices if provoked. The prospect of $100/barrel oil is thought to be something which would restrain Bush and limit his options. However, as the editorial points out, Iran gets 90% of its budget and 40% of its GDP from oil and their economy is already making the populace angry since there are increasing food shortages, a lack of housing and jobs and a growing repression by the government. For these reasons, Iran would have to think twice before withholding their 3 million barrels of oil from the market.

This brings us to the Saudiis who are long time foes of Iran and currently very dovish about the oil situation considering the price is now down about 20% to near $50/barrel. They have even made the point that they have 3 million barrels in reserve which they could release into the market if necessary.

So, Secretary Rice on Tuesday announced that America's six allies in the region plus Jordan and Egypt have approved Bush's new Iraq plan which includes getting serious about interference by Iran and Syria in Iraq. It would be encouraging to see Bush actually follow through on his threats for once. We'll soon see, I guess.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Murray Part 2

The second of three essays by Charles Murray was in the Wall Street Journal today and so far I haven't been able to get a link to it since I am not a subscriber to the online version. However, his subject today was an extension of yesterday's in that he reviews what those of us who have been in academia have known for a long time---namely the colleges and universities are largely populated by students who have no ability to prosper from the education, per se. They will enjoy themselves at great expense, but a degree in sociology, psychology, economics, or history will not certify them for anything in future employment except maybe perseverance. There are better, faster, more efficient ways to provide credentials for employers.

The really important message of this essay is based on I.Q. as one might expect. He maintains, correctly I believe, that a person with an average intelligence of about 100 will find that a genuine college education in the arts and sciences begins where the students skills (mentally) leave off. Using an estimate of what one's I.Q. should be to pursue a college degree as about 115, he concludes that only about 15% of today's students should go to college and yet we now have 45% of recent high school students enrolling in college and that is enough to absorb everyone down to an I.Q. of about 104. The result of this is our colleges are adjusting their standards and courses to accommodate them and this is largely an economic decision by the schools to get their money.

If I can find a way to link to this article, I will put it up since it is a very interesting read, in my view.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Educational Limits

This little blog has often been critical of the educational establishment in the U.S. because it has failed so many of our students and yet is not willing to change its ways. There is an essay out today, however, by one of the most important social scientists of our era which must be considered and should temper criticism of teachers and their results. As Charles Murray points out 1/2 of all students in the U.S. are below average in intelligence and it is unreasonable to expect some student with a low I.Q. to perform at a level above that limitation. As he points out, however, it does absolutely no good to challenge the test since that won't change the fact that our student population will still fit into a bell-shaped curve with respect to intelligence. The problem comes when you start identifying the students in a given section of that curve. Read it all.


The world seems to be fixated on the news that Castro is in grave or serious or some other degree of health deterioration. The traders I communicate with are busy trying to find stocks which will go up when he dies. I am struck by the fact that the communist system created by Castro and so greatly admired by the idiot Chavez in Venezuela was not able to produce a single surgeon able to operate on the dictator when his intestinal tract went blooey. He had to go to Spain to get a surgeon. We should keep that in mind as we are lead toward more government control of our health system by the libs now in control of congress.

The bottom line

As usual, Thomas Sowell nails the situation perfectly.

The success or failure of the troop surge in Iraq may depend far more on whether those troops can again be hamstrung by politically restrictive "rules of engagement" than on how many troops there are.

The Maliki government is politically dependent on one of the very Baghdad militias that needs to be disarmed. We can pressure and warn Maliki all we want, but his real choice will be whether he can survive -- either politically or personally -- without militia support.

Our choice may become whether we are prepared to sacrifice more American lives in order to prop up the Maliki government or whether we are prepared to sacrifice the Maliki government in order to restore law and order in Iraq.

That government is a product of our "nation-building" under the banner of a "democracy" for which Iraq may not have been ready.

Terrorists are flexible

As reported by Omar from Iraq, the foreign Arabs in Baghdad are on the move and our "surge" needs to adapt also.

In Diyala, politicians, religious and tribal figures demanded that their province be included in the security plan of Baghdad. This came after dozens of foreign Arab militants ran away from Baghdad to areas across Diyala in order to avoid raids by the Iraqi and American forces during the incoming security plan to secure Baghdad.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good News

Barbaro seems to be bouncing back again. The Kentucky Derby winner is spending hours in his protective sling, needed to deter sudden movement and make the colt comfortable as he fights back from his latest setback from laminitis.

X-rays on the 4-year-old bay colt showed no additional complications in either hind leg, and chief surgeon Dean Richardson said Barbaro was "acceptably comfortable" in his recovery from having damaged tissue removed from his left hind hoof.

The man needs psychiatric help

Fourteen members of an advisory board at the Carter Center resigned today, concluding they could "no longer in good conscience continue to serve" following publication of former President Jimmy Carter's controversial book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

"It seems that you have turned to a world of advocacy, including even malicious advocacy," the board members wrote in a letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. "We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position. This is not the Carter Center or Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support. Therefore it is with sadness and regret that we hereby tender our resignation from the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center effective immediately."

Good Analysis

Jonah Goldberg is one of my favorite columnists since he has a colorful way to put the situation in a manner which can't be debated. Here is an example from his latest column.

Here we have a president forthrightly trying to win a war, and the opposition -- which not long ago was in favor of increasing troops, when Bush was against that -- won't say what it wants. This is flatly immoral. If you believe the war can't be won and there's nothing to be gained by staying, then, to paraphrase Sen. John Kerry, you're asking more men to die for a mistake. You should demand withdrawal. But that might cost votes, so the Dems don't. And, of course, Kerry, Pelosi and other Democrats were in favor of more troops before they were against it.

Plan B

President Bush did a credible job last night in delivering his speech describing the new approach to the Iraq mess. As BestView has stated before, there needs to be a greater military effort without the limits which seem mainly imposed on them so as to not offend any of the disparate factions in Iraq. If the new troops are allowed to eliminate the sources of violence without interference, the prognosis is good because our military will succeed. As I understand the situation, however, this plan depends on the government of Iraq and the armed forces of Iraq to behave in a way is which completely at odds with anything we have seen out of them to date. We should know soon if the Iraqis are up to the task of saving themselves from a disaster.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Budding Influence

Finally, the highly insightful blog known as BestView is getting the respect it deserves. Just last Saturday I complained about us having a military presence in Djibouti which was performing nanny duties. Now we learn they have quit vaccinating camels long enough to send a number of al-Qaida to Allah with an air attack in Somalia. Way to go. More details here.

Another Report from Bill Ardolino

As you listen to President Bush tonight and consider his plan to achieve his objective in Iraq, it might be worthwhile to keep this interview which Bill Ardolino had with a man from Fallujah in mind. If the man he interviewed is correct, and he makes sense, the nature of the insurgency is much different than I had supposed and much less amenable to a military solution than I thought. At least in Fallujah.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

IED Patrol

There is a fellow by the name of Bill Ardolino imbedded in Iraq and sending back stories which are almost always excellent. This one describes a day on the road in Falluja looking for IEDs.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Amen, Mark Steyn

"I think in terms of the military approach to Iraq, you know, I've never been one of these people who thinks we need more forces there. You know, I don't think that this is actually a numbers game, or a money game, or a resources game. What it is, is actually about strategy. And so I assume that at some level, the President and his new defense secretary have concluded that these guys on the ground, charged with the day to day operations, were not handling things correctly. And I would have to say that it's hard not to conclude there's a certain amount of truth in that, simply from the fact that you know, the American military has been in control of Baghdad, now, for almost four years, and has not secured the city. That is a great mark of shame upon what is one of the most powerful military in the world. It should be's certainly got the money, the men, the equipment to pacify that city, so clearly what's been lacking is some kind of coherent strategy to do it. "

Several times recently, BestView has argued for not only a more energetic use of the military, but one more in keeping with the training and purpose of any military. Now it sounds like Mark Steyn agrees with this view and you can't get much better company than that.

The newest Bush Proposal

After several weeks of consideration and consultation with numerous players in the Iraq war, Bush is finalizing his newest plan for the future. He will announce this on Wednesday. Never one to miss an opportunity to criticize the President, the Democrats are already opposed to the new plan, no matter what it is.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Djibouti Nannies

The U. S. has a military base in Djibouti which is located in the horn of Africa adjacent to Ethiopia and Somalia. It was staffed after the 9/11 attacks to prevent al Qaeda from setting up shop in that location while we focused on them in Afghanistan. As we read in the papers, things are not going according to plan, it seems. Radical Islamist did set up in Somalia and only recently did the forces in Ethiopia have to move into Mogadishu to drive them out. Whether or not the radicals stay out is still an open question, but what of the military we established in Djibouti to prevent what the Ethiopians had to undo? Well, according to an editorial in the IBD today, our military is very busy putting up schools and vaccinating camels in an effort to keep some of the 80 million Muslims in the Horn of Africa from being sympathetic to the call of al Qaeda. Maybe the goal makes sense, but the Bush administration seems to be continuing its inclination to use the military to do things which seem more appropriate for a Peace Corps.

The Mexican War

Most of the focus is on the Iraq front, but there is also a war going on on our Southern border with Mexico and most of the fighting is being waged by forces in Mexico. The newly elected President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, has sent 3000 Mexican troops to the border town of Tijuana to confront drug traffickers who have been responsible for such crimes as killing 300 people in the past year. This pressure has caused the gangs to move to other places and this fact has been attributed to the recent attack on our National Guard who were patrolling the border in the Tucson area. Since the lame brained Bush administration sent the Guard down to the border with orders not to carry guns or defend itself, the troops had to retreat when attacked and now the National Guard is not even allowed to say whether or not our troops were fired upon. Common sense suggests that if they weren't shot at they wouldn't have retreated. This is just another example of idiotic rules of engagement forced on our military by the Bush administration.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

You gotta read it to believe it

O.K. this comes from the BBC which is really a left wing outfit, but it reads like it is factual. If I walked up to you on the street and said that the government was going to put a tax on cow farts, you would surely be dubious, I would hope. Well, don't be so hasty to dismiss this latest from the environmental idiots this blog has tried to unveil. Just click on this link and read it for yourself.

Is the left loony or more sinister?

I often refer to the left and liberals as being loony or loopy, but I just ran across a web site for a group of environmentalists which may force me to search for a more accurate adjective. Here is the web site of a group which feels we should follow their motto and extinguish ourselves to save the planet.

Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Wrong Guy

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, quoting his wife after he asked her whether she ever thought in her wildest dreams that her husband would become governor •“Matt, you’re never in my wildest dreams.” —

A good analysis of the Iraq military situatuion

Read it all here.

The military problem
- In World War II, our objective was "unconditional surrender" of our enemies. With unconditional surrender, the political problem is solved militarily but in a limited war, the political problem has a separate but related existence to the military problem. It is not enough to "rely on the generals." Solving the civilian-political problem is not their job. After all, what is their writ? To destroy our enemies or make friends with them? The civilians have to make that decision.

It is in the political-civilian area that we have been deficient in our strategy. It may well have been that our model before deposing Saddam was that there was an Iraqi polity that, absent the terror of Saddam, would be able to work out its problems through democratic means. If that was our model, it didn't work. We need a new model. Do we support majority rule - the al-Maliki government? That very likely means that we oppose the Sunni insurgency, even though the Sunni in some sense balance out the influence of the Iranian Shia. Well, that problem is not going to go away. If we are in a war, we have to want our side to win. If our side is to win, we must have a side. That nettle seems not to have been grasped, and no amount of surged troops is going to grasp it. It must be grasped as a matter of policy and then the troops can be given a military objective.

Should we surge troops? Wrong question. The question is (a) what is our objective and (b) what is our strategy for achieving it? Once we decide these two things, then we must find the leader who can execute on the strategy - the Ulysses Grant of this war - and not rotate him out until the job is finished.

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