Monday, October 31, 2005

Yale gets to add another accolade to its list.

President Bush nominated Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the supreme court to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. The hearings for this nominee could be quite the spectacle. Time Magazine has a post regarding Alito. Why Bush Picked Alito

Some brief highlights:

...while a limited paper trail was one of the Democrats' few quibbles with the record of Judge John Roberts as he was being considered for chief justice, Alito has a four-lane highway of writings: opinions on the Commerce Clause; the First Amendment (free speech, establishment clause and free exercise clause); the Fourth, Eighth and Eleventh amendments; and the Fourteenth Amendment (procedural due process and substantive due process). Oh, and then there are his writings on administrative law, criminal law, immigration, the False Claims Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and securities and prison litigation.

A memo being circulated among conservatives asserts that Alito "has more federal judicial experience than 105 of the 109 Supreme Court Justices appointed in U.S. history."

Double, double, toil and trouble

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.
Adders fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing."

"For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and babble"

"Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and caldron bubble."
- William Shakespeare

Happy Halloween

And beware of hitch-hiking ghosts!

The Shadowlands
The Moonlit Road
Halloween Ghost Stories
Haunted Mansion

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Halloween Edition

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

--From Macbeth (IV, i, 44-45)

The Questus Tremore
It's a rainy, dreary gray day here in Salt Lake City. Coupled with the date, the mind wanders to tales of ghosts and murders, stories of mysterious events and foul deeds - while the imagination conjures mist-shrouded streets and dark wildernesses, places that Doyle, Poe, or Lovecraft would feel comfortable.

What is it, exactly, about the unknown that facinates the human mind? Our facination with the supernatural? Simply our inablity to explain certain events? To substantiate them?

There are things that do not readily fit into the scientific catalog, things that technology can understand, but not explain. The Wasatch Ghost Investigator Society (see their website, has been studying ghosts for several years, and has found something truly amazing: Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). For lack of a better description, they are ghost voices, recorded on tape or digital recorders, and are picked up be recorders but are not heard by human ears when they are recorded. And not all of the voices they record are friendly.

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness. -- Joseph Conrad

Halloween is often a time when the evils of men are remembered, as well. Many of the acts of men defy the understanding of their contemporaries. One example that stands out in my mind is a mass murder in Florence, Montana. There, in a small hair salon in that small town, three older women were brutally murdered, for no apparent reason other than they were there.

Halloween historically been a time to remember evil, and to ward it off. The ancient pagan ritual of costumes and masks was designed to scare away any evil spirits ambling by. While the subsequent Disneyification of the holiday has done its best to remove the menacing undertones, the dark remains.

And for some reason the darkness facinates us. Perhaps it is our fear that drives our curiosity - or does our curioisty inspire our fear? I don't know. But it can be interesting.

Oh, that murder in Florence, Montana? That happened on November 6, 2001.

The killer's still out there, somewhere.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Recommended Reading
"Bush Must Cross The Rubicon."

A Jonah Goldberg two-fer:
"The Secret Files of the Anti-Hypocrite Squad,"

Indeed, offense at hypocrisy has become a warrant to be a bit of a jerk.
and "Golden Days."
It is just one sign of National Review's success that people think American conservatism is very old. It's not. In fact, even as we conservatives cheer the “wisdom of the ancients” and decry the modernity and even postmodernity of our ideological adversaries, American conservatism is arguably the youngest ideology on the block. Marxism, which still clings on like a tough carpet mold in a faculty lounge, is well over a century old.
The last one is an especially good read, a brief tour through the intellectual underpinnings of conservatism.

Thought of the Week
"The devil's agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong."
Winston Churchill

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Has Withdrawn

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Good for Ms. Miers.

Ms. Miers isn't a bad person - but she was a poor choice for the court. She was too much of an unknown quanity in terms of her judicial judgement. The Supreme Court is too important a body not to have a better idea of what her approach to law and the Constitution are.

And to those whose who worry about the Court's demographics - is the Court about politics - or the law? Find the best qualified people you can, regardless of their race, gender, or other chracteristics; find people who respect the law, and hold the Constitution supreme.

Now, back to the drawing board. I'm still agitating for Michael McConnell, but I'm no lawyer. And I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.

More info at National Review.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My response to gas prices...

As I was driving yesterday I noticed that gas prices have come down by about 30 cents here in Salt Lake city. I caught myself saying "Wow, prices have come down" and I actually felt better about the price of gas. The feeling only lasted a moment. Then I remembered that $2.59/gallon is still $1 more than I want to pay for gas. I forced myself not to feel better about the decline in price. In fact, after thinking about it I was annoyed.

So, here's my theory: The petroleum demons raised the price of gas *SO* high in an effort to play on our emotions and psychologically influence our feelings towards the price of gas. The price of gas has been so high for so long that we've felt very gouged. A decrease of 30 or 40 cents makes us feel better.

The price went up so high that it hurt, and prices stayed high for quite some time so that the pain endured. We got used to feeling gouged at the pump. All of this has been in an effort to ease us into a new, and higher, standard price for gasoline. Now when the price backs off a bit (by say, 30 or 40 cents) we feel better about paying more than $2.50 for gas.

To the people beind the pricing: I will continue to use alternative methods of transportation and avoid putting my hard-earned money into your pockets so you can have higher profit margins and look better to your stockholders. $2.50/gallon is $1 more than I want to pay. Thanks for the 30+ cent price reduction, but I'm not buying it (pun intended). Keep up the Walmart-like "price rollbacks" and eventually I will cave, but not at $2.50 a gallon. I remember paying $0.89/gallon when I was in high school, which wasn't that long ago.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Syria's "Spontaneous" Demonstrations

From the New York Times:
Syrian Government Mobilizes a Vast Rally to Support Assad
DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 24 - Tens of thousands of Syrians, some of them carrying photographs of President Bashar al-Assad and chanting anti-American slogans, protested in Damascus on Monday against the findings of a United Nations report about the assassination of the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri.
That would be this report, which stated there was substantial evidence Syria was behind the assassination of the popular Hariri. That attack would lead to intense international and public Lebanese pressure. Syria, which had long considered Lebanon its private playground, had to pack up and move out, ending a twenty-year occupation.

But that's only the lead. Here is how public demonstrations occur in a totalitarian state:
"We are protesting against the Mehlis report because it is untrue," said Marwa Jelaylat, 17. "We were very surprised to hear these accusations against our government."

Like many of the protesters, Ms. Jelaylat was carrying an armload of textbooks and wearing her high school uniform. She said she and her classmates were told when they arrived at school that their classes were canceled and that they would be "spontaneously demonstrating today in support of President Assad."

Damascus University students and public employees said their classrooms and offices had also been closed to allow them to demonstrate. All users of Syriatel, a mobile phone provider that is owned by President Assad's first cousin, Rami Makhlouf, received text messages at about 6 a.m., urging them to participate in "a demonstration supporting the national attitude."
Heh. Shades of "1984," anyone?

Found at The Corner.

Remember St. Crispin's Day

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

-- Wm. Shakespeare,
King Henry V

The warrior spirit lives yet. REMEMBER ST. CRISPIN'S DAY!

Venezuelan Ripples

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Church Retreats in Venezuela
Amid increasing tensions between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the U.S. government, the LDS Church has withdrawn all its North American missionaries from Venezuela, spokesman Dale Bills said Monday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had trouble getting or renewing visas for its U.S. missionaries, Bill said, so it has reassigned missionaries working in Venezuela to other Spanish-speaking missions in Latin America, the United States and Canada. Venezuelan LDS missionaries will remain in the country.

In just four hours Sunday, the Utah-based church removed an estimated 400 missionaries, some between ages 19 and 24 and others who are retired couples. The church has a temple in Caracas, and 144 congregations with more than 122,000 members on their rolls.

It appears that all non-Venezuelan Mormon missionaries, not just American citizens, have been withdrawn.

This is apparently a consequence of Pat Robertson's ramblings e.gage has previously mentioned. I thought that teapot tempest had blown over, but I was wrong. More from the Tribune:

Within the past two weeks, Chavez expelled the Florida-based New Tribes Mission, accusing the evangelical Christian group of being CIA operatives attempting to infiltrate the country. Though the Evangelical Council of Venezuela defended New Tribes, the government is standing firm.

So it's not just the Mormons, Hawkins said. The Venezuelan parliament is working on legislation banning visas for all foreign missionaries.

That last part is a little surprising. I can understand Chavez being a little twitchy over American missionaries - but all foreign missionaries?

I have a bad feeling about this...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Beware The Ninja Threat

As reported in the Idaho Statesman:
Ninjas Rob Idaho 7-Eleven
Boise police are looking for two men who robbed a 7-Eleven while dressed as ninjas.

The robbers, described as being in their early 20s, walked into the 7-Eleven at Ustick and Maple Grove Roads around 2:45 a.m. Friday, threatened a clerk with a butcher knife and ran away with an undisclosed amount of cash. They were last seen heading West on Ustick, Boise police spokesman Lt. Randy Roper said.

A dark-colored passenger car was seen speeding away from a nearby Pizza Hut soon after the robbery and may have been involved.

No one was hurt in the robbery, which is still under investigation.
Apprently the assassination business is poor in Idaho, if the local ninja chapter has stooped so low as to try to survive on pilfered Slim Jims and Big Gulps.

The solution is obvious. The city of Boise must recruit seven samurai from Japan, have them swear fealty to the Mayor, and have them hunt down and eliminate the ninja menace, so the peaceful farmers of Idaho can return to their fields.

Found over at Orbusmax.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore
I'm sick. Flu bites. In case you were wondering.

Bird flu also bad. Cool link here:
Tech Central Station. Bottom line - don't panic, but don't dismiss it either. It is possible, and if it does happen, it could be bad.

Recommended Reading
VDH on Iraq:
"With a Whimper."

Jonah Goldberg:
"Is Bush a Conservative?"

Patrolling the Front
Cancelled this week.

Thought of the Week
"We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience."
Thomas Jefferson

Churchill Quote of the Week
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Worth Repeating

A bit of Jay Nordlinger - because this bears repeating:
Can you stand a little more ElBaradei? Indulge me in one more point. He has the quite peculiar view — particularly for the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency — that established nuclear powers, such as the United States, have no real right to prevent others from acquiring the same destructiveness.

Here is ElBaradei in the New York Times, last year:

"We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security."

A staggering statement, that. Think what it means for Iran and Israel. Think what it means for North Korea and Japan. Think what it means for the entire world.

Forgotten in ElBaradei's statement is the character of an individual regime, and the purpose for which it possesses nukes, or seeks them. All of this is elementary, really — but still not widely enough comprehended.

There, I'm done with Nobel prizes. Aren't you glad?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How Far Does The First Amendment Extend?

For the lawyers and potential lawyers among us, I present the following:

Heated words fly in N.M., and legal trouble ensues
New Mexico man is facing the possibility of a year in jail for carrying a picket sign that called a police officer a "liar" and a "dirty cop."

...The case is the most recent in a small but steady stream of prosecutions under state laws, some dating to the 19th century, that criminalize false, damaging statements about officials or private citizens.
Note that the argument here is not about criticizing the government, per se, or an elected official, but a government employee, in this case a police officer.

Now, I know I may be missing something here. I'm pretty sure e..gage knows more about First Amendment law than I do.

Does the state have the authority to limit free speech in this manner? By the same token, how much abuse to our public officials have to accept? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

What's up with the Mormons lately?

They forgot to mention a few. The head of the EPA (Leavitt) is a member. The QB for Boston College, a predominantly Catholic school, is Paul Peterson a member, and an RM to boot. And let's not forget a very famous and successful Las Vegas Act: Gladys Knight. Also, the editor who worked on the story in Newsweek is a graduate of BYU and a member. It looks like Mormons are also the target of a new HBO show.

Mormons Rising In Government, Business, Schools.
Mormons, it seems, are on the move.

Just last week, Newsweek devoted a cover story to the Utah-based church, which the magazine described as "booming."

Over the summer, the dean of Harvard Business School, Kim Clark, quit Cambridge, Mass., for Rexburg, Idaho, to take up the presidency of a branch of Mormon-run Brigham Young University.

Mormons are also rising to new positions of prominence in politics and business. Governor Romney of Massachusetts is a member of the church and a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Political pundits are already debating whether his Mormon faith will be an asset or a liability in the race.

Senator Reid of Nevada, who became minority leader of the Senate earlier this year, is a Mormon. So, too, is the CEO of one of America's most successful new airlines, David Neeleman of JetBlue.

More on the quarterback:
A 'Dame' good win
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The bookstore will most likely start printing commemorative T-shirts and hats for this year's version of the Boston College victory over Notre Dame as soon as possible. The catchphrase will undoubtedly have something to do with four straight wins over BC's Catholic counterparts in South Bend and will be rivalry-related. Maybe the designers should start with this theme: Thank God for the little Mormon.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I love google.

I never knew I could like a corporate entity this much... and it's not so much that I like what they do as much as I like the fact that they are continuously innovative.

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore: Regarding Islam and Terror
Rather than launch off on a whole different tangent, as is usually my wont, I'm going to continue a discussion already started by The Niem and e.gage. Unfortunately, I don't have the time for the considered response I intended (hopefully this weekend I will). So, two quick thoughts:

I don't see anyone around here passing out torches and rope. And while the catalog of hate crimes you mention is disturbing - it could be worse. We don't have lynch mobs running through the streets - and we have in the past. We are not rounding up Muslims and sending them to internment camps - and we have in the past. We're not perfect, but we're better than we were fifty years ago. Give Americans the benefit of the doubt.

e.gage has disagreed with my use of the term "Islamofascism," arguing that the only term that applies is terrorism. I'm going to have to disagree - because Islamofascism exists in Iran, and used to exist in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan*. Now, there might be a better term to describe it - and if you have something shorter in mind I'll be happy to use it. But how do we describe a ideological movement dedicated to restoration of the Islamic caliphate and rule by pure Islamic law - law as defined only by those who advocate this movement?

It's not a theocracy - because power is placed firmly in the hands of a few untouchable men. It is totalitarian government, wrapped in an Islamic flag; a perversion of Islam, rather than a stronghold.

If you will permit me a pedantic moment: terrorism is a method, a means to provoke a change; whereas totalitarianism is an end. This is just the totalitarian flavor of the decade - an Islamic-flavored kind. Its practitioners argue that they represent True Islam - and we cannot prove them wrong unless the normal practitioners of Islam help us defeat them. They are going to have to fight for their faith, disavowing those who go beyond the pale - just as Christians have to do with the Christian wingnuts.

Recommended Reading
Victor Davis Hanson: An American "Debacle."

Jonah Goldberg: Do You Have Miers Mental Dementia Obsessive Hysteria (Mm'Doh!)?

Myrna Byth: Feeling Disappointed?

And lastly, this interesting piece on economic freedom.

Patrolling the Front
This week, we have had an interesting discussion, a healthy back-and-forth that is precisely what I was hoping for when Jamo and I started this blog.

It started with this post by The Niem and went into the comments, then continued with this post by e.gage and its comments.

They have disagreed - but kept it healthy and civil. Thank you - and keep it up.

Thought of the Week
"Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities."

John F. Kennedy, 1961

Churchill Thought of the Week
"Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
Winston Churchill

*Note to Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, who recently stated that life in Utah is like living under the rule of the Taliban: I'd like to see how long you'd last there, dipstick.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

To Do The Impossible, Just Try Harder

How to airmail a water buffalo to Afghanistan. You'll have to click the link to understand.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So... now I'm paying taxes on money I didn't even earn!?

Okay, Pres. Bush... I don't see how paying taxes on money I don't actually earn makes the current tax system "simpler, fairer and more geared to promoting economic growth".

Can someone see any way in which this would benefit you personally? Let me see if I understand this correctly, in an effor to make taxes fairer and increase economic growth, I will pay additional taxes and thereby have less money in pocket. And that adds to economic growth how? If I remember correctly, lower discretionary income = bad consequences regarding economic growth.

Money in my pocket =
Income - (income_tax + (employer-paid_benefits * benefit_tax_rate)) = pretty crappy

Tax-free health benefit may change - CNN
A bipartisan tax reform panel, appointed by President Bush to suggest ways to make the tax code simpler, fairer and more geared to promoting economic growth, said at a public meeting on Tuesday that it may recommend curbing the amount of tax-free health insurance contributions your employer makes on your behalf.

Anything paid above the threshold would be treated as taxable income to you.

Afghanistan Today

Go read "Dead Man Laughing" at the Belmont Club.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

View Number Two: Flame

"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere."
--Ali ibn-Abi-Talib (602 AD - 661 AD), A Hundred Sayings

Islamofascism Our Misunderstood Friend

It is ironic that we as Americans seem to have so many problems with perception. We live in a magnificent society, filled with a grand mixture of peoples. The illustrative motto of our nation is "E Pluribus Unim," "From Many, One," a phrase suggesting that despite our differences we exercise unity. In a unified populous such as ours certain truisms are overtly evident, specifically the fact that radical individuals and factions should not be used to represent the larger whole.

Concerning the war on terror, there is a camp of thought that is insistent upon soft terminology and sesitivity given to those who would otherwise be known as our enemies. The argument for this action generally revolves around the exclaimation that the religion of Islam cannot be blamed for the actions of radical individuals and factions, and that the people should not be generalized as terrorists. As I stated above, this argument is self-evident and deeply ingrained within the common understanding of our own society. Many statements made concerning our enemies are constructed around this common understanding, and such statements are not assumed to be aimed at the whole of Islam, but rather the radicals and factions that stand against us. It is a wasteful exercise to spend our time tip-toeing around the terminology.

Additionally it must be stated that we do have enemies, and we have had enemies for a long time. We cannot refuse to confront our enemies on the grounds that by identifying them as our enemies, we are insulting the whole of Islam. Our enemies chose for themselves to attack us. Our enemies continue to choose to threaten us. Barring anecdotal incidents it is well understood that the majority of the Muslim people sustain a peaceful religion.

Having said this, it is also important to note that amongst our enemies there is a significant ideological component based upon Islam. Historically the religion of Islam has supported a strong intolerance of outside religions and it would seem to me that Islamic regimes appear to use the religion as a method of controlling the populous, allowing the radical few to have expanded power. Our enemies have called their efforts a Jihad - a holy war. It is impossible to excise the religious component of this conflict.

I fully support the individual in all religious pursuits. I do not see the religion of Islam as "evil" or as a propegator of evil. I posted this simply to emphasize that to identify our enemies as they are.

Soccer, The Jihad Way

An actual fatwa on soccer, as related by Michael Ledeen in National Review:
1. Eliminate the four lines defining the playing area;

2. Ban the use of language like "foul," "penalty kick," "corner kick," "goal," and "out of bounds." Anyone who says such things must be thrown out of the game and duly punished;

3. You can’t stop playing just because you break your hand or foot. And no yellow or red card for anyone who does that to you. No way. You drag the opponent into a proper sharia court and testify against him;

4. Since the infidels have eleven players on a side, Muslims must have either more or less, but not that satanic number;

5. Proper dress codes must be enforced, no colorful shirts and shorts, and no numbers;
This is the only time you need wory about dress codes. When you progress to Jihad, you can then dress as women, police, ambulance drivers...
6. Remember that this is preparation for jihad, don’t waste time celebrating a win;
Probably because you will have blown yourself to kingdom come, so save the celebration for the afterlife, I guess.
7. Change the length of the game from the usual 45-minute halves;

8. In fact, no halves. Either play the whole game non-stop, or have three periods (remember that the infidels play two halves);
For there is no rest in the war on the infidel!
9. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, that’s it. No overtime, no penalty kicks;

10. No referee. That’s obvious, since you can’t talk about fouls, corner kicks, or any of the other things that referees decide;

11. No fans. If soccer is preparation for jihad, why would anyone watch? They should be getting ready for jihad themselves;

12. After the game, no comments about either the outcome or the merits of the players. You can talk about how your body feels (your muscles are stronger, so you’re going to do better when it’s jihad time, etc.);

13. No cross bar on the net. Two poles will do just fine;

14. If anyone tries to hug a player who has scored, uh (can’t say "goal"), inserted the ball between the posts, "you should spit in his face, punish him, and reprimand him, for what do joy, hugging and kissing have to do with sports?";

15. No substitutions.
"Hey, Mustaffa, my ankle's sore. Can you carry this suicide bomb for me?

Ledeen closes:
You might think that this is so ridiculous that it was laughed out of civil society, but you would be wrong (and the society isn’t civil, anyway)...

It’s an odd thing to believe, even for an Islamofascist. After all, Osama himself is said to have rooted for Arsenal when he lived in England, and Khomeini himself, than which nobody grimmer can be conceived, actually played the game. But times have changed, as the power of the clerical fascists has expanded over a new generation of believers.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A letter to Rocky Anderson

Quoted from Utah Politics

Brother of Fallen Soldier Sends A Message [to] Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson email from Mike Cawley, who is the brother of Marine Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley, the first Iraq war casualty in Utah.

My problem with Rocky is not most of his policies, or even the fact that he protests. My problem is that Rocky continually uses the words “I/We support our troops.” In what way is that? To bring them home? Every soldier I’ve met has not, and is not asking for that. They feel people like Rocky are hurting, not helping, even aiding the enemy. They’re repulsed by his actions and claims of support.

What exactly is this support Mayor Anderson claims to give? Let me suggest some real ways for Rocky to claim support: The next time visiting officials from other cities come to Salt Lake City, let them buy their own drinks then take that $450 of taxpayer money and buy body armor for one of your constituents serving without body armor in Iraq. Don’t wait for the federal government to buy it, YOU are their government too Rocky. Instead of taking your employees and friends on a $135,000 luxury trip to Torino, Italy to deliver a Mayoral “Olympic message of peace, youth, and environment,” stay home instead, pick up the phone, wish Torino well and follow it up with a few pictures in the mail of the SLC Olympics. Do you really think your official, in person visit is going to make one bit of difference to their Olympics to the tune of $135,000? Who is that trip really for? Torino, or is it for you? Next time go out and raise $135,000 for the reservist troops from your city that have taken huge a pay cut to serve Salt Lake City and this country. Help their families. Don’t wait for the federal government. You are their government.

The problem with Rocky is that he uses the term “support our troops” as lip service to deflect criticism of his protests. Protests I can say without hesitation offend and disgust the vast majority of Utah servicemen serving, or who have served in Iraq. His use of the term “I support our troops” insults my family and other UTAH families who’ve lost loved ones that have served in THIS war. Repeat here, UTAH families.

Where are the UTAH families of the fallen at Rocky’s protests? Where are the IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN veterans at his protests? As of Jan 2005 over 1,048,884, soldiers have served in operation Iraqi Freedom. That’s approximately one-third the number of troops ever stationed in or around Vietnam during that war. Yes, you’ll find a few veterans of Vietnam and other wars at Rocky’s protests. They’ve more than earned the right to protest. But this isn’t Vietnam, or Korea, or WW2. It’s Iraq. Where are the 1,048,884 Iraq Veterans at his protests? Many of them have left the military by now and are free to protest. Where are they? You’ll find one or two family members of fallen soldiers in this war at Rocky’s rallies. Out of state people from Cindy Sheehan’s group. Sheehan has 57 members listed on her site who are family members of those fallen since 9/11. Five of those members are from Sheehan’s own family. One gold star family member of hers is an “honorary” Sheehan family member…whatever honorary means. I guess we hand out the term Gold Star Family member pretty cheap nowadays. Others in her group are related and represent (so to speak) the same soldier. Some soldiers listed died stateside in accidents. Do you know how many thousands and thousands of Gold Star family members of fallen Iraq soldiers there are? 80,000 to 100,000 would be an extremely conservative number. Sheehan’s 57 members aren’t even a dot on the map compared to the rest of us. Rocky points his stalwart finger at President Bush but completely ignores the four fingers pointing back at him. Mayor Anderson is part of government. Soldiers don’t care whether it’s city, state, or federal. Rocky too has a responsibility to his constituent soldiers no matter how hard he tries to pawn it off on the federal government. Protest, fine…but from now on, leave out the words, “I support our troops.” I’ve yet to meet a single Utah soldier or Utah Gold Star Family member that agrees with his policy and his actions concerning this war. I’ve yet to meet a single one that thinks he supports them. What person, city, or state is he representing when he claims support?

Mike Cawley

Bush close to naming Greenspan successor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush wants to pick a replacement for retiring Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as soon as possible, the White House said Friday.

Spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush was actively searching for the next Fed chairman. Greenspan's 18-year run on the Federal Reserve is expected to end on Jan. 31.

Wallace and Grommit... destroyed.

Fire destroys 'Wallace and Gromit' warehouse - CNN
BRISTOL, England -- The company behind the new "Wallace and Gromit" film said Monday its "entire history" has been destroyed in a fire at a warehouse containing props and sets.

The roof and three interior walls of the Aardman Animations building in Bristol, west England collapsed after the blaze tore through the Victorian building, fire officials said

Wallace and Gromit's creator, Nick Park, said the earthquake in South Asia helped put the loss into perspective.

"Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of other tragedies, today isn't a big deal," he said.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus


Questus Furore: Oh, That War
The President gave an excellent speech on the War on Terror today. It is a speech I was hoping he would make.

But I'm not sure anyone heard. It merited a whole 30 seconds on the news tonight. And the critics wailed, as they have every night.

But some great points were made:
...The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We've seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Margaret Hassan, and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I do not feel your pain -- because I believe you are an infidel." And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

When 25 Iraqi children are killed in a bombing, or Iraqi teachers are executed at their school, or hospital workers are killed caring for the wounded, this is murder, pure and simple -- the total rejection of justice and honor and morality and religion. These militants are not just the enemies of America, or the enemies of Iraq, they are the enemies of Islam and the enemies of humanity. (Applause.) We have seen this kind of shameless cruelty before, in the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, and the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth they have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books, and desecrated historical monuments, and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, and to control every aspect of life, and to rule the soul, itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing for a future of oppression and misery.

The critic's response? "They're not really a threat, and besides, Bush has no strategy." Of course, they've been real helpful, just chock-full of, ideas. It's all Bush's fault, you see, because he didn't support [insert liberal cause here]. And now it is up to them to stop him, through their wise words, stirring protest songs, and principled stands.

But just last evening, a "specific threat" was made against the New York City subway system. Last week, a man blew himself up at a University of Oklahoma football game. We may very well be on the leading edge of a terror offensive.

Of course, these stories are still developing.

The Islamist movement has, for well over a decade, announced their intentions to kill any who stand in their path to total dominion. When will we take them at their word?

Recommended Reading
Victor Davis Hanson: "The Quiet Consensus" and takes a look at an alternative Iraq.

Iain Murray takes a look at the Conservative Party in Britain.

Jim Robbins analyzes President Bush's speech yesterday.

Jonah Goldberg on Harriet Miers.

Patrolling the Front
e.gage is still finding random pictures. Is it that quiet up there? One thing we definitely agree on, though - you should go see Serenity.

Jamo (j.m.) is maintaining the U2 watch, and finds an interesting article on the power of books. He and I also examined the latest nomination to the Supreme Court.

Adam (The Niem) is back! He reviewed Serenity for us, reviews the start of the second season of Lost, and shares some favorite Conan O'Brian jokes.

Nathan wonders if Harriet Miers is part of a bigger strategy.

Matt and Maine Man are MIA, and Spencer (The Unknowable) has been lurking in the comments.

And me (Tyler)? I want to believe Ms. Miers is a good choice, but I'm not convinced. I think President Bush flubbed this one. It's also the 50th anniversary of National Review, there's some interesting earthquake news, and you really need to go see Serenity.

Thought(s) of the Week:
"Personal relations matter more in international politics than the historians would have us believe. Of course, nations will follow their overriding interest on the great issues regardless, but there are many important occasions when the trust built up over several years of contacts makes a real difference to how things turn out."
-- President Ronald Reagan

"I aim to misbehave."
-- Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

Churchill Quote of the Week:
"Statesmen are not called upon to settle the easy questions. These often settle themselves. It is when the balance quivers and the proportions are veiled in mist that the opportunities for world-saving decisions present themselves."
-- Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

View Number Two: Movie Review: Serenity

The Operative: "Are you willing to die for your beliefs?"
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "Yes."
[he fires]
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "'Course that ain't plan A."

Serenity [****]

Over the course of this summer we have lived through the messy media chaos of hollywood mediocrity. So many films have been released with a promise of excellence that is never quite achieved. The Fantastic Four quickly became the "Enjoyable-But-Not-Quite-Fantastic Four." The Skeleton Key was creepy and moody, but lacked impact. Dukes of Hazard was expectedly dumb (but fun). Even the Corpse Bride, despite its cleaverness, did not live up to expectations. Between every weapon launched by Hollywood this year, few have hit the mark.

So let us give thanks for a little Serenity. While this sci-fi adventure may appeal centrally to cultist fanbase of the genre, I enjoyed the film immensely.

Serenity follows the colorful, slightly criminal crew of a starship called Serenity as they evade the dominating self-righteous machinations of the Alliance. Capt. Malcom Reynolds leads the group with a brazen, off-the-cuff style, while trying to balance honor with necessity. Essentially, the crew of the Serenity moves from job to job, scraping a living for themselves through legitament and illegitament means.

The story revolves around the ship's doctor and his sister River Tam, who is the prodigal subject of a secret Alliance experiment. The two have been travelling with the Serenity to avoid attention from the Alliance. Naturally the movie accellerates as the hunt for River begins.

Joss Whedon, creator of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also the genius behind this movie. Serenity began its life as a sorrowfully, short-lived series on the Fox netork called Firefly. As with his success in television, the characters in Serenity are all treated with equal enthusiasm, while the events bring a pleasant mixture of drama, humor, and action. All of this is presented in a fascinating world drawn from both Western, Oriental, and Sci-Fi themes.

Personally, I consider this to be one of the more enjoyable movies this year, and I highly recommend it.

View Number Two: Movie Review: Serenity

The Operative: "Are you willing to die for your beliefs?"
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "Yes."
[he fires]
Capt. Malcom Reynolds: "'Course that ain't plan A."

Serenity [****]

Over the course of this summer we have lived through the messy media chaos of hollywood mediocrity. So many films have been released with a promise of excellence that is never quite achieved. The Fantastic Four quickly became the "Enjoyable-But-Not-Quite-Fantastic Four." The Skeleton Key was creepy and moody, but lacked impact. Dukes of Hazard was expectedly dumb (but fun). Even the Corpse Bride, despite its cleaverness, did not live up to expectations. Between every weapon launched by Hollywood this year, few have hit the mark.

So let us give thanks for a little Serenity. While this sci-fi adventure may appeal centrally to cultist fanbase of the genre, I enjoyed the film immensely.

Serenity follows the colorful, slightly criminal crew of a starship called Serenity as they evade the dominating self-righteous machinations of the Alliance. Capt. Malcom Reynolds leads the group with a brazen, off-the-cuff style, while trying to balance honor with necessity. Essentially, the crew of the Serenity moves from job to job, scraping a living for themselves through legitament and illegitament means.

The story revolves around the ship's doctor and his sister River Tam, who is the prodigal subject of a secret Alliance experiment. The two have been travelling with the Serenity to avoid attention from the Alliance. Naturally the movie accellerates as the hunt for River begins.

Joss Whedon, creator of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also the genius behind this movie. Serenity began its life as a sorrowfully, short-lived series on the Fox netork called Firefly. As with his success in television, the characters in Serenity are all treated with equal enthusiasm, while the events bring a pleasant mixture of drama, humor, and action. All of this is presented in a fascinating world drawn from both Western, Oriental, and Sci-Fi themes.

Personally, I consider this to be one of the more enjoyable movies this year, and I highly recommend it.

Like a lamb to the slaughter...

What do you think of Pres. Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers?

Personally, I think she is like a sacrificial lamb being presented to appease the bloodthirsty Democrats who are just dying to oppose Bush in any way they can. I think that there will be a large opposition. It will be close when confirmation time comes around, but she may be defeated.

So, in this political chess move, Bush's next appointee may be better known and more easily confirmed because people will be sick of the bickering and Democrats will have been satisfied that they were able to thwart Bush, at least with Miers.

China Pounded By Longwang

Really. Honest.

"BEIJING, China (AP) -- Typhoon Longwang pounded southeast China with heavy winds and rains but appeared to be weakening as it moved inland, weather officials said Monday."


[Remainder of post has been censored. Tyler's posting priviledges have been suspended for the rest of the day, while he attends sensitivity training and "attitude adjustment." Our apologies.
- The Editors]

Monday, October 03, 2005

"What Was That?"

Serenity. Go see it. You will enjoy.