Friday, March 31, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - Tell Me
So today SecState Rice is in the UK, with a typical crowd of venomous and inane protesters in attendance, and states that "thousands of mistakes" were made in Iraq.

Tell me - what did you expect?

Mistakes, accidents, and reverses are nothing new. Look at World War Two - coming on the heels of the victory in landings in Niormandy and moving from victory to victory across France, the Allies experienced two major
disasters in less than four months - Operation Market Garden and the attack in the Ardennes (which led to the Battle of the Bulge). The first was a daring operation that could have worked - but its execution was botched. The second was a combination of major failues - failure of intelligence, of judgement, and of preparation.

War is a vile creature, and once loosed the random chaos bites both target and master.

But that's not a surprise. We were told up front that Iraq could very well be a generational commitment. That the American people and far too many of their elected representatives have already forgotten this speaks more to their failings than that of George W. Bush. And there's more to this campaign than simply Iraq.

Tell me this - does the potential cost of simply pulling up stakes and going home cause any concern at all?

Read this and this, please. And then continue.

OK, thanks.

Tell me, what does the American military legacy of the last forty years entails? Basically, if it gets too hot, America quits and goes home. Vietnam, Iran, Lebanon, Somalia...

And the enemy is counting on it. They don't need to defeat the American military on the battlefield. The most vital battlefields for the enemy are in the American court of public opinion.

What it means is that now we are atoning for the sins and mistakes of our fathers. Every time their hearts faltered, the hearts of those who oppose the United States were emboldened. We must hunt them down and destroy them where they live, or they will return the favor. The war will be hard, expensive, and long.

And the war will go on. It continues in Iraq, in Afghanistan, off Somalia, and in places that will never make the front pages of the newspapers. It will go on until one side is beaten, humiliated, and hammered into defeat and ruin. And that will be the end, even if we surrender long before then. The war will go on - for they understand us better than we understand ourselves, and they have the resolve to see it through.

Tell me - do we?

Recommended Reading
An oldie but goodie: John Fonte, "The Ideological War Within The West." It's a long one, but it is important. This is the intellectual debate happening right now, one that endangers the very concepts of national sovereignty, individual liberty, and individual agency.

VDH, "When Cynicism Meets Fanaticism."

Rich Lowry, "Where Are The Big Ideas?"

Donald Rumsfeld, in his own words.

Thought of the Week
"You ask, What is our policy? I will say; "It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy." You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965), 1940, in his first address as the newly appointed Prime Minister.

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old."
Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Reagan's Finest Hour"

Twenty-five years ago today.

Disturbing News of the Day

Interpol is reporting that al Qaeda is preparing a biological terror attack.

(Courtesy Protein Wisdom. Check out his followup to this piece, as well.)

Parking At Salt Lake International

I travelled to Billings, MT at the start of the week - hence my absence - and my trip sparked a question. No, not "What does a buffalo burger taste like?" Rather, I am forced to ask: at the Salt Lake International Airport, does the long-term parking lot A really exist?

You see, at the Salt Lake Airport, there are two long-term parking lots, Lot A and Lot B. Lot A is located immediately behind the parking garage on the airport grounds; Lot B is located just west of Wendover, NV.

I ask this question because every time I have parked out there, Lot A is full.

I have come to the conclusion it does not really exist, but is instead an airport defense against complaints about how one is closer to one's plane when he exits his car than when he enters the airport terminal. (At the very least, this is true when the airplane is taxiing for takeoff.)

Instead, Lot A really is a single row of junked cars, a "Lot A" sign and a "LOT FULL" sign.

Prove me wrong. Please.

[P.S. Being a construction worker at SLC International must be a sweet job. The construction never ends. It never goes anywhere, either. Talk about job security.]

Monday, March 27, 2006

Retired Generals Want Scalia Off Gitmo Case

Wait wait wait wait wait. So, enemies of the United States, and those caught in combat are supposed to have rights under the constitution? Well blimey. I had no idea.

Retired Generals Want Scalia Off Gitmo Case: "Speaking at the University of Freiberg in Switzerland on March 8, Scalia said foreigners waging war against the United States have no rights under the Constitution."

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - Gee, You're Welcome
Each Friday, I go looking for some story to get my vitriol up. No problem this week.

Three hostages were rescued in Iraq yesteday by Coalition forces (some combination of British, Canadian, and American forces).


These three hostages are 3/4 of the members of a pacifist delegation, who apparently felt their mere presence would bring joy and light and peace to the region, enlightening even the cockles of George Bush's heart who would end his horrible attempt to occupy Iraq and return it to its proper former state, under the control of a mad tyrant with a penchant for feeding those who displease him into a wood chipper. Alive.

That their ambitions were in vain should have been apparent when they were taken captive by the people they sympathized with (apparently, the terrorists didn't get the newsletter). It should been rendered abundantly clear when one of their number, Tom Fox, was murdered.

(Allow me to clarify some definitions: Rebels fight soldiers, and only target soldiers. Terrorists target civilians, and only accidentally get into a fight with real troops.)

But their organization doesn't get it. Upon the rescue of the hostages, the organization issued this press release:
Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict. They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers. We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
Yes, you read that right. One would think they could at least spare a few kind words for the rescuers. I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not. I do find it incredibly hypocritical. In this age of superficial emotion and untempered passion, irony wins every time. And they fail to see it.

The organization is unwilling to speak of the fact that the hostages are free because other men were willing to lay down their lives for complete strangers. Strangers who disagree with them and all they stand for.

Not very humble, for Christians.

More at The Pacific Slope.

Recommended Reading
Victor Davis Hanson, "Hard Pounding."

Jonah Goldberg, "Right From The Beginning."

Jonah Goldberg, "Life Conspires Against the 'Old Jonah.'"

Michael T. Darda, "Guns and Butter Buffoonery."

Jamo has a post up on a report by the Comptroller General. Part of me says, so, now what? Republicans can't cut government fat and Democrats won't. So now what? (Before anyone says Clinton - look at what he did to the Defense Department. That's not the right path, despite the pleas of Bushophobes, whackos, and Dennis Kucinich.)

Thought of the Week
"After order and liberty, economy is one of the highest essentials of a free government."
Calvin Coolidge

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Do we not owe it to ourselves, to our children, to mankind tormented, to make sure that these catastrophes shall not engulf us for the third time? It has been proved that pestilence may break out in the Old World, which carry their destructive ravages into the New World, from which, once they are afoot, the New World cannot by any means escape. Duty and prudence alike command first that the germ-centres of hatred and revenge should be constantly and vigilantly surveyed and treated in good time, and, secondly, that an adequate organisation should be set up to make sure that the pestilence can be controlled at its earliest beginnings before it spreads and rages throughout the entire earth."
Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Comptroller General Predicts Fiscal Crisis Unless Government Reforms

Comptroller General Predicts Fiscal Crisis Unless Government Reforms:

"Plagued by waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, the government must reconsider longstanding policies to sustain its superpower status and leave the country better positioned for the future. “Washington is out of control,” Walker asserted, not blaming anyone in particular. “I mean this on a nonpartisan basis.

“We could eliminate every dime of waste…and this nation would still have large and growing structural deficits,” Walker said. There are “too many layers, too many players, too many turf battles, and too many hardened silos.”

In order to make the necessary changes, the government needs more leaders with courage, integrity, creativity, and stewardship and who are willing to reform entitlement policies, namely Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The government also needs to re-engineer the base of spending and re-evaluate tax policies."

Going The Distance

From The Kansas City Star:
FORDLAND, Mo. — Matt Suter can’t get the tornado out of his head — or his ears.

Every time a late-night freight train thunders past, Suter wakes up and remembers the vicious twister that pulled him from his home March 12 and landed him in a pasture — a quarter-mile away.

Suter’s harrowing encounter has brought him sudden fame, with national media exposure. One tornado expert said he knew of no one who traveled as far as Suter did in a tornado and lived to tell about it.

“It’s a pretty awkward record to have,” the 19-year-old senior at Fordland High School said.

The soft-spoken Suter did not court attention about his experience, which was not reported publicly until a week after it happened...

...He was trying to shut a window in the living room, and his grandmother was in the kitchen, when the tornado struck, he said.

“The window busted, and the door got sucked out,” Suter said. “I looked at my grandmother, and the walls were like Jell-O. The trailer was rocking back and forth. I jumped between the coffee table and couch, and I remember the trailer tipping.”
His grandmother, Linda Kelley, said Suter had hollered at her in the trailer, and when she came into the kitchen “I turned around to look at where he was, and that whole end of the trailer was just gone.”

A large heavy glass lamp struck Suter on the top of his head, knocking him unconscious, he said.

When he came to, Suter found himself in a soft, grassy pasture. Last week a global positioning satellite device used by National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Gaede measured the distance at 1,307 feet from the trailer site.
Quick question - so do trailer homes attract tornadoes?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

My friends, I come here to inform you of a grave threat lurking out there among our choices of recreation.

Marathons.

Just this last weekend, two died while running in the Los Angeles Marathon. Who knows what the toll will be by year's end?

Indeed, the first marathon killed its only runner. Marathons are celebrating a culture of death!

It is time to organize, and end this menace.

Thank you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Interrogatory

Jonah Goldberg answers the frequently asked questions in the latest edition of "The G-File."
Question: Okay, do you have any advice for people who want to do what you do?

Answer: You’ll have to be more specific because there are many things “I do” which I don’t think other people should do.

[You can say that again! — The Couch].

Question: I meant, punditry and journalism, jerk.

Answer, from Goldberg and the Couch in unison: Oh.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lowry: "Romney vs. Allen"

Rich Lowry sizes up the two major contenders who are not John McCain for the 2008 Republican nomination.

Back to RomneyWatch '08.

The Friday Furo Questus

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Screaming Eagles Lead the Way


U.S. soldiers and aircraft take their position at Forward Operating Base Remagen before launching Operation Swarmer, near the town of Samarra, March 16, 2006.
REUTERS/Sgt. First Class Antony Joseph, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade

American and Iraqi forces have launched Operation Swarmer, an airborne assault against concentrations of enemy guerillas in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. Another step in The Long War.

Questus Furore - The Irish in America
Ultimately, they are the story of America - a group of people that came to America as outcasts, were looked down upon and despised, but lent their new home their hearts and their lives.

The story of the Irish brigades of the Civil War is one of the brightest stories of the Union. Where the South treasures its memories of Tarheels and Volunteers, the only Union comparison are those immigrant soldiers from the Emerald Isle, who fought for their new home. The war over, they moved on - some to building and taming the West, while others returned east and took up the tasks of building their homes, joining the police force and volunteer fire companies.

The spirit of the Irish cops, firefighters, and soldiers lives on, in all our biggest cities and our minds. The mark they have left is a proud one. Hopefully, it always will be.


Recommended Reading
First, in a holiday vein:
The History of St. Patrick's Day.
Alex Massie,
"Erin go ARGH!"

Joseph Skelly,
"Irish Antigone."

Victor Davis Hanson,
"Teflon Europe."

When Judicial Overreach Collides With National Security -
Bryon York explains.

Jonah Goldberg
revisits France.

Jeff Jacoby –
playing sexual politics with kids. Or another way of looking at it – when it comes to political correctness, every knee shall bow. As long as you’re on the “right” side of things.

Not a problem I often have to worry about.

Thought of the Week
"The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir; the Irish are FAIR PEOPLE; they never speak well of one another."
Samuel Johnson

Churchill Quote of the Week
"I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire."
Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Splitting Africa

Geological events usually occur in geologic time, i.e. we'll be long dead and gone before we can see the consequences. Perhaps that explains our facination with natural disasters; they are natural events that happen very quickly, quickly enough to not only allow us to see but often have a direct and immediate impact.

However, the movement of continents has long been considered a slow, gradual process, meaured only in millions of years.

But that is not the case in the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is being ripped apart, and
its effects can be seen now.

I wish I could make $30 million off my name...

Are you a little bored? Not sure what to do with your time or professional life? Well, why not go public? You don't even have to have a company these days!

Techdirt: Woz Raises $150 Million For, Well, Nobody Knows

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From HBO, a 'Big' Distortion

From HBO, a 'Big' Distortion

I like this response to HBO's new show.

The cure to cancer is... Mexican food?

Pepper component hot enough to trigger suicide in prostate cancer cells

Capsaicin, the stuff that turns up the heat in jalapeños, not only causes the tongue to burn, it also drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, according to studies published in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.

According to a team of researchers from the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in collaboration with colleagues from UCLA, the pepper component caused human prostate cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

End of the Tomcat Era


Picture from Voodoo.cz.

One of the premier fighters in the history of avaiation, and the most storied fighter in the U.S. inventory, has returned from deployment for the last time.

The F-14 Tomcat, a swing-wing twin-engined fighter-interceptor, is slated for retirement as the last active-duty squadrons still flying the F-14 returned to Oceana Naval Air Station. The squadrons will be re-equipped with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

More at The Pacific Slope.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Because Polygamy In Utah Needed More Attention

Tom Hanks' latest project, Big Love, premieres this weekend. Why a show about polygamy was necessary, I don't know. But here it comes.

A couple of reviews:
Catherine Siepp

and
Louis Wittig.

Gotta love Wittig's opening words:
Being a cultural conservative is monotonous. Everything is in a perpetual state of going to hell. Two things can really break the routine. The first is when the slippery slope becomes a high-speed luge track.

Like now.
Anyway, I have nothing to add. I won't be watching - I'm not interested, and I don't get HBO.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Utes
From the Mountain West Conference tournament in Denver:
Utah 74, BYU 70. GO UTES!

Questus Furore - Charging Headlong Into Disrepute
When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber.
Winston Churchill
There was a time when former Presidents kept silent for at least the first year of their successor's term; Clinton was the first to break that tradition. Ther was a time when former presidents were calm and cautious in their criticism, keeping their most strident remarks contained in private correspondence. There was a time, too, when politicians held their tongues when overseas, saving their contentions for a return to American shores.

Of course, those traditions depended on the persuasions of honor. And honor is a scarce quality in modern America.

It is a bit of a surprise, in a media environment that thrives on delivering criticism, that the antics of former President Carter and former Vice President Gore go so unnoted. Carter delivers inane criticisms at every stop of his book tour, flooging his Bush-bashing book; and Gore bravely accuses Bush of leading an anti-Arab crusade - in front of an Arab crowd in Saudi Arabia.

One could argue that their positions are argued from a position of desperation, that they are trying to make themselves heard in the stifling atmosphere of Bush's Amerikkka. But an examination of the venues for their comments, the well-paid lectures and book signings, puts the lie to the source of their fervor. They are simply trying to drive up sales and appearance fees, by giving the sponsors what they want to hear. Both these men eagerly spout their venom not wherever the need is greatest, but wherever a big enough cheque is produced.

The only difference between these men and ordinary prostitutes is the choice of virtue they sell.

And my current regard for Jimmy Carter - well, I can sum it up in a Churchill quote: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." He is a betrayal of everything he pretends to stand for.

Recommended Reading
VDH, "The Great Stampede."

Jonah Goldberg, "An Economic Virus."

Frank Gaffney, "What If There Were An International IRS?" Oh yeah, that would be just great. Especially since the UN does such a great job administering the money they get now...

Jay Nordlinger, "Impromptus." Always worth reading, this one is particularly good. Also examine this one - and read about the extraordinary Helena Houdova.

Wesley J. Smith, "Harm Done." The decline (and fall?) of medical ethics.

And seen at the Corner: "Hot Stuff."

Thought of the Week
"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution."
Alexander Hamilton

Churchill Quote of the Week
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Winston Churchill

"Party Man" - Romney and Republicans in Mass.

W. James Antle has an interesting article on Mitt Romney - the gist of which is that Romney's chances at getting the Presidential nod may hinge on his ability to keep the Republican party going in Massachucetts.

It would be an indicator as to Romney's ability to build the national Republican party, which is in need of a leader right now.

Back to RomneyWatch '08.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

24, The Musical.

Really.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The War on Terror - An Unseen Front

Those of you who doubt the War on Terror has a global reach may want to check this out.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

In abbreviated form, today.

Back from Nashville - good trip. Weather was fantastic - 65-70 the entire time I was there. I'll post a trip report and some pictures sometime over the weekend.

Questus Furore - FISA: Disagreeing With The Dean
I'm no law school dean, Yale or otherwise. But I think he's wrong.

To quote
the quote:
By so saying, the Fourth Amendment requires that any government surveillance be reasonable, supported except in emergency situations by warrants issued by courts, and based upon specific probable cause. The current NSA surveillance program, as I understand it, violates all three constitutional standards.
Um - huh?

Reasonable - one could argue that intecepting these communications is at least as reasonable as the government having the right (which it does) to inspect and open, if necessary, all mail and cargo crossing US borders. There's
a whole host of other situations where warrants are not required. Emergency situations - I'm going to leave that one alone. Once could consider a war to count as an emergency situation, but first one must consider whether the United States is at war. While the prevailing American political discourse says no, there stangely seems to be a large group of people who say yes. "Specific probable cause" - talking with suspected terrorists does not satisfy that requirement? Andrew McCarthy has more to say about probable cause here.

There is one more, overiding consideration that is not addressed here. These intercepts are occuring for intelligence purposes, not criminal investigation reasons. There is a difference, and in my opinion, a different burden of proof.

If someone gets prosecuted on the basis of information gained in this manner, the case will get tossed. But information gained in this manner is not meant to present charges, but to instigate investigations - which would be bound by fourth amendment considerations.

Some of the other comments were more annoying. The Sanate Select Intelligence Committee and the Congressional leaderships of both parties were informed - even though many of the Democrats managed to forget that when the New York Times started writing about the eavesdropping debate. Despite media and political rivals' statements to the contrary, these were not the acts of a power-mad dictator seeking the overthrow of truth, democracy, jusctice, peace, and virtue.

This is an intelligence battle, and ought to be considered as such.

But then, I'm just a Utah engineer.

Andrew McCarthy has written extensively on this. I suggest looking
here, here, here, here, and here. (Among others.) In addition, he has an excellent piece on the program and a strange overreach by the FISA court in the February , 2006 print edition of National Review.

Recommended Reading
Nixon went to China. Bush has gone to India. Make a note of this - this is a part of increasingly closer ties between the United States and India. Interesting.

Victor Davis Hanson, "Rocks and Ripples."

Thought of the Week
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it, and if one finds the prospect of a long war intolerable, it is natural to disbelieve in the possibility of victory."
George Orwell, Second Thoughts on James Burnham, 1946

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."
Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dean Koh's Testimony on NSA Surveillance

Some commentary on the NSA's surveillance program. Very well written. Of course, I expect nothing less from the dean of the country's most prestigious law school. (Note: these are not my personal views, simply some well written commentary)

Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 28, 2006, at the full committee hearing on "Wartime Executive Power and the NSA's Surveillance Authority II."

Yale Law School - Dean Koh's Testimony on NSA Surveillance

Quoted from the first few pages:
To state my conclusions briefly: I have served the United States government in both Republican and Democratic Administrations. I have also filed lawsuits against both Republican and Democratic administrations when I became convinced that their conduct violated the law. In my professional opinion, the ongoing NSA domestic surveillance program is blatantly illegal, whether or not – as its defenders claim – it is limited to international calls with one end in the United States.

None of the program’s defenders – including those who appear today – has identified any convincing legal justification for conducting such a sweeping program without the legally required checks of congressional authorization and oversight and judicial review. My government service makes me fully sensitive to the ongoing threat from al Qaeda and the need for law enforcement officials to be able to gather vital information before another terrorist attack occurs. Of course, in time of war, our Constitution recognizes the President as Commander in Chief. But the same Constitution requires that the Commander in Chief obey the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” By so saying, the Fourth Amendment requires that any government surveillance be reasonable, supported except in emergency situations by warrants issued by courts, and based upon specific probable cause. The current NSA surveillance program, as I understand it, violates all three constitutional standards.

For nearly thirty years, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) has guaranteed compliance with these constitutional requirements by providing a comprehensive, exclusive statutory framework for electronic surveillance. Even as Commander in Chief, the President carries the solemn constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Yet apparently, the NSA has violated these statutory requirements repeatedly by carrying on a sustained program of secret, unreviewed, warrantless electronic surveillance of American citizens and residents. As Justice Paterson wrote two centuries ago in United States v. Smith: “[t]he president of the United States cannot control the statute, nor dispense with its execution, and still less can he authorize a person to do what law forbids.”