Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Words and Deeds

An insightful look at the differences between Euros and Americans. If this is true, they're awful. It's one thing to differ over how best to treat a problem, it's something else again not to care what happens at all. Thanks again to NRO.

Civil errors

Been a while. Excellent article at NRO by Mac Owens on the Civil War and some common misconceptions regarding it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Redux

The Bush Administration's soft-pedal approach to Iran (see this from the Washington Times) indicates to me two things. One, that they have nuclear weapons as well and two, that the US military is far too weak to take one more than one major conflict at any given time. Clinton's cheeseparing approach to the military budget has deprived us of our ability to accomplish the basic premise that our military strategy is founded upon. The excuse with North Korea that since they are already nuclear capable we do not want to provoke a conflict is a nice excuse, but that's all it is if we continue with this attitude towards Iran.

In other words, Iraq has no nuclear weapons but is trying to obtain them. Therefore, we must stop them before they obtain them. This is because Iraq is a rogue state, a member of the Axis of Evil and has a history of supporting terrorism. North Korea has nuclear weapons. We cannot stop them or try to take them away because it is too risky. Despite the fact that they are a rogue state, a member of the Axis of Evil and have a history of supporting terrorism. Iran has no nuclear weapons but is trying to obtain them. Therefore, we cannot stop them...why? They are a rogue state, a member of the Axis of Evil and have a history of supporting terrorism. What is the difference between them and North Korea. If our forces are still strong enough for two conflicts, why are we not considering gearing up for Iran shortly after Iraq? Conclusion: They already have nuclear weapons. Or, if they do not, we are exposing our weakness and inability to defeat a second country that is attempting to obtain nuclear weapons and threatens the US through terror.

Double down

What's this about Iraq cooperating? (sigh) I'm so tired of this stuff. Iraq has made some minor concessions, that's all. They're simply playing out a little more slack and trying to find a point where they can concede enough to prevent an invasion but still hide away their weapons and their weapons-building technology. Sure, they'll let more inspectors in. So they can run around in circles and be fooled like the inspectors that are there now. Sure, they'll allow U2 over-flights, now that everything is buried away under the sand and safely out of view. Sure, they'll let some scientists talk to the UN, now that they have all their families with guns to their heads.

People! This won't end, the world won't be safe until Saddam is deposed and Iraq swept clean by a military assault. If people don't realise this, they're either stupid or malicious. There's no third way about it. And after we get rid of Saddam, Iran needs to be next.

Turkeys

France and Germany, not content with making the UN demonstrate its irrelevance and uselessness, are now making a play to destroy the NATO alliance.

France, Germany and Belgium blocked NATO from being able to make even any plans to protect and support Turkey in the event of an attack from Iraq. Despite the fact that Turkey is running a risk of such an attack if the US leads a war into Iraq, Old Europe insists on treating Turkey as the red-headed step-child of Europe. In their anger at the US, they continue to hang Turkey out to dry. Not only did they move to delay Turkey's entry into the EU (though, this is probably a blessing in disguise for Turkey), they now attempt to bully her out of her support for the US. France and Germany have decided to play at high-stakes international blackmail. Thankfully, the US and the Netherlands (who'd a thunk it) have guaranteed assistance to make Turkey secure.

This move, however, seems to have brought some Germans to their senses. The Free Democrats in Germany are now arguing that disagreeing and opposing the US is one thing, but abandoning NATO allies and fracturing NATO itself is going much too far. Good for them, it's a step in the right direction, and here's hoping they win some more seats in the next election.

(I tell ya, listening to the BBC on NPR may provide me with blogging material, but it can't be good for my blood pressure.)

Human wrongs

Mark Steyn at the Spectator has a good article up about why the UN is useless and stupid and shouldn't be supported. Money paragraph:
The Libya vote is instructive. There are 53 members of the Human Rights Commission. Thirty-three voted for the Colonel. Three voted against — the United States, Canada and Guatemala (God bless her). Seventeen countries abstained, including Britain. Is that really the position of Her Majesty’s Government? Not really, and they’ve all manner of artful explanations for why the vote went as it did — it was the Africa bloc’s turn to get the chairmanship, they only put up one candidate, the EU guys had all agreed to vote as a bloc, they didn’t want to appear to snub Africa, blah blah. So the net result of filtering Britain’s voice up through one multilateral body (the EU) into another (the UN) is that you guys are now on record as having no objection to the leading international body on human rights being headed by a one-man police state that practises torture and assassination and has committed mass murder within your own jurisdiction.
The whole thing is worth reading.

Flashbunny

Just found Flashbunny.org. Awesome. The Tax Cut Quiz is wonderful.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Player hating

I'm sick of this Michael Jordan/All-Star hoopla. I've read several articles from different commentators arguing that the ref at the end of the first overtime in the All-Star game should not have called the foul that led to Kobe Bryant making two free-throws to send the game into double overtime. That's stupid. Michael had a legitimate chance to increase his legend at the end of regulation, and he blew it. Creating a false second chance by altering the rules of the game cheapens him. And it cheapened him later when he agreed that he should receive special treatment from officials.

My opinion of Jordan is that he is a great player. But he's not the best ever, and he's not even as good as most people think. The reason is that once he became a superstar, he started getting more calls than other players. Referees would say Jordan had been fouled in situations where they would not blow the whistle for any other player. Further, refs would swallow their whistle for Jordan on plays where any other player would be whistled for fouls or traveling. Some players are granted an extra step. The last few years before Michael's most recent retirement, he was getting an extra two or three steps for his dunks and lay-ins.

I, for one, will be glad when Jordan retires for good and the game finally is released from his shadow.

Absence

Sorry to anyone who might be reading about taking a three day weekend from posting. Sometimes you just need a break. Too bad I didn't get a three day weekend from work.

"Reform"

Jay Nordlinger has an amusing tweak of John McCain over at NRO. Fourth bullet point.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Inspectors

The Times Online has a disturbing article this morning on an Iraqi man who was trying to make contact with the UN verifiers. He was pulled from the UN veh by Iraqi agents and whisked away. Now, his location is uknown and his family fears for his life and their lives. And what has been the UN plan to deal with this situation?
[Hans Blix] said the inspectors did not know the identity of the man pulled
from the vehicle and were awaiting a report on the incident from the Iraqi
authorities. The UN had not taken any other steps to ascertain whether the man
might have been an Iraqi scientist or otherwise in possession of information he
wanted to share with inspectors about Iraq’s secret weapons programmes.
Well. These verifiers sure are doing their job up the expected UN standard. They have an Iraqi willing to communicate come to them, they don't even have to find him, and when the Iraqis demonstrate resistance and uncooperation by forcibly taking him away, the UN calmly waits for the official Iraqi line. It gets better (or worse), Mr Blix feels compelled to deride the Iraqi man's method of contact as well. Is any further evidence needed by those with common sense to see that UN verifications are worthless when dealing with Saddam and Iraq?

Thanks again to K-Lo at NRO for the link.

Old Europe

Libya, Cuba and... Germany?! Yep, Rumsfeld says there's not a dime's worth of difference between them when it comes to Iraq. Thanks to K-Lo over at NRO.

Foam

Interesting article up at Fox News about how an overdose of envrio-PC may have caused the Columbia tragedy. What's even more damning about the article is that if the speculation is correct, it wasn't necessary for NASA to continue using the insulation they did. From the article:
But contrary to the exercise of common sense, NASA didn’t return to the safer Freon-based foam. Instead, NASA knowingly continued to risk tile damage -- and
disaster -- with reformulated PC-foam.
The entire article is here.

Conservatism, considered

This is one of the best articles that I have read in a long time. Roger Scruton has a fairly long article up in the New Criterion on how he became a conservative. It seems Burke is one of his favourite conservative thinkers, if not the outright favourite. It's over here.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Showdown

White House budget guru Mitchell Daniels and Treasury Secretary John Snow gave as good as they got (or better) when the Democrats tried to criticise the Bush budget plan. The Washington Times has the lowdown.

Sharks with frickin' lasers

Victorino Matus over at the Weekly Standard has an interesting article on high-power microwaves (HPMs). The Air Force has one that can pump out a trillion watts in a millionth of a second. Very cool.

These weapons are intended to fry electronics systems that run enemy weapons, such as missiles, tank fire-control devices and other military hardware. The downside is that some scientists think this sort of thing could make any human unlucky enough to take a direct hit a rather crispy golden-brown. Which means these aren't necessarily precision strike weapons.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Comic books

I'm all psyched for Shrouded Moon to get here. Should only be another couple of days. I may have to start buying the comics themselves as well as the TPBs. My addiction is getting stronger, and waiting a year between TPB releases is hard. Just gotta know what happens next. Usagi Yojimbo is one of the coolest comics around. Don't be put off by the anthropomorphic characters. The stories are excellent and the artwork is masterful. Stan draws works of art that move the stories along flawlessly.

Which reminds me, I need to finish out my collection of Lone Wolf and Cub too.

State of the blog

I haven't been posting on weekends. There are several reasons for this. With my internet connection it's inconvenient, and I like to have my weekends for uninterrupted loafing. (Though, how difficult and stressful can it be to post a couple paragraph length rants every day?) Perhaps I should. It would increase the content that I put out rather dramatically. I don't want to turn this into a full-time job, however. Or even a part-time one.

Shuttle accident

Got up early on Saturday. Played a little Shogun, then flipped on the TV. Watched SportsCenter and then did some channel surfing. Come to find out that the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over the Southwest. Very disturbing. Reminded me quite a bit of the Challenger explosion. I got very irritated with the anchors and their inane comments. "It's highly unlikely that anyone would survive the breakup of the Space Shuttle while it's traveling at 18 times the speed of sound and at an altitude of 200,000 feet." Or perhaps, "We'll have to wait and see what happens because at this point we have little information." Maybe it's callous of me to be so bothered by this when 7 people have tragically died, but I wish that the reports of their deaths were a little more dignified. When I die, I would rather have people be silent than point out the obvious. "Well, now that he's dead, we'll have to bury him." If you can't be poetic or eloquent, just shut up.

I really shouldn't watch news on TV.