Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Nightmare for the 2008 Presidential election: Hillary Clinton versus John McCain. I wouldn't know whether to vote Libertarian or move to Australia.
Or both.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Honest Abe says...

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."
- Abraham Lincoln

P.S.: Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It was not a technical "glitch"

Check out this recording of a call to CNN. "Freedom of speech" my ass. The big black X over Vice President Cheney's face on CNN during his live speech was put there on purpose. They know it, we know it, everybody with half a brain knows it.

Interview with a Rottweiler

I came across this interview with the Emperor Darth Misha of the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler; this comment caught my attention:
...we already have a way of getting rid of judges overstepping their bounds. It’s called “impeachment” and I believe that it’s time that we made a demonstration, pour encourager les autres. When judges rule based on the letter of the law and nothing else they’re the last word as well they should be, but when they start inventing stuff that was never in there, they’re clearly usurping the powers of the legislative branch, which is more than sufficient grounds for impeachment.
Sounds doable, right? All we need are some congress-critters with "les couilles" to do what they were elected to do. "The House will be in order!" Mañana, mañana...

Here's another gem:
...Americans don’t deal well with defeats. Viet Nam traumatized America in a way that could never have happened where I came from, because we were used to not winning all the time. We’d win some, lose some, lick our wounds and jump right back up for the next round. That’s why the fifth column in this country is playing the Viet Nam angle so hard now, because they know that it’s the only way to defeat America. Forget about defeating us on the battlefield, that just isn’t going to happen, but ripping open that old ‘Nam wound works every time. It’s our greatest failing as a nation: We’re gun shy because, horror of horrors, we might lose. We lost once before, so who’s to say we won’t lose this time as well?
If you look at the U.S. Armed Forces, you’ll find that the Old South is disproportionately well represented among its most glorious fighters. I personally believe that one of the major reasons is that the South is used to the idea of losing and carrying on regardless. It’s not the end of the world, and just because you lost the last one, it doesn’t mean that you’ll lose ever again. The only guaranteed way of losing is if you lose the will to fight.
As a nation, however, we haven’t yet learned that lesson. If you combine that with the constant barrage from the left about moral relativism and how we’re not in the least bit better than anybody else, you have the real threat to our continued existence as a nation.
That, and the fact that we don’t know how to fight dirty when faced with an enemy like radical Islam. Our commitment to what is right is laudable and it is something that we should never give up because it makes us different from most other nations on the planet, but we shouldn’t commit to it so much that we lose sight of the greater picture, which is our ultimate survival.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Watcher's Council

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around...  per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Happy Birthday to Harriet

Harriet the turtle, oldest known living animal, just turned 175 years old. Way to go!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Be my voice

Here's an e-mail from a US soldier in Iraq to his mother I found at Sgt. Hook's blog:


Be my voice. I want this message heard. It is mine and my platoon’s to the country. A man I know lost his legs the other night. He is in another company in our batallion. I can no longer be silent after watching the sacrifices made by Iraqis and Americans everyday.Send it to a congressman if you have to. Send it to FOX news if you have to. Let this message be heard please…

My fellow Americans, I have a task for those with the courage and fortitude to take it. I have a message that needs not fall on deaf ears. A vision the blind need to see. I am not a political man nor one with great wisdom. I am just a soldier who finds himself helping rebuild a country that he helped liberate a couple years ago.I have watched on television how the American public questions why their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are fighting and dying in a country 9000 miles away from their own soil. Take the word of a soldier, for that is all I am, that our cause is a noble one.

The reason we are here is one worth fighting for. A cause that has been the most costly and sought after cause in our small span of existence on our little planet. Bought in blood and paid for by those brave enough to give the ultimate sacrifice to obtain it. A right that is given to every man, woman, and child I believe by God. I am talking of freedom.

Freedom. One word but yet countless words could never capture it’s true meaning or power. “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.” I read that once and it couldn’t be more true. It’s not the average American’s fault that he or she is “blind and deaf” to the taste of freedom. Most American’s are born into their God given right so it is all they ever know. I was once one of them. I would even dare to say that it isn’t surprising that they take for granted what they have had all their life. My experiences in the military however opened my eyes to the truth.

Ironically you will find the biggest outcries of opposition to our cause from those who have had no military experience and haven’t had to fight for freedom. I challenge all of those who are daring enough to question such a noble cause to come here for just a month and see it first hand. I have a feeling that many voices would be silenced.

I watched Cindy Sheehan sit on the President’s lawn and say that America isn’t worth dying for. Later she corrected herself and said Iraq isn’t worth dying for. She badmouthed all that her son had fought and died for. I bet he is rolling over in his grave.

Ladies and gentleman I ask you this. What if you lived in a country that wasn’t free? What if someone told you when you could have heat, electricity, and water? What if you had no sewage systems so human waste flowed into the streets? What if someone would kill you for bad-mouthing your government? What if you weren’t allowed to watch TV, connect to the internet, or have cell phones unless under extreme censorship? What if you couldn’t put shoes on your child’s feet?

You need not to have a great understanding of the world but rather common sense to realize that it is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to free the oppressed. If you lived that way would you not want someone to help you????

The Iraqi’s pour into the streets to wave at us and when we liberated the cities during the war they gathered in the thousands to cheer, hug and kiss us. It was what the soldier’s in WW2 experienced, yet no one questioned their cause!! Saddam was no better than Hitler! He tortured and killed thousands of innocent people. We are heroes over here, yet American’s badmouth our President for having us here.

Every police station here has a dozen or more memorials for officers that were murdered trying to ensure that their people live free. These are husbands, fathers, and sons killed every day. What if it were your country? What would your choice be? Everything we fight for is worth the blood that may be shed.

The media never reports the true HEROISM I witness everyday in the Iraqi’s. Yes there are bad one’s here, but I assure you they are a minuscule percent. Yet they are a number big enough to cause worry in this country’s future.I have watched brave souls give their all and lose thier lives and limbs for this cause. I will no longer stand silent and let the “deaf and blind” be the only voice shouting.

Stonewall Jackson once said, “All that I have, all that I am is at the service of the country.” For these brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including your son Cindy Sheehan, I will shout till I can no longer. These men and women are heroes. Their spirit lives on in their military and they will never be forgotten. They did not die in vain but rather for a cause that is larger than all of us.

My fellow countrymen and women, we are not overseas for our country alone but also another. We are here to spread democracy and freedom to those who KNOW the true taste of it because they fight for it everyday. You can see the desire in their eyes and I am honored to fight alongside them as an Infantryman in the 101st Airborne.

Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone’s right to have. Ironic isn’t it? That is why we are here. Though you will always have the skeptics, I know that most of our military will agree with this message. Please, at the request of this soldier spread this message to all you know. We are in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that is our goal.

It is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because, Cindy Sheehan, freedom is worth dying for, no matter what country it is! And after the world is free only then can we hope to have peace.

SGT XXX and 1st Platoon101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Who Lied?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal

Most people would probably agree that the Declaration of Independence has been the most powerful ideological and political force in U.S. history. Nearly all Americans are familiar with the following passage:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
It is my opinion that these words form the very foundation upon which the U.S. as a nation has been built, and that the words quoted above underlie much of what is American, not only politically both in terms of domestic and foreign policy, but economically, socially and culturally as well. Americans believe in those words and what they represent, and that belief is a big part of what makes us Americans.

Let's look closely at these words. First off, the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” indicates that what follows in the remainder of that particular sentence is not opinion but fact that is directly observable. If you take those words, “all men are created equal” literally, then they ring true in a way that is incontestable. We were all born as babies. (I am here making the same assumption as our Supreme Court did in 1973, i.e., created = born. In the U.S., unborn human beings do not have the right to life.) We were all created helpless, dependent, and for all practical purposes equal both mentally and physically – I do not think that at birth one could argue that one baby’s brain is superior to another’s, or if you believe in “souls” that one baby’s soul is more pure and innocent than another’s. Some babies do have female reproductive organs while others have male reproductive organs, but otherwise there are no apparent physical differences. I suppose one could argue the point - a mother’s own baby is the most beautiful baby that ever lived in her eyes - but from my perspective it does appear self-evident that we were all born fundamentally equal.

The point is that the founding fathers in 1776 were referring in this statement to human nature, not as they would have it perfected but as it is. All of us face the same world and, given the liberty to choose between them, we would face the same opportunities. (Infants and children have very limited liberties as their parents make most decisions for them, so here I am talking about adults.) I think that the founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence were referring to the way things are when they said that “all men are created equal” rather than asserting a right or entitlement. They were not saying that all individuals have a right to become equal to everyone else in any way, but only that we were created equal.

Unfortunately, equality as the basis for a system of government was not spelled out very well in the Declaration of Independence, nor was it well defined in the Constitution, and as a result the words are often used to argue not for equal opportunities for all, but equal outcomes or equal conditions for all, regardless of one’s efforts, abilities, or the choices one has made in life. Many have taken this idea that, “all men are created equal” and endowed with certain rights, and used it to imply that everyone should be equal, financially at least.

I don’t blame the founding fathers of my country for this – the phrasing of the Declaration of Independence regarding equality among mankind was, most likely, necessary to get the southern colonies to sign on since their economic wellbeing relied heavily on slave ownership – but this ambiguity was bad in that it allowed the concept of equal opportunity to become one alleging a right to equal living conditions and even equally valid moral principles, even if one set of principles contradicts another. Everyone wants to believe that he or she is as good as everyone else, but the fact is that some people are better at some things than other people, and the fact is that some belief systems match reality better than others, some decision criteria have consistently better outcomes than others, and I could go on. Egalitarianism has become more and more politically correct whether the framework is equality of moral principles, culture, or social acceptance, but this essay primarily focuses on how the concept of economic equality has shaped modern society, on what the founding fathers actually intended when they created the Declaration of Independence, and draws a line of distinction between “equal opportunities” and “equal outcomes.”

One thing that both northern and southern colonists did agree on was a profound respect for property rights and hard work. This would be evident to anyone who has studied American history. The colonists of 1776 strongly believed that one should be rewarded for one’s effort and individual achievement. This is important because at that time, “pursuit of happiness” meant being able to reach for one’s dreams, to work hard and lay claim to the fruits of one’s labor. Such a claim is not possible without property rights for individuals. But now the original meaning of these words has eroded.

Why is it that when America is attacked on an ideological level it is almost always couched in terms of an attack on free-market capitalism? The Soviets called us, “capitalist pigs,” for example. Why is the businessman despised even more than the government, even when a government institution is usurping the people’s right to govern themselves? This has been true throughout history. And it’s not just that rich people are hated, but only certain rich people – the productive ones, the corporate executives and business people. Celebrities and athletes, like Britney Spears or Michael Jordan are not despised for their wealth, yet Bill Gates is. (Actually, I don’t like Bill Gates, but it has nothing to do with his being the richest man in the country.) Quite the contrary – celebrities are fawned over. It is their popularity that is the source of their wealth. But the inventor of a new vaccine, or the designer of a more efficient engine, they are often treated as if they do not have a right to be wealthier than the rest of us. Why?

I have lots more questions and I would like you, dear reader, to seriously try to answer them: Why is it always a major “problem” that there is economic inequality? And if the gap between rich and poor is wide, how is it the government’s job to fix the problem? How wide is too wide? Is it necessarily a bad thing for one to have more than another? Is it morally wrong? Is it true that if you extend democracy far enough (i.e., one person = one vote) you arrive at socialism? If we got rid of economic inequality, would we be rid of envy? Is the object of wealth redistribution to be free of want? Is it possible to be free of want? How can it be harmful to anyone if you are just being productive, being rewarded for your achievement, and accumulating wealth? Does the rich person’s income come at the expense of poor people? Is the reason that I cannot afford to buy a Lamborghini that someone else owns one? Yes, there is great inequality in the distribution of wealth in the U.S., but so what? Who creates the jobs? Who is better off, the poorest 5% of Americans or the poorest 90% of Africans? Does the fact that you answered, “The poorest 5% of Americans,” to that last question mean that Americans are just lucky and Africans unlucky? If so, what is the source of this "luck" or lack thereof?

(A side-note, and somebody fact-check me here: I think that the African continent has more natural resources in terms of raw materials, metals, minerals, timber, gas & oil than the rest of the world combined, yet the economy of the entire African continent is comparable in size to California's - not that California's economy is small.)

Poverty is simply defined as a lack of wealth. Poverty stricken nations in Africa have received more than half a trillion dollars in humanitarian aid from the U.S. over the past 40 years, much of it from private charities and churches, yet there is more poverty in Africa now than there was in the 1960s. Simply giving poor people money, while self-sacrificing and merciful, does not by itself eliminate the problem. Nobody has less wealth because somebody else has more.

There is great inequality in the distribution of wealth in the U.S.; the N.Y. Times reports this information about once a month and puts it in terms that imply that there is something wrong with our society because of this – that our society is falling apart (it is not, or if it is then that would not be because of disparities in income). A more meaningful and newsworthy statistic, if we are truly concerned with the welfare of the less fortunate, would be the percentage of Americans who are not able to survive given their economic resources. The (low) number of people who live below subsistence level is never reported as “news.”

When I criticize wealth redistribution and social programming, I am not criticizing the giving to people who would not otherwise be able to survive – such redistributions are out of compassion. But the fact is that only a very tiny percentage, maybe 1% of the wealth that is redistributed by our government from one group of people to another actually goes to people who would not otherwise be able to survive. (In this line of reasoning, I am treating Social Security as if it were a pension fund, though an unfunded one, rather than wealth redistribution.) Most wealth redistribution is based, not on compassion, but in my opinion it is based more on envy. And that, if true, is shameful – it is shameful that envy shapes our political culture.

Too harsh? Look at the current situation in Congress. In 2003 tax rates were cut across the board, for rich and poor alike – even those who did not pay taxes prior to 2003 got bigger “refund checks,” they effectively had a more negative tax rate. Everybody got a tax cut. The result we now know was a dramatic increase in tax revenue taken in by the U.S. Treasury, yet the Democrats in Congress have consistently fought against the tax cuts, and even the Republicans in Congress are reluctant to make the 2003 tax cuts permanent. Even knowing that raising tax rates back to pre-2003 levels would decrease the tax revenue collected by the government, these people still want to raise taxes. Why? I think it is because envy shapes our political culture. Because a majority has less and a minority has more, it is in the politicians’ interests to increase taxes on that minority which has more because it seems more fair to the majority group in the voting population, even knowing that total tax revenue would decrease as a direct result – even knowing that the majority group that has less would not be made better off economically. They just ‘feel better’ knowing that the rich and those “evil capitalist-pig” businessmen face higher tax rates. It is not about increasing tax revenue or decreasing the federal budget deficit; it is about reducing economic inequality, even when it benefits no one economically (except politicians).

Politicians are often heard saying that rich people are not paying their fair share. Well, how much is fair? If we take money from the rich by force and give it to the poor, are we increasing the general welfare? Let’s see, if there is a minority of wealthy people and a majority of relatively poor people, then doing this would increase the happiness of the majority of people (assuming that money makes people happy and that there are no other ethical considerations), and the minority of formerly rich people would be made less happy. Voilà – more happy people. Does this make it right? I would argue that this cannot result in an increase in "general welfare" but rather an increase in the welfare of one group at the expense of another. I personally would not want to benefit from the forced sacrifice of another person. I personally find the whole idea repulsive. I’d rather earn my keep. (By the way, Robin Hood did not take from the rich and give to the poor; what he did was he took from the government and gave back to the taxpayers what was rightfully theirs to begin with.)

The U.S. government doesn’t even tax wealth itself anyway. The primary tax paid to the federal government is the income tax, which is not a tax on wealth but a tax on productivity. (There is no federal sales tax, though some states have it. Sales tax would be a tax on consumption.) Income tax is a tax on physical and mental effort. The message our legislature seems to be sending is: “Don’t even bother to try!” Particularly for those whose means of support is a government check, there is a strong disincentive to work, because working and earning money will decrease your government check.

One final point: It seems to me that the primary beneficiary of wealth redistribution programs is the government itself. The freedoms of individuals and how they associate with each other (e.g., business organization) have been heavily restricted over this past century, and our increasingly centralized government has been growing in size, scope and in power to change people’s lives. The fact that this trend has continued into the twenty-first century probably explains why current poll ratings for government officials are so low, both for Congress (both parties and both houses) and the President. This trend makes many people uncomfortable, both here and abroad. Yes, Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress and they hold the Presidency, but at this point many republican voters are even angrier with our government than those who voted for democrats. Here’s why: When Republican politicians ran for office, they made campaign promises: drill for oil in ANWR so we can be less dependent on foreign oil, fix Social Security, simplify the tax code, make the 2003 tax cuts permanent, make government smaller, etc. These promises have yet to be filled. Particularly since gaining a majority in the Senate in the 2002 elections, Republican politicians have been acting more and more like Democrats. Maybe if these people would actually do what we elected them to do then their poll numbers wouldn't be so low.

Monday, November 14, 2005

So let me get this straight

Mary Mapes, former CBS 'news' producer, said on Good Morning America:
Ross: "This seems remarkable to me that you would sit here now and say you still find that story to be up to your standards."

Mapes: "I'm perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there's proof that I haven't seen."

Ross: "But isn't it the other way around? Don't you have to prove they're authentic?"

Mapes: "Well, I think that's what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet."

Ross: "Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn't that really what journalists do?"

Mapes: "No, I don't think that's the standard."
So what is the standard? John Hawkins explains:
...according to Mapes, it's not the responsibility of the media to prove to the public that its stories are true, it's the responsibility of the public to prove that its stories are false to the satisfaction of the media.
Unbelievable. I like this interview of Mapes even better though.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Who lied about WMDs? I forget now - who lied? Why would they lie? Are they stupid? Are they just cheerleaders rooting for their "team" to win? Or are they traitors?

Matthew Heidt makes a strong case, and has something to say to our Democratic *cough/spit* leaders: "...repeating lies every day to get back at the President that beat you doesn't make them true; it makes you a traitor to this country and disloyal to the troops who are on this day protecting you." He carefully outlines the evidence and comes to the following conclusion:
While the garden variety liberal moonbat hanging on every word coming out of Cindy Sheehan’s piehole may not know that these charges of manipulation intelligence are false, liberals in the Senate are knowingly LYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE every day. They are lying to gain an electoral advantage at the expense of the War on Terror and our troops. Paris is burning, Jordan, Britain, Spain, Turkey, Bali, Indonesia have been recently bombed, and the Aussies just rolled up a massive plot by AQ. The stakes in the War on Terror could not be higher and yet the Democrats shamelessly lie every day so that they can destroy the President of the United States. That is UNPATRIOTIC, and those who engage in this scheme are traitors of the lowest form. If you are a liberal reading this post and you followed all of those links and read that material, you now know. If you persist in this campaign of lies, you are UNPATRIOTIC, a TRAITOR, and SCUMBAG as well.
Go and read the whole thing - and check out the frenzied moonbats in his comments, too. I think somebody struck a nerve!


Pictured are World War II Veteran Houston James and Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr., a member of an ordnance-disposal team who lost his left hand, one leg, and an eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq in July 2003. (Picture lifted from Danegerus.)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Today's Required Reading

Friday, November 11, 2005

Peace = Surrender

That's the message from 'peace activists' who have planted 2,000 white flags on veterans' graves.
The display of 2,000 white flags, meant to remember U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, was set up at Veterans Memorial Park cemetery Oct. 30 under a permit issued to Waterville Area Bridges for Peace and Justice.
And today, on Veterans' Day of all days, when 10 people went to the cemetery and began removing the flags they were arrested. If I were within driving distance of Waterville, Maine, I'd be spending tonight in jail, too.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose

I have been trying to understand what is going on in France with the riots, and looking for something comparable in my own experience and that of America. We did have race riots in the 1960s (around the time I was born, actually). But these riots were different. Though some of the people, members of the Black Panthers for example, did seem to hate America, most of the protestors were actually pro-American. Our riots came towards the end of a civil rights revolution that was peaceful mostly and largely successful. When they occurred, Congress had already passed the Civil Rights Bill that essentially eliminated the injustices that sparked the riots. The movement led by Martin Luther King was challenging America to live up to its creed -- though he was killed, his words still live:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I, too, have that same dream. I think that a majority of Americans share that dream. Sometimes it feels like we’re heading in the wrong direction though as we reach for that dream. The color of one’s skin or one’s ethnicity should not matter, particularly where government is concerned. It pains me when particular ‘groups’ of people are given special rights that other groups do not share.

I think that the violence back in the 1960s was motivated primarily by frustration with the pace of integration and black advancement socially, economically and politically. Patience is one thing that Americans could probably use a lot more of, even today.

But back to France and the seemingly racially motivated violence happening there right now. I’m trying to see a parallel, but it is not working for me. For one, it seems to be more of an immigration issue, while the issue underlying the riots in the U.S. in the late 1960s had more to do with left-over injustices and prejudices relating to slavery which had been abolished one hundred years prior, and by a demand for equal rights for all Americans. I don’t think that the riots in France are pro-France, and though social, economic and political disparity do seem to be motivating factors to some extent, this does not appear to be anything like the relatively peaceful civil rights movement we had in the U.S. Certainly, the intention of the rioters is not to do away with what's left over from slavery. They are legal immigrants but anti-France, while the hostility of the 1960s was rooted in the very pro-American ideal that “all men [and women] are created equal.” I feel like I'm missing some key piece to a puzzle -- perhaps if I knew more about French history and/or colonization it might make more sense to me. I do want to learn about it - this article seemed enlightening in that it paints a historical background for the riots. An excerpt:
Aubervilliers, Clichy, Vitry were and are ghettoes, and are now aflame. France must confront the reality of its bad history with minorities of various kinds, but especially with North African Arabs, who have never been forgiven for the beating the Algerians inflicted on France in the late 1950s, as evoked in the dramatic film The Battle of Algiers.
I haven't seen that movie, but just now ordered it; here is its description from Netflix.

I sincerely doubt that these riots will cause the average French citizen to sympathize with the rioters or change their attitudes towards them in a positive way. Do the rioters even want to integrate with the rest of French society? I don’t know what they want. Some say that they are saying, loudly, that "they exist." Well, they have everyone's attention, that's for sure. But if they are motivated by discrimination against them, then how is setting buildings and cars on fire going to do anything other than create hatred and more discrimination? If they have given up hope, then why haven't they moved elsewhere?

If there is a parallel with the American experience of the 1960s, perhaps it is in that those who feel that opportunities for success in life are out of reach, particularly the young (blacks in the U.S., Middle Eastern and North African immigrants in France), were/are impatient for change. Perhaps the reason that the violence in France and other parts of Europe is more severe than what happened in the U.S. in the 1960s is because, whereas things were changing for the better in terms of civil rights in the U.S. in the '60s, things are not changing in Europe.

UPDATE: Saw the movie, The Battle of Algiers, and it pretty much sucked in a "Fahrenheit 9/11" kind of way. I was expecting more of a documentary, but it was clear that the film producers and director had an agenda. Some of the scenes in the movie were actual footage of the violence of that time, like the footage of injured and dying people being pulled from the rubble of a bombed restaurant, but most of it was not real footage. At least I learned that moral equivalence is not a recent phenomenon. I know the movie is set in the 1950s, but making interrogation seem evil while making the assassination of police officers look valiant seems wrong to me. The lines were not believable, and the acting was almost comical at some points, but one thing did make me think: there was a scene where an Algerian went into a dance club full of French people with a bomb in a bag, put the bag under his chair, and then just watched the clock. Here I thought that Yasser Arafat was the inventor of the suicide bomber, but according to this movie I was wrong about that. So, I guess I learned something new today. Or not. Like I said, I doubt the accuracy of "The Battle of Algiers" movie.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Money Quote

The Washington Post seems worried that a Demonrat filibuster might be thwarted or, horror of horrors, Republicans might actually grow some "couilles" and invoke the "nuclear option" if the 'rats filibuster Judge Alito. It all comes down to the "Gang of 14," doesn't it? Here's the money quote from the article:
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), another member of the Gang of 14, said that "it's way too early to talk about extraordinary circumstances."
No, Senator. It is way too LATE to talk about what was meant by "extraordinary circumstances." The only thing that was clear when you made your little deal last spring was that you would be making up the rules as you went along. Your little media-whore "gang" should have defined "extraordinary circumstances" a long time ago.

While nearly everyone questioned (never-been-Judge) Harriet Miers' qualifications for the SCOTUS, nobody, and I mean nobody, is doubting Alito's qualifications as a seasoned judge well-tested in Constitutional law. He has more experience on the federal bench than any Supreme Court nominee since before FDR was president. We have 15 years of court opinions written by this guy to look at, he has argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court (Miers - zero SCOTUS cases), so I don't want to hear one squeak out of Chucky Cheez Schumer, who said,
"As for Judge Alito, there is still a lot to be learned about him,"
until he has spent the time necessary to peruse Alito's well-documented 15 years of court opinion from the Third District US Court of Appeals.

But, we get to hear lots of ranting and raving, from all the right (i.e., leftist) people, and I'm loving it. Check out Harry Reid, who supported the Miers nomination:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that he is "disappointed" in the pick of Alito in that he is not a "consensus nominee" and said one day earlier that that nominee would "create a lot of problems."
"Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them," he continued. "Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people."
And how about Ted Kennedy:
"Rather Than Selecting A Nominee For The Good Of The Nation And The Court, President Bush Has Picked A Nominee Whom He Hopes Will Stop The Massive Hemorrhaging Of Support On His Right Wing."
Even John F'n Kerry piles on:
"Every American should be deeply concerned that the far right wing, which prevented Harriet Miers from even receiving a Senate hearing, is celebrating Judge Alito's nomination and urging the Senate to rubber stamp the swing vote on our rights and liberties."
I don't really need to know anything more about Judge Alito. If Chucky Schumer, Dirty Harry Reid, Teddy Mary Jo Kennedy, and John F'n Kerry are pissed, that makes me happy. Yipeee!