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A warning that won't be heard

I suspect that comparatively few Islamofacists read this blog.

Too bad.

I wish they would read this. And not only hard-core Islamofacists, either. Muslims generally.

And this. For their own good, and that of Islam.

They need to start paying a bit more attention to the American "street."

After a hiatus... Wictory Wednesday returns

This week Wictory Wednesday presents Max Burns, candidate for the US Congress in the 12th District of Georgia. He is running a tight race against Democratic incumbent John Barrow.

The Israeli war in Lebanon has shown what will happen if we pull out of Iraq: the terrorists will claim victory and emerge stronger and bolder. Max Burns understands this and supports the completion of the mission of our troops.

Max Burns believes that immigration doesn't require reform; it requires actually enforcing the laws on the books. Not enforcing the law has led to contempt for it, and before any question of guest workers can be introduced, Max believes that the rule of law needs to be reasserted in the area of immigration.

Even a GOP lead Congress can waste money! That is why earmark reform and a line item veto is all the more necessary. Max Burns believes that the GOP has gotten half of the equation right in lowering taxes… now they need to cut spending. He supports a balanced budget.

Families was…

Cherry picking the facts on global warming

The National Acadamy of Sciences has been told that Earth is now the warmest it's been in 12,000 years.

Naturally, it's all the fault of human beings. Never mind that less than one percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere are the result of human activity.

In order to reach the report's politically correct conclusion, it's necessary to be very selective about the evidence.

Remember when science was about facts, rather than political orthodoxy?

Romney's emergence

Here's a John Fund article on Mitt Romney's rise as a contender for the 2008 GOP nomination.

Two responses. First, though most of the article is on target, my read is that Gov. Romney still has some work to do where living down his liberal past is concerned. Secondly, not being well-known at this stage of the game isn't exactly a fatal weakness. More often than not in recent years, candidates who have been virtually unknown when they hit the campaign trail here in Iowa end up winning the caucuses- and thereupon cease to be unknown.

In other words, it's naive to write off Huckabee.

HT: Real Clear Politiics

Bears barely escape

The Bears barely escaped with their lives today, beating the Vikings 19-16 on a Rex Grossman touchdown pass to Rashed Davis with 1:58 left in the game.

The Vikes played them tough, Grossman wasn't nearly as effective as he was the two previous weeks- and hopefully this will serve as notice to the Good Guys not to believe their own press notices.

They still have allowed only one offensive TD this year. But next week's game against the defending NFC champion Seahawks will tell us a lot.

In the meantime, Bear down!

The word from Iowa

David Yepsen's job as the political editor of Iowa's largest newspaper- the extremely liberal Des Moines Register- guarantees him a kind of expert status when it comes to the Iowa Caucuses. Usually he fills the role quite competently.

But not with this article. Doubtless Gov. Vilsack is discouraged by the evidence a recent poll provided that Iowa Democrats aren't particularly enthralled by the idea of his running for president. And Hillary Clinton's negatives in a state whose caucuses she must win- convincingly- to maintain her status as the presumptive Democratic nominee in 2008 have got to be worrisome as well.

But the fact is that Rudy Giuliani is not going to be the Republican candidate for president, and John McCain probably won't be, either. The two Republicans who pose the greatest threat to Hillary's prospects of carrying a state which leans "blue," and which she can ill afford to lose in November, aren't going to be factors.

McCain, I think…

A pair of radicals

Our radical junior United States Senator, Tom Harkin, has been well outside the political mainstream for years. Yesterday he commented on the address to the UN General Assembly by Venezuala's clownish president, Hugo Chavez, which repeatedly described President Bush as "the devil."

Sen. Harkin considered it "incendiary and not worthy of a nation's leader." We should be thankful for small favors.

But he then went on to sympathize with Chavez and defend his 'tude!

It should be noted that two other prominent Democrats not noted for their affinity for centrism- Rep. Charles Rangel of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelolsi of California- responded more appropriately.

Yes, he criticized Chavez on the ground of decorum. But the bottom line remains that Harkin sided with the buffoon from Venezuala over and against his own president. Once again, he has embarassed Iowa and the nation with his extreme and irresponsible remarks. He should be ashamed of himself- and we should …

Dr. Marquart lives

A great man and an outstanding champion of the Cross, Professor Kurt Marquart of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was called this morning to the Church Triumphant.

This is a time to give thanks to God for the gift of one of the most eloquent and orthodox theologians Lutheranism has seen lo these many decades.

Intellectual nihilists of the world, unite!

You have nothing to lose but your minds!

Well, maybe your souls, too.

Andrew Walden has some interesting thoughts about why the Left in particular is so upset about Pope Benedict's recent comments concerning Islam.

What Walden has to say also applies- and in spades- to the political and especially the theological Left. Where "right" is defined as whatever serves the will to power, nothing but moral nihilism remains.

Silly, silly Joe!

Potential Democratic presidential candidate and Indian immigrant disser Joe Biden said on CNN the other day that he thinks that President Bush's decision to refuse beforehand to meet with Iran's President Ahmadinejad makes no sense.

And to somebody who thinks that it's OK to grant legitimacy to the world's leading sponsor of state terrorism by agreeing to a meeting with as much chance of producing constructive results on Iran's nuclear plans as of resulting in the reunification of the Beatles (dead ones included), it probably doesn't.

HT: Drudge

Fear the Bears

Rex Grossman: 289 yards passing, four touchdown passes, 20 for 27 in the air- and a 34-7 victory over the Detroit Lions.

The Bears have a passing game- and an offense- to go with the best defense in the NFL. While they haven't exactly played the NFL's elite these first two weeks, at the moment they are 2-0 with sixty points for and seven against.

What can I say? Well- that, and "Look out!"

No, Mr. Cohen

Every once in a while, Richard Cohen gets something right.

This is not one of those times.

We are hardly getting "mauled" in Afghanistan- though our refusal to commit the necessary resources may yet snatch defeat fromt he jaws of victory. And even in Iraq, it's a lack of leadership on the part of an administration unwilling to put the case clearly and strongly to the American people, to ask us to pay the price- and to respond with the necessary levels of force that has created the hole we've dug for ourselves. Reversing these things might yet get us out of that hole.

Cohen raves about "the administration's mauling of the truth" in its "mad rush to war." The rush took twelve years- and in case Cohen doesn't read the newspapers, not only has the Wilson/Plame/Corn slander been exposed for the falsehood it is (Wilson, not Bush, lied), but Mr. Bush's claim about Saddam seeking yellowcake in Niger has been vindicated. Moreover, Saddam- for the …

Perhaps worth a read

Here's a review of an enlightening- if flawed- book on the mistakes the United States has made in prosecuting the war in Iraq.

The author of the book- Thomas Ricks- is a critic of the war, but that doesn't mean that everything he says has to be wrong.

9/11 and American resolve

I spent most of today trying to think of something profound and moving to say about 9/11.

I thought of lots of stuff I could say. Trouble was, either I or somebody else has already said it. So no heart strings will be tugged today in this space. No great rhetoric will be attempted. I'll confine myself to an observation not so much about 9/11 or its victims or its heroes as about 9/11 and us.

"For one brief, shining moment," as Alan Jay Lerner might have put it, united we stood. America had been attacked. We forgot whether we were Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. We forgot whether we had voted for Gore or for Bush. We forgot, many of us, our instinctive distaste for New York's perceived brashness and insularity and provincialism, and the obnoxious sense of superiority to the rest of the country it often seems to project. We were all New Yorkers.

Eastern, Midwestern, Southern, Southeastern, Far Western, urban, suburban, rural- none of that mattered in the least …

And we have an offense!

Bears 26, Packers 0.

No reason to rub it in further.

Well, too much further, anyway. There's always this- courtesy of the Chicago Symphony, directed by the late Sir Georg Solti (and I think also featuring the Symphony Chorus).

Bear down!

A doctor on Steve Irwin's death

Here's another take on the medical side of Steve Irwin's death.

Dr. Auerbach's conclusion: if he hadn't pulled out the barb, he might well have lived- but without knowing the cause of death, we can't know for sure.

His tentative hypothesis: death was probably caused by the leakage of blood from the heart into the pericardium, which the stinger probably kept under control until it was pulled out. Once the pericardium- which does not stretch easily- was filled, the resulting pressure on the heart would have quickly made it impossible for it to beat.

The end of an era

"Marshall Field's," proclaims a British website I visited recently, "is Chicago." And in a very real sense, it was.

But no more. After a series of acquisitions by out-of-town companies beginning in 1982, its current owner- Macy's- decided to end the franchise and put its own name on the remaining Marshall Field's stores. Yesterday- Saturday, September 9, 2006- Marshall Field's faded into history.

Field's was always the real center of gravity on State Street, even though geographically Randolph is a little north of Madison. In Chicago and throughout the Midwest, it was the "classy" department store. Every Christmas, I opened many boxes with the familiar cursive logo on them; it was a good bet that my more upscale relatives would have done their Christmas shopping there, and Mom and Dad usually turned out on Christmas morning to have made a stop or two at State and Randolph themselves. Mom actually worked there for a while, when my sis…

Courage, cowardice, intelligence and stupidity

Here's a sensible Op Ed piece from the Ottawa Citizen on Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Terror- and how all thoughtful Westerners ought to think about them.

It's common sense, really- a commodity in short supply these days in North America, at a time when neither courage nor intelligence in these matters is very popular.

A new low

Jeff Jacoby of the liberal Boston Globe has some interesting things to say about that British TV(!) film about the assassination of President Bush, a new low in the sad, sorry and sick record of anti-Bush bile on the part of those who disagree with the current administration.

There is a long and tawdry history of below the belt political attacks in American history. Bill Clinton, for one, was the victim of quite a few. But never before has anyone- even Ronald Reagan- been subjected to a constant and diverse torrent of childish, petulant, and just plain sick abuse as the current POTUS.

HT: Real Clear Politics

One thing for sure

This is not merely the first week of the football season.

This is Packer week.

And the Packers must be destroyed. Utterly, completely, absolutely- and at least twice a year.

Two more Aardies!

I am deeply honored to have received two more Aardies this past week for my posts on the contributions of Photoshop to Reuters' coverage of the war in Lebanon, and my thoughts on the Iowa Caucuses and the presidential nominating process.

This makes a total of four- which are not proudly displayed in the right-hand column of this blog only because IE has the irritating habit of dropping everything in that column down to the bottom of the page if much more than is already there is displayed.

In any case, my humble thanks to the Reverend Aardvaark.

'Chicken hawks' vs. chickens

If pro-war folks who haven't served in the military (including yours truly) are "chicken hawks," are anti-war folks who haven't served in the military merely chickens?

And whence the presumption on the part of so many non-veterans in the media that they are remotely qualified to discuss the war, if they insist that those who disagree with them must be veterans in order to do so?

Do 'vegetative' patients have awareness?

Medical ethics- and debates about the propriety of killing them by withholding water and nourishment- have generally accepted as a given that "vegetative" patients have no higher cerebral function after all, and don't really respond to their surroundings other than on a very primitive level.

But it turns out that this may not be the case. New evidence from one case suggests that vegetative patients may have awareness after all.

Apparently the Berger incident really didn't happen

More on ABC's decision to remove a segment Democrats have complained about from a docudrama about the path to 9/11: apparently the incident really never did literally happen- and thus should indeed have been removed from the program.

It's an old- and controversial- technique: inventing scenes which never literally happened in order to illustrate decisions which the individuals portrayed in the scenes did actually make. It provides an opportunity for the makers of those decisions to confuse the factuality of the scene with the factuality of the decisions, and thus get off the hook.

Nevertheless, not content with this, Democrats continue to try to get the program itself pulled on the implausible ground of Republican bias- on the part of ABC!

Purely fictional incidents should not be broadcast, even for the purpose of "dramatizing" decisions actually made and directions actually taken by the Clinton administration. As one commenter has pointed out, that was the direction …

Will our friendship with Britain survive the Blair government?

Krauthammer on Iraq

Is Iraq having a civil war? Whatever the war is called, can we win it? Does the case for pulling out make any sense?

Charles Krauthammer gives his answers: who cares, yes, and no.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Dems whine about ABC drama

ABC is airing a drama about the buildup to 9/11 which makes the Clinton Administration look bad.

The Democrats- including former members of that administration and some of the more partisan members of the 9/11 Commission- are whining. Some of them actually claim that the drama is actually biased in favor of the Bush Administration!

Right. That Republican bias the networks are so famous for strikes again!

And ABC has at least partially caved.

Surprise!

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Apparently- to the satisfaction of objective people with more information than I- the incident dramatized in the program never literally happened. It isn't simply a matter of a convenient denial by Berger and Albright.

The Democrats were right to complain- and ABC was right to remove the segment. But the Democrats have no right to browbeat ABC into removing story elements which rightly point to the Clinton administration's serious culpability in the events leading up to 9/11, and hopefully ABC will not let them.

Thi…

Pakistan won't arrest bin Laden

Pakistan says that Osama bin Laden will not be arrested if he leads a "peaceful life" in the country.

The announcement is an attempt to appease the Taliban. Bin Laden is believed to be hiding along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The announcement should formally end all alliances between the United States and Pakistan. No country that is willing to give Osama sanctuary should be treated as in any sense a friend.

HT: Drudge

Klein isn't entirely wrong

TIME's Joe Klein continues to insist on the absurdities that the UN inspections in Iraq were working before the invasion (any cooperation Saddam extended Hans Blix was because of the threat of invasion- even Jacques Chirac admitted as much- and would have ebbed with that threat), and that Saddam had no WMD's (we've found quite a few- and there are indications that far more were smuggled out of the country in the weeks leading up to the war). No surprise there.

But Klein is exactly right about pretty much else he suggests that President Bush should have told the American Legion about Iraq the other day.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Kofi favors making nice-nice with the mullahs

Just as it wimped out on Iraq (seventeen times, in fact), it appears that the UN is wimping out on Iran- at least insofar as Secretary General Kofi Annan is any indication.

As in Rwanda, Kosovo, and just about every other major crisis in recent history where it might have made a difference.

Supposedly Kofi did facilitate a Israeli-Palestinian deal for the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners- a wonderful precedent whereby terrorists can be encouraged to kidnap innocent people so as to spring violent criminals from jail.

Could Irwin have survived?

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, impaled through the heart by a sting ray's barb, pulled it from his chest before losing consciousness and dying yesterday.

If he hadn't, he might have lived.

"It's not the going in that causes the damage, it's the coming out where those deep serrations kind of pull on the flesh, and you end up with a jagged tear which is quite a pronounced injury," commented Dr. Bryan Fry of the Australian Venom Research Unit.

HT: Drudge

Doing the unthinkable?

The Israelis have reportedly reached a deal to swap Palestinian prisoners for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

Traditionally, aking deals with terrorists isn't supposed to be something the Israelis even consider. Certainly it rewards the practice of kidnapping Israelis. As glad as we all would be for Shalit to be safe, I wonder whether this decision is going to come back and bite the Israelis.

HT: Drudge

From the horse's mouth

Everybody seems to be an expert on the prospects (nil, according to conventional wisdom) of democracy in Iraq.

Funny, though. Nobody ever bothers to ask the Iraqis.

Wonder what they think.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Iran and Nazi Germany

Fareed Zakaria is right: Iran most certainly isn't Nazi Germany.

Nazi Germany didn't have The Bomb to facilitate its genocidal intentions toward the Jews.

Which- despite Zakaria's reassurances about the impotence of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism- is rather the issue.

HT: Real Clear Politics

'Crocodile Hunter' killed by stingray

Steve Irwin, TV's "Crocodile Hunter," was killed by a stingray barb to the heart early today.

Irwin is survived by his American-born wife, Terri, and two children: Bindy Sue, 8, and Bob, 3.

Denise and greatly enjoyed his show. Irwin was a naturalist, to be sure, but also a showman, whose contagious enthusiasm for animals and the world of nature was hard not to share.

He'll be missed- not least of all by his fans. Terri, Bindy Sue, and Bob were regularly featured on his shows, and it almost seems as if we know them. They'll be in our prayers.

ADDENDUM: Drudge shares this Australian report on Irwin's death.

ADDENDUM II: Another Australian article, with more detail.

ADDENDUM III: I am really a bit ticked at myself for having called Terri Irwin "Cindy," and not catching the mistake for forty-eight hours.

Comes of blogging before my first cup of coffee in the morning.

Israel prepares for the main event

Mark Twain once wrote that the prospect of being hanged concentrates one's mind wonderfully.

Similarly, the possibility of being wiped off the face of the map in an act of genocide promised by its enemies for over half a century spares Israel the psychic angst of deciding whether or not to do whatever is necessary to defend itself and its people.

The Israelis are reportedly getting ready for war with Iran and its partner, Syria.

HT: Drudge

Report: Hillary might drop out

Supposedly some who are close to Hillary Clinton think she might opt out of the presidential race and seek to become Senate Democratic leader instead.

Supposedly doubts about winning the general election are involved.

I don't believe this story for a moment, but it's worth noticing in passing.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: NewsBusters agrees with me,

Peaceful purposes

Lockheed to build Shuttle replacement/mooncraft

As a former employee of a contractor for Northrop Grumman, I would rather that they had won. But NASA announced on Thursday that it had selected Lockheed Martin as prime contractor for the new Orion spacecraft, which will both serve as a replacement for the Space Shuttle and as a successor to the Apollo craft when the time comes for us to return to the moon.

ADDENDUM: Surprisingly, even TIME approves.

When is a good economy not a good economy?

Why isn't President Bush getting credit for the booming economy?

The reason is simple: the average American isn't benefiting. In fact, in significant ways, we seem to be going backward even as the positive economic numbers pour it.

Wages aren't going up, and employers are cutting back on fringe benefits- including one of the basic necessities, health insurance. This is not a scenario which lends to a perception of prosperity. And for those of us without health insurance, it is also a scenario which attacks our quality of life in a direct, obvious, and deadly serious way: it often means going without needed medications and maybe even basic health care.

As resistant as I am to the notion of single-payer national healthcare such as Canada and Great Britain have (Canadians, for example, die waiting for routine diagnostic tests their system simply can't make widely available; every system rations health care in some way). something is going to have to be done to ensure that …