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Showing posts from October, 2006

Five from The Weekly Standard on the stem cell cheat

Did you know that human embryonic stem cells have yet to demonstrate any therapeutic use whatsoever- and that the entire argument that they ever might is purely theoretical?

There's more. Here is an article on the exaggerated claims for the prospects of fetal stem cell therapy, and on other experimental approaches to treating degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's which also offer hope, and arguably more realistic hope. But you don't hear much about them, because their general acknowledgment would deliver too great a blow to the case for killing embryos in the name of a mere theoretical possibilty.

Some of these are already being used successfully to treat certain illnesses; if fetal stem cells ever lead to an effective treatment for any disease, it probably won't be for years or even decades. And it is by no means certain that such a day will ever come.

Here is an article about a new pressure group- Scientists and Engineers for America, or SEA- dedicated to arguin…

Our entire lives

...All Works and all Societies are bad.
The Just shall live by faith!, he cried in dread,
And men and women of the world were glad,
Who never trembled in their useful lives.

-- W.H. Auden, "Luther"

"Eleutherius,-" "the Free Man-" Martin Luther sometimes called himself, punning on his own name. Auden was wrong about one thing: he who has never trembled cannot understand Luther, his theology, or the Truth that set him free.

Today is Reformation Day- the 486th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther is reputed to have nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That door was in effect the "bulletin board" of the University of Wittenberg, at which Luther was a professor of theology. His intent (assuming that he actually posted them, which some historians- notably Roman Catholic historians Joseph Lortz and Erwin Iserloh- dispute) was simply to provoke debate concerning the efficacy and meaning of indulgences- formal remi…

Is it the Democratic Party, or the Donner Party?

Here is a right-on analysis not only of the Rush Limbaugh/Michael J. Fox flap, but of the stem cell controversy itself.

Doug Powers, its author, has a point: the logic of the pro-stem cell argument is exactly the argument that led certain members of the Donner Party to kill and eat other members of the Donner Party. Except that it's perhaps not quite as compelling when the people who would benefit aren't facing death from starvation in the short term.

There they go again!

It seems that the Democratic Campaign Pamphlet of Record, the New York Times, has accused the military (and by implication the Administration) of failing to keep track of thousands of weapons intended for the Iraqi security forces.

Sound familiar? It should. The NYT, with the complicity of Sixty Minutes, made exactly the same chargea week before the 2004 presidential election.

It turned out not to be true. You'd think they'd at least come up with a fresh "October Surprise" to spring at the last moment!

Upon further review...

I blogged a few days ago that all Rush Limbaugh did was to question whether Michael J. Fox- who himself writes of testifying before a Senate committee unmedicated in order to produce a sympathetic effect- might have done the same thing in his Claire ("George Bush Deliberately Murdered Black People") McCaskill ad.

That isn't strictly true. First, though he promptly withdrew and apologized for the suggestion, he did raise the possibility that Fox might have been consciously faking his symptoms. And (although his radio audience didn't know that- a point Limbaugh's critics somehow seem not to have realize) he did jerk and twitch around while describing the ad in a manner which can only be described as mocking Fox's symptoms.

Both were repulsive and insensitive, and while I believe Limbaugh was perfectly within bounds to ask a natural question about whether or not Fox was medicated, I in no way mean to defend them.

An object lesson from Africa

Whether it's a Democratic Senate candidate blundering by referring to the attitude of his African-American opponent as "slavish," or the usual mountains out of molehills which characterize the more usual liberal game of "gotcha" played against Republican verbal miscues, political correctness can be very silly.

The fact is that fallible human beings, for no particularly sinister reason, sometimes stick their feet (or pens) in their mouths. As an example, I cite the first sentence of this news story, upon which I just happened to stumble.

Note the names- and thus, the identity- of the writers. The innocence of intent involved- as is so often true in such cases- is patent. Good thing, though, that it wasn't written by a white Republican from the US of A.

Hoist by their own petard!

Looks like all the unfounded Democratic whining about being "robbed" in 2000 and in 2004 may backfire.

Some Democrats fear that the resulting cynicism about election in the African-American community may suppress voter turnout there!

Bears 41, 49ers 10

We are who we thought we were.

23 of 29, 252 yards, and three touchdown passes for Grossman, two of them to Desmond Clark. 111 yards rushing and a touchdown for Thomas Jones. The Bears scored their first 24 points in the first quarter, and all 41 points in the first half- the first setting a new team record, and the second tying one. From there, they simply cruised. The NFL's all-time winningest franchise is now 7-0, baby!

And once again, Sir Georg Solti, the Chicago Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony chorus say it all.

They did it!

The Nippon Ham Fighters have won the Japan Series!

Cub fans can still comfort themselves in the wake of consecutive World Series victories by their two bitterest rivals with the knowledge that success can sometimes come to teams that haven't won for a while.

Maybe eventually it will come to the Cubs, too.

Our servicemen are being preyed upon

So many American servicemen are deeply in debt to usurious payday loan predators and fail their security clearances because of it- thus being disqualified from being deployed overseas- that real crisis has developed in military readiness.

Large numbers of civilians, struggling to make ends meet, also find themselves in over their heads after taking such loans simply to meet ordinary living expenses.

Time to slam a low interest cap on such loans, both for the sake of Americans both in and out of uniform and for the sake of national security.

Comet Swan takes a dive

Well, I missed the great flare-up of Comet Swan this week. It was briefly visible to the naked eye, but after a night or two faded back to the fuzzball that had been expected.

The comet was unusual in that it was green. Those with long enough memories may remember that Comet Hyukatake was blue, and that while it had a blue ion tail, comet Hale Bopp was essentially whitish. But Swan contains an abnormal amount of cyanogen (CN) and diatomic carbon (C2), both of which glow green in sunlight. It must have been quite a sight.

Last night I went down to Madison County (yes, the one with the bridges and the birthplace of John Wayne) to see what I could see from truly dark skies. The comet had faded to the point where I was unable to find it in 10x50 binoculars (of course, if I'd thought to bring a star chart it might have helped!).

Actually, I should have been able to pick it out despite the fading. Denise and I went out to the Domes (Ashton Observatory, run by our astronomy group, the Des …

GOP Bloggers raises a good point

When Bill Clinton was president, current economic numbers like these were all over the news:

Current Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Average Unemployment Rate 1993-2000: 5.2%
Average GDP Growth Since the 2003 Tax Cut: 3.7%
Average GDP Growth 1993-2000: 3.7%
Current 30-Year Mortgage Rate 1993-2000: 6.4%
Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate 1993-2000: 7.7%

Why not now?

As if we didn't know...

More from the Fathers on the "Lutheran" solas

Some time ago, Pr. Walt Snyder gave us a brief list of quotations from the Church Fathers on the four Lutheran solas- Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone- which Roman Catholic apologists often claim were unknown to the Fathers. Here are some more:

Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, (with) the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God. (St. Augustine, De unitate ecclesiae, chp. 10).

And he well said, "a righteousness of mine own," not that which I gained by labor and toil, but that which I found from grace. If then he who was so excellent is saved by grace, much more are you. For since it was likely they would say that the righteousness which comes from toil is the greater, he shows that it is dung in comparison with the other. For otherwise I, who was so excellent in it, would not have cast it away, and run to the other. But what is that other? That which is from the faith …

And while we're on the subject of embryonic stem cells...

Here are the thoughts of Lisa Stapp- one of my favorite Lutheran bloggers, who suffers from a progressive disease (Intermediate Spinal Muscular Atrophy, aka SMA Type 2) which the experts claim could be successfully treated with embryonic stem cell therapy.

And here is an entry by Pastor Walter Snyder of Ask the Pastor concerning a letter from a retired Lutheran pastor in Missouri who has Parkinson's Disease- the same ailment from which Michael J. Fox suffers- and has a sign on his lawn reading "VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 2."

Amendment 2 is a proposed amendment to the Missouri constitution legalizing cloning for the purpose of cannibalizing embryos for stem cells. It's actually being advertised by its supporters as a "pro-life" measure forbidding cloning.

The people of Missouri will vote on Amendment 2 on November 7. Hopefully it will go down to ignominious defeat- as will Claire McCaskill, Sen. Jim Talent's opponent, who once accused President Bush of deliberat…

Make up your minds, Sci-Fi!

I wish the Sci-Fi Channel would stop changing the time at which Doctor Who is on for the second time. I expected it to be on at ten at the earliest, and missed it. It was on at nine.

And Battlestar Galactica is on three times tonight. Same episode.

First the White Sox, and now the Cardinals

Another 'Lost Cause?' I hope not!

Since I became a conservative (at least of sorts), it has never ceased to amaze me how many of my compatriots on the Right are in love with the Confederacy. Especially since I'm a bit of a Civil War buff, I've never quite seen the appeal in an entity which (however much its romantic admirers are in denial on the point) was from its inception dedicated to the proposition that all men are not created equal.

But romantics are romantics, and people in love see in their beloved pretty much what they want to see, whether it's there or not. To many conservatives, it seems, the decentralized CSA had essentially the kind of government the U.S. Constitution really calls for, and the Founding Fathers really had in mind. Never mind that the respective strength of the state and local governments was a matter of controversy among the Founders, and never mind the bitter lesson the newborn Union learned when it tried to govern its affairs via the misbegotten Articles of Confederation. H…

Here we go again!

First naked eye comet since Hale-Bopp!

Comet Swan has gone naked eye!

Observers in the northern hemisphere should look for it low in the Western sky just after sundown below and to the right of Hercules, closer to Hercules than to Corona Borealis. Here is a chart.

It's not nearly as spectacular as Hale-Bopp or Hyukatake, at only magnitude 4.5 or so. But it's a beautiful, ghostly green- a seasonally appropriate appearance for this Halloween comet.

Here is a picture, taken from rural Wisconsin.

Here's another, taken at higher magnification from the UK.

And here's still another, taken from Japan, at even higher magnification.

The vindication of Rush Limbaugh

It's confirmed.

It's not just that Michael J. Fox admitted to having deliberately gone off his meds in order to worsen his symptoms and thus maximize the emotional impact of his testimony before Congress in interviews. He wrote that he did so- and in so many words- in his own book!

I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.

Not, of course, that you'll hear that on the news!

What- are we expected to believe that while Fox admits that he was willing to manipulate the people's representatives in Congress by being selective about when he takes his medication, it's somehow shocking to wonder whether he might have done the same thing to the people of Missouri? Co…

Idolatry 101?

Professors at Indiana's Butler University are reported to mock Christianity regularly and with impugnity. But Butler students are required to take a course which demands that they purchase a copy of the Koran and treat it with ritual respect as the word of god (including always carrying and stacking it on top of all other books).

Nothing wrong, of course, with teaching students to be sensitive to the beliefs of others. But somehow neither Butler nor its faculty feels obligated to lead by example, and that strikes me as rather problematic.

Since prayer is one of the pillars of Islam, which the course requires students to practice in class, one wonders whether it must be to Allah. Unfortunately, of course, there would be nothing new about Christian students being forced to pray to the Muslim god by their teachers as an exercise in a "tolerance" the teachers and the institutions where they teach do not feel obligated to extend to Christianity.

Occam's Razor in action

To "lead with one's chin" was an expression my late father used to describe making the weakest part of one's argument its main thrust. The late Carl Sagan used to do precisely that in his gentle critique of theism. Sagan was fond of invoking Occam's Razor, otherwise known as the Principle of Logical Economy, or Inference to the Best Explanation.

The principle is really a simple one: the correct answer to a given problem or question is most likely to be the simplest one which accounts for all the known facts. It's a standard maxim of logic, and Sagan used to argue that since something has always been (either the universe itself or a god who created it), Occam's Razor required that we save a step by preferring the former.

In fact, he was "leading with his chin." Intelligent Design- really scorned far more on ideological grounds than logical ones by the secular academic community- is nothing more or less than the notion that an eternal mindless unive…

It's hard to miss the point

What the Democrats and the MSM try so hard to tell everyone is true in spades of Nancy Pelosi: when it comes to Iraq, she just doesn't get it.

While I would not use the unkind adjectives the author of the article invokes toward the woman who- in President Bush's phrase- is already "measuring the drapes" in the Speaker's office, there can be little doubt that her take- which seems to be rather her party's standard line on Iraq-is totally without contact with reality.

Iraq would not become the Garden of Eden if the United States simply left. It would become far more of an abattoir than it already is.

And that, in a nutshell, is nothing more or less than what we're fighting to prevent.

Earth to Nancy! Come in!

Spin City, indeed

Ryan T. Anderson herein patiently explains the facts about embryonic stem cell research and treatment to all of those not so caught up in the maudlin emotionalism which characterizes the liberal side of that debate- those reprehensible videos by Michael J. Fox being a prime example- to have placed themselves beyond reason.

Adult stem cell therapy is a much more promising avenue. In fact, unlike embroyonic stem cell therapy, it's producing effective treatments right now. And unlike embryonic stem cells, adult ones don't cause tumors when injected into the brains of Parkinson's patients like Fox.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Some thoughts on Rush and Michael J. Fox

Apparently Rush suggested today that Michael J. Fox was either acting or deliberately off his Parkinson's meds when he made this commercial for Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill. The origin of this speculation is reports of numerous interviews in which Fox is alleged to have admitted going off his meds in order to increase his tremors before testifying in front of congressional committees.

This story has many fascinating aspects to it. Predictably, liberal blogs ignore the issue of manipulation and deception, and castigate Rush. Those which even note the allegation of Fox having engaged in such a tactic before generally dismiss it on the ground that since the tremors are genuinely the result of Parkinson's, Fox's neglecting his medication for dramatic effect is somehow not manipulative. Interestingly, I have yet to see a liberal blogger or other commentator dispute the charges concerning Fox's having done precisely what Limbaugh suggests in the past.

I must ad…

Sol is a survivor

Scientists have uncovered evidence that our sun was origninally part of a cluster of nearby stars- and that it survived when a "sister" 20 times larger went supernova early in its history.

Left: Kepler's Supernova in Ophiuchus, SN 1604.

They're playing a Series in Japan, too!

Go, Nippon Ham Fighters!

The Fighters (not "Ham Fighers;" Nippon Ham is the owner of the team) are the Cubs of the Japanese league, with a similar history of futility. Like calls to like. Gotta pull for 'em.

ADDENDUM: On second thought... no. While I'm still pulling for the Fighters, they have won a previous pennant in the past twenty years.

In other ways, though, they're even more pathetic than the Cubs, so it all evens out.

'Dancing with Darwiniam nihilism'

While I personally see the phrase "Christian libertarian" as something close to an oxymoron, Vox Day- who so describes himself- has some interesting observations concerning the process by which nihilistic "ethicist" Peter Singer's arrives at the conclusion that like at least some infanticide, homosexual behavior- "in all its disease-ridden, suicide- and violence-prone glory," as Day puts it- is beyond ethical criticism.

I wonder what Wood and Prior are doing this winter

After the loss of our leading scorer, our number one center, and our goalie in one horrific weekend, Blackhawks GM Dale Talon is looking for chewing gum and bailing wire.

Hope it's relatively strong bailing wire.

Aid and comfort to the enemy... at the very least!

Hard to see the CNN's broadcast of a video of al Quaeda terrorists getting ready to kill American soldiers in Iraq- and then actually doing it other than as at least bordering on treason, in that it gives aid and comfort to the enemy without having the slightest news value or value as an aid in objectively considering the issues. In any case, it clearly represents a new low even for the MSM. It's a snuff film in which the victims are American fighting men.

It should be emphasized that the people at CNN obtained the video from the enemy, and at least did not shoot it themselves!

The video seems to have disappeared from the CNN website itself. But I'm sure that Osama and company remain suitably grateful.

More from Pelosi

From the same interview referred to in the prior post.

Here, she admits the patent, established fact which what Democrats- and, incredibly, the media- are in denial about: Saddam Hussein did, in fact, have those WMDs!

Something loony from Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney said on "Sixty Minutes" yesterday that President Bush needs to explain to the American people what we are fighting for now in Iraq, now that Saddam is gone.

Apparently Andy Rooney isn't paying attention.

Granted, the war has been badly mismanaged. Granted, we should have had massively more men fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan- even if it meant reinstituting the draft (a step which- however unpopular- will eventually be absolutely necessary if we're going to prevail in our war with Islamofascism). But the reasons why we're still fighting in Iraq- and why bailing out would be a moral and geopolitical disaster- couldn't be more obvious.

Besides fighting to prevent a bloodbath the likes of which Rooney and the others in the "cut and run" crowd can't even imagine- an event which would follow in short order upon our withdrawal- we are fighting to buy the Iraqis themselves time to achieve a security capability which will enable them to ta…

Carny time!

Lutheran Carnival XXXV is up over at Theomony.

Gay "marriage" and the Two Kingdoms, using Homo sapiens for spare parts, Jack Danforth's odd conception of Christian ethics, a preview of the Lutheran Service Book, and a whole lot more.

Iranian child rape victims forced to live on the street

Years ago, a close friend of mine was raped. I saw first hand the devastation that experience- as she put it, the most horrible thing somebody can go through and still live- can inflict upon a beautiful human being.

Being a Christian, she was surrounded by the warm and compassionate support of brothers and sisters in Christ, and reassured that her worth was in no way diminished by a tragedy which was in no way her fault.

In Iran, however, girls and women who are raped are rejected by their families- and large numbers of girls as young as nine are living on the streets of Iran's cities- especially the holy cities of Quom and Mashad.

One more reason why it's hard to take the religion of the Ayatollahs seriously- and to see Islamofascism as anything but the unmitigated evil it is.

One more reason to stand fast in our war against it, instead of cutting and running- as some would have us do- on any front.

And while I'm at it, might as well make it a clean sweep

As ironic as it might be to even the mention the Cubs at World Series time, this song kinda sums up the whole experience of growing up rooting for them.

Though he insisted that he was not the one in the song, Steve Goodman himself was a dying Cubs fan. In fact, he died of leukemia just four days before the Cubs clinched the Central Division championship in 1984, their first title of any kind since "the year we dropped the Bomb on Japan."

Since the Bears have a 'bye' this week...

...I thought I'd provide something to tide my fellow ursophiles over until the San Francisco game next Sunday.

ADDENDUM: Sorry, guys. Apparently the NFL had some copyright problems with this video being available via YouTube, so it's been removed.

It was nice basking in the memories, though. Hopefully we'll have some new ones come January.


The Blackhawks' Martin Havlat, who was leading the NHL in scoring when he was hurt on Friday night, will only be out of action for two weeks.

He sprained his right ankle.

It had been feared that the injury was much worse. Looks like the Hawks' chances of making the playoffs still have a pulse.

Jack Danforth- and the Left- are at it again!

In November, the citizens of Missouri will vote on this blatantly deceptive initiative, which would protect the cannibalizing of living human embryos for their stem cells under the pretense of banning human cloning.

Jack Danforth- a sometime Republican politician who is even more theologically confused, it seems, than most of his fellow Episcopal priests- has apparently made a TV commercial supporting the amendment stating that he supports this Mengele-esque measure because "I've always been pro-life."

There is noting pro-life about terminating human lives in order to treat other people's illnesses. Even terminal ones.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," God says through the prophet Jeremiah (1:5). Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right: even if it were possible to argue that life does not begin at conception, there can be no argument that, at conception, God intends a life. He knows us even before we are formed in the womb!

But in fact, it is not possible. …

Goofy, Xena, 2003 UB313, whatever has an actual name!

I hadn't heard this, but it seems that on September 13 the IAU gave 2003 UB313 (hitherto referred to in this blog as either "Mickey" or "Goofy") a particularly appropriate official name. It's now Eris, after the Greek goddess of strife and discord, who started the Trojan War.

Touted originally as the "tenth planet," its discovery forced the IAU to come to a decision about the staus of the smaller Pluto which ended in the latter's demotion to the status of "dwarf planet," a category it shares with Eris and the asteroid Ceres. The decision was a singularly contentious one, and the grumbling is still going on.

And, no, it was never actually named "Xena." That name was a joke.

Eris's moon, similarly, is not "Gabrielle," but Dysnomia, or "Lawlessness-" in Greek mythology, the daughter of Eris.

Not a good week, injury wise, for the good guys

First the Bears lose star safety Mike Brown for the season, and now the Blackhawks have lost the NHL's leading scorer, Martin Havlat, for a period to be determined.

Hopefully Havlat, at least, will be back soon- and the Bears' D will be able to absorb the loss of Brown, one of its leaders.

And hopefully Kerry Wood and Mark Prior will have an interlude of good health sometime next summer.


Evidence that Steve Irwin might well have survived!

An 81 year-old man in Florida Wednesday suffered a wound from a stingray barb similar to the one that killed "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin- and is still alive.

The barb was not pulled out of his heart at the scene, but removed surgically at a hospital.

He remains in critical condition.

The incident seems to add support to the notion that if Irwin hadn't instinctively pulled the barb from his chest- causing far more damage than the original wound itself had caused- he might have lived.

ADDENDUM: Here is an more detailed account of the story.

Bad theology from a Bush critic

But then, of course, what else is new?

David Kuo's Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction is eseentially a hit piece on the Bush administration's support of faith-based initiatives. Among other faults, it manages to completely confuse the Two Kingdoms. The matters involved in those "faith-based initiatives" are worldly matters- matters, in Luther's terminology, of the "Kingdom of the Left Hand-" the realm of Law, in which believers and non-believers alike participate on an equal basis. They do not participate in the realm of the exclusively Christian, the Kingdom of the Right- the unique realm of faith, the arena of the Gospel.

Here is a cogent response to Kuo's rather disingenuous thesis.

Kim apologizes for fizzle

Kim Jong-Il says he regrets his apparently fizzled nuclear test- and tells the Chinese that if the United States stops trying to isolate North Korea financially, he'd be willing to return to either six-party or bilateral international nuclear talks.

Maybe he's ronery.

HT: Drudge

This once was true

Unfortunately, the Democratic Pary has become so extreme and perverse that it's no longer an option...

You Are a Conservative Democrat
Frankly, the way most other Democrats behave embarrasses you greatly.

You pride yourself on a high level of morals, and you have a good grasp on right and wrong.

It's likely you think America needs to get back to its conservative, Judeo-Christian values.

Why aren't you a Republican then? Because you believe the government helps more than hurts.What's Your Political Persuasion?

Go Tigers!

Headline on ABC story lies

Almost from its inception, opponents of President Bush (including much of the MSM, of course) have compared the war in Iraq- absurdly- to Vietnam.

Never mind that Ho Chi Minh never stood trial; that the North Vietnamese never held a free election; that the trouble in the South was never pretty much contained within two provinces, as is the case in Iraq. Never mind that our casualties in Iraq, even at the present levels, will equal those we sustained in Vietnam sometime late this century. We were hearing the word "quagmire" before the war was a year old.

Now, this piece of nonsense.

Read the story. President Bush accepted a comparison between the current spike in terrorist activity and the Tet offensive. He absolutely did not- as the headline suggests- accept a comparison between the war in Iraq as such and the war in Vietnam as such.

The headline of the ABC story is, to put it plainly, a bald-faced lie.

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Here is a more honest headline for essentially the same …

FBI unable to connect Foley to sex with underaged pages

Not that this excuses the behavior of former congressman Mark Foley, but the FBI investigation has yet to turn up a single case of sexual contact between Foley and an underaged page.

Democrats- desperate to avoid the stigma of their obvious hypocrisy in trying to exploit the Foley affair while forgetting their own failure to deal with the late Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass), who did have sex with an underaged page and was allowed to remain as a member of a Democratically-controlled House anyway (and a defiant member at that)- seem unable to recognize the fundamental and rather telling distinction between consensual sex among adults and sex between and adult and a person beneath the legal age of consent.

Again, this does not excuse or minimize Foley's sleazy emails to underage pages. But it does create quite a glaring contrast between even the worst case scenario regarding the Republican leadership's handling of the Foley affair and the far more represensible failure of the Democrat…

Hearts and minds

Daniel Pipes expounds upon the crucial commodity in modern warfare (certainly for the United States): not munitions or strategy or tactics or geography or any of the other things which have dictated the outcomes of wars in the past, but rather the battle for the public mind and will, both in the countries which stand in the balance and at home.

This, I think, was what Sec. Rumsfeld (with whom, as you know, I have some serious disagreements about how the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been and are being fought) meant when he said that defeat in Iraq is militarily impossible. This is, after all, not a war at all- the war was won, quickly and decisively- but a police operation concentrating on the only two essentially unpacified provinces in Iraq- Baghdad and Falujah. Yes, the enemy can wreak havoc. But he cannot win unless we give up. It's a military mismatch; as long as it's a military matter, we can't lose.

We can lose only if the Fifth Column both in Iraq and in…

Before you vote Democratic, or even stay home... this amazing statement from the man who will be come Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats win the House. The topic under discussion, btw, is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11.

The extremism of the House Democratic leadership defies belief. Don't risk allowing this crowd to take over the U.S. House of Representatives!

It's Lou!

The Cubs officially introduced Lou Pinella as their new manager today.

I'm delighted! Babou put it well: "He's Ditka, rather than Lovie." No knock on Lovie, who is doing an obviously more than splendid job with Da Bearss. But the Cubs need a Ditka, maybe with George Patton as his bench coach.

That might do.

I never knew about Pinella's lifelong rivalry with Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa, dating back literally to childhood. Should have an interesting effect on the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.