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Showing posts from November, 2006

And such a jackass!

George Will details just how much of a jackass Sen.-elect James Webb made of himself at that White House reception.

A transcript of the conversation:

BUSH: How's your boy?
WEBB: I'd like to get them (sic) out of Iraq, Mr. President.
BUSH : That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?
WEBB: That's between me and my boy, Mr. President

Webb later had the unmitigated gall to say Mr. Bush's part in this exchange nearly led him- Webb- to slug the President!

Will is right. Webb's part of the conversation was boorish, arrogant, uncivil, and disrespectful of the office of the man he was talking to. And I'll go one step further: it was behavior unbecoming an incoming United States Senator.

"Calculated rudeness," Will calls it. That's about right. Apparently, by his own admission, Webb believes that ill manners are an appropriate way of signaling who he is and what his message will be.

Who is he? Was it really his intent to signal that he is a jackass? What …

ABC: Iranians, Hezbollah supporting Sadr in Iraq

ABC News is reporting that U.S. officials have uncovered "smoking gun" evidence that Iran is arming Shi'ite terrorists in Iraq.

The weapons are not being funneled through the black market, but being delivered by the Iranians directly to Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi army.

Increasing evidence also suggests that Sadr's goons are being trained by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group.

Doesn't bode well for the prospects of a negotiated political settlement in Iraq involving the Iranians. But it should make Iran's complicity in the mess quite clear even to the most naive and trusting.

HT: Drudge

Senator-elect Jim Webb...

... is apparently something of a jackass.

His response to a civil inquiry by the President of the United States into his son's well-being, advanced during a private conversation, was simply rude and uncalled-for.

His position on the war is well-known, to the President and to everyone else who pays attention to such things. I lost some of the once-considerable respect I once had for Jim Webb despite our disagreement on policy issues when he chose to behave like a boor on this occasion.

HT: Drudge

Calling Al Gore!

2006 was the quietest hurricane season in decades.

Lest we forget, here and here are prognostications for the 2006 hurricane season by Gore associate and politically correct climatologist C. Little.

Meanwhile (just a reminder of a fact the MSM has managed to bury), hurricane scientists are in fact badly divided as to whether Al Gore's alarmism about an increased number and severity of the storms due to global warming has any validity whatsoever.

HT: Drudge

On the future of the religious Right- and the religious Left

I happen to agree with Cal Thomas (and even, to a limited degree, with Jim Wallis) that political issues which ought to be of concern to Christians go beyond abortion and gay "marriage" and the cannibalization of fetuses for stem cells and other such issues beloved of the political and social Right to other matters of social justice and just plain charity more often identified with the Left.

That was the reason (aided and abetted by experience of being regularly appalled by the incredibly loveless and reactionary views of many conservative Lutherans on issue after issue) that I was a pro-life Democrat for so long. It was the defeat of pro-life Democrat Tom Miller in the 1990 Iowa Democratic gubernatorial primary (he was by far the best-known candidate, and the only one with a realistic chance to win) soley because he was pro-life that finally demonstrated to be once and for all that I could not continue to support the socially radical positions of the party which which I cont…

New England Patriots 17, Bears 13

A sloppy game- but a good, close one.

Not something for a Bears fan to be too discouraged by. Still, this was a "statement game-" and the statement didn't get made.

There will be calls for Brian Griese, but he's not the answer. Rex Grossman is the Bears' quarterback of the future, and it's important to remember that he's effectively still a rookie. He's probably still a year or two away- and as a result, the Bears are probably a year or two away from reaching the potential of this particular group of players. Still, that doesn't mean that they aren't legitimate Super Bowl threats right now.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see a rematch in January's Super Bowl- which would also, of course, also be a rematch of Superbowl XX.

Minnesota next week.

Up to their old tricks?

Relations between the United States and Russia have been strained in recent years by ongoing conflicts in their respective geopolitical interests, but also by Russia's... er.... imperfect conversion from totalitarianism to democracy under Vladimir Putin.

The disturbing pattern of mysterious deaths among Russian dissidents is raising concerns that the bad old days may be upon us once again.

HT: RealClearPolitics

A debate worth having- only for real

Ollie North is against the draft.

He makes a powerful case, not only that bringing back selective service would be a bad idea, but that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) is proposing that it be revived chiefly in an effort to score partisan political points. He also points out that Rangel's theory- that the volunteer army is composed of members of the lower economic classes and the less educated members of our society (a theory to which John Kerry apparently also subscribes) is, in fact, sheer bunk. Those serving in the military are, on the average, better educated than their civilian contemporaries, and Rangel's notions about the racial and economic makeup of our armed forces simply aren't supported by the data.

Now, I was not drafted during the Vietnam era due to a combination of a student deferment, medical problems, and a lottery number high enough that during the period in which I was 1-A (draft bait), I wasn't called. I well remember how much I- along with the rest of my…

Iraq: what really happened

Victor Davis Hanson gives us a sensible corrective to a great deal of nonsense being spoken about the past, present and future of Iraq.

No, Virginia. It was not just about the WMD's- and in fact Congress signed off on 23 different reasons for invading Iraq.

Some might even realize this

Happy Thanksgiving!

For Denise; for our "children" (two parrots and two lizards); for our friends and loved ones; for our brothers and sisters at church and in the Lutheran and socially conservative blogospheres; for you, my readers; for "clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home... and all I own, and all I need to keep my body and life-" but most of all, for my life and only righteousness, Jesus Christ, and for my baptism, I give thanks this day.

Those crazy, conservative Christians!

A movie is coming out in February about the man who led the movement to abolish the slave trade: British parliamentarian- and conservative Christian- William Wilberforce.

The movie, "Amazing Grace: The William Wilberforce Story," is a film contemporary post-modernists really ought to make it a point to see. They might learn a thing or two about the objective reality of good and evil, as well about the actual role of Christianity in the development of our contemporary culture.

Yet another area in which those without any sense of universally- applicable ethics try to blame those who have such a sense for evils for which their own world view is responsible- and for which the world view they oppose has proven throughout history to be the antidote. While it didn't immediately abolish it, Christianity, after all, so subverted slavery in the ancient Graeco-Roman world that there, too, it led to its eventual extinction.

Is there still hope for Pluto?

The new definition of the term "planet" adopted by the IAU, which excluded Pluto from that category, is not being universally accepted- and will undoubtedly be at least revised.

All right, the odds of Pluto becoming a planet again are remote. But with the very definition of the term "planet" remaining up for grabs, and the decision to demote Pluto still so controversial, anything could happen.

Atheism's dirty little secret

Atheists frequently argue that religion is the cause of most of history's wars and murders and genocide.

They wish. As Dinesh D'Souza points out, the facts lead to the conclusion that it is actually atheism itself that is the real culprit.

The religious beliefs of history's great mass murderers is a profound embarrassment to the anti-religion theory. I'm referring, of course, to Mao and his successors (the greatest murderers of all), as well as his closest competitors- Joseph Stalin, and those who came after him. Pol Pot shared their atheism.

And atheism is the thing which most of history's greatest mass murderers have in common. Attempts by atheists to refute that rather obvious point are routinely rather lame. Even the apparent exceptions fail to provide support for the atheists' hypothesis. Hitler- though baptized a Catholic, and formally a neo-pagan- was actively hostile toward Christianity, though at times he was willing to use it as a vehicle to dominate G…

Oh, Henry!

James P. Pinkerton offers us a glimpse into Henry Kissenger's mind.

Here, by the way, is what Kissinger really said about military victory in Iraq no longer being possible:

If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established ... that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible.

In other words, he doesn't think it's militarily impossible, but politically impossible.

In other words, he doesn't think we have the will.

Get yer cotton candy there!

A blog test that actually works!

And there aren't many of them. I tend to come out on a different place on the political spectrum, for example, whenever I take a test that's supposed to measure that- even the same one!

This one, though, is dead on!

What American accent do you have?Your Result: The Inland North You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

HT: Random Intolerance

Our three possible new approaches to the war in Iraq

This article lays out the three options being considered for our new Iraq policy:

1. Go big.
Increase the allied forces by several hundred thousand American and Iraqi troops and police. The drawback: we don't have the troops to pull off this strategy, which might have worked if pursued from the beginning.

2. Go home.
Just what it sounds like: cut and run. The drawback: Iraq descends into chaos which would make the status quo look good, likely ending up as a failed state and a safe haven for al Quaeda and its ilk. American credibility, to say nothing of prestige, is in the dumpster for the foreseeable future. After Vietnam and Iraq, no commitment we make taken seriously by anybody, and the threat of force has greatly reduced credibility even in extreme situations. Terrorists all over the world believe- with good reason- that the United States lacks the will to effectively resist; terrorism both at home and abroad skyrockets.

3. Go long.
Commit to a long-term- but greatly reduced- presen…

Are the Cubs serious?

Maybe so!

Alfonso Soriano is our new center fielder.

Eight years, $136 million.

Jim Hendry is said to be just beginning. Next year's payroll could be as high as $130 million.

Bears 10, NY Jets 0

Rex is gonna have to get his act together.

The Patriots will be a bit more of a test than the Giants and the Jets have been these last two weeks.

Still, we're 9-1. Maestro?

Are you listening, Bejing Bobby?

And it's not a pretty picture.

Here's more on precisely what social conservatives who stayed home, voted Democratic, or wasted their votes on third party candidates actually accomplished on Nov. 7.

HT: Real Clear Politics

ADDENDUM: Cal Thomas says that it was a full 12 per cent of the Republican base that defected. While I shall answer his remarks on the subject anon, suffice it to say that- assuming an ounce of common sense among them- they should have known better.

Hawks win! Hawks win!

Incredibly, the Blackhawks actually won a shootout tonight.

Friday night was also the 80th anniversary of the Hawks' first game, a 4-1 victory over the Toronto St. Pats.

Not "nuts;" just really self-destructive

Some time ago, Bush critic David Kuo wrote a book alleging that social conservatives whose positions arose from their faith were commonly referred to as "nuts" in the Bush White House.

In this absurd piece, Jay Homick of Human Events relates how Kuo was promptly "slapped down" on the Laura Ingram radio program when he made this statement on the air. Homnick bizarrely claims that the Republicans really lost Congress when Robert Novak followed Kuo on the Ingram program- and promptly pointed out that Kuo was right; that he had himself heard Bush staffers use the term.

Now, I have no doubt that cynical secularists on the Bush staff, just as elsewhere, hold those of us whose votes are informed by our faith in contempt- even while working to achieve the very agenda we advocate (more on that point at the end of this post). Why should it be otherwise? In the current culture, those who are not committed to traditional, orthodox Christianity- whatever their politics- are not u…

House GOP picks Boehner and Blunt

Not good.

The survivors of the Nov. 7 deluge chose to go with the candidates of the Old Guard. Not particularly a sign that they're ready to change direction, or recognize the need for a fresh start.

A case of roosting chickens

Dem caucus hands Pelosi her first defeat

The House's new, radical speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has been dealt a black eye by her own caucus.

Moderate Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has clobbered ethically ambiguous Iraq cut-and-run advocate John Murtha (D-PA) for the position of Majority Leader despite Pelosi's heavy-handed support of Murtha.

HT: Real Clear Politics

ADDENDUM: Scrappleface give its take here.

Regrettably, the committee chairmanship two which "Murtha" refers is likely to ba Appropriations, where he can do all kinds of mischief to the war effort.

Republicans: Look to Fairfax and St. Louis Counties!

Here is a fascinating look at the reasons for the defeats of Sen. George Allen in Virginia and Sen. Jim Talent in Missouri, and the picture they paint of the Republican future in "red" states whose demographics may be turning them purplish.

The changes are taking place pretty much in two counties in which, as it happens, I've lived, and both of which are the largest counties in their respective states: Fairfax County in Virginia, and St. Louis County in Missouri.

But as the article points out, the drift of Virginia and Missouri into the "blue" column isn't inevitable. People in those two counties need to be able to see Republicans as compassionate as well as merely conservative.

Which argues for Huckabee or McCain in 2008. Romney or Brownback might also be able to pull it off. Or any one of them might blow it.

One thing's for sure, though: without both Virginia and Missouri, it's unlikely that any Republican will be elected president two years from now.

Infanticide is the coming thing

That Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecology study (why is it not "Obstetrics and Gynecology," or "Obstetricians and Gynecologists?") recommending the practice of clinical infanticide is just a symptom of a much wider disease.

No, disrespect for human life is no longer fashionable only for those still inside the womb, or husbands who use the money the courts have awarded them to take care of their comatose wives for life to hire high-powered lawyers to get the courts to authorize them to kill those wives instead.

The Democratic victory is only temporary

And here's why.

You just can't govern on an agenda consisting of hating President Bush.

Even in victory, the Democrats are devoid of new ideas and riddled with internal strife. It would be a mistake to assume that a temporary victory rooted in a reaction against the Republicans- and largely against a lame-duck Republican president- predicts long-term prosperity for the party of Henry Wallace and George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.

The Democrats have long since ceased to be the party of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, and Lyndon Johnson.

A sample of the article:

The Democrats are in an untenable political position because most of their votes come from Americans who want to protect and preserve our civilization, while their intellectual and financial support comes principally from people who want to destroy it. This coalition can’t last. The effort to keep all their constituent parts together has already twisted the Democrats into knots and their situation will only get worse.

And another:

The …

Schumer: No more conservative justices will be confirmed

When President Clinton nominated radical ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court, Republicans recognized a president's constitutional right to appoint any qualified person he pleases, regardless of ideology- and voted to confirm her without a fight.

Democrats famously refuse to extend the same courtesy to Republican judges.

And now, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has made it official: no more Sam Alitos will be confirmed. Democrats- now in the majority- claim the right to dictate to the President of the United States the ideology of his appointments to the Court.

But they have an excuse

War critics believe all the silly things that make them so smug- the things Dennis Prager mentions in this article- because the MSM is too partisan not to falsely imply- and even, on occasion, to insist- that they are true.

The article is a good primer on all the things that "everybody knows" about why the invasion of Iraq was a bad and unjustified act of aggression against a peaceful and harmless mass-murdering dictator which happen, in fact, to be outrageous lies.

HT: Real Clear Politics

C of E: It's OK to let sick, disabled babies die

An early edition of the English Bible once accidentally omitted the word "not" from the Ten Commandments. "The Wicked Bible," historians call it.

Apparently some copies survived, and are in use at Canterbury.

The Church of England has officially endorsed at least passive infanticide in case of sick and seriously deformed babies.

This is where legal abortion (whose advocates already endorse it in the form of partial birth abortion) and fetal stem cell research inevitably lead. But it is not where that road ends.

This is also where the mainline Protestant abandonment of Scripture and two thousand years of Christian thought inevitably leads. People in the ELCA, the Episcopal Church, the PCUSA, the UMC, the UCC, and the other moribund or already apostate groups which make up this cluster of organizations... you are seeing your own future.

Exposing unwanted babies was one of the pagan practices the arrival of Christianity ended. Apparently the passing of Christianity in the…

Bob Edgar and Felton May need to read their Bibles more- and bear false witness less!

Bad theology we can expect from executives of the radical National Council of Churches and from United Methodist bishops. It's almost in the job description. Instinctive anti-Americanism, too.

But they really shouldn't accuse the President of the United States of saying things which he in fact has never said.

Though if he had said that God is actively opposed to the attempt of adherents of a false religion to impose its beliefs upon the world by force, terrorize and murder the innocent, and oppress the powerless in their own nations, he would have been right. Do these gentlemen seriously believe that God was neutral in World War II?

Of course God takes sides in wars- and World War III, the war against Islamofascist terrorism, is certainly no exception. For these gentlemen to argue otherwise would be for them to argue that God is indifferent to evil and neutral in attempts to contain and combat it- something which I doubt that the liberation theologians in their respective const…

A tale of two runbacks

Below is a video of Devin Hester's record-tying 108-yard field goal return last night:

... and here (a long with a little unnecessary stuff afterward) is Nathan Vasher a year ago tonight, setting the record Hester tied last night.

A better run, actually- even if not as good a video:

The latest on Nazanin

Nazanin Fatehi, a young Iranian woman sentenced to hang in January for killing a man who tried to rape her and her 15 year old niece when she herself was 17, has had her sentence commuted to paying blood money to the family of the would-be rapist.

She was re-tried in August. The new verdict has not yet been announced.

Martinez, not Steele, will head RNC

Despite reports that the job had been offered to outgoing Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez will replace Ken Melman as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Martinez resigned after Tuesday's election disaster, but says that he had been planning to leave the post after the midterm elections since last summer.

Perhaps somebody in the Bush White House still has hopes of salvaging the Hispanic vote, which has probably been alienated forever by the insistence of many in the Republican party on relying entirely on what are certain to be ineffective enforcement measures to deal with the crisis in illegal immigration.

Another example of Newsweek's 'balanced' coverage of President Bush

Time was the news magazine which showed its lack of liberal bias by showing President Bush in a grotesquely oversized cowboy hat.

Newsweek displays its objectivity this week by showing him with an oversized father.

Why would anybody with the slightest interest in objective journalism buy either of these magazines?

Are they creeps in Saudi, too?

Well, at least they aren't going to hang her, like the Iranians would do.

A gang rape victim in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to ninety lashes for having been alone in a car with her rapists.

It should be said that Saudi public opinion is outraged, and there seems to be a good chance that the decision will be reversed. It should also be said that the rapists were sent to prison and enough lashes that they will be sleeping on their stomachs for the foreseeable future. If they survive, that is.

Yes, that many.

An artist pleads for her life

The Iranians want to hang another woman for a crime allegedly committed while she was under 18.

But unlike Atefah Sahalleh, the rape victim murdered for "adultery" and a "sharp tongue" by the mullahs last year, this woman- Delara Darabi- will not die unknown.

She's a painter- and being noticed for paintings which are her plea of innocence to the world.

Bears 38, NY Giants 20

It's hard to figure this team out, but I'll take it!

The Bears looked like different teams in the first and second halves, but they picked the right half to be good in. Meanwhile, for the second time in 364 days, a Bear has returned an opponent's field goal attempt 108 yards for a touchdown. Teammate Nathan Vasher did the same thing one day short of a year ago, during the San Francisco game. The two Bears are now tied for the NFL record for the longest run in history.

It's always good to beat the Giants. It's especially good since tonight the Bears successfully defended their position as the number one seed in the NFC, with home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As of tonight, of course.

I wonder which team will show up next week, for the Jets.

Oh, well. Time will tell. Hit it, Sir Georg!

It's official

Democrats say that they will push for their lame phased surrender proposal in Iraq.

Simply means that you tell the enemy your plans, and how exactly they can wait you out.

Anyone with any illusions that a vote for the Democrats last Tuesday was anything other than a vote for surrender and geopolitical disaster can wake up now.

Fortunately, of course, the President won't let them get away with it.

HT: Drudge

Not a good sign

Nancy Pelosi is backing Jack "Cut and Run" Murtha for House Majority Leader.

Or Jack "I don't want a bribe right now, but talk to me later" Murtha, as you prefer (if you miss the reference, that's what he told the FBI agents who tried to get him in the ABSCAM sting. On videotape).

Good picture of Murtha, btw. The one in the story linked to above, that is.

One possible positive outcome: it would mean that that Murtha wouldn't chair the Appropriations Committee. Maybe that's what Nancy is thinking.

I hope so, for the country's sake.


It should, perhaps, be noted that Steve H- a faithful reader of this blog- wondered whether the new Senate will have lost its sense of humor, since control of the Senate was decided by the defeat of Burns and Allen.

I replied that, on the contrary, the real jokers are now in the majority.

Say goodnight, Gracie.

What do you know?!

Jack Palance is dead

Actor Jack Palance is dead at 87.

I always liked him. When some of us Steven King fans were having a bull session one night in seminary, we agreed that he would have been the ideal Randal Flagg in what was then a hypothetical movie version of The Stand.

Didn't happen. But Palance was a unique and memorable character actor whose passing will justly be mourned by many.

Not since Boris Karloff has such an gentlemanly and gentle man been so able to scare the living daylights out of us.

More centrist Democrats? Don't you believe it!

Thanks to Paul Waldman of the liberal spin-tank Media Matters for correcting the misperception that there is a new, moderate face to the Democratic caucus in the House. The notion that the Democratic party is moving to the center is a mere illusion, as Waldman does us all the service of explaining.

And his attempt to portray Bob Scheiffer of CBS and the MSM generally as displaying a conservative bias- the laughable premise which is the irrationale for Media Matters- is good for a chuckle or two in the bargain.

The fact that some few Democrats who won on Tuesday are more moderate on a couple or three issues doesn't change the fact that the ideological complexion of both the party as a whole and its House caucus remains far to the Left of the American people. Democratic success on Tuesday did not happen because of any great moderation of the party's message or candidates; it happened because people were mad at George W. Bush.

HT: Real Clear Politics

No Isa-mas, either?

A Christian charity in England which specializes in sending Christmas gifts to children abroad has banned any gift which refers to Christmas or Christ, lest Muslims be offended.

Aside from being an especially inane example of political correctness, it's just plain dumb. Why would you be sending Christmas gifts to Muslim children to begin with? Evangelism is about the only logical reason I can think of.

Is it OK to mention Isa, the fictitious Muslim version of Jesus? And since Isa is regarded my Muslims as an Islamic prophet, why does the issue even arise?

Melman out at the RNC: Steele asked to replace him

In the wake of Tuesday's electoral debacle, Ken Melman is out as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Melman said that he had decided to leave the post after the election last summer. Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, an African-American who lost a race for the Senate on Tuesday, has been asked to take over the RNC, but has not yet decided whether to accept the job.

HT: Drudge

Infidels take note

Fittingly given at the Lutheran Paul Gerhard Church in Munich, this speech by Bat Ye'or, a leading scholar on the history of dhimmitude, summarizes the historic relationship between Judaism and Christianity, on one hand, and their great mutual falsification, Islam, on the other- with special reference to the current worldwide jihad.

Hewitt still can't admit that he was wrong

While I generally agree with him, Hugh Hewitt's silly suggestion that John McCain is responsible for Tueday's election debacle is nuttier than an Iranian politician.

It was McCain and the "Gang of Fourteen" who got Roberts and Alito confirmed. They would not have been confirmed without the "Gang of Fourteen" compromise. To blame the failure of the Republican leadership to push through other judges on that compromise is crazy; if it hadn't been for McCain and the "Gang of 14," they all would have been filibustered to death. It was a masterful parliamentary stroke that utterly outmaneuvered the Democrats. If they had tried to filibuster after that compromise had been reached, it was the Democrats rather than the Republicans who would have been blamed by the voters when the "nuclear option" was used by the majority. At the same time, it gave up literally nothing; the option was still there to use if needed. I can't understand why s…

Another view of Rummy

Here's another take the Rumsfeld firing.

At the rally in the last week of the 2000 election I mentioned in the post below, President Bush expressed his contempt for Clintonian "nation building."

Reinforces my hypothesis about the consequences of even presidents who try to do the right thing being isolated from any sense of immediate accountability.

The silver lining of November 7

Tuesday wasn't an utter disaster, people.

I believe that the results of Tuesday's election will have minimal impact in 2008. And yes, there is a considerable silver lining. The Democrats are right about one thing: with both the Executive and Legislative branches in Republican hands, there has hitherto been little oversight- and little constitutional opposition to- the Bush administration. This has had the double effect of insulating the Administration from reality and even from its own base, while forcing opposition into the very shrill, paranoid, personalized, repulsively hate-filled form it has largely taken over the past six years. A change from the status quo is not altogether a bad thing.

The White House has exacerbated this (as little as the Republican red meat crowd might want to hear it) by isolating the natural leadership of the Democratic party, who depend for their political lives on remaining at least somewhat aware of the relationship between ideas and consequence…