Tuesday, September 25, 2007

S-Head Award III 

This week's winner in yet another target-rich environment is Star Simpson, the MIT student who showed up at Boston's Logan Airport "with a fistful of Play-Doh and a circuit board attached to her hoodie, which was emblazoned with the words “Socket To Me” scrawled on the back." In a post-9/11 world, "art" is not a "King's X" excuse for outrageous stupidity. Ms. Simpson is lucky not to be a candidate for the Darwin Award, which is always given posthumously.

She's not a politician, but then again neither is last week's winner, MoveOn.org. I suppose the award criteria should be changed to include non-politicians' actions or speech of a political nature, or that appear to be intended to make a political statement. As if the regular politicians didn't provide enough fodder.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Spartans 31, Irish 14! 

How sweet it is!

Caulcrick is a tank. Definitely NFL material, if he stays healthy.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

S-head Award For Week of 9 Sept 07 

Having established this ultra non-prestigious award, I am already learning how hard it is to find a winner-- not because of a dearth of candidates, but because there are so many. However, when one takes everything into consideration, the hands-down winner for last week has to be MoveOn.org for its wonderfully-timed full-page New York Times ad. Not only the content, but the audacity of the ad, coming as it did on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 and Gen. Petraeus' report to Congress, places the effort knees and ankles below any other contender.

With "patriots" like MoveOn and its benefactor George Soros, we don't need enemies.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Observation: II 

Watching the Congressional hearings yesterday and today, the difference between the approaches of the Congressmen and Senators to the Iraq issue and the approaches of Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker became clear.

The Members and Senators are all about talking about the problem. Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker are all about doing something about the problem.

That our esteemed legislators would rather talk than do is not surprising. They live and breathe politics and debate. What actions they take are less important to them than the stand that they take when talking to the voters "back home" (I use scare quotes because many of them are more oriented toward Washington than toward the people in the districts and states that elect them). They call to mind the adage, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Crocker and Petraeus, on the other hand, are evaluated on the basis of what they have actually accomplished in resolving issues and solving problems associated with Iraq, and so it is in their interests to cut through the BS and act as efficiently as possible to successfully complete their respective missions.

It seems that the further one is from the action, the easier it is to spout glib "solutions". Of course, those most removed from Iraq and who have zero accountability for what happens there are the MoveOn folks, and look at what they say.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Michael Yon--Extraordinary Correspondent 

For any of you who aren't already aware of Michael Yon and his work reporting happenings in Iraq, you must visit his site, especially his dispatches and Gates of Fire, which is some of the best combat journalism I've ever read.

Michael recently posted the fourth and last of his "Ghosts of Anbar" series of dispatches, in which he describes, without hype, the day-to-day activity of the Marines' counterinsurgency campaign, and how it has made, and is making, a difference. He adds a personal note at the end, which I found so poignant that I had to publish an excerpt here. It doesn't get any more real than this:

No one can predict the future, but all who are in a position of authority vis a vis our policy about Iraq should realize that something truly seems to have changed on the ground and momentum forward is accelerating this change. It is possible that fighting will begin to wind down in most areas of the country, as the security gains of the past few months begin to produce more and more of the collateral political, economic and social gains that have been inhibited largely by terror and fear.

And should that occur, we’ll need to decide what our next step will be. If we put our foot on the gas in helping Iraq stand again, Iraq could actually become a strong and firm partner of the United States. But it is equally possible that all the gains made to date will unravel before the eyes of the world, if we point that foot instead toward the door of a premature exit.

But regardless of US election cycles and news fatigue, the timing here will reflect the conditions on the ground. With a premature withdrawal it may only be months before the unraveling begins, but even with our continued presence, it will be years before Iraq can truly stand. It will be years before the Iraqi military is “done.” The Iraqi Army has made tremendous progress, but the task is immense. The commitment should not require all of the resources assembled there now for all of that time, but there is no way around the fact that years are required. If we want Iraq to succeed, we must stick it out. We are succeeding today in Iraq.

Thanks, Michael, for your superb work.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Some thoughts on politics 

Item: The scariest thing about the Democrat presidential hopefuls is that Hillary Clinton is the most "normal" one in the bunch, as compared to Democrat presidents of the past (I consider Carter to be an outlier). I don't think Hillary's presidential style would be anywhere near as palatable as her husband's, because it was important to Bill that he be liked by as many people as possible, and that meant he was willing to work with the opposition to some degree. I don't think Hillary cares whether anyone likes her, and I suspect that her true personality would come out only after being inaugurated.

Item: I'm going to establish the "S-head Award," to be bestowed periodically (i.e., whenever I damn well feel like it) upon politicians whose actions or public speeches most exemplify the reason why the term "s**thead" was invented. The first winner is Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) for this gem:
And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting. (Thanks to Ed Morrissey for the quote. Go read his commentary on it.)

It is clear on its face that Schumer either has no idea what has been going on in Iraq or, more shamefully, he purposefully made that statement on the floor of the Senate to achieve political advantage. Either way, the American people do not deserve to have a buffoon like him influencing policy and the content of legislation. Only a politician who is 100% confident of being reelected (or is an imbecile) would make a remark like that. What that says about the voters in New York I'm not entirely sure, but I wouldn't take it as a compliment.

Item: Fred Thompson formally announced last night, stiffing New Hampshire voters for a slot on The Tonight Show. I like Mr. Thompson--he's a good actor, and he seemed to have his head on straight when he was a Senator from Tennessee. And he has said a lot of sensible things during his recent non-candidacy. However, to my knowledge he's never run anything, and I don't know if he's smart enough to surround himself with talented people like Reagan did. As noted here, I being a Senator is almost a disqualifier for being President, but to his credit Thompson left the Senate to return to his acting career. Right now I could live with just about any of the Republican candidates except McCain and Ron Paul, but prefer Giuliani and Romney as the top two. My beef against McCain has nothing to do with a lack of respect or admiration for him, I just don't think he's the right guy for the job. But would I vote for McCain over Hillary or any other Dem? You betcha! If Paul got the nomination, I'd probably stay home and get drunk.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

An Observation 

Listening to the anti-Iraq war arguments and the arguments in favor of illegal immigration over time, it strikes me how similar those arguments are to those put forth by environmental activists. To wit: "Whatever we're doing now is bad, and we should be doing X." When we in fact begin doing X, the argument becomes, "Whatever we're doing now, including X, is bad, and we should be doing Y."

After several iterations of this, one might suspect that the people using those arguments don't really want to solve the problem. That is why I no longer believe those people have any greater moral authority than the people against whose policies they are protesting. The protesters know they'll never be in a position where they are actually responsible for solving the problem, because none of them will ever be elected to a policy-making body, so they can criticize with impunity, and be as inconsistent as they like.

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Re: Sen. Craig 

So what, exactly, did he do that was unlawful?

See analysis here.

I think that people in public office ought to understand at the gut level that they're always under the microscope, and that it's impossible to keep anything under the rug indefinitely. But comparing what Craig did to, say, what Bill Clinton did, it seems that the Senator is being punished much more harshly for a much lesser infraction, if any infraction indeed occurred. If double standards are being accepted as a matter of course, then our country is in real trouble.

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