Wednesday, January 09, 2008
The old Chicago maxim, "Vote early, vote often" is only funny if voter fraud isn't a big problem. But recent close elections, for example the election for governor of Washington State in 2004, which was decided by a margin of just 129 votes, and in which ineligible felons and dead people voted, and others cited by John Fund in this opinion piece, suggest that voter fraud is a widespread problem. Moreover, with 12 million illegal immigrants and "motor voter" laws it will, in my opinion, become a growing problem -- one that will need stronger remedies than Avodart (tm).
I would hate to see US elections become so tainted that only Jimmy Carter would declare them fair. We need voter ID laws, and we need them to be enforced in a way that addresses the legitimate concerns of true voter advocates as to "collateral disenfranchisement".
Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer to the news story.
"OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."
Yay, Jane! John Rosemond would be proud of you.
Rosemond advocates such consequences in his book, "Teen Proofing." From where I sit, it's a helluva lot better for the kid than waking up in the ICU, or not waking up at all.
I bought the book and have applied some of its principles to raising my 14 year old daughter. Makes life a bit easier, and she's a better (and maybe even happier) kid for it. If you have a teen or almost-teen, buy it, read it, live it.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
First, 200 meters is too close, and it would be no surprise if the Navy's rules of engagement are reviewed in the light of this incident. News stories say that the ships went to general quarters when they received the threatening radio message, and one story I read said the skipper of USS Hopper was "in the process" of giving the order to open fire when the Iranians broke off. Too bad--it would have been interesting to see how long one of those boats would last in the sights of a good gunner on the chain gun.
I suspect the incident was designed with many goals in mind. First, the whole event, especially the action of dropping boxes in the path of our ships, was probably a probe to see how we would react so as to reveal any weak spots in our defensive tactics that could be exploited later, and possibly the first of many such incidents intended to lull our people into letting their guard down so a lethal package down the road might actually do damage. If the latter I don't think it will work. And I don't think the US Navy would react as um, softly as the Royal Navy did when their guys got captured, in the face of a blatant act of war by the Iranians.
I think the Iranians were also sending the message to the world that they regard the Strait of Hormuz as their territorial waters, irrespective of international law/convention, and to demonstrate that they can wreak havoc on the delivery system for Middle East oil. I also think the incident might have been a propaganda setup to show that the Iranian regime can and will go one-on-one with the United States, because image and reputation are so important in the ME and to send a message to the other ME states in connection with President Bush's impending visit there.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
We really enjoyed the parade. The floats were as spectacular as any I've ever seen and the marching bands were excellent, as usual. I was especially impressed with the level of performance by the many high school bands. It was a day to celebrate the beginning of a new year and to enjoy a uniquely American event, temporarily putting aside mundane concerns and just being.
Politics was definitely not the order of the day, but some people just don't know when to leave it alone. While there definitely was a group of people of the Code Pink ilk following the parade, I couldn't see well enough to identify any of them as Cindy Sheehan. As noted by Gateway Pundit, (scroll down for pix) they were far fewer in number (and a lot quieter) than the Christian proselytizers. Some people chuckled at the papier mache' heads of the "impeach Bush and Cheney" crowd, but otherwise I think the protesters were tolerated at best. If their intent was to disrupt the parade, they failed miserably, at least in my neighborhood.
Nobody I could hear booed the Sheehanites--they were merely ignored with the rest of the screwballs. The only parade follower who got much of a reaction from anyone I could hear was one Christian guy with a bull horn who probably did his cause more harm than good by chiding the football fans--especially the Illini group--for being more excited about their team than about Jesus (who knew God is a Trojans fan?).
When the Marine Band marched by playing the Marines' Hymn, everyone, and I mean everyone, stood and applauded. No other element in the parade received that kind of ovation. In the face of that attitude, the protesters amounted to a flea on an elephant.
A great way to start a new year!
Happy New Year to all, with wishes for many blessings in 2008.