Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rumsfeld on Iraq

The following is stolen from the NY Post. Don't expect to see much coverage of this in the MSM, the sheep can't be allowed to graze on this kind of information, or they may become confused about the hopelessness of the task in Iraq or the evil of America.

August 30, 2006 -- EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is adapted from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's speech yesterday at the American Legion National Convention.

THE American Legion has achieved a great deal for our country since its founding in the months following World War I.

That year, 1919 turned out to be one of those pivotal junctures in modern history - the beginning of a period where, over time, a very different set of views would come to dominate discourse and thinking in the West. A sentiment took root that contended that, if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be appeased, then the carnage and destruction of World War I might be avoided.

It was, as Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.

There was a strange innocence. Someone recently recalled one U.S. senator's reaction in September 1939, upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II: "Lord, if only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided." Think of that.

Once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism.

Today, another enemy - a different kind of enemy - has also made clear its intentions - in places like New York, Bali, London and Madrid. But many have still not learned history's lessons.

We need to face the following questions:

* With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?

* Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?

* Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply "law enforcement" problems, rather than fundamentally different threats, requiring fundamentally different approaches?

* And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America - not the enemy - is the real source of the world's trouble?

We hear every day of new plans, new efforts, to murder Americans and other free people. Indeed, the plot recently discovered that would have killed hundreds - possibly thousands - of innocents on planes from Britain to the United States should have demonstrated to all that the enemy is serious, lethal and relentless.

But we find ourselves in a strange time:

* When a database search of America's leading newspapers turns up 10 times as many mentions of one soldier at Abu Ghraib who was punished for misconduct than mentions of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the War on Terror.

* When a Newsweek senior editor disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our Armed Forces as a "mercenary army."

* When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists and the former CNN Baghdad bureau chief admits he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein's crimes when he was in power so CNN could stay in Iraq.

* And when Amnesty International disgracefully refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay - which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans, and is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare - as "the gulag of our times."

Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and our country. This watchdog role is even more important today in a war that is to a great extent fought in the global media - to not allow the lies and the myths be repeated without question or challenge, so that at least the second and third draft of history will be more accurate than the quick first allegations.

In this "long war," any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can severely weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.

Our enemy knows this well. They frequently invoke the names of Beirut and Somalia - places they see as examples of American retreat and weakness. And as we have seen most recently in Lebanon, they design attacks and manipulate the media to try to demoralize public opinion. They doctor photographs of casualties, use civilians as human shields and then provoke an outcry when civilians are accidentally killed in their midst.

The good news is that most of the American people, though understandably influenced by what they read and see in the media, have inner gyroscopes and good centers of gravity.

And I am confident that over time they will evaluate what is happening and come to wise conclusions.

One soldier, who recently volunteered for a second tour in Iraq, likely captured the feelings of many of his peers. In an e-mail to friends, he wrote:

"I ask that you never take advantage of the liberties guaranteed by the shedding of free blood, never take for granted the freedoms granted by our Constitution. For those liberties would be merely ink on paper were it not for the sacrifice of generations of Americans who heard the call of duty and responded heart, mind and soul with 'Yes, I will.' "

I believe the question is not whether we can win. It is whether we have the will to persevere. I believe that Americans do have that steel. And that we have learned the lessons of history, the folly of turning a blind eye to danger, and of ignoring our responsibilities.

Being Left Means Never Learning

CNN Exposes the Leaker

After years of political posturing and braying in the press about "Bush trying to attack and destroy people that expose his lies", we see where the lies are. They are with the folks that made up the story and pretended that it was a story all along. Armitage was 2nd at the State Department, was not at all one of the "inner circle of evil" that the press likes to create around Bush / Cheney / Rove / Rumsfeld. By his own admission, it was "inadvertent", and as has been discovered during the investigation, that was a non-issue anyway since Plame was not undercover (even though the MSM refuses to ever come out and say that).

So where does the administration go to get back their reputations and especially Scooter Libby who is under indictment for "perjury" since he apparently remembered some chronology in this non-case wrong? Where are the scathing articles about time wasted by Democrats in a purely political witch-hunt that has been revealed as being about absolutely nothing? Don't hold your breath.

In order to stay on the left, there is an aswful lot of reality that has to be ignored, and this is but a tiny part. Being a lefty means having your set of stories that may be fake, but you like them, so you have decided they are "fake but accurate". The fact that this story has now been completely proven to be about nothing will change nothing. The MSM and the people of the left will still treat it as truth and use it as an example of how "Bush lied, and then attacked people that tried to expose the truth", or how "he claimed he would prosecute leakers, but never did".

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Howard Hughes

In a fit of light summer reading, I read "Howard Hughes: The Untold Story" by Peter Brown and Pat Broeske. While the book was too highly detailed for my taste, and focused far too much on his sex life, it is indeed an amazing story. Here is a case of a guy that was clearly a genius, but also very clearly was poorly raised by a disturbed mother and no doubt inherited the genetics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Today, he could have been relatively easily treated, but the combination of his chemistry, head injuries, and incompletely cured syphilis combined to move his mental problems into psychosis that cost him and those around him dearly.

The idea of having a 320' ocean going yacht with a crew of over 30 that he could sail anywhere in the world in complete luxury, along with his Sikorsky S-43 twin-engine amphibian that could carry a crew of six and enough fuel to cross the Atlantic. He used both to maximum advantage with women and business associates. He would fly coast to coast, land on the East River in NYC, taxi up to a pier and do the night on the town with Kate Hepburn or some other movie starlet.

Yes, he certainly was a playboy, but he was also a self-educated movie mogul, businessman extraordinaire  when he decided to be, test pilot, and self-taught aircraft designer. At the time of his July 1938 flight around the world, he was a household name almost on par with what Lindberg had been earlier. His innovations in the use of the Constellation at TWA, air racers, and even with the "Hercules", better known as "The Spruce Goose" were hugely innovative in moving aviation forward.

He is often held up as one of those cautionary tales of vast wealth, but it is likely better to think of him as a cautionary tale of untreated mental illness. Had is OCD been treated with modern methods, it is unlikely that he would have died as alone and unhappy as he did.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

News from Iraq

The following stolen from WSJ "Best of the Web". They have a great wit ... Murtha has said "there is nothing good the toops can to by being in Iraq", and they should be "re-deployed over the horizon, to some place like Okinawa".

We Get a Lot of Smiles and Waves
"Military Stryker vehicles saturating Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods have been credited with what Iraqi authorities say is a 30 percent drop in violence in the city since the deployment of 5,000 additional U.S. troops to the region," ABC News reports from the Iraqi capital:

While U.S. figures show a 22 percent drop in violence, either way, its good news for the troops.

"It's been great. We get a lot of smiles and waves," said Lt. Patrick Paterson of the 114th Cavalry.

One of the most dramatic changes has occurred in the Dora neighborhood. In July up to 20 people were killed in the area every day. As part of this new military effort, U.S. and Iraqi troops have been searching thousands of buildings in an effort to stop car bombs. . . .

And there are signs it's working. During 14 days of patrols in Dora, there has been just one killing.

We look forward to hearing Rep. John Murtha, the Democrats' leading military strategist, explain how this could be better done from Okinawa.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sometimes the Predictions are Quick

A couple days ago I blogged on how the MSM tells us as much about their bias with what they DON'T say as with what they do and asserted that if it is possible to predict what they will do in the future, then they have to be biased. Link The future isn't predictable (or we would all be making big $$ on Wall Street), so if you can predict the MSM, then they are following something other than the news. Little did I realize that they would prove my case quite so rapidly.

The snap above shows reporting on a tropical depression that MAY become a tropical storm, and an article on the potential for a "mega-storm" that is nothing more than a bedtime story about what COULD happen ... along with asteroids, tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanoes ... Today, tomorrow, or "in 100 years". NEITHER story mentions that hurricanes are WAY off the predicted pace for this year. Now if Bush had predicted that the deficit would drop at some rate and there was a story about the deficit MAYBE dropping, or how far it "might drop", do you think they MIGHT point out that the rate of the deficit dropping was "off predictions"? Nah, the press is "unbiased"!

Barone, Covert Enemies

Michael Barone is a genius, and he says something here that I've been trying to say for years, but he says it better than I likely ever will. Read it all, it is WELL worth the time. Our Covert Enemies

Key excerpts for posterity:

In our war against Islamo-fascist terrorism, we face enemies both overt and covert. The overt enemies are, of course, the terrorists themselves. Their motives are clear: They hate our society because of its freedoms and liberties, and want to make us all submit to their totalitarian form of Islam. They are busy trying to wreak harm on us in any way they can. Against them we can fight back, as we did when British authorities arrested the men and women who were plotting to blow up a dozen airliners over the Atlantic.

Our covert enemies are harder to identify, for they live in large numbers within our midst. And in terms of intentions, they are not enemies in the sense that they consciously wish to destroy our society. On the contrary, they enjoy our freedoms and often call for their expansion. But they have also been working, over many years, to undermine faith in our society and confidence in its goodness. These covert enemies are those among our elites who have promoted the ideas labeled as multiculturalism, moral relativism and (the term is Professor Samuel Huntington's) transnationalism.

Nevertheless, the default assumption of our covert enemies is that in any conflict between the West and the Rest, the West is wrong. That assumption can be rebutted by overwhelming fact: Few argued for the Taliban after Sept. 11. But in our continuing struggles, our covert enemies portray our work in Iraq through the lens of Abu Ghraib and consider Israel's self-defense against Hezbollah as the oppression of virtuous victims by evil men. In World War II, our elites understood that we were the forces of good and that victory was essential. Today, many of our elites subject our military and intelligence actions to fine-tooth-comb analysis and find that they are morally repugnant.

No need to add anything, genius has spoken.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mere Christianity

C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity is a book that should be read by all, atheist, Christian, and agnostic. Lewis was all of the above at some time in his life, and he was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century. It is hard to believe that this book resulted from talks he gave on the BBC from 1942 to 1944 on the Christian faith. Times have changed.

One point of his conversion that I find quite interesting.

"Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God does not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning."

The decision to believe in God is still a decision, this "proves" nothing. Anything that can come of intelligence and order CAN also come of randomness. As I've said before, God isn't going to force you to believe in him, you are welcome to worship chaos and meaninglessness. Down that path, the highest moral certainly is "what feels good". You may dress it up as "what feels good for the most people", but it is still a human determination about "pleasure". However, the Lewis formulation on meaning is still a nice try.

In chapter 4 he makes one of the best statements of not only why Christ had to die, but why nobody is "saved by their own decision".
"Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death is not something God demands of you before he will take you back and while he could let you off of if he chose: it is simply a description of what going back to him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking him to take you back without going back. It cannot happen. Very well then, we must go through it. But the same badness which makes us need it makes us unable to do it."

He then goes through a discussion of how God himself is unable to help us in his God state; ...
"But supposing God became a man - suppose human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God's nature in one person - then that person could help us. He could surrender his will, and suffer and die, because he was man; and he could do it perfectly because he was God.".

The chapter that hits home to me the most was chapter 8, "The Great Sin". ...

"There is no fault which makes man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. 
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-conceit: and the virtue opposite to it in Christian morals, is Humility. ... According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil is Pride."

He goes on to talk how it is of course pride that makes Satan, and of course one can't be human and be without some of this most grievous of sins. In the modern world, it has become very common to refuse to acknowledge God at all, but even for those that would like to do so, removal of pride is a great gift.

"The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether". There isn't a lot to be added to that.

I'm not going to go on any more. I know it is a book that has changed many lives for the better, and no doubt made some more angry and bitter as well, but that is certainly not the intent of it. It is with certainty a "great book" in that it takes on the questions of most fundamental meaning to a human. Is this all there is? C.S. Lewis makes a marvelous case that it is only the beginning.

Why "Everyone" Believes

Anyone notice anything missing on the news this year? What about Hurricanes? They seem to be strangely absent, yet we were assured last year that due to global warming there would be more and more hurricanes every year.
2006 would be WORSE!" Take a look at Hurricanes Below Normal to see just how far below last year we are.

What does it mean? Who knows? The point is that the media knows that it is very difficult to react to what you DON'T see, so they feed us the stories that they want us to believe, and leave off the stories that don't fit with their model. They like global warming, it fits their model, people that buy into global warming vote the way they like, so we get a lot of information about how true and dangerous global warming is. When something is happening that just doesn't fit the media model, we just don't hear it and most of the population just goes along hook line and sinker.

Be a true radical! Free yourself from only listening to the MSM and read and learn "outside the lines". You too can think for yourself, and once you do, you will never go back to the processed MSM gunk that the rest of the sheep are feeding on exclusively. Unlike the sheep though, once you think outside the box, you don't have to be on any "restricted diet", you will be ready to look at information from all sources critically. You can look at BOTH CNN and Fox News, and understand the viewpoints behind each.

Then you can have YOUR viewpoint, and that is the most refreshing of all.

What if hurricanes DO start up now? That is OK too ... you don't have to live by ideology like the rest of the sheep while being told that you are "unbiased". It is enough to know that if the number of hurricanes were CLOSE to the predictions by now, it would be a MAJOR story. Just watch and discover, if some biggies happen, it will be right back front and center and interpreted to fit their model of global warming. If they don't happen, you will never hear, and they will never let you know. You can predict the future behavior of the press. Since you know the real world isn't predictable like that, you know they have to be biased.

Part of "intelligence" is a mental model that maps to reality, and you can test that by seeing if your mental model makes accurate predictions about reality. It is hard, because we all love to be right, and never wrong, but one never really learns that way. The MSM model is tempting because if lets you live the fantasy of always being right. As long as you agree with them and follow only them, you will see ONLY things that show that their model is right. You won't have to suffer the pain of being wrong, since you can always agree with them, be with "the majority" on a day to day basis and know that any ACTUAL "inconvenient truths" will be dutifully ignored. Even better, some nice distracting story will always grab the front page to help you forget that something that was supposed to be happening isn't , or to tell you that something happening (like the current good economy), "really isn't". Just believe, and you can be happy.

The only problem is then you are a sheep living the life that is being fed to you, and you never get to be you and to have your viewpoint. You don't learn and grow. OK with the Democrats and MSM, but it ought not be OK with YOU!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Brave New World

The education in the small Northern WI town in which I grew up wasn't exactly "prep school", and I didn't manage to really get the idea that "reading/education is fun for it's own sake" until a few years into a corporate career when "making a living", at least in the sense of food/shelter/clothing/Bass Beer became assured enough that I felt I could "waste some time" on recreational reading. I finally got around to reading Aldous Huxley: "Brave New World".

Other than a rather strange obsession with sex, and the kind of almost cute replacement of god with "Ford", I doubt that it will be memorable. The rise of consumerism and the need for perpetual mental occupation with nothing of meaning seems to be a pretty good prediction of where modernism moved. His writing style has been criticized, but while I didn't think it added much, it also didn't get in the way for me.

While Huxley is concerned with the masses being "infantile", the book is founded on that infantile idea that there is "some controller" or "some conspiracy", or "some secret human knowledge" that is someone helping "those in the know" and enslaving the rest of humanity. Oh if it were only so, then such "knowledge" COULD "get out", unfortunately, it doesn't exist and a bunch of fallible humans are all just making it up as we trundle along.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Ok, there are some pictures out there now

The URLs don't seem to edit in very well with the .Mac stuff, although the upload from iPhoto is very nice and simple.

Macaulay Hatchery where fish ranching vs fish farming is done. Fish farming is illegal in AK, and it involves big pens and keeping the fish captive. In fish ranching, a hatchery is built, some salmon eggs are obtained, hatched, and the fingerlings are "imprinted" on the chemical composition of the water at the hatchery site, and then releases. Seven years later, they come back and fight to get into the hatchery. We happened to be there as this was happening. 100's of thousands of salmon boiling the water in the bay in front of the hatchery and fighting up the fish ladder.

We saw the Mendenhall Glacier outside Juneau.

The ship went into College Fjord where we saw beautiful mountains and glaciers.

We spent the last two days of the trip in Seward Alaska, surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains, but breating sea level air.

Lieberman Loses

The angry left defeats the sitting Senator from Connecticut and VP candidate from 2000 in the primary. We live in radical times. The MSM of course refuses to see the angry left as “radical” at all, since they are so close to what the reporters themselves believe. Even to come up with their usual leftward slant, they feel that they are “pulling punches” and forced to be “conservative” by their editors and the owners of the media outlets that they work for. Their hearts are over with the wing of the Democrat party that managed to defeat Lieberman in the primary.

When I hooked up at the Anchorage Airport, Time/CNN was already lamenting the thought that the Republicans would be able to “exploit this”. Their little articl was pretty weepy about “Just when the Democrats should be in the drivers seat with Bush’s low poll numbers, trouble in the mid-east, etc, they will “use this” to try to develop a “wedge” to their advantage. Hardly seems fair … somehow, all the of the reasons for disliking Bush are “real”, but the Democrats themselves voting out a guy that was good enough to be a VP candidate 6 years ago is some sort of a “fake issue”.

While the media spends a ton of time trying to make the Republican party out to be “radical”, “extreme” and “out of the mainstream”, it is pretty clear which party that is actually true of. Lieberman is a moderate Democrat, but WAY less so than Olympia Snow, Lincoln Chafee, or even Arlen Specter are “moderate Republicans”. Lieberman is more the Democrat equivalent of John McCain in the Republican party, or even in many ways George Bush.

The reasons that Bush’s poll numbers are as low as they are is because he is quite moderate, and loses at least he poll favorable ratings from 10-20% of the Republican party … the “no social programs, isolationism, budget balance at all costs, close the border if you have to shoot Mexicans” wing of the party. The media is pretty quiet about that wing right now, since they are just happy to see Bushes numbers low, and certainly don’t want to portray him in any way as a “moderate”.

So does the right wing of the Republican party stay home in November as the MSM and the Democrats hope? Does the leftward tilt of the Democrats bring more folks to the Republican side from the middle ground of the Democrats (a trend that has been going on since Reagan)? These are key factors on which the election will turn, at least we know where the MSM stands.

I'm Back

We arrived back home at 2AM Thursday, and worked the last couple of days, so still in catch up mode. Some significant posting will likely happen over the weekend since some posts were written on the trip, but not uploaded. So, continuity may suffer as it may look like I'm "still on the cruise" since that is where the posts were written.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Seward / Princess vs Carnival

Sitting in a hotel in Seward Alaska after getting off the Coral Princess in Whittier this AM. My connections have been spotty, and so has my writing, so a little background. We left Vancouver on Monday, July 31 at 4 in the afternoon. I will try to post up some pictures at some point, but of course they do very little justice to most elements of a trip like this.
The Princess
is 954+ feet long with 13 decks, and a capacity of a bit less than 2K passengers and 900 crew. Over 90% of the cabins have balconies, and having now cruised with a balcony, it would be hard to go back to a window. Princess is supposed to be a cut above Carnival where our previous two cruises were taken and I’d agree with that statement. It is almost exactly the same kind of comparison as “WalMart vs Target” in the department stores, although I’d argue Carnival is at the “Target level” and Princess is maybe like a Nordstrom’s or Bloomingdales. Cabins are a little bigger, ship is a little newer and nicer finished, service is a bit better, food is a bit better … it is all just a “cut above”, but of course you pay for it.

Is it worth it? Well, I shop at Wal-Mart vs Target, but I’m more inclined to think so in this case. I shop every week but I don’t cruise every week (boo hoo). Vacations don’t come around all that often, so it seems to me that a bit more investment is warranted since you are likely to have those memories for the rest of your life. The weekly milk, cereal, and other sundries will not be long in memory.

That trade-off between “stuff” and “memories” came to my mind a few times on this trip. In my younger years, my thinking tended to point toward the “stuff”, maybe partially because I didn’t have that much of it. As the years have gone by and the stuff as piled up, the value of the memories seems much enhanced. Can we “take those with us” forever? Seems worth hoping at least for at least the good ones, and as long as we have anything in this world (our minds), they are always with us here. As Don Henley says on the stuff; “You don’t see any hearses with luggage racks”.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Woke up just after docking in Ketchikan around 6am local time with the clocks being set back one hour overnight. Low clouds, little sun peeking through now and then, very much like it looks in here quite often it sounds like. Sitting out on the balcony after a nice breakfast on the ship and a little shopping tour of town. In one respect, it seems that all ports are alike, Alaska or Caribbean; lots of T-shirts, jewelry, art galleries, and local foods. Salmon here, rum cakes and other seafood in the Caribbean.

Nice little stream that had a few remaining spawned out salmon milling about that were fun to watch for a bit, Three cruise ships sitting at the dock right now, ours, a Holland America, and a Celebrity. Ours is full to capacity, the other two certainly don’t look empty, so the terrible Bush economy must be one other thing that the unbiased MSM hasn’t been able to get exactly right. Strange how they can be so interested in “truth”, yet somehow miss something that would see to be somewhat easy for valiant reporters to ferret out. Most likely they wouldn’t even need to resort to some secret source in order to figure out that number of things are humming along very well.

While this post started in Ketchikan, it is ending out in Glacier Bay. For some reason I was just able to get my first post of the trip up, so thought I’d try another. The weather has been “ok”. Plenty of rain, fog, some very nicely arranged points of glimpses of sun and relative clear that have allowed us to see some of the great scenery, but not enough to just sit out and bask in it. The high latitude means that the distance up to the tree line is only a few thousand feet, so we commonly sail by peaks that have a good deal of snow on them even though we are of course at sea-level. The combination of the peaks with the steep inclines of the valleys cut by glaciers with the water makes for very pleasing scenery almost everywhere.

News at 11, these glaciers have been receding for 2500 years now; faster in the 1800s than in the 1900s. Yes, this would indicate “global warming”, but major surprise, a quick check for continental glaciers covering North America could clue in not even the very geologically sophisticated that we are likely between ice ages. Given the glacier data from this trip, it would appear that we are still in the warming phase, and likely have thousands of years left until the next cool-down which will move us into the next ice cycle. How much effect did the humans have to cause the glaciers to recede faster in the 1800’s than now? Probably none, although one might conclude as scientists did in the 60’s and early 70’s that we were speeding the turn to global cooling.

My analysis of Princess vs Carnival is that for the extra money one gets a less crowded ship, better fit and finish and higher quality food and food service. Kind of like shopping at WalMart though, Carnival is plenty good enough for me, although it would be hard to cruise without a balcony after cruising with one.

Well, we are getting close to what is supposed to be the prime whale watching area, so I guess I better head out to do that. We have seen humpbacks and killers so far, but only 2 pods of the humpbacks and one of the orcas so far, so it would be nice to see some more

Hooray For Hezbolah

I can now tell that postings from the trip will be “sparse”, the connection from the ship is just very slow, so the way the blog is set up it simply takes too long to get to the posting page. Were I to be in this mode commonly, I realize that I could post using e-mail, but my impression was that speeds even from the sea would be increasing, but at least for this cruise that is not the case. As it is, my connection time there will be limited.

Have been able to catch up with the “highlights” of the news via one source or another over the past few days. Is there a “rule of nature” that one of the US parties has to be anti-Jewish? I realize that hatred of many groups really knows no political boundaries, but historically the Republican party was successfully tagged with the anti-Semitic label until the John Birch Society was purged from the ranks by William Buckley, and now is only slightly represented by Patrick Buchanan.

The level of only mostly contained glee in the MSM as Hezbollah holds out for “longer than was supposed”, and inflicts “more casualties than expected” on Israel continues to amaze. NPR was blathering that “the people of Israel are starting to wonder what this war is about”. Apparently, since all is relative to the left, there is simply nothing in the world that is ever worth fighting for, so even if someone is raining indiscriminate rocket fire on your homeland, you would be “prone to forget” why one might take action to reduce or prevent that.

There is also the apparent liberal principle that “nothing hard is worth doing”. Since it seems that Israel isn’t going to be able to stop the rocket fire in a short period of time, they ought to give up. I’m thinking that the left ought to try to understand the other side and consider that for people that aren’t absolute cultural relativists that believe in nothing but a pessimistic future, to stop trying would be just as difficult as for a lefty to stop complaining and wringing their hands about one thing or another. It just isn’t going to happen. The “radical right” is going to keep working to secure their “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” with just as much fervor as the left is going to continue to “carp, bellyache, and howl in umbrage”, the tools that they see as most helpful to the good life.

Speaking of the good life, it was a very relaxing day at sea. Some rain this AM, mostly clear this PM, but very little ability to see the shore. Just cruising along at 14 knots in calm seas. At one point this AM, while reading out on the deck, dolphins started coming to the ship from all around in the sea, formed up behind and followed in the wake for longer than I cared to watch. I suppose there were 15-30 visible on my side of ship, likely many more if one looked in the wake and the other side. I’m sure it is likely a common phenomenon, but was interesting for me to watch. Saw one other cruise ship and a couple fishing trawlers, but very much open sea with an occasional glimpse of mountains on the eastern horizon.

Not a bad way to spend a day at all. Tomorrow, Ketchican.