Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Osama is Next

Good Castro got his endorsement in early, he may not make 2008. Osama, Kim-Jung, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), along with the MSM and Hollywood are in full agreement.

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Castro: Clinton-Obama ticket 'invincible'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Add another name to the list of political observers who think a Clinton-Obama ticket would be unbeatable: Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hypocrisy: A sin the left almost recognizes.

It appears that we have a Republican Senator not practicing what he preaches. No doubt his constituency will turn him out of office if he isn't forced to resign beforehand. Most likely another seat for the Democrats in '08--starting to look like Hillary and a filibuster proof Senate in '08. Some of us Christian Conservative Bloggers may be headed to Guantanamo as subversives before we know it. Somehow I doubt the NYT would have that on the front page 40 times.

This is a great opportunity to understand the difference between right and left. Bill Clinton SIGNED a sexual harassment law that said that sexual harassment is determined by how the person harassed FEELS (in other words if Monica "felt harassed" just because he invited her up to his room, SHE WAS, even if he didn't drop trou and provide specific genital directions as alleged). The left had no problem with him defending himself beyond any shred of reason to save his skin and save raw political power. He is a Democrat with no standards, so hypocrisy is a simple impossibility. All liberal ethics are situational-they apply to others, not to you. Billy C can't be guilty of one of the only sins that Democrats almost recognize.

Billy C certainly knew he was a harasser when he signed that law, which means he was every bit as big a hypocrite as Craig voting against Gay rights in the "abstract theoretical universe". However, in the real universe where Democrats care only about political power, not about morals, truth, or anything else, there wasn't even an issue.

Will Conservatives act the same? Nope, they won't give the political power a second thought, no matter what the cost. Principles are more important than power, because if you lose your principles that provide meaning beyond mere existence, then you have lost meaning. A life without meaning isn't even worth examining, let alone living. Your principles and spirit are about eternity or they are about nothing. Political power is for just as season at the very most. So, for those that claim "there isn't any difference between Democrats and Republicans", just watch.

Are conservatives any "better"? No; only in the very limited sense that they better understand the reality of our condition. For those with standards, hypocrisy is a way of life, "the homage that vice pays to virtue". To be human and have standards is to always fall short. Sure, some fall more than others, but at least for the Christian, with the understanding that none of us make the grade.
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Police report: Senator signaled desire for 'lewd conduct

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Group files ethics complaint against Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho
  • Craig charged with disorderly conduct at Minnesota airport in June
  • Airport police officer reports senator peered into stall, gave signals
  • Senator denies any inappropriate conduct
  • Next Article in Politics »

(CNN) -- Sen. Larry Craig peered through a crack in a restroom stall door for two minutes and made gestures suggesting he wanted to engage in "lewd conduct," according to the police officer who arrested him.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Reason, Emotion and Iraq

We all like to think that others think as we do, and conservatives are no exception as I see Charles Krauthammer doing that a bit here in "Finally, a Reasoned Debate"

I very much agree with his sentiments, and yes, he points out that Harry Reid and "the far left" won't enter into the "reasoned debate", but I'm afraid that the voices of reason will be much more limited than that.

George Will touches on some of the same issues in his column "What September Won't Settle".
I find that George moves from "even handed" to "the ivory tower" in staying above the fray in this one. He validly points out some of the things said and done by Democrats lately that show just how badly they want defeat in Iraq as rapidly as possible.
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, House majority whip, recently said it would be "a real big problem for us" -- Democrats -- if Petraeus reports substantial progress. Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Kansas Democrat, recently found reports of progress unendurable. She left a hearing of the Armed Services Committee because retired Gen. Jack Keane was saying things Boyda thinks might "further divide this country," such as that Iraq's "schools are open. The markets are teeming with people." Boyda explained: "There is only so much you can take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while ... after so much frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
He then indicates that it is just as bad to be happy with reports like I referenced in "NYT Error". While I certainly agree with George that progress doesn't equal victory, I find it hard to believe that those who care about the US, defeat of terror, the progress of freedom in the world, and avoidance of a civil war that would almost certainly entail the loss of millions of lives should be compared to the likes of Clyburn, Boyda, Reid, or most of the MSM or left. Is cheering for at least the dissemination of a TINY bit of good news to be equated with finding progress as "a real problem" or "divisive"? Just because there are two sides (or more) doesn't mean that all of them are of equal merit.

I generally like what both George and Charles have to say--they are far smarter and well read than I, but I could guess they also have a bit more "academic distance" from dealing with the "man in the street" than I have. This is close to the 3 year anniversary of Katrina, and I see that as the event in which the Democrats and the MSM found a winning strategy with the masses. The core of that strategy is a constant drumbeat of "it is all bad, and it is all Bushes fault". Since their primary good is "political power" and they aren't concerned about the cost of that power, it seems unlikely that they will allow a rational discussion of Iraq that could save millions of lives in Iraq and likely 10s or 100s of thousands here by preventing future terrorist attacks to dissuade them from grabbing for raw power no matter the cost.

Yes, a reasoned debate is almost always a good idea, and the improvements in Iraq while welcome to those that care about more than "defeat of the right" are only "one more step" on what was always known to likely be a long road to success for Iraq. The election of '06 indicates that nationally the forces that think of "reason" and "perserverence in difficulty" are in decline to the forces of "emotion" and "everything should be easy". Since the latter is "natural human nature", it usually takes something pretty significant to turn that tide back.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hillary on Obsession

When Hillary "vast right wing conspiracy" speaks on obsession, one ought to listen well. It seems that at least she has succeeded in making sure that her husband isn't obsessed with her, so maybe she will be able to have some success with Rove as well. It always seems clear that at least for Hillary it is indeed always all about Hillary.

Interesting how given the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, CBS, CNN, MSNBC ... and a cast of 100's, poor Hillary laments the "attack machine". Oh, that is right, to agree with Hillary is to be "factual", to disagree with her is to be part of "conspiracy" and "attack machines". Just the kind of level headed rational view of the world that many will find as a big improvement in leadership.

When Clinton was asked about remarks from Rove, she attempted to cast her negative ratings in a positive light.

"But I find it interesting he's so obsessed with me. And I think the reason is because we know how to win," she said.

"The idea that you're going to escape the Republican attack machine and not have high negatives by the time they're through with you, I think, is just missing what's been going on in American politics for the last 20 years," Clinton added.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Iraqi Prostitutes Are Democrats!

Hey, things MUST be getting better in Iraq, the worst news available for a CNN headline was "Impoverished women turn to prostitution"! I'm not positive, but I don' think Iraq is the first time that has happened in world history. These women are just like Democrats though, "everything is for the kids". The mind of the MSM is always a tough one -- mine collapses in Utah, instability in the financial markets, but low cost prostitution in Iraq is the CNN Headline? Listening to NPR discuss the problems of cheap foreign imports in Iraq this AM combined with this is about as close as the MSM comes to the oxymoron of "good news from Iraq".

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Iraqi women turn to prostitution to feed kids
Iraqi women turn to prostitution to feed kids

Iraqi women turn to prostitution to feed kids

The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces, having been driven into prostitution to help support their families amid war. They make as little as $8 a day. "Everything is for the children," one mother told CNN. full story

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We spent Monday PM to about 4PM today in Northern WI . We bid on a timeshare condo at a local school auction for $100, and nobody else bid, so we got a week at Telemark Lodge outside Cable WI for that low price. We attempted to work remotely from there, but that was somewhat of a challenge with no high speed internet in the rooms, one phone (both my wife and I often needed to be on telecons), and no cell coverage. Oh well, a bit of an adventure, we were able to use high speed from the lodge, and got in a couple of days anyway. It turned out we needed to be back for Friday, so we launched back today. Hopefully I'll write a bit more about Copper Falls and taking the Apostle Islands boat tour today at some point.

During the course of the week, my iMac fever waxed and waned as I looked at the 24" extreme 2.8GHz vs the 2.4GHZ. I had been of the inclination to wait for October when the new OS-X version Leopard is due, but I realize that I likely will want to upgrade my PowerBook G4 as well, so I may just as well buy a "family pack". For a bit it looked like the "extreme" was a quad processor rather than a duo, but it turns out it is just a duo (2 cores) just like the 2.4GHZ, so I decided to take the plunge at the Mac store in the MOA.

So this is the first blog entry typed on the new 24" iMac! Setup was extremely easy, Parallels is installing a copy of XP in the background as I type this, and the screen is EXTREMELY nice. It is completely quiet as well, and I am really glad that I waited for the brushed metal unit vs the white, since the brushed matches my laptop.

Sadly, I need to go to IA this weekend, so tonight is my only chance to play a bit, but I'll have something great to look forward to when I get back!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jesse James

A friend lent me "Jesse James: The Last Rebel of the Civil War" by T.J. Stiles. The book was very researched and I thought even-handed, so I suppose that most of academia would find it to be conservatively biased. I found the level of detail to be too high for this topic; but I'm just not that interested in being an expert on border state Civil War and Reconstruction politics, economics and law enforcement. I didn't need all the detail, but I found the broad outlines to be extremely interesting, and the author DID do a good job.

In the big picture we all know that the agrarian South relied on the institution of slavery as a cornerstone of the economy, while the forces of abolition gained ground in the North. In the border states like Missouri where Jesse and Frank James grew up with their mother Zerelda Samuel (she later re-married), and specifically in Clay county, those tensions were very personal and direct as the slave owners and those trying to abolish it lived side by side. For a widow farmer like Zerelda, slaves were by far her greatest asset, and the loss of them moved her from being middle class to bordering on poor.

Jesse and Frank James sided with the South and were part of para-military gangs know as "Bushwhackers". The group of "Bloody Bill Anderson" was the most notorius, and the group that they ran with. The author puts forth a framework for violence from a sociologist Lonnie Athens called "violentization" with 4 steps:

  1. Brutalization - the subject is either coerced or encouraged to observe to take part in violent acts done to others, and encouraged to approve or take part.
  2. Belligerency - Subject resolves to respond to provocations with force.
  3. Violent Performances - subject pushes through barriers and inflicts pain on another person.
  4. Virulency - subject feels his social status change due to violence. They now decide to respond with overwhelming force to the slightest provocation.
Nice theory, but it seems a bit too pat. Even "Bloody Bill" would release some folks that one would have thought he would kill, and Jesse very much did the same. They lived in a very violent time, and while both ended up being killed, they distingueshed themselves in their ability to survive and cause problems. Then and now, intelligence and UNpredictability tend to be the most successful, and while Jesse and other of the Bushwhacker leaders certainly displayed tactical and even strategic mistakes, they also displayed a cunnign and an understanding of the environment they operated in.

The key to that environment was Democrats that continued to resist the north and work to subjugate blacks after the war. While Lincoln and the Republicans won the war, the Democrats and groups like Jesse and the KKK defeated the North and the Republicans in reconstruction. Interestingly, at that time, media was explicitly political and made no attempt at being "unbiased". The Democrat papers, and especially one Journalist, John Edwards, worked to build up the "Robin Hood Image" of Jesse and his group as being "falsely accused" of anything really evil, and in general just making life difficult for Republicans, the Railroads, and "the wealthy". "Fake but true" was a a Democrat and MSM staple then as now, with the important thing being to spin a yarn that fit what the Southern people wanted to hear.

The raid on Northfield MN was really interesting to read about due to the familiarity with the territory. The reason the target was picked was a political attack against Adelbert Ames, a failed Republican reconstruction Governor of Mississippi that had settled in Northfield. Jesse and the Youngers were defeated by the townspeople of Northfield going to their homes, getting their guns, and firing away a the bandits. Jesse and Frank escaped, but only with wounds and a daring trek across 100's of miles of Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

It is easy to see how a lot of Clint Eastwood and other movies revolve around the Bushwhackers and the subsequent outlaws like the James. They had their time, but essentially they were too successful. Once the South had gotten what it wanted--it's own Democrat rule, and the Blacks under Jim Crow really no better off than slaves, they were willing to turn in guys like Jesse because they didn't want that violence, so the gunfighters lost the support they needed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Executive Qualities

The following showed up on a tech website today and I think they are pretty accurate. I'd rate Honesty and Intelligence at the top with Passion 3rd, but he didn't say there were in order. I disagree about the "innate leadership"--sure, some people have more God given ability in one or more of these areas than others, but ANYONE can improve on ALL of them.

What if you don't want to be an executive? Well, then the competition is still reduced a bit, but I'd argue that all of these are just fine in anything you want to do. Marriage, parenting, friendship, church, education--you name it. It is a list worth thinking about from time to time. The other point is that "ruthless", "dishonest", "greedy" or "conceited" aren't on there anywhere no matter what the American Media often has to say about business. Are all executives "wonderful"? Certainly not, but the characteristics listed strike a person that has spent 29+ years in corporate life as being the general case.

From CNET Train Wreck Blog

  1. Passion. Driven to get the job done and do it right; passion for one's function, the marketplace, the company's product, work in general; high energy level
  2. Intelligence. There's no substitute for intelligence, with emphasis on insight, analysis of complex problems, deductive reasoning, out of the box thinking
  3. Fearless. Willing to take risks, embrace new challenges, make mistakes, and say what's on one's mind without fear of consequences; opposite of CYA mentality
  4. Leadership. Innate ability to motivate people to willingly do one's bidding, especially when there's no direct benefit for them to do so
  5. Can-do attitude. Simple put, everything is "no problem;" somehow finds a way to make it happen with minimal supervision; respect for "the customer"
  6. Work ethic. Committed to working long and hard for the fulfillment of a job well done; respect for business and work; clarity in knowing right from wrong
  7. Integrity. Understanding the importance of meeting commitments, on schedule and on budget; plus following up and keeping one's word
  8. Flexibility. Easy to work with, willing to take on new responsibilities without clear personal benefit and without whining about it; willing to take one for the team
  9. Humility. Willing to do what it takes for the team and credit others; intuitive understanding of the value of Karma in the business world
  10. Honesty. Honest, straightforward, strong moral fiber; tells the truth regardless of consequences; goes hand-in-hand with fearless and strong work ethic

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Horror of Hope?

For the ranks of the "War is Lost", July was a bad month. It seems like "the surge" may be working, and of course that is bad news for Democrats, the MSM and America's other enemies.

The Turn
Defeatists in retreat.

For the Iraq war's opponents, July began as a month of hope. It ended in retreat. It began with Democratic unity in proclaiming the inevitability of American defeat. It ended with respected military analysts--Democrats, no less!--reporting that the situation on the ground had improved, and that the war might be winnable. It began with a plan for a series of votes in Congress that were supposed to stampede nervous Republicans against the continued prosecution of the war. It ended with the GOP spine stiffened, no antiwar legislation passed, and the Democratic Congress adjourning in disarray, with approval ratings lower than President Bush's. It began with Democratic presidential candidates competing in their antiwar pandering. It ended with them having second thoughts--with Barack Obama, losing ground to Hillary Clinton because he seemed naive about real world threats, frantically suggesting that he would invade Pakistan.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Legends of the Fall

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, suggested Bush administration spending on the Iraq war may have crimped funding for domestic projects such as road and bridge construction, and for such infrastructure projects as new levees for New Orleans. 

"We've spent $500 billion in Iraq and we have bridges falling down in this country," Klobuchar told MSNBC. "I see a connection between messed-up priorities."
Watched the movie "Legends of the Fall" tonight on DVD and was very impressed with the film. A very common book / movie theme of the "wild, free spirit, personally charmed, much-loved person" that "has something special" about them. In true Hollywood tradition, there are allusions to "higher power", but it is in the sense of "a great spirit", or "spirit of the the bear" in this film. Hollywood and most of the worlds artists are extremely comfortable with a higher power that provides blessing even if you follow no rules at all as Tristan (the "loved one") in the film.

We are all human, at the core our brains operate very much the same. Emotional content is always there, and our "reality" is very much colored by the emotional content of what we see--biologists happen to believe the mechanism is orchestrated via the amygdala and there is quite a bit of detail on how it probably works. No matter, we all know that we are very prone to just project what we "believe" onto reality. At least I think we used to realize that; we maybe didn't understand the mechanism, but looking at reality OBJECTIVELY and discounting things that obviously were not objective and didn't make sense used to be part of "maturity" or "reasonable" or "rational". Seeing what IS rather than whet we might feel should be.

So we have Amy. I have a hard time believing that she actually believes that Iraq has ANYTHING to do with the bridge. Yes, she hates Bush, yes she wants to make political hay, yes, she may be emotional, but certainly she knows that is IMPOSSIBLE. NOBODY believed that bridge was going to fall ... not a single state road engineer, nobody at the UofM right next to it which studied it as part of engineering classes. Either the President or First Lady, the governors children or anyone else would have been routed across that bridge without a second thought.

Nick Coleman's diatribe talks about a "50% bridge", which is completely off the wall and it seems very hard to believe he doesn't know that he is out and out lying. The 50% is an assessment number that has NOTHING to do with the idea that the bridge is going to fail. That bridge was on NOBODYS list of needing to be replaced ... LONG before there was talk of closing or replacement there would have been weight restrictions, re-routes, etc. The best of the bridge inspection technology that we are now using failed in this case. Like everything else, there was "some probabiity of failure" ... all the data that we had would have said it was very low, but in this case it happened. The odds of my house collapsing on me right now are very low, but the chance isn't "zero" ... some homes DO collapse and then we go back to the drawing board, just as we do with the bridge.

I can enjoy Legends of the Fall, Star Wars, or even build my own foolish scare story about how the government is likely to force guys like me to work until I'm 80 under some new Democrat doctrine of tax slavery. There are fantasies and there is reality--one would like to believe that a position of being a Senator or a newspaper columnist would require that you understood something of the difference. I believe that a major reason for the "incivility" in politics these days is because as evidenced by Amy and Nick, something between 30-50% of our population has decided that fantasy and legend feels better than reality so they are just going to go with it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bridge to Anger

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Nick Coleman: Public anger will follow our sorrow

The cloud of dust above the Mississippi that rose after the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed Wednesday evening has dissipated. But there are other dark clouds still hanging over Minneapolis and Minnesota.

For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.

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The nice thing about the unbiased MSM and Democrats is that they don't play negative politics like Republicans. We all understand that more money and more taxes solve all problems in the public sector, but are a negative in the private sector. It is just a fact. We also know that nobody should expect a bridge to last over 40 years, and that Government in '67 was all under Republican control and being done "on the cheap".

All it takes for humans to create perfection is more dollars in the public sector--there is no reason to even look for a cause before we reach that conclusion. More public money is a universal good and more private money is a universal evil. Life is simple, let the righteous anger begin.

"Everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps". Once we get the fairness doctrine back we will be free of name calling oafs like Limbaugh, and we will only get the "civil" non-partisan viewpoints of reasoned voices like Coleman. One can barely wait.