Friday, June 30, 2006

What are 1000 Palestinians worth?

One Israeli.


Bloody Sunday

If you haven't seen it yet.... Here's the video.

Work safe, but not BDS safe... if your co-workers or boss don't have a sense of humor, better wait until you get home.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My X-Men review...

It didn't suck.

It was okay. Parts were clever. They tried to do an aweful lot so I wouldn't be surprised if quite a bit got cut for time in the end.

Complaints: The actress who played Jean Gray seemed thin to the point of unattractiveness. I suppose she wasn't exactly *supposed* to look healthy. I wish they'd have shown the danger room. They showed the classrooms at the school but I always liked the idea that the X-Men actually *trained* to fight as a team.

My only *real* complaint: Magneto "What have I done?" LAME! Nothing that happened was sufficient to support his repentance.

Good points? The girl who could walk through walls taking on Jaggernaut... it was classic and fabulous. And while I've heard a lot of complaints about Rogue, and I generally disapprove of teen sex, I hope that girl got some while she could.

I also rather appreciate that we seem to be getting past the "if we do that we'll be just like them" theory of morality in our entertainment.

Technically incompetent? Who? Me?

For some reason I can't get pictures up. It worked before. I'd hit the little picture icon and the little window would pop up and I'd click "browse" and it would pop me into the right place. Now it doesn't. I'll have to get one of the kids to help me figure out what happened. I've got some pictures of flowering cactus and baby birds I wanted to post.

Other than that... I think I figured out which order and which event has to be the critical turning point in the script I've been (mostly not) working on. Yay! I still don't know if it will involve a huge battle or... maybe a huge battle and then the event. It might have even more emotional impact without the physical conflict... killing someone in a fight isn't quite the the same as simply deciding it's necessary that he die and doing it. Now I just have to figure out how to make it *necessary*.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Rush Limbaugh... the Anchoress just gets it all over with already...

I will never think of the Anchoress the same way again. Though to be honest, I should have known better. :-) We're grown up ladies, after all.

My favorite bit didn't even have any puns...
We’ll have to endure the usual suspects basically acting like 5 year-olds sitting around the table saying “poopyhead” and imagining that they’re terribly funny, while they laugh and drip and dribble, and we roll our eyes and wipe up their wee juice spills.

It wasn't *quite* as naughty as Vodkapundit's Will Collier's take on the Democratic "New Direction" (Which took me several long moments of perplexed musing to "get".... nude what?) But that's probably a *good* thing.

Neo-Liberal Revolution

Friday, June 23, 2006

Assumptions of Racism

Today I read comments on Cathy Young's blog saying that Condi's popularity didn't mean that people would actually vote for a black person.

Of course, the people with whom Condi is particularly popular who wouldn't vote for a black person are on the right, right? Because we all *know* that the right is racist and liberals and progressives believe in equality.

I suggested that this person was going by what he *believed* other people would not do instead of what he'd be willing to do himself. I said he was wrong. I explained that even the biggest chauvinist bigot can and will make an exception for an individual. (There are other reasons I don't think that Condi would win a presidential race, even if she agreed to run. A VP slot might work though.)

But maybe I was being too kind. Maybe this person said people wouldn' t vote for a black candidate because *he* wouldn't vote for a black candidate.

Today, via Vikingpundit, I read this. (Scroll down.) I'm not surprised, obviously, but I do think this is really huge. I've been accused of racism for this or that political belief for so long. But lately I've started to realize that group politics almost always involves the assumption of secondary status of all the groups being advocated for. It's not a "you can do it!" encouragement but a "you *can't* do it" judgement.

Similarly, some of the "Iraq is doomed to failure" proclamations I've heard are aparently based on the "fact" that the Iraqi people simply aren't capable of civilization so trying to impose one was doomed before we began. Even while calling this racism, I didn't really *believe* that it involved valuing people differently, just expecting less of the little brown folks.

But this study shows more than just the "bigotry of low expectations."

So Republicans are stingy bastards (I wonder how the libertarians responded!) but they are equal oportunity stingy bastards. But Democrats... generally more generous, and more likely to respond with handouts, respond with higher handouts for whites and lower handouts for blacks and other minorities.

I really can't see any way to explain this as misapplied good intentions.

Can you?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Torture: It's what they do.

It's really tempting to look at the deaths by torture of two American soldiers and, through the anger, contribute it to the *nature* of the terrorists. It's what they *do*. They are evil.

We've always known that the chances of getting back, alive, any of our people was next to zip. We've always known that anyone captured would be tortured and probably would end up beheaded on video. If we had any secret hopes it was that, somehow, it would be quick.

Yes, somewhere there is a video. The terrorists videotape *everything*.

I want to point something out, though. The terrorists did not do this because they are evil. They are, but that's not why.

They hoped to accomplish something. And we shouldn't think they had only one reason, one goal. Most likely they had a whole list.

The excessive brutality, desecration, booby-trapping the bodies and the place where they were found were not spur-of-the-moment exercises of opportunity or expressions of emotion. This was not to show us how much they hate us or get a proxy revenge for Zarqawi.

Terrorism functions by instilling terror, by manipulating responses by targeting innocents.

They watch our news closer than we do, people. Terrorism depends on conscripting an army from the enemy population by making us do their work for them out of fear. Fear for our own safety, or in reaction to countermeasures taken... over-reactions and oppression associated with the efforts to stop the terrorists.

What do they hope to accomplish? They know how we reacted to the accusations about Haditha. More of that would be good for them. Maybe they'd score some counter-action by the young men's families, sure to get national coverage if they blame the US for actions freely taken by the terrorists. If they can energize the anti-war faction to greater and louder calls for withdrawl it would be worth it right there.

A whole lot of people are going to step up and willingly take the roles that the terrorists want them to take.

Wanna bet one of them is named Murtha?

Our Hero Watada

Hey, it sounds good ya know, officers doing their duty to evaluate the situation and refuse to serve if they don't agree that the cause is a just cause.

It might make running the military a bit difficult but is that really a *bad* thing? If politicians can't count on blind obedience from the military they might not involve us in unpopular wars, or any wars at all, for that matter.

So what is this guy complaining about?

Believe it or not, Lieutenant, were you to be upheld in your assertions, it would set exactly the wrong precedent. The one where the soldiers (worse - the Officers) decide what is right and good in their employment. Exactly one of the things the Founders feared, regarding a large standing Army.

If an officer can make up his or her own mind about who's lawful orders to obey (and folks, lets be clear here, calling the war in Iraq illegal does not make it illegal, strong feelings and profoundly held beliefs do not create legal precident,) then why obey the president and civilian leadership at all?

Congress can take a hike and the President can stay home because it's no longer up to them, it's up to the individual conscience of individual military officers. Oh, Congress may still hold the purse strings, but they can't make anyone fight. In the face of an emergency, who wins that standoff?

How long until the officers realize that they can force a change in leadership at will? Make it a condition to fight and they can appoint their own. If not a military dictatorship, we'd at least be looking at a system where the President served only at the leave of the military leadership.

There is a REASON that our military subjects itself to civilian leadership. That reason is far more important than Watada's little PR prank.

And the fact is, you who think Watada is so brave don't really have to worry about military dictatorships because the rest of us *do* understand why we obey the orders of the civilian leadership even if we think the guy is a prick and likely to get us killed for no reason.

Because the alternative is worse.

And if the Democrat canidate prevails in 2008, the 3/4ths of the military who can be expected to vote Republican will NOT go home or begin to refuse orders or "pull a Watada."

And you can thank them for that.

The Okinawa Option

It would made a fabulous title for a triller, don't you think?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Amnesty for Insurgents

More on this later... I have to run to town ASAP.

In the comment threads on GayPatriot someone brought up Amnesty several days ago and expressed outraged offense that we'd accept that kind of grievous insult to our troops. It was a betrayal of them, obviously.

I argued otherwise.

I said that a limited amnesty for those (few!) insurgents who did not target Iraqis, did not target civilians, was probably a good idea. You have to make it possible for people to lay down arms. And at the least, I said, those who attacked our military were attacking what was arguably a legitimate military target. Maybe they weren't in uniform but at least it was a start and it *was* an important difference from those who execute fishermen and blow up children.

Today Instapundit linked this story.

Read it. Notice who is the most offended by the idea. It's as though, anytime the left (at least the vocal leadership) gets offended on behalf of the troops they get it ever so slightly wrong. They sort of know what they're aiming at, but they really don't *know* and it shows.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Patriotism or Nationalism

Do you know the difference?

People who are uncomfortable with the idea of patriotism should think about this. They aren't the same thing. The things that make American worth loving are things that ought to move all citizens to cheer for this country. Freedom and liberty. Equality and tolerance. Individual responsibility and an ethos of mutual purpose. It shouldn't be even a little bit difficult to love what this country stands for.

(Props to paco.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Patricia Madrid - Third World Experience

I've been looking around for some links to what I mentioned in the "third world experience" post.

Here's one.

In essence:
Patricia Madrid has definitely thrown federal government efforts to cleanup Democrat corruption in New Mexico into disarray for her own personal gain.

It includes an Abuquerque Journal article by Mike Gallagher who reports:

Madrid spokeswoman Sam Thompson said, "We treated their testimony as confessions to these crimes."

Sandoval's attorney, Tom Esquibel, also was critical of Madrid.

"As a former prosecutor, I believe this indictment is a big sign that says don't cooperate with the federal government in public corruption investigations.

Here's another.

The article is pretty straightforward. The comments are interesting.

Free Speech in the Digital Age

A comment I left on in relation to the USMC caving to CAIR concerning Hadji Girl.

I think that it's time that we find a solution to the confusion between formal and informal speech caused by new technologies. Well, not so new but we still haven't adjusted.

Everything can be recorded with riddiculous ease and kept forever and distributed world wide. That isn't going to change anytime soon. Those of us who have participated on usenet news have a written history that goes back for years and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has set things to electrons that would make it difficult to win public office... in fact, I remember writing once "well, here goes my chances of ever getting elected to anything." (Though I forget what I said afterward) And while some of us were early adopters of the evils of the internets (*who* decided that was plural?) my children's generation practically lives in the electrons.

MySpace anyone?


The difference between informal and formal speech is no longer related to what is recorded and distributed or how widely. The speech given by a President (for instance, the President of Iran) in a formal setting is no more easily availble to every person in the world as is the song sung by an individual enlisted Marine. In an earlier time the presidential speech would be recorded by journalists and the song, even if recorded, would only be seen by a handful of people on home-movie night.

Common sense insists that the speech by whathisface in Iran and the speech by an enlisted Marine are not the same.

Are we going to figure this out or do we have to wait until my kids are adults and the absolute preponderance of damning electronic records finally forces people to adopt a social convention of ignoring what is obviously informal speech?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Political Poll... a third world experience

I got a phone call this evening.

I'm a bad person to poll, I think, because I spend the entire time analyzing the poll. What was the purpose of this question or that question, what will they use the poll data for?

At one point I was wondering if by answering the questions I was giving someone I didn't want to support vital information about how to campaign more effectively. I guess I could have asked but I decided not to.

The most interesting bits, though, were a series of questions about the Dem and Republican candidates for the US congress in my district. Or rather it was a series of statements and then I was supposed to answer if that statement made me more likely or less likely to vote for that person or if it made no difference at all. The incumbent is Heather Wilson. The person running against her is "who? sounds like a name I've heard but I'm not sure." Later it was "Oh, her." So at the very least I am now a better informed voter. Yay!

What I discovered about my own priorities was that I'm forgiving, or at least partially so, of inaction in office. Inaction is mostly neutral. I'm also fairly tolerant of political differences on the theory that I really can't expect someone to agree with me all that much. What I've got absolutely no tolerance for is the questionable transfer of funds to politicians or the *use* of an office in a way that appears... third worldish.

As an example... the Democratic challenger's inaction on charges of possible corruption in the State Treasury department didn't bother me so much because I figure that people make unrealistic demands of public figures all the time... there may have been a good reason that she couldn't take action. OTOH, the newspaper headline (Oh, her!) that she'd brought state charges against the Fed's prosecution witnesses in the aformentioned State Treasury *thang* sets off all my BS alarms... every single one.

People joke about New Mexico being a third world country and when they do it's not the *poverty* that they're complaining about. It's the perception of public corruption. I haven't been here long enough and I know that many good people are involved in our government and I've got NO interest in undermining their efforts with baseless rummors. But I've heard them.

The headline about bringing state charges against federal witnesses in a case concerning possible NM State government corruption makes me think I'm back in the Philippines.

This is not a good thing.

(Yes, I'm going to vote for Heather Wilson and on those things where I think she's wrong, I'll write her more e-mails.)

Hadji Girl

Here's a link to LGF that has a link to the video.

Yes. It's a little bit naughty. Mostly, though, this guy is artistically brilliant.

Watch the song first, and then I'll tell you why.
Okay, you watched it, right?... his choice of music contrasts with the narrative, to start. It's funny because he's singing Durka durka like it's a love song. It pokes fun at the clueless Marine who doesn't catch on to what she's saying. The Marine is almost a babe in the woods, innocent of the evil intentions of the world. This is necessary for the reversal and payoff at the end to work. And then, to resolve, he sings durka durka back again, even more lovingly.

Brilliant. And he's got the voice to do it too. Bravo!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Us and Them

It's nothing new or shocking, particularly. Grim posts about this cartoon on Blackfive. Ho-hum and la-di-da.

Oh, they're going to get angry mail. No doubt about that. Angry mail won't do anything other than convince the cartoonist or publisher that they are brave persons upholding freedom... because the Marines they villify won't *do* what we all know works.

Kill people.

Burn embassies.

And the brave, noble, truth-tellers (snort) melt like facial tissue in a tsunami.

Keep on searching for relevance guys. I doubt you'll find it but we can always hope that someday it finds you.

This is support?

A commenter over on Wizbang claimed that he/she was supportive of the effort in Iraq but that, just like the Soviet Union, it would have all worked out on it's own if people had just left well enough alone. Same results. No expense.

This is my reply (slightly edited) that I left at Wizbang.

It is not supportive of the effort in Iraq, even allowing room for different ideas of what would have been best to do, to say that *nothing* should have been done because Saddam would eventually tire of being a tyrant and his sons would eventually tire of... what his sons tended to enjoy.

*Suportive* of the effort in Iraq requires... support. Not agreement, just support.

As an example, consider a woman I once knew... she *always* knew the best way to do anything. No matter what her husband did he could have done it a better way. For her to have been *supportive* of him would not require that she decide that his way was best after all but it would require that she help him with his plans.

Suppose he was changing a light bulb and set up a ladder when she thought he should use one of those telescoping poles. Supportive would mean handing him the lightbulbs. Unsupportive would be having a snit, refusing to help, and lecturing the whole time about the superiority of the telescoping light-bulb changing pole, waving the pole at him and demanding he get off the ladder without changing the light bulb and start over using the pole.

I don't think it's all that common but there do seem to be a bunch of people, like LoveAmerica Immegrant, who honestly believe that the light bulb will change itself.

That's what I wrote... and now I'm thinking, heck, at least LoveAmerica Immegrant has an optimitic outlook. I'm impressed. The more common outlook seems to be that there is no possibility of winning, no matter what, so there is no consequence to undermining that failed effort.

(Yes, I know. A new government in only three years, increasingly competent Iraqi security forces, progress everywhere you look and now we got Zarqawi... we'd better lose quick because if they aren't careful we'll win after all.)