Monday, February 28, 2005

Please, Pretty Please with Sugar on Top Mr. Dictator

Carl writes a good piece, with my additional comments at the end:

Amnesty International Founder Dies

Recently the founder of Amnesty International died. His name was Peter Benenson and I am sure that he was a good and well meaning man.

Amnesty International, however, was (and is) basically “feel-good” politics and didn’t (and doesn’t) make a difference in the world. The Europeans who scold George Bush for “cowboy capitalism” and “unilateralism” love this type of endeavor, where letter writing, sit-ins and other forms of “protest” are used to force change and help freedom. This type of effort makes them feel like they are “making a difference” since, of course, use of arms is off the table as a means to make freedom happen or tyranny disappear (see my “no war” essay).

Amnesty International, bizarrely, is most “effective” in getting out its message against liberal democracies like the United States and European countries. Since their politicians are democratically elected and the rule of law is enforced, it is embarrassing to have a group like this to say terrible things about your leadership. Every year you can count on the US to get scolded for capital punishment and now Guantanamo Bay. In their eyes, we are just as bad as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iraq under Saddam. By their perverted logic, we are all just “one and the same”.

However, Amnesty International can do nothing to make positive change happen in countries under dictatorship. Amnesty International has accomplished jack squat with regards to Russia, China, and the myriad human rights abusers in Africa. Dictators don’t care what the “public” thinks in rich countries, unless it directly impacts their livelihoods. And in any dictatorship, it takes a LONG time for problems to start to impact people at the top, probably many lifetimes in most circumstances.

It is just astounding to me that they think that brutal dictators can be reasoned with to change their behaviors. I can’t think of any examples where this occurred; without the likely or imminent threat of force, of course. The leftists just keep going back to their “international” beliefs over and over again with nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it.

How has the European policy of “engagement” worked in Iran? Has it stopped them from going nuclear? Has it improved their freedom to have fair elections? Has it improved their women’s rights? No, of course not. And what about Sudan? I am sure that Amnesty International is organizing some sort of letter writing campaign as we speak. But do the brutal thugs in Sudan care? Not a bit.

Amnesty International is for people who profess to care about rights and freedom but don’t want to take any serious steps to make it happen. Without an effective and powerful military, it is just “blowin’ in the wind” to quote Bob Dylan. They should just go back to their mass consumption lifestyle and watch as they become more and more irrelevant in the world, because they have no military capabilities, and their economies are going backwards under socialist murk.

Dan adds: If you don’t believe that AI is irrelevant in today’s world, just look at the front page of their website. Click on the link on the left bottom that says “No turning back…”. It is all about women’s rights all over the world. It is 16 pages of hopeful text, all of which will do nothing for anyone anywhere. They talk about the “Beijing Platform for Action”, which is, again, nothing more than words on paper. Take a gander at this grandiose statement:


“The Beijing Platform for Action calls on governments to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence against women; to enact and periodically review domestic legislation to punish and redress violence against women in the home, workplace, community and society. Governments are further
called upon to develop and fund training programs for judicial, medical, social, educational, police and immigration personnel to ensure fair treatment of women victims of violence.”

Whew. This statement is so stupid it isn’t even worth the time to pick it apart, but I just wanted to give you an example of AI’s insanity.
Like Carl said, you can hope and ask all you want but until and unless you physically remove the brutal dictators and oppressors they do not care.

By the way, clicking on the “Control Arms” button on AI’s main page brings you right to IANSA, the UN’s agency that tries to get governments around the world to confiscate the weapons of free peoples everywhere. Imagine, the one thing that could free women from repressive dictators – arms – and AI supports the confiscation of them.

Bursting Out Laughing

For sheer entertainment value, not much beats NPR "news" in the morning and afternoon drives. A few days ago I heard someone blabbing about how the new Europe was going to be the most fierce competition the USA has ever had and will out produce us, blah, blah, blah. It was one of those moments where I actually burst out laughing. It is only a matter of time before the Eiffel Tower, or Potzdammer Place or the little piss boy in Brussels gets blown up. I try to keep things simple, here in the great Midwest. You have a bunch of countries where everyone hates each other and you unite them. Then merge all of their welfare states. The population rate is declining so to keep the welfare and other entitlements rolling you are forced to pimp the Arab world for immigrants to make up the difference - I don't think thats gonna work. Mark Steyn of the Chicago Sun Times has a great take on the whole thing:

U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode
February 27, 2005
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
A week ago, the conventional wisdom was that George W. Bush had seen the error of his unilateral cowboy ways and was setting off to Europe to mend fences with America's ''allies.''
I think not. Lester Pearson, the late Canadian prime minister, used to say that diplomacy is the art of letting the other fellow have your way. All week long President Bush offered a hilariously parodic reductio of Pearson's bon mot, wandering from one European Union gabfest to another insisting how much he loves his good buddy Jacques and his good buddy Gerhard and how Europe and America share -- what's the standard formulation? -- ''common values.'' Care to pin down an actual specific value or two that we share? Well, you know, ''freedom,'' that sort of thing, abstract nouns mostly. Love to list a few more common values, but gotta run.
And at the end what's changed?
Will the United States sign on to Kyoto?
No.
Will the United States join the International Criminal Court?
No.
Will the United States agree to accept whatever deal the Anglo-Franco-German negotiators cook up with Iran?
No.
Even more remarkably, aside from sticking to his guns in the wider world, the president also found time to cast his eye upon Europe's internal affairs. As he told his audience in Brussels, in the first speech of his tour, ''We must reject anti-Semitism in all forms and we must condemn violence such as that seen in the Netherlands.''
The Euro-bigwigs shuffled their feet and stared coldly into their mistresses' decolletage. They knew Bush wasn't talking about anti-Semitism in Nebraska, but about France, where for three years there's been a sustained campaign of synagogue burning and cemetery desecration, and Germany, where the Berlin police advise Jewish residents not to go out in public wearing any identifying marks of their faith.
The ''violence in the Netherlands'' is a reference to Theo van Gogh, murdered by a Dutch Islamist for making a film critical of the Muslim treatment of women. Van Gogh's professional colleagues reacted to this assault on freedom of speech by canceling his movie from the Rotterdam Film Festival and scheduling some Islamist propaganda instead.
The president, in other words, understands that for Europe, unlike America, the war on terror is an internal affair, a matter of defusing large unassimilated radicalized Muslim immigrant populations before they provoke the inevitable resurgence of opportunist political movements feeding off old hatreds. Difficult trick to pull off, especially on a continent where the ruling elite feels it's in the people's best interest not to pay any attention to them.
The new EU ''constitution,'' for example, would be unrecognizable as such to any American. I had the opportunity to talk with former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing on a couple of occasions during his long labors as the self-declared and strictly single Founding Father. He called himself ''Europe's Jefferson,'' and I didn't like to quibble that, constitution-wise, Jefferson was Europe's Jefferson -- that's to say, at the time the U.S. Constitution was drawn up, Thomas Jefferson was living in France. Thus, for Giscard to be Europe's Jefferson, he'd have to be in Des Moines, where he'd be doing far less damage.
But, quibbles aside, President Giscard professed to be looking in the right direction. When I met him, he had an amiable riff on how he'd been in Washington and bought one of those compact copies of the U.S. Constitution on sale for a buck or two. Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment's notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you'll be walking with a limp after two hours: It's 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version. It's full of stuff about European space policy, Slovakian nuclear plants, water resources, free expression for children, the right to housing assistance, preventive action on the environment, etc.
Most of the so-called constitution isn't in the least bit constitutional. That's to say, it's not content, as the U.S. Constitution is, to define the distribution and limitation of powers. Instead, it reads like a U.S. defense spending bill that's got porked up with a ton of miscellaneous expenditures for the ''mohair subsidy'' and other notorious Congressional boondoggles. President Ronald Reagan liked to say, ''We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around.'' If you want to know what it looks like the other way round, read Monsieur Giscard's constitution.
But the fact is it's going to be ratified, and Washington is hardly in a position to prevent it. Plus there's something to be said for the theory that, as the EU constitution is a disaster waiting to happen, you might as well cut down the waiting and let it happen. CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I'd say, as predictions of doom go, that's a little on the cautious side.
But either way the notion that it's a superpower in the making is preposterous. Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg's about to go up.
For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.
Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.
Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.

Bill Gates on Education

In this article, Bill Gates takes a great shot at education as a whole. Like him or hate him, Bill Gates is smart. He realizes that the education system isn't producing quality graduates and that his company desparately needs more talent.

Note that Gates mentions minorities in particular a few times. He says that schools in inner cities, after years and years getting billions and billions of dollars fail miserably to educate the students. The DC school district, known as one of the worst nationally, spends over $10k per pupil per year! For what? Kids that can barely read, if at all.

Gates also brings up the issue of accountability. Why are all of the teachers in DC still employed? They clearly aren't teaching. Of course it is the union that will NOT hold it's teachers accountable for these failures.

Gates doesn't go this far, but you can see where he is going. The voucher programs that have been implemented have been great successes. Given a choice, where would you send your kids to school? Even rich liberals get their kids butts into posh private academies while pandering to teachers unions for money and votes. Look where these kids went to school:
Chelsea Clinton
Vanessa Kerry
And that list goes on ad infinitum.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

My Last Post About Ward Churchill

It seems as Ward Churchill, the non-indian America hater will speak to the fragile minds at UW Whitewater, only 45 minutes from Madison on March 1. I was going to make a sign with some kind of snappy saying and call him some choice names, but for what? My time and gas wasted. He is a fraud and everyone knows it. Don't believe me? Here is the final nail in the coffin.

All employees of the University of Colorado Boulder have a retirement plan through Colorado PERA (Public Employees Retirement Assoc.). COPERA for short. So Mr. Capitalism hater, I assume, besides being paid his salary by the very system he hates, has a retirement plan. Let's look at COPERA and check their holdings briefly.

Top ten stock holdings as of 09-04?
Microsoft
General Electric
Pfizer
Citigroup
Intel
Exxon
Wal-Mart
Cisco Systems
AMER Intl. Group (AIG)
IBM
Well, capitalism with a capital "C".
Here is the proof, if you don't believe me (pdf format). So, yes, he is a fraud - as if we didn't already know that. Unless he is voluntarily denying his retirement money - as if.

Now This Is My Kind of History Lesson

Here is an interesting article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The teacher makes the kids actually try to understand the hows and whys of the slave trade. I would have been very good at this sort of game, especially if I was playing the girl that wouldn't trade slaves for guns on moral grounds. That poor girl would have been my personal concubine as my armed forces swept through her poor village, slaughtered all of the men and kept the boys for slaves and the women as prizes. Darfur? Rwanda?

But I digress. There are lots of things that will be wrong with the lesson, like the teacher never relating the fact that the US was the first country to actually outlaw slavery. The teacher will, of course, never mention that many Africans got rich selling their very own people to slave traders and that the Arabs were (and still are) the single largest importer of slaves from the African continent. Never in the lesson will be related the fact that only 3% of all slaves exported from Africa actually worked on American soil. The educator will never discuss that after decades of independence and trillions of dollars squandered, the continent of Africa has the lowest industrial capacity by far of any continent except Antarctica, and that most of the governments in Africa are corrupt brutal dictatorships and fascist theocracies. But those facts aside, I like the principle that kids actually are faced with the choice of either arm or be destroyed.

I hope the teacher can tie this into more modern events. Freedom really isn't free - when faced with tyrants like Tojo, Hitler, Osama or whoever, you must arm yourself and destroy the tyrant or face destruction yourself. Somewhere I hear Sir Winston agreeing with me.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Wow Condi!


Well now, here is an interesting topic. The TV my wife and I watch is mostly garbage, as we try to unwind at night. Usually it is 15 or 20 minutes and we are out. We watch some of the trashy gossip shows about Hollywood stars. At times I will pipe up and ask her: Hey - is that guy good looking? I am always interested in the reply. Sometimes I will see a star that I think is particularly unattractive and utter my famous saying "you can't get any blood out of that turnip". It is fun to see what each other thinks is attractive and what is not. Which brings me to the above photo of Condi being shared across the universe and on every news site. If I were single and could choose any woman to date, it would be Condi. Although it would be daunting - imagine being on the short end of every conversation every time.Posted by Hello

UPDATE: Looks like I'm not the only one.

Along Those Lines...

I was reminded of my grandfather by the post below. Why? Because of a saying my mother told me he used to repeat. More on that later.

I don't have too many memories of the man - only him helping me ride a bike and tying my shoes. I remember his visitation also as he was the first dead person I saw up close. Also I remember being in his car with him once - he saw me getting ready to open the glove compartment and told me there was a mousetrap like contraption in there that would snap my hand if I opened it. It worked.
Anyway, the saying, you ask? Well, it would start by the person wishing for something. I assume my Mom when she was little would say something like - "I wish I had some candy". He would reply:

If you wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which fills up first.

UPDATE: Ha, that didn't take long - see comments.

I am sure I will be corrected as to the exact verbage.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head....OH NO, THAT'S NOT RAIN!!!!

I love this. Noted environmentalist Dave Matthews, who actively campaigned for Eeyore - sorry, John Kerry, during the last campaign apparently didn't share his concern for the environment with his road crew. Ah, hypocrisy. Oh, yea - then he lied about it. More here and here.

More Frank Lloyd


Click for larger version.
Posted by Hello

Click photo for larger version.
Here are a few more photos from my visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Unitarian church here in Madison. The first is from the main auditorium (that could maybe hold 250 people) looking out. The second photo shows you just what Wright thought when he designed buildings. He was not concerned about practicality or how things expanded or contracted at different rates. He simply designed buildings, and it wasn't necessarily his concern how to build them. Taliesin, Wright's summer home and architecture school, in Spring Green has fallen apart over the years. The foundation keeps collecting money to rebuild it, but I think that Wright would have laughed at this. Wright in his mind made art and in my opinion (having read a few biographies about him) he seems to be the type that would say, "just let the damn thing fall. Lets build something better".

If you are ever in the Phoenix area, spend a half day at Taliesin West, Wright's winter home. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Putin Tells The Truth

My Chicago bureau chief writes a classic - I added a few paragraphs and the hotlinks but the majority of the writing is his.

Hello from Chicago. Well, the title to this post is a bit deceiving. I read this article from Business Week about Putin, the President of Russia. One line caught my eye:

"Unlike many a U.S. President, Putin has an impressive grasp of facts and figures and can discourse for hours on a range of subjects.”

Huh? The author of this article, Jason Bush (an ironic name), is diminishing the skills of our leaders in favor of Putin. Most likely, the author is ignorant of reality and is easily swayed by the selective memory that Putin features in his “Dennis Miller” style rants against the West.

If Putin really had an impressive grasp of facts and figures, here is my imagined speech that he would deliver about the history of the KGB:

Hello. My name is Vladimir Putin. I am the President of Russia. I was a Colonel in the KGB.

The KGB, along with the Communist Party and the military, ran Russia plus many conquered lands from the end of the Russian civil war in the early 1920’s into the 1980’s.

As part of the KGB, we were responsible for the deaths of millions and millions of innocent civilians. They were hanged, starved and shot in the back of the head. We created trumped up “crimes”, had a rigged trial, and delivered the punishment. The totals of the innocents cannot be accurately counted, but are certainly north of twenty million dead.

Originally, my agency, the KGB, was called the Cheka. It originated in 1917, when our leader Lenin was trying to stabilize the situation in his newly formed communist paradise. The primary job of the Cheka was to neutralize (slaughter) opponents of the state that Lenin created. The Cheka did a very good job for Lenin and we are very proud to lay claim to seizing the property of many independent farmers and killing them and their families in the most inhumane of ways, notably tying heavy rocks around their necks and pushing them into rivers and the innovation of using poison gas to eradicate whole villages where opposition was stiff.

Our name was changed from Cheka to NKVD in the 1930’s. The party came under command of one Josef Stalin who we were proud to help in the name of the motherland. With party support we managed to starve literally millions of Ukrainians to death in the thirties. As an aside, along with Stalin, we helped an American journalist, Walter Duranty, get access to our inner circle. We fed him false information and bribed him so he would not report the truth about this atrocity and he eventually won a Pulitzer Prize for the fake reporting in 1932 - still on display at the New York Times office of all places!

Also, during the thirties through our tenacious work ethic we were able to erect a series of camps in Russia called the Gulags. Basically they were prison or concentration camps for anyone we wanted to put inside. Millions froze to death, starved and worked themselves to death in these camps. We put inside everyone from chemists to political opponents to just normal Ivans who we didn’t like - and don't forget all of their children.

As part of the triumvirate of the party, the KGB, and the military, we left the country dangerously exposed to an invasion from Adolf Hitler in 1941. We ignored direct advice about the imminent invasion received from our intelligence services. Even though we outnumbered the Germans and had generally excellent equipment, we stationed our forces on the frontiers in non-defensive positions and allowed our forces to be obliterated. Only through years of hard fighting, aided by immense quantities of supplies and materials from the Western allies, were we able to prevail. We had a chance to save Warsaw during the uprising in 1944, but we stood aside and let the Nazis slaughter the population. After all, it was just fewer enemies for us to kill later. Interestingly enough, we had thought we had hidden the thousands of Polish corpses from the Katyn massacre very well, but they were found by the Nazis. The order from Stalin was to execute over 25,000 Poles, but there was only room in that particular grave for some 4,000.

After the war we shot all of the returning POW’s that we could find, because they might have picked up Western ideas in the prisoner-of-war camps. We continued our insane policies of persecution and Jewish pogroms, and slaughtered ethnic minorities such as the Ukrainians (see above). We put our brutal regime on helpless conquered nations and killed or imprisoned their patriots and intellectuals.

During the 1950’s through the 1970’s we squandered our nations’ immense natural resources of oil and gold, and we were able through astounding mismanagement to reduce the farming capacity of the Soviet Union to such a sad state that we had to import grain from the West. We polluted our cities and farmland to a degree that is unfathomable in the West, and whole areas of the country even today are basically uninhabitable.

In 1979 we entered into a brutal war in Afganistan and committed huge atrocities. We continued this pattern with the Chechens. As recent as ten years ago we massacred columns of refugees fleeing Grozny before we flattened the whole city with massive quantities of bombs and missiles. Based on these actions and many others, we have developed enemies on all of our borders that despise us and plot against us. We cultivated their hatred through our horrendous actions, and we continue to reap this harvest.

Our country is rich in resources and educated personnel. We were never occupied by foreign powers, except where our failures let Hitler almost defeat us in 1941-5. We imposed our horrible policies on our neighbors and minorities, creating generations of people who despise us and all that we stand for. We impoverished the country and threw away these advantages, and refused to persecute anyone for their crimes. Best of all, we supplied a great example for Mao to our south, who managed to triple our astounding figure of over 20,000,000 dead innocents.

Thank you for your time.

Vladimir Putin

No War?

My Chicago bureau chief Carl wrote a great column a few weeks ago posted on this blog about a sign with a little girl on it in Chicago with the title "No War". Along the lines of Carl's article, I wonder if these people would like war about now? (Warning, graphic photos)

Here is Carl's essay one more time:
War and Peace
Here is a well written piece by my friend Carl from Chicago :
Like Dan, I live in an area heavily populated with what I would call "the looney left". I am probably one of a handful of individuals who voted Republican in my district.As I walk through the shops each day I see a common picture of a little girl from a foreign country looking forlorn, with the caption "No War". This poster is a powerful image and tugs at the heartstrings.The key logical mistake is assuming that "war" and "peace" are a continuum, with of course "war" being bad and "peace" being good. In fact, while wars and peace are of course opposites from the perspective of a soldier, from the perspective of that little girl they are not opposite outcomes.It is quite easy to live in a terrible society, under a dictatorship, where rights are violated, people are starved, and horrible abuses are committed, that is at "peace". Many, many examples leap to mind, from North Korea to Mozambique to Iran. From that little girls perspective, is "peace" under horrible injustice the optimal case? Would she be better off if there was a war and the corrupt, abusive and erratic government was taken out of power and replaced with a democratic government?This erroneous line of thought also is linked to the idea that sanctions or blockades would change behavior of a ruthless dictator, due to the fact that wars should always be the item of last resort (because "peace" is always the optimal state). That little girl would be the first to starve if a blockade or sanctions were imposed because the corrupt and ruthless government couldn't care less if their people are injured as long as they can cling to power with the riches that entails.There is no way a logical person could argue that the vast majority of the people in Iraq are worse off after the "war" when compared to the "peace". The Kurds are enthusiastic backers of the war, and the Shiites participation in the recent elections shows their new found freedoms. It is the Sunni, the minority group that ran the country with an iron and brutal hand, strictly for their own benefit, that are disgruntled and leading the terrorism that is costing so many of our soldiers lives.I am always confused by the way liberals feign compassion for all of the downtrodden but can't grasp the key fact that destructive and evil dictators will not be pushed out by anything but armed struggle. The dictators don't care if someone is having a sit-in at some campus or writing a petition. They don't care if the EU is sending them a nasty telegram. They only understand force, since that is what brought them into power and that is what keeps them there.To get back to my key point, if there is no "war" as we define it in the West, that means that there is no hope for the downtrodden under a dictator, because these dictators are highly unlikely to give up power willingly. That little girl faces a bleak future because "peace" is preferred over justice, democracy and freedom.In reality, without the US pushing the agenda, that is the truth. Aside from the contributions of Australia and Britain the rest of the world is going to stand by while injustice and misery triumphs, as dictators are left in their place with no fear of military justice. The EU without a military component, which requires a strong nationalistic component in turn, couldn't win a battle against Monaco much less the rebels in Sudan. Thus all their protestations are of no comfort to that little girl in the picture.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

I started this blog several months ago and am now past that initial test phase. Yep, I like it, and looks like I will be doing it for some time. Like a new business, most blogs just fold up and go away after a short while. Not me. But I wonder where will blogs be in five years? Will this template even be operable? James Lileks (a good columnist) starts audioblogging here - I ran across it via the Vodkapundit. If you have an extra 20 minutes and a set of speakers on your computer, go to the link - very interesting if you like old radio. Ann Althouse voiced her concerns about videoblogging a few days ago and had some good points. With text, you can read as fast as you want - with video (or audio) blogging you have to wait and wait and hope that something interesting is coming - no such restrictions with text. If you don't like the headline you just scroll. Time will tell if the blog will live in it's present form for long.

Now I Get It

There is a post below commenting about the lack of worthy news lately; the death of Hunter Thompson has been front and center in the news since he blew his own head off. Now I know why all of the MSM is so hot to honor him - I found this quote on Powerline:

We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world--a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us...No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us--they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.
-Hunter S. Thompson
Well Hunter, I am now glad that your story had a very happy ending. I never could understand why people who hate this country so much stay here and let themselves be a part of the evil empire - you don't like it, all you have to do is leave. I will hold the door. Isn't that the end game anyway? I got into an argument over foreign policy once with a leftist and I just said - well, if you don't like it, leave. If you think your country sucks so bad and we are all a bunch of cold blooded killers, for gods sake, take yourself and your family away from it. There is never a real response to that.

Liberals, No - Leftists, Yes

I am always very careful when I use the word "liberal" when describing a person who I consider a "leftist". In many things I am more liberal than most "liberals" - which makes them leftists. Let me explain.

I live in possibly the most "liberal" community in the whole country - Madison, WI. If you don't believe me, come here sometime. The city council this spring may be majority progressive. Not Democrat, progressive. One thing that has always baffled me about progressives or liberals or whatever you want to call them is the constant insistence on restricting rights of people to do what they want. So, in Madison, you can be gay and proud or have a bookstore like this preaching Ward Churchill's message of hate, but not purchase a handgun. We can have a LGBT counselor (that is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender - see what I mean, I had never even heard of that acronym before I moved here 10 years ago) in the public schools, but you cannot open an adult entertainment facility in the city of Madison. We have one, but it got grandfathered.

Which brings me to this article. Dane County communities are trying to change ordinances to disallow any adult entertainment venues to open around them. That's not very liberal. I honestly don't have any problem with an adult entertainment venue. If you don't like it, just drive by. As long as no porno is displayed in the windows or something, what is the harm? One adult bookstore in Madison was almost shut down a few years ago because "liberal activists" decided one day they didn't want it anymore in their neighborhood. So this brings me to the point of my post here. If you restrict someone's rights, you are not liberal anymore, you are a leftist.

Crazy leftists I call moonbats - I am going to start taking photos of the species "Madison moonbat" and start posting them here with snappy captions. If anyone has photos of their local species of moonbat, I would be happy to post those photos, too.

Just to show you how much the Madison council members hate not just businesses, but capitalism, read this great article. A grocery store closed in a Madison neighborhood and Walgreens wanted to move in. The neighborhood didn't want the horrible specter of that mega corporation hanging over their pretty place, so they got the city council to deep six that idea. Instead, they made it a "blighted" area so they could jam city money into the project and create whatever they wanted. Just another sad chapter of what happens when leftists - not liberals - assume power.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Happy Birthday!!!


George Washington is almost certainly the second greatest president (Lincoln) and is definitely one of the greatest figures in history. We owe him a lot for helping found the greatest country civilization has ever seen. I wish we had back a lot of the freedoms the founders gave us. Washington would most certainly be disgusted at what our country has become as far as individual freedoms go. He would be proud, however at our overall place in the world - how far his little country has come. Would residents of the USA rather live anywhere else? I don't see lines forming. Posted by Hello

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Here is a good pasting of Frank Rich. I like it, but it seems so easy and such a waste of time. A while back I took Dick Morris to task and one reader sent an e-mail asking me to lay off bashing idiots. Not that Dick Morris is an idiot, just that his article was dumb. I took the article apart and the reader e-mailed me asking me to have higher standards - in other words, stop shooting the fish in a barrel.

Anyway, I am going to try to lay off the big fish like Frank Rich, Paul Krugman and the rest of the New York Times editorial staff because they are so, well, wrong. You always know what's coming even before you read the article.

Charity

If someone were helping me but decided to call me an @@@hole I would probably still take the help. Not so for these people. I love this comment from the article - how very generic:

"It is my personal concern that inflammatory statements such as (those) used by the alderman may lead to an atmosphere that is unsafe for LGBT people and may foster the horrific kinds of violence visited upon Frank Jude for simply being different," Pennington said.

Now darn it, I live in the home of lunatic gay rights people and I am totally convinced that this violence word play is a strawman. There a LOT of gay people all over Madison and I have never seen anyone get hit, lynched or shot just because they were gay. It happens, I suppose, but I would bet at no greater rate than the level of violence for all people. Being tolerant is one thing, but we don't have to worship people just because they are gay.

There Really Isn't Much Going On

Every newspaper and other news source over the past few days has had a picture and article about this guy in it. If you would have asked me who this guy was before he blew his own head off I would have had no idea. He seems pretty unimportant to me anyway.

This seems to be a good indicator that not much of substance is really going on in the news world right now.

Hitting Back


Above is a picture of Al Franken that David Horowitz has had up at his site for a long time - by the way the site is called Frontpagemag.com and it is excellent. In his book "Lies and the Lying Liars that Lie Lie Lie about Lies" Franken slurred Horowitz. Actually, Franken didn't slur him, the kids who actually wrote the book from Harvard did. Anyway, Horowitz doesn't take things like this lightly - here is the original dustup. Posted by Hello
Horowitz is hitting back in a big way and that is great. I have told my wife many times, if Al Franken or Michael Moore ever cross my path, they will wish they had not. I take the slurring of my country and the defamation of good people very seriously. Occasionally I take a business trip and just pray that one of them shows up in the airport. I am pretty sure I would not smack them but the words that would spew forth would definitely give the scene an NC-17 rating. My new hero Clint Eastwood gave a great warning to jerks like Moore a few months ago. Feeling lucky, Mike?

Monday, February 21, 2005


Click photo for larger version.

Not much going on that is newsworthy over the past few days, so here is another plane of the day.

A few weeks ago I visited Fantasy of Flight just outside of Orlando. They have there two P-51 Mustangs that have been restored to flying condition. The allies needed a plane that could probide bomber escort on the longer runs into Germany. The P-40 just couldn't do it, and the P-51 was developed to fill that need. There is much more info on the P-51 here, here, here and here.

Plane of the Day


Click for larger version. For more info on this very plane, click here - lots more photos of the plane including one of the owner, Kermit Meeks, who was at the museum the day I was there.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 19, 2005

HOLY CRAP!! A GOOD OP-ED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES!!!

This article really hit home with me. I have been growing more and more detached or maybe the better word is disgusted with the Republican party over the last several years. Don't get me wrong, I would never vote Democrat, but I have voted Libertarian before. The federal government has to stop mortgaging my future and the future of my kids. Bush hasn't used the veto yet! America isn't ready for a third party yet, but maybe, in 4 years, they will be. Like the article said, it will have to be someone rich - but it will also have to be someone who has brains and looks wouldn't hurt either. I have a PayPal account if anyone is interested in getting me started on my way ;).
If it asks, to log into the article - ID: sinkemperor Pass: willard

Frank Lloyd Wright


Posted by Hello

I had a little extra time a few weeks ago and decided to do something I have wanted to do for a long time - do a photo essay. I will be trickling these out in the next couple of weeks.

One of the good things (among many) about living in southern Wisconsin is the quantity of Frank Lloyd architecture to observe. As I have gotten older I appreciate art in general more and architecture in particular. Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my favorites.

Right by the UW Hospital sits the Unitarian Church, designed by FLW (he actually was a Unitarian) and built in 1951.

I checked in at the front desk (it was a Saturday) to see if it was OK if I could just walk around and take some photos. The person there was very friendly, and said it was OK. She also said it happens all the time.

The first photo (click photo for larger version) is of the main auditorium from the outside. Wright loved natural materials - notice all of the stone, glass and wood.

The second photo (click photo for larger version) is taken from a hallway leading into the auditorium. See how the light plays on the ceiling and floor? That is not by accident. Also notice how small the opening is to get into the auditorium - the famous compression and release that Wright engineered into his buildings. He would compress you into a small space, let you enter a new room and release you into a soaring area. Also note in that second photo on the left how the glass butts right up against the stone - Wright didn't necessarily care about how the building had to be constructed - that wasn't his problem. His buildings were (and are) famous for leaking, cracking and breaking. You can see why. Granted, he didn't have the kinds of materials we have today to use, but again, he simply didn't care. By the way, this building had no gutters, like most all of his other buildings. Posted by Hello

My First Blog Joke

I saw this on Powerline today, but it has been all over the web:

When Osama bin Laden died, he was met at the Pearly Gates by George Washington, who slapped him across the face and yelled, "How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!"
Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, "You wanted to end our liberties but you failed."
James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, "This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"
Thomas Jefferson was next, beat Osama with a long cane and snarled, "It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence."
The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the terrorist leader.
As Osama lay bleeding and in pain, an Angel appeared. Bin Laden wept and said, "This is not what you promised me."
The Angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in Heaven. What did you think I said?"

The Game Warden

Ward Churchill is still scheduled to speak at UW Whitewater on March 1 - regular readers of this blog know my disdain for this particular individual. They are paying him $4000 to come and spew his message of hate to the kids at that university. Last night, Bill O'Reilly ratcheted up the pressure a notch on all involved, except he is aiming at the states top executive, Governor Jim Doyle.

During the segment, O'Reilly was interviewing Scott McCallum, the former governor (2001-2003) that took over when "King" Tommy Thompson went to DC under the first Bush administration. It was a pretty lame segment, if I do say so myself. Of course O'Reilly and McCallum bashed Doyle for doing - nothing. Doyle hasn't even issued a press release on the whole bru-ha-ha. Doyle's people won't return O'Reilly's phone calls and that is probably the worst thing Doyle can do at this point. All O'Reilly will do is keep bashing him day after day after day on TV and radio. Like him or hate him, you have to admit O'Reilly has viewers, listeners and power.

The Doyle bashing is OK with me, but then the interview somewhat fell apart. O'Reilly asked McCallum if he thought that it were possible that the reason that Doyle hasn't said anything is because Ward Churchill is an "indian" (my quotes and my word - I think they actually said Native American) and that the "indians" have Doyle bought off. McCallum played it right when he answered O'Reilly - he said that yes, Doyle gets lots of $$ (millions - see post below titled Storm Clouds are Gathering) from the indians but that he didn't know if there was any connection between Doyle being quiet and indian campaign contributions. So there it ended - O'Reilly danced around in a circle over this for a while, bashed Doyle again for not saying anything (again, this is good) and the interview was over.

I hope the publicity O'Reilly generates brings the Ward Churchill controversy into sharper focus for the residents of Wisconsin and that Doyle is deluged with as much mail as the Chancellor of UW Whitewater.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Running Out of Options

I have been fascinated by the Terry Schiavo case ever since it hit the national media. For those of you who don't know, 15 years ago (when she was 26) she had some kind of condition where her heart stopped beating for a time and her left brain was basically wiped out. There has been an ongoing court battle ever since as she has been in this half-vegetated state of being somewhat able to recognize things. She can breathe on her own, but not eat or hydrate. The parents say she recognizes them and laughs - they want her kept alive. The husband says no, Terry would not have wanted to be kept alive. Now, it seems as it will be all over soon as the Schiavo family is runnig out of time and options. They will remove her feeding tube on Tuesday and she will slowly starve to death in front of her parents and other loved ones.

There is no way I can properly express in words how sick this is. If we are going to get into the business of letting partially conscious people die, at least make it quick. Convicted criminals don't even get this kind of treatment - they simply get an injection and die!

By the way, where are all the people that constantly demonstrate against the death penalty and "cruel and unusual punishment" every time a criminal is executed by the state? There is no difference between that government sanctioned execution and this one.

As usual, there is a bigger story here. Everyone needs a living will. Terry Schiavo didn't have one and her life (or death) was left in the hands of lawyers, judges, insurance companies and others - everyone except herself. I cannot imagine less worthy parties to control my destiny than these.

Having a living will in place with specific instructions detailing how you want to be treated if you are incapacitated saves everyone the anguish of making these decisions and is another way to keep the state from intruding on your affairs. And it would have let Terry Schiavo rest in peace many years ago.

If you don't have a living will, watch Terry starve to death - the solution the government has found to be the best in this situation. Imagine it is you - get a living will today. Leave one copy with your doctor, keep one copy at home and one in a safe deposit box. Don't forget a power of attorney so your loved one can take care of your financial matters if you are incapacitated.

Quack Science

Everyone who has flown in the last 10 years knows about the cell phone deal. You can use the cell phone on the ground, but not on takeoff, during the flight or landing since it "interferes with the communications and navigation systems of the aircraft". I always thought this was bunk, and now I am proven correct. They also don't want you using your computer during takeoff and landing, but during the flight is OK - for some other b.s. reason. Why do they have to make a reason up?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Cartoons


Posted by Hello

I watched cartoons religiously every Saturday morning when I was young. My favorites were (are) always the Bugs Bunny and friends series. I heard this morning that poor Bugs is going through a re-design to make him more hip. Whatever. The bigger subject to me is cartoons and what my kids watch.

My wife and I have a long running argument about them. She holds that the little ones should not be shown the classic cartoons that I watched because of tons of violence. Examples of this are Bugs and Elmer shooting shotguns at each other or Yosemite Sam blasting his revolvers all over the place. Even the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons are super violent. But, I always laughed (out loud) when someone like Daffy Duck got shot and his bill ended up upsidedown on top of his head. My point is that they are funny and entertaining and that nothing ever happened to me - I still have never picked a fight with anyone, ever - not even a fistfight.

Well, I love those old cartoons - I will hug them and squeeze them and call them George.

The very best part of putting this post together is that when I was searching for photos of the cartoon characters to steal and post up here, I came upon this one from CNN those dopes. Do you have to put a caption on absolutely every photo?

I See Dead People

That line is from the movie The Sixth Sense. Unfortunately, the federal government sees dead people collecting farm grants. The inneficiency is no surprise to me, the bigger picture is the fact that we give money to farmers to subsidize their trade. I am a business owner and on last check still haven't received any federal money to develop my business, whether that may be buying a new building, increasing my inventory, or whatever. If anyone can explain the farm subsidy programs to me, please be my guest - I'm all ears.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Whatever

No hockey this year. I don't know one person (literally) who gives a damn. Rich owners battling rich athletes over money - to hell with them all. Sorry hockey fans. Can't wait for the next baseball or football strike - you know it will happen someday - I will say the same thing. To hell with all of them, too.

Storm Clouds Are Gathering

UW Whitewater has stuck to their guns (so far) in extending their invitation for Ward Churchill to speak on their campus (paying him $4 grand!?). This may change, especially if it is proven that he falsified his resume to get hired at the University of Colorado, which I expect to happen.

Anyway, Bill O'Reilly let slip on his radio show today an interesting thesis - that the Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle, is keeping quiet on the whole thing because he is bought off by the indians here (that's native americans for those more sensitive than I), which have him in their hip pocket to ensure a steady stream of gambling profits.

An interesting thesis, this one. Lets take a quick peek at campaign contributions in the last election. $10,000 was the max donation - can't get too far there.

Hmmm...soft money - always, always follow the soft money - this from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Feb. 2003. Nice scam - donate to the DNC, then have the DNC donate to the State of Wisconsin Democratic Party:

Just days before the November election, the three tribes with the most to lose - or win - in state casino negotiations dumped $700,000-plus of soft money into Democratic coffers to help elect Jim Doyle governor. Previously undisclosed federal election reports show that the Ho-Chunk, a tribe that has long wanted to open a full-fledged casino in Madison, made a $500,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee on Oct. 29. The very same day, the Potawatomi contributed $200,000 to the same fund. Two days later the Oneida, which just signed a tentative deal allowing it to offer a wider array of casino games 24/7, sent $25,000 to the Democratic fund. That national fund then turned around and within days kicked back about $1 million to the state Democratic Party, which used the money to boost support for Doyle and the rest of the party ticket. "Tribes are beginning to understand the value of making contributions to candidates who understand the potential of economic development," Potawatomi spokesman Tom Krajewski bluntly stated. This week Madison erupted when news of the very generous compact with the Oneida hit the street. In an unusual move, the Legislature met in an extraordinary session Thursday to discuss a measure that would clip the governor's wings in future gaming negotiations. Did the tribes use their money to help ensure that Doyle - who was sympathetic to the Indians during the campaign season - would be on the other side of the table during compact talks, which are now under way? Well, duh. "Why wasn't (former Gov. Scott) McCallum smart enough to do
it a year ago?" Krajewski asked, referring to how it took the Doyle team just over one month in office to cut its first compact deal. "He didn't understand the impact, he didn't understand the potential (of extended compacts). Doyle understood that - that's why Doyle got the contributions." Which is why, Krajewski testily argued, the Doyle team has placed such a high priority on keeping the casinos operating. "The goddamn news media in this state has refused to understand what impact these compacts could have on our economy," he said. Nobody from the Doyle camp returned our numerous calls for comment. Doyle and the Oneida said Wednesday they had reached a tentative agreement on a gaming compact that would give the tribe the right to run a casino forever.
Do I really think that there is a link between Doyle not saying anything about Ward Churchill and the donations from all of these tribes? Well, yes.

What??!!

The Navy is rolling out it's newest attack sub, the Jimmy Carter. I am surprised that Jimma, that total failure, would even accept that designation - he the nobel peace prize winner and all. The best ever dictator coddler and appeaser gets his name on an attack submarine - the very definition of irony. On the other hand, I suppose the Navy has to name at least one ship for each president and this, being small and virtually unseen (very much like Carter in office) may have been the best choice.

On a pretty cool note, here are the specs on that sub along with the others in its class.

If I were in the Navy, I would much rather serve on the president below (click photo for larger version) - if you can't figure out which one it is, here is the answer.

 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I Don't Get It


Posted by Hello

Above are a couple of photos I stole from the New York City website (click the photos for larger version) of the new art project in Central Park called "The Gates". This has been all over the press lately and there are tons of photos all over the internet. I like art and even some abstract stuff, but this - I just don't get it. Oh well, at least none of my money or the people of New York City's money went into it.
Posted by Hello

I Got Mail!

This reply from UW Whitewater to the email I sent them that you can read in my post below titled "My Little Corner of the Ward Churchill Controversy":

Due to the extremely high volume of comments regarding the WardChurchill controversy, university officials are unable to personally respond to the electronic mail we are receiving. Please understand that we are trying to be as open as possible regarding the news and issues surrounding this controversial visit by posting updates, as they happen,at:
http://www.uww.edu/ (Under "In the News")

Thank you for your input on this difficult controversy.

The heat is on, as it should be.

Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines


This is a photo (click for larger version) of a biplane that I actually took a ride in last week. Note that it has a totally open top! I am not much for this sort of adventure, but it was well worth it. The thing that I thought about as we were buzzing around the Florida countryside was how absolutely crazy the pioneers of flight were. It was super noisy and super windy up there. We flew most of the time at about 60 miles per hour (there was a speed guage mounted on the wing). I even got to wear one of those goofy leather helmets, goggles and white scarves. The ride was about 30 minutes. In the plane two can be seated in the front and three in the back. The pilot sits behind them. There are a lot more photos and a description of the plane and pilot here. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Sad Impact of Gun Control in Chicago

Another post from my Chicago bureau chief Carl (his notes are about this incident among countless others):

The average reader of this blog probably doesn’t come into direct contact with gun violence. Of course, they probably don’t live in Chicago, one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, with the highest number of murders in absolute terms.

Recently I was awakened by the sound of a helicopter hovering over my apartment at about 3 in the morning. It turns out that there was a shooting at a nightclub in the River North area, and one person was killed and two were wounded. The name of the Club was “Door 21” and below is a picture of the front of the building.

Apparently there was some sort of dispute and someone pulled out a gun and started shooting. There aren’t a lot of details except that the person who was killed was a felon and recently released from prison.

You need to realize that this violence is in the middle of a major, built up, very expensive area. You can’t buy a tiny studio here for less than $200,000 and it is easy to spend much, much more than that. A lot of professionals live in this area because it is easy to get to downtown office buildings and a ton of tourists come through the area every day to shop, go to restaurants, and visit art galleries and antique shops.

You can see in the second picture below that there are apartment buildings and condominiums everywhere in the immediate vicinity of this shooting. An innocent bystander could easily have been killed.

This is the start of a mini-trend in Chicago. Another nightclub called “Cafe Allure” (see third picture below) had 3 people shot to death when someone sprayed the interior of the club with an automatic weapon. The brave bouncer stood in front and took many of the bullets and died as a result. Like Door 21, this did NOT happen in a bad area – in fact this is very close to a hugely popular sports bar where lots of people (myself included) go to see major sporting events like Bears games and such. But with all the bad guys armed, it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Of course, the Chicago cops haven’t arrested anyone in either incident. This is not surprising, either.

What is also not surprising is the ready availability of guns for criminals in Chicago. It is a given that the criminals are armed and prepared to use them, as noted by our sky high number of murder victims in the city each year.

Of course, law abiding citizens in the city of Chicago cannot own handguns. This measure is supposed to protect the citizens of Chicago, but as everyone who reads this blog can already guess, it doesn’t protect the people, it only leaves them defenseless against armed and vicious criminals.

One ironic note (sad, actually) is in the prior year there was an attempted carjacking in front of Door 21 but the individual that was in the car was an off duty cop and he was of course armed (wouldn’t rely on the on-duty cops to protect himself) and he was able to defend himself against the attacker.

Perhaps this should be the standard for mayor Daley. His bodyguards shouldn’t carry guns. He can rely on the cops in the city of Chicago for protection. Perhaps an off-duty cop will be driving by his house when he is being attacked and the guy might get out and help. That would be about the best he could hope for.

The other sad part is usually when tragedies like this happen there becomes a hue and cry to “get the guns off the street”. No one is even saying that kind of stuff anymore, because it is obvious to anyone with even the slightest sense that there are tons of guns out there and if they claim their measures are reducing the number of guns in the hands of vicious criminals, they are obviously and completely failing.

The club Door 21. Posted by Hello

The neighborhood of Door 21 in Chicago. Posted by Hello

Cafe Allure Posted by Hello

Dresden


We are now "celebrating" the 60th anniversary of the fire bombing of Dresden. Leftists have seized upon Dresden as showing the cruelty of Americans and Britons in exterminating innocent people and bringing ruin to a beautiful city.

Oh, I still keep missing the comments from the same leftists that condemn the Nazi and Japanese regimes of bombing "innocent" people in places like London, Nanking, Manila, Amsterdam, Warsaw - and the list goes on ad infinitum. By the way, don't think for a second that if Germany or Japan had the forward bases and the wherewithal that they would not have bombed New York, Chicago, Portland, Pearl Harbor, or San Francisco. I even own a pamphlet that describes how relatively short the flight from Trondheim, Norway (where the Germans had an established airbase) to Chicago is and shows people how to protect themselves in an air raid.

The German U-boats sank thousands of tons of merchant shipping all along the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico - that is a fact. All of those merchant vessels didn't have ammo on them - lots had food and medical supplies. So don't give me this bullshit about not bringing war to the people. As in our war on terror today, it is either them or us - personally, I prefer it to be them.

Germany right now has a big problem with neo-Nazis. They were having a counter march at the Dresden memorial services and were spouting off their revisionist history. I love the quote from leader of the NPD Udo Voigt in this article that says "We expect an official apology from Britain" for the bombings. I almost spit coffee all over my desk. I wonder if Udo is sorry on behalf of his country for bestowing upon the world the single greatest conflict man has ever known with a scale of destruction surpassing ALL WARS EVER FOUGHT in recorded history.
Posted by Hello

Corporate Welfare

I have always, always been of the opinion that not one cent of public money should go to any sports team. It is simply not fair to people who don't utilize the service. I always lay out the example of my grandmothers who not only don't know anything about sports teams but would never think about attending a game or even watch one on TV. I know, I know, there are lots of things many people don't use that they have to pay for - but that doesn't make it right. Grants and tax moneys collected for sports stadiums are simply corporate welfare - and it stinks. Here is a great post from King Wenclas along those lines. Imagine someone actually wanting to teach kids and others how to read and understand literature instead of subsidizing a football team. My comments in italics:

The Cost of Football
Pro football came from virtually nowhere fifty years ago to dominate the culture-- because of its aggressive marketing posture and because it knows how to engage and entertain people.One sees the effects of the Philadelphia Eagles football success, as library branch locations across town cut back their hours. As was well-documented by the "PAW" Philadelphia Arts Writers publication a while back, the city pumped a billion dollars or so into new stadiums. SPORTS is a greater priority in this country than reading!Events like the Superbowl have become playthings for monster corporations, whose executives jam skyboxes for tax write-off "business meetings" while watching the game. When it comes to scamming taxpayers, unlike arts scammers, these players are truly Big League.Next year the Superbowl will be held in Detroit, at a glistening new stadium standing amid a sea of poverty in that most devastated of American cities, while the city shuts down schools and bus service because it has no money.

Let's face it - no money should go to Detroit public schools either - vouchers are clearly the answer, but that is a post for a different day.

Cameras at the event should be pointed not at the game on the field, but at the corporate bigwigs stuffing their faces-- then cut to shots of the reality of the wasteland of a city outside.When I lived in Detroit in '98 I co-edited a lit-zeen called Pop Literary Gazette. We promoted it with rah-rah in-your-face pro sports-style noise and attitude. The journal got a sneering review from the then-arts editor at the city's weekly "alternative" paper. (He also worked as an English prof at the local university, as did his equally snobby elitist "language poet" wife.) This character mocked our zeen for its noise (a forerunner of the ULA, obviously), and put us down for behaving like sports fans! When fans and noise is exactly what literature needs. We had dared move words out of their quiet safe and stuffy mothballed closet and this bothered the museum caretakers.Literature's imperative is to energize the populace, to get people other than the homeless and impoverished mothers looking for cheap daycare to care about libraries. Yes, reading is a personal experience (though public reading events sure aren't)-- but that doesn't mean words can't still connect with the heart and soul of individuals; that books and zeens can't move people!(There will be a protest in Philly about the branch library closings at the Main Library, 20th and Vine or whatever are the cross streets, 10 a.m. this Saturday.)

Well, the general populus will never get excited about literature, but the point is well taken. There are different and better priorities for tax money to be spent on than pro football or any other sports team.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Birthday!


This is a nice shot of Lincoln probably in the late 1840's or early 1850's. I don't like the photos of him later as he looks like crap. Must have had something to do with the stress of trying to keep a country together. Here's to you Abe, the greatest President and American ever. Posted by Hello

My Little Corner of the Ward Churchill Controversy

Bloggers everywhere are pounding Mr. Churchill into pudding as I did a week or so ago. Here is another installment. I sent this e-mail today to the chancellor of UW Whitewater, Jack Miller - we will see if he responds (interestingly enough his email address was taken down from the main faculty web site however they forgot to unlink it from their search tool - duh):

Dear Mr. Miller,

This e-mail is to inform you that if you allow Ward Churchill to speak on your campus I will never allow my two girls to attend your university. I understand that you have a difficult situation to handle and that there are first amendment issues to deal with. However, I have first amendment rights too. The Supreme Court has time and again stated that my money (that I will spend on my children's education) is part of my first amendment rights. It is with these rights that I have decided not to allow my children to pursue UW-Whitewater as an institution for their continuing education if you allow someone like Ward Churchill to speak on your campus. I am appalled that your intitution is paying him $4000 to speak and that the money comes out of student fees - money that hard working people have squirreled away over years of hard work - only to see their children's minds poisoned by "elite tenured educators" like Ward Churchill.

Respectfully,

Dan xxx, Madison, Wisconsin


The Big City Chimes In

My friend Carl from Chicago sends me this review of a speech he attended a few weeks ago - I have inserted a comment or two in italics:

I recently attended a lecture by author Jared Diamond at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, IL. Mr. Diamond is the author of a famous and Pulitzer-prize winning book called “Guns, Germs and Steel”. In this book he tries to explain why some cultures fail or succeed by looking at geography and other factors that shape their society. A very interesting element is the description of how the lack of animals that could be domesticated changed the way a society develops. There are elements of the book that I disagree with, but it is a very interesting read.

Mr. Diamond is clearly from the left. To his credit, he generally tries to be balanced but it just oozes out of him in his various off-the-cuff comments. The mostly liberal crowd, of course, eats it up. Generally if you go to a lecture or something similar you get a massive skew towards liberals, because most of the people on the right are off working and not “agitating”.

In his new book (that I haven’t read), he talks about why cultures succeed or fail, and the impact of the environment. He features Easter Island, which was once heavily forested, and then was de-forested leading to cannibalism and an almost total destruction of the population.

His comment was “what was the guy thinking who cut down the last tree? Was he trying to get big government off his back? Was he exercising his rights?” Of course this comment drew big guffaws from the left wing crowd, just as it does when he delivers this pitch to the 20 year old students at UCLA who also skew way to the left. Throughout his speech he referred to the fact that people need to pressure companies to adopt environmental policies, and to tell people to vote to get the government that reflects their values (i.e. a Democratic one, clearly).

I had my hand up during the question and answer session but didn’t get called on. He said he favored people under 20 since they would be left with the wreckage of our policies. The question I wanted to ask was:


“Wouldn’t your entire thesis on environmental degradation leading to the end of societies come to different conclusions if you had picked RUSSIA? There, you had a left wing government that ran the environment for the benefit of the people; that government utterly destroyed and ravaged the environment and pillaged resources mercilessly. The messes from Chernobyl and nuclear weapon processing in Russia dwarf the Exxon Valdez or Bhopal by a factor of hundreds of times – entire areas of the former Soviet Union are flat-out uninhabitable by humans and will be so for generations. Thus wouldn’t the conclusion be that only a free government, with property rights and an independent citizenry – would be the type of government to avoid this type of disaster and decay?”
One point he made was that he was surprised to find that NOT ALL BUSINESSES ARE TERRIBLE. The crowd was clearly surprised by this unbelievable finding. He referred to a Chevron oilfield in New Guinea that was well run and an environmental sanctuary. He also mentioned Home Depot giving up virgin lumber for plantation lumber. In general, it is amazing that almost everyone in the crowd walks in with the concept that all businesses are evil. How do they think that the United States has such a high standard of living? Who provides all the wealth that is taxed to support their jobs in universities, government, or some NGO? How do they actually think the world works?

He had some other interesting comments. He talked about one of the Central American cultures that crashed and burned after denuding their land and deforesting the hills. He said that as long as the rulers were insulated from all of this starvation, they didn’t care, until it was too late. Then he mentioned the rise of the gated community in California, with their own schools, police forces, and fences, and how they were blocked off from the rest of the societal ills in California. He said that during the Rodney King riots they put up a roll of police tape to keep the mobs out of Beverly Hills but said that nothing would have stopped them if they wanted to come over that tape and loot the area. Of course, the crowd loved this.

What he didn’t mention, of course, is that this never would have happened in Texas or Florida. In Florida they had hurricanes that ravaged the state and there wasn’t widespread looting and rioting, as there surely would be in California. Why is this? Because the population in Texas and Florida can bear arms and are prepared to defend their homes and private property. In California they strip everyone of their rights to defend themselves and you have to rely on a broken-down, corrupt self-serving government. The logical response is not to fix the government (impossible, since the Democrats have gerrymandered all the districts) but to build your own institutions and wall yourself out, or just leave the state, as sensible people have been doing in droves for many, many years. Another thing not mentioned is the fact that some of the most avid gun control advocates and walled off elites have bodyguards carrying - not bats, not knives, not brass knuckles - guns. See here, here, here, here, here and a great article about how disarming the population "worked" in Jamaica here.

The irony in the “walled off elites” comment was that the MOST walled off, elite group I can think of is the academics with tenure at most universities in the US like Jared Diamond himself! They are free to spout off whatever they want impinging the United States and vilifying the institutions that make the United States a great country, including economic freedom and capitalism, the right to bear arms, and our belief that individuals and private property solve problems, not an all-encompassing nanny state.

That last paragraph was an interesting portent of things to come – see the Ward Churchill controversy.

Every year they get a new group of carefully cultivated, politically correct students with no experience of the workplace or benefits of our country, who have been indoctrinated that we are a terrible country and that some Benetton-inspired utopia is being blocked by our failure to understand the truth of their wisdom. These students lap it up – you would need the benefit of tenure and academic freedom to utter any sort of remotely conservative statements…see Professor Victor Davis Hanson.

One idiot had a question on media consolidation and he referred to Mao’s comment of “Let a thousand flowers bloom”. Mao! That horrible mass murderer! What, no comments from Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot leapt to mind? Of course this was not commented upon by Mr. Diamond, apparently throwing in quotes from a mass murderer such as Mao is OK since he was long an icon of the left.

With all of these comments I still recommend Guns, Germs and Steel. There are many interesting observations in that book and he is clearly well traveled. The main point is that to be left wing in academia is a given, and it oozes through everything, even to the point of obscuring good ideas and interesting analysis.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Plane of the Day


As I mentioned below, I had a chance to get to Fantasy of Flight outside of Orlando a few days ago. I will be trickling out the photos of that great day in the next few weeks. This is a TP-40N (click photo for larger version). The "T" stands for trainer. It is exactly like a P-40 that the Flying Tigers used except there is a second seat with controls installed for a teacher. This happened to be the plane of the day at Fantasy of Flight - what a jackpot for me. I have always been a fan of the P-40, even though it was outclassed by the Japanese Zero at that time of the war (41-43). Below altitude it could at least outrun the Zero having a superior power plant; after a few months in combat the P-40 pilots knew this and rarely ventured over 10,000 feet to start a fight. I can't say enough about this air museum. Not only do they restore the planes, they restore them to flying condition. After the owner of the museum, Kermit Meeks, gave a short lecture, he hopped in and went for a fly. He buzzed the airfield several times at full throttle and made a few simulated bombing runs. Just hearing this bit of history roar over me somewhat put a lump in my throat - excitement and awe at the same time.

The P-40 could be fitted with three 500 lb. bombs. Unfortunately my friend Carl is finding this out today as his star weapon in the game we play daily, Combat Mission Afrika Korps, just got demolished (it was a Panther) by a direct hit by two of the 500 pounders.
Posted by Hello

P40 Photo


Here is a shot of the TP-40N before they pulled it out of the hangar (click photo for a larger version).

Thursday, February 10, 2005

B17 Photo Part 2

View of the gun below including the ammo box, taken facing the tail of the B-17 (click photo for larger version).

B-17 Photo


I had some spare time on my recent trip to Orlando and went to this air museum and what a time I had. I just went on a whim and had one of the best times ever. Even for a WW2 nut like me, it was very educational. They had interactive displays and static displays. More photos coming in the near future. Above is me manning the Browning M2 .50 caliber side gun (shooting down Me-109's - click photo for larger version) inside a real B-17 bomber. They had loud effects so you could feel how noisy and crazy it was inside one of these when you were shooting the .50 cal.
From the informative placard you see on the upper right:
"Waist gunners had the distinction of manning the position with the most casualties. It was poorly armored and offered little protection from cold and frostbite. They wrestled 65 pound Browning machine guns against a slipstream in excess of 150 mph while brass shell casings piled at their feet. Waist gunners also had to keep their oxygen and intercom lines untangled as well as avoiding control cables from the cockpit. the gunners had to be careful not to shoot components of their own aircraft while tracking targets through the gun's range of travel. Ammunition boxes were placed nearby to allow smooth feeding of shells through a flexible track."

I-4 Disaster


The major link between Tampa and Orlando is I-4. The air museum I went to is on I-4 halfway between Tampa and Orlando. As I was driving west on I-4 I was noting that there was NO traffic coming the other way - this scared me a bit as I didn't have a Florida map with me and was planning on coming back on I-4. Well, here is why there wasn't anyone coming the other way. This semi was going westbound and veered left, smashed the railing, hit the ditch and tipped over onto I-4 eastbound, blocking all lanes. Ain't digital cameras great? I took this snap out the window of my rental car (click photo for larger version). The mess was pretty well cleared up by the time I left the air museum, though so no big deal there.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Politically Incorrect Awesome Mascot


How Bout Them Illini? Still number one, still undefeated. Hey Hoosiers, prepare for destruction Sunday. Oskee-wow-wow!!! CHIEF!!!

War and Peace

Here is a well written piece by my friend Carl from Chicago :
Like Dan, I live in an area heavily populated with what I would call "the looney left". I am probably one of a handful of individuals who voted Republican in my district.

As I walk through the shops each day I see a common picture of a little girl from a foreign country looking forlorn, with the caption "No War". This poster is a powerful image and tugs at the heartstrings.

The key logical mistake is assuming that "war" and "peace" are a continuum, with of course "war" being bad and "peace" being good. In fact, while wars and peace are of course opposites from the perspective of a soldier, from the perspective of that little girl they are not opposite outcomes.

It is quite easy to live in a terrible society, under a dictatorship, where rights are violated, people are starved, and horrible abuses are committed, that is at "peace". Many, many examples leap to mind, from North Korea to Mozambique to Iran. From that little girls perspective, is "peace" under horrible injustice the optimal case? Would she be better off if there was a war and the corrupt, abusive and erratic government was taken out of power and replaced with a democratic government?

This erroneous line of thought also is linked to the idea that sanctions or blockades would change behavior of a ruthless dictator, due to the fact that wars should always be the item of last resort (because "peace" is always the optimal state). That little girl would be the first to starve if a blockade or sanctions were imposed because the corrupt and ruthless government couldn't care less if their people are injured as long as they can cling to power with the riches that entails.

There is no way a logical person could argue that the vast majority of the people in Iraq are worse off after the "war" when compared to the "peace". The Kurds are enthusiastic backers of the war, and the Shiites participation in the recent elections shows their new found freedoms. It is the Sunni, the minority group that ran the country with an iron and brutal hand, strictly for their own benefit, that are disgruntled and leading the terrorism that is costing so many of our soldiers lives.

I am always confused by the way liberals feign compassion for all of the downtrodden but can't grasp the key fact that destructive and evil dictators will not be pushed out by anything but armed struggle. The dictators don't care if someone is having a sit-in at some campus or writing a petition. They don't care if the EU is sending them a nasty telegram. They only understand force, since that is what brought them into power and that is what keeps them there.

To get back to my key point, if there is no "war" as we define it in the West, that means that there is no hope for the downtrodden under a dictator, because these dictators are highly unlikely to give up power willingly. That little girl faces a bleak future because "peace" is preferred over justice, democracy and freedom.

In reality, without the US pushing the agenda, that is the truth. Aside from the contributions of Australia and Britain the rest of the world is going to stand by while injustice and misery triumphs, as dictators are left in their place with no fear of military justice. The EU without a military component, which requires a strong nationalistic component in turn, couldn't win a battle against Monaco much less the rebels in Sudan. Thus all their protestations are of no comfort to that little girl in the picture.