Saturday, December 29, 2007

How Is Iraq Faring?

General Petraeus provides an end of year summary of conditions in Iraq: improved, but tenuous. The New York Times also provides a summary of conditions around Bagdhad - quite informative (from Sept 2007). Another Op-Ed provides an end of year update. Prognosis, guardedly optimistic, but now Iraqi politics must step up to the task.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Science Debate 2008.

Vern Ehlers is co-sponsoring a group to promote discussion of issues of science and technology policy during the 2008 presidential campaign:

"Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Ron Paul Update.

(cue - Wagner's "Ride of Valkyries")

1. Tucker Carlson joins the Baron von Paul's Flying Circus - as an observer - and learns that their favorite suppertable subject is: The Gold Standard, the Abolition of the "Central Bank" and "Fiat Currency". Dr. Paul recalls with pride to his sponsorship of legislation to protect Americans' inalieable right to drink non-pastuerized milk.

2. The Good Doctor clarifies his positions on "Meet the Press", particularly on how congressional term limits are good for others - but not him, and why his district's pork is not really pork.

Listeners, be sure to set your Ron Paul Message Decoder Pin to "6Y" for the next Ron Paul update. And be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What It Is, Ain't Science.

Here is the statement of the tenets of "Scientific Creationism" and "Biblical Creationism" as posted by the
Institute of Creation Research. The ICR is lobbying the Texas state government to train science teachers:

• The physical universe "was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity."
• Life "was specially and supernaturally created by the Creator."
• All plants and animals were "created functionally complete from the beginning and did not evolve from some other kind of organism."
• Evolution since creation is "limited to 'horizontal' changes (variations) within the kinds, or 'downward' changes (e.g., harmful mutations, extinctions).
• Humans "were specially created in fully human form from the start."

• The creator of the universe is a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• The universe was created "in the six literal days of the Creation Week" described in Genesis.
• All human beings descended from Adam and Eve.

"Tenets" are principles or doctrines, and the list above are whoppers - summarily preempting a great deal of well established scientific evidence (such as a universe age of a least ten billion years).

Since when does having a belief in God consign one to the company of the ICR? If we don't stand too close, we won't catch the fleas.
A Question for Governor Huckabee.

Governor, you have indicated that you do not believe in evolution. Would you require that Federal education guidelines for middle and high-school science curricula include creationism as an alternate theory to evolution? Despite your insistance that such a question may be irrelevant to being President, the federal government does have an interest in programs to train competent scientists and engineers, and your administration will have a role in this issue.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Heartwarming Holiday Tradition.

MSNBC is running a Christmas Eve "Doc Block - Caught on Tape" marathon, featuring violent traffic stops, parking lot beatings, convenience store robberies, and sundry mayhem. Dona Nobis Pacem.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Welcome Back, Mr. Nixon.

George Will suggests Nixonian Politikspielen have been resurrected by the Clinton and Huckabee campaigns.
Of Christmas, Crosses, and Blimps.

Ron Paul quoted Sinclair Lewis in reference to Mike Huckabee's now-famous "Bookshelf/Cross Christmas Ad". Said Dr. Paul: "...when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped a flag and carrying a cross". Amazing. And maybe, good Doctor, it will arrive by blimp?

Hillary's Christmas Message.

She is the bringer of all good things to all creatures who voteth!
Just in Time for Christmas...

The NYT reports on the plentitude of pork products procured by the Congerscritters. Featured is bacon-bringing champ Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.

Monday, December 17, 2007

John McCain for President.

Deaddrifts endorses Senator John McCain for the Presidency of the United States.

  • Senator McCain has proven leadership on the critical issues that are facing the United States and the free peoples of the world, with a comprehensive and mature understanding of the problems and advocating solutions based on sound conservative principles:
  • He has extensive foreign policy and military affairs experience and his instincts have been proven sound on the War in Iraq and the struggle against Islamofascism. There is no other candidate for President, Republican or Democrat, that has a more thorough understanding of this most critical issue that will face the civilized world for the forseeable future.
  • His positions on national and global security are tempered by an understanding of the United States' unique role as the voice for human rights in the world.
  • His record on the dignity and the sanctity of human life is exceptional. He does not grandstand with "faith issues" unlike some of the other candidates.
  • He has been a consistent critic of runaway government spending, and has probably been the most effective conservative voice against "earmarks" and the other fiscal shenaningans committed by both Republican and Democrat congressional leaderships. He has been a consistent opponent of excessive, growth-stunting taxation, and has advocated tax relief - with accompanying fiscal restraint by the government.
  • He is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
  • He has shown the political courage to learn from missteps, such as the recent ill-fated immigration reform effort. He has acknowleded the lack of trust that the people have in the federal government to competently secure the borders while providing a orderly, fair, and cautious transition of tens of millions of illegal aliens to legal status. He has changed his position on this contentious issue, calling for the securing of borders as a necessary first step.
  • He has advocated innovation and free-market solutions in public education.
  • He has helped to restore common-sense, enviromental stewarship back to the Republican party, in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt.
  • He has consistently demonstrated remarkable candor and non-partisan honesty in addressing these and other issues.

We will continue to comment on the presidential race with objectivity, candor, and goodwill. But when we vote in the Michigan Republican presidential primary, we will cast our vote for John McCain.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Hall of Fame*

What is most infuriating and demoralizing about the revelations of widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball is how it damages the essence of athletic competition: celebrating the potential realized by Man as God created him, and how that drama can inspire all of us to use our talents and gifts in pursuit of excellence.

If baseball is just a numerical excerise - how many home runs can be hit, how many strikeouts can be pitched, how many games can be won - then let us just build the best robots and be entertained by their performance and laud the engineers for their achievements.

NR Endorses Romney.

National Review has endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican candidate for President in the 2008 election:

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.

NR's editors have claimed in interviews that they were inclined to endorse Romney or noone; this suggests that their endorsement is a little less than ecstatic. Romney appears to have met a minimum criteria for conservatism set by the editors. However, the editors also acknowledge another factor that we feel Romney lacks - the ability to lead and inspire:

...Romney has been plagued by the sense that his is a passionless, paint-by-the-numbers conservatism. If he is to win the nomination, he will have to show more of the kind of emotion and resolve he demonstrated in his College Station “Faith in America” speech.

If that speech is a highest tide in his leadership, inspiration, thoughfulness and eloquence, well...yuck.

NR did note high marks for John McCain and Thompson. We were very impressed with McCain's ability to command the respect and interest of New Hampshire college students in a recent town hall meeting on MTV (the best and most serious candidate forum to date, and a event that other Republican candidates have declined).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Speech in Search of a Moment in History.

Mitt Romney gave his much-hyped "Faith in America" speech today, and to this listener it was a real dud. Rife with mediocre platitudes about religous freedom and the role of religion in public life (interrupted by plenty of gratuitous applause), one was left to ask "just why is he giving this speech?" Has there been a crescendo of panic that he would, if President, take his orders from Salt Lake City? No. Has there been a campaign to discredit Mr. Romney for his beliefs? No. Perhaps the moment in history for which this speech was written awaits us in the future? And if that moment should arrive, this speech will be like so much meat thrown against a wall - blah.

Norm Podhoretz expresses a similar sentiment: "...Who is the audience for this speech, aside from people like me who make their living in part watching them and reading their texts and writing about them?..."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Of Prophets and Teddy Bears.

The AP reports that Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher who allowed here Sudanese students to name their teddy bear after a classmate - named Muhammad - has been pardoned for crimes against Islam.
The AP reporter puts "it's the West's fault" spin on the story:

...The teacher's conviction under Sudan's Islamic Sharia law shocked Britons and many Muslims worldwide. It also inflamed passions among many Sudanese, some of whom called for her execution.

Gibbons escaped harsher punishment that could have included up to 40 lashes, six months in prison and a fine. Her time in jail since her arrest last Sunday counts toward the sentence.

In a written statement released by the presidential palace and read by Warsi to reporters, 54-year-old Gibbons said she was sorry if she caused any "distress."

"I have a great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone," Gibbons said in the statement. "I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends, but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan."

In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was delighted by news.

"Common sense has prevailed," Brown said in a statement.

During her trial, the weeping teacher said she had intended no harm.

Her students, overwhelmingly Muslim, chose the name for the bear, and Muhammad is one of the most common names for men in the Arab world. Muslim scholars generally agree that intent is a key factor in determining if someone has violated Islamic rules against insulting the prophet.

But the case was caught up in the ideology that al-Bashir's Islamic regime has long instilled in Sudan, a mix of anti-colonialism, religious fundamentalism and a sense that the West is besieging Islam...

Or you could look at this incident as a diversion by the Sudanese government from the Darfur crisis.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Advent 2007.

Luke 1:39-45: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
(Image: Fra Angelico. Annunciation. The Visitation. c.1432-1434. Tempera on panel. 175 x 180. Museo Diocesano, Cortona, Italy. Courtesty

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The CNN YouTube Debacle.

Last night's Republican "Debate", hosted by CNN and featuring YouTube video questions from "the people", was an embarassment. It had all the decorum and dignity of the Andrew Jackson White House Cheese Riot. Stephen Green reconstructs the disaster here. A big bucket of chum should be poured on CNN for their lack of vetting of many questions. However, we did find out that Ron Paul worries about Trilateralists, the Council of Foreign Relations, and North American Unionists.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Soldier Comes Home.

Staff Sargeant William Quinn has a very thoughtful essay on the disconnect between his experiences in Bagdhad and those of his fellow students at Georgetown.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

McCain, Honor, and Character.

David Brooks asserts that John McCain has singular credentials in character and honor among the presidential hopefuls.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Successful Life.

Human Felicity is produced not so much by great Pieces of good Fortune that seldom happen, as by little Advantages that occur every Day.

- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Bookbeat Tapes.

If you love listening to writers talk about their craft, then WOUB's "Wired for Books" site is for you. You'll find decades of interviews by Don Swaim with prominent authors. Fascinating talk!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The People Celebrate Great Dear Leader Hillary's Birthday!

Let great joy and happiness fill us all!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Pork in Every Pot, and Vice Versa.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has successfully spearheaded an effort to divert a million-dollar earmark that was to be directed to the Woodstock Hippie Museum, aka the Museum at Bethel Woods. The Hippie Museum's champion is billionaire Alan Gerry, who coincidentally has been giving dough to Hillary Clinton's presidential bid and Chuck Schumer's Senate campaign program - and who both earmarked the million for the museum. Of course, this time it's different. Quoth Hillary: ''[the museum will] continue to promote education, the arts, culture and tourism in the region.''

If this museum is such a great idea, why can't the private sector, i.e., Mr. Gerry, cut the check? If you believe in the need for federal support for the Woodstock Hippie Museum, then you'll salivate over NY Representative Charles Rangel's Charles Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of NY, a trifling two-million dollar earmark.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Freedom Attacked in Pakistan.

No, it's not caused by Musharraf's support of the US. The Islamofascists hate - hate - the message of freedom and moderation of Benizir Bhutto.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Promise of Socialized Medicine.

Great Britain's National Health Service
can't keep dentists in their system, and so...

Falling numbers of state dentists in England has led to some people taking extreme measures, including extracting their own teeth, according to a new study released Monday. Others have used superglue to stick crowns back on, rather than stumping up for private treatment, said the study. One person spoke of carrying out 14 separate extractions on himself with pliers...

Ah, brave new world.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Progress in Iraq.

One notices the lack of news on Iraq, other than the Blackwater situation.
The WaPo editors have noticed, too:

NEWS COVERAGE and debate about Iraq during the past couple of weeks have centered on the alleged abuses of private security firms like Blackwater USA. Getting such firms into a legal regime is vital, as we've said. But meanwhile, some seemingly important facts about the main subject of discussion last month -- whether there has been a decrease in violence in Iraq -- have gotten relatively little attention. A congressional study and several news stories in September questioned reports by the U.S. military that casualties were down. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton(D-N.Y.), challenging the testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus, asserted that "civilian deaths have risen" during this year's surge of American forces.

A month later, there isn't much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004...

CNN has now picked up on this, too; Anderson Cooper 360 has reported on this, as well as the significant weakening of Al Queda in Iraq (as reported by the WaPo).
The Marines Face Down the Merry Pinksters.

Zombietime documents the recent Codepink theatrics in front of the Devildogs' office in Berkeley (Berkeley! Talk about PsyOps!). The office's officer in charge, Cpt. Richard Lund, responds eloquently to Codestink's rantin' n' ravin'. We particularly admire the posting of the Mill quote in the office window. Pour it on, boys!

Perhaps this is what infuriates the Hard Left most of all: back in the '60s the mainstream culture was just too polite and traditional to react to moonbat shock attacks. Now the conservative movement has its share of smart, hip, and better-read followers, and they give it right back to the Hard Left.
Homecoming 2007.

A great day: tailgating with fellows from the dorm floor in '76 (Fire Up, Van Tyne!), and then off to the game! (You can find more great Michigan songs at the UM Glee Club)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Truly Golden Anniversary.

50 years ago today the Soviet Union launched the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik. The event changed human existence forever, joining a handful of other events in the 20th Century, such as the discovery of nuclear fisson, the invention of the transistor, and the description of DNA.
A Pinch of Reform.

Kudos to Governor Granholm for approving S418, which will reform MESSA. Now let's face the unpleasant fact that we're likely to face another shortfall for the 2008-2009 state budget. Will there be another round of tax hikes to shore it up?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Michiganders React to the Tax Hike.

But remember, we didn't give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Reforms are in the Mail.

Yeah, right: Governor Granholm and Her Flying Democrats are pledging to now make the tough choices in cuts and reforms to save $440M. Well, a big one would be cleaning up the MESSA, the MEA-controlled organization that supervises teacher's health care. Michgan Senate Bill 418, which allows competitive bidding and more pooling for educator's medical insurance is now on the Governor's desk (delivered at 2:18 am this morning) for signing. She had all day to do so, with much fanfare for reform. But the Governor's office hasn't trumpeted its signing yet. Governor - sign S418 and demonstrate that your commitment to reform is genuine. But it means crossing the MEA, who have already launched their first salvos against it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Granholm 1, Michigan 0.

It looks like Governor Granholm and her Flying Democrats will get most of their income tax increase (probably 4.35%), as well as a 6% service tax on such luxuries as carpet cleaning. In return the GOP will get...uh....well, its not quite clear if they'll get anything. The big ticket item for reform is opening competition up for teachers health care. Unfortunately teacher health care is currently provided by a monopoly affliated with the MEA, and they will not tolerate such a notion as competition. The other tremendous GOP victory will be stopping the Dems from getting the rate all the way back to 4.4%.

Remember this: when the good people of Michigan asked for the same sacrifice from its state government that it asked from their families, that government told them to go to Hell.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pure Michigan Pork.

Detroit's WXYZ-TV has been exposing some pork-barrel spending by the Michigan government: a new $117M State Police HQ that the troopers did not request, but does benefit a Governor Granholm supporter with a no-bid contract, replacing a dollar-a-year lease on the present HQ campus. Recall that Jennie-G touted an end on no-bid contracts in the 2007 State of the State speech.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Phony Crisis in Lansing.

The state government of Michigan is facing a "shutdown" of services, caused by the budget impasse. This is the total failure of vision and leadership by Governor Granholm. The state is caught in a confluence of economic torrents: the loss of both manufacturing and high-tech jobs (in a state considered to be one of the most hostile to business), the preciptous decline of home prices (one of the worst markets in the U.S.), and the loss of tourism dollars caused by higher fuel prices. In the midst of this mess the state government finds itself $1.7B short in its budget - less than 4% of the total. Yet the Governor cannot find the discipline to eliminate this excess spending and instead cynically creates a phony crisis that threatens a shutdown of state services that could hurt many citizens and ruin the state credit rating. She chooses politics and infantile theatrics over leadership - refusing to force the state government to provide services more efficiently, declaring that any attempt to do so is an attack on children, the elderly, and the poor. Instead she decides to cause high-profile inconvience by closing state services to all Michiganders. If we can't find a way to cut state spending in this kind of financial crisis and instead insist on raising income taxes, then God help us - the Leviathan has swallowed us up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To State It Succinctly...

You don't invite to one's university a representative of a government that supplies men and arms that are killing your country's soldiers. It's immoral and irresponsible.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

(Note Bene: the following fantasy satire has been superceded by the truth. Remarkable! Thanks to LGF)

Coming Soon to Speak at Columbia!

On August 1,1939, Columbia University's School for Public and International Affairs (SIPA) is sponsoring an appearance by Dr. Joeseph Goebbels, Germany's Reichminister for Propaganda and National Elightenment, to participate in a question and answer session with university faculty and students. SIPA is initiating a year-long series of lectures and events entitled "Germany: Six Years of National Socialism", which will include academic experts as well as officials and critics of the Third Reich.
The opportunity for faculty and students to engage Dr. Goebbels came about after German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop initated contact with Columbia through SIPA faculty members who are experts on German history and politics.
Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler emphasized that such events must allow ample time for students and faculty to pose questions that challenge the views expressed by the speakers. President Butler will introduce the event by challenging Dr. Goebbels on a number of his controversial statements and his government's policies, including his statements regarding undue Jewish influence in the Anglo-American democracies, and his call for the segregation and containment of the Jewish people in Europe. The US government has accused the German government of supporting violence and discrimination against Jews living in Germany, including last year's alleged wide-scale violence against German Jews (the so-called "Kristallnacht") and reports of imprisonment of Jews, intellectuals and political opponents.
President Butler further stated, "I would like to add a few comments on the principles that underlie this event. Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be. To fulfill this mission we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes. Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious. We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialogue and reason."
After his appearance at Columbia, Dr. Goebbels will conclude his visit to the United States with a speech to the German-American Bund in Madison Square Garden on the night of August 2, 1939.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cutting Michigan's Throat.

The Democrat-controlled Michigan House of Representatives, along with Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm, are insisting on an 18% increase in the state income tax in order to close the $1.7B budget deficit by $1.1B. The State Senate, headed by Republican Mike Bishop, proposed a cuts-only solution that was DOA. The Senate may now
retune this proposal with a mix of cuts and a smaller income tax hike.

The total Michigan state budget is $45.2B, so the $1.7B shortfall is about 3.8% of the total. Here is the breakdown of the 2006 budget:

  • Education $14.7 (Billions)

  • Health Services $10.0

  • Human Services $4.4

  • Transportation $3.2

  • Police & Prisons $2.5

  • Government $2.3

  • Unemployment $2.0

  • Lottery Admin $1.6

  • Revenue Sharing $1.1

  • Regulatory $0.9

  • Tax Credits $0.9

  • DNR & Ag $0.7

  • Business Funds $0.6

  • Debt Service $0.3
The standard histrionics have been employed by the Governor in resisting cuts in the budget in favor of higher taxes to "protect education". This is a red herring: cutting the budget does not have to take a single dollar that is actually delivered as a dollar of real value to education. The state government must become more efficient in delivering value to schools, and that means jettisoning irrelevant administrative overhead and educational programs of dubious worth. See if you can find a few at the state's education website.

Education should not take a disproportionate hit, only its share, which would be 35% of the total shortfall, or about $550M. It also may be true that inefficiency is even worse in other spending areas, but the education portion of the budget is so huge that it has to be part of the budget balancing equation. Businesses routinely face the challenge of cutting overhead while maintaining the ability to grow value. Why can't it be so for the state government?

But it is truly economic suicide to hike income and other taxes while the state reels from job losses and possesses a nation-leading unemployment rate.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gather at the River.

Project Healing Waters helps disabled vets of all ages, using flyfishing as a tool for rehabilitation and healing. God Bless their work. You can support them here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Suppose ANSWER Held a Rally and Hardly Anybody Came?

The neo-Bolshevik group ANSWER Coalition held Yet Another March on Washington today, and wow! What a turnout! (Photo from Victory Caucus)
Age of Hooper chronicles this historic event.
Postscript: Well, we'll be fair - about 10,000 or so people showed up (about 1/11 th of those on hand for the Michigan-Notre Dame game). Certainly not the 100,000 that the ANSWER Ministry for Truth would claim. The Gathering of Eagles counterprotest was reasonably well attended, about a thousand or so. Perhaps the ratio of attendees between the two events is directly proportional to the unemployment rate of their memberships?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

General Petraeus Goes to Washington.

It must be wonderful to be convinced of the irrefutable and incontrovertable rightness of one's beliefs. It allows one complete license to smear and besmirch the reputation of people who have devoted their lives to the protection of the people of the United States and her Constitution. Such must be the case with the "citizens" at When the ends justify the means it brings such a feeling of holiness to what would otherwise be regarded as repugnant and despicable character assassination. What difference does it really make if you call a distinguished and devoted warrior a traitor? If it serves "the cause", then it's actually a sacrament to do just that.

MoveOn ran this ad regarding Gen. Petraeus in the New York Times today. It reminded us of a flyer that was passed out by another group of True Believers to a Dallas, Texas crowd some forty-four years ago, as they awaited the passing motorcade of their President:

Thanks,, for elevating the discourse on the Iraq War to such ethereal levels. You, too, may want to thank them personally at their comments page.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ron Paul, Visionary Genius and Prophet.

Before the ZOG can implant the brain-control chips, they'll have to take out Iran...

Thanks to Ace of Spades for this perfect summary of Herr Doktor Paul:

...a conspiratorially-minded populist demogogue with the kind of ruthlessly reductivist thinking required by the simple-minded to make sense of a complex world.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The New Hampshire GOP Bull Session.

Can we vote a few of these guys off the island now? Misters Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo, thanks for coming in, but we're going in a different direction. Mr. Romney, you look marvelous, but...well, you look great. And will security please escort Mr. Paul out of the building immediately...

By the way it's amazing how the PaulKooks have clogged the search engines with their propaganda triggered on "republican debate". And do I detect the odor of anti Semitism in a few of Mr. Paul's answers?
The Suit.

Mitt Romney is handsome and owns great hair. He wears his suit very well. His handlers' strategy is clear: keep him smiling, keep his contribution in policy debates to Miss America platitudes, and let the money and organization run its course. God help the GOP.
Ban Popcorn Now!

We must stop the scourge of "yellow-lung" caused by the selfish demand for buttered popcorn in bars, restaurants, theatres, and other public places. Do it for the children!
Auf Wiedersehen.

Volkswagen announced today it was moving its headquarters out of Michigan to Virginia:
A message from Stefan Jacoby to Volkswagen of America employees: Dear Colleagues:Good morning. Today we are announcing a new strategic direction for our Company that will allow us to grow our U.S. business by fostering a culture of fresh ideas and bold thinking — and connecting better with our customers...

The message that VW sent was that being Michigan-based would not help provide VW the imagination and creativity to compete in the automobile industry. VW's exit and the shuttering of Pfizer's R&D facility in Ann Arbor suggest that the Governor's dream to make Michigan the vertex for high-valued added jobs is floundering.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fishing the Pere Marquette.
A tough eight-hour wade in the Flies Only section produced a few fiesty rainbows on a variety of dry flies. It was very tough fishing. The monster browns laid in the deep pools and watched the entertainment. The author also received two full-immersion baptisms in the legendary river. Alas, a Padron Churchill did not survive the first dunking.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Assault on Freedom - the Michigan Front.

The Nonsmoking Hordes of Michigan are now pushing for a complete ban on smoking in most businesses. The principal targets would be restaurants and bars, with mercy granted toward tobacconists and cigar bars...for now.
We believe there is a whopper being told as part of this campaign, namely the suggestion that some 1800 Michiganders die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. This is more than the yearly death toll in motor vehicle accidents in the state. There is likely an imaginative use of statistics is involved in this claim; the level of risk from second-hand smoke (or environmental tobacco smoke, ETS) has been claimed to be significant in some studies, and almost negligible in others. There are also other mitigating factors, such as proper ventilation, that are not considered by the pro-ban forces. Moreover, other occupational hazards involved in restaurants and bars are taken for granted, such as prolonged exposure to burning oils and liquids, grill smoke and aerosols, cutting tools, etc. How many grillcooks lives may have been cut short because of our love for a charburger?
There are many businesses that have voluntarily become smoke-free. Fine - it is the proprietor's rights to do so, and if the marketplace supports their stand, so be it. But there is no inherent right for a nonsmoker to demand that every proprietor provide an entirely smoke free environment. Nonsmokers do have a legitimate recourse to this insult to their sensibilities: refuse to patronize such unelightented establishments. And we'll celebrate your freedom of choice as you walk on by with the ignition of a fine premium cigar.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Operation Care Package.

With a donation of $25 you can sponsor a care package and include a personal message of support and encouragement. These USO Care Packages at minimum, include requested items such as pre-paid worldwide phone cards, sunscreen, travel size toiletries, disposable camera and a message from the donor thanking them for their service and sacrifice (from the USO Website).

Come on, it's the price of a large pizza...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Leave us Alone!

Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered - Thomas Paine

The tyrants are back: a cigar tax, to be levied at the rate of $10 per stick, is being planned by the Weasels of Washington. It's for the children, you know, to fund health care. This bullying stops NOW. My flintlock hangs over our mantel; I've got plenty of shot, and my powder is dry.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fishing in Hemingway Country.

Bill had poured out the drinks.
"That's an awfully big shot," Nick said.
"Not for us, Wemedge," Bill said.
"What'll we drink to?", Nick asked, holding up the glass.
"Let's drink to fishing," Bill said.
"All right," Nick said. "Gentlemen, I give you fishing."
"All fishing," Bill said. "That's what we drink to."
"Fishing," Nick said. "That's what we drink to."

- From "A Three Day Blow", by Ernest Hemingway

Just back from a brief but glorious vacation on Little Traverse Bay. Fished the Boyne and Maple. The Boyne was tough fishing - little room for even a roll cast. I landed a few brookies on terrestrials. A Logistical SNAFU put me away from the Blue Ribbon trout section of the river. The Maple was visually spectacular, but the extended drought has brought the river to the lowest level in locals' memory. The fish were very skittish; only a few could be enticed from their log burroughs in the deepest pools by ants and hoppers.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why Is There a Church?

Anna Fleming at Asbury Theological Seminary has been reading Bonhoeffer's Life Together. So has the writer of Downshore Drift. Bohoeffer has a very powerful message about the meaning the foundation of Christian community; it's worth an exerpt here:

By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusonment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.

Your author has been pondering the purpose of a Church, of the Christian "community". It seems that it could be a hinderance to spriritual growth rather than a vital ingredient. This concern goes beyond the bickering and discord caused by the well-known political and doctrinal disputes that plague the main Christian churches (homosexuality, charismatics, ordination of women, "liberation theology", "social justice", or "Christian values", creationism and Bibical literalism, the presence of Christ in bread and wine, the frequency of communion, stewardship and tithing, and so on) . Is one's spiritual growth stunted when lulled into the belief that being in a church and attending worship services is the principal component of God's presence in our lives, with little contact or experience of God outside of this context? Is our experience of God only through Word, Prayer, and Sacraments? Is this belief necessary for a Christian? Is there yet another way to feel God's presence (but not charismatics), or is asking for such a betrayal of faith? Is such a desire just another wish dream? Your author, with his feeble powers, has finally stumbled upon these ancient questions, and hopes to rediscover a few answers as supplied by the better brains of time.

Fontinalis Paradise.

A few weeks ago I fished a river in NW Michigan (that will remain nameless) that possessed the most spectacular brook trout fishing that I have ever experienced. The water was cold and clear (Coke Bottle Blue Pools!) and the myriad of sunken logs and sweepers was quintessential brookie habitat. It was nonstop action for three hours. All the fish measured under 10", but they were healthy and full of fight. The river revealed what the Michigan brook trout fishery could be throughout the state.
(you can purchase this lovely print by Homer at

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Senate's All-Nighter.

Last night's discussion featured some eloquence advocating defeat of the Levin-Reid Amendment, most notably McCain and Lieberman. Supporters of the amendment appear to have no substantial reply to the question "then what happens?" after a scheduled withdrawl.

The discussion pales in comparison to previous debates in the Senate (see figure).
Another Opinon about Iraq.

Rick Lynch, the commanding general of the historic Third Infantry Division, talks about the progress on the ground.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Keepers of the Flame.

Is the name of the best cigar blog out there (our opinion). Indeed, it is the paradigm for cigar blogs: thorough, well written reviews on cigars. Highly recommended!

Also, check out the National Cigar Museum.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

An Axiom of Nature.

When a deer fly finds you, it becomes a epic struggle that can only result in one of three outcomes: (a) she bites you, (b) you kill her, or (c) she bites you and you kill her. They are the Kamikazes of Nature, and are justifiably loathesome.

Footnote: The feminine description is used because it is the females that bite. The males appear to be content with collecting pollen.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Saving Internet Radio.
On March 2, 2007 the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which oversees sound recording royalties paid by Internet(IR) Radio services, increased IR's royalty burden between 300 and 1200 percent. IR royalties were already double what satellite radio pays: the 2005 royalty rate was 7/100 of a penny per song streamed; the 2010 rate will be 19/100 of a penny per song streamed. In particular, the agreement by which small-scale webcasters who had paid royalties as a fraction of revenue was abolished, and royalties will be paid on a per listener (stream) basis-per song basis. No such "per listener" charge is applied to over-the-air performances, nor for satellite broadcasting. These payments would also be applied retroactively to January 2006.
Now, is this the market in fair play? Well, artists are entitled to fair compensation for the performance of their work, and is the availability of on-demand entertainment is not a civil right. If these are the arguements, then there should be a uniform rate for recorded performances, be they played by broadcast radio, satellite radio, or IR. IR stream capture is thievery and threatens fair compensation, but then so does HD radio or any diversion of speaker output from any radio to an A/D recorder. The lopsidedness of the rate schedule against IR strongly suggests that the goal of the high rate is to kill it off, or to reduce its participation to very large scale entities that would allow the recording industry some control over their playlists. And that may zero out the royalty compensation for many small label artists that do not get air or satellite playtime. The impact goes beyond indie and small label artists. Any artist or performance that does not pass the profit-metric threshold for commerical broadcast radio, or is considered too small of a market for "push" by the recording industry, will not be heard. There is other fallout such as the narrowing of playlists for a given artist - the repetition of one or two tracks from a given album (ah, to hear all of "Wish You Were Here". Those were the days!). These efforts reduce both choice for listeners and opportunity for artists.
On the July 15th the first royalty payments (including retroactive charges) were to be made to SoundExchange (the collection agency for the recording industry). This has now been postponed while negotiations continue.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Liberty and Tolerance.

Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time...

We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. -

Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Draft for a Bill to Establish Religious Freedom in Virginia , 1779.

...these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States...

A Glorious Independence Day, and give full honor to it: when Man asserted that rights were a natural endowment from his Creator, and not portioned out by one man to another!

Need some mood music?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Victory in Congressional Accountability.

Under the Mainstream Meatpacker radar, Porkbusters reports that earmarks in bills will be disclosed in full in the House.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What is Meatballism?

Meatballism is a term coined by Jean Shepherd (of radio, PBS, and A Christmas Story fame). It can be defined as the loss of individuality by uncritical acceptance of statements, designations, and claims of fact.

As an example, Shepherd used the noxious substitution by businesses of the the word "employee" with "associate" - which apparently plagued America as early as 1957. This habit continues, where Wal-Mart has "associates", Starbucks has "baristas", other businesses use "partners", "team members", "hosts", etc. Where in the heck does the word "barista" even come from? It's Italian, and supposedly it designates an expert at expresso making. This term is a sop to the English major whose pushing the buttons on the coffee machine at Starbucks (no offense intended, it's honest work) as if the guy has been endowed by the Starbucks elders with The Secret Coffee Wisdom. And it's supposed to make the rest of us feel truly blessed and honored to pay $3.50 for some expresso, milk, and froth: my Barista made it just for me!

Meatballism is the tap root of political correctness, fear mongering (e.g. cancerous BBQ), and the hemlock of modern life - euphemizing evil.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Fearmonger's 4th.

Just in time for the celebration of Independence Day are the appearance of hysterical articles on the deadly effects of BBQ. The highlight in the retread "news" article: no standards for exposure to carcinogenic grillchar have yet been established. So let's all play it safe: stay in your hermetically sealed vestibules, and engage only in virtual grilling on YouTube. But just in case, limit that to avoid eyestrain.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Grouchy American.

The Anchoress tells two stories that illustrate how we are becoming boring, intolerant, ideological slobs.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Failure of Leadership.

But not as the New York Times asserts. The real failure of leadership in the immigration reform effort was the astonishing lack of common sense in enforcment provisions, the lack of focus on the principal goal of the reform - national security, the insult it delivered to those resident aliens who have followed the letter of the law in applying for citizenship, and the arrogance displayed by the backroom bill crafters toward the legitimate concerns of citizens. The Times editorial explicitly calls out the Cornyn amendment with an accusation against it that is just nonsense. (The Times calls the amendment to establish a permanent bar for gang members, terrorists, and other criminals "strip[ing] confidentiality protections for immigrants who apply for legal status, making them too frightened to leave the shadows." Ye Gods - what bombast).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Four Freedoms.

It is important to remember what the promise of freedom means to the people of the world. Here is a clear articulation of what this struggle is all about:

"In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is Freedom of worship. That is, freedom of every person to worship whomever (be it God, or any other deity/deities) in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, excerpted from the Annual Message to the Congress, January 6, 1941

Believe It Or Not!

These guys were Democrats, and they did not cower when threatened by totalitarianism!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is the ELCA anti-Israel?

I attended our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Synod Assembly, where one of the resolutions that was adopted was the call for a "two state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well, fair enough perhaps, but this is a substantial political ante by Israel. Did the resolution explicitly call for a similar concession by the political authority of the Palestinians, namely the recognition of the right of Israel to exist, and renounciation of terrorism? Nope.

Another major theme at the meeting was the "Separation Wall" that Israel is erecting between West Bank Palestinian regions, Jewish settlements, and Israel. The ELCA is calling for the immediate halt to construction of the wall, citing the hardship that it creating for many Palestinians. Attendees were shown a well-crafted video documenting the plight of Palestinian families, and appeal by the Jerusalem Bishop of the ELCA for American Lutherans to join in the opposition to the wall, and a comments by an official of the Israeli government.

Yes, it's causing such hardship. It's also helped to reduce the number of suicide bombings in Israel. And this seems to be the 800-pound gorilla that the ELCA leadership will not acknowledge in the discussion. Peace in the Mideast must begin with cessation of sixty years of Arab hostilities toward Israel. It's a simple request: stop the terror killings of Jews and abandon efforts to annihilate Israel. Simple - but not easy. The ELCA's reluctance to clearly recognize this essential ingredient to Mideast peace is baffling.

The ELCA's positions on advocacy in the Middle East can be found here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Reagan Perspective on Today's Challenge.

Today's threat may be different in details, but Reagan's resolve is still the right medicine.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Opening Day, 2007.

Beautiful weekend, and tough fishing. A sudden drop in water temperature put the fish off their chow. The occasional brookie could be seduced by a Borcher's, Pheasant Tail, or Olive Bead Head Hare's Ear. Quite a few Hendricksons and BWOs were popping off the water, but the fish just weren't interested.

The Mystery of the Trout remains unsolved.

Monday, April 23, 2007

This Just in from the National Bureau of Standards...

The unit of measure of toilet paper, previously designated "the square" will be redesignated as "the Crow". Useage: "I find it impossible to use a single Crow of TP at at time!".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


April 17 - 22 are National Days of Remembrance - remembering the Holocaust. An excellent source of history and information can be found at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The USHMM site also features news about the current-day genocide in Darfur.
Mr. Cho, meet Mr. Dahmer, Mr. Hitler, Mr. Pol Pot, Mr. Oswald...

There are some monsters who become obsessed with the evil they can manifest. There will never be an adequate explanation or analysis for such gruesome deeds.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Goofus in Damascus.

Foreign Minister Nancy Pelosi delivers the "Israel peace message" to Assad; too bad it was the wrong message. Her "Dear Commandante" moment...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Newt Spells it Out.

Lack of Context.

Michael Ledeen of National Review Online reminds us of an incident in 2006 in which Iranian troops attempted a smash and grab of American troops, at the Iraq-Iran border. The Yanks just shot their way out of it. Any word of this in Mainstream Meatpacker World? It provides valuable context for an ongoing strategy of Iranian kidnapping as diplomatic tool.
Hell Hath No Fury Like the Media Scorned.

John McCain walked the streets of Bagdhad yesterday, and suggested that the Mainstream Meatpackers were not reporting the whole story there (not that it's a picnic). The MSM are now crowding in to get their licks in on McCain: delusional, sellout, naive, blah-blah-blah. Their darling is now their dog. McCain and Lieberman acknowledge the mismanagment of the Iraq War, but nevertheless understand the stakes in victory or defeat, while the MSM wants the simple to digest story of Iraq = Vietnam. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi flies to Damascus acting as the Alternate POTUS, getting the Meatpacker Seal of Approval.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Utter Madness.

The Senate Dems and a few choice Republicans have gone mad... mad... and voted to hang the troop withdrawl on the Iraq-Afghanistan funding bill. This is foolish at the least, and a dangerous display of petty politics in the midst of war against an enemy that wants to annihilate Western Civilization. Perhaps this moment will be remembered in a volume by some future Gibbon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007