Saturday, June 24, 2006

Newsweek and "America's Bad Image"

Nice puff piece...Pinheads...

In a Newsweek 'article' on "America's Bad Reputation", the authors actually illustrate the efficacy of the Western MSM as the creator, projector, and promoter of that image. I'm sure it never occurs to them that they are part of the problem.

I would be remiss if I did not also note that the article highlights the point that, quite properly, the opinions of the uninformed masses in other countries carries no weight with the President. May it ever be so.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

U.S. Ties Italy in “Interesting” World Cup Match

In a really bizarre World Cup match -- the whole group the US is in is a wild one -- the US soccer team tied the Italian side at 1-1.

My ‘Soccer Stars’ watched it on the big screen, and I listened to it on a UK Daily Sun web feed while working in my study . Neither my family nor the English announcers could figure out a lot of the things that referee was doing.
The IHT, no lover of the American tribe, raises even more questions in my mind about the officiating:
Larrionda had refereed a previous match involving the U.S. that generated controversy.

In June 2003, during a Confederations Cup match in France, he awarded Turkey a controversial penalty kick and Turkey scored again later on a play that appeared to be offsides. Larrionda was banned for six months in 2002 by his country's soccer federation for unspecified "irregularities." Two days before the suspension he had been chosen to officiate at the 2002 World Cup, which he was then forced to miss.”
What was it with that referee? I don’t think he had it in for either the US or Italy. I think he felt cheated out of a World Cup already and was trying to get two Cups worth out of one game. May it be his last.

On the plus side, unless you’re a quibbler, the “English-speaking” agreed-to themes of the match seems to be that although it was a tough game, the U.S. brought a lot to the stadium today and caught the Italians off guard.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Message From Flyover Country

Corn Farmer Marketing

Got this (click on pic for larger view) in the mail today. While I somewhat agree with the sentiment, I am not a very big fan of Ethanol: I need more therms per gallon.

What this picture does is remind me of what I think about every time I fly crosscountry: that if you want to see what raw economic power looks like, spend some time looking out the window on your next flight from New York to LA. Notice how until you hit the foothills of the Rockies, you can see land in cultivation as far as the eye can see, out of both sides of the airplane. Notice the small towns, and the massive network of paved roads, railroads, and in some places waterways that link these farms to small towns and then to bigger ones, and then those to even bigger cities. You are looking at an economic engine that spans a continent and among other things, feeds the world.

Sing Hadji Girl Loud and Proud!

It occurred to me that someone not in possession of a reasonable amount of mental agility might claim that the parallels between Hadji Girl and Napalm Sticks to Kids in my earlier post are evidence of Iraq being ‘Just Like Vietnam’.

For those too dense or lazy to see this kind of GI song-writing spans history, or do your own research, let me point out Strafe the Town and Kill All the People dates back to Korea.

Let My People Sing

These kind of songs are only part of a spectrum of music and poetry that comes from the front lines. As Les Cleveland (1984) wrote so well:
These can be analysed as improvisations suited to the wartime, frontier-style, male-dominant, community life of soldiers in camps and bivouacs. Because the heightening of group cohesion is valuable for military morale, any tendencies towards irreverence or idiosyncratic expression which their content exhibits are tolerated under the mantle of comic licence. This gives the folklore of soldiers (or for that matter of any comparable occupational group faced with hazardous and uncomfortable work conditions) an important integratory, social control function. The democratic soldier can accept the discomfort and personal risks involved in service for the State as long as he is permitted to grumble, protest and joke about his fate, to ridicule his leaders and to assert his essential autonomy and personal dignity, even at the cannon's mouth.
The upper-echelon’s response to Hadji Girl is pretty much what I would expect from a bunch of ‘careerists’, ‘managers’ and ‘executives’. It is, in the long run, also subversive to keeping good order and discipline.

This is the Marine Corps? Where are the freaking LEADERS?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ensuring a Future "Nuclear Deterrent"

And the press reports it as the need is merely a matter of opinion.

Proponents of the project say the U.S. would lose its so-called "strategic deterrent" unless it replaces its aging arsenal of about 6,000 bombs, which will become potentially unreliable within 15 years. A new, more reliable weapon, they say, would help the nation reduce its stockpile.

Critics say the project could trigger a new arms race with Russia and China, and undercut arguments that countries such as Iran and North Korea must stop their nuclear programs.
See, there’s two sides to the story: Proponents and Critics. Where is the information we need to judge the credibility of each ‘opinion’?

Hmmm, the Proponents are charged with the responsibility for National Defense, the Critics, while no doubt feeling everything, have responsibility for NOTHING.

The Proponents understand old nuclear weapons are a bad thing both from a utility AND reliability point of view. The critics see those points as good things.

The Proponents have been criticized for not paying enough attention to future defense needs (such as China). The Critics pretend China wouldn’t KEEP building its arsenal if we stopped modernizing ours and nukes everywhere would just ‘go away’.

Just two different opinions alright; but only the Proponents’ opinion is grounded in reality.

The Critics need to go back to sucking on their bongs, and leave Defense to the adults.

And the press has to understand we notice things like their use of terms like so-called followed by "scare quotes", i.e., "Nuclear Deterrent".

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A F***ing Song. Ooohh the Horror

(Hat Tip Little Green Footballs)

Well I hope some PC ninny at DoD really didn't issue a statement like CAIR indicates in their press release, but it is probably too much to hope for.
So,in the interest of providing some perspective to this NON-STORY, get some historical background here. It took me five minutes to find, and it looks like a great jumping off place for more searching.

Here's just a couple of highlights:

...Like soldiers from time immemorial they sang of epic drinking bouts and encounters with exotic young women...
...Songs provided a means for the expression of protest, fear and frustration, of grief and of longing for home....
We know that these songs were occasionally played on AFVN Radio and they were probably also played on the "bullshit net" which the troops operated illegally on field radios. The extremely high rate of troop mobility meant that these songs spread rapidly.
...Others display a kind of black humor mixed with violence, in which, in the words of Les Cleveland, the thing most abhorred is embraced with a kind of lunatic enthusiasm: "Strafe the Town and Kill the People," "As We Came Around and Tried To Get Some More," and "Napalm Sticks to Kids"...
There are quite a few 'fair use' audio clips as well.

UPDATE @2307: Just searched for "Napalm Sticks to Kids" and this popped right up:
Napalm Sticks to Kids

World Cup Catch Up: Team USA! uh..What Happened?

More Dang. We (USA) really stunk up the stadium in our World Cup Opener.

Yeah we were up against the #2 team in the world, but the way the guys were (not) moving, we could have been beaten by #102. Interestingly, I listened to a 'off-tube' media feed from England at work, and when I got home my "soccer stars" (one past college player and one current one) had all the same critiques of the American 'side' as the Brits did, although the two Brit commentators expressed theirs in a more civilized manner. For those who don't know, the US is in one of two "Groups of Death", and we have the 'pleasure' of facing Italy next. Yeow.

Bomb Him Some More Please

“Al-Zarqawi and Others, Including Children, er, um, Wife and Child, Killed”

It must be kind of hard to write headlines for this stuff when you’re dealing with people and a culture who don’t ‘draw the lines’ like we do in the West. This confusion will probably propel the nutjob conspiracy machines for a while at least.

The ever-on-top Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs, on a tip from one of his "minions", points out how TIME gives no particular emphasis to the fact that Al-Zarqawi’s ‘wife’ was sixteen, and their child was a year and a half.

Do the math. Yeah, I know….Eeewwwwww!

At least they didn’t try to hide her age, unlike “THE” Times, who wrote (emphasis mine):
Al-Zarqawi’s second wife Israa, in her late teens, and their 18-month-old baby, Abdul Rahman, died in the strike, Jordanian officials told The Times.
I don’t know how it works in Britain these days, but I doubt “Your Honor she was in her late teens” works any better there than it would here.

As the Father of two Daughters, I’d really appreciate it if CENTCOM could somehow see it in their hearts to set ole’ al-Zarqawi’s corpse in the middle of a target range and bomb him some more.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup Opening Round: Mexico or Iran?

Iran and Mexico are playing this moment in the World Cup. It is in the first period and the score is 1-0 Mexico.

My Daughters and Wife have a view that world events and strategic relationships mean nothing in the World Cup, or in Soccer, or in any sport for that matter. They see it as about the players and coaches and fans. I respect that point of view: for the players, coaches, and fans it is exactly correct when one does not factor in the ‘National Pride’ thing that is attached as well. It is no different, except in scale, than ‘civic pride’ when your city’s football team wins the Super Bowl, or school pride when your college team wins a championship or beats a long-time rival.

Iran just scored. It is now tied at 1-1

I can’t ignore the National Pride thing, so which team should I pull for?

On the one hand, you have a team for an unstable country led by a mad frontman with a bevy of gnome-like mullahs pulling his strings, also intent on building a nuclear bomb while simultaneously threatening to use it against neighboring and distant countries.

On the other hand, you have an unstable country led by the whims of corruption more than anything else, and actively trying to control and destabilize the United States through use of a population bomb.

Hmmmmm. I’m pulling for (what I think is a slight underdog)……….. Iran!

Iran doesn’t have an inferiority complex that I’m aware of, the government is NOT representative of the people or the culture overall and soccer success could contribute to a decline in the influence of the radical clerics. And most of all because in the Persian culture, it is not acceptable behavior to throw human waste products and batteries at their opponents, take “drama queen” dives trying to draw a foul, or chant “Osama” during a game.

Update: Dang. The Iranian side held tough until the 75th minute, and didn't get their groove back until about the 80th. Mexico wins 3-1. Dang again.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

At Last! “Media Bias” Myth Debunked!

I asked our great information provider,”Big Media”, the other day about “media bias” and the War on Terror.

Our Omnipotent Arbiter of Information makes it all SO clear: It’s really simple when you think about it!

You see, the Big Guy his’self told me the reason the MSM falls all over itself in reporting any news that makes America look bad has nothing to do with the desire to make America look bad, it’s just the pressure is so great to be the first to report bad news, even when a tidbit that hasn’t a shred of credibility, that an MSM outlet just simply MUST report it as quickly as possible, lest someone else break the news first.

On the other hand, there’s really no pressure to be the first to report good news, because nobody else is going to report it either. Now, if all the ‘other’ MSM outlets were interested in scooping a ‘positive’ story…..well y ‘know, every MSM outlet would be falling all over themselves trying to get the good news out too!

So you see, there’s no ‘bias’ at all. We now return you to your regular programming.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Cigarettes, whisky and wild women…"

Or so Henry Allingham used to say when people asked him what his secret was to living a long life. Now he admits he really doesn’t know. D-Day was his 48th Birthday, and today is his 110th.

There are so few WWI vets still alive anywhere in the world these days. How remarkable it is that one of them is not only the oldest man in Britain, but also the only living person who took part in the battle of the Somme, the last participant of the battle of Jutland, AND the last original founding member of the RAF.

He recently moved in to a community for servicemen and women who have some degree of reduced visual acuity . From what I can tell he is now but one remarkable individual in an "outfit" of remarkable individuals.

Happy Birthday Sir,

and Many Happy Returns!

Update: For those of you who e-mailed me and pointed out that as the oldest man in Britain he would be the 'only one living' for a lot of things. Yes I know. HOWEVER, what are the odds that someone would have survived so many dangers on land and at sea, been part of the creation of a new Service, AND then lived to be the oldest man in Britain? Now, to the Grog Bowl with Cavilers!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dare We Hope?

I saw this on Drudge at lunch today and forwarded the link to a colleague with the subject line: “Dare We Hope?” This of course set off his big engineering brain and he immediately conjured up this Political Spectragraph for 2006. With his permission I added a few small details for your further enjoyment.

Thanks Dr. Paul!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Got Yer 'Principled Immigration' Right Here...

In the Wall Street Journal’s online editorial site,, they republished an opinion piece on immigration reform from a Harvard Law professor, Mary Ann Glendon, that very much revealed her humanity and Catholicism as well as her legal mind. Her ‘article’ was initially published as the June/July featured article at First Things.

I would characterize the expression of her thoughts as an ‘almost’ opinion piece: it almost passes the smell test and almost grasps the real issue and challenge.

Very few things set off my alarm bells faster than someone talking about a problem as one of ‘image’ instead of essence. When Professor Glendon notes the ‘importance of the rule of law to most Americans’ as a something that needs to be addressed in a way that avoids ‘the appearance of rewarding law-breakers’ she is telling us that rewarding law-breakers is exactly what she thinks should happen. She confirms this with the deft-phrasing in closing the same sentence:
“yet shift the focus in individual cases to how the immigrants have comported themselves while in residence here.”
One assumes that by ‘comportment’ she means other than the duplicity and fraud required to successfully enter the country illegally and laws violated to avoid detection or deportation while ‘in residence’.

I suppose her point would be well taken IF most Americans felt the appearance rather than the existence of a rule of law was important.

Citing societal and moral implications of the issue Professor Glendon indicates, to her credit, that she understands this issue goes beyond a simple legal one, and grasps that immigration plays a vital role in our history and future. Where she fails miserably is that she avoids or ignores the responsibilities we have to the future: that immigration must be controlled in a manner that ensures the perpetuation of the kind of society that will continue to attract people who want to come here for our freedoms, opportunities and justice. Any immigration environment (such as one that turns a blind eye towards the wholesale invasion of illegal aliens) that does not promote the perpetuation of these and other key elements of our society, will inevitably condemn not only our descendents, but also the future of untold generations of current and future legal immigrants and their descendents.

There is also a not-so-niggling catch to her attempt to overlay some ‘humanity’ on the issue via government policy as well. From the comments the article received at OpinionJournal, I would say I’m not the only one who noticed:
At last! Liberals are outed. Their agenda under the pretext of immigration reform is to install socialism, communism, Marxism and Leninism as the controlling social and economic policies of the United States of America. Who said you can't learn anything from a Harvard professor.
Ms Glendon, I submit that “Principled Immigration” involves a lot of ‘tough love’ that those of your ilk are too weak to understand much less administer. This includes taking steps that do not reward and perpetuate the injustice and poverty in the corrupt societies that fuel our immigration problems.