Wednesday, November 30, 2005
President Bush gave a speech this morning at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. Although he spoke directly to the midshipmen at the Academy, his speech was for us. Here's some of what he had to say to the underclassmen there:
Your service is needed, because our nation is engaged in a war that is being fought on many fronts -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. This war is going to take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefield. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, and so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
Our country needs to hear this. The war will eventually stretch from Indonesia, across Africa, to Western Europe and America, because this is where our enemy will strike. The media and the opponents of the President want to believe that pulling our troops out of Iraq will mark the end of the war, but these people are deluded at best. The war will end when the last of the Islamofascists is dead or otherwise unable to fight.
This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.
[T]oday, we're releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This is an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website -- whitehouse.gov. I urge all Americans to read it.
The President gave many examples of the progress in Iraq in just the last year. Here is only one of them:
The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year's assault in Fallujah. In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine coalition battalions made up primarily of United States Marines and Army -- with six Iraqi battalions supporting them. The Iraqis fought and sustained casualties. Yet in most situations, the Iraqi role was limited to protecting the flanks of coalition forces, and securing ground that had already been cleared by our troops. This year in TAL Afar, it was a very different story.
The assault was primarily led by Iraqi security forces -- 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support. Many Iraqi units conducted their own anti-terrorist operations and controlled their own battle space -- hunting for enemy fighters and securing neighborhoods block-by-block. To consolidate their military success, Iraqi units stayed behind to help maintain law and order -- and reconstruction projects have been started to improve infrastructure and create jobs and provide hope.
And here's how President Bush ended his speech:
We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.
You all are the ones who will help accomplish all this. Our freedom and our way of life are in your hands -- and they're in the best of hands. I want to thank you for your service in the cause of freedom. I want to thank you for wearing the uniform. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
I encourage you to read the whole speech. I encourage you to encourage your friends to read it. The mainstream media can be counted on to either pick out bits and pieces that suit their agenda, or to ignore the speech completely. It will take a lot to counteract the effect the MSM is having on public opinion. But the truth is worth the effort.
Here is the link to the President's unclassified war strategy.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
But in the same way that people find acceptable words to substitute for offensive language, people have been substituting "Holiday" for "Christmas," and it's not right.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who wrote the excellent book, America's Real War, had a column November 23 in WorldNetDaily, entitled, "Merry Christmas is not offensive!"
Rabbi Lapin is Jewish. He is not a Christian. And he is not offended by the existence of Christmas. Here's how he opened his column:
Well, December is nearly here, which means the dreaded "C word" is upon us. Put politely, "the holiday season" is nearly here. We shall all hear those "Happy Hanukkahs" and "Happy holidays," but rarely a "Merry Christmas." Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word "Christmas" is deeply offensive. I think we Jews may be making a grievous mistake in allowing them to banish Christmas without challenge.
And here's how he ended it:
As an Orthodox rabbi with an unquenchable passion for teaching Torah and devoting myself to the long-term interests of Judaism and America's Jewish community, I believe we Jews must turn our backs on the secularism that will sink us all. An act of friendship would be welcome. Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America's Bible belt is our safety belt.
Don't forget to read the middle.
At work, they're encouraging attendance at the annual "Holiday Party." And the email they sent out asking for support for Toys for Tots started with these statements: "Here's your chance to share the holiday spirit with local children in need by donating unwrapped toys. The Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program has been a holiday tradition since 1947."
And what holiday might that be?
Congress (at least the House of Representatives) is finally coming around. Speaker Dennis Hastert has renamed the Capitol Holiday Tree as the Capitol Christmas Tree. It's been called a Holiday Tree since the late 1990s.
"To rename a Christmas tree as a holiday tree is as offensive as renaming a Jewish menorah a candlestick," [president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, Mathew] Staver said.
We talked about this, including the various stores that have instructed their employees to say "Happy Holidays," in our Bible Study class on Sunday. Our teacher had a good suggestion.
When you go into a store to do your Christmas shopping, ask to speak to the manager (a checkout clerk can't be counted on to relay the message). Ask the manager if the store's employees are wishing people "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays."
If it's the holiday greeting, then let the manager know how disappointed you are. "Oh, that's too bad. I don't want to buy holiday gifts. I'm doing my Christmas shopping." Then leave the store.
Our teacher expects to do most of his Christmas shopping this year at little boutique shops that wish him "Merry Christmas," rather than at the big stores who are afraid of December's "C word." I may be doing the same.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Donoho writes as though God Himself were blogging (except it's in book form, not on the internet), and it has a very personal feel to it. One "post" that I especially liked was on anger. In it, "God" pointed out that He gave us anger so that we could be angry about the things that angered Him.
This article in Friday's The Daily Star, a Lebanese news source, really angered me. And I have no doubt it's a righteous anger.
The EU introduced a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly "expressing concern at Sudan's human rights record." That's not the part that upset me. In fact, I'm impressed that the Europeans are still capable of denouncing evil acts.
The problem came when the 53-member African Union presented a no-action motion, which was passed (by a vote of 85 in favor, 79 against and 12 abstentions), that shut down debate and any vote on the EU's resolution.
The EU draft expressed concern at "the protracted humanitarian crisis in Darfur and the recent upsurge in violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict."
It also slammed "the continuing climate of impunity in the Darfur region, particularly in the area of violence against women and girls" and the "forced relocation of displaced people, particularly in the peri-urban settlements around Khartoum."
Introducing the draft on behalf of the EU, Britain's UN envoy Emyr Jones Parry said: "There can hardly be a situation of human rights in more urgent need of the world's attention than the situation in Sudan."
"Despite the efforts of the African Union, civilians are still being killed, rape is still widespread and the situation of hundreds of thousands of displaced people remains dire," he added.
The United Nations was started, in large part, to prevent genocide, but instead it has become the chief enabler of human rights abuses and genocide. I've long ago given up hope that it will step up and fulfill its purpose. Wednesday's vote has only confirmed my lack of hope.
We need to tear down the UN building brick by brick, stone by stone, and send the protectors of evil packing. They don't deserve to set foot on free soil.
Then maybe (very tiny maybe) we can start over with only those nations that have proven their devotion to liberty.
One year ago Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was campaigning hard for the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He lobbied fellow Republicans and took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal to declare, "I am committed, in word and deed, to prompt action by the Judiciary Committee. Last April, I introduced Senate Resolution 327, a protocol to establish prompt action on all judicial nominees. Specifically, my protocol provides that all nominees will have a Judiciary Committee hearing within 30 days of nomination, a Judiciary Committee vote within 30 days of the hearing, and a floor vote 30 days later." (emphasis added)
This promise convinced Republicans, many of whom were lobbying against Specter's taking the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, to give Specter the go-ahead. But Specter has proven himself faithless.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the deep freeze given the nomination of White House Staff Secretary Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr. Kavanaugh, originally nominated in July 2003, was not blackballed by the infamous Gang of 14 deal this past spring, but he still languishes in Mr. Specter's committee, just as nominee Terrence Boyle languishes on the floor of the Senate.
The entire machinery of judicial nominations seems to have ground to a halt under Mr. Specter's leadership. The White House demanded December hearings on Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court but Mr. Specter held back, and we'll now see relentless attacks until the hearings open the second week of January. The chairman has also dithered on the Patriot Act extension that representatives of the House and Senate worked out in a mid-November compromise.
What's the point of having a committee chairman who won't get the job done? What's the point of letting a RINO do a real Republican's job?
Specter has hung Alito out like a piñata, so the Democrats and their MSM mouthpieces can bash him until the nomination falls apart. And Senate Majority Leader Frist hasn't put any teeth into his leadership that would make Specter get back on the straight and narrow.
Donations to the Senate GOP war chest are way down, and that would include from me. I won't take the chance that my money will go toward re-electing RINOs who will betray the Party that returned them to office.
It's way past time for Senator Frist to grow a spine, because he's going to need it. It's time now for Senator Arlen Specter to be removed from the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Frist needs to lead the effort.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
A suicide car bomber killed dozens of people in an Iraqi town yesterday when he rammed his vehicle into American and Iraqi soldiers as they handed out toys and sweets to children outside a hospital.
But instead of inflicting mass casualties among the soldiers, the bomber's victims were mostly children, medics and patients, killed when the brunt of the blast was taken by the hospital's emergency room, which was wrecked by the explosion.
The town was Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad, and at least thirty people were killed. That evening, up to eleven more people were killed by another attack in a shopping district in the town of Hilla.
Laith Kubba, an Iraqi government spokesman, predicted that the violence would escalate as the Dec 15 elections approached. He also said that Iraqi troops had discovered a car packed with booby-trapped toys to the west of Baghdad.
With each attack that hits civilians--whether they were the targets or not--public opinion in Iraq and the Middle East will turn one more notch against the terrorists, just as it happened in Lebanon after the suicide bombings of the hotels.
As each step of the democratic process in Iraq is reached, and as the military and police forces there are better trained, the terrorists will become more and more alienated from the Iraqi people.
Keep checking back at IraqTheModel for their analysis of the election process and the progress of the war. Mohammed and Omar give the Iraqi's perspective without hype and without the MSM's slanted view of events in Iraq. Mohammed ended his Thursday post this way"
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and especially to the soldiers who are fighting to defend freedom.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
OK, maybe not quite sin, but those of us Girls who go to the movies decided to skip the Thanksgiving Eve service tonight at church and go to the movies instead. One of my friends had a rough day at work today, and she needed to get out for a while.
We were going to see "Syriana," but it wasn't in our theater yet. One friend will be seeing "Pride and Prejudice" tomorrow, so that was out. The other friend will be seeing "Walk the Line" again tomorrow, so that was out too. I suggested "Zathura," because it sounded safe after we walked out of "Derailed" a couple weeks ago. But it sounded too much like a kid movie to my friends, and one of them suggested "The Ice Harvest," which I hadn't heard or seen anything of yet.
My daughter pulled up the movie times online and clicked through to the trailer, and it had an interesting premise: steal two million dollars from the mob and try not to get killed. Billy Bob Thornton was one of the stars, which made me nervous about the potential Disgusting Factor. One of my friends pointed out that John Cusack usually provided a calming influence on a movie, but she hadn't ever seen "The Grifters," which made me feel nervous about Cusack's movies having the potential Disturbing Factor. Against our Derailed-induced decision to wait for other people to see a movie first, we went.
The first half hour of the movie was not rated R for violence. The language was blue from the get-go. And then the action moved into a strip joint, where the language got worse and there was a lot of focus on the strippers doing what I would imagine is realistic stripper stuff. We walked out, and this time we thought to ask for a voucher to another movie. While we were talking to the guest services person, a family joined us, and not long after that another man turned in his two tickets from the same movie. All together, there were nine people who walked out of "The Ice Harvest" before anything relevant to the plot had even happened, and all of us used words like "disgusting, foul, and revolting" to explain why we were dissatisfied.
This experience reinforced our decision to wait until someone else has seen and enjoyed a questionable movie before we take the plunge.
We should have gone to church.
It's a tradition that every year the President grants a pardon to a turkey and his backup, so they will not become anyone's Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday, as Fox News reported, President Bush pardoned two turkeys, named Marshmallow and Yam.
In years past, turkeys spared in presidential ceremonies were sent to live at a local farm.
"Marshmallow and Yam were a little skeptical about going to a place called Frying Pan Park," Bush said to giggling students from Clarksville Elementary School in Clarksville, Md.
This year, the turkeys, raised by James and Vicki Trites of Henning, Minn., will be honorary grand marshals at Disneyland's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The turkeys and a handler will be flown first class to Southern California in time for tomorrow's parade.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which in the past has been critical because presidential turkeys have been sent to a working farm rather than an animal sanctuary, praised the decision to send them to Disneyland.
"I don't suppose we could have asked for better than Disneyland and southern California," said Bruce Friedrich of PETA. "They'll have mental and physical stimulation as well as proper care and a nice climate."
It's definitely a banner year when PETA is pleased by something President Bush does. Here's hoping Marshmallow and Yam perform their duties well.
The Unlucky Turkey:
ABC 7 Chicago reported yesterday about a turkey who was not spared this Thanksgiving season. Nevertheless, that turkey went on to help save two people's lives.
Two Good Samaritans helped police rescue an elderly couple from their burning car over the weekend in the western suburbs. One of the heroes used a frozen turkey to shatter the car's windows.
Mark Copsy, of Louisiana until Hurricane Katrina sent him and his family to Chicago to stay with his in-laws, was the frozen-turkey-wielding rescuer.
Copsy and his son were leaving a Northlake grocery store, food in hand, when they saw a car burning on Wolf Road. An elderly couple was trapped in a Buick.
"I kicked the window, it didn't break, so I took the turkey to smash the window," said Mark Copsy, Good Samaritan.
Another Good Samaritan, Michael Carpanzano, ran back into the store and grabbed a fire extinguisher, which he emptied on the flaming car.
John Brani, 89, was trapped in the driver's seat.
"I put the driver in a bear hug and yanked on him twice and took him out the driver's side window," said Officer Michael Willner, Northlake Police Department.
His 90-year-old wife, Juliana Brani, was in the passenger's seat and another officer helped save her.
The rescued couple is still hospitalized in critical condition from their burns. Saving them was a joint effort: two Good Samaritans, two police officers, and one frozen turkey.
So, is there life after death for turkeys? Sort of.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Mark Steyn is my favorite columnist, and I've been reading his work since shortly after 9/11. Today, his column for the London Telegraph looked at the word on the "Arab Street" about Lebanon-born, Iraq-based al-Qaeda terrorism leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It's not a good word.
On Friday, 200,000 Jordanians took to the streets to denounce al-Zarqawi as a coward and the enemy of Allah. So Mark Steyn asks:
Did they show that on the BBC? Or are demonstrations only news when they're anti-Bush and anti-Blair? And look at it this way: if the "occupation" is so unpopular in Iraq, where are the mass demonstrations against that? I'm not talking 200,000, or even 100 or 50,000. But, if there were just 1,500 folks shouting "Great Satan, go home!" in Baghdad or Mosul, it would be large enough for the media to do that little trick where they film the demo close up so it looks like the place is packed. Yet no such demonstrations take place.
We have a war going on, one that Zarqawi is pushing outside of Iraq--perhaps because the war inside Iraq is getting tougher for him. And yet the Democrats keep talking "exit strategy."
In war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter's easier. Just say, whoa, we're the world's pre-eminent power but we can't handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don't mind we'd just as soon get off at the next stop.
Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn't such a smart move, but since the media can't seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa'eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they'll follow. And Americans will die - in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.
Mark Steyn gets it. The media-darling Democrats don't. There's a war on, and the stakes couldn't be higher. We must keep fighting until we win. No. We must keep fighting until we absolutely destroy those who have declared themselves our enemy.
Let me get this straight. The Washington Post considers it a "deeply serious sin" when a reporter doesn't tell his editor that he has key information in a Grand Jury investigation. And they consider it a "mistake" that Woodward talked about the Plame investigation on Larry King and NPR without disclosing that he already knew about the CIA leak.
But where's the outrage from the WaPo about Woodward's having withheld his knowledge from the grand jury and the special prosecutor? Where's the outrage at Woodward's silence likely having led to the indictment and resignation of a member of the administration? The crickets are chirping while we wait for the WaPo to be upset at the misdirection of justice.
And what was so important that Bob Woodward needed to keep his mouth shut so tightly for so long? He said he had been working on a book about the administration's decision to go to war in Iraq, and he did not want to be subpoenaed by a special prosecutor investigating the leak of Plame's name.
Oh, of course. Keeping your book a secret trumps justice. He didn't want to be subpoenaed, because then parts of his book might have been leaked to the press. Oh, that's OK, then. I'm sure Scooter Libby understands completely. I'm sure Vice President Cheney doesn't mind losing Libby as his aide at all. I'm sure special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald doesn't think it would have made any difference in his investigation.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald portrayed Libby as the first government official to have shared Plame's name and her work at the CIA. But the Post reported that Woodward, who achieved fame for his reporting on the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, may have been the first reporter to learn about Plame in mid-June of 2003, before the Novak column ran.
The mainstream media is disgusting in its self-centered, ego-centric self-absorption. The Washington Post should fire Woodward, and Patrick Fitzgerald should throw him in the slammer. It would give Woodward more time to work on his book.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Mayor Richard Daley says he wants the city's public schools to move to a six-day school week.
Children, he says, need more time in the classroom, a longer school year and earlier exposure to foreign languages to compete in the global market.
Daley said when he visited China, he found that children there learn English before they reach the equivalent of 8th grade, spend more days in school each week and don't have a summer break.
Eighth grade! My kids learned English before they even started school.
Mayor Daley has a few screws loose. I find it hard to believe that he doesn't understand that this is China. They're COMMUNISTS! They "compete in the global market" by using child labor, prisoner labor, and other types of forced labor at rock-bottom pay rates.
Is this the kind of future that Daley aspires to for his children and grandchildren?
When leaders within the Democrat party start pushing communist practices as the ideal, it makes Michelle Malkin's latest book title, Unhinged, seem like an understatement.
Sunday, The Girls saw "Walk the Line," and we all loved it. Before this movie came out, I had thought Johnny and June had been married their whole lives, so I learned a lot. The point that stood out for me, like in the movie "Ray," was how big an impact parents can have on their children, good or bad.
This weekend's movie-going was way better than last week, when we saw "Derailed" and left about halfway through. We weren't at our usual theater, and the one we went to was creepy. The seats weren't comfortable, the clientele was less savory than we were accustomed to, and the commercials they played while we waited for start time were risque.
And then the movie started. My friend had really wanted to see "Derailed" because the trailer made it look like a suspense thriller. But the trailer kept all the suspense and didn't leave any for the movie. It was an uncomfortable exercise in watching a bored man make stupider and stupider decisions (Hadn't the character ever watched TV??? If he had, he would have known what to do). And then the movie got foul, and so we left.
The next night we talked to someone who sat through the whole movie, and she told us how it ended, which was what I had already figured out. And that means the "plot twist" was horribly obvious, because I never try to figure out a movie. I just let it happen.
So we'll be sticking with the good theater, and on the movies we aren't sure about, we'll wait until we hear from someone normal that it's a good one before we head off to see them.
Friday, November 18, 2005
But then I grabbed a sandwich at one of the sandwich shop chains and went through an entire ordeal trying to get them to understand English, and I decided to post about that instead.
But while I was eating my sandwich, which dripped all over my hands so I couldn't type, I read Hugh Hewitt's site, which had a link to Michael Yon's post on the return of Deuce Four stateside, which settled the question of what my post should cover.
If you haven't read Michael Yon, you should. He's been embedded with the Army's Deuce Four unit and sending back dispatches from Mosul and the work this unit did there. His writing is vivid and conveys a profound respect and love for these men.
In today's post, Yon describes the return-home party, which included Bruce Willis as a guest. It's a good recap of who these soldiers are, and by extension who all of our soldiers are.
We are at war, and good men's lives are on the line. Take some time to read some of Michael Yon's other dispatches (linked on the right in his post) and get to know the caliber of men who are fighting to defend us and to help strengthen Iraq's fledgling liberty.
While you're reading about Iraq, don't miss Mohammed and Omar's blog, Iraq the Model, where they tell you what's going on from an Iraqi's perspective. And that perspective is in favor of what the US is doing in their country.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I saw a whole lot of articles yesterday that caught my eye. Did I save them? No.
There were two stories in particular that were in the same vein. One woman had an ex-boyfriend set a mattress on fire against her apartment door, because she was seeing another man. In the time since the fire, she and the arsonist got married. She figured he must have really loved her to do something that drastic.
The other story was about a woman who married a man who had beat the carp out of her earlier.
Loser women with a death wish. Ugh! Don't get me started.
But one story I saw yesterday, and didn't save, popped up this morning on AOL News when I booted up. It's about a girl whose mother humiliated her. Great story, but boy oh boy, does it show how far the psychological professionals have strayed from good old common sense. (Truth-in-Blogging Note: I have a Bachelors degree in Psychology.)
The AP reported yesterday:
Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14-year-old daughter's poor grades, her chronic lateness to class and her talking back to her teachers, so she decided to teach the girl a lesson.
She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."
Tasha Henderson said her daughter's attendance has been perfect and her behavior has been better since the incident.
Coretha, a soft-spoken girl, acknowledged the punishment was humiliating but said it got her attention. "I won't talk back," she said quietly, hanging her head.
She already has been forced by her parents to give up basketball and track because of slipping grades, and said she hopes to improve in school so she can play next year.
The other result? Psychologists and psycho-wannabe's running amok.
One letter to the editor of The Oklahoman warned that Coretha's parents could be "kill[ing] their daughter psychologically."
A passing motorist called the police to report the incident as psychological abuse, but the police said there was no crime. They turned it over to the Department of Human Services, in case DHS wanted to follow up, but a DHS spokesman said it wouldn't get high priority.
Finally--and this is the one that takes the cake for me--Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, warned that such punishment could do extreme emotional damage. He said rewarding positive behavior is more effective.
"The trick is to catch them being good," he said. "It sounds like this mother has not had a chance to catch her child being good or is so upset over seeing her be bad, that's where the focus is."
Oh please! Raising children in this culture is a war. Parents have to fight against the entertainment, fashion, music culture and all the peer pressure that comes with it. There is a time and place for Quiet Diplomacy, and there's a time for Shock and Awe.
These critics of Tasha Henderson's successful attempt to bring her daughter around seem to believe that Tasha hadn't already tried all the rest of the options. They think that a parent can reward good behavior while letting the child keep on going to heck in a handbasket, and everything will be fine. That's psychobabble at its worst.
Tasha's Shock and Awe campaign did the trick in only an hour and a half, and now Coretha is on the road to responsibility and success in life. Way to go, Tasha!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
It's an article from the November 13 London Telegraph, describing a treatment that has been found for the H5N1 avian flu: Sauerkraut. If you're in Asia, the treatment is kimchi.
Scientists believe that the traditional recipe, which is made from chopped cabbage that is fermented for at least a month, contains a bacteria that may combat the potentially fatal disease.
Their findings follow a study in which kimchi - a spicy cabbage dish popular in South Korea and similar to sauerkraut - was fed to 13 chickens infected with bird flu. Just one week later, 11 of the birds showed signs of recovery from the virus.
Prof Kang [Sa-ouk]'s team claims that lactobacillus, the lactic acid bacteria created during the fermenting process, is the active ingredient that could combat bird flu.
According to the article, comsumption of kimchi is up in South Korea, sales of sauerkraut in America are soaring, and even the British--who generally don't eat sauerkraut--are increasing their purchases of the product. All this without much publicity. This might be a good time to buy into sauerkraut futures or something.
A further study on sauerkraut, carried out recently by Polish and American scientists, concluded that the meal might be the reason for the lower breast cancer rate observed among Polish immigrants in America.
It all looks good. I think I might go for a Ruben sandwich for dinner tonight.
Monday, November 14, 2005
In her "Unrelated Update," La Shawn links to Michelle Malkin's post on the media's use of "African-American" to the point of absurdity. Malkin said, "CNN anchor Carol Lin referring to the two French teenagers of Tunisian descent whose death sparked the Paris riots as 'African-American.'" (emphasis in the original)
When the use of "African-American" started, I had two women acquaintances who were black but were British citizens living in the US. I wondered then what we were supposed to call these women: African-British? They certainly weren't Americans. The term, "black," included them. The term, "African-American," excluded them. But the MSM and the African-American leadership didn't seem to care about the exclusion of a number of residents by this choice of name.
But now, due to habit, "African-American" has become so inclusive that even French-Tunisians are included. And so are black Vulcans (see Michelle Malkin's post).
Perhaps the inclusive nature of hyphenated Americans has spread enough that now I can be counted as Asian-American. After all, I'm a quarter Hungarian, and the Hungarians are descended from the Huns, who came from Central Asia, possibly with the Mongol hordes. It makes as much sense as any of the rest of the PC race lingo.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
First, in China it looks as though the virus has spread to pigs, as the Epoch Times reported Friday.
Zoology experts at Hunan Agriculture University say that since pig genes are similar to human genes, and that viruses of many animals can live and mutate in pigs, it becomes dangerous for humans once the virus has been found (sic) its way to pigs.
The second concern is over who is likely to be hardest hit by the virus. Instapundit quotes from an article in Forbes Friday (emphasis added).
Experiments with human cells have found the H5N1 virus can trigger levelsof inflammatory proteins called cytokines and chemokines that are more than 10 times higher than those that occur during a bout of the common flu.
This massive increase in cytokine and chemokine activity can inflame airways, making it hard to breathe. It also contributes to the unusual severity of the avian flu, which can result in life-threatening pneumonia and acute respiratory distress.
"This is basically a cytokine storm induced by this specific virus, which then leads to respiratory distress syndrome," [director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Michael T.] Osterholm said. "This also makes sense of why you tend to see a preponderance of severe illness in those who tend to be the healthiest, because the ability to increase the production of cytokines is actually higher in those who are not immune-compromised. It's more likely in those who are otherwise healthy."
It's possible the bird flu won't amount to much. It's possible the mutations will remain within the bird community, or maybe just the birds and the pigs. It's possible the disease won't become as virulent as some are warning about. It's possible.
But we can't afford to take that chance, because it's just as possible that this could be devastating. I've explained it before, but the non-scientific basics are this:
The H and N numbers aren't just arbitrary identification numbers. They indicate the structure of the particular virus, and the same H/N numbers mean the different strains are related. So if there was an outbreak of a strain of H3N2 forty years ago, the people who were exposed to it and survived have antibodies in their systems. If another strain of H3N2 hits next year, even though it's a different virus, the people from forty years ago will be better equipped to fight off the new strain and won't have as severe a reaction as people who have never been exposed to any H3N2 flu.
H5N1 has not been seen since the medical community started identifying flu strains this way, about 1900. So nobody alive today has related antibodies, so everybody is at risk for having a severe reaction--especially healthy people. If this flu mutates into a human-to-human form that spreads with casual contact or through airborne means, we're in trouble.
The best we can hope for is that H5N1 becomes a much-hyped non-event.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I love quizzes--the ones that aren't for a grade. And this one is great. It's quick without being obvious which answers to pick to get you the "good" result.
Take the quiz here and learn which Middle Earth race you are. (Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt)
Friday, November 11, 2005
National Business Review reported Thursday on a "study" out of MIT from back in February of this year. A few guys at MIT took a serious look at the effectiveness of tinfoil helmets to resist mind control by aliens and governments. The abstract of the study reads:
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.
The experimenters, Ali Rahimi, Ben Recht, Jason Taylor, and Noah Vawter, tested three different helmet designs. These were the Classical (shaped close to the head), the Fez (a cylinder), and the Centurion (a high Mohawk look). All three designs amplified, rather than reduced, the frequencies used by the government and by cell phones.
The researchers concluded, "We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings." Indeed. Perhaps a followup study can look at the innovative design used in the movie "Signs."
The National Business Review's review of the study includes this astute assessment:
There's only one problem: The humour of the engineers is so deadpan, the findings are likely to be cited ad infinitum in conspiracy and UFO journals.
Oh, we should be so lucky.
Millions have fought in defense of our country and the values she stands for, and so many have given their lives.
My grandfather lied about his age to get into the Army in 1917. He died in 1979 of stomach cancer that resulted from being gassed during World War I. The doctors in 1918 had warned him that cancer would come. He continued to serve, and by World War II was training the troops. After WWII, he was stationed in France for two years, working with the department that was identifying the bodies of our war dead.
My father joined the Navy and served in the Korean War and officially in the Vietnam War, though he didn't see any action in Vietnam. He was a radioman in the submarine service during the Cold War, and he didn't tell any of us (even my mother) until the late 1990s about one time in particular when their sub was in imminent danger of being sunk off the coast of the Soviet Union, and nobody would have been the wiser.
Each veteran--past and present--has stories of courage and sacrifice witnessed or experienced, from the glorious to the mundane. It's an important work that our military does for us. I live and breathe in freedom because of what you and those before you have done.
Thank you. And happy Veterans Day.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The first paragraph of Section 1 of this amendment reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
John Eastman is a professor of law at Chapman University, as is Hugh Hewitt. The other "Smart Guy," Erwin Chemerinsky, is a professor of law at Duke University (Hugh's list of regular guests, linked above, is out of date for Erwin, who used to be at USC).
Now to the issue: John reads this paragraph of the Fourteenth Amendment with more emphasis on the second clause (" and subject to the jurisdiction thereof") than most people currently give. He cited case law on the air that's beyond my memory to repeat here, but his point was that some of the earliest rulings on challenges to this amendment came down on the side of determining where the person was subject to jurisdiction.
For instance (my "for instance," not John's), if a British family is visiting Disneyland and the pregnant mother goes into labor prematurely and has her baby in an Anaheim hospital, that baby will go home with his family to England, where he will be subject to the laws of the UK, not of the US. According to John, that baby should not be given American citizenship, since he does not meet the full criteria for being granted citizenship. And also according to John, Congress has the power to change the citizenship laws to clarify that the Disneyland baby would not qualify for US citizenship. This change would only need a statute from Congress, not another constitutional amendment, since the wording is already in the constitution.
In a rare moment, Hugh and Erwin come down on the same side of an issue, disagreeing with John over (I believe) both the constitutionality of John's proposal and the wisdom of it.
I can't speak to the constitutionality question, but then Hugh, Erwin, and John are all constitutional law professors and they almost never agree with each other either. But as Hugh said during the Harriet Miers debate, the Constitution isn't that hard to read and understand.
I'm with John on this one. It has always baffled me why we should give citizenship to babies born en route from one country to another. Or why we should dangle such an enticing carrot as "anchor babyhood" to encourage people to come here illegally. Of course the anchor baby issue requires the cooperation of the immigration folks who give naturalized-citizenship priority to the families of citizens. But the combination of instant citizenship and immigration priority draws people here illegally who might not otherwise come.
John's point is that these concerns can be addressed by Congress without having to resort to a constitutional amendment. And it sounds as though the House will be taking up the issue soon (as Congresspeople, not normal people, measure "soon"). It's about time!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are circulating a letter calling for a congressional leak investigation into the disclosure of secret U.S. interrogation centers abroad.
It's about dang time!
"If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," stated the letter, which Hastert's office said the House speaker had signed. There was no immediate word on whether Frist had given it his signature.
Compare the stakes involved in leaking this kind of information with the stakes involved in Valerie Plame's name getting in the papers. Absolutely no comparison. And yet, the Democrats and their MSM mouthpieces haven't let the Plame Blame Game stop for a minute.
When it comes to questions of national security, the Dems and the MSM simply cannot be trusted.
But we don't hear much about scams coming out of China. Most of the concerns people have are related to forced/cheap labor and repressive policies. Since China loosened up its economy just a little, however, allowing a measure of capitalism, rogue capitalists have started doing what rogues everywhere do. They're ripping people off.
The AP reported yesterday about a scam that's out of this world. The Beijing Lunar Village Aeronautics Science and Technology Co. sold land on the moon, including mineral rights up to nearly two miles below the lunar surface. They issued certificates verifying the "authenticity" of the buyer's purchase, and were able to sell a total of 49 acres to 34 different buyers at a price of about $37 an acre. Then the Chinese government shut them down.
While this company's actions are reprehensible, their ingenuity is impressive. But I guess they have to go to the moon, since they don't have the Brooklyn Bridge to sell.
Monday, November 07, 2005
But this time, there was a new element in the mix. My friend's Dutch Roommate, a lefty Chemistry professor, was also there, and DR and LF have met and hit it off well, so they teamed up on me when I wasn't quite feeling up to the fight.
It's always interesting to find out which issues the Left sees as the most important. For LF and DR, it was Global Warming and by extension, the environment. Iraq wasn't important at all, because we only went there to line the pockets of President Bush's corporate friends (he has an MBA, so that proves he's a corporate guy). And besides, Bush isn't a scientist, because everyone knows that having an MBA does not qualify a president to be making the crucial scientific decisions that have to be made. I don't know how LF and DR think Bill Clinton's or Al Gore's or
John Kerry's law degree qualified them to make scientific decisions, but I didn't think to ask.
At one point, DR asked me what I thought was most important, and I said the war against Islamofascism. He took offense on behalf of Islam, and I had to tell him, "I didn't say 'Islam.' I said 'Islamofascism,'" and DR calmed down after that.
Later, LF asked me in a slightly different way what I thought was most important, and I said the judiciary, because we're fighting a non-violent civil war, and the war front is the court system (HT: Dennis Prager for the "civil war" terminology).
Both LF and DR were stunned that I could think anything was more important than the environment. They ganged up on me to get me to understand what kind of bully the US
is, by invading other countries, forcing our political agenda on them, and expecting them not to resent it. Of course they resent it, just as we would resent China invading us for our natural resources. What we need to do is stay completely out of other countries' business.
I pointed out that Saudi Arabia invited us in back in Gulf War days, and when they recently asked us to leave, we left. No overstaying our welcome. That wasn't enough to convince them, because they said the opinion polls show that Iraqis don't like having us there. LF said that if I could find an Iraqi-conducted opinion poll where the Iraqis actually liked having us there, then he'd concede the point. I haven't looked for a poll yet.
The conversation turned back to Global Warming, and when I hesitated, DR pounced. He declared that all the hurricanes this year were caused by Global Warming. I told him that the people at the National Hurricane Center had said on the air that the hurricanes were absolutely NOT caused by global warming, but DR disagreed. I suppose that the NHC spokesman's scientific credentials disintegrated the moment President Bush took office.
DR, along with LF and my friend, stated that Global Warming is absolute fact. There are only a handful of lunatic fringe scientists who don't agree with Global Warming, but they're the ones getting all the press. The threats to the world by Global Warming are very real and imminent. They've found mastadons frozen solid, with undigested food still in the stomach, so don't think the effects of Global Warming will come slowly. It's our duty as a superpower to impress on the other nations of the world what needs to be done to save the environment.
I pressed LF on that last point, and when he said that the US has the right to interfere with other countries, because the environment is too important an issue to ignore, I asked him if that was hypocrisy. He had made such a big deal about our staying out of other countries when the question was freedom, but we could go into other countries over Global Warming. He conceded that point to me.
Great party. I learned a lot about how "normal" lefties view the world, though I didn't make much headway with them. Then again, they didn't make any headway, either. All parties should be this much fun.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Common Dreams published a column today by David W. Orr, which is a sequel to his column published in January of this year. Both are titled, "The Imminent Demise of the Republican Party," Parts 1 and 2."
I'm not sure how Orr defines "imminent," but the dictionary says, "about to occur." If the demise of the GOP was imminent back in January, I'm not sure what happened. Last time I looked, they were still around.
Part 1 has some stunning analysis of the state of the GOP and its prospects:
Following the election of 2004, much has been made of the weaknesses of the Democratic Party, even its possible end. But it has escaped the notice of our blow-dry television pundits and political observers alike that the Republican Party, in the full blush of triumph in control of all the branches of government and large sections of the media, stands on the edge of certain extinction.... The question is not whether it will survive as presently constituted, but what else will be destroyed as it collapses in ruin and ignominy, sooner than later.
Orr lists ten "rules" of the Republican Party that are a series of things they deny, including my favorite: "Deny the necessity for civil discourse, honesty, and transparency in the conduct of public life, thereby holding the citizenry in contempt and promoting a spirit of meanness. "
Let me emphasize that last statement. It's the Republicans who are promoting a spirit of meanness in our country.
The Republican Party has chosen to deny social, ecological, cultural, religious, and economic realities which are unavoidably complicated, complex, diverse, ironic, and paradoxical. Instead they have chosen to make their own simplistic, ideological, and chauvinistic fantasy world that has little affinity for law, science, a free and independent press, fairness, true security, ecological sustainability, and the accountability that is requisite for genuine democracy.
This is the complete list of the Democrat talking points. But that was January.
Today's column is much more ferocious in its condemnation of the GOP:
[The Republican Party] forged an alliance between Southern racists, the extreme Christian right, big business, neo-conservatives, and a group of right-wing financiers willing to invest billions over several decades to build ideologically driven think tanks and a nation-wide media echo chamber to mislead the public and return the country to the world of the Robber Barons of the 19th century. They played the public for fools, covering their tracks with patriotic and religious rhetoric and devising ruinous policies too complex to be widely understood. But, driven by an extremist ideology and directed by ruthless leadership, radical Republicans will fall victim to overreach and its own particular kind of blindness. The recent legal difficulties of Lewis Libby, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, and Jack Abramoff are only the tip of the iceberg. Other revelations are coming about the fabrication of the reasons for the mistaken war in Iraq. Still others will show a pattern of corruption and fraud at a scale for which we have no national precedent. Perhaps it is only a sign of hubris, but more likely it is growing evidence that the national Republican Party, having marginalized its wiser leaders and tossed good judgment overboard became a criminal enterprise given to deception and mendacity in order to cover grand theft at a national scale, all on behalf of something called their "base." But its mounting legal difficulties and decline in recent polls are evidence of deeper causes that will soon bring the entire enterprise to ruin.
Orr spells out the course of action that the Left needs to be prepared to take as soon as the GOP collapses. It's a fast track to a European-style socialist utopia. Read both parts of Orr's prophecy, because it reveals the unvarnished mindset of the Left. Fascinating and disturbing at the same time.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I've been to England, Ireland, and Scotland before, but not to Northern Ireland or Wales. And I've enjoyed the pictures of the other months, seeing so many places I haven't visited yet but would love to see sometime. But this month's pictures are stirring a yearning in my heart in a way that England's pictures didn't.
There's a certain wildness to Scotland, a wind that whips across heathered hills. Even on the sunniest and stillest of days, the weathered land whispers a promise of gale storms coming, of a chill and a downpour and a reason to spend the day indoors by a fire, sipping a cup of tea.
My calendar reminds me of the month I spent there--before children--bicycling on nearly deserted roads. It reminds me of rugged cliffs at the ocean's edge, of castle ruins on the Isle of Skye that once belonged to distant ancestors, of turbulent clouds and reflecting ponds and stone-built walls and cottages.
I ache as I look at the scenes of November. And I long to check airfares and look at the vacation schedule here at work and pick a time to go. But it wouldn't be long enough. Only a week to explore new islands and smell the earthy scent of peat and feel the wind bring color to my cheeks, only to have to come back home again.
Not long enough by a long shot.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Now, I go to the movies darn near every weekend, usually with The Girls after church, and sometimes with my daughter, who works at the movie theater. But when I see trailers for movies that look as though they want to tell me a Message, my hackles go up. Because Hollywood mangles almost every message they try to convey.
Not only do I go to the movies, though, I also buy the good ones on DVD. And on the "We Were Soldiers" DVD Special Features, General Hal Moore says that he saw movie after movie on the Vietnam War, and "Hollywood got it wrong every damn time." When he was approached by Randall Wallace for permission to make Moore's book into a movie, Moore didn't want to give his permission. It wasn't until Wallace sent Moore a copy of the script of "Braveheart" which was being filmed at the time, that Moore gave his OK on the condition that the studio didn't switch directors to someone besides Wallace. About his movie, Moore said, "They finally got it right."
The idea of Hollywood getting it wrong all the time is what makes me hesitant to see a lot of movies. I avoid all the lefty union-screaming movies (think: "Norma Rae") and the feminist-propaganda movies like the plague. No sense in paying Hollywood to beat me over the head with leftist claptrap.
When a movie looks like it could be good, but it also could be a left-swinging two-by-four coming upside my head, I'll wait to see it until after I hear from normal people that it's safe to watch. That's what I did with "North Country." Somebody at work said he thought it was good and didn't feel hit over the head with Message, so my friends and I saw it Saturday. It was good, and even though it covered a topic that could have been right-bashing, it wasn't, and for that I'm glad.
So I'm going to wait on "Jarhead." AOL News has an article today about the story behind making this movie, and it's not very encouraging.
Though it is seen through the eyes of eager Desert Storm soldiers, there are virtually no battle scenes in Jarhead. The movie takes no stand for or against the conflict. Some soldiers want out of the military. Others are desperate to stay.
Indeed, the men of Jarhead's platoon run the political gamut. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Swofford, a third-generation enlistee who quickly comes to regret his decision to join the military.
The main character is the carrier of a book/movie's message. So the Message of "Jarhead" is: You'll regret joining the military.
[Iraq] hasn't been easy terrain for filmmakers. The FX television show Over There, Steven Bochco's series based on the current Iraq war, is expected to be canceled because of poor ratings.
Funny, the blogs I read when "Over There" started said that the show was the Left's stereotypes of the Vietnam War, only in dirt instead of jungles. Of course Vietnam in the desert won't get good ratings.
The problem isn't Iraq. The problem isn't even Vietnam. The problem is that anti-military left-wingers are making movies about the military. The problem is guys like this, quoted in the AOL article (emphasis added):
"The Iraq war has entered an uncertain phase of undetermined length," says Kevin Hagopian, a film historian and professor at Penn State University. "No matter how supportive these dramas may be toward the American troops ... these dramas simply remind Americans of all political stripes that we're in a military quagmire."
These dramas are not supportive toward the American troops. And we're not in a quagmire. Jeez!
My church has lots of military, including some Marines, and we love these men and women and their families. And I want to see movies that show that same respect for what these people do and give themselves to. So I'll listen for Michael Medved's review of "Jarhead" and for Emmett of the Unblinking Eye's review. If both reviews aren't wholehearted endorsement of the movie, I'm not going.
Every time Hollywood makes a movie that trashes our military, I'll be sure not to give them one thin dime in support of that movie. And when they manage to make a movie that truly supports our military (like "We Were Soldiers"), I'll go see that movie in the theaters and then buy it on DVD, because I want to give them my own Message.