Friday, September 30, 2005

Happy Birthday to my Blog

Today is my one-year blogiversary.

And my traffic is approaching 100 in a single day for the first time!

That is all.

Let the Black Caucus Stay Black

This story was pointed out to me in a comment by daveg.

Apparently, Republican Representative Stacey Campfield wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus, and they won't let him, presumably beccause he is white (although the real reason could be because he is a Republican).

The comment that "even the Ku Klux Klan has less racist bylaws" seems to me to be rather over the top. This whole thing seems to be a publicity stunt.

Personally, I'm all for letting the Black Caucus remain black; if you dislike the Congressional Black Caucus and the agendas it pushes, it seems to me that a far better tactic than trying to infiltrate it with white people is to try to get more blacks to reject the caucus (or to get more blacks in the Congress who are against joining the caucus).

On the other hand, he did bring up the very valid point that in the U.S., it is acceptable for every group other than whites to recognize racial interests and to promote their racial interests per se. But from what I read, he seems to have gone about it in a bad way that is more interested in getting publicity than actually dealing with the issue per se.

That is all.

Recruiting Problems

Despite a recent rally in recruiting, the army will likely missed its recruiting goals by the largest margin since 1979 for this recruiting year (which ends in Friday).

I can't find them with a cursory Google, but as I recall there have been a lot of claims made recently by pro-warriors that recruiting is doing just fine. Apparently things are a little worse than they are trying to make them out to be.

More on this as it develops, and hopefully more links to articles disputing that there is a recuiting problem.

That is all.

Bill Bennett Spoke Truth

The brouhaha over Bill Bennett's remarks regarding aborting black feti is ridiculous. What he was saying, was, in effect, true; if we reduced the black population in the US, ceteris paribus, crime would go down, as blacks commit disproportionately more crimes. (I say ceteris paribus because to actually implement any such policy, in addition to the moral concerns of such a policy per se, would most definitely have unintended consequences, and they would certainly be very bad ones).

Moreover, as Steve Sailer pointed out, that was part of the actual argument in Steven Levitt's famous theory that abortion has cut crime, although it appears that Levitt wants to downplay that angle (thanx and a tip o' the hat to Rubnot). Moreover, as the abortion rate for blacks is around 2.5 times that of the population as a whole, and around 4-5 times that of whites, and as blacks on average commit a great deal more violent crimes (e.g., 6-7 times the murder rate of whites), it is hard not to see any argument that abortion cut crime as having a racial angle.

Andreww McCarthy and Matthew Yglesias also defend Bennett.

Another consideration is that in order to drive home the point about how immoral utilitarian arguments about abortion are, Bennett had to make the example he used as offensive as possible; suggesting that we disproportionately abort males would not have had the same "shock value" that was essential to his point. And if he had said that we aborted all of the babies to "poor mothers," wouldn't the same people who are criticizing him for choosing a "racist" example simply say that "poor" was a code-word for "black?"

Of course, the assumption that abortion as it stands has disproportionately eliminated the more crime-prone elements of the black community, or that it hasn't disproportionately eliminated those with better prospects has been called into question by Mr. Sailer as well.

That is all.

Commander-in-Chief vs. The Closer

I haven't seen the new show about our first female president, but I have found negative reviews at both the uber-leftist Alas, a Blog and the neo-con stronghold of NRO.

Color me unimpressed.

Although I have only seen a few episodes, I sort of like The Closer, particularly the part in the season finale where even the guys on the squad who didn't seem to particularly like her stuck their necks out to make sure she wasn't sacked for political reasons. Plus, her character can get a bit bitchy, so you have the whole House, M.D. sort of vibe where people don't like her personality but admire her skill and dedication.

That is all.

Polygamy is the Next Step

This story, about a man in essence marrying two women (actually, the women may be married to each other as well, I'm not clear on that point - the civil union is said to be "between three partners," and the wives' bisexuality is mentioned, presumably meaning that they will be having marital relations with each other, but it is stated that the man was "marrying them both," so whether the relationship between the two wives is considered a civil union [legally] or a marriage [informally], is unclear).

Lawrence Auster has some wry thoughts.

Of course, in the face of such things, one needs humor, so check out my other blog, Rankine 911, for a more humorous take on this from yours truly.

That is all.

I Should Post on These Topics:

The nomination of John Roberts

The decision to release new Abu Ghraib photos

The Outing of Scooter Libby as the Plame leak

Who did what wrong after Hurricane Katrina

Stay tuned, I will try to get to these - but I make no guarantees.

That is all.

Hoagland and Chalabi, Sittin' in a Tree...

...Jim Henley points out that once again, Jim Hoagland is swoonin' over the ol'Chalabster.

That is all.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Race Preferences and Truthfulness

Lawrence Auster, in an argument about racial preferences, says the following:

I’m surprised that you say that Grutter should only be narrowed but not overruled. Grutter is a monstrosity! The essence of Grutter is that the transcendent goal of proportional diversity justifies race preferences throughout society. What is there in Grutter that you think should be kept?

Actually, Grutter is worse than that; the essence of Grutter is that racial preferences are okay as long as they are obscured by a large enough level of B.S. Honest racial preferences, where there is a clear scoring system showing how they work, is forbidden. But as long as you can be unclear enough about how the preferences actually work, they are okay. In other words, Grutter banned honesty about racial preferences, but in no way actually weakened them.

That is all.

"Price-Gouging Laws" = Price Controls

So says William Anderson on the Mises Institute website. And of course, they carry the same problems as all price controls.

He's right, of course.

That is all.

John Bolton Stands up to the UN... not.

This should make conservatives so proud.

Oh yeah, we paleos were so stupid not to align ourselves with the neocons in order to combine our forces against the UN, as Dicky Poe suggested. Yeah, because the neos really hate the UN, too. Sure.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Anthony Gregory at the LRC blog.

That is all.

Mmmmm... That Would Make Some BIG Calamari!

Some Japanese scientists have caught some glimpses of a live giant squid for the first time.

Creatures such as this, that live their entire lives out of the watchful eye of humanity, have a sort of fascination for me... it's interesting to think that they exist, but that we have no contact with them. To make a simile that is less than poetic, it's like that corner in your attic behind all of the other stuff that you've piled up; it's sort of cozy to think about because you know it is there but you can't get at it.

That is all.

Violence in Iraq - Again

Once again, violence in Iraq is beginning to grow, after a brief respite early this month. Five marines were killed in a roadside bomb, in addition to two otehrs in another roadside bomb, and three suicide car bomb attacks have killed 60 Iraqis.

And now, the military is backing off from claims that the military would reduce the number of troops in Iraq in 2006.

Of course, there is always the "good news:"

"One of the most positive trends that we see across Iraq is the willingness of the Sunnis to participate in a political process. We have seen them registering in large numbers in all of the major Sunni [Arab] provinces," Casey said.

Which, while definitely better than the Sunni Arabs not participating, does not actually amount to a victory in terms of securing Iraq from the insurgents. Particularly when a lot of the Sunni Arabs are likely to vote to reject the constitution.

That is all.

Check Out This Blog

I found this blog through Blogger's "random blog finder" (i.e. the "Next Blog" button on the strip at the top of the page).

It has some interesting posts, and it doesn't have a whole lot of traffic (yet, it is a very young blog) according to its sitemeter account, so I though I would throw a little its way.

I know how much I appreciated it when anyone linked to me, so go ahead and click on the link!

That is all.

More on God and Dysfunctional Societies

Joseph Farah has an eloquent, but fact-free defense of the idea that believing in God is good for society. (This is all in reply to this article), which I commented on in an earlier post.

Steve Sailer, on the other hand, offers a much more compelling defense: he elaborates on his earlier posting and makes the same point that I made; that blaming religion for social ills is a lot more politically correct than blaming race in the same way.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Can We Trust the Numbers About New Orleans?

Earlier I mentioned the controversy over whether the violence in New Orleans was exaggerrated.

Steve Sailer makes the point that we can't necessarily assume that the "official numbers" used to dispel the "myth" of the huge amount of violence surrounding Katrina are accurate.

That cities may be trying to fudge their crime statistics by "disappearing" certain crimes was a concern mentioned in this VDARE article by Nicholas Stix.

In any case, I think it might be good to withhold judgment for the time being, and to be suspicious of all reports on both sides.

That is all.

Illegal Alien Killed in Britain on Suspicion of Terrorism

Not that it justifies the police shooting him and then lying about the circumstances afterwards, but Carl de Menezes was in Britain illegally. The G-Gnome has an entire blog devoted to this issue.

Read it. Now.

That is all.

Racism Bad, Anti-Religionism Good

Reporting that religious societies have higher murder rates, abortion rates, and promiscuity is A-OK. But reporting the same things about racial minorities is verboten.

Of course, what this does is distract from the fact that America has a lot more blacks and Hispanics than Europe, and that this could be the reason for America's higher rate of "dysfunction" rather than the U.S.'s religiosity, as Steve Sailer points out. Indeed, as Steve has pointed out elsewhere, Christianity may be responsible for America's better-behaved (compared to Britain) white working class.

This isn't the first time this happened. As Steve pointed out before, this same analysis was also done within the U.S., with the same problems.

That is all.

Also, the Shiites Strike Back

The Telegraph article I referenced also has this little gem of a quote:

"There has been a local surge of revenge killings in the region, with the bodies of prominent Sunni Arabs found on a rubbish tip."

The reports that the Shiite Arabs in Iraq were not retaliating against the Sunni Arabs for their anti-Shiite violence may not be entirely accurate; there may be some significant exceptions to the widely-publicized Shiite passive resistance. This means that sectarian civil war is more likely than we have been led to believe; the idea that the Shiites would sit down and take it while waiting for the coalition to solve the insurgency was always a pipe dream. It also suggests that at least some of the Shiite Arabs see their enemy as Iraqi Sunni Arabs rather than foreign terrorists.

None of this bodes well for the coalition or for the story the administration wants to tell of Iraqis united against an unpopular terrorist threat. It also seems that claims that the civil war has failed to materialize may be overly optimistic; it has materialized; it is just starting small.

That is all.

Just Like I Said in Basra

The propaganda from Basra is falling in line with what I predicted.

Glaivester: "Probably again, we will hear that the current police force is controlled by Iran, and that most of the Basrans hate it, and that ther Brits are "liberating" those poor Basrans from Iranian rule..."

Telegraph: "Basra has fallen under the control of a cabal of renegade police commanders who have enforced a reign of terror in the city."

"Rumours are whispered everywhere about the malevolent influence of Iran, whose border lies just a few miles away."

Not that I think that the Basran police department is a bunch of angels; yes, they are corrupt. But I have a feeling that the Basrans are far more comfortable with them than they are with the Brits. The idea that the Brits are going to be seen as liberating the poor Basrans from Iranian oppression is dubious at best, ludicrous at worst.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

That is all.

Morris Dees is Evil

Joseph Farah on how the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center helped two ILLEGAL ALIENS to use the courts to steal a man's ranch.

I have never liked Mr. Dees, and this has just further confirmed my low opinion of him.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

No Police, No Problem

The Brits have decided to scrap Basra's police force and replace it with a new military-style unit.

Well, so much for the "transfer of sovereignty, as Jim Henley notes.

What will be more interesting is to see how the pro-warriors try to spin this so that we don't admit that this is an occupation. Probably again, we will hear that the current police force is controlled by Iran, and that most of the Basrans hate it, and that ther Brits are "liberating" those poor Basrans from Iranian rule by giving them the police force that they really want, which just so happens to be a military-style unit that (probably) answers to the British.

The disturbing thing about this is that it indicates that we may be heading toward conflict wit hthe Shiite majority soon, and not just the Sunni Arabs.

That is all.

Al Qaeda's (Supposed) #2 in Iraq Killed

Abdullah Abu Azzam, who is claimed to be Al Qaeda's #2 in Iraq (behind Zarqawi) has been killed in a raid.

I doubt that this will change anything one way or the other, but I like seeing AQ members dead.

Update: In the comments of Jim Henley's blog, it is pointed out that Zarqawi seems to have a fairly abundant supply of #2's.

That is all.

Katrina Aftermath Exaggerrated - Or Not?

A recent report in the New Orleans Times Picayune has suggested that the huge increase in violence after Hurrican Katrina may have been exaggerrated.

The G-Gnome questions the writings of John Brimelow and Jared Taylor based on this article. Considering that Jared Taylor is a white nationalist, it certainly would not surprise me if he described incidents in a way that, whether unintentionally or deliberately, exaggerrated black criminality.

Ziel of Your Lying Eyes, on the other hand, believes that the reports of exaggerrated violence were themselves exaggerrated; that is, that some or most of the exaggerrated reports did not appear (at least not in the mainstream media) during the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and indeed seem to have first been brought to light by those "debunking" them. Moreover, some of the incidents may have been misreported (the guardsman shot in the leg), but the actual incident isn't really that much of an improvement on the misreport.

Things are probably not as bad as people like Taylor think, but the problems in New Orleans were probably less exaggerrated than many would like to believe.

That is all.

An Offer to My Fellow Bloggers.

My recent Sitemeter stats have been hovering around 50 visits per day, up from around 10-20 when I started the blog a year ago next Friday.

I am very grateful to those who have put me in their links, including the big-shot early linkers (Steve Sailer and Gene Expression, and those who came along later (Colby Cosh, Clark Stooksbury, and A.C. Kleinheider).

There are also a number of others who have put links to me on their sites.

In this vein of thought, I have decided to do a favor to other up-and-coming bloggers. It's a small thing, but if Glaivester readership goes up, it might become bigger.

If you are reading this and have a blog you would like to publicize, tell me in the comments section on this post. Make sure you include your blog as your homepage on the Haloscan form. I'll look at your blog, and if I like it, I will put up a post promoting it. The only condition is that after I do so, you have to make a post on your own blog referencing Glaivester, and that post must have a link to my front page (that is, to http://glaivester.blogspot.com itself, not just to a particular post of mine). I do not need to be included in your "links" page, although if you want to do so I wouldn't object.

Anyone want to take me up on this?

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan...

Three recent incidents in Afghanistan, one on Sunday, two on Monday, have killed seven coalition soldiers, bringing this year's total to 84. Annualized, this would be about 112 to 113, which means that if the current trend continues, 2005 will be morethan twice as deadly as any year since we invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

While the miliary has said that they do not know what took down the Chinook helicopter on Sunday, and appear to be leaning away from violence as an explanation, Taliban militants claim responsibility. Of course, as bringing down a Chinook of their enemy would be very prestigious, they have every reason to lie and claim responsibility even if they had nothign to do with it, so I don't put too much stock in their claims.

That is all.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wow - 81 Unique Visits

With 81 visits so far, today may be the busiest day that the Glaivester blog has had (in terms of traffic) since its inception on Sept. 30, 2004.

I have to thank Your Lying Eyes and Gorilla in the Room for their posts linking to me, which I think is what upped my traffic.

That is all.

Intriguing Idea About the New York Times

Donald Luskin suggests that the New York Times' restriction of its editorial page to its subscribers may be partly intended to prevent them from being accessed by conservative columnists who will criticize them.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lawrence Auster.

That is all.

Would You Believe...

...That Don Adams lived to the age of 120? No? Then 105? Okay, how about 90?

Don Adams, R.I.P. at 82.

That is all.

Is Sunni Voting a Victory?

Andrew Sullivan points out that a large Sunni Arab turnout in the referendum on the Iraqi Constitution has its perils.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Sunni Arabs signing up to vote is a bad thing; that they are willing to try to voice their concerns at the ballot is, of course, better than if they elected to stay home; in which case the only method left to them for getting power would be violence. However, it hardly means that we are out of the woods, and it definitely does not represent the major defeat for the insurgency that some pro-warriors want to paint it as.

There seems to be the assumption amongst a lot of pro-warriors that voting is in and of itself a repudiation of the insurgency. But it strikes me that there is no reason why someone could not vote "by day" and join the insurgency "by night." That is to say, if the various Iraqi groups view voting as a means of gaining power over other Iraqis, there is no reason why they might not vote as one prong of their strategy (that is, their strategy to get power for their group in Iraq) and use attacks on coalition troops and/or rival ethnic groups as another prong.

Of course, there is one particularly bright spot in this situation; because the Sunni Arabs live in the areas of Iraq with fewer resources, they have little interest in splitting Iraq up, or in redrawing its borders. This means that one large motive for insurgency in the face of voting (that the insurgents believe that the current borders are illegitimate, and that they would win if the borders were drawn differently) is not present. (I think this statement about borders is a variation on something that Steve Sailer said, but I can't find the link right now).

That is all.

The Propaganda War

As I have commented on before, there is a tendency to portray the Iraqis who support the coalition as the legitimate voice of Iraq and those who oppose us as either foreign agents, as the pawns of foreign agents, or in some other way as anti-Iraqi.

Michael W. of Lunaville has noticed an example of this in an ABC news report where Master Sgt. Greg Kaufman, a U.S. military spokesman, notes that "There were some anti-Iraqi forces killed," when discussing a clash with the Sadrists.

Oh, I think that this shows that things are going real well for Iraq.

That is all.

Blame Iran! Blame Iran!

More blaming of Iran for the Basra incident, more or less along the lines I suggested it would take here.

Not that this makes me any sort of clairvoyant; the blaming of Iran started very soon after the incident, and Jim Henley noticed it before my first post dealing with Iran vis a vis Basra.

Nonetheless, reading this statement by me:

Also look to Michael Ledeen and the like portraying the police as all pawns of Iran (there is already a push afoot to blame all anti-coalition sentiment in the Shiite region on Iran, whereas the Iraqi parliamentary officials who took the Brit's side represent the legitimate voice of Basra (and for that matter, look to them acting as if the entire population of Basra except for a few "foreigners" support the Brits on this issue, and expect that the "legitimate voice" of Basra will be whatever the British say it is)).

- "More on Basra," Glaivester, Sept. 21, 2005

and then this from the London Sunday Telegraph, via theWashington Times:

While the majority of Iraq's Shi'ites are happy to settle for the secular constitution currently proposed, some of the more radical groups, particularly those with ties to Teheran, are insisting that Iraq adopt a more Islamist form of government.

- "Tehran Training Shi'ite Militants, British say"

One does get the feeling (well, I do, anyway) that I accurately captured the subtext with which the Basra incident was to be described. Again, I'm not claiming that this makes me clairvoyant, I'm just saying that the neoconservatives amongst the pro-warriors have become fairly predictable.

That is all.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Some o' that Sailer Good Stuff, Mate.

Steve Sailer on the situation in Australia.

that is all.

Here's a Plan!

Apparently Tom Tancredo has suggested that the U.S. sell off government-owned land to defray costs from Hurrican Katrina.

I think we should be careful, we may need that land to pay for Social Security. (And yes, I know, this is a variation on one of Harry Browne's ideas, it's not original with me).

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to A. C. Kleinheider, and a tip from him to Tom Tancredo 4 President Blog.

That is all.

New Link

Your Lying Eyes has been added to my links list on the left of the page.

That is all.

More on Krugman, Race, and Katrina

Your Lying Eyes has a post on Paul Krugman's recent column on race and Katrina that echoes some of the same sentiments that I expressed. I guess that great minds think alike.

That is all.

Mark Steyn, Who Are Ye?

Lawrence Auster has made some interesting posts detailing the fact that Mark Steyn seems to be shrouded in mystery (here, here, here, here, and here).

Now, according to this eXile article (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Thrasymachus). Mark Steyn wrote an article back in August 1996 making fun of the U.S. And not in a playful, "you know I love you" sort of way, but an article truly disparaging the U.S..

Does anyone else know anything about this? If it is true, then who is this Steyn fellow?

Curiouser and curiouser...

That is, well, all for now.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Link

I feel that I should link to those who link to me, so I have added a link to "Iron Rails, Iron Weights," a blog about a New York commuter who also weight trains, and has decided to blog about both.

That is all.

Islamic Radicals Take Over Mauritania. No one Cares.

The latest War Nerd column on the situation in Mauritania.

I am appropriately unimpressed by the country. Although I am impressed by the fact that Mr. Brecher has bothered to research it.

Update: According to a poster (see comments on this post), the leadership of Mauritania are not Islamic radicals, although they did release a few radicals from prison.

That is all.

Iraqi Insurgency 90-96% Domestic

This is an interesting article, as is this one, which the first article links to.

The two major points that stand out for me are that the number of foreign fighters in the insurgency are small (4-10%), and that most of the insurgency are Sunni Arabs, who don't want a Shiite-led government, but not Baathists with a desire to return Saddam to power.

This effectively removes two arguments that the pro-warriors often use; that the "insurgency" is really composed of foreigners and that therefore we are on the side of the Iraqis against these foreign interveners; and that we are fighting "Saddamites" who are trying to return the Baath Party to power; and thus we need not worry that there is much popular support for, or identification with, the insurgents.

What we are actually dealing with, it appears, are people from an ethnic group (the Sunni Arabs) that stands to lose in the Shiite-Arab-dominated Iraq we are creating. The Sunni Arabs do not, I should point out, stand to lose because they have some aversion in principle to democracy, but because a rival ethnic group (i.e. the Shiite Arabs, in coalition with the semi-autonomous Kurds) is likely to be put in power. And as Matt Yglesias points out, the Shiites is not necessarily less cruel or corrupt just because they were the ones out of power and are "on our side."

The point is that what we are fighting is not so much a battle between good and evil, but a battle between different ethnic groups in conflict, each seeking the system that gives their group the most power. That is why I make references to "Kurdish death squads," including in a post for which I have been criticized by other blogs and in my comments. I don't think that the Kurds or their peshmerga are evil or that the Sunni Arab Insurgency are romantic freedom fighters. I am just concerned that we are in an ethnic war where one side will have to totally crush (i.e. severly oppress, drive out, or exterminate) the other in order to end it. I am also worried that for all of our rhetoric about "promoting democracy" or "promoting human rights," we are going to wind up fighting this war the only way it can be fought successfully, that is, fighting it dirtily; and if we are going to do this I think it is important that we be forthright about it and understand what we are getting into. (I am also concerned that, whether we moderate our strategy to become ruthless enough to win or not, we will lose a whole lot of soldiers in the crossfire once a full-scale civil war develops).

Some of the hawks have been trying to avoid discussing this type of concern by pretending that the insurgency is mainly foreign inspired or composed mostly of foreigners and Baathist "dead-enders" who have no natural base of support within the country. (This also conveniently provides a pretext for expanding the war, as I pointed out here). Therefore, Iraqis of all stripes (except for the 20,000 or so who are insurgents) will cheer as we eliminate the evil terrorists, and there is no danger of civil war. Of course, if the insurgency is mainly home-grown it means that civil war is a real danger, and that taking down Syria and/or Iran will, at best, be marginally helpful to our campaign in Iraq (there is also a good possibility that doing so will make things in Iraq worse, if, say, Syria or Iran totally collapses and thousands decide to retaliate by streaming into Iraq).

In short, we are fighting a complex war, and a mostly home-grown insurgency, with an embryonic civil war going on in the background. There are no easy solutions and the lines between good and evil groups are fuzzier than we would like to think. Thought this war was a slam-dunk case of "liberation?" Thought that Iraq was going to turn into a model liberal democracy? Welcome to the real world, folks. (If, of course, you are not still clinging to your delusions).

That is all.

The Sick Man of Eurasia

Apparently Russia is facing a population crisis - a crisis not of over-, but of underpopulation.

I am wondering what, if anything, can be done. It seems to me that there has to be some way to help Russia. Perhaps some churches should get together and start some missions in Russia. Also, it seems to me that if we could start a charitable organization dedicated to getting nutritious, well-balanced meals to Russian children, that might help some of the problems. Anyone else have any thoughts?

That is all.

End Juror Slavery!

So says Gary Galles.

That is all.

Alternatives to Prison?

Gary North, a veteran of ministries to people in prison, suggests that prisons could be eliminated, although the article also contains a lot about about his experience in Kairos ministries that is pretty apolitical.

I can't say that I think that eliminating prisons is a good idea myself; definitely, property crimes where there was little or no physical harm or threat to actual persons could be punished by restitution, but for rapists and murderers, I want them kept away from society, and I am not comfortable with th idea of executing all of them.

Put another way, there are people whom I don't want in society, at least not for a while, but whom I don't want dead.

Of course, when analyzing Gary North's thoughts about crime and punishment, it is necessary to remember that he is a Christian Reconstructionist, whose beliefs on capital punishment may in some cases be a bit severe.

That is all.

More from Iraq

An oil pipeline was attacked in Iraq.

Here's a list of attacks on Iraqi pipelines since June of 2003.

That is all.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Another Basra?

According to this report, there have been some problems in the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah, where today US forces killed two police officers and a deputy mayor.

If this story is accurate (I don't know how reliable China View, aka Xinhua.com, is), then this is very disturbing. Either US forces are out of control in this town, or else at least some of the people running it are part of the insurgency. In any case, this is unlikely to help coalition/Iraqi relations to any great extent. Dhuluiyah, presuming it is the same as Ad Duluiyah, is a a town of 50,000 people, about 1/8 the size of Basra; so this incident, while not terribly huge, is still fairly significant.

More on this as it develops.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to AntiWar.com.

That is all.

VDH on Iraq

Victor Davis Hanson's column on Iraq can be summed up as follows (in italics, my comments are in Roman):

(1) We need to keep Iraq together because the Middle East needs to learn multiculturalism.

Here's an idea: why don't we combine Israel and Jordan into one state and see how well that multiculturalism works out?

(2) We need to stay in order to insure that the landmark events occur that will provide victory (approcal of a constitution, the trial of Saddam).

Yes, because the insurgency suffered so much during each previous landmark events (the capture of Saddam, the "transfer of sovereignty).

(3) All the good things happening in the Middle East (no more Taliban, progress on the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the de-occupation of Lebanon) are because of the invasion of Iraq.

Ah, yes, it was the removal of Saddam that caused Arafat to die, the removal of Saddam that kept the Taliban from returning to poweer in Afghanistan, and that caused the Hariri assassination which led to the current situation in Lebanon.

(4) Things are going really, really well in Iraq. We are wll on our way to when Iraq will be able to take care of itself, and the insurgency is on the ropes.

Sure. Which is why the US and UK are considering increasing troop levels.

That is all.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Just in Case...

...You forgot that Andrew Sullivan is gay, he gives us a helpful reminder.

Hey, I keed, I keed.

That is all.

And So it Begins...

Conservatives are beginning to get angry at Bush, finally.

Ann Coulter expresses her frustration at Bush's liberal policies and his family's chumminess with Clinton. Hey, they're a dynastic family, so they may want to join forces with other, emerging dynasties - perhaps George P. can marry Chelsea?

In any case, this quote:

"Bush has already fulfilled all his campaign promises to liberals – and then some! He said he'd be a "compassionate conservative," which liberals interpreted to mean that he would bend to their will, enact massive spending programs, and be nice to liberals. When Bush won the election, that sealed the deal. It meant the Democrats won."

is especially satisfying to me, as it seems like something you might read in, say The American Conservative or on Lawrence Auster's View from the Right. It also represents a very sweeping indictment of Bush; perhaps a realization that Bush is not, after all, a true conservative who is just "playing nice," but perhaps a non-conservative masquerading as one.

National Review is upset at Bush's nomination for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. So after several years of having to a great extent caved on imigration, NRO starting to sound a little like VDARE!

I should point out that both of these facts have been noted by Ol' Sully, here and here.

I will also draw attention to an earlier post of mine concerning Rod Dreher's growing disilllusionment with Dubya.

Even Michelle Malkin is getting on the bandwagon. Although, in all due fairness, Malkin may have always had suspicions about Bush. Way back in 2000, I emailed her to say that I was leery of Bush (full disclosure: I voted for Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party in 2000) because I felt he was the candidate of the National Rifle Association rather than of Gun Owners of America (a much more right-wing gun rights group if you didn't know that) and she responded favorably (although I forget her exact words).

Now if we can just get Hugh Hewitt to start doubting Bush...

That is not all. That is just the beginning.

Hmore Hmong Hmadness

Bryanna Bevins discusses Chai Vang's attempted defense at his trial his murder of six people in Wisconsin (his defense failed, thankfully) and wonders if it is inspired by hate crime statues, although arguably he was committing a hate crime himself.

In any case, I am happy that justice is served, and that a killer will be in prison.

That is all.

But Do Terrorists Deserve Due Process?

Yes, because it is the only way to guarantee that non-terrorists who are falsely accused of being terrorists have a means of exoneration.

Anthony Gregory comments on why the Jose Padilla case is important.

That is all.

Trans-Humanism, Post-Humanism, the Singularity, and Other Silly Ideas

Gene Healey is uncomfortable with the futures that some futurists predict, and questions whether or not these futures are even realistic. Fortunately, Jeffrey Tucker gives us an example of a science fiction future that understands that humans will still be humans.

That is all.

Race and Welfare

Paul Krugman's recent column on race and Katrina makes the point that part of the reason why we have a less generous welfare state (at least for the poor) than many European countries is because of our racial diversity. Specifically, large numbers of America's poor are black, and the white majority is less willing to help them with welfare than they would be if most of the poor were whites like themselves. Of course, Krugman sees this as inexcusable racism.

I'll admit that what Krugman says is certainly true to an extent; after all if races are simply partially-inbred extended families, then people, who are usually more willing to help relatives, and more willing to help in direct proportion to how close a relative the recipient is, would usually be more willing to help people from their own race.

On the other hand, though, what Krugman ignores is the fact that the welfare state has had a very different effect on blacks than it did on European whites (at least in the case of Scandinavians, Scotsmen are apparently reacting rather badly to it); or at least the effect occurred more quickly in blacks.

Of course, this may not be due to any particular attribute of blacks, but rather to the effects of racial diversity per se on welfare. If people's willing ness to help the poor is influenced by whether or not the poor is "one of them" (i.e. the same race), then why isn;t the attitude of the welfare recipient to his benefactors subject to the same influence? That is, the attitude of one on welfare may be affected by whether or not he sees "his own kind" as the ones paying for it. If a person sees himself as living as a minority amongst an alien people, he may be more likely to put his interests ahead of those of society's than he would if society were composed of his own kin. In other words, he would have les qualms about taking every advantage of the system, because "the other" is paying for it.

Of course, from a libertarian perspective this is a great advantage of having a diverse society; it makes the welfare state unworkable enough that it expands much more slowly than in other places. And it possible that blacks served as a "canary in the coalmine" waking the US up to problems of the welfare state before it could get entrenched as it has in, for example, the UK, where the problems took long enough to become apparent that no one could muster the outrage to solve it.

Of course, if I were black somehow I don't think it would give me much comfort to hear that the devastation of much of my community helped the whites to avoid corrupting their own working class.

That is all. For now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Undying Loyalty to Dubya

Lawrence Auster comments on how many conservative Christians appear to be willing to forego all of their principles in order to support Bush.

Perhaps this website explains?

That is all.

You Only Get What You Give

I couldn't resist blogging on this New York Times article after hearing about it on Laura Ingraham's show yesterday. The most fascinating fact for me, for some reason, as quoted from Dr. Jennifer Manlove (insert name joke here):

"'One thing that surprised me is that we expected, based on anecdotal evidence, that girls might be more likely to give oral sex and boys more likely to receive it, but we didn't find that at all...There's more gender equality than we expected.'"

(I notice, though, that the article does not give any statistics to confirm that (in the article, none of the stats on oral sex break down who is the giver and who is the receiver, ao exactly how much gender equality there is was not made clear).

Personally, I find the concept of oral sex to be rather gross. I can't imagine wanting one's mouth - down there. However, in sexual matters I have always found it interesting whenever it turns out that women are acting more like men than we think, hence I find that this recent datum caught my attention.

That is all.

Iraqi Embezzlement Scandal

I hadn't heard this before, but I just read on Juan Cole's blog that former Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan embezzled $1-$2 billion from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, delaying the equipping of the Iraqi military as well as costing Iraq (and presumably therefore the US) money.

I will try to find out a little more about this and report my thoughts, but for the time being, I agree with most of what Mr. Cole said, and I recommend that you check out the many links he provides to articles et al. discussing the scandal (I'm particularly intrigued by the story of the two contractors who may have been killed over it).

In any case, I will give credit where credit is due: it appears that Ahmad Chalabi was "the good guy" in this, warning about Shaalan's perfidy back in January, which started a bit of a political scuffle.

That is all.

Thoughts on Davis-Bacon

Recently, the events in New Orleans have brought up an issue that has been sort of forgotten over the past few years: the Davis-Bacon Act, which George W. Bush recently suspended for companies rebuilding damage from Katrina.

I rremembering reading about Davis-Bacon back in 2000 or 2001 when reading Tony Brown's Black Lies, White Lies, where he asserted that it was a racist attempt to prevent black workers from undercutting the unions (at the time, many unions were all-white) by charging lower prices. Although I think I remember one or two people bringing Davis-Bacon up as a quick talking point (to talk about it being racist), this is the first time that I can remember where it has come up as a policy issue, or as a topic of any serious discussion.

At the Cato Institute, David Bernstein gives a little history on Davis-Bacon, supporting Brown's interpretation.

A pro-Union blogger's response. Essentially, the point of this article vis a vis Davis-Bacon is that integrating unions is/was a better solution for black workers than repealing Davis-Bacon (and logically, to the extent that unions are already integrated, whatever racism motivated Davis-Bacon is irrelevant now) and that attacking it as racist is merely political opportunism on the part of conservatives

As a person more on the libertarian side of things, I of course favor the repeal of Davis-Bacon, whether it was racist or not. But it is an interesting debate that really hasn't hit the public until now.

That is all.

New Link

I have recently noticed that I am getting some traffic from the "G-Gnome."

He has kindly put me in his links.

I will reciprocate.

That is all.

More on Basra

And the details keep on coming. I am waiting for some warblogger to comment on how the British were acting as liberators whereas the native Shiite police were all oppressors. Also look to Michael Ledeen and the like portraying the police as all pawns of Iran (there is already a push afoot to blame all anti-coalition sentiment in the Shiite region on Iran, whereas the Iraqi parliamentary officials who took the Brit's side represent the legitimate voice of Basra (and for that matter, look to them acting as if the entire population of Basra except for a few "foreigners" support the Brits on this issue, and expect that the "legitimate voice" of Basra will be whatever the British say it is)).

That is all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And Back to Increasing Troop Numbers

The US may need to increase troop levels in Iraq, perhaps through extended tours of duty, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

This contradicts earlier (Sept. 2) assessments by General John Vines, which in turn contradicted those of Chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita (Aug. 8), who suggested extended tours of duty to raise the number of U.S. troops to around 160,000. It seems that the official position on this is very... variable.

I expect to hear another shift or two before the elections occur, but in the end I suspect that there will be more troops; after all, the United Kingdom is considering an increase in troop levels, and anti-US and anti-Shiite violence seems to have resurged over the past few days or so, after a two-to-three-week lull. the belief that we wouldn't need to increase troops was probably the result of the (probably temporary) lull, and maybe the result of concerns that talking about increasing troop levels would seem bad with all the concern about Hurricane Katrina.

In any case, I do not think that we are likely to see a decrease in troop levels in Iraq any time soon, unless it is by necessity. The idea that elections and constitutions will defeat the insurgency is wishful thinking.

That is all.

Preparing the Next Casus Belli

Apropos of the last post, could these accusations be the germ of an attack on Iran?

Moreover, even if Iran is interfering, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Iraqis would be happy little democratts if Iran were taken out of the picture. If there is foreign interference, it would presumably serve to shore up anti-coalition activities by local malcontents, rather than creating discord where there would otherwise be harmony.

Put another way, Iran wouldn't be able to interfere to any great extent if there were not local Iraqis who were dissatisfied with the coalition (in this case, specifically UK) presence. So taking Iran out of the picture will not necessarily solve the problems in Basra.

In short, beware of anyone who states that we can end the war by expanding it. For that is what these accusations against Iran (or Syria, in other cases) amount to: first, it's an attempt to spin things so that we can explain the insurgency and the terrorist attacks while still maintaining that we are beloved liberators and denying the embryonic civil war (the Iraqis love us. It's those damn Syrian Baathists and Iranian mullahs doing all that attacking! Secondly, it is preparing us to accept an attack on Iran or Syria without worrying about our overstretched military (but once we accomplish regime change in Syria and/or Iran, Iraq will quiet down, so we won't need more troops - in fact, if we accomplish regime change by covert means, which is certain to work, because my secret Iranian/Syrian sources say that the people will revolt if the US gives them support, we'll need fewer troops)!

My advice is to look at all such reports with a jaundiced eye and several grains of salt.

That is all.

Thoughts on Anthrax

Justin Raimondo's recent article on the anthrax attacks reminded me that, really, the anthrax attacks were the first step, really, after September 11 leading towards war with Iraq.

It was the anthrax letters that started people pointing to Iraq as a target (or alternately, that were used as the excuse to target Iraq). He references this post (use the find function (apple key-F for Mac, Control-F for Windows, and type in "the coming attack" but without the quotes to find the specific post) by Ol' Sully.

I distinctly remember in 2001 reading someone who was talking about the investigation (I think it was Sullivan, but I could be wrong) who said something along the lines of "or here's an idea: maybe it was Saddam who sent the anthrax." Essentially, there were accusations that someone was passively covering up (i.e., not looking for) Iraqi involvement. The general impression was that a lot of neocons were salivating for an excuse to attack Saddam. Which, of course, they were.

I'm not sure if there is much of a point to this post, other than remembering how the focus on Iraq started.

That is all.

Government Help is Slow for Whites, Too

Harry Shearer on non-New Orleans Katrina suffering, which has been conveniently brushed to the side.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Ol' Sully.

That is all.

Interesting Commentary on Establishment Conservatism

Clark Stooksbury discusses how Rush Limbaugh (and others) tend to be more flacks for Bush than genuine conservatives.

Via Clark's blog.

That is all.

More Details on the Basra Situation

The Independent fleshes out the story of the jailed and - er - "released" British soldiers.

That is all.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Round-up of that Sailer Good Stuff

Steve Sailer on:

How the media got Katrina wrong
On problems with (at least much of) the right-wing media as an agent of change (mainly because they are fighting too much for the Republican Party rather than for ideas)
On people ignoring the role of race (not racism, but race itself) in New Orleans
On problems at the convention center caused by the timidity of law enforcement in the face of a politically incorrect phenomenon
On crime in Britain
On the mythological effeminate Native American vs. actual Native Americans
On statistical fallacies

I haven't linked to Sailer much for a few days. Hopefully this makes up for it.


That is all.

Stupidity in Basra

In an apparent attempt to free two Britih undercover commandos held in a Basra jail (for allegedly shooting a couple of Iraqi policemen), British forces crash into the jail with tanks, also freeing 150 Iraqi prisoners.

If there one thing in Iraq that we don't want, it is for the coalition to alienate those who are most likely to support us. What idiot decided to use tanks to stage a jailbreak for two people accused of being cop-killers?

At Lunaville, there was a post on this. Reading the comments, someone going by the name of ""Superpower" = EMPIRE" points out that this suggests that the British forces in Basra do not have a lot of influence with the civil authorities.

This also contradicts an earlier "War Nerd" column (I'll try to find it later), where Gary Brecher talked about how savvy the Brits were at not offending the locals too much (and thus being more efficient imperialists than we were).

I suppose it is nice to know that there are things that hold constant across space and time, even if one of those things is human stupidity.

That is all.

Now, Perhaps an Increase?

The UK has broached the possibility of increasing the number of troops it has in Iraq.

Yes, obviously the insurgency is on the ropes and the passage of the new constitution will allow us to leave Iraq as victors.

That is all.

Chewing Gum While Walking

Interesting post.

It seems to make an assertion that I often find elsewhere; essentially, that participation by Iraqis in an election automatically means that they see elections as legitimate and see the governemnt as legitimate; thus, a high turnout is a repudiation of the insurgency.

What is rarely considered is that a love of democracy isn't a requirement for participating in an election. Nor for that matter does everyone participating in an election have to view it as legitimate; they may just look at the fact of the election and decide that it is in their interest to participate.

Put another way, it is totally possible for a person to vote in the election and yet still view the resulting government as illegitimate (or as opposed to his interests; self-interest or interest of one's group is often the motivation rather than an actual moral principle). It is also possible to vote in the election as one way of trying to get power while simultaneously supporting the insurgency (and viewing foreign fighters from terrorist groups as allies of convenience in the current campaign) as another way.

So even a high turnout in Iraqi elections by Sunni Arabs doesn't necessarily mean a loss of support for the insurgency in the Sunni Arab population; it just means that the Sunni Arabs are seeking power through more than one route.

And on a related note, high Shiite Arab participation in the election may not necessarily mean heavy Shiite Arab support for democracy in principle; rather, it could just indicate a desire to take advantage of their greater numbers (relative to the Sunni Arabs) in order that the Shiites escape from under the Sunnis' thumbs. Perhaps a Shiite-Arab led Iraq is more democratic, in the sense that the majority ethnic group is ruling, but it does not necessarily mean that the Shiites view democracy per se as a viable way to solve political questions.

Granted, high voter turnout is a good thing. But we have been told since 2003 that the insurgency was losing steam because it was losing support amongst Iraqis, so color me skeptical of any claims that "Now that we have 'X' (e.g., elections, a governemnt, a constitution, high voter turnout) the insurgents no longer have any reason to continue the insurgency, so it will die down."

Of course, there is also the dynamic between the foreign fighters and between the homegrown insurgents. If there is a rift there, as Omar suggests in the post linked to above, that could be helpful, at least in reducing coordination and hopefully reducing the number of terrorist suicide bombings (as foreigners seem disproportionately represented in this type fo attack). On the other hand, as the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are in direct competition with the Shiite Arabs, and as there is little love between them, I am not so certain that the insurgency doesn't welcome any terrorist attacks by foreign fighters that kill the rival Shiites.

That is all.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Iraqi Impressions on the Draft Constitution

Riverbend offers her opinion.

For balance, I was going to post something from Iraq the Model, but I didn't see any posts on the front page analyzing the constitution; if someone has a link to someone analyzing the draft constitution who likes it, please tell me in the comments section.

That... is not all yet. I need a link!

Interesting Blog

Via Sitemeter, I discovered this little blog discussing what lessons should be learned about disaster preparedness from the Hurricane Katrina situation.

That is all.

We'll Bring Him Around Yet!

Jesse Jackson's piece Hurricane Looting Not Over Yet, contains the following:

"President Bush characteristically issued an executive order effectively lowering the wages of reconstruction workers -- and hiking the profits of their companies. He wiped out the requirement to pay prevailing wages in the disaster region, apparently thinking that $9 an hour for construction workers was too high a price to pay. The government can save money, no doubt, by exploiting illegal immigrant labor."

Is Jackson realizing that illegal immigration is bad for minimum-wage workers? Time will tell.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the VDARE blog (click here for the specific post).

That is all.

Eliminate the Whole Damn Thing

Perhaps "Under God" is the least probelmatic part of the Pledge of Allegiance, says Alan Bock.

Perhaps we should have more people suing to stop schools from reciting a socialist creed at all.

That is all.

Thoughts on New Orleans Reconstruction

First, I am proud of the 11 Congressmen who voted against the $50 billion appropriation for disaster relief. If the feds are going to rebuild New Orleans, relief should come in several small amounts rather than one large amount in order to insure proper oversight. (That might work well for Iraq, as well). I recall one of the Congressmen stating (I think it was on The O'Reilly Factor with John Gibson guest-hosting) that he wasn't against aiding New Orleans, he just felt that aid should come in $10 billion increments every so many weeks rather than $50 billion all at once.

Secondly, I have to agree with the idea that spending cuts rather than tax increases should be used to pay for reconstruction (if the feds are going to do it).

Finally, I am not certain that federal help is needed, at least not the amounts people are talking about. I think it is very plausible that a lot, if not all, of the reconstruction could be done privately. I think that federal welfare for disasters at most ought to be viewed as an option of last resort. Federal disaster relief is, I believe, ultimately unconstitutional, as Davy Crockett pointed out and we ought to move away from that paradigm.

That is all.

Thought for the Day

I think that one difficulty with a currency-based economy (i.e., any economy based on money rather than barter) is that because of the level of abstraction involved, it is easier to lose sight of common-sense principles. For example, I doubt that the broken-window fallacy would fool someone living in an agricultural society with minimal cash transaction.

I think that this problem is compounded the more wrinkles are put into the system (e.g. bank accounts, stocks, futures markets). Each of these represents at least one level of abstraction higher than mere cash, and as such people get lost in the whys and wherefores nad simply accept such ideas as interest or dividends without considering why they exist.

I think part of the solution here is for people to try and learn from an early age the basic principles behind economics; that is, the pre-currency principles. The concept of limited resources and of trade-offs needs to be made clear at a very young age; and in such a way as that money is not referenced (at first). Once these are understood, then a foundation has been laid that can be used to build an understanding of a cash economy.

I may expand on this later.

That is all.

Don't Expect Troop Withdrawals Anytime Soon

The United Kingdom has decided not to decrease the number of UK soldiers in Iraq. Instead, there will be a large scale re-deployment.

All of this makes optimism that the current political developments in Iraq are leading to the US being able to declare victory and to reduce our troop commitments seem rather - overly hopeful.

That is all.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Because it's Right, Darn it!

In my third link in a row to something on LewRockwell.com, Michael S. Rozeff defends the concept of "natural rights".

The main problem, in my view, to any theory of rights that does not recognize some objective basis for rights (i.e., some form of natural rights) is that ultimately, such a system makes the concept of rights a mere custom, without any real moral import. In otehr words, without some concept of an objective morality, without some from of "natural rights," rights become a mere preference. Violations of rights then become merely a deviation from culture, rather than a terrible offense.

It seems to me that those who deny the existence of natural rights usually do so because they wish to substitute a system of rights based on their preferences; that is to say, what is right and wrong in a given situation depends on whether or not they like it rather than on particular axioms of right and wrong.

That is all.

Good News from Afghanistan? (Or Maybe Not so Good)

Jim Lobe discusses the elections, and points out the fact that 2005 has been the deadliest year for the coalition in Afghanistan to date.

Of course, it won't particularly bother me if Afghanistan does not become a democracy; part of the reason why we see Afghanistan as so much mor successful than Iraq is because after the Taliban were overthrown, no one really cared what came after.

That is all.

Gold Up Again!

To nearly $460.00/oz.!

Courtesy Burt Blumert's Gold Page.

That is all.

Another Iraqi Bombing

Another 30 Iraqis have been killed in an anti-Shiite car bombing in Baghdad.

One wonders how much longer before the Shiites decide to strike back - or have they, already, in Tal Afar, one wonders? Some reports (in the American Conservative, I think) suggested that there were some revenge killings of Sunnis - I'll post more when I find out where I read it - but in general, it seems that the Shiites have been passive rather than retaliatory.

Of course, it could be that Shiite violence is underplayed because the Shiites are our allies, but if we assume that, as is portrayed in the media, the Shiites are still holding back while the Sunnis attack them, one has to wonder how much longer this will go on. Eventually, the Shiites will fight back, and hard.

In the meantime, the question we should be wondering is, is there a clear dividing line between civil war and not-civil war? Fatalities from attacks by (mostly Sunni) insurgents against other Iraqis, mostly Shiites, have been climbing in recent months, although they may be down this month compared to last month (aqnd maybe the month before). If they continue the general trend and keep rising, will Iraq eventually fall into a civil war in the same way as the proverbial frog was boiled - one degree at a time? And a bigger question - if the civil war does come, what will happen to coalition forces in Iraq?

I don't think that Iraq's imediate future looks very bright.

That is all.

Thoughts on Blogging

In my previous post, I forgot to include a second post by Andrew Sullivan that responds to some of Powerline's postings.

This post is also notable because Ol' Sully links to this page on the "Truth Laid Bear", which shows the traffic rankings of different blogs, as well as the amount of traffic they get.

Anyone who is interested can learn about my traffic by clicking on the Sitemeter icon on the upper left.

So now I have something solid to compare myself to!

I have added some code to my site so I should be displaying my TTLB (The Truth Laid Bear) status soon.

For now, that is all, more coming soon.

Tidbits

The folks at Powerline are trying to contrast Hugh Hewitt and Sidney Blumenthal to spite Andrew Sullivan; notably, in the important area, i.e., that Hewitt is a pro-Bush hack (he thought that Bush won the first debate, big-time (Note: I can't link because Hewitt's archives only go back a few months)), they can't really deny Sully's point.

I also love the bit about our "liberation" of Fallujah. Are they next going to discuss Katrina's liberation of New Orleans? (There is something wrong with anyone who has to use the term "liberation" every time he refers to a military campaign where we take territory. It all sounds vaguely Soviet).

That is all.

Crap from National Review

This article is interesting in how much it reveals the mindset of a lot of the folks who write for NRO. It seems to me that there is a subtext in the article encouraging first-strikes against countries without evidence against them.

In other words, there is the implication that just because we can't prove that a state wasn't behind a terrorists attack doesn't mean we shouldn't target them for retribution. Moreover, there seems to be the goal of deputizing a large number of people as government agents to sniff out treachery or to spread pro-US propaganda in mosques.

The new soldiers of our frontline defenses must include Imams trained under government mandate to spot the infecting agents, including the hackers who breed among us. The new corps of imams must also move rapidly to prevent invective from filling their mosques and sanctuaries so as to give rise to groupings of people susceptible to terrorist manipulation.

In other words, we need a state-sponsored version of Islam to combat radical Islam.

Not mentioned is the possibility that maybe we in the west ought to let in fewer Muslims as a whole, which might decrease the number of disaffected Muslims in our countries and thus decrease the risk that they will be recruited into a terrorist campaign against us.

That is all.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Foreign Precedents

Steve Sailer points out that U.S. judges have used foreign law (e.g. English common law) in decisions since the U.S. began.

However, I think the issue here is that we do not want to overturn previous American precedents based on what European countries are doing; particularly in areas where the American political philosophy apperas to be diverging from the European one (plus, as I understand it, judges are looking at precedents from countries other than just the Anglosphere).

I may comment more later; my thoughts are not entirely formed on this.

That is all.

Negligent Homicide? Look in the Mirror.

Becky Akers wonders if the state is making scapegoats of the two nursing home owners to cover up its own mess-ups.

That is all.

Out of My Cold, Dead, Drowned Hands

Gun Owners of America has a round-up of the news about gun confiscations in Neww Orleans.

That is all.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

Jack Kelly's column today seems pretty reasonable. In any case, I do agree that some in the media are trying too hard to pin all of the blame for things that went wrong in Katrina on Bush (although many in the right-wing media are trying equally hard to pin all ofhte blame on the state and local authorities).

In any case, just because I find a lot of his writing to be hackery doesn't mean that I can't agree with him when he is right.

That is all.

But... But... They Served Lemon Chicken!

Joshua Frank criticizes the "trial" process at Guantanamo.

This has always been what bothered me about Gitmo; my concern was not that I thought that prisoners were being mistreated, but that we weren't making the proper effoirts to make certain that all of our detainees were properly tried so we'd know who was an enemy combatant and who wasn't.

That is all.

ACLU Out to Destroy Parenting?

An editorial and an article from WorldNetDaily.

That is all.

I Couldn't Make This Up if I Tried

A Catholic school uses torture to get people to donate to Hurricane Katrina relief.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to WorldNetDaily.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Will the War Spread?

Justin Raimondo thinks that the administration is about to move against Syria.

That would not be a good thing.

That is all.

Joesph Farah: Boo Hoo Hoo

Another posting of regret from Joseph Farah of the bend-over brigade (as in, conservatives, bend over and vote for Bush).

That is all.

Is the Respite Over?

Earlier I noticed that the death tolls in Iraq for September were somewhat lower than or the previous few months; both in terms of coalition fatalities and in terms of Iraqi fatalities. This morning, there were renewed attacks on Iraqis. Unsurprisingly, mostly Shiites were targeted.

I think that what we are witnessing right now is the slow unfolding of the Iraqi civil war. We will soon be finding ourselves put more and more in the position where the Shiite Arabs (and maybe the Kurds) expect us to enact, or to help them enact, collective revenge on Sunni Arabs. For their part, the Sunni Arabs will attack the Shiite Arabs (and maybe the Kurds) with greater and greater force in a desperate bid to put them back under the Sunni thumb as they were before the war.

Welcome to Hell, America.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Conservatism is Showing

While there are a lot of libertarians who want the state to get out of marriage altogether, I cannot say that I am one of them. Definitely, I don't have a problem with a person getting married without state approval; but I do not think that the state should not recognize marriages.

These thoughts were spawned by this article on Ananova.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Ifeminists.

That is all.

Thoughts on Palestinians

While i am not particularly enamored of the idea that we ought to fight Israel's battles for it, or that a major factor in our foreign policy ought to be Israel's interests, neither am I enamored of the Palestinians (or whatever you want to call the group of Arabs who are usually referred to as "Palestinians").

This article by Daniel Pipes shows a good example of why I don't join the calls for a Palestinian state.

That is all.

President Romney? Not a Chance.

Razib at Gene Expression has an interesting post about Mitt Romney and Mormonism.

Politically, what it boils down to is, that Mormons are too... different to have a good chance of winning a Presidential election, in particular,. the evangelical base of the GOP would place a prohibitive obstacle on a Mormon getting the Republican nomination.

I will say that I don't think, as some do, that people will be unwilling to elect a Mormon primarily because of some paranoid conspiracy-mongering that the Mormons will try to take over the world, or some such thing, similar to what the concerns were in the 1950s and before about a Catholic President giving the reins of the country over to the Pope. Rather, I think that a large number of people will find the Mormon belief system strange and shy away from a Mormon as being too different; even a lot of the evangelicals will be against a Mormon as president more out of a distaste for Mormon beliefs rather than because they see him as a threat per se.

In any case, as razib points out, it isridiculous for people in the media to talk about Romney as a possible contender without discussing the elephant in the room; much like it is annoying when people laud Giuliani as the candidate for 2008 without considering the fact that he has irreversibly alienated gunowners and the religious right.

That is all.

Good News

Michael Brown has resigned as head of FEMA. I apparently haven't blogged about him (at least not in the past 7 days), but I did think he should leave and am just as glad he did. This may be the first time in the history of the Bush administration when someone lost his job for incompetence rather than for disloyalty.

That is all.

Thoughts on Race and IQ

Many people, when confronted with the question of whether average IQ varies between races, ask, quite reasonably, "why would there be differences? Wouldn't intelligence be as much of an advantage for humans living anywhere?"

Well, the answer is no, not necessarily. Or at least, different types of intelligence might be more beneficial depending on where you live. (As Thomas Sowell, and then Steve Sailer has pointed out, blacks on average appear to have better improvisational skill than white people do; while this is certainly a form of intelligence, it is not the sort of intelligence that IQ tests measure).

If the African/European IQ gap turns out to be largely genetic, an immediate question would be, why would Europeans have higher IQs on average? Genetic drift or selective pressures?

My personal conjecture would be that places with variable climates, particularly those where certain times of year offer little opportunity to grow food, might have a higher selective pressure towards long-term thinking, as the people living in such an area would have to plan ahead for the times of scarcity year after year. Perhaps the loss of "real-time responsiveness" is a trade-off for that, or perhaps quick improvisational thinking is more useful for some reason in more steady climates than in variable ones.

That is... well, not all. There's a lot of research to be done in this area, isn't there?

Iodize Africa

Here's a link to a Steve Sailer column suggesting (among other things) that micronutrients might do a lot of good in helping Africa.

That is all.

More Delays

On the Iraqi Constitution.

That is all.

The Kurds' Way

Visitors from Vladimir Poetin's site: Just to let you know, I am neither a leftist (I am an "old right" conservative), nor do I think that the insurgency is a "heroic resistance," nor do I have anything against the Kurds. I just think that the US is in the middle of a growing civil war in Iraq, and that the Kurds want revenge on the Sunni Arabs for their oppression during Baath Party rule. I think that rather than seeing a liberal multicultural state come to power in Iraq, we are going to preside over Iraq being torn up while a lot of people get killed an/or ethnically cleansed (forced to move). I don't really blame the Kurds if they want to drive out the Sunni Arabs, I just think that our leaders ought to be honest about it.

Jalal Talabani says that he thinks that the US could withdraw up to 50,000 troops by the end of the year. Then, an advisor essentially tries to undo his statement, or at least to water it down severely.

I am getting a feeling that in Tal Afar there may have been a little of the ol' Kurdish Death squads getting revenge on Sunni Arabs and Turkmen. I am also wondering if the Kurds are beginning to think that our usefulness to them is at an end.

That is all.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Tal Afar

I should post in a few days about Tal Afar, once I am cerain what I make of it.

That is all.

More of that Sailer Good Stuff

Steve Sailer puts together all of his ideas on race, IQ, and New Orleans, and even comes up with a suggestion for helping the black underclass that could help in another New Orleans-like situation. (Create a disaster corps that would have less rigorous IQ requirements than the Army).

You'll have to read it to get the full gist of it.

That is all.

Protecting Two Gulfs

Justin Raimondo argues that despite what the pro-warriors tell us, the deploymeny of National Guard units to Iraq did take away from the ability to deal with Hurrican Katrina.

Interesting arguments in the article. I'm not certain if Raimondo is right in this, but he very well may be, and I think this article is a good jumping-off point if you want to look at the arguments that the Persian Gulf deployment detracted from the Gulf of Mexico deployment. (Maybe I'll get some of the opposing arguments up later).

That is all.

More Thoughts on Joe Farah

Quit complainin', Joe. You don't like takin' it up the wazoo? Then ya shouldn't'a bent over like ya did!

That is all.

Good News for the Glaivester

Gold is over $450.00 an oz. as of 1:17am today.

I'd invested a few grand in bullion over the course of a year while the price was increasing from $320.00/oz. to $400.00/oz., so this is good news for me.

That is all.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Desperately Seeking Kristin Lehman as Urs

I appear to be getting a lot of hits from people who came to my site from a Google Image search that yielded this picture or this picture. These were pictures that I had linked to in this post.

I can't find out what search terms they used, but from a hit from another engine where I could see the search term, it was "vampiress," or "sexiest vampiress" or something. Searching Google Images itself, I found links to my page using the term "attractive women" and "sexiest vampiress" as well as "Kristin Lehman."

In any case, if you are interested in vampires, I suggest you check out kristin2's Forever Knight site, which is where the pictures I linked to are found.

That is all.

Thoughts on John Roberts

I was not particularly impresssd with Mr. Roberts as the nominee for the Supreme Court. Nor do I think of him as a good choice for the Chief Justiceship.

Personally, the best candidate, in my opinion, would have been Clarence Thomas. His judicial philosophy is usually the best of anyone on the Court (he is more concerned with the Constitution than with the conservative agenda per se, unlike Scalia). Scalia would be a difficult sell as Chief Justice, and the other justices are not conservative enough, in my opinion. In general, I prefer to see Chief Justices taken from the ranks of associate Supreme Court Justices. And, to be honest, the fact that he is black would poke a stick in the liberals' eyes (although her would, in my opinion, still be the best choice if he were white).

Of course, the Anita Hill thing probably would resurface if this were done. Honestly, I think that Anita Hill may have precluded Thomas from getting the Chief Justiceship (I'm not saying that without Anita Hill he would become Chief Justice, either at this time or in the future; just that whatever chances he had were likely destroyed by l'affaire Hill). It is even possible that he doesn't want to be promoted because he wants to avoid reliving that brouhaha.

In any case, I have heard some things that concern me about Roberts, but I haven't done enough research into him or into other candidates for the Supreme Court to actually present an alternative plan as to whom I would have nominated to replace O'Connor. And honestly, if not Thomas, I'm not certain whom I would pick as the successor to Rehnquist; outside of the Supreme Court, I don't have much knowledge of who are judicial candidates are.

Here is a criticism of Roberts by Lawrence Auster. I'll try to get more thoughts together over the next few days.

That is all.

Our Enemy the State

Anarchocapitalist Jeremy Sapienza offers some choice thoughts on government relief from Hurrican Katrina here and
here on the Antiwar.com blog.

That is all.

Crazy Farah?

It's time to pull out all the stops – and if that means attacking him in Pakistan or Iran or any other nation, we do it. If we have to use bunker-buster bombs or tactical nuclear weapons, we do it. If we have to redeploy armed forces from elsewhere on the globe, we do it.

-Joseph Farah "Don't Forget bin Laden"

Tactical nuclear weapons? Perhaps he is just using hyperbole to make a point and he doesn't think that nukes will be necessary. But I get a feeling that Farah would be happy using tactical nukes on much of the Muslim world even if they didn't help us get bin Laden. Maybe use them to get rid of Damascus and Tehran?

Oh, well. Thank God Farah's just a journalist/editorialist and not in charge of any actual policy.

That is all.

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Term

I would like to coin a new term. Unfortunately, I know it is not going to get anywhere because of rather - er - earthy connotations.

The term is menstrualize. It comes from the Latin menstruus, meaning monthly (which is a variation on mensis, month). To menstrualize is to convert something to a monthly rate; in short, it is analogous to annualizing something. For example, if your credit card gives you a 6% interest rate (annualized) for the first 6 months you have it, and then switches to an 18% interest rate (annualized), then it gives you a 0.5% interest rate (menstrualized) for the first six months, after which it switches to a 1.5% interest rate (menstrualized). This might, of course be approximate, as interest charges per month sometimes vary with the length of the month.

Seeing as there are some things that are calculated on a monthly basis, it seems to me that there ought to be a word for doing such a conversion.

Of course, for obvious reasons this term is unlikely to catch on.

That is all.

A Respite?

It appears that coalition deaths,
hostile coalition deaths, and
Iraqi civilian and military deaths are all on the low side this month so far (if the current rate of fatalities should be maintained, we would have 30 hostile coalition fatalities, 12-13 non-hostile coalition fatalities, 177 Iraqi security forces killed, and 473 Iraqi civilians killed for September).

That is all.

Scales Falling from their Eyes?

Rod Dreher at National Review's "The Corner" finds fault with Dubya the Wonderful here and here (while not letting the idiots Blanco or Nagin off the hook, as some of Matt Yglesias' readers (but not Yglesias himself, God bless him) seem to want to do (read the comments to see what I mean).

I have never had much confidence in Bush, as he always seemed - sort of hollow. He always seemed more like a mouthpiece used to spout off the right soundbites rather than an actual thinking individual with well-considered ideas. And, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, he has a fetish for loyalty (or maybe more properly, sycophancy) over competency, which is a trait that tends to lead organizations to become arrogant and stupid.

What irritated me more, however, was that so many commentators and pundits were unwilling to call Bush on this, and tried to make out every thing he did as an act of sheer brilliance (Hugh Hewitt claiming that Bush won the first presidential debate with Kerry springs to mind). It is refreshing to see someone on National Review (other than John Derbyshire) actually be willing to call Bush on one of his faults.

That is all.
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