Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush Has a Strategy - Maybe

I'll comment on Bush's Iraq War strategy soon - but I have been very busy the past couple of days and so I haven't had the time to do too much in-depth reading or analysis of much of anything. When I heard on the radio today that Bush was laying out a strategy, it piqued my interest, but I haven't had time to read Bush's plan yet.

Stay tuned.

That is all.

Great Snakes!

Dennis Mangan has reported here about a Belgian suicide bomber in Iraq and here about Belgium not allowing its car dealers to sell American cars.

Unfortunately, he is not certain what Americans can boycott in order to retaliate.

There is, of course, an answer.

I can think of exactly one thing that Belgium has given us that we could boycott.

What is it?

Click here to find out.

That is all.

Aha!

"It's got more of a rock tip to it," he said of [Shakira's] second English album. "It's a call back to the Cure and the Pretenders. It's definitely more of a rocker thing."

So I'm not alone.

That is all.

See for Yourself

Previously, I said that Madonna's new song sounds like he Dr. Who theme.

See for yourself, the song plays at Madonna's website.

The Doctor Who theme (from Neal Abram's homepage).

Madonna's song isn't the Doctor Who theme, but it has a similar sound, doesn't it?

I also mentioned that Shakira's back-up band sounded like the Cure. Listen to this, particularly the part just after the seconbd verse, and before the part where she talks about moving to a communist country.

Then go to this page and click on any versions of the song (couldn't find the song except in midi format).

In fact, a lot of the background music from "Don't Bother" sounds similar to that of "Just Like Heaven." (I'm not saying it was taken from "Just Like Heaven," just that the styles are similar).

That is all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thoughts on Iraqi Casualties

I keep a fairly close track of coalition casualties in Iraq. In fact, other than the Iraq Coalition Casualties website, and the associated blog Lunaville, I am the only person I know who regularly discusses monthly fatality rate in Iraq, and, I think, the only person who discusses the hostile fatality rate for the entire coalition (as opposed to the total fatality rates for just the U.S.).

So maybe that is why I have noticed a trend that no one else has, to my knowledge, noticed. How come whenever there is an increase in fatalities, the articles about how fatalities are increasing tend to come out after we have had a few days of quiet?

For example, this article about U.S casualties climbing in Iraq would have been very, very contemporary a week ago, when the daily fatality rate for November was even higher than the high rate in October. But now that the coalition has averaged 1 fatality a day for the past four days, this article comes out.

Is the media trying to remind us that fatalities are on a general uptrend every time there is a temporary lull? Perhaps. It would lend support to the neocons' position that the media is out to get Bush on the issue of the war.

On the other hand, the only people who would notice that the trend in fatalities has been down over such a small time period (> a week) would be people like me, who meticulously check the fatality list every day. So very few people would have noticed the temporary lull and therefore there would be very few who "needed" to be reminded of the general trend (and anyone who keeps up with day-to-day fatalities is probably already aware of the general trends). So the "conspiratorial" theory of fatality rate reporting seems a little far-fetched because the payoff for antiwar forces is too small to be of much use (assuming that the media is reporting for antiwar purposes).

On a third hand, the people who report on such things probably look at the day-to-day figures and the long-term trends, so maybe they are working to prevent people from interpreting the lulls as long-term reductions in fatalities, not because there is a tremendous audience that would be influences by such reporting, but because the media people in charge of this think there is because, hey, they are interested in it, and everyone is just like them, aren't they?

That is all.

About Those Peace Activists...

I suppose I should say something about the peace activists kidnapped by the "Swords of Righteousness".

They were stupid idiots.

Anyone who goes to Iraq to reach out to the insurgents or to "work for peace" is an idiot.

That's why I call myself "anti-war" instead of "for peace." Because I am not against the Iraq War because of some pie-in-the-sky airy-fairy idealism, but because I think that in most cases wars are stupid and don't serve the interests of the U.S. as a whole. I don't a priori think that all wars are unnecessary, I just don't think we should go and seek out trouble.

But anyone stupid enough to go to Iraq, and to assume that the insurgents are noble "freedom fighters" is an idiot.

Of course, anyone who thinks that Ahmed Chalabi is a noble freedom fighter, or that the Iraqis who allied with the U.S. did so because of a commitment to democracy (rather than because they thought that the U.S. could serve their own agenda or the interests of their particular sect) is also an idiot.

That is all.

Timetables and Why there Aren't Any

Recently, over at Unqualified Offerings, I made this comment:

Also, when neocons say we can’t set a timetable because the insurgents will wait us out, he is implicitly suggesting that when we leave, the Iraqi security forces will not be able to take over. That is, we will not be able to train the Iraqi security forces to take over for us within any publicly acceptable timeline.

I have also written this on Glaivester:

The general argument against a timetable is that if we set a date to withdraw, then the insurgents will just hunker down and wait for us to leave so that they can take over.

What no one has retorted in response to this (or at least I don't remember anyone pointing it out) is that the deadline is presumably going to be set so that when the time comes to leave, we will leave behind Iraqi security forces capable of defending Iraq. Therefore, waiting us out ought not to be a succeessful strategy for the insurgents because even if we leave, they will have to contend with the highly-trained crack Iraqi security forces. Put another way, by rejecting even a contingent deadline, the Bush administration is essentially admitting that it does not really believe that it can train sufficient Iraqi forces to protect the country within any publicly acceptable timetable.


Now out comes this article in the Chicago Sun Times. Well, if you skip past all of the part about whether or not Bush lied, you get to this little gem of info:

Granting for the sake of an argument that we must train a functioning Iraq army, why will no one in the administration predict how long that will take? Why after several years of that effort is there only one fully capable Iraqi unit (of 750 men)?

James Fallows, in a long and careful article in the Atlantic Monthly, says that it would probably take 10 years, just as anonymous hints from the Pentagon assert. The alternative is set a strict schedule for withdrawal, which Fallows admits would be a loss of honor.


Ten years. Definitely not a publicly acceptable timetable.


In essence, the administration's goal in Iraq appears to be to hide the true nature of our commitment to Iraq for as long as possible, so that we don't know what we have gotten ourselves into for the long haul until the long haul has already passed. The administration hopes that by refusing to give a timetable, but constantly proclaiming that we are winning, he will get Americans, particularly loyalists, to assume that the troop drawdown is just over the horizon - even though that horizon keeps getting pushed further and further back.

Recently, pressure has made the administration hint more that troops drawdowns are on their way next year, but I agree with Seymour Hersh that we should be skeptical about this.

In short, I think I am being proven right.

That is all.

Against the Sexual Blank Slate

Jennifer Roback Morse has an excellent article dealing with the problems that come from the leftist dogma that men and women are not really any different at all.

That is all.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cooke-ing with Steam

Michael Brendan Dougherty has an article up on AFFBrainwash about Sam Cooke and the recent fascination with Baby-Boomer music icons (Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, to nbame a few.

I don't really keep up with most of these biopics, as I tend not to listen to much music that isn't 70's rock (e.g., Boston), 70's-80's new wave (Devo, Duran Duran), or from within the last ten or fifteen years. Nonetheless, I found Mr. Dougherty's article to be interesting.

That is all.

Trials and Tribulations

I have to admit that I am not terribly worked up over the questions of how fair Saddam's trial will be. He has done enough that he ought to be executed for that in the end it will not make much practical difference if his trial is fair or not, he is going to die.

I also see no reason to move the trial to some international tribunal where the wimps will refuse to consider the death penalty, not to mention the fact that I am skeptical of the "international community" in the first place.

On the other hand, I am a little concerned that in the rush to get him convicted of some crime and execute him, that we will lose accounts of other, far worse crimes. And perhaps that is the intent - to get him tried and executed for one offense that has few connections to other countries, so as to avoid him testifying on any subject that might embarrass other countries (say, Russia or the U.S.).

That is all.

"I Meant to be Naked!"

Earlier this month, I wrote:

There were four plausible ways that "The Emperor's New Clothes" might end:

...(4) The emperor might admit that he was naked but deny that he had been tricked; indeed, he had always planned on walking around naked in front of his subjects, and his decision to do so had excellent results!


I rest my case.

The problem here, of course, is that while, in broad strokes this drawdown plan is the President's plan, what the Senate (and mostly, the Democrats) have forced Bush to do is to actually begin to determine and provide dates and numbers. That is, the president is beginning to say, we expect to have benchmark (a) done by date (b), which will allow us to withdraw of redeploy (c) troops.

Whatever Dubya tries to tell, there is a tremendous difference between saying "when they stand up we will stand down" and actually providing metrics and timetables for the Iraqis "standing up."

On the other hand, what I read of the Biden plan sounds only marginally more detailed than the President's soundbites; of course, the actual plan might be more much more detail and metric-oriented than the Yahoo! summary.

In any case, even the Yahoo! summary of the Biden plan has more actual details than Dubya has ever presented us with. So at least we are getting somewhere.

That is all.

Blog of the Week:

Third Party Watch.

As a supporter of the Constitution Party, I am in favor of anything that increases the visibility of third parties.

That is all.

The Right Hand and the Left Hand

On the one hand, Bush may be calling for a drawdown of American troops.

On the other hand, he may be trying to dealay the pullout of allied (i.e., non-American) coalition troops.

More on this as it develops.

For now, that is all.

Thinking About Race and Intermarriage

Although this will add another thing to my already considerable list of undone projects, I am thinking about trying to come up with a blog post discussing interraical marriage - specifically, why it might be best for African-Americans in general if the most successful African-Americans (or partial African-Americans) were encouraged to marry African-Americans rather than whites, Asians, or Hispanics.

Once again, Steve Sailer is my inspiration on this; the general concern is that by marrying "outside the race," successful African-Americans will be diluting the presence of "success-oriented" genes in the African-American gene pool. This is a problem (for blacks, not so much for whites) in Latin America, a problem that Mr. Sailer has discussed.

That is all.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Externalities and Crime Prevention

On the Mises Blog, D. W. McKenzie discusses whether or not personal crime prevention should be considered "socially wasteful".

Unsurprisingly, he finds that it is not.

One thing not counted for in the argument that protecting your yard in a visible way just makes other people more likely to be attacked is that making more cars or more houses harder to break into makes it somewhat costlier for a thief, who must spend more time determining which cars or houses he has the best chance of getting into.

This might seem a small price to pay for the criminal; if a criminal can't get into one car, there is usually another near by. However, this assumes that all cars would be equally attractive targets if not for, e.g., the club. Assuming that crime is not only directed at easy targets but at the most lucrative ones, then it is likely that car thieves or home robbers already spend some time checking out their targets; this means that being forced to forego robbing a particular car (home) may be somewhat costly in terms of a criminal's time and thus increase the expected opportunity costs from robbery (e.g., more time and energy spent scoping out cars/home, more time and energy devoted to determininng how to spot an easy car/home), decreasing crime in general. This is particularly true if the most valuable cars (homes) are the ones most likely to have security devices; this means that thieves might have to settle for much lower payoffs from stealing, and would thus make stealing a less attractive option.

That is all.

Post-Traumatic Growth?

Can the psychological effects of war be good as well as bad? An interesting article talking about some theories I have not heard before.

That is all.

Dennis Dale's Thoughts

Connecting rap culture and the French riots:

here and here.

That is all.

Why the Public is Losing Faith in the Iraq War

The general refrain from the neoconservatives is that the public is losing faith in the Iraq War for one of two reasons:

(1) The U.S. public has a low tolerance for casualties, and people are getting faint-hearted about a steady stream of killings and woundings.

(2) The evil news media is blacking out the avalanche of good news coming from Iraq that would show how wonderful the war is going. After all, the soldiers over in Iraq (who we all know are perfectly free to speak their minds) say that things are going really, really great.

In reality, there are three main reasons that the Iraq War is losing public support:

(1) The metrics do not suggest we are winning. The estimates for the size of the insurgency are increasing; insurgents are carrying out a greater number of attacks per day than a year ago, coalition fatality rates have been in general increasing since the end of major combat operations, and the security situation appears to be getting worse (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Jim Henley).

(2) Bush does not have any sort of clear plan for victory. Actual victory will be achieved when we can pull all of our troops out of day-to-day security operations without Iraq falling apart, and progress toward victory will have been made whenever we can reduce our troop levels permanently without the country falling apart.

Nonetheless, Bush has not offered any metrics by which we can judge whether or not the Iraqis are willing and able to defend Iraq so that we can reduce troop levels, and any attempt at a clear time framework is dismissed as "cutting and running," with the statement that we need to stay until the job is done (what that entails is not exactly clarified).

The U.S. willing to take losses, but not if they don't see any progress being made toward the goals for which those troops fought for. Losing troops so that we can keep treading water in Iraq is not acceptable to the vast majority of Americans.

(3) Bush and his administration seem completely oblivious to this. None of their talking points seems to acknowledge that the insurgency is growing nor do they seem to offer any inkling that the administration has determined some sort of parameters by which progress to victory can be measured. Indeed, all of the current talking points amount mostly to "trust us, we know what we're doing."

What Bush has not done, and what he needs to do, if offer some strategic framework for our involvement in Iraq, complete with our actual end-goals, benchmarks for success (benchmarks imply a reduction of troops when the benchmark is reached), and a tentative timetable for the meeting of different benchmarks.

Unless Bush shows the American people that he knows what he is doing, his popularity will continue to fall as longas it has somewhere to go.

That is all.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Topics on my "To Blog" List (Updated)

Review of Red Dawn.

Talking about blaming the CIA for bad intelligence.

Update to my post on "Citizenism."

I'll add to this list as I find things I said I would blog on but haven't yet.

I will add to this list a post dealing with "benchmarks vs. timetables," which Matt Yglesias discusses here. Done!

I will also talk some about the statement by Iraqi leaders apparently legitimizing he insurgency (Lawrence Auster discusses it here).

New addition A discussion of AIDS and Africa.

New addition The discussion of fatherlessness I mentioned here.

That is all.

Hmmmm.... Okay...

Lawrence Auster makes a compelling point:

The Bush administration, and the neocons in general, seem to be more hostile to U.S. citizens advocating a drawdown, re-deployment, or withdrawal of U.S. forces than to Iraqis condoning the insurgency killing U.S. and other coalition troops.

Something is screwy here.

That is all.

Wimpy England

In future cop-killing cases, execute the S.O.B.'s, John Bull!

That is all.

Cole vs. Monbiot

On the issue of white phosphorous.

That is all.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Yet Another New Blog to Look at

Third Party watch is a blog attempting to bring more publicity to American third parties.

Visit it, it's interesting.

That is all.

More Refutation of Mr. Paul

"Statguy," aka Scott Gilbreath, over at Magic Statistics has a post noting how the recent report in The Weekly Standard that the crime rate in Europe is exploding sort of undercuts the conclusions that many would like to draw from the Gregory S. Paul study claiming that religion was positively correlated with social dysfunction.

That is all.

An Arthur C. Clarke Kind of Wizard

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

Has anyone else out there in Blogland read The Passing of the Technomages triology by Jeanne Cavelos? It's a book spin-off of Babylon 5, and deals with the cybernetic "wizards," their origins, their motivations, and most of all with the backstory of Galen, the young Technomage who iwas a major player in the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade.

Would you like to comment on it?

Anyone?

Anyone?

That is all.

Shinseki was Right?

Sources say that during a closed meeting, battalion commanders told Senator John Warner, Carl Levin, and Mark Dayton that troop levels in Iraq are not high enough to defeat the insurgency, according to
a report in Time magazine. Moreover, despite Rumsfeld's claim (and that of the Bush administration in general) that they would send in more troops if necessary, they had repeatedly asked for more and gotten rebuffed.

Ol' Sully feels that this helps bolster his belief that the failure to put more troops on the ground in Iraq early on was a tremendous strategic blunder.

However, the problem, as Matt Yglesias has pointed out, is that it assumes that there were more troops to be had, that we had the number of troops required to pacify Iraq. (btw, Yggy comments on the report here).

That is all.

Happy Birthday to Me

And to Jill Hennessy, Joe DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio, Jenna and Barbara Bush, Ben Stein, and Christina Applegate.

I am now 27.

That is all.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

General Thoughts on Victory and Iraq

I have been thinking about the issue of an exit strategy from Iraq for a few days, and there are a few thoughts thaty I have come up with that I think would inform the debate. I should point out here that what I am discussing is what would be a responsible pro-war position. I do not necessarily endorse all of these ideas, but I think that they would be the proper ideas to endorse if one supports the War in Iraq and wants to plan for victory.

(1) There has been a lot of tut-tutting over the idea of an "exit strategy," either in terms of looking at it as another way of saying "retreat," or giving platitudes like our exit strategy is victory."

But the fact of the matter is that victory in Iraq is ultimately to be determine in terms of exiting it. That is, we will have won when we are able to withdraw all of our troops without Iraq falling apart or into chaos. That is not to say that we have to withdraw all our troops. Just that we would be able to. In practice, a victory would mean that at most we would keep a small contingent force in Iraq (say, 20,000-30,000 troops), but one that does not provide day-to-day security or protection from domestic threats, and exists mainly to deter or if necessary, defend against, external threats (e.g. bombing or invasion by Iran).

We will also know that we are making progress toward victory when we are able to draw down our troop levels over the long-term without Iraq falling apart or into chaos.

I mean, in essence, if our goal is a free and independent Iraq that can maintain its own security, then the proper test of whether or not we have won is whether or not we need to be there.

So "exit strategy" is another word for victory, so let's drop the posturing.

(2) Any plan for victory that will win the support of the American people needs specific metrics. That is, we need definite goals coupled to definite levels of troops necessary to maintain order in Iraq after the goals are met.

It is possible (very likely, in fact) that some of these goals will have to be revised at times, but we really need to have at least some idea of whether we are succeeding or failing in the all-important tasks of bringing security and stability to Iraq and of defeating the insurgency.

The best schedule would include all of the steps that would be necessary before we could in essence leave Iraq completely (i.e. reduce our presence to a small permanent force as spelled out previously), and include schedules of our troop commitments at each point.

This would be a far cry from what we have now, which is a series of political goalposts, some vague hope that reaching them will constitute victory or bring us closer to victory and the defeat of the insurgency, and to a great extent planning (or at least public planning) restricted pretty much to meeting the bext goalpost. If the anticipated trop reductions are not brought about by reaching a goalpost, Bush simply re-affirms his commitment to "stay until the job is done," accused anyone wanting troop reductions of cutting and running, and simply transfers all of the hopes to the next goalpost.

(3) There is a need for a contingent timetable. That is, we don't need a hard-and-fast deadline, but we do need some idea of when each goal is going to be met and of how many troops we will have to keep in Iraq after it is met. That means a date-based timetable, not just a "event-based" one. What we have now is a very open-ended commitment, with no clear dates. Such an open-ended time commitment tends to make people slower about getting things done. We need some temporal goals in order to "light a fire" under the administration, the troops, and the Iraqis.

One of the most interesting aspects of the current pro-war arguments about "staying until the job is done" is what some of the talking points actually reveal about the pro-warriors assumptions about Iraq.

The general argument against a timetable is that if we set a date to withdraw, then the insurgents will just hunker down and wait for us to leave so that they can take over.

What no one has retorted in response to this (or at least I don't remember anyone pointing it out) is that the deadline is presumably going to be set so that when the time comes to leave, we will leave behind Iraqi security forces capable of defending Iraq. Therefore, waiting us out ought not to be a succeessful strategy for the insurgents because even if we leave, they will have to contend with the highly-trained crack Iraqi security forces. Put another way, by rejecting even a contingent deadline, the Bush administration is essentially admitting that it does not really believe that it can train sufficient Iraqi forces to protect the country within any publicly acceptable timetable.

This is highly disturbing, because it indicates no real confidence on the part of the administration that we are actually planning how to win the war. What we are doing is simply trying to keep a lid on things and hoping that the insurgency will disappear on its own. This is a point that Lawrence Auster has often made. I think it is a point that bears repeating.

That is all.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

To all my readers.

That is all.

Family Murdered in Iraq

This story seems to me to be likely to attract a lot of political interpretations.

The pro-war people are already blaming insurgents, while Sunni Arabs in Iraq tend to think that Shiite Arabs are the culprits.

I suppose that either story could be correct; it is definitely possible that Sunnis who reject the legitimacy of the coming December 15 elections attacked him as a traitor because his brother is running for office.

On the other hand, there have been a lot of reports of Shiite Arabs killing Sunni Arabs and there is definitely a lot to be gained by the Shia by frightening the Sunni Arabs into not particpating in the elections (thus handing the Shia an even greater majority in the parliament).

In any case, I doubt that most of the Sunni Arabs will blame the insurgents instead of the Shiites, regardless of what the truth is.

I recall hearing on some talk-show host on the radio (I think, I might have read it on the internet, but I seem to think I was listening to John Gibson on the Tony Snow Show) saying that the terrorists (in which he implicitly included the Iraqi insurgents) were finally alienating the Iraqi people enough that they would lose support (I think it was in reference to the bombings in Jordan). As their major supporters were Sunni Arabs, targeting coalition soldiers might not cost them support, and targeting Shiites might not cost them support, but now that they were targeting Sunni Arabs, ooo boy are they in for it now!

I have a feeling that a lot of people feel this way about such attacks as the one references in the article. Unfortunately, this assumes that the insurgents are the ones responsible, and more importantly, that the targeted Sunni rabs will assume that the insurgents are responsible. If in reality this is an instance of shiite retliation for the years of oppression under the Baathists, or even if the Sunnis just think it is, this is likely to increase, not decrease, support for the insurgency, or at the very least increase the animosity between the different factions in Iraq.

I think reports of the insurgents' alienation from the general populace are greatly exaggerrated.

That is all.

Mark Steyn's B.S.

UPDATED: New portion is in red.

This article by Mark Steyn underlines the utter stupidity of the neocons.

Last week, the Republican majority, to their disgrace and with 13 honorable exceptions, passed an amendment calling on the administration to lay out its "plan" for "ending" the war and withdrawing U.S. troops. They effectively signed on to the Democrat framing of the debate: that the only thing that matters is the so-called exit strategy. The only difference between Bill Frist's mushy Republicans and Harry Reid's shameless Democrats is that the latter want to put a firm date on withdrawal, so that Zarqawi's insurgents can schedule an especially big car bomb to coincide with the formal handover of the Great Satan's cojones.

Put another way, we don't want Bush to set any actual goals or to propose a schedule for how we will make Iraq independent. We'll jsut keep doing what we are doing and keep looking forward to someday, you know, completing the job, but without any knowldge now of what "completing the job" means.

"Exit strategy" is a defeatist's term. The only exit strategy that matters was summed up by George M. Cohan in the song the Doughboys sang as they marched off to the Great War nine decades ago:
"And we won't come back
Till it's over
Over there!"
And that's the timetable, too. If you want it fleshed out a bit, how about this? "The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America's credibility and will to prevail.''


Translation: Our goal is to finish the job. Or, more pertinent to our discussion, "our goal is to meet our goal."

Has Mark Steyn ever heard the term tautology? What we want to know is what "finishing the job" entails. One might think that "fleshing it out a bit" would elucidate this, but no, "fleshing it out" simply means saying "Our goal is to meet our goal," with a bit more long-windedness.

Steyn then misrepresents the real issue by claiming that the real debate is over whether or not the U.S. plans on maintaining any forces in Iraq for the long-term:

But, even with full-scale Iraqification, America would be grossly irresponsible if not clinically insane not to maintain some sort of small residual military presence somewhere in the western desert.

As I pointed out in my previous post, the issue is not whether we will long keep a small military presence. The issue is that last month during the elections we had 161,000 troops there, the greatest number at we have had in Iraq at any time since the invasion. The concern is that our presence will have to be very large and very expensive, and be taking part in a lot of actual fighting, none of which is comparable to Germany, Japan, or South Korea. So his retort that we can reduce military costs by taking troops out of Japan and Germany, with the implication that they worked out without an exit strategy is not really relevant.

He also implies in passing that the insurgents are mostly foreigners:

I'm all for "Iraqification" — though those Democrats urgently demanding everything be done by the locals will be the first to shriek in horror once the Iraqis start serious score-settling with the foreign insurgents.

Can't he read? At all? Of course he can, but he is dishonest.

If you want it fleshed out a bit, how about this? Mark Steyn is a liar, liar, pants-on-fire. The issue is not whether or not Iran ever had troops or agents in Iraq prior to our invasion in 2003, it is how lying a liar Mark Steyn is.

So in short, Steyn is advocating an indefinite major military commitment to Iraq without clear goals (that clear goals would mean the terrorists win!), without any plan for even reducing the forces below occupation levels, and ll the time he does not accurately indentify whom we are actually fighting.

Sounds like a neocon wet dream to me.

That is all.

Encouraging?

There is some talk of major reductions to U.S. forces in Iraq in 2006, depending on conditions.

What conditions would precipitate what level of drawdown has not really been made clear, but it is a start to a responsible Iraq policy.

Not that I necessarily think it will work, but at least things are being phrased in such a way as to make clear victory metricspossible.

More on this as it develops.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thank You to Steve Sailer

For the link.

By the way, anyone who liked my piece on Race and IQ might also enjoy the sequel.

That is all.

"Blog Against Racism"

Apparently, Chris Clarke has decided to start a "blog against racism" day. It is December 1, 2005.

Perhaps I will try my hand at a post on racism. And it will be anti-minority racism, not anti-white racism, too. Just to show that I do not deny that racism exists nor do I have no sympathy for folks of other races.

So what does a person who doesn't mind discussing racial inequality (e.g. racial differences in IQ) consider racist?

Stay tuned.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to L.A. Mom.

That is all.

Torture and Nukes (Tick, Tick, Tick)

The Center for Advanced Sarcasm has some thoughts about ye olde tickin' time bomb scenario.

That is all.

Abdullah Al Muhajir

I should try to get a comment up on the case of Abdullah Al Muhajir, who has been indicted on terror charges.

For now, suffice it to say that while I oppose our government subjecting Americans to indefinite detentions without trial, I have no sympathy for someone who planned to detonate a radiological disperal bomb (aka a "dirty bomb." If he is guilty of acts of terror, I say fry him.

By the way, if you haven't heard of Abdullah Al Muhajir, maybe you have heard of his more famous name: Jose Padilla.

And unlike Michelle Malkin, I have no problem with treating cases of terrorism as a law-enforcement issue.

That is all.

The Joys of (Really Slow) Windows

Have any of my readers used Virtual PC on a Mac? Anyone have any comments?

It seems really slow, but I hope that it will be a tad faster if I get a 1.9 or 2.1 GHz G5 at some point.

In any case, though, I still find it really cool to have a "Windows" window right there on my Mac desktop, and being able to toggle between the systems is fun.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush vs. the CIA

Matt Yglesias brings up an important topic: that the CIA was one of the least enthusiastic arms of the government for the Iraq War and for the idea that Saddam had large amounts of WMDs, George Tenet's "slam-dunk" comment notwithstanding. Which makes attempts to blame the CIA for convincing Bush that Iraq had WMDs rather strange.

I will try to do a longer post on this later.

That is all.

Infinite Timetables, Etc.

Lawrence Auster comments on a piece at The American Stinker, (which I call that for the way the Stinker's Thomas Lifson accused Mr. Auster of antisemitism for using the term "neocon") where J. Peter Mulhern says that we will need to keep troops in Iraq forever.

Although this is disturbing as a theory (as Mr. Auster points out), the problem is that this particular issue is rather beside the point. Most people are not concerned with whether or not we garrison a few dozen thousand troops there like we do in Japan or Germany. The concern is whether or not we will be able to draw down the forces to a truly post-occupation level and to let most of the actual lifting be done by the Iraqi troops.

Most people are less concerned with whether or not every last American is out in a year (or two years, or more) than with whether or not we will still have 130,000+ troops there in a year. Or perhaps we will need to increase the force to 200,000.

And the fact of the matter is, that the issue of troop drawdowns is driven as much or more by concern for the maintenance of our military as by concerns about the political aspects of "having an exit strategy." What will we do if the minimum troop requirement in Iraq is greater than what we have available? Take our troops out of Japan, Germany, and South Korea? Conscription? (Not likely, methinks). Or maybe decide that we need to keep order with a smaller troop force, and if that means exterminating recalcitrant towns, so be it?

One problem with this war has been the consistent refusal to look at actual metrics to determine success or failure rather than looking at public-relations friendly political goals. In fact, political goals have often been conflated with military goals, with each new step in the process lauded as a defeat for the insurgency, which nevertheless continues to keep on trucking.

If we are really lucky, soon we will at least get pep-talks from the administration that are grounded in reality rather than fancy. But don't count on it.

That is all.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sexy Vampiress

(I'll explain the significance of the title later).

Note: If anyone doesn't like me linking to images on their website, drop me a line at glaivester at yahoo dot com or comment on this post and I will remove the link.

This post on AFFBrainwash by Michael Brendan Dougherty has inspired me to write a little about my thoughts on attractive women. (specifically celebrities).

First of all, I do not have a girlfriend, or any prospects of getting one soon (considering how often I blog, is anyone surprised?) So whether or not my girlfriend likes the same girls is not a consideration.

So how do I choose which celebrities I think are the most attractive?

Well, other than the obvious, I tend to look for people who are a little obscure, so that I can feel that my tastes are special (I mean, everyone thinks that Pamela Lee Anderson is hot, so where's the fun in that?).

I also tend to like women who have appeared in TV shows that I like.

Favorite actress: Lysette Anthony. She was hot in Krull (one of my favorite movies, I mean, look at the first six letters of my my pseudonym), and she's still hot. In fact, her presence caused made me watch a little bit of the steaming pile known as Look Who's Talking Now?.

Close behind is Marjorie Monaghan, who on Babylon 5 played the Free Mars terrorist leader "Number One," aka Tessa Halloran, who later became the head of Earth Alliance Intelligence.

Kristin Lehman, who played the timid and un-self-confident, but quite sexy vampiress Urs on the TV series Forever Knight is another pick of mine for "hotness" (here's another picture). She is also the person whose picture has brought in a lot of Google hits when I linked to it near the beginning of my entry into blogdom. (She is the one whom the title is named after in hopes of capturing more Google image traffic).

Jill Hennessey is pretty nice-looking as well. I also like her character of Jordan Cavanaugh in Crossing Jordan.

When it comes to comic book superheroines, no one else can compete with "her sexy blueness" Talia Josephine "T.J." Wagner, aka Nocturne. The daughter of Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch in another dimension, she is my favorite Marvel character and the entire reason I purchased Exiles in the beginning as well as the entire reason that I purchased The New Excalibur.

Mr. Dougherty also quotes Maurenn Dowd saying that "Deep down all men want a virgin in a gingham dress."

Well, when I get married, I'd like to think that my wife will have saved herself for me (I'm certainly saving myself for her, out of a combination of my moral code with the help of my sheer laziness when it comes to dating).

But Gingham? Well, I sort of like the idea of a sequined evening gown that goes all the way down to the floor and gets real tight around the ankles so that she has to pull it up a few inches to get up the stairs (well, as formal-wear, I'm not thinking of a girl wearing this while helping me ot put acidifying fertilizer on my evergreen shrubs and hydrangeas [yes, I have no life]). I have known this ever since I saw Emma Samms wearing such a dress on the episode of Newhart where Larry was dreaming that he was hosting the Tonight Show and she was the guest.

Speaking of Newhart, Julia Duffy is hot in a "cute" sort of way.

I also think that covering one's neck is sexy (see the pic of Marjorie Monaghan again). And I like it when a woman wears revealing footwear and painted toenails. Or I am getting into "too much information" territory here?

In any case, that's my opinion.

That is all.

Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage

This post on Gideon's Blog (Noah Millman) about same-sex marriage reminded me of some columns about same-sex marriage from a year or so back.

David Frum argued that same-sex marriage was a bad idea because it would lead to quasi-marriage partnerships that weakened the division between "married" and "single" and thus weaken marriage as it would not have any special status.

Jonathan Rauch and Andrew Sullivan here and here argued that that is why full marriage rights were necessary, because that would preserve the "special status" of marriage.

What they did not seem to realize is that by opening marriage to same-sex couples, one is inherently turning marriage into marriage-lite. Such a shift in what marriage would go a long way to diluting marraige as a social institution.

Of course, a lot of the leftists actually want to bring down civilization, so that may not bother a lot of the people pushing same-sex marriage.

But for most people who support same-sex marriage, I think the yare simply being naive as to the consequences.

That is all.

I Expect Those Who Oppose "Abstinence-Only" to Be Outraged

At the lack of publicity for safe, non-smoking, alternative methods of ingesting nicotine.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Dennis Mangan.

That is all.

Bush's Brain is Deteriorating?

(Warning: movie and sound files)
This video clip of Dubya (click here for the smaller version) demonstrates how the President's speaking abilities have deteriorated over the past ten to eleven years.

(You may need speakers to hear it, the sound is very very faint).

So this would seem to negate both the claims that Bush is just stupid, and the claims that he is being unfairly maligned for his poor speaking (as anyone can see by comparison how poorly he speaks now compared to how he spoke ten years ago).

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to The Center for Advanced Sarcasm.

That is all.

Cowards on Abortion

Colby Cosh has an interesting article on abortion rights in Canada. The central thrust: most Canadians (or most people in western cultures) really dislike abortion (I would argue that they know it is morally wrong) but secretly want it to be available for them.

That is all.

If Bush Lied, Clinton Lied, Too. Yeah, and Your Point Is?

Mike Marqusee spanks the foremr Libido-in-Chief for helping to bring about the Iraq War that he is now trying to disown.

That is all.

Why it Matters

H. Munroe raises an important question: Why does it matter how honest the basis of our going into war against Iraq?

Trish Schuh has a good answer:

Because we are trying to do the same to Syria.

That is all.

Torture and Terrorism - It's Not Just for Sunnis Anymore

Ken Burns in the New York Times discusses reason why the coalition in Iraq did not respond sooner to reports of a Shiite-run torture prison.

He suggests that there were so many different rumors about things going on that the troops couldn't handle them all, and couldn't separate fiction from reality, and so this just fell through the cracks.

I wonder maybe if reports of Sunni Arabs (aka the ethnic group behind the insurgency) being tortured by Shiite Arabs just weren't much of a priority.

Now this is something that if I heard a report that Iran were involved in, I would believe it.

Another interesting note is buried at the bottom of page 2 of the article:

The American command then acknowledged, in the words of one high-ranking officer, that the earlier assessments were based on little more than prideful assertions by Iraqis that their fellow citizens could never do anything so crazy as to blow themselves up, and on "people who came to us after a bombing and said, 'That's not an Iraqi foot,' or 'That's a Syrian hand.'"

I have been operating under the assumption that the insurgency was mainly Iraqi, but that the suicide bombers were mostly foreign. If this is wrong, then it basically shoots to hell the argument that closing the borders between Syria and Iraq and between Iran and Iraq will do much to defeat the insurgency (although even if the suicide bombers are mostly foreign, there is the question of whether they are coming in through Syria and Iran, or through Saudi Arabia). I suppose one could argue that the weapons and cash are coming through those countries even if fighters aren't, but if the suicide bombers are domestic, that would bring into question any part of the insurgency that is supposedly foreign.

That is all.

Give the Government More Control of Your Children!

Says Mayor Daley, after a visit to authoritarian China.

That is all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sailer on Citizenism, Part II

Steve Sailer defends "citizenism" against Jared Taylor's white nationalism.

That is all.

Don't Trust Anyone Who Can't Speak Their Minds

Whenever I hear people talking about how they have hard from soldiers in Iraq how much they support the war, hate the media for lying about it, and think that everything is going so swimmingly that they cannot understand how people could think we are losing, I tend to be skeptical. After all, it's not like soldiers are free to speak their minds.

This post from TPMCafe neatly sums up my feelings on the topics of soldiers telling us how wonderful the war is going.

Of course, there is also the "Your Lying Eyes" issue. When the fatality rate is increasing, and all official reports show that the Iraqi casualty rate has increased compared to the beginning of this year, and some of the major roads have become unsafe to travel since 2003, it seems that there is a basis for worry about how the war is going independent of the media coverage. So reports that "things are a lot better than the media is reporting" seem to me to translate into "we are pretending that things are going a lot better than they are."

That is all.

The Other War

Using the Brookings' Institute's Afghanistan index, Josh Narins has a post describing some of the problems that are growing in Afghanistan. War-related deaths are going up, as are people in need of food aid and the number of forgeign troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. casualty figures don't look so hot either.

There was an article in the American Conservative a few years back that predicted that things would go sour in Afghanistan, but I can't find it right now.

That is all.

Blog of the Week: Scott Gilbreath's Magic Statistics

This week's blog is the blog of a Calvinist Reformed Anglican statistician.

I first came across his blog while dealing with the issue of the Gregory S. Paul "religion correlates with social dysfunction" study.

That is all.

So What Do You Think?

So what do Glaivester readers think of my new blog format (essentially, the addition of a second sidebar?)

Does it make it easier to find my sidebar stuff or not?

Feel free to comment.

That is all.

The Civil War is Here

It appears that the official storyline that the Shiites, while being attacked in several terrorist incidents, have not struck back, is not entirely accurate.

I earlier suggested (in regard to the consequences of the constitution pasing or failing):

Of course, Sunni Arabs who feel cheated would probably attack in a more conspicuous way than would the Shiites and Kurds, as the latter could use the government and police forces to carry out revenge, whereas the Sunni Arabs would be limited to the much less covert insurgency.

While the specific instance I was referring to (the constitution failing) did not come to pass, the general idea that Shiites would take out their anger through more "official" channels than the Sunnis (who do it through insurgency) seems to have come to pass (the verdict on the Kurds is still out).

I also commented on an earlier story on revenge killings here a little less than two months ago.

That is all.

What the President Needs to Do on Iraq

I think I posted something like this before, but here is what I mean when I say that the President needs an "exit strategy" for Iraq.

(1) We must determine what ur permanent goal is for Iraq. Do we want a completely independent state? Do we want Iraq to be somewhat dependent on the U.S. for its defense (like, e.g., Germany was during the Cold War). Do we want to form a major part of its foreign defense (i.e. against other countries as opposed to against insurgents and other home-grown malcontents) like we do in South Korea, or like we do in Japan, as a way to insure that its army does not get too aggressive?

If it should be completely independent, what amount of basing of U.S. troops, if any, are we shooting for it to allow as an ally?

If it should be somewhat dependent on us for its defense, like Germany, like South Korea, or like Japan, what sort of force do we want to stay in Iraq on a permanent basis? 20,000 troops? 30,000 troops? What level of drawdown will indicate that the war is over?

(2) We need a condition-based timetable. A REAL one, not some general idea like "as they stand up, we stand down." We need to know under what conditions we will reduce the troop level how much. For example, will we reduce the troops level by 3,000 troops for every 20,000 Iraqi forces trained? Reduce the troop level by 10,000 if the election goes by without serious incident? Withdraw 2,000 troops if a month goes by with fewer than some number produced by adding up some formula involving coalition, Iraqi military, and Iraqi civilian casualties?

Some idiot on Fox News Radio (I think), responded to Democrats' request for an condition-based timetable by saying that that was what Bush had been offering all along. (I think it was John Gibson, who if anything is a bigger blowhard than Mr. Vibrator Promoter). Well, no, he hasn't. Describing the general circumstances that you need to achieve before declaring victory and leaving (we will stay there until we have a democracy that can protect itself, as they stand up, we will stand down) or worse, providing meaningless rhetoric we will stay until the job is done) is not the same thing as providing actual metrics.

Maybe we finally have a bit of an exit strategy (or "victory strategy," if you prefer), but it sems to me that the Bush administration was forced into declaring it, and would have continued on their merry way had pressure not been brought to bear on them.

Of course, the plan for victory and subsequent withdrawal of troops is only half of the issue. The other half is actually figuring out how to achieve the goals that will allow for such a strategy to be put into place. Currently, Bush's strategy for defeating the insurgents is to keep having elections, set up a government, and train a lot of Iraqi troops.

Judging by casualty figueres, both of the Coalition, and of Iraqis, we are not having a tremendous amount of success at suppressing the insurgency.

I suppose the other part of Bush's strategy is continuously annoucing that the insurgency is losing support due to the large number of Iraqi civilians being killed. Although for some reason, the loss of support has not translated into a loss of ability to do damage.

Funny that.

That is all.

Definitions of Nation and of Ethnic Group

Steve Sailer has his famous definition of race:

An extended family that inbreeds to some degree.

I have decided that my contribution to this issue will be my definition of "nation:"

A race that allows for the existence of adopted members.

The U.S. is a good example of this; throughout most of our history, we have turned people from different backgrounds into "Americans." We're not as diverse as the liberals would have us belief, or as they would want, but a person's status as an American is not based on his biological race.

Of course, this is not to say that a nation is a synonym for a country (which is a land mass) or a state (which is the government). You can have nations without a state (e.g. the Kurds), and a state need not be a nation (Iraq). But the term "nation" as opposed to "race" does at least imply the possibility of someone "gaining membership" into the group.

I also decided to contribute a definition of "ethnic group:"

A collection of one or more races sharing some bond that allows for (a) the existence of adopted members, (b) for the adoption of new races into the collection.

Take the example of the Jewish people. The distinct subsets of Jews could well be more different from each other than each is from its Gentile neighbors, but they still are all united under the rubric of Jewishness. Moreover, a person of any race can convert, and therefore be considered Jewish regardless of race.

This is something I touched on earlier, but I thought I would make an explicit definition.

That is all.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Total Spectrum Dominance

Well, I am officially now a Windows XP AND Mac OSX user.

Virtual PC is quite slow, but when I buy my G5 IMac, I think it will speed up a lot.

I'm glad I have an entire Gig of RAM.

That is all.

An Exit Strategy? (Updated)

According to this CNN article, General Casey has mapped out at least the beginning of an exit strategy and given it to Donald Rumsfeld.

The hopeful among us will likely see this as proof that the elections in December will be the ones that finally turn the corner for us and will lead to victory so we can go home. Update: Speak of the Devil.

Myself, I have a more distrustful attitude. I think that this is either a response to the Senate resolution that was recently passed (which substituted "significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" for "troop withdrawals"), or else a cynical move to prove that the administration really is interested in winning and then leaving, so that next year when we can'treduce the troop numbers without Iraq falling into civil war, Bush can say "we tried, and had a plan to leave, but circumstances changed." Put another way, this is to cover his Bush's hindquarters.

That is all.

Lesbian Sex on TV Gets You Asylum

The Makosi Musambasi story suggests all sorts of humor.

I wonder how many of the people on the people on the Central London Asylum and Immigration, which granted her asylum, were TV-watching males.

That is all.

Thank You to Eunomia

Another interesting blog who has honored me by linking me in their sidebar.

I will return the favor.

That is all.

Who (and How Many) Lied?

The Democrats who are now back-tracking on their support of the war, and who are claiming that they were fooled by Bush about the intelligence are(as opposed to thsoe who just admit they were mistaken or who claim that the war was good but Bush botched it), in my opinion, a sorry lot. They should have known better.

But the real interesting question is whether they were really fooled, or whether they voted for the war based on intelligence that they didn't really believe, because they thought that the war would have gone betrer than it did and that the question of how honest the rationale for war was would be forgotten amidst the flush of victory. Put another way, if Bush did lie, did the Democrats who voted for the war lie as well?

And then they are now back-pedaling furiously, not because they changed their minds about the intelligence, but because the war is not going well, and so they cannot rely on the good will generated by victory to justify their votes anymore.

That is all.

Let Me Get This Straight...

So the case for Saddam having WMDs rests on Clinton's truthfulness?

Well, Clinton said Saddam had them, and we all know how honest he is, so I guess Bush must have been right.

Riiiiight.

That is all.

Chrismahanukwanzakah

Hilarious.

Virgin has some of the best ads.

(And that Branson's got his fingers in everything, doesn't he?)

That is all.

AIDS and Africa

This column raises what I consider to be an important point.

There has been a lot of controversy over the years as to whether or not HIV causes AIDS, with respectable opinion usualy staying on the HIV does cause AIDS side. But what if this is the wrong question, and the real question is, how many cases of "AIDS" are really cases of AIDS?

In other words, let's assume that HIV is the cause of AIDS (which I firmly believe) and that we have proven that the long-term effect of HIV infection is AIDS. This does not mean that (a) everyone with HIV and other health problems has those other health problems because of the HIV, or (b) everyone displaying a weakened immune system has AIDS.

This is not so much a concern in the U.S., because we have the means to track the progress of HIV infection, and thus to tell whether or not a person's lowered immunity correlates at all with an increase in HIV. However, in countries such as Africa, the diagnosis is often made without any HIV-antibody tests, suggesting that a lot of Africans with "AIDS" could be ebing misdiagnosed.

This would be one explanation for the high rate of AIDS diagnoses in Africa, despite the fact that in the U.S., the disease is mostly restricted to IV drug users and homosexual/bisexual males. (Michael Fumento has another explanation here).

In any case, we ought to be careful how we define AIDS; an ever-expanding definition will increasingly snare people who have immune dysfunction for other reasons, and thus give creedence to the Peter Duesbergs of the world, and therfore make things more difficult for people with genuine AIDS.

That is all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Alito and "One-Person, One Vote"

Liberals are shocked that Nathan Newman questioned the "one person, one vote" principle.

As a big fan of the existence of the U.S. Senate, I do not find that shocking at all.

Personally, I feel that "one person, one vote" should be the standard for the lower houses of state legislatures (or for unicameral legislatures), but the Senates should be apportioned on the basis of county.

There is also the issue of the fact that for smaller states, representation vareis widely in the House, because states with sizes ranging from 500,000 to 900,000 all have one Congressman.

The most obvious solution in my opinion is to increase the size of Congress.

More on that later.

For now, that is all.

More Interesting Blogs

Here and here are two blogs that linked to me as a result of my support of Michael Peroutka's presidential bid.

I'm not endorsing the sites (I haven't read them enough), but I thought it would be nice to throw a little traffic their way (and maybe put them in my links on my lefthand sidebar, who knows?)

That is all.

Kleinheider on Tammy Imre

A.C. has an interesting post discussing the case of the female pedophile (yes, pedophile, not an ephebophile in this case).

I must confess that I have a bit of morbid fascination with female sex offenders in the abstract (by "in the abstract," I mean "no, if some female sex offender in prison is reading this, I do not want to contact you").

I think role-reversal has always been something that I have found to be fertile ground for good literatue (by which I mean TV shows).

I guess I'm just fascinated by a good "man bites dog" story.

That is all.

Dennis Dale Gets All Biled Up

Good posting on the French situation and some interesting musings on the Iraq situation.

That is all.

Presidential Mendacity, Good or Bad?

This article by Jonah Goldberg somewhat echoes a point I made here.

Of course, Ol' Jonesy thinks that it would be a wonderful thing if Bush lied to get us to do the wonderful task of democratizing Iraq (he should talk to Orrin Judd, they have a lot in common).

I, for one, do not trust our leaders enough to assume that their lies are in pour best interests.

And I think that the "democracy's tangible progress in the Middle East" is vastly exaggerrated.

We will see.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Yggy.

That is all.

Like They Care

Devvy Kidd argues that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing the income tax, was never properly ratified.

She may well be correct, but does she honestly believe that any court will find in her favor?

The fact of the matter is, the courts have a vested interest in keeping the source of funding flowing. The conclusion (that the income tax is constitutional) has been made, and the facts of the case will have to be made to fit around that. The fact of the matter is, the courts will determine that "yes" means "no," and "up" means "down" if such is necessary for the income tax to keep existing.

So basically, it seems to me that Ms. Kidd is overly excited about her apparent finding. Even if she is correct, it means squat.

That is all.

Disturbing News on the Gun Registration Front

Could the PATRIOT Act be used to bring national gun registration to the U.S.?

Disturbing.

That is all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Plea to Glaivester Readers

If you are viewing this site with Internet Explorer on a Windows OS, could you tell me if the second sidebar (the one on the right) is appearing?

On my Mac, IE puts the second sidebar at the bottom of the screen, below the first sidebar.

But then again, Internet Explorer for Macs is rather crappy to begin with.

I can see the sidebar fine on both Safari and Netscape, though.

Thank you very much.

That is all.

Changes to Glaivester

I have added a second sidebar to the right-hand side of my page.

I will soon be re-arranging my blog so that the sidebar links are distributed between the two sidebars.

Exciting new things for Glaivester readers!

Well, I'm excited, anyway.

That is all. For now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another Topic I Pledge to Post on

Michael Brendan Dougherty has a piece discussing his admiration for actress Rachel McAdams. (Who once played a Rob Schneider character while Rob Schneider played her character).

I think the time has come to do another post on which celebrities I think are attractive, particularly seeing as my intial post on this topic has gotten me a lot of hits on Google image searches.

Stayed Tuned.

That is all.

National Health Care and Immigration

You know how we are always hearing about how the number of Americans who can't afford health insurance is increasing?

Edwin S. Rubenstein points out that not all of these "Americans" are really Americans, but are actually foreigners.

More from James Fulford.

That is all.

A Mulatto, an Albino, a Gelato, I Got Mine-O

Apropos of my previous post, my humble suggestion of a vast improvment to the chorus of this song.

That is all.

On a Lighter Note

Does anyone else think that in her latest song "Don't Bother," Shakira's back-up band sounds a lot like the Cure?

Actually, this is the first English song that I have liked since "Whenever, Wherever." ("Underneath Your Clothes" and "Objection (Tango)" were crap.) I sort of liked her recent Spanish song, but I didn't understand it nor hear it that often.

A rule of thumb: I like songs that flow well. The chorus has to flow from the, er... whatever the part of the song that is not the chorus, that usually changes with each new verse, is. Songs that seem to be two different songs melded together (this would include Britney Spears' "Sometimes I Run") tend to grate on my nerves. I also don't like it when songs break their rhyme scheme or skip obvious rhymes that fit in with the beat.

That is all.

Thoughts on a Marine's Email

Steve Sailer has an interesting email that he has posted on his blog. The sender purports to be a Marine in Ramadi. While he cannot verify it, he believes it sounds realistic.

You probably should Read the email before reading to my thoughts on it.

While the stuff about the weapons seems good enough, I am highly suspicious of the claim that most of the insurgency is made up of foreign fighters, that the southern part of the insurgency is made up of Shiites, or that Iran is training the insurgents. This sounds like something straight out of the neocon propaganda handbook. I particularly question the veracity of this sttement:

Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian govt.)

This statement, on the other hand, sounds dead-on:

The Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local govt.'s, the police forces and the Army.

Although it seems to me that these infiltrators are not generally interested in insurgency. In forming a sort of mafia-like control in areas like Basra, sure. In killing reporters like Steven Vincent who might be reporting on their corruption, certainly. In killing Iraqi Sunnis in revenge for the Baath Party's oppression of them in the past, of course. But most of southern Iraq has been relatively peaceful, despite the occasional incident, and we seem to be leaving them alone as long as they leave us alone.

Does this mean that I doubt the letter's authenticity? No, but I think that the writer is being fed the same lines we are, and presumably is being fed them by their superiors, not just by neocon columnists and the President.

Finally, this last paragraph sends up all kinds of red flags that we are getting propganda:

According to this Marine [apparently he is referring to himself in the third person- Glai.], morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see things like "Are we losing in Iraq" on TV and the print media. For the most part, we are satisfied with equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just cant stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).

I wonder, if the insurgency is on its last legs, why its ability to hit us and hit us hard has not decreased (indeed, one could argue that ut us stronger than ever, judging by the casualty metrics).

Also, there is the reference to Iran and Syria being the real source of the insurgency again.

Bottom line: the Marine may be authentic, but that doesn't mean he can't be drinking some of the ol' neocon Kool-Aid.

That is all.

Polygamy through Multiculturalism

Steve Sailer:

"It seems pretty obvious that after gay marriage wins, polygamy will be next. It won't be Mormon wackos who will be held up as role models but Third World immigrants who are having their rights to their culture abrogated by Western prejudices against polygamy."

Well, that's what is happening in France.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Mangan's Miscellany.

That is all.

The Problem with "Blank Slate" Liberalism

One of the problems with much of modern liberalism is the "blank slate" assumption. The whole "science" of gender-theory or race theory, where gender and race are seen as social constructs without biological reality, are part and parcel of the "blank slate" ideology. This can be seen clearly, I think, in this post by Ampersand at Alas, a Blog.

Reading between the lines, it is ahrd for me to escape the basic conclusion that the argument here is thus:

(1) Rape is overwhelmingly committed by males.

(2) We all know that men and women are exactly the same except for their reproductive plumbing.

(3) Therefore, the fact that rape is overwhelmingly committed by males indicates a problem with the way that our culture socializes males, as if the crime were just part of the normal range of goodness and badness within humanity, both sexes would commit it equally.

Not that he doesn't make some good points. The part about rape in many cases not being about violence and power, but about sex and indifference to other people's feelings is spot-on, I feel. Some people definitely rape as a weapon; as a means of controlling people or of getting revenge (I would think that rapes of enemy women by soldiers during wartime would often have this sort of motive). But in many cases it appears pretty clear that the violence was merely a means for the rapist to get what he wanted rather than being an end into itself.

Nonetheless, I would wager that the fact that males have a greater propensity to rape (Amelia Chase notwithstanding) is almost certainly due mainly to biological differences between men and women.
I'll try to talk more on this topic later.

That is all.

Saddam Tied to Biological Weapons Expert?

Note: Not to be taken seriously.

Details on my other blog.

That is all.

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I have just posted my first advertisement (if you don't count my plug for T9 Products) in my sidebar. It is for Randy Graf, who is running for Congress in Arizona.

Anyone else interested in posting an ad on Glaivester can contact me through email or post a comment on my donations page.

That is all.

Going Ape

The Ape Man is an interesting blog I have not read before today. I linked to his discussion of white phosphorus in my previous post.

I don't have much of an opinion on the ApeMan yet, as I have only read a few of his pieces. But I do like most of what I see.

That is all for now.

More About White Phosphorus

Here are two
places where I mentioned white phosphorus, which has been used by the U.S. military in Iraq.

Here is a short post by the "Ape Man" discussing the issue.

What it comes down to is that as an incendiary, the use of white phosphorus as a weapon (as opposed to as an illumination device, which is allowed) in areas with large concentrations of civilians is banned by Protocol III of the Geneva Conventions. However, the portion where it is banned has not been ratified by the U.S. Which means that the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah, to which the military has now admitted, is not technically illegal. On the other hand, that we have not ratified the treaty that bans it could be seen in and of itself as a bit of a scandal. (By the way, does anyone know how many countries have ratified it? If we are the last hold-out in the developed world, that would make this much more scandalous, although it would be immoral to the same degree regardless).

I am hesitant to condemn the use of white phosphorus as a weapon per se, because militarily there might be some circumstances in which it is necessary - when fighting a truly necessary war, one where winning, at all costs, was absolutely necessary. AS for the fact that other countries have banned it, I think that many of the other developed countries are a little too squeamish about death, and not willing enough to use violence when necessary. On the other hand, in an unnecessary war like the one in Iraq, the fact that we are using such weapons is inexcusable, because we are not in a position where "win at all costs" is morally justifiable.

So in other words, this episode does not speak well as to the standards which we are using to fight this war.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thoughts on Race and Equality, Part II: How Do We Deal with the IQ Gap if it Is Real?

See also: Thoughts on Race and Equality, Part I: What is it We are Dealing with?

Last week, I posted this piece about race and IQ, detailing the dimensions of what we would have to deal with if there is a real racial IQ gap (particularly in terms of blacks vs. whites) and if we cannot easily close it.

Obviously, the next aspect of such a discussion involves what policies should be put in place, either by government, or by society through private institutions (preferably the latter), in order to deal with a racial IQ gap and to prevent it from becoming disruptive to society or an insurmountable barrier to people’s aspirations.

I should point out right now that a large amount of this is simply the compiling of a lot of ideas that Steve Sailer mentioned. Thus, most of the links will be to relevant Sailer articles.

First of all, the whole education system needs to be overhauled as to the way progress is measured. This will help students with low IQs regardless of any racial correlations. There needs to be extensive aptitude and IQ testing at an early age and throughout the formative educational years (i.e. K-5 or K-6). The educational goals used to determine the success or failure of the school need to be somewhat influences by that. That is to say, if a school has students with an average IQ of 90, it should be judged by a somewhat different standard than one with an average IQ of 105 in terms of determining how successful it is. Or, as Sailer puts it, Schools should be evaluated on how much value they add to their students..

Moreover, the program of study for each student should be influenced by that. I am not saying that lower-IQ students should get crappy lesson plans. Rather, I am saying that students who have lower IQs need to have special attention paid to make absolutely certain that they get the basics (ability to read, write, use proper grammar, and do arithmetic). While I’m not against providing them with culturally enriching classes such as art and music, I think that for the first year or so (perhaps the first three years), science and social studies should be largely ignored except as they can be integrated into reading and arithmetic lessons. Not that such classes need not be taught, but the overriding goal should be to get these kids basic skills first of all. Without those, I doubt that history, science, etc. classes will be beneficial to any great degree. (Obviously, the more gifted students should be taught science, social studies, etc., at a much earlier age, as they can learn the basic skills more easily).

Throughout education, there should be a basic “basket” of skills that students need to be taught, and these should be most highly emphasized on the lower-IQ students. After they have sufficient skill to get by in those skills, then issues such as critical thinking, appreciation of literature, and scientific understanding of the world around them.

Any programs that temporarily raise IQ (e.g. Head Start) during these formative years can be pursued, with the understanding that during whatever period IQ is raised there will be a redoubled effort to teach the basic skills. In other words, the goal of such programs vis a vis education should not be to increase the kid’s cognitive function permanently so much as it should be to provide an extra boost during periods where learning would be particularly assisted by temporarily increased function.

In short, IQ ought to be used to determine how much emphasis should be put on learning the basics (lower IQ = more emphasis) and how much confidence we should have that the students have mastered the basics (i.e. students with lower IQs ought to have more attention paid to them on this issue). The first goal of education ought to be teaching kids the skills they need just to function in society. Aside from classes and activities that are designed to be somewhat recreational (including, at this grade level, the fine arts), most of the other goals of education (e.g. teaching kids science, social studies, how to think about history and interpret literature) should be considered secondary, particularly for kids who are going to have a hard time learning even the basics.

Second, there needs to be more of an emphasis on making certain that there are jobs available for those with lower IQs and that they are prepared to be able to do such jobs. Amongst other policies, restricting immigration, particularly of low-skill workers, is a very important step. Vocational programs need to be made widely available and high-quality, and if college-style training in vocational careers is helpful, its availability and quality ought to be increased.

It would also help to make certain that policies which are designed to make college more affordable are also expanded to include non-college training (e.g. apprenticeships). (There was a mention of this from Mr. Sailer, mentioning the fact that apprentices did not receive the same type of state aid as college students, for example, but I can’t find the link).

Moreover, there should be an attempt to determine what types of technology really do not need great intelligence to operate effectively, and training for such jobs should be made more available for low-IQ individuals; intelligence should only be a barrier to technological jobs where it is actually necessary.

Above all, there should be respect for jobs that do not require a college education, and while it is not wrong to want to increase the opportunities to go to college, we need to be careful not to make it so that college becomes a necessity; that is, that people who choose not to college (or who are unable to go) have good options in life.

Third, there should be service opportunities available to people whose IQs are not high enough to join the army. Steve Sailer’s idea of a disaster relief corps seems about right, but there seems to me no reason to create a new program ex nihilo. I think we could get such a program simply by expanding the National Guard; adding a new “wing” to it, so to speak, that is not eligible for use overseas as a military force (by overseas, I really mean anywhere outside the U.S.). This wing could handle all of the domestic issues that the National Guard currently handles, with the military-eligible National Guard also being called in to help when they are able. Presumably IQ would be less of a requirement in situations that do not require the mastery of complex weapons, of learning and combating enemy strategy, and of continuously shifting plans based on the actions of a sentient enemy.

[So far, all of the policies I have suggested are aracial; they are designed to deal with lower-IQ individuals regardless of any racial correlations. Now we come to the stuff that is more specifically aimed at improving the situation to the extent that it correlates with race.]

Fourth, if there are racial groups with lower average IQs (as in lower than the aggregate national average IQ), it would behoove society to make certain that the members of those groups who have higher IQs are given the same educational opportunities that would be given to a person of another race with the same IQ. To give an example, if a smaller percentage of blacks or Latinos are “Yale material,” then we should make the effort as a society to make certain that those who are “Yale material” are encouraged to go there and helped to succeed there. This sort of policy would be made vastly easier, of course, if we made certain that every minority who got into Yale actually was “Yale material.”

Fifth, it would also be a good idea to help those with non-academic talents to make money off their talents and to save it aside to provide for themselves later on in life (again, an idea floated by Steve Sailer). In Steve’s idea, people who, for example, can excel at college basketball but who are unsuited for the commensurate academic pursuits should be allowed to make money off of playing college basketball (or some sort of equivalent) in an explicitly separate program, and to save that money so that they will have a nest egg if they are unable to turn pro (as will be the case in the vast majority of instances).

Sixth, I would argue that those in a lower-IQ racial community who have the higher IQs need to have a sense of noblesse oblige instilled in them, as well as being strongly indoctrinated (for lack of a better term) in the need for capital investment in their communities, and in the need for their intellectual resources to be used for their communities’ betterment. There also should be an effort to encourage a culture of saving amongst those who have enough so that saving is a possibility (that is, for those who would not likely think ahead enough to save, their should be a strong social pressure that saving is a moral imperative). By saving, I am including stocks, mutual funds, and all other sorts of investments as well as bank accounts; although most likely a relatively secure set of mutual funds would be the best for the lower IQ segments as those would require the least amount of conscious maintenance.

It is also of major importance to create a sense of noblesse oblige amongst celebrities and aspiring celebrities. In addition, we need to encourage those with lots of money (e.g. if we are talking about blacks, sports stars and rappers) to make large capital investments within the community. Particularly in the case of those who aspire to celebrity but have not achieved it yet, there is the need to drill into them a sense of responsible behavior, and for athletes, of modesty and teamwork.

I think the biggest element in all of this analysis is to realize that the goal ought to be not to use IQ as a way to excuse the existence of certain problems, but as a tool for solving them. Moreover, lower IQ people need not be dismissed as hopeless cases, but rather we may need to work harder on their education (as well as working smarter).

That is all.

Needing Windows

Realizing that there are a few internet applications (including certain resume builders) that are not Mac-compatible, I have finally broken down - and put off buying a Mac G5 for another week or two in favor of spending some of my savings on a PC emulator ($219.00 for Virtual PC7 with Windows XP (home edition) and another $25.00 for an anti-virus program).

Technically, I haven't purchased it yet. I've ordered it and will pay upon receipt of goods.

I'll report on how I like it after it comes. Although honestly, PC emulators are probably going to become obsolete when the new IntelMacs come out and begin to take off.

I currently use Mac 10.2.8. Instead of buying Tiger, I think I am going to wait and get Tiger on the next Mac I buy. If Tiger is faster than Jaguar, and I get a G5 with at least 1 GB of RAM (the amount in my 733 MHz G4), hopefully that will help the emulator run faster than I am afraid it will run on my current Mac.

That is all.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Attempts at Sexual Equality Gone Horribly Wrong

Am I the only one who finds this hilarious?

It would probably be less funny if the male equivalent weren't the most frequently received spam message in all of emaildom.

(Warning: slightly off-color).

That is all.

Failure is the One Unforgivable Crime

(This is a paraphrase of a line from G.I. Joe: the Movie).

It strikes me that in the end, all that will matter in Iraq is failure or victory. The reason why the Bush scandals are getting so much play in the media is because the war is not going well. If casualties suddenly declined, terrorist attacks declined, and harmony broke out in Iraq, no one would care whether Bush lied or not.

That is all.

An Excellent Post on Gay Marriage by Lawrence Auster

Lawrence Auster discusses how gay marriage (or its equivalent) really does impact heterosexual marriage.

The fact of the matter is, as I see it, is that when the left argues that gay marriage will not impact traditional heterosexual marriage, they are not so much being naive, or ignoring the issue of "marginal cases," as Jane Galt suggests. Rather, they have no respect for traditional heterosexual marriage, do not really care if it becomes obsolete, and so don't think that gay marriage will have "much of an impact" because they regard traditional marriagfe as so expendable that they don't see itas "much of an impact" if traditional marriage were to virtually disappear altogether.

That is all.

A Soldier's Opinion

Every so often, we get a letter praising the Iraq War from a soldier in Iraq, that claims that things are going so wonderful there, if only themedia would tell us the truth.

I tend to be skeptical of such claims, particularly because the Army has the ability to punish any soldier who criticizes the war (if a soldier has to say nice things and only nice things, why should I take any nice things he says seriously?)

So with that in mind, and with the hope that Allan Wall won't get censured for his report, here is his latest "Memo from Mesopotamia," where he questions whether Iraq can stay together as a unified country.

Particularly important is the statement that 95% of Kurds support independence.

Eventually, we are going to have to choose between our Kurdish and Turkish allies.

We are screwed.

That is all.
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