Light on the Sacred, Heavy on the Profane
Saturday, December 27, 2003
 
Soldiers' Stories


Here's the story of a medic who was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein. I would copy a paragraph, but the site won't let me. Link via The Puppy Blender.

Here's a letter from the soldier who sat next to President Bush on Thanksgiving. This cracked me up:
We have helped the Iraqis build new schools, repair others, I used to transport money for the bank to get it restarted to downtown Baghdad, it's like driving in New York City but worse they don't know how to drive here. Well, they don't know how to drive there either.
heh heh heh. Link via Free Republic.

Also via Free Republic, an article describing a soldier's efforts to resupply Iraqi schools.
DeNormandie’s company in Mosul are "beat cops." He is "as busy as a one-legged guy in a butt-kicking contest." His men were given the task of clearing the weapons that the Iraqi military hid from the aerial campaign in the school buildings and mosques around Mosul. While completing their job, the soldiers noticed the Hussein regime had pillaged the schools. There was nothing for the children. Schools re-opened once the region stabilized were unable to provide basics to the children.

Danny recalls the first child he gave supplies, pencils, papers and crayons to, the 9-year-old son of a carpenter putting a door on his room. DeNormandie writes, "I reached under my cot, pulled out a box. Immediately he sat at my desk and started drawing. The look in his eyes, the enthusiasm in which he went at it was outstanding. He presented me with the picture before he left."

"So," writes Danny, "I sent out a simple request" asking friends and family to participate, seeking school supplies for Iraqi schoolchildren. "Anything would help." He hoped for enough to "field a classroom." He promised a "no red tape" delivery to the children directly.
Here's more.
Friday, December 26, 2003
 
Popping a Small Pimple on the Gargantuan Butt of Federal Spending


This article cracks me up.
What we really need is someone to have the guts to advance a proposal that can pull our nation back from the brink of bankruptcy. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Todd Tihart (R-KS) have come up with one good idea that can help to do just that. The idea is called Commission On Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies (CARFA), S. 1668 / H.R. 3213, and it is based on the successful effort that reduced the number of our military bases at the end of the Cold War. ...The same principles can apply to discretionary domestic spending. In 2001, there were 342 economic development programs, 130 programs serving the disabled, 50 homeless assistance programs, and 27 teen pregnancy programs. Even if you believe that the Federal Government has business in these areas, the fact is that the money showered on these programs can be spent more efficiently and economically and to greater effectiveness by consolidating their number and developing a well-thought out strategy to attack the problems they seek to cure.
Of course the article has to mention what is obvious to anyone who has studied the federal budget:
By no means will CARFA cure all our country's fiscal ailments, namely the mounting cost of entitlement programs. But discretionary spending has been increasing. It all adds up, and it is sticking our country's next generation with huge bills that they will be forced to pay.
Now I'm all for reducing discretionary spending, but it seems like a waste of time when we could spend our effort and political capital on privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Oh, I forgot. We've already done that. Click here to see what I thought of that.

What the federal government needs is a constitutional amendment equivalent to Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights PLUS a balanced budget amendment. Passing one or the other would lead to higher taxes, but both would force Congress to make the hard choices that they are too cowardly to make.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
 
Merry Christmas!


Over 2000 years ago, God's son was born into a religious community that had hundreds of rules. Rules on what to eat, how to worship, how to dress, etc. He was sent to challenge the status quo- to tell people that living the letter of the law without living the spirit of it is a meaningless existence. He had only one rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

A message that lives on thousands of years later.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I'm off to cook Christmas dinner for me and my aunt.
 
Review of PBS' Reagan


Recently, KaShei and I sat down and watched a documentary on Reagan that PBS produced. It was interesting, not least because I was a kid when he was elected and the news footage seemed so familiar, but so much more detailed then my memory. During the brouhaha about the CBS/Showtime Reagan movie, someone on Free Republic recommended it as a balanced portrayal of Ronald Reagan's life and presidency. A few weeks later, on a 2 hour lunch break from jury duty- gotta love the legal profession- I was browsing in the Wall Street Borders. While I was perusing the porn DVD section, the word "Reagan" caught my eye. "That's gotta be interesting," I thought, "Maybe a CBS production?" Turns out the documentaries were right next to the porn. Go figure.

It wasn't severely slanted to the left, but I did think it wasn't fair enough. Two things bothered me:

Firstly, the amount of footage of the nuclear freeze movement dwarfed the amount of footage later in the movie that gave him credit for ending the Cold War "without firing a shot." One was left with the feeling that Reagan did the right thing, but he could've done so in a way that would've caused less protest. Nevermind that the nuclear freeze movement was, like the antiwar movement of today, financed by America's foreign enemies and composed of America's domestic enemies and their dupes.

Secondly, there were 2 of Reagan's biographers interviewed: Lou Cannon and Edmund Morris. The documentary gave them equal time. Lou Cannon, a California journalist, began to cover Reagan when he was the newly elected governor. Cannon has written 4 books on Reagan, none of which are controversial given the exhaustive sourcing and footnoting. He is considered the definitive Reagan biographer.

Morris was chosen as Reagan's official biographer based on his excellent biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Somewhere between the 2 books, he took a wrong turn- or a large briefcase filled with money. Instead of producing a biography, Morris fictionalized Reagan's life and wrote a historical novel, part fact, part fiction and damn near impossible to tell which is which. From the Amazon.com editorial review:
Despite deep research and unprecedented access--no previous biography has ever been authorized by a sitting president--Morris could get no closer to Reagan's elusive soul than Reagan's own kids could. So Morris decided to dramatize Reagan's life with several invented characters--including a fictionalized version of himself and an imaginary gossip columnist who makes wicked comments on Reagan's career. This is one weird tactic, forcing the reader constantly to consult the footnotes at the back of the book to sort things out, and Morris makes it tougher by presenting his invented characters as real, even in the footnotes.
So, to me, giving these authors equal time not only slanted the movie to the left, but called into question the accuracy of the documentary itself. Having said that, it was still very enjoyable and I do recommend it to anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the greatest president of the 20th century.
 
How do They Think Up This Stuff?


In the latest issue of the RNC magazine, Rising Tide, I saw this and cracked up. (Scroll down to "Does Watching Democrats Debate Cause Stress? Play BINGO!")
There is now an antidote to the stress caused by hearing the endless flow of protest and pessimism from Democrats—Democrat Debate Bingo. One of the most popular additions to the RNC’s Web site, www.gop.com, more than 25,000 people played within a month of the game’s Oct. 9 launch.

Democrat Debate Bingo boards now include more than 100 of your favorite Democratic debate phrases, including Raise Taxes, Despair, Liar, United Nations and Miserable Failure. As candidates say the various phrases, players can close out the square. Play alone or play with friends. To receive boards via e-mail visit www.gop.com/bingo/signup.asp.
Get it? You get together with your Republican friends to watch the Democratic debates, pass out bingo cards printed with Democratic catch phrases, and when you get 5 in a row you shout "Bingo!" What you win depends upon the largess of the host, I guess.

I just wish they had cards with the real Democratic catch phrases on them. Ones like:

"We have to appease those who support the killing of Americans."
"Blacks will always need Affirmative Action because they're genetically incapable of being smart enough to compete with whites."
"We need to take more money from the young working man and give it to the richest demographic group in America: the elderly."
"If the entire body of the newborn is outside the womb, but the head's still inside, it's ok to kill him by sticking a scalpel in his neck."
"Who cares about forest fires that destroy property and kill people? If that's the price to pay for saving the earth from the timber industry, those dead firefighters should be glad to pay it."
"We need to morally equate terrorists who only target innocent women and children with the IDF, who selectively assassinate terror leaders, occasionally killing bystanders by accident."

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
 
Just When I Thought I Was Relaxed


Came back from yoga at peace with the world; Then I saw this.
"Amnesty International is relieved that the jury compassionately decided not to execute Lee Boyd Malvo, who was a juvenile at the time of his crime. In this season celebrating peace, we are pleased jurors spared this young man his life.

Execution of those under 18 violates international law and runs counter to the norms of virtually every other nation on earth. In fact, since 2000, only the United States and four other countries -- China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Pakistan -- have executed juvenile offenders.
Nothing like Amnesty International press releases to get the bile rising in your throat, is there? Nothing to instantly change your mood of relaxation to one of rage than that lovely bit of sophism.

OK, this is what pisses me off. A bunch of bloodthirsty dictatorships stroking each other off at the UN does not constitute international law. International Law precedes the UN by hundreds of years. The opinions of a bunch of rich commie lawyers calling themselves Amnesty International with a propensity for child rape and a penchant for manufacturing kiddie porn snuff films do not constitute international law. International Law predates them by hundreds of years.

The main principle of international law is that each nation is sovereign. That is to say: What goes on inside its borders is its business, unless it destroys the property of another country. If you breach the borders of another country, all bets are off and war takes the place of law.

You'd think with all their money and schooling, these rich commie lawyers would know this. They do, they're just trying to substitute their opinions for 200 year old legal principles. (that aren't necessarily fair, granted)

Just to head off a predictable argument- That does not mean that the Iraq War part 2 was illegal under international law. Part 1 is easily justified, as the invasion of Kuwait breached the border of another sovereign nation. Part 2 was based on the violation of the ceasefire terms of the first Gulf War.



Monday, December 22, 2003
 
In my email...


Someone with a cousin in the Coast Guard sent this gem to me.

Subject: Saddam's Christmas Story

'Twas 13th December, when deep in Iraq,
the 4th I.D. had a big enemy to track.
Saddam's stockings were smelly from months on the lam,
In hopes that Dean or Kerry would soon take command;
Our soldiers were nestled in their desert humvees,
Theyd been told they were hunting Iraqi V.I.Ps;
And Saddam with head lice infesting his cap,
Had just settled down for an Iraqi-type nap,
When out on the farm there arose such a clatter,
He sprang from his shack to see what was the matter.
Away to his hideout he flew in a snit,
Tore open his pants leaping into the pit.
The searchlight on the dictator now caught in our snare,
Gave the luster of mid-day to his nasty wild hair.
When, what to our soldiers? wide eyes should appear,
But a bedraggled old dictator cowering in fear!
Beneath the dirty old beard and the lice in his mane,
They were amazed to discover that it was Saddam Hussein.
More rapid than eagles they called up old Rummy,
And he whistled, and shouted, and said, "This is yummy!"
"Now, Condi! now, Sanchez! now, Cheney and Bush!
On, TV! on Radio! and Free Republic! Lets Rush!
To the top of the news! Get this video on!
Call FNC first! Then Dan Rather and Tom!
As a gloved doctor examined the smelly old goat,
he shoved a big wooden stick down Saddam?s nasty throat,
Around the world in a flash the footage it flew,
As the French and Russians gulped, wondering what we now knew.
And then, in a twinkling, we heard from our leader
as he confirmed the capture of the despotic bottom feeder.
As he concluded his announcement, they replayed the scene,
(We heard nothing from Clark and nothing from Dean).
Saddam was covered in filth, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all greasy, with ashes and soot;
A bundle of money he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler whod sold out to Chirac.
His eyes -- how they sagged! his dimples now pits!
His forehead was covered with curious zits!
His head was examined for vermin and lice,
shaved his face of the beard that was his disguise;
A large piece of wood was probed in his mouth,
(And we dont even know if the gloved hand went South);
He still had a fat face but had lost his round belly,
His clothes were a shambles and his feet downright smelly
He was skinny and drawn, the lying old coward,
And I laughed when I thought of the speech made by Howard;
But the spin of the media and a liberal talking head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
Dean spoke not a word; Kerry went straight to work,
And tried to get airtime; (sounds just like the jerk),
Bush kept it short, not given to prose,
And giving a nod, up the polls he rose;
He sprang back to work, to his team gave a whistle,
And to D.C. they flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he went on his way,

"Happy Christmas to all, and God Bless the USA!


 
It's Always About the Football


This post from The Corner, is far more realistic than you may think. It alleges that Libya's capitulation may have more to do with Khaddafi's desire to have Libya host the World Cup in the future.
One thing everyone in the world agrees on is that Khaddafi is obsessed with soccer. This fact goes double for his sons, one of whom is on the roster of a major Italian soccer team. Khaddafi owns large shares of a few top European teams and is reported to watch/attend games constantly.

The World Cup for 2010 has been promised to an African country. It will mark the first time the tournament will be played in Africa and getting the World Cup means that the host nation gets an automatic spot in the field of 32 teams. Getting the World Cup means Khaddafi’s son will either play on and or coach the Libya team and it will signal to the world that Libya has arrived. In soccer it is the ultimate stage and as you know soccer is king in about 98% of the world. It is far bigger than getting the Olympic Games.

Before you consider this foolish, remember that it is believed the Falklands Islands War was fought because of an Argentinian loss to England in international soccer. Countries in Africa have also gone to war over international matches.

My Comparative Politics prof at Pitzer College, who was very intellectually honest for a commie, considered teaching a course called "Soccer and Politics."

So I find this to be an interesting theory.

UPDATE: The Soccer War was between El Salvador and Honduras.

UPDATE: I was wrong about the Falkland Islands War- indeed, last night I looked for a link showing causation and couldn't find one. Stories like this
The matches between Argentina and England over the last four decades have resulted in tales equal to boxing in their corruption, brutality and athletic glory.

The first blow was landed in the 1966 World Cup quarterfinal, when Argentine Antonio Rattin was ejected from a game against England on the hallowed ground of Wembley Stadium in London. When shown the red card, Rattin stubbornly refused to leave the pitch. After order was restored, England used its advantage to win the match and advance toward the title.

In the 1986 World Cup semifinal -- against the backdrop of enmity cemented by the Falklands War -- Argentina gained dramatic revenge, defeating England 2-1 on a goal by Diego Maradona. The English side protested that the goal was scored off Maradona's hand, and television replays showed him purposely punching the ball into the goal. When asked about it after the match, Maradona said "the hand of God" had scored. Led by Maradona's otherwise brilliant play, Argentina captured its second Cup title.

In the buildup to this year's World Cup, events have again transpired to focus attention on the Argentina-England match. During club play earlier this year, David Beckham, captain of the English team, broke a bone in his foot after being tackled by Pedro Duscher, an Argentine playing professional ball in Spain. Beckham had been ejected from the England-Argentina match during the 1998 World Cup in France, which Argentina went on to win.

Beckham's recovery has become a source of national concern. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has commented on the state of Beckham's injury. Queen Elizabeth invited Beckham to Buckingham Palace, where she blessed both his foot and England's chances.
And blog entries like this
According to the author of Tokyo Tales, and confirmed by my office's resident soccer fanatic, the Argentinian soccer team has vowed to demolish the English team in retribution for the Falkland Islands War.

And, just in case anyone was starting to relax about the potential for crowd trouble after the utterly benign England-Sweden encounter, tonight one channel previewed the game by running a short feature that took in the 1966 World Cup (we beat them in the quarter-finals), the 1986 World Cup (they beat us in the quarter-finals with a little help from the Hand of God), the 1998 World Cup (Beckham gets self sent off, they beat us on penalties in the second round) and of course the 1982 Falklands War (we beat them after three weeks of extra time in the South Pacific). Seriously, they had stock footage of Harriers taking off from HMS Hermes, the Belgrano going down and even HMS Sir Galahad on fire - the implication being that England are on a mission to avenge the Welsh Guards we lost twenty years ago almost to the day.


In response, the English team captain has reportedly stated, "It's just a game." Good on him for it. :)


If I were on the English team and was asked about the Falklands, my answer would have been an immature and inflammatory, "Well, they started it..."
made me think one had to do with the other. I was wrong. Mea Culpa.

Thanks, Bill!