Wednesday, July 28, 2004

July Good Quotes

In honor of the impending end of blog vacation, I've rounded up some good stuff from other places (including some repeats)--

Alex Rodriguez- "F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!"
Jason Varitek-
"F*** YOU! We don't throw at F***ing .275 hitters!"

jay nordlinger in NRO
"Before I left New York, I observed a crystallizing scene in Central Park: One female jogger encountered two others - whom she knew - and she said, "I'm going to see Fahrenheit 11" - that's what she said, "Fahrenheit 11" - "at 12:05," and the other two joggers squealed, "Ooh," and they all hugged. This is a funny moment in America, ladies and gentlemen."

From Allah:
It is a great affront to god that a woman so saucy should also be learned, but there is the problem with your women in a nutshell, America. Pro: They are looking good. Con: They attend school. You must accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

Ted Kennedy
"...the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush."

Really? Fade to photo of WTC Towers...

Victor Davis Hanson
Without historical perspective(about Iraq), thousands of pundits and politicians maneuver every 24-hours to "prove" that their shifting and contradictory positions, like millions of the American people's own rising and falling spirits, are in fact really consistent and principled. But mostly they are all just confused about Iraq and not sure whether we are emerging from a few skirmishes with a few weeks left to the armistice or firing away on Guadalcanal with three more years of mayhem to go."

Allah in the House
Osama and the mujahideen saw a website that claimed Jews are controlling the world with robots. The mujahideen were frightened, and declared jihad on robots: The intifada against Jew robots continues apace this morning, kufr. Three more Zionist vending machines and 11 ATMs have been liquidated by shahids in glorious martyrdom operations.

via Jay Nordlinger
'the author discusses the accusation that Schwarzenegger is anti-semantic . . .'

Tom Daschle
"[Americans] wonder how we can build new schools in Iraq, while so many American schools are crumbling?"

Really? Is it the mortar which is crumbling in American schools? Is it a money problem?

Iraqi blogger Firas Georges
"What may back up my criteria is what is going on in the ISX (Iraq Stock eXchange). Things there are more than good, its terrifying good. Nobody expected to close deals in one day with the same value of what he used to close in three months work, and investors are trying to find themselves a broker who isn’t so occupied with deals. "

-Roger L. Simon
Deep down (the Democrats) are saying the War on Terror was a bad thing because "we didn't do it."

Jamie Lee Curtis' exasperated speech to Kevin Kline's Otto, in A Fish Called Wanda:
"Aristotle was not Belgian. The central teaching of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself.' The London Underground is not a political movement. These are mistakes, Otto. I looked them up."

David Frum II
"The Democrats are not well served by the media bias in their favor. [...] (they) suffer from the same problem as ultimately felled Saddam Hussein: They cannot trust their (media) servants to report the truth. "

Iraqi blogger Alaa-
You are indeed falling prey to the Media. [...] we, who are in the middle of it all, see a definite improvement in the overall security situation [...] In fact, we expected much worse. The enemy has no agenda, no clear political objective, he is just desperately striking left and right and committing more and more terrible atrocities that will only increase the hatred and repulsion against him; while the offensive against him by the patriotic Iraqis is gaining momentum. The majority are going to get stronger and stronger, and this is already observable in the new security formations. We are in the thick of it and don't feel discouraged at all.

This chart contrasts the number of stories on Joe Wilson before and after both the Senate Intelligence Report and the 9/11 Commission Report outed him as a liar.

Outlet..................Wilson Before....Wilson After
Washington Post............96...................2
New York Times............70...................3
Los Angeles Times.........48...................2

-Howard Kurtz via Virginia Postrel
"Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he 'didn't want to see any stories' quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used."

Victor Davis Hanson-
Email Question: What would constitute "victory" for our enemy? Were you in their shoes, what would be your goal? How would you define victory and then remain victorious?
Hanson: An enemy victory in Iraq is something most likely to be a government of jihadists, whether Sunnis or Shiites, like Iran. An agenda of such a state?

>Get your hands on billions of petrodollars.
>Form a loose alliance with Iran and understandings with Syria.
>Undermine the Gulf States.
>Follow the Iranian/Libyan model of nuclear acquisition.
>Daily threaten Israel.
>Make the Europeans sell whatever you want, through a mixture of oil blackmail and loose talks about missiles, nukes, and launching ranges.

So, if they could turn Iraq into a Taliban-like badlands first, and a petrofueled theocracy second, then the rest would be easier. There are only two ways for Islamist governments now to threaten us: transform their country into terrorist havens (Afghanistan) or use petrol-dollars to buy nukes (Iran). Otherwise they are about as relevant as the Sudan or Somalia.

LaShawn Barber- the clear-thinking, the beloved-
"Dealing with race discrimination, perceived or otherwise, is secondary to individual accountability."

via Jay Nordlinger
Pine Bluff. Black History Month. Come to school as famous African-American. My co-worker's kid was told to come as Tina Turner. My co-worker informed the teacher that her child would come as Condoleezza Rice instead. The teacher refused to allow it, on grounds that Rice 'is for white people.'

Roger L. Simon
"I will admit that we optimists have been wrong about 98 percent of the time and that, on the surface, we are nitwits.(Hey, I like Kafka too.) But I submit that we are happier in our idiocy. "

Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah--
"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
"Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man."
"Remember the poet. Audace. Audace."
Frederick the Great--
"To defend everything is to defend nothing."

Mona Charen
"Is it really arrogance to believe that the system and the culture we've inherited is superior to others? Or is it ingratitude to deny it?"

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Observations Loosely Related to Part I

1) We're at war. Any person who understands this has no quarrel with "with us or against us." Any person who doesn't understand this doesn't need to be governing our nation.

2) Bush is riding an excellent streak of political and diplomatic success. He is perfectly positioned to achieve a blowout electoral victory in November. Iraq is well-positioned to be a historic democratic success. The Palestinians are more and more disgusted with Arafat. During Bush's term, diplomatic progress has been made in critical areas such as Russia, Pakistan, Libya, and North Korea. Over 90 nations aided the effort in Iraq.

3) John Kerry is not "suave" in any way that gets any positive thing accomplished. John Kerry is "suave" in the self-aggrandizing fashion of an arrogant and dense snob.

Actually, to this point Bush has performed like one of the great politicians and great American Presidents in history. From the gubernatorial defeat of popular Ann Richards, to the Presidential campaign, the tax cuts, the mid-term Congressional elections, the liberation of 50 million people, the capitulation of Ghaddaffi, the discovery and break-up of Khan's international nuclear black market, the diplomatic successes mentioned above, and the rebound of the economy and the job market from the recession he inherited, Bush is on a historic run of political success. Listening to the yelps of outrage, it's pretty funny to think this is what one of the great Presidencies in history looks like!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Part I- The Straw Man of "Presidential Style"

There's an argument that President Bush's international style is too arrogant and inflexible, thus creating hard feelings, and leading to less economic and security cooperation with other nations.

The real argument is not about style, it's about policy. Were certain policy goals worth the risk of angering certain other nations? Any international hard feelings were spawned by policy disagreement, as in "If you disagree with me you are inflexible and polarizing."

"Bush's style" is a straw man. An argument about policy can morph into a separate argument about style, with the style winner hoping to declare proxy victory in the policy argument, even though the policy argument has not actually been resolved. It's sometimes hard to see this, whether you are the morpher or the morphee, so to speak. It was a long time before I saw the fallaciouness of the "style" argument.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The straw-man rhetorical technique [...] declaring one argument's conclusion to be wrong because of flaws in another argument.

When Senator Kerry says he would "reestablish credibility in the rest of the world," he's making a straw man argument about style. Kerry hopes to win the straw man argument and go on to declare victory in the policy argument.

Update 7/26/04
Andrew Sullivan in The Sunday Times of London- "The argument Kerry must make is that he can continue the substance of the war, but without Bush's polarizing recklessness."

"Continue the substance of the war" is code language for discontinuing large portions of the current war policy. Sullivan is trying to win a policy argument without arguing policy. He's setting up Bush's leadership style as a straw man. The real argument is about policy. If Bush's policy equated to police action, his current critics would not accuse him of "polarizing recklessness." Style is a straw man. Policy is what Sullivan is not addressing.