Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Bro64!


Bro64 is in orange, and brother Bruce is on the far right. They are chatting with their great and good friend from the days when all three were baseball stars.

Bro64 is an outstanding youth sports coach. It would be hard to be a better coach than he is.

He's currently coaching a 9 year olds baseball team. A player had a hitting problem. Bro64 agonized over how to help the player correct it. He studied possible solutions in his coaching books. He settled on three drills to work on with the player after practice. One of them involved the batter holding a balloon between his thighs as he swung. Another involved hitting a ball off a tee - Happy Gilmore style - after a walking approach from behind the tee.

Then the player's Mom related that she thought her son was concerned about being a slow runner, and that he was consequently attempting to run to first base before his bat contacted the ball. Player interrogation confirmed this was the problem. Ah, well.

Bro64, displaying shrewd coaching expertise, helpfully instituted a rule:
Don't run until your bat hits your shoulder on the follow through.
I'm confident Bro64 slept with satisfaction that night: his job well done.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Happy Birthday, Bro64!

Douglas Feith: "War and Decision"

Douglas Feith is a former U.S. undersecretary of Defense for policy, and is author of: "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism". Mr. Feith is donating 100% of his book income to military veterans' causes.

Link to five excellent video interview segments with NRO's Peter Robinson.

Feith has written a scrupulously documented and footnoted work of scholarship and history. Feith has set up a website which links to documentation cited in his book. Feith's book has been on Amazon's Top 10 List for several weeks. "War and Decision" has received almost no play in the MSM. Feith speculates on the reason: while the book is critical of the Bush Administration, it generally shows the Bush Administration trying to do the right thing. In an election year, this is inconvenient for the MSM. So far, neither the NYT nor WaPo have reviewed "War and Decision". That is unusual for a book on Amazon's Top 10 List.

I transcribed the following from a Feith interview with Glen Reynolds and Helen Smith.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feith: I found that almost all the books that have been written on Iraq have had important points in them which were unsubstantiated and inaccurate. I was very interested, in my book, in relying on the record, so that people could see the actual memos. I tried to create a narrative based upon real documents, and upon my actual notes from meetings. I made the radical decision that I would put words in quotation marks only if they were actually spoken by people at the actual time and place I was describing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q: What is the biggest misconception about the decision to go to war in Iraq?

Feith: First, that the Pres. came to office intent on going to war; didn't consider options other than war; did not listen to or respect considerations other than war. All of those allegations are wrong.

Second misconception: that Pentagon officials did not plan for post-war Iraq. That is wrong. Pentagon officials did plan for post-war Iraq. My book reveals what the actual plan was for post war transition. That has not been discussed in any book previous to mine.

[Greg's note: Rumsfeld wanted to quickly install a U.S. friendly strongman, then get out. This was partly why Rumsfeld had so few troops on the ground when Baghdad fell. Rumsfeld did not want to expose large numbers of American troops to extended risk.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feith: Regarding Saddam: when the Bush Admin came to office, there had been criticism of the Clinton Admin policy . It was clear that the foundation of the Clinton Admin. policy - the set of U.N. Security Council Resolutions trying to contain the danger from the Saddam regime - it was clear that that containment strategy was disintegrated.

Saddam had already ended the weapons inspections. He had loosened and corrupted the economic sanctions. He was challenging the no fly zones by shooting at U.S. and British aircraft virtually every day. It was clear the containment strategy was not sustainable.

There were debates within the Bush Admin. for the first 8 months or so over what to do about this: could the containment strategy be repaired? Was something new needed?

There were no decisions made prior to 9/11.

After 9/11, Pres. Bush decided something which was a great departure from past U.S. practice: our goal after 9/11 must be to prevent the next attack; not merely to punish those who did the prior attack.

That focused the National Security officials on the broader terrorist network - including state supporters who might be involved in follow-on attack. That's when new National Security focus fell upon Iraq.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feith: The administration made a terrible mistake in relying on bad intelligence which said we would find WMD stockpiles in Iraq. That severely damaged our country's credibility.

However, the general reporting on WMD has been misleading. The headlines around the world were: no WMD found in Iraq. People then concluded there was no WMD threat posed by Iraq. That was not correct.

What we found after Saddam was overthrown was that Saddam had maintained his programs. He had facilities. He had personnel. He had materiel. He had the intentions to have chemical and biological weapons - and of course he had them and he used them in the past. He had put himself in a position where he could've produced chemical and biological weapons in 3-5 weeks. What we found, after the war, was that he did pose a serious chemical and biological danger.

The administration would've done itself a service if it had countered a lot of the false statements its critics were making. The administration, beginning in fall of 2003, made the decision they were not going to talk about the past anymore. They were just going to focus on the future, and on the promotion of democracy.

I think that was a terrible mistake. It had three main consequences:

1. It looked like the Pres. was changing the rational for war in the middle of a war. That hurt the President's credibility.

2. By not debating his critics on the past, the Pres. ensured his critics would focus on almost nothing but the past. The critics found that whatever they said about the past would go uncontradicted by the White House. And so the critics wound up being extremely successful in completely revising the history, and with coming up with this "Bush lied, people died" argument.

3. We actually went to war to remove the various threats the Saddam regime posed. However, the President, by moving discussion away from that, and by defining success as the promotion of a successful democratic government in Iraq, the President actually moved the goalposts away from us. Instead of saying success is removing threats and having some kind of stable government, he said the goal is stable democracy. That's a much more difficult goal to achieve. I think many Americans then thought the President had set an unrealistic goal; and, as a consequence, those Americans gave up their support for the war effort.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Greg's note regarding Pres. Bush setting a goal of having a successful democratic government:

To me, it seems obvious President Bush was shooting for more than a stable government run by a U.S. friendly strongman. Further, Pres. Bush' democracy objective is currently being realized. An amazing thing. Historic. Because his democracy strategy is succeeding: I expect history will revere George W. Bush for his vision and for his guts. I find it humorous that Pres. Bush is so reviled at a moment when we are so clearly succeeding in Iraq. A free Iraq might, over the next 50-100 years or so, wreck fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East - leaving fundamentalism a discredited shadow of what it is now.]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Needed: diversion

b/c this blog has lately been way too mature:



Cool, and filled with wonders:



I like this:



Sign of the Apocalypse:

Website features Prom maternity dresses.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Americans' economic understanding

is better than I expected it would be. Don Surber:
The numbers are from the Gallup Poll.

The Question: “Which approach should the government focus on to fix the economy:
1. Take steps to more evenly distribute wealth among Americans;
2. Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation?”

Overwhelmingly Americans chose the latter.

They remember Jack Kennedy, who said a rising tide lifts all boats.

Obama is among the 13% who want wealth redistribution [i.e. "take steps to more evenly distribute wealth"].
84% in the Gallup Poll chose: "Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation".

The closest one can get

to Hell on Earth, is watching Steven A. Smith in a private, poseur on poseur ESPN interview with WR Chad Johnson. I stayed in there for a full 9 or 10 seconds of viewing, long enough to hear Steven A. Smith yell: "DO YA WANT TO BE A CINCINNATI BENGAL IN 2008!?!?"

Fingernails on a chalkboard in my brain.

Justice! Congrats to Steven J. Hatfill

I'm glad to live in a nation where a wronged man can still receive retribution from the government who wronged him. Hatfill's case is both

1) a cautionary tale of government "of the people, by the people", and
2) a celebration of government "for the people".

NYT

Right, Wrong, Arabs, the Left

In this video, a Saudi religious authority at first encourages Muslims to wait a few years before deflowering their child brides, and so I'm thinking:
Better, at least, than what might be.

However, I didn't quite comprehend his perspective. He continued on:

The Prophet Muhammad is the model we follow. He took Aisha to be his wife when she was six, but he had sex with her only when she was nine.
Simply and absolutely wrong.

The Left believe objective truth does not exist. They argue that nothing is absolutely wrong.

This argument - that all truth is subjective opinion - is passed down from philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche, and is revered by college professors and Leftists all over the Western world. I wonder how they get around that they are effectively arguing it is true that truth does not exist. It seems they defeat their own argument. I shall mull this.

I am all into C.S. Lewis:

... the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.
Lewis says the "curious idea that [we] ought to behave in a certain way" is a common idea which comes from God. God supernaturally urges us to do right, and we sense it, even in situations where we also have an urge to do wrong.

Lewis argues all societies have some righteousness in common:

There have been differences between [civilizations'] moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference.
[...]
for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him.
[...]
[Men] have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

But the most remarkable thing is this: Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining "It's not fair" before you can say Jack Robinson.
Ultimately, I agree with Lewis - not due to any logical argument, but rather due to my own sense that each of us do have a supernatural and guiding sense inside us.

Though it's our nature to overtly and serially ignore the right thing, a further problem is the ease with which we mis-identify the right thing. Consider someone earnestly trying to follow the "rich man ... camel through the eye of a needle" concept. Since we live in a free market economy: the more we produce, and thus the richer we become, the more we also help our fellow man. Therefore, it's important to interpret the true meaning of Jesus' words, lest one mistakenly produce less inside a free market economy, and thus mistakenly contribute less to one's fellow man.

BTW, I've read that "camel" is a misinterpretation of the original Hebrew. It properly should read "easier for rope to pass through the eye of a needle." Supposedly true.

Back to the political Left, and the core Leftist argument that all truth is subjective. From this argument flows the PC doctrine that intellectual discrimination is bad. From this flows the PC doctrine of "who are we to criticize another culture?" From this flows Evan Sayet's contention that PCs believe the attempt to be right is at the root of all injustice in the world:

Their thinking is this:

If nobody ever thought to be right, what would we disagree about?
If we didn't disagree, surely we wouldn't fight.
Without fighting there would be no war.
Without war there would be no poverty.
Without poverty there would be no crime.
Without crime there would be no injustice.

Its a Utopian vision.
Let us come back to Arab Muslims marrying nine year old girls, which they do; and to Arab Muslims being exhorted to not fear entering marriage with six year old girls. A question arises:

If supernatural truth does exist, why does a segment of Arab culture ignore it in favor of marrying nine year old girls?

Now, OF COURSE I've considered I might be wrong; and it might be appropriate - in certain cultural circumstances - to consummate marriage with a nine year old girl. And I reject that argument. I am not wrong.

Arab culture is simply ignoring what they - if they would stop and study on it - would know to be wrong. Some Arabs live under some cultural pressure to do wrong, and they succumb to the pressure.

This points to a truth which the non-judgmental, politically correct West does not recognize: in some respects, Arab culture is insane. Large groups of Arabs are immersed in culturally sanctioned collective fantasy. The Arab mind can seem irrational and illogical precisely because the culture IS irrational and illogical in several respects.

What of C.S. Lewis' argument, from above:
There have been differences between [civilizations'] moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference.
Nuance. There ARE differences between Western morality and Arab morality, yet these do not amount to anything like a total difference.

Where has my argument arrived? Here:

Western and Arab cultures share some morality, yet Arab culture has skewed and perverted morality in some areas. Everything in Arabia is not okay. Culturally sanctioned fantasy thinking is not okay. Arabs are divorced from truth in some important ways. They encourage their sons and daughters to also be divorced from truth.

Some things are very clear from here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are further interested in learning about Arab culture, I recommend writings by two psychiatrists:
Dr. Sanity:
Shame, the Arab Psyche, and Islam
Shrinkwrapped:
The Arab Mind: Index of 15 Blogposts Scroll down for links to the posts.

Since today's post touched on Arab Muslim sexuality, here is a specifically related Shrinkwrapped post:
The Arab Mind, Part XII: Adult Sexuality

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hank Hill, virginity sponsor

Minister:
Mr. Hill, a virginity sponsor is like an offensive guard. People are going to be coming at Luann. We need you to get out there and block, or she might get sacked.

Hank Hill:
Well, that's not in the Bible, but it should be. I'm in.

Barack's gun control cynicism

On gun control alone, Barack is going for some kind of record in cynicism.

1. John Lott is a reputable, much admired gun researcher. I have linked and quoted him on this blog. Lott says Barack - early in Barack's political career - told Lott he favored banning ownership of all handguns.

2. In 1996, campaigning for the Illinois Senate, Barack turned in a questionnaire saying he favored banning handguns. Barack now says a staffer filled out the questionnaire, and that he has never favored banning handguns. This matter was blog sleuthed approx. last fall: Barack wrote a note on the questionnaire in order to elaborate his opinion on a different question; Barack also signed the questionnaire before it was turned in.

3. In Nov 2007, a Barack staffer informed media that Barack favored the Washington, DC ban on handguns. Barack's campaign this week said they handled that incident "inartfully."

4. In Feb 2008, an interviewer asked Barack how he could support both the 2nd Amendment and the D.C. handgun ban. Barack claimed the two positions are not in opposition to each other. Barack's claim is total crap. Only the most cynical of persons would try to get away with that claim.

5. This week, as rumors swirled Justice Scalia was writing the majority opinion in Heller, Barack put out a statement saying he believed the D.C. handgun ban was unconstitutional. Well. What a coeeeennnnncidence.

6. Immediately after the S.C. decision, Obama said this(from Powerlineblog):
"I teach constitutional law," Obama said. "What I said was that I believe Second Amendment as being an individual right and have said that consistently. I also think that individual right is constrained by the rights of the community to maintain issues with public safety. I don't think those two principles are contradictory and in fact what I've been saying consistently is what the Supreme Court essentially said today."
Which is a ludicrous claim, even by Obama's standards.
[...]
"Obama Clarifies Position..." Is that becoming a familiar headline, or what?
The S.C. Majority's decision does not - to any degree - conform with Obama's position. Barack's claim is total crap. Only the most cynical of persons would try to get away with that claim.

7. Barack's stance on gun control does not matter as much as his SC selections will matter - except insofar as his gun control shenanigans shine more light on his cynicism, his lack of backbone, and his lack of authenticity. These traits are now brightly highlighted, from numerous sources of illumination, for those who wish to see.

Barack has specifically stated his preference for SC justices in the mold of Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter. All of Obama's preferred justices this week usurped the right of states to execute child rapists; all dissented against the right of U.S. citizens to own handguns. Oh, and all stomped upon the supposedly co-equal power of the Executive and the Legislative, via creating a brand new terrorist right to access U.S. Civilian Courts.

h/t

8. NRO's Jim Geraghty 06/26 11:23 AM:
[Obama's] claims are hard to balance with his approval of Chicago’s effective ban on handguns. In Obama's entire time in the city, there’s no record of him ever objecting to it.

Obama’s audacity on this issue goes even further.

Obama was named a director of the Joyce Foundation in late 1994, and remained in that position until late 2002.

During Obama’s tenure with the Joyce Foundation, donations to anti-gun groups increased dramatically. For example, in 1997 and 1998 the Violence Policy Center received $221,000 and $360,000 from the Foundation; those grants and donations increased to $1 million in 2000 and $800,000 in 2002. In all, during Obama’s tenure, the group received $15 million from the Joyce Foundation.

The Violence Policy Center, despite its name, never seems all that concerned with beatings, stabbings, immolations or explosions. No, they’re completely focused on gun violence, and they can effectively be called an anti-gun or pro-gun control organization.

Lest anyone think I’m mischaracterizing their objective analysis, note that their web site touts themselves as “the most aggressive group in the gun control movement.” Also note studies like their one from 2000 entitled, “Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns,” which declared the idea that the Constitution would forbid a national handgun ban a “pure myth.” Also note the organization’s subtly-titled book, Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.

It’s not just the VPC. The Joyce Foundation also provided several large grants to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, which can also be safely described as an anti-gun or pro-gun control organization. Besides their role in “litigation designed to change the way guns are designed, marketed, distributed, and sold,” the center perpetually argued that guns in the home were more dangerous than protective.

In 1996, the foundation Obama directed approved $662,525 in grants to the Johns Hopkins Center, and by 2001, they gave another $600,000.

In the wake of today’s ruling, you’re going to hear Barack Obama claim passionately that he believes in the Second Amendment and that he is a friend to gun owners. It will be interesting to see how he can rectify that with his efforts to fund books like Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charles Krauthammer today noted a kind of historical victory for Scalia (and imo, also Clarence Thomas). Justice Stevens, in his Heller dissent, argued from his interpretation of the Founders' intent. A notable moment from an old liberal lion. Liberal justices typically embrace "living document", and rarely acknowledge original intent. Could Scalia and Thomas - after years of solid, indefatigable argument - be slowing a rushing river?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pick your marriage partner

Here you go: back to back women representing their world views. Which would you prefer as a marriage partner?

Alex and his mom:


Ania Egland and her boys:


Alex' mom has been criticized by military moms who say: She wants our sons to protect her son; she wants her son to take no risks to protect anyone or anything. An understandable sentiment; yet I'm not certain it gets at the core issue.

If Alex' mom perceived a lethal, unappeasable threat from the Middle East, she might be proud to have her son go off to meet that threat. The core issue is that she does not perceive such a threat.

Our marriage choice is between two women who have two different takes on truth.
Which woman is the better thinker?
Which woman reasons and processes information more effectively?
Which woman is more able to perceive truth and filter out fantasy?

A person who is more grounded in truth will be more pleasant to live with. A person who more easily embraces fantasy ... what other fantasies will she buy into?

Feel free to watch the videos again. To whom would you rather awaken each morning? The choice is a microcosm of larger dynamics at play both in our nation, and in the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re: world: Alex' mom might represent "Old/neo-Socialist Europe", and Polish born Ania Egland might represent a "New Europe" which is largely comprised of Slavic states which once were controlled by the Soviet Union.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My favorite part of video 1 is when Alex smiles up at his mom. Adorable. My favorite part of video 2 is when Ania's son moves slightly, revealing that Ania is pregnant with a third child. Aw. Heartwarming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another response to Move On's ad:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sister Souljah moment prediction

Barack is about to swing Ralph Nader around by the nape of his neck. Barack has needed a Sister Souljah moment to counteract the damage done by Reverend Wright, TUCC, and BLT. He will never have a better opportunity.

This self-narrative of racial victim and noble crusader is Barack's preferred ground upon which to contest the election. Issues are tricky for him, due to competing interest groups he must pander to. His resume of accomplishment is non-existent. The character thing is tricky. Leadership is tricky. Love of the American Dream - Barack doesn't actually believe in the American Dream. He thinks it is hype, and has said so. However, this ground: racial victim and noble crusader, is his chosen battlefield. I predict Barack will Sister Souljah Ralph Nader's booty butt.

It will be a textbook Sister Souljah. They will write an opera about it. The audience will weep tears of self-revelatory truth.

Hot Air

The first ever ovulation video

Funkadelic, vaguely scary, yet awe inspiring. Vaguely like when sea-anemone tentacles pull prey into the anemone's mouth/gastro cavity, only w/o the initial poisoning. Happens between 20 seconds in and 60 seconds in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znFRsI-BdOI

Adaptability

So, J.D. Drew says he is hitting gangbusters this season, as opposed to not hitting gangbusters last season, b/c this season David Ortiz is injured. Last season, following Ortiz in the batting order, Drew had to deal with the massive holes Ortiz digs in the batters box. Drew likes his feet very near or in the areas of Ortiz' massive holes, and the massive holes made it more difficult for Drew to hit effectively.

Could this be a legitimate complaint?
.
.
.
.
Yes! A thousand times YES!

Holes in batters boxes suck eggs.

I liked my foot mostly in the very back of the box. There, it was generally anchored on level, little disturbed ground. Unfortunately, my front foot had to be in all kinds of funky positions. Often it would be on the ridge between the two holes where most batters stood in batters boxes(especially during Freshman and JV baseball, when fields were sporadically maintained).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome Bob's Blog

Another blog links The End Zone on it's sidebar! Welcome: Bob's Blog, and thanks for the link. You've earned a link on my sidebar.

Bob gives family summary:
I am happily married to a wonderful woman named Colleen. We have six children, ages four, six, seven, fourteen, fifteen, and eighteen. I also have four adult daughters. We provide foster care, and usually have at least one more person we are caring for at any given time. At the present time we have three foster children, ages infant, two, and three.
Bob has many of my favorite blogs on his sidebar. He likes baseball, and sunset photos from his home in Elizabeth, Colorado - which is due east of Castle Rock, and sort of halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. In keeping with today's "tease Senator McCain" theme, Bob's Blog reminded me of one the best ever Red State Update videos.

Clever Iraqis

Andy Borowitz:
John McCain said that the Iraqis have split into two factions, Shiites and Sunnis, with a sinister goal in mind.

"My friends, the Iraqis have divided themselves into these two groups for one reason and one reason only," Sen. McCain told an audience in a retirement village in Scottsdale, Arizona. "They are trying to confuse me."

Sen. McCain said that although the two groups of Iraqis are "well-nigh impossible" to tell apart, he vowed to commit U.S. troops to Iraq "for as long as it takes for me to figure out just what the difference between Sunnis and Shiites is."

"If it takes 100 years, 1,000 years, or a billion zillion years, we will stay there until I can tell Sunnis and Shiites apart," the Arizona senator said.

Sen. McCain reserved his harshest words for the Shiites, who he said were trying to confuse him by sometimes referring to themselves as "Shiites" and other times as "Shia."

"What's that all about, anyway?" he asked. "Stop clowning around and call yourself one thing."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weak responses to racial scamming

Consider the concept of the collective racial guilt of whites.

Consider the concept of whites foisting an institutionally racist system upon blacks.

These concepts are bludgeons. They are deployed to gain power for the bludgeoners.

Yet, the bludgeoned have only themselves to blame - not because of collective racial culpability - but, rather, because of
1) overt narcissistic desire to have the bludgeoners like them, and
2) buying into weak reasoning about collective guilt and institutional racism.

To wit:

1) The overt narcissist lacks the principles and self-confidence to self-declare his or her worth. Overt narcissists seek reassurance via glowing feedback from those around them. An overt narcissist cannot stand the thought that anyone - including a racial bludgeoner - might fail to appreciate the narcissist's wonderfulness.

2a) Collective racial guilt is horse manure. Have you enslaved anyone? Lynched anyone? Refused a qualified candidate due to race? Do you have racial hatred in your heart? I didn't think so. Therefore: why would you be so weak-minded as to launch yourself on a lifetime apology tour?

It would, at any rate, be a fruitless apology tour, as it will never provide the absolution and redemption you seek. The bludgeoners will never let you off the hook for your "sins". To do so would be to give up their power over you. They are not about to do that.

2b) Institutional racism: who cares? It's the perfect allegation, as alleged wrongdoers cannot prove a negative in rebuttal.

Despite whatever true and real obstacles individual black persons must overcome: they are nevertheless hard pressed to find equivalent freedoms and economic opportunities in any other nation on Earth. Therefore, though I consider "institutional racism" to be a scam: it doesn't matter even if it actually and truly does exist. Black Americans - as are all of us - are nevertheless blessed to be surrounded with the freedoms and opportunities available in the United States.

If you have racial hatred in your heart: repent.

If you do not have racial hatred in your heart: man up and quit falling for a bunch of horse manure reasoning!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"You follow your heart: you can't lose."

Best baseball story of the day: OKC pitcher Brian Gordon.

Though Gordon plays for OKC now, the photo is of Gordon in a Corpus Christi Hooks cap. Corpus Christi's Whataburger Ballpark is minor league wonderful. The stands include a huge view of Corpus Christi Bay - including ships in the bay - including the docked USS Lexington aircraft carrier, which is open each day for tours.

The emblem on Gordon's Corpus Christi Hooks cap:

The fishhook also represents a "C", for Corpus.

Not the greatest emblem, but I figured - if you saw
Gordon's photo - you would be curious about the emblem.

An alternate cap has interlocking fishhook C's,
for Corpus Christi.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nolan Wan Kenobi


Re the Nolan Ryan gravitas post, Bro64 muses:

Jon Daniels = Luke Skywalker
Luke was the anointed one, with powers of the force so strong they could not be denied. Everybody knew he was the future leader of the Jedi Council. However, he was forced into action too soon, before he was fully matured and developed in his skills, because there was a crisis in the galaxy and he was the only option with the skill set and power to defeat the Empire.

Nolan Ryan = Obi Wan
Obi Wan had settled into a quiet background role for several years, waiting for the time to be right before he got back in the game. His most valuable contribution to the battle was his leadership and experience.

Re: Nolan's credibility with media
Remember early in Star Wars, when Obi Wan and Luke are riding the hovercraft into the city with C-3pio and R2D2 in the back seat, and the Imperial Troopers are conducting a search for C-3pio and R2D2? When they arrive at a checkpoint, Obi Wan is sitting in the passenger seat in his hooded robe:

Obi Wan: (waving his hand in the air) "These are not the droids you are looking for"
Imperial Trooper: (turning to his colleagues) "These are not the droids we are looking for"

Now imagine Nolan in the hallways of the RBiA after a game, wearing a hooded robe, conducting an impromptu conversation with the media:

Reporter: "What about Milton Bradley going into the press box after the KC announcer?"
Obi Nolan: (waving his hand in the air) "That was no big deal"
Reporter: (turning to his colleagues) "That was no big deal"

Other reporters nod and take notes.


Obi Nolan fights some alien in a bar

Reporter: "It looks like CJ Wilson is struggling in the closer role"
Obi Nolan: (waving his hand in the air) "I thaink Cee Jaiy should staiy as our clowser"
Reporter: "CJ should really stay as the closer"

Other reporters nod and take notes.



File Photo: C3RonWashington, Luke, and Obi Nolan
hear the bad news about Sidney Ponson

Nolan Ryan = Gravitas

in a put up with no silliness, take no guff, John Wayne kind of way.

Example 1: non-firing of Ron Washington

It's not that Washington was either fired or not fired. It is, rather, the non-firing gave Washington instant credibility ... insofar as Nolan Ryan obviously would not hesitate to fire Washington ... and, therefore, Nolan Ryan's baseball gravitas + decision not to fire Washington = additional credibility for Washington in the clubhouse, in the media, and in the minds of fans.

Example 2: non-pursuit of free agent pitchers

The source of much past grumbling in media, in blogs, and amongst fandom. Comes Nolan Ryan to say free agent pitchers cost too much money, and therefore the Rangers will concentrate on developing their own young pitchers. When Nolan Ryan says it - especially since Nolan earned scads of millions of $ as a free agent pitcher - it has more weight behind it than if Jon Daniels or Tom Hicks says it. This significantly tamps down the media/blogs/fandom grumbling. The Rangers still might trade for a young pitcher, but they will not be aggressively offering Barry Zito type contracts.

Example 3: Milton Bradley's foray towards the Kansas City announcer's booth

This is an instance where it's valuable to have a 30 year old GM, as a 60 year old GM does not have the legs to chase down Milton Bradley in a hallway.

Nolan, the next day, said: This was no big deal. Voila! This was suddenly no big deal to the media.

The story had potential to be a massively repeated joke throughout the rest of the year, and to dog Milton Bradley all season. One sentence from Nolan Ryan turned the story into a semi-scarce joke. Nolan's gravitas tamped down local media references to it, and Nolan's gravitas apparently even tamped down ESPN references to it. Even the media don't want Nolan Ryan to believe they are fools and idiots. The media want Nolan to know they are smart enough to see when something is no big deal.

Example 4: C.J. Wilson struggles as closer

You can feel the local media firestorm building at all levels - blogs, print media, radio, television: C.J. Wilson is hurting the team! The media smell blood. C.J. Wilson is like a limping antelope who attracts the attention of hyenas.

Media love nothing so much as targeting an obvious struggling target. This is why media love to focus on QBs. This is why Roy Williams' pass coverage problems developed into a media firestorm: Roy is on an island where everyone can see him. His pass coverage struggles are obvious. When DE Marcus Spears struggles, media firestorms do not build.

C.J. Wilson is on an island, and last night Nolan Ryan bought C.J. some time with one sentence(think of Nolan softly drawling in the post game locker room): "I thaink Cee Jaiy should staiy as our clowser."

The point is not whether C.J. should remain the closer. The point is Nolan's I'm-John-Wayne-and-I'll-put-up-with-no-guff persona has bought a young pitcher some time in which there will be a bit less media criticism than there otherwise would have been.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why does Nolan have gravitas?

He's not locally perceived as an especially brilliant brain. No one thinks he is dumb - yet no one thinks he has, for instance, a Jon Daniels type IQ.

I suspect the answer has to do with leadership, as in:
People will follow a person who knows where they are going.

I suspect the answer also has to do both with baseball experience and with personal character. People believe Nolan Ryan will look at issues and decisions with clear eyes and common sense. Nolan Ryan's truth is the truth most fans appreciate.

People believe Nolan Ryan has little tolerance for certain types of prissy horse manure. People believe Nolan Ryan will not panic if players criticize management. People believe Nolan Ryan will not panic if Randy Galloway or Jim Reeves et al begin media campaigns of criticism.* This is the type of character fans want in a club executive.

Voila: Gravitas. And the Texas Rangers franchise is better off for it.

*Galloway and Reeves actually adore Nolan Ryan, and the rest of the media are narcissistic enough to not tempt Nolan Ryan's disgust towards them - at least until such time as they can gang up as a group, and thus achieve strength via numbers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The gods envy us

"They envy us because we are mortal; because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed."

- Achilles, who truly had met the gods.
You Tube link.

I watched "Troy". The Iliad story was fun to see in a movie: Achilles, who fights because it is natural for him; vs. Hector, who fights for the sake of his city, state, and people. Which man, Achilles or Hector, most represents the way God designed man to live? Which man most represents truth, beauty, and eternity?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am reminded of the following scene from Kill Bill - maybe because Beatrix Kidder is descended from the wrath of Achilles. Her anger is somewhat more controlled, yet her slicing of Sophie's arm is descended from Achilles' desecration of Hector's body. Both Achilles and Beatrix are throwing down gauntlets: there will be no rules of civilization observed in the playing out of their wrath.

There is no Hector in Kill Bill. No one is that noble.

In this scene, notice the "indians on the warpath" music. Tarantino's friend: director Robert Rodriguez, independently composed western/spanish influenced music for the score, just on the chance Tarantino would like it. When Tarantino liked the score, Rodriguez then gave it to him for free.

Also, notice Uma walks as if she has had ballet training.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Final note: the main characters in "Lonesome Dove" were inspired by the main characters in the Iliad. Woodrow Call was inspired by Achilles, who fought b/c it was natural for him. Gus McRae was inspired by Hector. Jake Spoon, of fatally weak and flawed character, was inspired by Patroclus.

Final final note: The novel's title was inspired when Larry McMurtrey saw "Lonesome Dove Baptist Church, Southlake, TX" on the side of a church van which was parked at a diner in Oklahoma.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And this is how my mind associates: Iliad ~ Kill Bill ~ Lonesome Dove ~ Baptist church in Southlake, TX. Is that weird? Or typical?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Can Barack be concisely explained?

I don't know the answer.

Maybe an exercise in concise speech will help. Therefore, in 15 words or less, my point is:

Barack is a by-the-book, rote leftist who is evasive about who he is and what he stands for.
That's 20 words. Drat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are conversational pitfalls when speaking of Barack.

If you begin to understand the genesis of "Barack! The Musical!"; if you begin to understand the ways in which Barack is unfit for the task of leading our nation: you subsequently notice Barack-gaffes which illuminate his unsuitability for office. You want to shout:

Beans and rice! Barack said this, and this, and THIS - which is proof, and proof, and PROOF of what a terrible POTUS he would be! Sopapillas!
The problem is that Barack is very evasive, and it's likely your listener only knows that Barack looks and sounds measured and reasonable. Therefore, your gleeful shouts about illumination sound shrill, and your explanations sound lengthy, for Barack is a cypher. He is the wind itself. Your listener cannot easily grasp the width and breadth of Barack's lifelong masking of his true self and true opinions. Barack has gone through life - he said so himself in "Dreams of My Father" - allowing all persons and sides to infer about him that which they most desire to infer; never allowing any to know who he truly is, nor what he truly thinks.

Those who love Barack know neither who he is nor how he will govern. They love him b/c they infer about him that which they most desire to infer. He is a blank slate, and they project their fondest desires upon him. Susan Sarandon perfectly encapsulated it:

"I'm supporting Barack Obama. I can't wait to find out what he stands for."
She will never find out. Barack is the wind: he cannot be grasped. It is intentional.

Can Barack be explained in normal conversation?

Not easily. One is forced to explain research findings, as Barack is not going to help by making himself openly understandable. Barack is actively working against anyone understanding him. In interviews, even some Barack's own staff - on foreign policy questions, for instance - have admitted they are sometimes only guessing at what he will do.

Such is the essence of Barack. A Barack staffer mainly knows: Well, Barack is a Dem, and the Repubs must be defeated, and, um, Barack speaks well and inspires people, and, um, Barack will probably do "x", because "x" is my concept of the reasonable thing to do, and, you know, I can't admit I don't actually know what Barack will do, because then what is my function?

Can Barack be concisely explained? How about:
Barack values clever over character.
5 words! Sopapilla!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kobe's cred takes a hit

.
Delicious!
.
.

The only thing more delicious will be if Kobe and Phil Jackson begin pointing fingers at each other in the aftermath. That would be sooo typical, and sooo tasty.

I'm pretty happy about Garnett, Allen, Pierce, Posey, and P.J. Brown winning a championship. Kudos, men. It's Posey's second ring. What a winner this guy is.

As for Boston fans, I'm still laughing at them: are you still chortling over that Super Bowl, boys? Still criticizing the '72 Dolphins?

This season was karma for both the Pats and the Celts -- and for referee Joey Crawford. I'm happy to see him refereeing tonight's game with expertise and dignity.

The End Zone: The Patriots are yuck

"the decision would have to come in the West"

via Powerline:
I’m one of the Army officers who's written you from time to time about various things. I returned from my extended deployment to Iraq late last year, so at the micro-level I saw things improve dramatically from fall 2006 to fall 2007. And of course I've followed events closely since coming home. While it may be too early to schedule the ticker tape parade, I think recent statements by the CIA director and yesterday's article in the Wall Street Journal by Frederick and Kimberly Kagan point to what a lot of people are feeling: that we're on the cusp of a major victory against Al Qaeda in Iraq. I’d like to offer up a parallel that I think aligns with many other themes you use.

Last year I finished a great Civil War book by Albert Castel titled Decision in the West. It described Sherman’s campaign to capture Atlanta throughout the summer and fall of 1864. What I found interesting was that the campaign was originally conceived to complement what was intended to be the “decision” (decisive operations) in the East by Grant’s forces then operating against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. As the year wore on with little progress in Virginia, horrific casualties, and an election looming against emboldened, conciliatory Copperhead Democrats, the Union Cause was in great jeopardy. Grant, bogged down around Petersburg, wrote Sherman that "the decision would have to come in the West." After frenetic maneuvering and a few relatively small-scale but decisive battles, Sherman was at last able to capture Atlanta. Union morale was restored and the war was over approximately six months later. No one expected at the beginning of the Atlanta campaign that it would be the year's decisive operation and the death knell of the Confederacy.

I think this is illustrative of what has taken place in Iraq against Al Qaeda. For years now we have been expecting that the decision against Al Qaeda would occur in the East, in Afghanistan. OIF was expected to complement world-wide efforts against state-sponsored terrorism, but not to defeat Al Qaeda per se. As it has transpired, however, it turns out that the decision against Al Qaeda has occurred in the West – in Iraq, both physically and morally, with global ramifications that we will be assessing and (hopefully) exploiting for the next few years. Anyone who cannot comprehend or refuses to acknowledge this is betraying a great inflexibility of mind or duplicitious nature.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boumediene

Ace of Spades:
And So It Begins: Terrorist Who Killed US Soldier in Grenade Attack Petitions for Release -- Because He Wasn't Read His Rights
Against that backdrop [the Boumediene decision], navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, Khadr's military-appointed defence lawyer, will use Wednesday's hearing to argue that the entire case against the Toronto-born accused terrorist should be thrown out on grounds U.S. authorities have never told him of his rights.
Which "rights" would those be?

The Supreme Court punted that issue to a district court judge, who will take six months to craft an opinion, which will then have to be reviewed by an appellate court, and then their decision will have to be reviewed en banc (by all members of the court, not just the three judges assigned to the case; big juicy cases are usually reheard en banc), and then, sometime thereafter, the Supreme Court will grant certiorari, find quibbles here and there with the lower courts' various rulings (as they always do), and then remand the case again to lower courts asking them to take another stab at the question which will hopefully, one day, pass muster and be recognized as the prevailing "constitutional" law by the Supreme court.

We won't know definitively if enemy captures have to be Mirandized for at least a year. More difficult questions will take much longer. (I hope the Miranda question will be an easy one for the court, but who can know, given Justice ... Kennedy's continuing "evolution.")
I find Boumediene increasingly interesting.

Properly considered, Boumediene ought be about which courts are the most effective and humane judges of enemy combatants: federal courts or the CSRT? CSRT (Combatant Status Review Tribunal) has power to review pleas for release, and to release defendants who merit release. The District Court of the District of Columbia serves as an overseeing court to the CSRT, to ensure CSRT fairly follows its proceedures.

Chief Justice Roberts accuses the majority of misunderstanding the function of CSRT:
[The majority’s] comment makes sense only if the CSRTs are incorrectly viewed as a method used by the Executive for determining the prisoner’s status, and not as themselves part of the collateral review to test the validity of that determination.[…] The majority can deprecate the importance of CSRTs only by treating them as something they are not.
The judicial systems of other respected nations differ from the U.S. judicial system in many respects - yet defendants who pass through those systems are considered to have received fair trials. An enemy combatant need not specifically pass through the U.S. civilian judicial system in order to have received a fair trial - and yet: that is effectively what the SC majority is saying.

I suspect this SC majority wilfully misunderstood the function of the CSRT. I suspect - at their core - this SC majority does not recognize the CSRT as a judicial institution which is superior to federal courts in any matter - including in the matter of judging enemy combatants.

Hubris.

Update
For a fuller understanding of Justice Roberts' point, read his dissent, which is found on pp 90-92 of Boumediene v Bush. His language is understandable, even for a layperson.

How one Googler

searched their way to Everything I know about Batting
- search words:
"what do you do when your child is not hitting the baseball anymore."

Two+ months ago, inspired by Bro64, I rearranged the post material so that youth baseball parents could more easily read it. All spring, parents come to the post via heartbreaking searches. You can see the love and desperation in the search queries. I like to think my post helps them. It is very simple advice. I like to think it is helpful for parents who are baseball novices. I am proud that my blogpost might be helpful.

Energy exploration: who opposes it?

Powerline:
Congressman Roy Blunt put together these data to highlight the differences between House Republicans and House Democrats on energy policy:

ANWR Exploration
House Republicans: 91% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Coal-to-Liquid
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration
House Republicans: 90% Supported
House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
House Republicans: 81% Supported
House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery Increased Capacity
House Republicans: 97% Supported
House Democrats: 96% Opposed

SUMMARY

91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas.

86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.
PAUL adds: It's useful to keep this sort of thing in mind when we hear (on something like a daily basis these days) that the Republicans have run out of ideas or that Republican ideas didn't work. The truth is that most major Republican ideas weren't tried because the Democrats blocked them. Increasing the domestic production of oil and gas (a move so obvious it barely meets the standard for being an idea) is hardly the only example. Social security reform and school choice also come quickly to mind.

Monday, June 16, 2008

These are the Americans



whom Scott McClellan, the Dems, and the MSM want to decide issues of war, as in:

1. POTUS is honor bound to fully educate these people about foreign policy decisions.
2. Let the polling begin!
3. Let the poll results decide the issue!

Scott McClellan's invalid premise

Scott McClellan complains the Iraq war was “sold” to the American people.

I’m bothered by McClellan’s underlying premise:
America should not go to war unless the American people want to go to war.
If the American people had been the decision makers about the Iraq war, then the American people would’ve needed to consider all the info about possible positive and negative outcomes.

Some Congresspersons did cede their decision-making responsibilities to the results of opinion polls in their districts and states. These Congresspersons forced Pres. Bush to sell the war. Pres. Bush didn’t overly dwell on the negative possibilities - and he was under no moral obligation to do so. In fact, since Pres. Bush believed in the justness of the cause, he was instead under moral obligation to conduct an effective political campaign in favor of strong action against Saddam. It would’ve actually been immoral for Pres. Bush to conduct a suboptimal political campaign.

The full menu of possible negative outcomes should have been grist for whichever Congresspersons chose to embrace their duty to decide the issue.

Something else bothers me:

McClellan's premise is Pres. Bush should have been an "Educator in Chief" who educated the American people about all possible outcomes - including that the Iraq War might last a long time.

Think what Scott McClellan is saying. He wanted this group: Americans who were military, strategic, and foreign policy novices, to be the deciders about whether or not to invade and overthrow Saddam Hussein. President Bush should've fully educated them about all possible outcomes, then let them be polled! This is the way to run a country!

McClellan's premise is illogical, unconstitutional, and fully celebrated and trumpeted by Dems and MSM. McClellan soon enough will be testifying on Capitol Hill:
Senator, the White House neither spoon fed the American people, nor burped them, nor tucked them snuggly into bed. The White House was bad, bad, bad, Senator - if, you know, that's your question, because it seems where you are headed, and I just want to say I fully agree.

Previous End Zone: Scott McClellan, initial impression

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Slip, boyprens, and staring contests

Instead of sleeping, I'm looking at Happy Slip videos. Christine Gambito cracks me beyond reason:
http://www.happyslip.com/category/videos/

which led to this Happy Slip video of Minnie acquiring a boypren named KevJumba:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6GmWPS9EWw

which led to this video of Baron Davis(?!) challenging KevJumba to a staring contest, followed by KevJumba accepting and then challenging Jessica Alba:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CguCyEX51Gc
This opens, for me, an entirely new aspect of Baron Davis' personality. Previously, I figured Baron, when he wasn't on court, mostly stayed drunk. My bad. Baron, I apologize. And, may I say: You are a helluva basketball player. But, I hold you in medium esteem as a starer.

So, anyway, the Baron/KevJumba video led to video of Jessica Alba(?!) accepting KevJumba's challenge. So, now you can watch Jessica Alba staring at you, at your home computer, from her home computer (in the entry hall?) in her home:
http://www.ibeatyou.com/competition/86a130/the-stare-no-blinking/entry/75e48f/bring-it

And this, for me, is what passes for an entertaining late Saturday night.

Oh - if you read this post, I encourage you to leave a comment at the bottom. The End Zone received no comments last week - despite perfectly brilliant blogposts! Come on reader! You can't tell me you didn't like-like: "No atheists in foxholes", "Sex every day for a year", and "What success in Iraq looks like"! You loved that stuff! Who doesn't love that stuff?!

You will feel much more expressed after you comment - and expressing yourself will get the seratonin and the dopamine flowing in pleasing ways - I promise. And I'll respond to your comment, with something like "Heh." Go ahead. You comment now. Help me help you. Also, help me reach my just-thought-up goal of getting at least one comment this week. Thanks in advance.

BTW, success in Iraq looks like this:



Sheik Ahmed Fateh Khan al-Rishawi
photo by LOUIE FAVORITE/AJC









Sex every day for a year looks like this:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Flag Day


The modest history of Flag Day.

Rick Monday saves a flag:

Like-like

Ace of Spades:
People are not going to put up with $5 and $6 gas when we have so much oil we could be producing ourselves
[...]
People like caribou, but they don't like-like caribou.

"It required a daily kindness and forgiveness, and not being cranky or snarky"

As a gift, Mrs. Muller decided to have sex with her husband every day for a year. Across the country, also as a gift, Mrs. Brown decided to have sex with her husband every day for 101 days. Separately, Mrs. Muller and Mr. Brown turned their experiences into books.

I'm not, especially, pruriently interested in the details - though, you know, I'm not too haughty to examine any parts which might be hot.

I am interested in this part - near the end of the NYT article:
Charla Muller and Annie Brown both talk about how mandated physical intimacy created more emotional intimacy. “It required a daily kindness and forgiveness, and not being cranky or snarky, that I don’t think either of us had experienced before,” Charla said.

Annie said that she and her husband reached a place in their relationship that they have seldom approached since. “It was just this intense closeness,” she said. “We were so aware of wherever the other person was mentally and emotionally and physically.”

Today, the Browns report they have sex approximately six times a month, or double their frequency before their adventure. The Mullers decline to discuss their habits, except to say that they fall well within the national average. And, Brad said, the sex is better. “It made it much easier to be open to the idea, more spontaneous,” he said, “So you don’t go back to that always gaming for it and always trying to get out of it.”

Charla agrees: “It’s a lot better than it used to be. I may be slow to the take, but it was a really meaningful lesson.”

Douglas Brown suffers less stage fright than he once did. “There’s much less of a sense of having to perform,” he said. “After 100 days, that kind of melted away.”

All the same, he doesn’t recommend the experience to everyone.

“I’m glad we did it,” he said. “But as far as a practical message, nobody needs to do it 100 days. You don’t have to climb Mount Everest to understand alpine sublime.”

Friday, June 13, 2008

In need of a claw hammer

in Shawnee, KS.

SC expands Constitution: habeus corpus for unlawful combatants

Both Roberts and Scalia, in dissent, wrote in shockingly scathing tones (for a SC decision). Chief Justice Roberts:
Today the Court strikes down as inadequate the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants. The political branches crafted these procedures amidst an ongoing military conflict, after much careful investigation and thorough debate. The Court rejects them today out of hand, without bothering to say what due process rights the detainees possess, without explaining how the statute fails to vindicate those rights, and before a single petitioner has even attempted to avail himself of the law's operation. And to what effect? The majority merely replaces a review system designed by the people's representatives with a set of shapeless procedures to be defined by federal courts at some future date. One cannot help but think, after surveying the modest practical results of the majority's ambitious opinion, that this decision is not really about the detainees at all, but about control of federal policy regarding enemy combatants.

The majority rests its decision on abstract and hypothetical concerns. Step back and consider what, in the real world, Congress and the Executive have actually [already] granted aliens captured by our Armed Forces overseas and found to be enemy combatants:

• The right to hear the bases of the charges against them, including a summary of any classified evidence.

• The ability to challenge the bases of their detention before military tribunals modeled after Geneva Convention procedures. Some 38 detainees have been released as a result of this process.

• The right, before the CSRT, to testify, introduce evidence, call witnesses, question those the Government calls, and secure release, if and when appropriate.

• The right to the aid of a personal representative in arranging and presenting their cases before a CSRT.

• Before the D. C. Circuit, the right to employ counsel, challenge the factual record, contest the lower tribunal’s legal determinations, ensure compliance with the Constitution and laws, and secure release, if any errors below establish their entitlement to such relief.

In sum, the DTA satisfies the majority’s own criteria for assessing adequacy [as explicated in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld]. This statutory scheme provides the combatants held at Guantanamo greater procedural protections than have ever been afforded alleged enemy detainees—whether citizens or aliens—in our national history.
[...]
So who has won? Not the detainees. The Court’s analysis leaves them with only the prospect of further litigation to determine the content of their new habeas right, followed by further litigation to resolve their particular cases,followed by further litigation before the D. C. Circuit— where they could have started had they invoked the DTA procedure. Not Congress, whose attempt to “determine— through democratic means—how best” to balance the security of the American people with the detainees’ liberty interests, see Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U. S. 557, 636 (2006) (BREYER, J., concurring), has been unceremoniously brushed aside. Not the Great Writ, whose majesty is hardly enhanced by its extension to a jurisdictionally quirky outpost, with no tangible benefit to anyone. Not the rule of law, unless by that is meant the rule of lawyers, who will now arguably have a greater role than military and intelligence officials in shaping policy for alien enemy combatants. And certainly not the American people, who today lose a bit more control over the conduct of this Nation’s foreign policy to unelected, politically unaccountable judges.

I respectfully dissent.
Justice Scalia, also in dissent:
I think it appropriate to begin with a description of the disastrous consequences of what the Court has done today.

America is at war with radical Islamists. The enemy began by killing Americans and American allies abroad: 241 at the Marine barracks in Lebanon, 19 at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, 224 at our embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and 17 on the USS Cole in Yemen.

On September 11, 2001, the enemy brought the battle to American soil, killing 2,749 at the Twin Towers in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon in Washington, D. C., and 40 in Pennsylvania.

It has threatened further attacks against our homeland; one need only walk about buttressed and barricaded Washington, or board a plane anywhere in the country, to know that the threat is a serious one. Our Armed Forces are now in the field against the enemy, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, 13 of our countrymen in arms were killed.

The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays upon the Nation’s Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.
[...]
At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield. Some have been captured or killed. But others have succeeded in carrying on their atrocities against innocent civilians. In one case, a detainee released from Guantanamo Bay masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese dam workers, one of whom was later shot to death when used as a human shield against Pakistani commandoes. Another former detainee promptly resumed his post as a senior Taliban commander and murdered a United Nations engineer and three Afghan soldiers. Still another murdered an Afghan judge. It was reported only last month that a released detainee carried out a suicide bombing against Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Iraq.
[...]
Astoundingly, the Court today raises the bar, requiring military officials to appear before civilian courts and defend their decisions under procedural and evidentiary rules that go beyond what Congress has specified. As THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s dissent makes clear, we have no idea what those procedural and evidentiary rules are, but they will be determined by civil courts and (in the Court’s contemplation at least) will be more detainee-friendly than those now applied, since otherwise there would no reason to hold the congressionally prescribed procedures unconstitutional.
[...]
The nation will live to regret what the Court has done today.

I dissent.
Democracy Project:
the majority decision writes a new expansion into the Constitution, both of habeas corpus and of the supremacy of the judicial over the congressional and executive branches. If there’s a principle involved, it is the victory of lawfare as widely believed in the legal community over the traditional and proven rules of warfare and national survival.
[...]
The dissents point out that the executive and Congress followed the Supreme Court’s prior ruling to provide a practical equivalent for the detainees at Guantanamo, and now the majority disregards its own ruling[in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld]. Although the majority equivocates that a civilian court may give some deference to the practicalities of evidence and witness from the battlefield, the dissenters point out that places control over military exigencies and realities in the hands of militarily inexperienced and inexpert civilian judges. Justice Scalia is particularly scathing in describing the effect on our ability to wage war, especially against irregular foes. He, also, points out that the result may be to place more detainees in less hospitable holding countries than at Guantanamo, at least until a possible additional Supreme Court expansion of US habeas corpus rights worldwide.

That result would be most welcome by the international lawfare fraternity, ever anxious to increase its own power and reduce that of the US.
Slight swerve:
Wretchard once wrote that enhanced interrogation techniques actually protect the enemy. Soldiers are more likely to risk their lives, in order to capture enemy alive, if the prospect of acquiring valuable intelligence is high. Absent that prospect, a soldier may as well call in an airstrike and kill the enemy.

Conclusion: Enhanced interrogation techniques humanely protect enemy lives.

Somewhat similarly, the 220+ year tradition of trying POWs in military courts actually makes the capture of POWs more likely. No soldier wants to risk his career, his reputation, or even his freedom via testifying in a civilian courtroom, before judge and jury who possess little understanding of battlefield reality.

Old law enforcement saying: "Dead men tell no tales." This is sometimes quoted as "Dead men tell no lies." Why should soldiers endanger their lives in order to capture POWs who have been taught to lie to the kuffar in every circumstance?

In addition: no soldier wants to risk a civilian court loosing a murderous, no-holds-barred, sworn-enemy-for-a-lifetime back into the world.

Conclusion: The military court system humanely protects enemy lives.

Mark Levin at NRO's The Corner:
So complete is the Court’s disregard for the Constitution and even its own precedent now that anything is possible. And what was once considered inconceivable is now compelled by the Constitution, or so five justices have ruled. I fear for my country. I really do. And AP, among others, reports this story as a defeat for “the Bush administration.” Really? I see it as a defeat for the nation.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Salvatore!

Bill Simmons, of ESPN Page 2, about Game 3:
I swear this happened: For the final shot of the first half, Kobe spotted Salvatore on the right side in front of the Lakers' bench, then drove right so he could be as close as possible to the ref if there was any contact. ... Of course, Salvatore obliged with a quick whistle for him. When a referee is affecting basketball decisions specifically by his particular place on the court, you know he has accomplished something special in life.
WHY is Bennett Salvatore still refereeing NBA Finals games? Does a referee have to be arrested for gambling in order to be excluded from the Finals?

What success in Iraq looks like

New York Sun:
In his home province in Iraq, Sheik Ahmad's public addresses are preceded by two bugle players and an announcer proclaiming him as the "conqueror of Al Qaeda," and "friend of General Petraeus," among other formal titles.
More:
In an interview, Sheik Ahmad al-Rishawi told The New York Sun that in April he prepared a 47-page study on Afghanistan and its tribes for the deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Kabul, Christopher Dell. When asked if he would send military advisers to Afghanistan to assist American troops fighting there, he said: "I have no problem with this; if they ask me, I will do it."
[...]
A possible strategy for defeating Al Qaeda [in mountainous tribal areas of Pakistan] would be an effort there along the lines of the Anbar awakening to win over the tribes that offer Osama bin Laden's group protection and safe haven.

"Al Qaeda is an ideology," Sheik Ahmad said. "We can defeat them inside Iraq and we can defeat them in any country."


Sheik Ahmed Fateh Khan al-Rishawi
photo by LOUIE FAVORITE/AJC


Greg's Notes:
When he says "ideology", Sheik Ahmad is also referencing the defeat of Al Qaeda's narrative. If the Coalition goes to the people with a superior narrative: the people will side with the good guys, and will turn on Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda's narrative has to do with optimal life and afterlife via practice of fundamentalist Islam. The reality of living under Al Qaeda's brutal and culturally offensive (i.e. in conflict with tribal customs) leadership left the people searching for something better. America had a better narrative. The problem: America did not have credibility.

In Iraq, we had a credibility problem which lasted for years. Part of the problem was a tribal culture which 1) is naturally, culturally, and obsessively suspicious of outsiders and Westerners, and 2) could not conceive of why we would invade and fight on if we did not wish to conquer and subjugate Iraq. For cultural reasons - based upon everything they had known their entire lives - they could not figure out what we wanted.

The people had to believe our word was good; had to believe our intentions were honorable (i.e. we did not seek to subjugate or exploit); and had to believe we had capability and willfulness to accomplish the task (in this case: to protect the people from Al Qaeda brutality and retribution over the long term).

We had to romance the Sheik Ahmads of Iraq over time. To convince them our word was good, we had to make and keep incremental promises over time. We had to spend many months winning the argument that our intentions were honorable. Once the Sheik Ahmads partnered with us: increased local knowledge increased our capability to protect regular Iraqis in their villages and homes. It increased the confidence that we - interconnected with tribal forces - would support and protect regular Iraqis over the long term (instead of abandoning them to Al Qaeda).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There are no atheists in foxholes

Rachel Lucas used that as a post title. She had shared that she prayed when her boyfriend's father was seriously injured by a drunk driver. Rachel, as best I recall, believes in God - but not in a God who is worshipped in any existing religion. Rachel's blog comment section was soon filled with atheists protesting her use of the quote.

I do not intend, here, to generalize about all atheists. Many are surely wonderful people whom I would be delighted to hang out with. But, maybe some of the atheists who visited Rachel's comments section were temporarily not as wonderful.Rachel:
Man, the things you can learn from angry atheists. Valuable life lessons such as: if you ignore them, then you’re scared and insecure in your beliefs. If you engage them, as they so clearly and very badly want you to do, then you’re attention-seeking and a whiner. I can’t decide whether to be scared or a whiner! It sucks to only have those two choices but listen people. The atheists have everything figured out, they really do, so don’t blame me if I restructure my life to reflect their superior intelligence.

Another much-needed lesson for all of us here: it is apparently one of the worst things you can possibly do to ever use that foxhole quote. I know this because, obviously, since atheists have everything figured out, if there were more horrible things going on in the world that could be helped by the time and energy these atheists have put into their own personal battle against that quote, they’d be doing those things instead.
Don't you, dear wise reader, think "There are no atheists in foxholes" is an intentional comedy exaggeration? I do. Think of three or four men standing at a bar:
"Lads, there are no atheists in foxholes!"
Everyone haw haws and clinks beer mugs. OTOH:
"Lads, there are less atheists than theists in foxholes"
just doesn't have the same comedy effect. In fact, "less atheists" is actually a sober statement which - if thought about it too hard - might prompt one to cry in his beer. A similar comedy exaggeration:
"Lads, there are no married men on the road!"
Everyone haw haws and clinks beer mugs. OTOH:
"Lads, there are an awful lot of instantly unmarried men on the road"
doesn't have the same comedy effect.

This is why an atheist protest against "foxholes" is so silly. No sensible person considers the foxhole statement to be literal and quantifiable. It's a comedy exaggeration. It has enough truth behind it to touch some atheist nerves. Enough truth behind it is also what makes it memorable.

Rachel's concluding remarks:
Instructive, is what I’m saying it is. Especially now as someone who’s gotten it from both sides. The thing about arguing with Christians is that you always have a trump card. The minute they get nasty, insulting, or hateful, all you have to do is mention that this isn’t what Jesus would do. That either shuts them down or proves their hypocrisy and their own personal failure to live up to what they’re endorsing.

Atheists, on the other hand, particularly the angry variety, well you’re just screwed. Not because they’re right or because their argument is superior, but because there is no overarching moral standard that they claim to adhere to and that you can use to prove to them their own hypocrisy.

Curt Schilling sits beside the Lakers bench

during Game 2:
I couldn’t play in the NBA because about 43 times last night I heard things being said that would have made me swing at someone. These guys talk MAJOR trash on the floor, and the great part is that most of the times I’ve seen it the guy on the receiving end usually doesn’t respond much, if at all, and just plays the game, schooling the guy who feels like he needs to talk to make his game better.
[...]
2) Every SINGLE play up and down the floor has MULTIPLE fouls being committed by multiple players. These guys are in close, every play. They are beating the crap out of each other, and the refs see it. That makes me think that the game is called and paced exactly how the refs want it to be. I wondered aloud, a few times, how in the hell calls weren’t being made against the Celts on a ton of plays in the paint where there was some serious pugilism being committed. There were a ton of ‘non-calls’ in my incredibly amateur opinion.
[...]
5) Kobe. This one stunned me a little bit. [...] What I do know is what I got to see up close and hear, was unexpected. From the first tip until about 4 minutes left in the game I saw and heard this guy bitch at his teammates. Every TO he came to the bench pissed, and a few of them he went to other guys and yelled about something they weren’t doing, or something they did wrong. No dialog about “hey let’s go, let’s get after it” or whatever. He spent the better part of 3.5 quarters pissed off and ranting at the non-execution or lack of, of his team. Then when they made what almost was a historic run in the 4th, during a TO, he got down on the floor and basically said ‘Let’s f’ing go, right now, right here” or something to that affect. I am not making this observation in a good or bad way, I have no idea how the guys in the NBA play or do things like this, but I thought it was a fascinating bit of insight for me to watch someone in another sport who is in the position of a team leader and how he interacted with his team and teammates. Watching the other 11 guys, every time out it was high fives and “Hey nice work, let’s get after it” or something to that affect. He walked off the floor, obligatory skin contact on the high five, and sat on the bench stone faced or pissed off, the whole game. Just weird to see another sport and how it all works. I would assume that’s his style and how he plays and what works for him because when I saw the leader board for scoring in the post season his name sat up top at 31+ a game, can’t argue with that. But as a fan I was watching the whole thing, Kobe, his teammates and then the after effects of conversations. He’d yell at someone, make a point, or send a message, turn and walk away, and more than once the person on the other end would roll eyes or give a ‘whatever dude’ look.
[...]
It was just amazing to watch a game where the Lakers came out, completely set the tempo in the first few minutes and TOTALLY dominated the final four minutes, and in between the Celtics completely dominated them.
I enjoyed the following simpatico with the common man Kobe quote from before Game 2 - when asked about pressure:
"I'd much rather have the pressure of this moment as opposed to having the pressure of deciding which swim trunks I'm going to wear in Bora Bora, the Gucci ones or the Yves Saint Laurent ones," Bryant told reporters on Saturday.
Who couldn't relate to that dilemma?

Of course, on vacation trips in my own life, I've never packed more than one swimsuit. Maybe Kobe has opened my eyes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Impossibly square blogger fisks Kid Rock

's testosterone-run-amuck hit song: Cowboy.

I dedicate this to my recently deceased friend, Rik O'Rand, who was the lead singer in a Journey tribute band. I just heard, yesterday, of his death. I grieve. My heart is heavy.

When I played golf, I walked quite a few golf courses with Rik. He was a good golf partner, and a good friend. He would've enjoyed - as we waited on a tee box, for someone to clear the fairway ahead of us - he would've enjoyed joshing about Kid Rock lyrics.

When I first began playing golf with Rik, I still sometimes fudged my scores. Rik never, ever did that - under any circumstances. He inspired me to integrity, and to honor, and to the richness of life to be found there.
Cowboy, by Kid Rock

Cowboy...cowboy...
Well I'm packing up my game and I'm a head out west
Where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts
Find a nest in the hills, chill like Flynt
Buy an old droptop, find a spot to pimp
Then I'm a Kid Rock it up and down your block
With a bottle of scotch and watch lots of crotch
You live on an interesting block
Buy a yacht with a flag sayin' chillin' the most
Then rock that bitch up and down the coast
fun lyric, that
Give a toast to the sun, drink with the stars
Get thrown in the mix and tossed out of bars
bad idea
Zip to Tijuana, I wanna roam
Tijuana also = bad idea
Find motown and tell them fools come back home
interpretation: round up my Motown crew, which is drunk and scattered all over Tijuana, and get them back across the border to the U.S. ... I predict crew attrition.
Start an escort service, for all the right reasons
what are the right reasons? a healthcare plan for the girls? profit?
And set up shop at the top of Four Seasons
the hotel will look the other way while you conduct business - why wouldn't they?
Kid Rock and I'm the real McCoy
And I'm headin' out west sucker...because I wanna be a
Cowboy, baby
Everyone wants to be a Dallas Cowboy
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
through the hole in the Texas Stadium roof
Cowboy baby
West coast chillin' with the Boone's Wine
undrinkable idea
I wanna be a cowboy baby
no, I want to be a Cowboy QB, not a Cowboy baby
Ridin' at night 'cause I sleep all day
Cowboy baby
I can smell a pig from a mile away

I bet you'll hear my whistle blowin' when my train rolls in
It goes (whistle) like dust in the wind
"like dust in the wind" is one of those illogical lyrics a writer reaches for out of desperation to find something to rhyme. I love those out of place, illogical lyrics.
Stoned pimp, stoned freak, stoned out of my mind
again: bad idea
I once was lost, but now I'm just blind
call 911
Palm trees and weeds, scabbed knees and rights
rights?? fights? Again, a desperation reach to rhyme something with "Fleiss"
Get a map to the stars, find Heidi Fleiss
And if the price is right then I'm gonna make my bid, boy
And let Cali-for-ny-aye know why they call me
Cowboy baby
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Cowboy baby
West coast chillin' with the Boone's Wine
I wanna be a Cowboy baby
Ridin' at night 'cause I sleep all day
Cowboy baby
I can smell a pig from a mile away

Yeah...Kid Rock...you can call me Tex
"Tex" you are not.
Rollin' Sunset Blvd with a bottle of Becks
Becks! Finally: an action of which I approve
Seen a slimmy in a 'vette, rolled down my glass
And said, [radio edit]
No kiddin', gun slingin', spurs hittin' the floor
Call me Hoss, I'm the Boss, with the sauce n' the whores
This also seems an unhealthy idea. Am I the only one who keeps noticing unhealthy ideas?
No remorse for the sheriff, in his eyes I ain't right
I'm a paint his town red, then paint his wife white HUH
Playin to the demographic..
Cause chaos, rock like Amadeus
Find West Coast pussy for my Detroit players
Mack like mayors, ball like Lakers
They told us to leave, but bet they can't make us
all together now: BAD IDEA!
Why they wanna pick on me...lock me up and snort away my key
Because you were failing to follow police instructions only a couple of verses back! Sheesh.
I ain't no G, I'm just a regular failure
Well, if you are provoking police, then: yeah.
I ain't straight outta Compton I'm straight outta the trailer
heh
Cuss like a sailor...drink like a Mick
Mantle? true dat
My only words of wisdom are just [radio edit]
I'm flickin' my Bic up and down that coast and
Keep on truckin' until it falls into motion
Cowboy
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Cowboy
Spend all my time at Hollywood and Vine
Cowboy
Ridin' at night 'cause I sleep all day
Cowboy
I can smell a pig from a mile away
Cowboy
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Cowboy
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Cowboy
Hollywood and Vine

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bad day


By ALI KOTARUMALOS, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jun 8, 2:14 PM ET
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Scuba divers swept away in strong currents survived 12 hours in shark-infested waters before scrambling onto a remote Indonesian island where they faced yet another threat: a Komodo dragon.

The divers — three from Britain and one each from France and Sweden — came face-to-face with the giant, carnivorous lizard on Rinca's palm-fringed beach, and fought it off by pelting it with rocks and pieces of wood, Pariman, a port official said Sunday.

"Luckily, they were able to chase it away," said Pariman, who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name.

The beasts have sharp, serrated teeth and often come out when they smell something new, including humans — whom they've been known to kill, Pariman said

The divers encountered treacherous currents after plunging from their wooden boat off Tatawa island on Thursday afternoon. They drifted 20 miles from their dive site before swimming to Rinca, their last chance to avoid being swept into the open ocean.

"We struggled against the current for several hours, but eventually stopped," Laurent Pinel, 31, of France, told The Sunday Times of London. The group tied their diving vests together to preserve energy, he said. Once on the island, they scraped mussels from the rocks for food, he said.
[...]
Komodo dragons, which can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 365 pounds, are only found in the wild on Rinca and Komodo island. There are believed to be 4,000 left in the world.

Thousands of tourists visit the area in eastern Indonesia each year to see the lizards in their natural habitat. They are normally shown around the arid and rocky island by guides who carry large, forked sticks to ward off the animals.
Komodo Dragons send chills up my spine. Their razor sharp teeth ooze with bacteria-filled saliva which infects a wound and sickens the victim. The saliva also carries some natural poisonous elements.  Update: They have poison glands inside their mouths, along their jawlines. The poison is an anticoagulant which lowers blood pressure until their victims go into shock. The Dragon will follow a victim's scent for a day or two - until the victim is sickened enough to lay down. The Dragon - and Dragon friends who have picked up the victim's wound scent - then move in and begin feeding while the victim is still alive. Komodo Dragons are very fast in short bursts. They are agile: they can easily climb trees, they can balance on hind legs and stretch their mouths up into bushes, et al. Komodo Dragons have no natural predators. To a Komodo Dragon: everything it sees is food - if only it can be bitten.