Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Buckley – “Enough!”

William F. Buckley Jr., one of the fathers of the modern conservative movement, says on the Terri Shiavo case, in his most recent article at National Review “Enough!”

It was unseemly for critics to compare her end with that of victims of the Nazi regime. There was never a more industrious inquiry, than in the Schiavo case, into the matter of rights formal and inchoate. It is simply wrong, whatever is felt about the eventual abandonment of her by her husband, to use the killing language. She was kept alive for fifteen years, underwent a hundred medical ministrations, all of them in service of an abstraction, which was that she wanted to stay alive. There are laws against force-feeding, and no one will know whether, if she had had the means to convey her will in the matter, she too would have said, Enough.

Clearly, this is a sad, tragic case for all involved. But the action of Congress bringing the federal government into a family law case is absolutely unacceptable. The irrational, purely emotional actions and comments from politicians, talking heads, pro-life activists and the like are simply mind numbing. Isn’t this what Republicans have always criticized Democrats of doing?!? What happened to the Republican Party of logic, not emotion? What happened to the Republican Party of the Constitution, not altering hundreds of years of U.S. legal precedent on the fly? And now the Florida governor is threatening to send in the state marshals to take control of Mrs. Shiavo, despite the fact the last such action was declared Unconstitutional? I’m with Mr. Buckley here, “Enough”

“Damn the law we’re on a crusade!” seems to be the war chant of these people; despite the fact that what they are doing is opposed by the majority of the Republican Party, let alone 70% of Americans?!?! These politicians are pandering to an extreme fringe of the Republican Party that cares more about biblical prophecy than the rights of individuals. As far as I’m concerned, if they want to ruin the party, these people can have it! I’m out!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Poll – Majority Against Federal Intervention in Schiavo Case

A new poll shows that, by a wide margin, the public disapproves of the action taken last night by Congress to intervene in the Terry Schiavo case. Even among Republicans, the margin is 58 to 39 against. Wide margins also support the Florida court’s decision to remove the feeding tube of the brain damaged woman.

As a Republican, I feel that last night showed that my party has spit in the face of the promise of less government intrusion in people’s lives and a smaller, less powerful federal government. Additionally, Congress has set a dangerous precedent that the federal government now has a say in family law matters that have, for the past 200+ years, been the sole responsibility of the local and state court system. For a party that talks of individual rights, local control and the primacy of the family, this is truly shameful.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

NBC’s Cheap Rip-Off of “The Office”

I was sitting at lunch today and overhead some of my co-workers discussing the “new” NBC series coming out next Thursday called “The Office”, which for those that don’t know is based on an Golden Globe winning BBC series of the same name. I literally almost lost my lunch. As I am a huge fan of the original show and also an American, it pains me to think that NBC is doing a cheap knock-off of the original show, dumbing it down for American viewers and really ruining one of the finest series ever to grace the small screen. It just solidifies all the stereotypes about American audiences and it makes my stomach turn.

For those familiar with the BBC series, you’ll realize how important the actors are to the show and how simply having other actors read the same jokes, perhaps with a new “American” twist on them is not going to work! Ricky Gervais’s character David Brent cannot be redone. Casting a new guy that kinda looks like Gervais, calling him "Michael" and having him read the same jokes will not work!

It would be like seeing a remake of Cheers! with all the same jokes but all different actors and character names. Why is NBC doing this? Why don’t they just license the original? Americans are smart people; you don’t have to dumb down a good thing for them to enjoy it.

It’s like the Bizzaro Jerry episode in Seinfeld, expect it’s not a joke. It just makes Americans look stupid!

Irish Gaelic Makes a Comeback

As its St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would post this story. Seems that Irish Gaelic is seeing a little bit of a resurgence thanks to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The language some thought dead and buried decades ago, is attracting students of Irish ancestry who are interested in getting back to their roots.

Anyway, thought it was relevant. Now I’m off to drink some pints.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

D.C. Councilman/Activists Brand Video Game Racist

Well, freedom of expression is on the ropes again. Today’s Washington Post reports that activists and D.C. Councilman Fenty (D-Ward 4) are after Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, the newest hit videogame in the GTA Series produced by RockStar Games. They claim that the game is “hate-inducing” and “fear-creating” because it features mainly black and Latino characters in “gangbanging” situations. They also claim that the game desensitizes children to violence and influences kids to joyride in stolen cars (although they readily admit that they have no proof of such links).

Now granted, the game is violent and features a lot of “naughty words”, but clearly it’s not meant for ten year olds. I find it simply amazing that some politicians continue to fail to grasp the fact that there are adults out in the world that play these games as well. Additionally, although I’m not a physiologist, I’m skeptical of the link between violent games/movies and actual violent actions. Like many others, I grew up with a healthy dose of Friday the 13th’s and Nightmare on Elm Street movies and I’ve not quite graduated to serial killings. And I hate to point out the obvious, but D.C. has had serious problems with violence WAY before video games graduated from the days of Pong.

Finally, I find it truly ironic that only now, when the main characters in a GTA game are black is the game called racist. Seems they had no problem with the series when the characters where Italian, Cuban or WASP.

Screw this, I’m going to play my X Box.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Single Stupidest Thing I Have Read All Day

Nomination for the single stupidest thing I have read all day. On a BBC News Online “Have Your Say” Forum, a response from Nina in Canada to the following question:

What are your hopes for the new Iraqi parliament? Will it be truly representative of all the Iraqi people?

I hate to say this to Iraqis, but I pray for chaos and civil war: it's the only way to stop Bush's policies and show that peace can never come through force. If Iraq gets peace, Bush wins credibility. It cannot be allowed to happen. - Nina, Toronto Canada

There you have it folks. We always hear that the anti-war groups are for peace. Yet, it seems that at least some of them are pro-violence and war; it’s just that they want the violence, war and chaos directed against Iraqis to foment a civil war. And all to score political points against President Bush!

Congrats Nina from Toronto, you are officially the jack-ass of the day!

Ebbers Found Guilty

Former WorldCom CEO Burney Ebbers has been found guilty of all counts – one count of conspiracy, one count securities fraud and seven counts false regulatory filing. Obviously, this is a major victory for the prosecution.

International Eat an Animal Day

Thanks to our friends down under at Bastards.Inc for reminding everyone that today is International Eat an Animal Day! That’s right, the day when everyone shows PETA the bird afterward plucking it and quickly throwing it in a fryer for dinner. Enjoy.

A Great Piece on the Failings of the Good Friday Agreement

Here’s an excellent column from NRO on the failings of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and the implications for future agreements dealing with armed insurgency groups and terrorists. The article is by John Cullinam, an advisor to the U.S. Catholic Bishops and has been intimately involved in the Good Friday Agreement. I apologize for the length, but it is a great piece none the less.

I feel the most revealing statement was that by elevating the IRA and Sinn Fein as “peace partners” without specifically requiring that they forgo military operations as a prerequisite, Good Friday marginalized the moderates and solidified the extremists on both sides.

Now with the brutal murder of Mr. McCartney, the IRA has finally shone what it truly is, a gang of criminals and thugs hiding behind the cloak of political revolutionaries. In many ways, this is not all that different from other so-called “freedom fighters” who have gained the world’s sympathy over the years. FARC in Columbia claims to stand up for the peasants, yet spends their time intimidating and murdering those that don’t cooperate with their narco-terrorist network of arms and drug smugglers. ETA in Spain claims to stand for Basque freedom, but much of the blood they spill is that of their brethren. And of course, who can forget the numerous groups around the Middle East leading attacks against Israelis and those they classify as “Jews”.

We must be weary of these groups during negotiations. Often, it is not the revolution they seek, but ultimate power. Power they are willing to hang onto with or without the fulfillment of the supposed political grievances.

**UPDATE**

Captain's Quarters has a great post on the same topic.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Churchill Plagiarizes and Threatens Canadian Professor

This may be the ultimate undoing of everyone’s favorite America hater, University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill. It seems that back in 1997 the professor, who was never granted a PHD to begin with, plagiarized the research of a Dr. Fay Cohen of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. At the time CU was sent a formal complaint from attorneys for Dalhousie explaining the complaint in detail. Subsequently, Churchill called Dr. Cohen in the middle of the night and threatened her saying, “I'll get you for this.” Distraught and afraid for her safety, Dr. Cohen dropped the matter. Yet, she allowed the complaint to be released again this week to the University of Colorado panel investigating Mr. Churchill.

I think its curtains for this buffoon Mr. Churchill. The man clearly has no academic principles and is violent towards those that challenge him. Combined with the taped incident where he attacked a Colorado television reporter a couple of weeks ago, this aging 1960’s radical belongs nowhere near a classroom. Good riddance!

What in the Hell is Going On?

First there was the murder of Judge Lefkow’s family and now this. Where was the security?

What in the hell is going on? I remember growing up in Texas and hearing all about the murder of Judge John Wood by Woody Harelson’s father. Yet, although horrible, that murder had to do with organized criminal organizations and drugs. That at least seemed “rational”, at least in the sick demented minds of mobsters and drug kingpins. These murders just seem to be the work of deranged madmen. To me, that just seems much worse as they seem much more unpredictable.

Anyway, I hope they catch this SOB down in Atlanta and fry him.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Defending Bolton

Wonderful column in today’s Washington Post by Anne Applebaum defending the nomination of John Bolton to be the new US ambassador to the United Nations.

She praises his years of focus on the United Nations and his overarching critic of the organization, which also happens to be my main bone to pick with UN as well.

But if the United Nations isn't good in and of itself, neither is it evil. It is only as good or bad as its employees, all political appointees whose activities are, by ordinary government or business standards, subjected to shockingly little oversight. Unlike, say, the U.S. civil service, or the Japanese bureaucracy, the U.N. bureaucracy is not beholden to a democratic government or even a sovereign government. There is no electorate that can toss the Libyans out of the human rights commissioner's chair, no judicial system that can try corrupt officials. As I understand Bolton's critique of the United Nations and other international institutions (when he isn't being Rumsfeldesque in his turn of phrase) it is precisely this that concerns him: Indeed, he has spoken and written for many years on the threats to America's sovereignty -- and everyone else's sovereignty -- from international institutions that owe nobody any allegiance, are subject to no independent review and have no democratic legitimacy of their own.

What many of the UN’s most ardent supporters must understand is that many critics of the United Nation’s don’t criticize the organization because they wish to see it bulldozed to the ground. On the contrary, they criticize it because they want to see it accountable. In the end, if the organization is not accountable and seen as such, in the long-term, it will go the way of the dodo; and then you just might see Caterpillar trucks rumbling up the Manhattan’s Eastside.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ramifications of Today’s Hizbollah Protests

It’s hard to gauge what the consequences will be of the massive Hizbollah-organized pro-Syrian protests held today in Lebanon. Debka File is reporting that the opposition movement has lost steam and support among other Arab governments in the region. According to the report, Druze and Sunni opposition groups are keeping their heads down, leaving only the Maronite Christians to continue to push for democratic reforms.

Outside the Beltway provides analysis of a Zogby poll in Lebanon released yesterday showing a divided society, split along sectarian lines. Of course, this is not surprising given the recent history of the country. Yet, it also shows that the next steps are delicate.

We are certainly at a crossroads in Lebanon and the greater Middle East. I think it shows us that the Muslim world is different than Georgia, Ukraine or the Czech Republic. Most Muslim majority countries are not as developed in a political, legal or economic sense to directly change into modern democratic states. Unfortunately today’s protest, organized by the Islamic terrorist organization Hizbollah, also shows that there are many, many people in the Muslim world who support terrorism and are outwardly anti-Semitic. In the end, this may be their biggest hurdle to joining the family of nations.

Europeans Work to Remove Hamas from Terrorist List

Thanks to HundredPercenter for this tidbit. Ynet News reports that Spain and France are working to remove Hamas from the EU list of terrorist organizations. They claim that the removal is contingent on Hamas forgoing terrorist attacks against Israel. Yet, of course, Hamas does not consider sending a human bomb into a pizza parlor full of children “terrorism”, it’s “resistance”. Many in the Muslim world and Europe feel the same.

Hell, France doesn’t even consider Hizbollah a terrorist organization, so what can we expect from these people?!?

Not Just Commodus was After Maximus It Seems

Chrenkoff reports one of the strangest Al Qaeda plots I have heard. According to Entertainment News AQ planned what they called a “cultural destabilization plan” that involved the kidnapping of actor Russell Crowe. I guess they felt that after his notoriety gained through his great performance in Gladiator, kidnapping him would “strike a dagger into the heart of the infidels”.

But Chrenkoff does have a point on the choice of target:

The jihadis are not particularly well known for their worldliness, but they obviously know enough about our popular culture not to have made some basic mistakes, such as kidnapping Barbara Streisand, Alec Baldwin or Gore Vidal. You know you've botched up the job when the only response you get to a ransom note is: yep, you can keep 'em.

Yeah, not exactly sure a Michael Moore kidnapping would stun the populace either.

Monday, March 07, 2005

China Institutes New Anti-Taiwan Law

The BBC reports tonight that China has introduced a new law characterized as an “anti-secession law”, giving China authority to use military action in forcing Taiwan back into the Red China fold. The law has obviously faced massive opposition within Taiwan. The bill will soon be rubber-stamped by China’s undemocratic assembly.

One has to wonder if the public release of this bill has anything to do with the promised lifting of EU military exports to China. Seems the old communists realized they had the upper hand after the Europeans cow-towed to their demands and they took advantage of it.

Comments on Hardball

Tonight on Hardball, Chris Mathews claimed that a “perfect source” had told him that Al Gore has already committed not to run as a Democratic Presidential candidate in 2008. He made no further claims and provided no further information on where he got this information, only saying that this news would shake the upcoming 2008 election.

Not quite sure that the absence of Al Gore will rock the 2008 campaign although, if the report is true, I’m surprised he would make such a commitment so early. One thing is for sure though, the man was never a very good candidate in the first place.

Journalist?

Outside the Beltway poses an excellent question:
”Why is Sgrena Called a Journalist?”

Considering her obvious political affiliation and the fact that she works for an openly communist newspaper in Italy, isn’t the term “journalist” a stretch?

Considering that the media never uses that word to describe William F. Buckley (a man hardly as far to the right as Sgrena is to the left), one would think they would show the same discretion with Sgrena. One would think...

Blame the Weatherman

This is an interesting lawsuit. U.S. and Austrian lawyers have filed a suit in New York District Court on behalf of some of the 300,000 victims of the tsunami disaster in South Asia last December. They contend that NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) did not notify the affected countries in the area soon enough and that Thai officials failed to move quickly enough once the information was received. They have also filed a suit against a French company that owned many of the resorts destroyed.

The accusation against NOAA is a strange one to me. First, like all weather and natural disasters, tsunamis are inherently unpredictable and difficult to forecast. This is why force majeure provisions are included in contracts, removing culpability for persons who break such contracts in the event of uncontrollable natural disasters. Second, as NOAA is charged with monitoring the weather and other natural events within the United States, assigning blame for events occurring thousands of miles away from US territorial waters seems overreaching. NOAA is no more culpable for the deaths in the disaster than the USGS, which monitors earth quakes in the U.S. Finally, I fail to remember ever hearing of a case against a government monitoring agency for their supposed failure to accurately predict the natural forces of the earth. If I’m wrong on this, please let me know.

The weatherman makes me angry also when he predicts sunshine and it rains during my vacation, but I don’t think he’s civilly liable for such things.

Sgrena’s Conspiracy Claims

Captain’s Quarters has a great story on the conspiracy theories now swirling regarding the check-point shooting of the Italian security agent and his communist passenger, Giuliana Sgrena. He cites numerous sources showing that the actual damage done to the car and its occupants hardly matches the wild claims Ms. Sgrena has made to the Italian media.

It appears, so far, that what happened is that the Italians came up to a checkpoint that they hadn't anticipated on a road that is the most dangerous inIraq. Not sure of who the people were waving for them to stop -- remember, they were still a ways off -- they intended to drive straight through it to get to the checkpoint they knew. The Americans tried warning the car and when it failed to stop, shot out the engine with a few rounds from an M-16 or similar weapon. The rounds bounced through to the interior or missed their intended target andwent straight into the cab.

Also, he justifiably asks, if there were an assassination policy by the United States against Ms. Sgrena, as she claims; why did she survive? Certainly, with the firepower the US military has in the vicinity, she would not have made it home alive.