Thursday, November 25, 2004

What I Give Thanks For

Here is my own small list of things for which I am thankful, depicted by the most prolific American artist of the 20th century, Norman Rockwell. I am thankful for...






utility workers...


home-cooked meals...






military families...


coal miners...


significant others...


the American Soldier...






safe homecomings...


and the presence of family and friends. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I might give it a try a bit later on, but right now I really can't say it much better than this.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

This may be anti-climactic after my previous post, but I really wish my car could do this. (Via Boortz)

Bitterness and Tears

The recent incident in Fallujah involving the Marine who shot a terrorist playing possum provoked widespread outcry among the Left. The young Marine was accused of committing a war crime and his actions were attributed all the way up the chain of command to the war-monger Bush. But for anyone possessing a passing familiarity with American history, this event appears utterly unremarkable by comparison. Some have said we are by and large a Jacksonian nation, fighting a Jacksonian war. In this context I think it would be appropriate to consider exactly what that means.

Andrew Jackson was one of the most colorful and complex individuals in our nation's already colorful and complex history. Perhaps the most famous description of Jackson was also the most accurate:
[Jackson was] a patriot and a traitor. He was one of the greatest of generals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. A writer brilliant, elegant, eloquent, without being able to compose a correct sentence, or spell words of four syllables. The first of statesmen, he never devised, he never framed a measure. He was the most candid of men, and was capable of the profoundest dissimulation. A most law-defying, law-obeying citizen. A stickler for discipline, he never hesitated to disobey his superior. A democratic autocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint.
If the modern media is incensed by the so-called imperious nature of the Bush presidency, they would likely have all perished of a massive stroke had they known Jackson. Likewise, the "dissent" so common among liberals today would have driven Jackson himself into a frenzy. At one point during the war of 1812, Jackson was forced to quarter his men in Nashville during a bitterly cold winter. Jackson walked among his troops from dusk until dawn to ensure that his men received sufficient firewood to guard against the cold. When all were provided for, he entered a tavern to warm himself and overheard a civilian commenting on the poor military organization that would leave the troops exposed to such harsh weather. Jackson was not amused:
You damned infernal scoundrel, sowing disaffection among the troops. Why, the quarter-master and I have been up all night, making the men comfortable. Let me hear no more such talk, or I'm damned if I don't ram that red hot hand iron down your throat.
While Jackson's words instilled fear, it was his deeds that truly defined what we understand today as "Jacksonian war." In the summer of 1813, the Creek Indian tribe attacked Fort Mims in Alabama, killing and scalping over 400 American settlers, including women and children. The attack prompted Tennessee governor Willie Blount to give Jackson command of a force to pursue and destroy the Creek. Jackson himself urged his men on to catch those responsible for the Fort Mims massacre and punish them so that they would remember it always "in bitterness and tears."

Leading his force of volunteers into Indian territory, Jackson killed all those Creek he could find, burned numerous villages to the ground, and ravaged their food supplies. He encountered a large number of Creek warriors at their village of Talluschatches, and decimated the entire village. In the midst of the carnage, Jackson showed a somewhat surprising element of compassion. A Creek mother was discovered dead in the village, holding her still living child. Jackson asked the surviving Creek women to care for the child, but they refused, telling Jackson that the child's whole family was dead, and that he should kill the child as well. Instead, Jackson took the child back to his home at the Hermitage, and raised the boy himself.

Following the destruction of Talluschatches, remaining Indian towns publicly declared their submission to Jackson, in order to avoid the same fate. The Creek chief Red Eagle attacked one of these towns, Talladega, and threatened the rest with destruction if they aided Jackson. Realizing the importance of protecting the allied Creek villages, Jackson immediately moved his forces to the aid of Talladega and attacked Red Eagle's warriors. Nearly three hundred Creek died, compared to 15 dead American volunteers. Red Eagle, however, had escaped.

Determined to force an end to the Creek uprisings, Jackson marched on Red Eagle's main force of about 900 braves at Horseshoe Bend along the Tallapoosa River. The Creek had fortified a position at the aptly-named Horseshoe Bend and were dug in behind a series of log breastworks, along with roughly 300 women and children. Jackson began his assault at around 10:30 A.M. on March 27, 1814. After barraging the rampart with cannon, Jackson's infantry stormed the rampart and scaled it. From this position, they began shooting every Indian in sight, men, women, and children alike. Trapped, the Creek panicked and ran in circles inside the compound, all the while taking fire from Jackson's soldiers on the rampart. The withering fire continued until darkness prevented Jackson's men from sighting their targets.

The following day, 557 Creek bodies were found inside the compound. Another 200 bodies were counted floating in the river. Many others were killed in the woods attempting to escape. Jackson's forces suffered 55 killed, 146 wounded. Soon after the battle, Red Eagle, who had been away from Horseshoe Bend at the time of the attack, rode into Jackson's camp and surrendered.

The lessons of Jackson's Creek campaign is applicable to the fight against terrorists today. There is a place for mercy granted to non-combatants, and there is a place for lenience granted to a truly surrendered enemy. However, for those who do not "play by the rules," who would use our mercy and compassion as a weapon to kill us, there is only one real response. That response is the cold, relentless, and complete extermination of the enemy, until those who are left recall their butchery and treacherous acts "in bitterness and tears."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Courage, Dan

Dan Rather will be signing off as anchor of the CBS Evening News for the final time next March:
Dan Rather announced today he will step down as anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" on March 9 — 24 years to the day after his first broadcast as the network's anchor.

Rather will stay with CBS News, working full time as a correspondent for both editions of "60 Minutes," and taking on other assignments as well.

"I have been lucky and blessed over these years to have what is, to me, the best job in the world and to have it at CBS News," Rather said. "Along the way, I've had the honor of working with some of the most talented, dedicated professionals in the world, and I'm appreciative of the opportunity to continue doing so in the years ahead."

He and the network began discussing his future during the summer, he said, adding that he looks forward to getting back to working as an investigative reporter full time.

Of course, this was a "mutual decision" by Rather and CBS, and has absolutely nothing to do with either Rather's pathetic ratings or his use and dogged defense of obviously forged documents in the Bush Air National Guard story.

Goodbye, Dan. You won't be missed.

Monday, November 22, 2004


You know, I might have time to write more on my own blog if i stopped writing huge comments on other blogs.

On a lighter note, Instapundit, Vodkapundit, Martinipundit, and other alcoholic alcohol-appreciative bloggers can heave a big sigh of relief: the rats have the answers!

Hmm...on second thought, I'm not so sure about this article. I'm supposed to believe that 10% of our population is gay, but only 8% are alcoholics???

Friday, November 19, 2004

The clock is ticking

Readers familiar with Michael Ledeen over at National Review Online know that he has been calling for a confrontation with the terror masters in Iran since soon after 9/11. After each column, he ends with the request "Faster, please." Well, it appears someone was listening, just not who we thought:
Raising doubts about its commitment to dispel international distrust, Iran is producing significant quantities of a gas that can be used to make nuclear arms just days before it must stop all work related to uranium enrichment, diplomats said Friday.

Iran recently started producing uranium hexafluoride at its gas-processing facilities in the central city of Isfahan, the diplomats told The Associated Press.

When introduced into centrifuges and spun, the substance can be enriched to varying degrees. Low-grade enriched uranium is used in nuclear power plants. Highly enriched uranium forms the core of nuclear warheads.

How much uranium hexafluoride are we dealing with? Enough:
Asked about quantities being processed at Isfahan, one of the diplomats said, "It's not little," but he declined to elaborate.

But another diplomat familiar with the International Atomic Energy Agency - the U.N. nuclear watchdog - said the Iranians apparently were in the process of converting 22 tons of uranium into gas, either as a precursor to uranium hexafluoride or as the finished product.

Iran has huge reserves of raw uranium and has announced plans to extract more than 40 tons a year.

That amount, if converted to uranium hexafluoride and repeatedly spun in centrifuges, could theoretically yield more than 200 pounds of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, enough for about five crude nuclear weapons.

Iranian officials say the Isfahan plant can convert more than 300 tons of uranium ore a year.

In the legal field we have a term for when a witness makes an inadmissible statement in front of the jury: "You can't unring the bell." Once the jury hears the statement, the judge may instruct them to disregard it, but the damage is done. We are dealing with a similar situation here. The Iranians are burning the candle at both ends in order to create a nuclear device. They will lie, dissemble, mislead, delay, deceive, and do whatever it takes to buy time for their scientists to get the job done. That's why these European negotiations are a boon for the mad mullahs. Talk takes time, and that's exactly what the mullahs need.

And if they are successful in making their weapon, the bell cannot be unrung.

The Evil Genius Returns

As part of my duties in identifying dangers to America, sometimes my attention narrows to more regional dangers. Like this:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Lou Holtz wanted his South Carolina players to focus on their game against Clemson. They suddenly have a lot more on their minds.

Holtz will retire as coach at South Carolina after the season, The Associated Press learned Thursday night, apparently paving the way for Steve Spurrier to replace him.

Holtz told his players before the team's final regular-season practice, according to a source close to the program who spoke on condition of anonymity. All season, the 67-year-old Holtz said he was worn out, and even said Spurrier would be a good choice to succeed him.

On Wednesday, South Carolina cornerback Fred Bennett said Holtz promised the players he would tell them first when he decided about next year. "So I respect him for that," Bennett said.

A report in The Tennessean of Nashville had Spurrier taking over and the announcement coming next week. Other reports said Spurrier and South Carolina agreed to a contract between $1.5 million and $2 million.

If Spurrier decides to coach the Gamecocks, he would face his old team next season on Nov. 12, when Florida comes to Williams-Brice Stadium.

An announcement regarding Spurrier, who won a national championship at Florida, is expected next week, the newspaper said, citing an anonymous source close to the situation.

Of course, Spurrier had to come back to the Eastern Division of the SEC. Here's hoping he lost whatever talent he had when he indulged his ego in the NFL for two seasons. Holtz is a class act and a prolific coach, and I'm sorry to see him leave Carolina. One thing is for certain: the SEC will be a lot more...colorful with Spurrier back in the game.

Use Blog Catalog!

For what it's worth, I need to give a big plug here for the new blog directory service I just joined, Blog Catalog, and especially their Big Kahuna, Brad Jasper. Your humble Director is by no means an HTML professional, and when I tried to install this cool new button on my sidebar (It lets you rate my site! Go rate me!), I couldn't get the darned thing to align to the right like all my other buttons.

Being a perfectionist (of sorts...some might say anal retentive), I couldn't just let that button stay there out of alignment. I tinkered around with it for maybe an hour, but nothing I tried worked. So I removed the button code entirely and emailed Brad Jasper at Blog Catalog for help. I've received less than sterling response rates from other site managers, so I was not really anticipating much help. I figured I might as well roll the dice and see what happened. I figured that a busy web dude like Brad probably had his email filters set to scan out stupid HTML questions from users.

Less than 24 hours later, I had an email with new button code that Brad said would work on my site. Not only did Brad send me the code, he explained what it did and why, and then commented that he had actually read my site and enjoyed it! Now if that kind of response doesn't deserve a HUGE plug, then I don't know what does!

SO: If you have a blog, I HIGHLY recommend hooking up with Blog Catalog! Cool rating button, nice directory, and fantastic support from Brad Jasper! What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Right Stuff

NASA set an impressive new air speed record today:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A tiny unmanned NASA "scramjet" soared above the Pacific Ocean Tuesday at nearly 10 times the speed of sound, or almost 7,000 mph, in a successful demonstration of a radical new engine technology.

The 12-foot-long X-43A supersonic combustion ramjet reached about Mach 9.7, said Leslie Williams, a spokeswoman at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

The exotic aircraft was designed to fly under its own power for about 10 seconds after separating from a booster rocket at 110,000 feet, then glide to a splash landing.

Details of the craft's exact performance were to be announced later from Dryden, but mission officials were jubilant immediately after the brief flight.

"Once again we made aviation history. We did that in March when we went seven times the speed of sound and now we've done it right around 10 times the speed of sound," said Vince Rausch, Hyper-X program manager from NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia.

The X-43A, mounted on a Pegasus rocket used to boost it to flight speed, was carried under the wing of a B-52 aircraft and released at an altitude of 40,000 feet over a test range off the Southern California coast. The rocket motor then fired for a 90-second ascent.

Like its predecessors, the X-43A will not be recovered from the ocean.

The flight was the last in a $230 million-plus effort to test technology most likely to be initially used in military aircraft, such as a bomber that could reach any target on Earth within two hours of takeoff from the United States, or to power missiles.

Scramjets may also provide an alternative to rockets for space launches.

Unlike conventional jet engines which use rotating fan blades to compress air for combustion, the X-43A has no rotating engine parts. Instead it uses the underside of the aircraft's forebody to "scoop" up and compress air for mixing with hydrogen fuel.

Both the technology and the record are impressive. Scramjet technology, when refined, could revolutionize the aerospace industry. However, one aspect of this record-setting flight does leave me a bit saddened. The X-43A, for all it's glorious speed, is an unmanned jet. Something just doesn't feel right to me about setting a speed record in an airplane without a human being at the stick. Call me old-fashioned.

In case you're interested, the air speed record for a manned jet-powered aircraft is still held after 28 years by one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

On July 28, 1976, an SR-71A flew at a speed of 2,193 mph, or Mach 3.3. That official record for a manned jet-powered flight still stands, although there are rumours that the SR-71 surpassed that mark on unofficial occasions. What is so remarkable is that the SR-71A set this record after entering service in 1966! The SR-71A's first flight was two years before that, in 1964, and its immediate predecessor, the A-12 first flew in 1962. It is a remarkable testament to the engineering prowess of the famous Lockheed "Skunk Works" division that a plane designed when Jack Kennedy was president held the air speed record until 2004. In my book, the Blackbird still holds that unmanned flight just seems a bit hollow to me.

There is tons of information on the Blackbird, as well as other classic aircraft, at the superb website SR-71 Online, from whence comes the above picture.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Condi replaces Powell

Bush has reportedly tapped National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice to be the next Secretary of State. This strikes me as an excellent trade. Dr. Rice has the political savvy, intelligence, and calm personality to reassure and foster good relationships with other heads of state. More importantly, Dr. Rice is absolutely committed to Bush's war strategy and will not send mixed messages about U.S. intent to either friend or foe. Powell, and the entire State Department under his watch, had a troublesome tendency to allow discordant leaks and to muddle Administration policy with his own public statements.

On a related note, I hope that Rice is under orders from Bush to clean house at the State Department. There are too many career diplomats and bureucrats over there dedicated to their own career advancement and not committed, or even in opposition to fighting the War. Rice is committed, and she needs to make sure that the establishment at State is committed as well.

The question now becomes, who does Bush name to replace Rice as NSA? Personally, I would love to see Paul Wolfowitz in that position, but he would probably be too much of a political lightning rod. Someone like former CIA Director James Woolsey would also be an excellent choice. We'll see what the buzz is by the end of the week.

Go read Geochem

If you haven't already, I highly recommend that you check out Geochem over at Environmentalist Wackos. He has some interesting info on the political situation inside Iraq, as well as his own professional analysis of the search for chemical weapons there. A very good read.

We're Sorry, So Sorry

You may have heard or seen some of the "I'm Sorry" websites and photos out and about the internet. Basically, sorry excuses for Americans have photos taken of their sorry selves holding notes and cards with messages about how sorry they all are for the actions of America vis-a-vis Iraq/Afghanistan/Palestine/Europe/Women/Children/Small Furry Animals/Etc. Tim Blair posts this wonderful rejoinder to those sorry losers:
In case you can't read the text of this note, it says: "Dear Afghanis, I'm sorry we helped to free you from the Taliban." The head tilt and the pouty lip action makes this photo a true Kodak moment to be treasured.

You know, they do say that no good deed goes unpunished, at least if you are American. For my part, I'm not sorry we liberated Afghanistan, and I'm not sorry we took out Saddam in Iraq. I am sorry that our armed forces are fighting a more restrained war than I would like. I am sorry that we haven't ticked off more internationalist liberal bleeding-hearts and liberated more repressed people by invading Iran or Syria. And I am sorry that so many of our own citizens refuse to see the good that America does in the world, and even slanders that good.

UPDATE: Flickr, the online image hosting service I used to host the above picture, is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Until they resolve their issues, I suggest you click the link over to Tim Blair's post to see the photo. The soldier's facial expression really is priceless.

UPDATE: Flickr is apparently back online.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fallen Heroes

Hugh Hewitt provides this moving email from the girlfriend of 1st Lt. Joshua Michael Palmer, who was killed by enemy fire in Fallujah back in April of this year. Read the entire email, including the account of how Lt. Palmer died.

Posted by Hello

The photo is the one referred to by Hugh, posted online by Rick Brady at Stones Will Cry Out.

On this veteran's day, pray for our soldiers specifically in Fallujah, who are fighting with the kind of uncommon valor and selflessness that is so remarkably common in our armed forces. It is because of their courage and sacrifice that we can, in the words of Winston Churchill, "sleep the sleep of the saved and thankful."

It's been One Week

My apologies to those faithful few who have stopped by since the election looking for new material and finding none. The creative juice just seemed to leave me completely around election time, and I haven't fully recovered it yet. I just found myself simply uninterested in blogging, and unwilling to make the time for even a cursory update. On the upside, I did engage in some productive technological updates here at Section 31 headquarters, which should make posting faster and a whole lot easier.

Really though, the news since the Bush victory has been mostly uninspiring. John Ashcroft resigns? Expected. Yasser Arafat is dead--then alive--then dead--then alive--and now he's dead again? Great, it's about time. Arlen Specter is a spineless RINO? Yawn, we knew that already. Liberals don't understand why they lost? Double yawn, they are as predictable as ever.

Really, the only thing that has captivated my attention has been the U.S. battle for the city of Fallujah. But what with so much other petty "news" going on, the importance of this fight has been diluted. I recommend that you visit the superb Belmont Club to find out everything you ever wanted to know about this battle. For the reports in chronological order, start here and then just scroll up through the posts that follow. Wretchard's reporting and analysis is so good, there really isn't much for me to add. Here's hoping our troops are allowed to deal the fatal blow to the terrorist insurgency in Iraq.

For real, this time.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Savoring the moment

I'd like to post thoughts on the election and what I think it means for the country. Unfortunately, I feel rather drained at the moment. Perhaps a combination of early mornings and long drives, perhaps simply because of the natural sense of mental exhaustion after such a tense campaign and election. Hopefully I will feel more like pontificating tomorrow. Until then, I plan on taking Peggy Noonan's advice. I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's over

Kerry has called Bush to concede Ohio. Why the networks have held off from calling New Mexico, Nevada, and Iowa for Bush is beyond me. Maybe they just can't bring themselves to admit it.

Check I type, Fox calls Nevada for Bush and declares him the official winner of the 2004 Presidential election.

It's all over but the shouting

Fox just called Ohio for Bush. That puts him at 266 EV. Add 3 for Alaska and you get 269, worst case. If Bush loses every remaining state (not going to happen), the House of Representatives breaks the tie and sends it for Bush.

Wherever he is lurking, I hope Osama bin Laden is watching.
Jim Angle with Fox says that he spoke to an "authoritative" source inside Bush-Cheney '04, and that the source says "We will win Ohio, it's just a question of how much." If so, this would likely nail the election down for Bush. Kerry spinners are now more frequently referring to lawsuits instead of actual voting leads.

My personal feeling right now is that Bush will be declared the winner sometime around 2-3 AM, EST. We shall see!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bill Kristol just said what I've been thinking for a couple hours now: It appears that Bush is going to carry Florida tonight, and we won't have to wait a week for the call. Bush is too far ahead at this point with 94% of the precincts reporting. It all comes down to Ohio now for Kerry. If it goes for Bush, it is over for Kerry. And if Kerry wins Ohio, he will still have to defend Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Hawaii in order to win.

In other words, the candidate who is facing elimination here is Kerry, not Bush.
State initiatives to define marriage as between a man and a woman appear to be winning by 60-75% nationwide. Hopefully this is a sign of big evangelical turnout, and will results in vote increases for Bush as well.
Michael Barone is on Fox running down a long list of Florida counties where Bush has made significant gains in both registration and in the vote returns. VERY encouraging. The Horserace Blog has percentages on most of these. I love Barone's closing line: "This data indicates President Bush COULD win Florida."

Liveblogging starts here

This may be a hairy venture, as I am running my poor little home dialup connection while trying to keep about 30 browser windows open and make timely posts as well. I'll do my best with what I got...

The Fox roundtable makes the point that the hard data coming from key states simply does not jive with the early exit polls. For example, Bush is up by 10 points right now in Orange county, Florida, which he lost to Al Gore in 2000 by 2 points. If Bush is performing that well in a Democratic county, then the rest of the state is likely trending to Bush.

Bogus exit polls

Some of you may have seen exit poll numbers on the Drudge Report indicating Kerry advantages. The short answer is: these numbers are bogus. For the long answer, see the Mystery Pollster and PoliPundit. The Horserace Blog had a good post on the worthless exit poll numbers, but high traffic appears to have overloaded his server. Check back there later in the day.

The best thing to do is take a deep breath, vote if you haven't already, and wait for the actual returns to come in this evening.

Be of good cheer

When John Kerry's own campaign pollster is this gloomy, you know things can't be all that great for Kerry's chances:
We often point to the fact that a majority of Americans say the country is seriously off on the wrong track. Fifty-two percent hold that view. But when Bush Sr. was defeated, 72 percent thought the country was seriously off on the wrong track.

Only 39 percent give the economy a positive rating, a problem for the incumbent.

Yet in 1992, only about 10 percent were positive about the economy.

Taking all that and more into account, an expert forecasting model suggests that Bush will get 51.6 percent of the two-party vote.

So while Bush faces formidable obstacles, not the least of which is Kerry himself, the senator also faces a strong candidate. Bush is weaker than some other incumbents but much stronger than those who have been defeated.

Read the whole thing, and be encouraged. This assessment is from the man who knows the true state of John Kerry's campaign better than any other person. If he were any more depressed, he'd be openly predicting a Bush win. A good sign, if you ask me.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A simple choice

November 2nd is just over an hour away. If you are still undecided at this point, you are a moron and you need to stay in bed tomorrow.

For the rest of you, the bottom line is very simple. If you don't believe that Islamic terrorists want to kill as many Americans as possible, then see my recommendation in the first paragraph. For the remainder of you, ask yourself this question, and try to be honest. Which of the two candidates do you think will not only take killing terrorists more seriously, but will kill as many of them as he possibly can?

This is the only question that really and truly matters. Every other issue fades into insignificance in comparison. How you vote tomorrow will determine whether we continue to fight this war or capitulate. Put the other partisan issues aside and be honest with yourself tomorrow. George Bush has proven he will take the fight to the terrorists. John Kerry has proven that he will ask the world's permission first.

If preserving and defending America against those who would slaughter us means anything at all to you, vote for Bush. We can resume the partisan bickering after the war is over.

2004 Election Aids

For those of you who will be following the election returns closely tomorrow, I have added a new set of links on my sidebar to assist you in your endeavor. I have posted links to the election results pages of the states I believe will be important battlegrounds: Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Most if not all of these pages will start posting their returns at 8 P.M., EST.

Of the other websites who will be providing live coverage of the returns, I plan on watching the excellent Horserace Blog the closest. Jay's analysis and data-crunching to date has been outstanding, and he will have a network of poll watchers in key states sending him data throughout the evening. I also recommend you follow RealClearPolitics, Powerline, PoliPundit, and Kerry Spot.