Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Structural Integrity Fields are Collapsing!

Well, it turns out that the Section 31 iMac G5 command center needs a logic board replacement, so I'm back in the old Powerbook G3. The one good thing is that DSL makes posting tenable, if not quite as efficient. Repairs should be effected by January 5 (knock on wood), but I will try to stay active on the antique. Carry on!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Reality Check

Have you ever noticed how liberals and leftists just can't accept reality when reality conflicts with their own warped worldview? Here's another great example, from Ohio:
The Ohio Supreme Court's chief justice on Thursday threw out a challenge to the state's presidential election results.

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer ruled that the request improperly challenged two separate election results. Ohio law only allows one race to be challenged in a single complaint, he said.

The challenge was backed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Cliff Arnebeck, a Columbus attorney for the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy, who accused Bush's campaign of "high-tech vote stealing."

Claiming fraud, the voters cited reports of voting-machine errors, double-counting of ballots and a shortage of voting machines in predominantly minority precincts as reasons to throw out the results.

The complaint questioned how the actual results could show Bush winning when exit-poll interview findings on election night indicated that Kerry would win 52 percent of Ohio's presidential vote.

Without listing specific evidence, the complaint alleges that 130,656 votes for Kerry and John Edwards in 36 counties were somehow switched to count for the Bush-Cheney ticket.
It's all so simple! The actual results can't be right, because the exit polls had John Kerry winning! So the obvious course of action is to take the actual votes for Bush and grant them to Kerry! Because the exit polls are what our elections are decided by! At least when they show the liberal candidate ahead. Really, I do not know why there even needs to be a lawsuit, it should all be so clear to everyone!

I would suggest that someone please find a bucket of cold water and wake these liberals up, but I don't think they make a bucket that big. And besides, why stop the Democrats from driving themselves further and further into the political wilderness?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

2,000 hits

A small milestone for my inconspicuous little corner of the blogosphere, reached at 1:36:24 P.M., EDT. Thanks to all! I hope you are still around for 5,000 (that is, if I ever get there!).

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Vox Blogoli VI

Hugh Hewitt asks the blogosphere to comment on the MSM's credibility with regard to matters of faith and history, specifically in response to this Newsweek article about the birth of Christ. Hugh ponders whether this article represents the Rathergate of religion reporting, and marvels at the bias in the piece.

Why so shocked, Hugh? The anti-Christian bias in the Newsweek piece is nothing new to the MSM. In fact, it is pretty much a re-hash of Jesus Seminar talking points from the past thirty years. Is it bias? Of course it is, but it is just more of the same, and not at all unexpected from a notoriously liberal source like Newsweek.

While the liberal bias is clear, I don't believe that the comparison to Rathergate is entirely accurate. Jon Meacham uses real people as his sources, even though these people are all liberals with an agenda. That's not the same thing as fabricating a story out of wholecloth. This article doesn't surprise me at all, it's just one more biased article from a source that I expect to be biased.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Peterson to Die

The jury came back with the death penalty for convicted wife and child murderer Scott Peterson. It will probably be decades before the penalty is carried out, if ever, but at least the ordeal is over, for Laci Peterson's family, and for the rest of us who had to sit through the endless media coverage. The sad fact is that murders like these happen all the time. In my mind, only one thing made this case worthy of note, when all was said and done: the humanization of Connor Peterson, Scott and Laci's unborn child. After 30 years of legalized abortion in America, of endless efforts to turn an unborn baby into "a choice", a murdered unborn child was given a name, and the "what ifs" of the life that could have been were explored and discussed across the country. I hope that the process sparked more than just a passing thought. If Connor deserved more than a passing thought, what about the rest of the unborn children whose names we don't hear day in and day out?

Technical Update

Well, after trying this three times previously, and destroying my blog template each time, I think the Section 31 engineering crew has finally succeeded in adding Haloscan commenting and trackback to the command center. Naturally, all of the previous comments have been lost in the upgrade. We'll see if this new technology is all it's cracked up to be.

UPDATE: I am using Noodles at People's Republic of Minnesota as my guinea pig to test whether trackbacks are working, since he also recently installed Haloscan. Unfortunately, each time I try to use his trackback link my browser crashes, so this experiment may be doomed to failure.

UPDATE: After a couple hours of messing with the Haloscan comments and trackback, I have decided that I hate their implementation of both, and am switching back to standard Blogger comments. I'll hope that Blogger comes out with its own trackback system, otherwise I'll wait until I can upgrade the command center to a real blog client.

Christmas Spirit

I love the days leading up to Christmas. The tree is up and decorated, Christmas music is spinning on iTunes, and spiced cider is going down nicely. Oh, and the U.S. Armed Forces are helping to establish peace on Earth, one terrorist at a time (salute to Martinipundit for sending me to RightWingNews).

The Director is very happy.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Reporter makes himself famous

The editor and publisher of my hometown newspaper, the Chattanooga Times/Free-Press, has come out in support of the embedded reporter who gamed the Rumsfeld/military town hall meeting (via Drudge):
"I think he was doing what he felt he was embedded to do: tell the stories of the soldiers of this unit," said Tom Griscom, editor and publisher of the paper. But he criticized the embed's story about the incident, which did not mention the reporter's connection to the soldier who asked the question.

"He is there to write stories, not make news himself," Griscom said of Pitts. The editor added that the recipient of the e-mail, whom he would not identify, should not have passed it along.
This response sounds about right to me. I don't think the question is necessarily a bad one, as I recall the Times/Free-Press doing previous stories on the vehicle armor issue. However, I have a big problem with the lengths to which the reporter went to make a name for himself by essentially ambushing Rumsfeld with a question that may not have been asked otherwise. By injecting himself into the issue, this reporter raises questions in my mind about the legitimacy of the problem. We will probably see quite a bit of followup in the next few days that will answer whether or not vehicle armor is indeed a pressing issue for our troops.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Presbyterian by any other name

Patrick at Clarity and Resolve notes the decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest its $8 billion portfolio from companies that do business with Israel. This decision is indeed disgraceful, but to be expected from the PC-USA, one of the most liberal Christian denominations in the country. I do feel the need to point out that while the PC-USA is by far the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country with over 2.5 million members, it does not speak for all Presbyterians.

The Presbyterian Church in America broke away from the PC-USA in the early 70's, in opposition to the larger denomination's growing liberalism. As of 2000, the PCA had over 300,000 members, and was growing rapidly. The PCA has not joined with the PC-USA in its Israel bashing, and many of its leaders have signed petitions requesting that the PC-USA rethink its decisions. These PCA leaders have been joined by many PC-USA ministers who do not share the liberal views of their governing assembly.

In short, the PC-USA is indeed shameless in its blind anti-Israel bias, but there are significant numbers of other Presbyterians who are completely steadfast in their support of the nation of Israel. When discussing Presbyterians, it is always important to distinguish between PC-USA and PCA.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Reading Material

If you are looking for informative and intelligent writing and commentary from sources other than the Big Bloggers, there are three blogs I think you should check out. I read these sites several times a day, just to see if they have posted something new. They are that good. Go read Noodles at People's Republic of Minnesota, Ruth at Freudian Slippers, and Patrick at Clarity and Resolve. In addition to quality posts, these bloggers read and respond swiftly to comments, so their sites are also great places for discussion. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Remember December 7th

It seems that in recent years, the American national memory has grown shorter and shorter. Even after the attacks of 9/11, three years without a terrorist attack on our soil has left our country complacent, struggling to remember just what it was that got us all so worked up on that fall day.

It wasn't always this way. Time was, the American people forced each other to remember national tragedy. It was acceptable in times past to keep the memory of attack and death close at hand, as a reminder of the dangers our nation faced, and an exhortation to victory.

On December 7, 1941, our country suffered in some ways an even more shocking and devastating blow than on 9/11. The American battleship was not just a symbol of American power, it was the literal vehicle of that power. In a matter of hours, not only had the symbols of our strength been demolished, but the actual means of projecting strength were sunk or burning off the coast of Oahu. That the American aircraft carriers were spared was significant in the long run, but at the time appeared to be poor consolation. Carrier warfare had yet assume the importance that it would in short order. All that Americans knew at the time was that our big ships were gone, and the entire west coast was vulnerable to attack and possibly even invasion.

The America of that age did not allow itself to forget this attack. There was no compunction about showing the photographs of our sunken fleet, no worries over whether citizens would be offended at the site of our mighty navy burning in port. There was only the immediate and overwhelming need to rally against the enemy, swiftly and without hesitation.

On December 7, 1941, here are a few of the images you might have seen had you been a participant in the events of that day (These photographs and others can be viewed at the Naval Historical Center website).

battleship row

Battleship Row, as seen from a Japanese torpedo plane, as the attack begins. Note the white lines in the water on the left side of the photograph, as the torpedoes streak towards their targets.

battleship row 2

Battleship Row, from a different angle, as a Japanese dive bomber begins its attack. The splashes around several of the ships indicate the attack is already underway.

arizona explodes

A color frame from a motion picture camera running at the moment the forward magazine of the U.S.S. Arizona explodes.

battleship row 3

A Japanese dive bomber again, above the Arizona immediately after the forward magazine exploded.

uss shaw explodes

The destroyer U.S.S. Shaw exploding during the second wave of the Japanese attack.

uss oklahoma

The U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized after being struck by 9 Japanese torpedoes. The explosions opened a 250 foot hole in her port side. Survivors tapped out SOS in Morse code on the inside of the hull, but only 32 were rescued the following day. The Oklahoma remained capsized until 1943, when she was rolled back over in a massive salvage operation.

uss west virginia

Perhaps the most famous photograph from Pearl Harbor, the U.S.S. West Virginia billows smoke after being struck by several torpedoes, while a launch rescues survivors.

I believe that remembering the past is important. I believe that national tragedy is not something to be shoved into a closet or swept under the rug. What has happened to us that we have become so comfortable and sanguine and easily offended that we dare not recall or display the images of 9/11 as generations before did with Pearl Harbor? Why do our people allow themselves to forget the horror, fear, and the just anger that we experienced that day? The Pearl harbor generation will soon be gone forever, but they have not forgotten their day of infamy. What does that say about our generation, when so many seem to have so swiftly forgotten our own?

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Glorious Battle of Jeddah

Or at least that's what "expert" Diaa Rashwan would have you believe:
Militants lobbing explosives forced their way into the heavily guarded U.S. consulate in Jiddah on Monday before Saudi security forces stormed the compound and fought a gunbattle to end a four-hour standoff. Eight people, none American, were killed.

Five consulate employees were killed, said a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Riyadh. Three of the five attackers also died in the shootout, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. One American was slightly injured.

"This was a very hard target to attack, and they pulled it off," said Diaa Rashwan, a Cairo-based expert on Muslim militants, predicting the attack would boost morale among extremists. "For the government, this was a security failure. For the militants, this was a military victory."

A number of comments spring to mind. Let's seek a little perspective, shall we?

First of all, from an operational standpoint the bad guys lost this one. I don't just say that because three of the attackers were killed (although that's three less we have to worry about). Two of the group were captured, which means we have warm bodies to interrogate. Any intelligence is good intelligence. In addition, it is apparent that the terrorists were targeting the U.S., but in a consular district with over 9,000 Americans in residence, there were zero American casualties. Instead, the terrorists shot up a few of their brother Muslims. Not entirely helpful for them, certainly not as satisfying as shooting innocent Americans would have been. One wonders why these wannabe splodey-dopes didn't opt for a straight up car bombing or a long-distance IED-type bombing. Answer: because this was a poorly planned operation.

Second, the spin from this so-called "expert" has me so dizzy it's hard to decide where to begin. This was NOT a hard target to attack. Any terrorist worth his weight in C4 can chuck grenades and shoot surprised security officers. And on the list of U.S. targets in Saudi Arabia, the Consulate at Jeddah, while a notable target, is not the highest on the list of critical U.S. facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Islamofascists didn't attack the Embassy in Riyadh, or any of our air bases. They chose a relatively less-protected target, and they still ended up dead and captured.

As for Diaa Rashwan, I wonder if he doesn't have a little Frog in his family tree...who else would describe the annihilation and capture of your entire unit a "military victory"? Military competence aside, a little peep into Mr. Rashwan's background proved enlightening. My admittedly limited investigation into his educational history turned up no indication of where Mr. Rashwan was educated or what degrees he holds, if any, that would qualify him as an "expert" in anything. So until someone shows me a curriculum vitae for Diaa Rashwan, I'll have to dispute his "expertise" as unproven.

What I did find on Mr. Rashwan was his place of employment and a body of written work. Apparently, he works at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. A few of the articles you may find on their website include Israel: Between political crisis and civil war, Israel's aggression on Rafah: war crimes under US protection, Torture and the moral collapse of the Bush administration, and Trampling due process. These articles are not exactly supportive of America.

As for our friend Mr. Rashwan, here are a few of his own writings: The Western connection, Feeding terror, Inconclusive evidence, Flawed vision, and Americans as sitting ducks. My personal favorite is Inconclusive evidence, in which Mr. Rashwan argues against the conclusion that al-Qaeda was involved in the 9/11 attacks, and ends with the insinuation that slow reactions by American was due to deliberate decision.

So my friends, ask yourselves what we have. We have three dead terrorists, two captured terrorists, zero dead Americans, and an al-Qaeda apologist who says the attacks today were a "military victory" for the terrorists. I don't know about you, but I'd be perfectly happy to take a few more terrorist victories along those lines.

Thanks so much to AP writer Tarek Al-Issawi in Dubai for searching so diligently for such a distinguished and objective analyst to puff his news story with a little Islamofascist propaganda. If it wasn't for people like him, I wouldn't have much to write about, would I?

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Question

A friend recently told me that her family was adopting a U.S. soldier for Christmas. In thinking about all that our military does for us, I was reminded of this poem by Rudyard Kipling, called The Question.
Brethren, how shall it fare with me
When the war is laid aside,
If it be proven that I am he
For whom a world has died?

If it be proven that all my good,
And the greater good I will make,
Were purchased me by a multitude
Who suffered for my sake?

That I was delivered by mere mankind
Vowed to one sacrifice,
And not, as I hold them, battle-blind,
But dying with open eyes?

That they did not ask me to draw the sword
When they stood to endure their lot --
That they only looked to me for a word,
And I answered I knew them not?

If it be found, when the battle clears,
Their death has set me free,
Then how shall I live with myself through the years
Which they have bought for me?

Brethren, how must it fare with me,
Or how am I justified,
If it be proven that I am he
For whom mankind has died --
If it be proven that I am he
Who, being questioned, denied?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blogging Hiccup

One would think that with the long weekend, I would find time to blog just a little post. Unfortunately, end of the month is a hectic time at the Director's cover job, and at least the appearance of productivity has to be maintained. And quite frankly, when I haven't been working, I've been extremely tired and unable to muster the requisite energy to post anything resembling coherent thought. I have noticed that more than a few bloggers write posts in pure stream-of-consciousness mode. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, I do not choose to write in that manner. I much prefer a more polished end product, for several reasons.

For one, I want to develop and maintain my own standards of what good writing should be. If I can't construct a decent sentence, then I'd rather not construct one at all. But in addition to satisfying my own demands for what I want this site to be, I want to attract a certain kind of reader as well. I want readers who are capable of both rational thought and clear expression. Toward that end, I attempt to put out a product that appeals to that type of person. It's too soon to tell whether I am succeeding in this regard. However, I have been very pleased with the consistent readers I have attracted thus far.

All of this to say, thanks to those of you who drop by consistently, even when I haven't put anything new up in several days. I know who you are, and your readership is very much appreciated. And to those of you who may just be dropping by, welcome to you as well. Please feel free to wander through Section 31 Document Storage for samples of previous writing. And as always, any and all comments of a non-trollish nature are welcomed!