Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Here's a neat thing I got from this Blog by someone called b-may who looks like he may be a lib with his wish that Gary Hart would be president. Nonetheless, this is clever:

The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.

The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country.

USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their smog statistics shown in pie charts.

The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave L.A. to do it.

The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country either, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority
feministic atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are democrats.

The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
OK, the 2003 draft was interesting from a Patriots standpoint....Ok, let's take a look at 2004 on CBS.SportsLine.com!!!
Good analysis of the phenomena known as the White Stripes by Mark Jenkins at Slate.com.
Regardless of their degree of responsibility in the Station night club fire, I have to give credit to Great White for announcinga tour to benefit the victims of the tragic fire. I think there is enough blame to go around. Even if it is just a PR move, the results will be tangible. Perhaps the owners should think about this and stop worrying so much about self-incrimination.
Oh my goodness, the Yankees lost two in a row!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

By the way, today more is coming out about the perfidy of the French. Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today (for yesterday) has a good detailed look. The most cogent point:

"The Telegraph also found "a six-page letter dated February 1998 from Saddam Hussein to Jacques Chirac, welcoming the French president's support in the campaign against sanctions and assuring him that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction."

This should put to rest the complaint that the Bush administration's "botched diplomacy" is to blame for the U.N. Security Council's failure to approve an 18th resolution authorizing the liberation of Iraq. If veto-wielding France was actively colluding with Saddam's regime to oppress the Iraqi people and to prepare for a prospective attack, then winning Paris's approval for a resolution explicitly authorizing regime change was never a possibility. Those who urged the Bush administration to subordinate American foreign policy to the French veto have a lot to answer for."

This story about An Equal Opportunity Athlete is intriguing. It delves into the interesting dilemma's that result from Title IX enforcement. Essentially, Title IX as a concept is entirely proper. Schools should provide equal opportunities for men and women in sports. But the devil is in the details, and the problem is that, whether we want to admit it or not, boys tend to like to play sports more than girls. As such, to try to give them equal opportunity effectively ends up limiting the opportunities for boys. Mostly due to money reasons, schools don't add women't sports to make up the difference. Instead, while they may indeed add some, they make up the difference more often by removing men's sports to get to the prescribed ratio of athletes according to Title IX's goals. While not exactly in the spirit of the "law", it does achieve the goal. Many argue, and I would to, that, especially in college, the whole playing field is skewed by the relatively massive number of boys playing football. No women's sport has such a high participation requirement. This has led to the loss of many men's sports, especially wrestling and swimming, to make up the difference. The article mentioned above deals with another problem, the participation of boys on girls teams because there is no boys team of that kind. Title IX makes it highly unlikely that that there will ever be a boys lacrosse team at that young man's school. Title IX also speaks specifically to the equitable chances for WOMEN in sports, not men AND women. This is one solution, if the young men are strong enough to go for it. When I was in High School, we had two guys who played on the girls field hockey team. They met with wide ranging attitudes from other teams, but they played and contributed. More power to them. This seems to be yet another example of how, in an effort to be fair, unfairness has occurred as a byproduct. Like I said, the concept of Title IX is nice, the implementation isn't.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Once again, Senator Chafee attributes the worst of motives to President Bush, this time in the details of the President's tax cut plan. In this latest story from ProJo, Chafee seems to be taking a "principled", though flawed in my opinion, stance of no new tax cuts if it means bigger deficits. But then the real truth comes out, and we see Senator Chafee at his paranoid, fraidy cat best.

"If you get big deficits, then the pressure will be on" to cut social programs that pay for health care, pensions, education and housing for the poor, Chafee said. "I think that's the tactics" that conservative Republicans have chosen.

So the Republicans don't want you to have more money, what they really want is an excuse to throw grammy on the street and to lengthen the lines of the soup kitchens. Once again, Senator Chafee seems to be making a belligerent, politically suicidal stance for no real good reason, other than his own paranoid fears of the motives of the "vast right wing conspiracy."
As I blogged on Saturday, here is a more in-depth look at what the good Sen. Chafee had to say about North Korea, as reported in Saturday's Projo. The story's text, including Chafee's comments, are in Italics, mine aren't.

U.S.-North Korea talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program have "broken down" because a confrontational Bush administration team is holding out "a heavy military threat" against the Asian nation, Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee said yesterday.

The Senator is correct. This proved to be extremely ineffective in dealing with Iraq.

"The administration just doesn't put a premium on diplomacy," said Chafee. The Rhode Island Republican, who returned Tuesday from a trip to Asia, said that military victory in Iraq helped bring North Korea to the negotiating table with the United States. But Chafee reiterated his view that war in the Persian Gulf region should have been averted and that the talks on North Korea's weapons program could have begun long ago.

Once again, it is Chafee's view that it is failed diplomacy on the part of the U.S. when the other side refuses to talk. He then

Chafee played down the importance of North Korea's reported statement to U.S. diplomats during the Beijing talks that it has nuclear weapons. "We've suspected that," Chafee said.

Bahh, no big deal.


Chafee said yesterday's conclusion of three days of U.S.-North Korean talks in Beijing confirmed his pessimistic view of the situation. He largely blamed the Bush administration for the apparent impasse. "They don't want to give," Chafee said of the U.S. negotiating team, led by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly. "They want this to be blunt and uncompromising."

Doesn't it seem that all Senator Chafee wants to do is "give"? In every situation, he seems to take the position that the Bush Administration should compromise.

Chafee said his pessimism had been fed by the assignment of this diplomatic role to Kelly -- whose "very confrontational" stance toward North Korea proved "unproductive" last fall as the nuclear-weapons controversy unfolded.

The U.S. should quickly start back to work on fresh talks with North Korea and "they should send a new team," said Chafee, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Are you volunteering, Sen. Chafee?

Chafee said he is also "a little bit pessimistic" about how hard China will work against Pyongyang's nuclear-weapons program.

"It's very important to have this dialogue," Chafee said of the U.S.-North Korea weapons talks, which began under Chinese sponsorship Wednesday in Beijing, the day after Chafee, Senate GOP leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and several other senators completed a 10-day tour to Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei.

"But everybody seems to realize that this isn't going to be easy and it's going to take a long time," Chafee said of the effort to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. He suggested that one obstacle is the complexity of the motivations of the nations involved. Beijing, for example, seems to demand a weakening of U.S. ties to Taiwan as its price for tougher steps against its longtime ally in Pyongyang.


He leaves unsaid the implication that the U.S. should acquiesce to China's demands.

Chafee said the tour -- including talks with key political and military leaders of the three nations, plus a visit with Rhode Island soldiers stationed in South Korea -- also gave him insight into the fight against the deadly new respiratory disease that has come out of Asia, and the possible sale of New England-built submarines and warships to Taiwan.

blah blah

Chafee said he believes that timing of the nuclear-arms discussions in Beijing is "not coincidental" and shows that North Korea and China were both struck by the demonstration of U.S. military dominance in Iraq. China appears to have pressured North Korea strongly to agree to the negotiations -- something that did not happen before the Iraq war, he said.

At the same time, Chafee -- who opposed the war -- said the talks also showed an American willingness to compromise. Whereas North Korea had once insisted on nation-to-nation talks with the U.S., the Bush administration demanded multilateral talks involving Russia, Japan and South Korea. The compromise of the current Chinese-brokered talks showed new flexibility on all sides.


Whu..huh..but..didn't he just say we didn't compromise?

Chafee added, however, that he does not believe a victorious U.S. assault on Baghdad was necessary to get China and North Korea into nuclear-arms talks. More emphasis on U.S. diplomacy might have either averted the North Korea problem or got the talks going earlier to solve it, Chafee said.

No way...the little dude in N. Korea was waiting to see if we would follow through with our threats. Once we showed we would, he came to the table. Otherwise, there would be no reason for him to do such a thing.

Chafee said he developed one persistent worry during his trip: Chinese officials from President Hu Jintao on down seem to reserve their "passion" for the issue of Taiwan, while appearing less fervent about the goal of keeping nuclear weapons off the Korean peninsula.

Chafee inferred from the words and the demeanor of Chinese officials that their essential bargaining gambit on any question -- from trade, to SARS, to the threat from North Korea -- is to attack the longtime U.S. ties to Taiwan. On this trip, Chafee said, Chinese officials devoted great energy to an issue that seemed to him more symbolic than substantive, a U.S. effort to grant Taiwan limited ties to the World Health Organization. Chafee said he is inclined to go along with Chinese requests that the Senate postpone consideration of a measure to grant Taiwan the ties. But he said Frist is inclined to proceed with a Senate vote.


Ah, yes. There it is. Let's compromise and back off of our support for a bastion of democracy which we've supported since World War II. Placate the bully, first.

Chafee said U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are also a touchy issue with Beijing, although not as inflamed as it might be, because Taiwan's new administration is preoccupied with economic problems and appears unprepared to act on tentative plans to buy ships from the U.S. -- possibly including diesel submarines built at Electric Boat.

As opposed to Chinese arm sales to N. Korea, Iraq, and others?


THE VISIT TO BEIJING, Chafee said, helped him to put SARS in clearer perspective. The outbreak "deserves all the attention it's getting," he said, and efforts to control it have plainly been hampered by the Chinese government's "deliberate decision not to be forthcoming" about the extent of the spread of SARS. Nor did Chinese officials directly acknowledge this fact in their meetings with the U.S. senators, he said.

The heavy blow of SARS upon the tourism business in China was also evident. "Our hotel was almost completely empty," said Chafee. "When we went into a restaurant, we were the only people there."

But on the brighter side, Chafee said, there were signs that the Chinese government understands and has learned from its mistakes of secrecy. For example, Chafee noted the firing of a key official. "The new health minister had only been on the job two days when he met us," Chafee said.

Furthermore, Chafee said, there is none of the sense of panic in Beijing that some reports here seem to suggest. "Business is still going on, people are still going to work," he said.


Ok, whatever.

Chafee also said he returned home with a more vivid sense of what a "corrupt and brutal regime" runs North Korea. Kim Jong Il, he said, is "a cruel and despotic tyrant" who presides over an impoverished nation surrounded by relatively modern and prosperous nations. "We should turn our focus on North Korea, as we apparently are doing now," Chafee said."

No kidding, Senator. Doesn't this all sound a little familiar? Do you think that maybe, Li'l Kim saw how Saddam got away with acting belligerent and playing the UN game for 12 years and thought maybe he'd give it a try? That is until he saw that this President was not one to attach himself or the nation to an endless process of "diplomacy"? Diplomacy is all fine and dandy if it accomplishes something, and rational people can come to agreements using traditional methods of diplomacy. Unfortunately, the wild cards out there, like Saddam and L'il Kim, understand one kind of diplomacy only... brute force. They had to be shown that real consequences would occur if they don't wise up. Saddam directly, and L'il Kim in a second-hand manner. Senator Chafee still relishes the diplomatic process over actual results. He acknowledges a "corrupt and brutal regime" run by a crazy man but insists that this same regime and man can be dealt with in a tradional way. Not so. The bottom line is that Senator Chafee gets antsy when tough talk is used. He is "uncomfortable" by strong words and actions that achieve the goals of his nation. He continues to exhibit a certain kind of passive agressiveness when it comes to the Bush Administration's diplomatic policy. He condemns them for not engaging in diplomacy enough, but then quibbles with the diplomats and methods used. The fundamental problem appears to be that the Bush team assumes that the U.S. stance is right and it's up to the other side, be it Iraq, China or N. Korea, to compromise first and then we'll talk. Senator Chafee always wants the U.S. to blink first. Maybe it's because that's how the Senator can relate to diplomacy in general. He always blinks first.

I watched The Ring last night. Not a bad creepy flick. A good creepy visual angle. It's effectiveness at scaring the bejesus out of you relies on how much you're going to buy into it. Similar to Blair Witch in that, I guess. Gets pretty good reviews at Rottentomatoes, as I linked to above. Maybe I ought to start throwing more movie reviews in here...I also watched Road to Perdition, the Tom Hanks/Paul Newman Irish gangster movie. Pretty good father/son "road" movie. The kid is pretty good. Hanks is good in a rather untraditional role for him. Jude Law is also real good at being a creepy dude, too.
First, a brief draft wrap up. A few insta-grades are in. We have Len Pasquerelli at ESPN.com giving the Pats an "A". (Mel Kiper does too, according to what I heard on the radio. To get Kiper's official grade, you have to pay for it.) ESPN's poll has most fans grading the Pats at A or B. I also heard John Clayton said the Pats had the second best draft weekend of all, giving them another "A". On to CBS... Pete Prisco gives them a B+. Finally, GIl Brandt at NFL.com, who has forgotten more about football than I'll ever hope to learn, makes a point of saying the Pats did a good job. The common themes in all of these national takes seem to be that 1) The Pats came out of this with 2 #1's and 2 #2's and 3 #4's in next years draft and 2) Next years draft is believed to be much deeper than 2003's. Plus, for what the Pats do, they got the players that they need. This is contrasted on the local pundit front. It does seem that the local media is a bit more down on the draft. This has to do with the "who are these guys" problem with an over-hyped event where everyone reads every pre-draft pub and then gets surprised when well written up players get passed over for relative unknowns. The worst offender is Nick Cafardo, and Ron Borges to some extent, of the Boston Globe. I won't even link to Cafardo, because when it comes to the Pats, he is ALWAYS taking a pessimistic angle, except when he wrote a book about the Superbowl win, that is...and there was some money to be made. Anyway, I'll keep my eyes open for more analysis as we go. As far as what I think? I'm smart enought to know that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Sure, I like the sexy picks too, but Bill B. and company have a bit more cache than yours truly.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I don't usually blog on the weekends, but this latest from Sen. Chafee is ridiculous. I'll comment more later.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Mark MSNBC'sAshley Banfield down as one not to trust, folks. What a baby.
Stanley Kurtz on Rick Santorum & Andrew Sullivan on National Review Online. The debate rages on...
If you've noticed, I tend to agree with most things that Andrew Sullivan says, and always enjoy reading him. That being said, while I generally agree that Sen. Santorum may be espousing an over-reach of government into our private lives, I think Sullivan is getting a little hysterical over the whole thing. He's now taken to posting some emails from people who now say they won't vote Republican because of Santorum's remarks. To me, this kind of knee jerk reaction is ludicruous and intellectually pedestrian. There are a few things that I don't agree with the Republicans on, but in general, a single issue isn't going to make me desert the party. A single candidate, maybe. I think that Sullivan's problem is that the issue hits too close to home and is also something that has been thrown right into his commentarian wheelhouse. As a gay Republican, he is almost uniquely qualified to speak to the issue. His POV has to be considered as the POV of the average gay/lesbian, but it just seems he is getting pulled along by the media hysteria that he usually is so adept at identifying and routing out. Sen. Santorum does not have the signal ability to enact such a police state mentality, even if that's what he really meant. And with Senators like Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee around, you can be sure that the Republican Party as a whole won't condone such action either. Andrew, chill out.

Note: I agreed with Sen. Chafee on this one.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Here's a review about the aforementioned White Stripes/Loretta Lynn/Blanche show last weekend at the Hammerstein in NYC. Newsday.com - White Stripes' Burden: Savior or Poser? I'd call them more of the former.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The controversy du jour surrounds Sen. Rick Santorum's purported "attack" on homosexuals. Here is the unedited transcript of his comments on homosexuality in an AP interview. It's clear that the original report was lacking in proper context as well as in actually misquoting him, as pointed out by Andrew Sullivan in his blog today. I don't believe that this signals the coming sexual police state that Sullivan is worried about, but I agree with him in that I also think that the difference between generally accepted, consensual sexual acts and bigamous and/or lewd sex acts with animals and such are two totally different things. As such, I agree with the point that this seems to be a contradictory stance by Santorum.

Essentially, as a conservative, Santorum is for less intrusive government in all aspects of life. To draw a line at private sexual activity strikes me as hypocritical. Is there no more private act than what two people (or more?) wish to do consensually and in private? I understand Santorum's concern regarding illegal acts, but, again, those acts which are generally accepted, especially within heterosexual relationships, are no business of the government's. Finally, I don't think that "anything goes" is proper either, but if the people involved are both consenting adults, the government has no place inserting itself into their lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Wait, you mean...you mean...you mean that not all anit-war types have motives as pure as the wind driven snow? How could this be?

Monday, April 21, 2003

Friday, April 18, 2003

Finally, in preparation for the Boston Marathon on Monday, I point you to the ever-funny ESPN Sport's Guy and his Idiot's Guide to the Boston Marathon. It's a good chuckle.

Happy Easter to all, and please remember it's about a little more than bunnies, ok?
If your in the New York area and can somehow score some tickets I'd recommend that you check out the White Stripes at the Hammerstein. Plus, opening for them will be Blanche, an interesting alt country outfit that I've followed since their inception and whose founder, Dan Miller, was the Goober of the cult band (at least in the Detroit Metro Area) Goober and the Peas. Loretta Lynn will also be a special guest of the White Stripes. If you're into weird music experiences, I'd bet you couldn't go wrong at this show.

I guess it's time to turn up the heat....today we talk about the predictable stance of Sen. Chafee on tax cuts. I reference a recent Projo article about a visit from Hector V. Barreto, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Let's start with a quote:

"Although members of the regional and local SBA offices were happy to hear Barreto's message, Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee is one of four senators who have refused to support the cuts if they are more than $350 billion.
'The senator would hope that the $350 billion would include the small-business provisions,' said Stephen Horuahan, press secretary for Chafee. 'He feels that the tax cut itself should be very targeted . . . because he's concerned about the deficit.'

This is a classic example of the good Senator believing that it is incumbent upon the tax-payer to make up for any spending deficit rather than the responsibility of the Senate and House to pass spending bills which don't run deficits. In other words, he has forgotten that it is OUR money, the taxpayer's, not the Government's. Besides, the budget deficit argument is a straw dog. If they, the Senate or House, really cared about it, they'd reign in their spending. The issue is also about fundamental fairness. The majority of this tax cut is a reduction in the Dividend taxes and is an attempt to address the inequity of the well chronicled double taxation on dividends. But, since it is the PERCEPTION that only the rich will benefit, and not the retirees and others who currently have money in the stock market, the demogoguery against "THE RICH" is being played to the hilt. Notice Sen. Chafee's "concern" for small businesses and his Clintonian use of the phrase "targeted tax cut". I also share his concern for small-businesses, and hope that his concern is consistent with past stances on issues such as Health Care and the minimum wage. (I'll have to look into the latter two...) As usual, his perspective on this issue is at odds with the majority of his party, and is intellectually dishonest. He plays the "evil Rich" game, though only sublty, but jumps into the bugdet deficit babble with both feet. It is the U.S. government which should learn to live with less, not the U.S. citizenry.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I have two articles linked in this blurb, first is a link to a USA Today article about a few of our brave soldiers who died in Iraq. Second, and on a more personal note, is an article specifically about Cpl. Kemaphoom Chanawongse, who died in Nasiriyah. I was a business associate of his step-father, Paul, and while I never met "Ahn", as he was called, his father is a tremendous guy. Bright, witty and hard-working, I can't help but think part of Paul rubbed off on his stepson. Rest in Peace, Ahn. You are an American Hero.

As usual, another excellent piece by Victor Davis Hanson over at National Review Online regarding the unmatched power of the U.S. military and how it has evolved and will continue to evolve. The last 3 paragraphs are the meat of it:

"The United States military is now evolving geometrically as it gains experience from near-constant fighting and grafts new technology daily. Indeed, it seems to be doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling its lethality every few years. And the result is that we are outdistancing not merely the capabilities of our enemies but our allies as well — many of whom who have not fought in decades — at such a dizzying pace that our sheer destructive power makes it hard to work with others in joint operations. In that context, we might reassess the need to take technology to its theoretical -nth degree: How many new sophisticated stealthy $1.5 billion bombers do we need, when the equivalent expenditure would pay for a more mundane but vital mechanized Division for an entire year?

Such unprecedented military power brings with it enormous moral responsibility as the world — its utopians especially — in the decades ahead will vie for a hand in the decisions on how to use it and for what purposes. There quite literally has never been a single nation that has exercised such colossal military force to change almost instantly the status quo, and used it under the auspices of a consensual government to free — Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq — rather than to enslave peoples. How long it will last, we do not know, but we should at least realize that we are living in one of the most anomalous periods in recorded history.

Sophocles would warn us that hubris — not enemies in the here and now — is the only real danger to us on the horizon. But so far we have avoided the gods' nemeses precisely because our soldiers have put their power in the service of good by toppling odious despots — Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam Hussein — and leaving the seeds of freedom in their wake. We of an often cynical and ironic society at the least owe them a commensurate idealism."


I have decided to make a strategic decision and stop dignifying the anti-war naysayers with comment....after this last one. I will use the words of established big "L" Liberals to do my talking for me. To read these words, I point you to Andrew Sullivan, who wrote this excellent column on those on the Left who supported the war against Saddam. I was most struck by his summary of a book called "Terror and Liberalism" written by Paul Berman, a leftist intellectual:

"Berman's most important contribution is to uncover the real roots of today's political ideologies in the Middle East, from Saddam's corrupted form of national socialism to the Islamist revolutionaries waging war against the West and their own autocracies. He notices less a class of civilizations, than yet another instance of Western nihilism and totalitarianism popping up in cultures that had never known it before. There is nothing in Arab culture or history that should lead political or religious leaders to embrace totalitarian terror, as in Saddam's Iraq, or fundamentalist suicide bombing and mass murder, as among al Qaeda, the Taliban or Islamo-fascist Iran. This fusion of totalitarian politics and the methods of terror were imports from the West, Berman shows, from the nihilists of the late nineteenth century, and the fascists and Stalinists of the twentieth. Who is Saddam, after all, but another Mussolini or Hitler, reborn in Islamic guise? Look at the personality cult, the secret police, the mass murders, the purges, the vast and inhuman wars, the scapegoating of the Jews, the vicious genocide against the Kurds (whose only crime was not to be Arabs). This kind of regime was invented not in Mesopotamia but in Europe. Likewise, the roots of Islamism - in the early years of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - are also directly linked to the fascist movements in twentieth century Europe. A man like bin Laden is a classic Western figure, educated in the West, with a vast fortune built on Western oil trade, and methods that have far more to do with Stalin than with Islamic tradition.

What Berman is essentially arguing is that the notion that Arab or Muslim societies and cultures are somehow indigenously incapable of liberal democracy, that they should be consigned indefinitely to rule by fascist tyrants is a form of racist condescension that has no place in civilized discourse, let alone on the left. Iraq is no less capable of becoming an open free society than Germany or Japan in 1945, or even post-Soviet Russia in the 1980s. And what did the defeat of each of those tyrannies have in common? British resilience and American military might. The scenario we are seeing unfold today, in other words, is a starkly familiar one. And who on the left now objects to the liberation of Germany, Japan, Eastern Europe and Russia from the totalitarian darkness that covered each for so long?

When Berman looks at the 1980s and 1990s, when Arab fascism grew in power, took over whole cultures, killed millions in wars, and threatened many more with terrorist violence, he wonders what went wrong in the West. why did we not see the danger? Why did we look away? Was it because exhausted from defeating Soviet totalitarianism, beguiled by the notino that history had ended, we couldn't bring ourselves to face a new and perhaps even more dangerous threat?

For Europeans, that question still reverberates. For Americans, 9/11 answered the question. 'What have we needed for these terrorists to prosper?' Berman asks. 'We have needed immense failures of political courage and imagination within the Muslim world. We have needed an almost wilful lack of curiosity about those failures by people in other parts of the world - the lack of curiosity that allowed us to suppose that totalitarianism had been defeated, even when totalitarianism was reaching a new zenith ... We have needed a political left that, in its anti-imperailist fervors, has lost the ability to stand up to fascism - and has sometimes gone a little further down the slippery slope. We have needed a cynical application of 'realist' or Nixonian doctrines over the decades - the doctrines that governed the Gulf War of 1991, the doctrines that even now lead to friendly ties with the most reactionary of feudal systems. We have needed an inability to cling to our own liberal and democratic principles, an inabilty even to articulate those principles.'

I quote at length to show the passion and power of those words. One of Tony Blair's greatest achievements, which the British left has still not appreciated, has been to find the courage to articulate those liberal principles again. One of those principles is that the Islamist movement in the Arab and Muslim world is a real threat to the free West, to our freedoms, our way of life, even our survival. It is also a real threat to the security, freedom and happiness of all Muslims and Arabs. Good liberals, as they did in the 1930s, should not shy away from confronting this new fascism. In fact, given their political legacy, they should feel doubly responsible for confronting it. Liberalism cannot co-exist with terror or totalitarianism. One must vanquish the other. And when you look at what we are learning about Saddam's Iraq - its horrifying brutality, its deep alliance with terrorism, its genocidal core, its fanatical anti-Semitism, its contempt for human freedom and human life - you see what, at the deepest level, this war has been about.

We can only hope that this anti-Islamist liberalism will grow and prosper in Britain and America and even, perhaps, in continental Europe. We need it now more than ever. In the war on terror, Iraq is but a first stop, but a critical one. If we can rebuild Iraqi society on liberal grounds, create a fairer, more democratic culture, rescue Islam from its abusers, and show that the liberal West is prepared to sacrifice and invest to make Iraq a new model for that part of the world, then we will have made a critical start toward a new world. That isn't a task tailor-made for conservatives, although they have a critical role. It also requires an idealism and an optimism that is more naturally at home on the liberal left. Will most Western liberals see this as Berman has and move away from their reactionary anti-Americanism toward the true liberal faith? We cannot know. We cannot tell. But we can surely hope."

Finally, this column by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro provides a nice epilogue to it all.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I strongly suggest that you take in William Safire's latest on how a good offense is The Best Defense. First, he starts with the basic underpinnings of the Bush Doctrine:

"That's the essence of our new policy of pre-emption as a last resort. If threatened by a regime harboring terrorists or likely to provide them with mass-murder weaponry, the U.S. will not wait to gain world sympathy as the victim, but will defend itself by striking first.

That power to protect ourselves — and our will to use that power — was established in Afghanistan and driven home in Iraq. Dangerous dictators elsewhere as well as fair-weather friends no longer doubt America's seriousness of purpose."

He then goes on to detail how many countries in the world seem to be edging a bit closer to the U.S.'s view on a variety of specific issues related to President Bush's much-maligned "Axis of Evil". All because of America demonstrating it's resolve with it's "unilateral" action against Iraq.

He wraps it up like this:

"If we steadily introduce free enterprise and the rule of law into a loose confederation; if we expect little gratitude from Iraqis exercising the freedom to complain loudly and a lot of carping from 'the little three' in Paris, Berlin and Moscow — then Americans could possibly achieve what seems as far-fetched as defeating fascism in the 40's and Communism in the 90's.

We could give liberty a chance to take root in the land of Job. Then our children may be able to lay down the burden of a great offense because there will be less need for a best defense."


Less than two weeks until the NFL draft and I'm starting to get geeked for it. The war has taken precedence until this point, but with things simmering down, I can now throw more recreation into the mix here at OSB. If you're into it, go to this site that lists a slew of 2003 NFL Mock Drafts. Good stuff. I'm especially excited because my beloved Patriots have 13 picks this year, more than any other team (actually, the same as the expansion Texans have). They have 5 of the top 100 picks too! Trading up is definately an option and there are plenty of good Defensive Tackles and big Wide Receivers that can immediately fill a need. Also, they might take a chance and draft the injured Willis McGahee from Miami U. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Yikes! Been busy....but this one sticks out at me today. Looks like at least some in the Bush Administration think that we should move agains Syria quickly, especially after info obtained from Jaffar Jaffar and his magic WMD lamp.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Well, it seems as if CNN new all along. In a piece titled "The News We Kept to Ourselves", Eason Jordan of CNN discusses all of the threats and atrocities committed by Saddam's regime on employees of CNN. But that certainly didn't come across in their reporting, now, did it? It's understandable to be cowed and to not want to risk endangering fellow employees and friends, but an overall editorial slant more in favor of taking aggressive action agains Saddam would seem to have been in order, dontcha think?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Aaaahh yes, Sen. Lincoln Chafee Strikes again. Read this story for the entire Rhode Island delegations latest opinions on the progress of the war. But we concern ourselves with our "Republican Senator from Virginia". I quote:

"Even Sen. Lincoln Chafee, the delegation's sharpest critic of the war and the only Senate Republican to oppose it, expressed satisfaction at 'the ability of our fighting people to engage [the enemy]. The way they performed, I've got to be honest, is really impressive.'

But Chafee expressed skepticism that President Bush would match his pledge for a 'vital' United Nations role in postwar Iraq with the kind of American commitment needed for the U.N. to remain 'a viable entity.' Key Bush administration members 'have been disdainful' of the U.N., Chafee said.

'All over the world, there is a feeling that this was a belligerent incursion,' Chafee said, voicing fear of long-term damage to America's international standing.

'In the short term, it hasn't been good,' Chafee said. 'The Canadians are booing our national anthem at hockey games.'

Under the circumstances, however, Chafee said Mr. Bush is correct to offer the U.N. a role in humanitarian efforts but to withhold any dominant U.N. role in the postwar governance of Iraq."

(Thank you to ProJo's John E. Mulligan for the reporting.)

First, Senator, I'm glad to see that you recognize the brilliance of our military, but you certainly imply that you actually had doubts. Second, you continue to openly doubt the sincerity of our President, a man from YOUR PARTY, nonetheless, who has thus far been proven right in almost every facet of this Iraq crisis. You continue to hang your hat on the proven ineffectiveness of the UN. Your ignorance with regard to the UN as well as your continuing belief that Saddam Hussein with WMD's and terrorist links (remember that terrorist training camp in Norther Iraq?) show that you seem to believe that the world hasn't changed since September, 11, 2001. It has. We can't be Fortress America and wait on UN bureaucrats for resolutions to problems. Argh. It's all been said before. Finally, to base your assessment of our standing in the world on a US hockey team getting booed is plainly sophomoric. That's all I can stomach for now.
So far, the best news I've taken out of the fall of Baghdad is contained in this story about how the Arabs are Shocked, Relieved at Baghdad's Fall. The best news?

Feeling betrayed and misled, some turned off their sets in disgust when jubilant crowds in Baghdad celebrated the arrival of U.S. troops.


"We discovered that all what the (Iraqi) information minister was saying was all lies," said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. "Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore."

Looks like a certain propogandistic satellite network may have some 'splainin' to do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I Know, we own Baghdad, Saddam's missing and could be dead and his regime is crumbling. So what am I most excited about? No, it's really not that UCONN won another NCAA Women's hoops title....it's that my musical obsession of the moment, the White Stripes, has released their new album. For a pretty fair and accurate review, go to this White Stripes' 'Elephant' review at the Washington Post. If you like minimalist rock with blues, metal, punk, and country over/under tones give 'em a try.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Not much time lately, too busy w/ work and school. To see the results of the latter, go to the "My Works" section of this site and check out my paper on Medieval Queen Templates. That's only if you're interested, anyway. It's a tough one, I know....

Friday, April 04, 2003

Today, take the opportunity to check out the historian Victor Davis Hanson and his views about who our future allies will be, post-Iraq. Sounds about right to me.

On a lighter note, the Red Sox went 3-1 in Tampa (they better have!) and the New England Patriot's schedule has been release, along with the rest of the NFL's. Looks like the Pats got an easier road as far as game times, bye weeks, and travel this year than last (no 5 games in 25 days in November this year!). In essence, it's a Buffalo Sandwich with a lot of 1 O'Clock games in the mix.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Busy Busy lately. But I have enough time to put this one up. NY Times has a story about the true view of America as voiced by an Iraqi. "Democracy. Whiskey. And sexy!"

Also in this article is this great quote from a Colonel Deluca, after it was discovered that some of the mines found in Najaf were made in Italy: "Europeans are antiwar, but they are pro-commerce."