Thursday, December 22, 2005

State of the Blog Presser: 1/3/06

Don't miss it. From the back of my pickup, I will address the media pool at the ranch. I am going to call on some liberals this time. We'll make merry. You know I am telling the truth, if you've read the prior presser posts. And ... we'll, of course, have some announcements. New posting schedule and blockbuster topics on the horizon will be discussed. Plus, there' is even more ... just wait.

If you have questions that you would like the media to be forced to ask, leave them in the comments. See you on 1/3/06.

From a lost goose in a snowstorm ...

Well, we wind down another year here. I enjoy this time of year very much, and it is about time for me to take leave of the blogging enterprise for a brief holiday hiatus to check in on real life. And recharge the blogging batteries.

Looking forward to my Christmas Eve tradition of heading over to church and then later settling down to watch the greatest version of Scrooge ever. It's a great time for me to not only catch up on life, but to reflect on it. Here's hoping that you get that same opportunity and that your holidays are not typified by the madness, despair and discombobulation that we so often experience at this time of year.

So secularized has our culture become that some have now cast the greeting "Merry Christmas" as a statement in and of itself. This is funny to me. Indeed, it is a statement. It means, as I understand it, have a good Christmas. That's about it.

But the holiday we are about to celebrate is a statement: Christmas. Jesus's birthday celebration. As I have said many times in many forums (including this one), you need not share my Christian faith to be my friend. But you must understand, Jesus saved my life. So, while I don't wish to and will not force any one to mold their conscience in the shape of mine, I must be true to what I know: I was but a lost goose in a snowstorm.

Now, I am just a goose.

Yes, it's true. I know that some of you are saying, "It's about time that goose figured this out." Well, sure enough, I get it. This is why I am a bit uncomfortable with the name of this blog. I get some grief about it, from time to time. Then I reflect on it. I think a more accurate name for the blog would be something like, "Notorious Sinner" or "Lost Goose in a Snowstorm". Maybe ... you know there is a press conference coming up on January 3, 2006. Be there (which is here). But I digress ...

So although I am a mere "goose", I'm not lost any more. And I didn't find myself, either.

Here's a holiday story by an unknown author that captures the essence of the Christmas message in a way that I hope you'll appreciate:
There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived.

She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard.

As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm.

He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed. The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it.

His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn--and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese -- blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"
God has a way of finding and reaching us. He knows where we are and who we are. My hope and prayer is that when you look around this Christmas season, you find Him.

I'll see you on the other side. My best to you and yours. You regulars are a special bunch, and I appreciate you very much.

So, from this lost (formerly) goose in a snowstorm ...

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Jack for Senate!

My lab Jack, as a puppy class graduate earlier this year, is more than qualified to replace well over half of the Senate. Plus, he does what we tell him most of the time. If RINOs can be there, why not dogs?

After only one vote against (Feingold), now the Demos have blocked a vote on the Patriot Act, with the assistance of four RINOs: Hagel, Murkowski, Sununu, and Craig. But what's changed on the Patriot Act? No attacks here since 9-11, but now all the Demos but two align against the Patriot Act and rail against supposed infringement of liberties and tapping jihadi-connected overseas calls. Again, what's changed? Only the calendar. Farther removed from 9-11 and the hot cauldron of an enraged and focused electorate, the Demos have reverted to their true form and are pandering to their base.

I realize they have a few "Republican" accomplices, but the Demos have the numbers for their mischief without any Republican help. And ... replace Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and their ilk with Republicans, the RINOs will play ball.

As the session draws to a close, we also have the Senate debating spending cuts and the defense bill, to which the Republicans have attached an authorization for ANWR drilling in Alaska.

I like the Republicans' moves, because it looks like some one whispered in the their ears to start acting like they are in charge. They are forcing Demos and weak-kneed RINOs to vote against a defense bill for the sake of ANWR (excruciatingly clever ... listen to Harry scream), vote against spending restraint, and and to stand up for al Qaeda's rights and against the Patriot Act.


All of this remind us to be honest in our assessment of the opposition ... always. But don't misoverestimate them. After all, the Left needs only the chance to show its true colors to lose.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Iraq War Debate -- Part II

Jess has finally posted the response of Travis to his Question #2, which addresses the propriety of the Iraq War, in 2003 and now.

Go see my worthy adversary's comments vs. mine here. I have my thoughts, of course, about whether the mail is answered by Travis. But you can leave your comments.

Also, the third question will be selected by Jess from the comments. So, if there's an angle to the Iraq War, or the War on Militant Islam in general that you would like addressed, let him know.

The Bush Administration has its hands full in making the case for victory in Iraq and the larger War on Militant Islam. I mean, with friends like John McCain ... Did you see, by the way, that McCain was making the case (again) yesterday that we should have long ago had higher troop levels in Iraq? It's hard to know the point of such statements. Well, one can surmise the point, but it's hard to see how such statements help the American cause.

Still, America's enemies will be overtaken by events and the American military. And Pres. Bush was right last night: America's enemies are being overtaken.

It seems to tweak the Left when we talk of victory.

Update: As I was saying ... Glenn Reynolds makes an interesting observation about the President's claim that we're winning:
BUSH DOUBLES DOWN: I just watched Bush's speech. Nothing new there for anyone who's been paying attention to the speeches he's been giving over the past couple of weeks. But one big thing struck me: In this national televised speech, Bush went out of his way to take responsibility for the war. He repeatedly talked about "my decision to invade Iraq," even though, of course, it was also Congress's decision. He made very clear that, ultimately, this was his war, and the decisions were his.

Why did he do that? Because he thinks we're winning, and he wants credit. By November 2006, and especially November 2008, he thinks that'll be obvious, and he wants to lay down his marker now on what he believed -- and what the other side did. That's my guess, anyway.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Congratulations to Julie-with-a-B

Yes, my scandalous blogchild, JulieB, turns the big "1" today. I read her blog not only for the good (sometimes) puns, but also to hear what an honest liberal who cares about America has to say. Julie, there's a lot less of you than I think you realize, but I don't want to pick a fight with you today.

For those who wonder how left the "blogmother" must have been to birth such a blogchild, well, let's just say the word "circumnavigate" comes to mind. And for those who wonder whether my friendship with Julie means that I have either "grown" or am really not that conservative, well, you're wrong on both counts.

And if you don't believe me, just ask some of Julie's leftist friends.

Julie is a good person, and I have appreciated her blog friendship and contributions to this blog. She has been a, shall we say, "moderating" influence here. And that's good ... sometimes. You people need it.

So, congratulations to Julie on her "blogiversary". Here's to many more.

Update: Julie's gotten into the liberal cabinet and is posting crazy things/pictures. Again, a blogfather only has so much influence. Put another way: The opinions and pics posted over there do not represent the views of the blogfather. But, you probably knew that. Alas, there are perils in hanging out with liberals.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

McCain Strikes Again ...

I see that Johnny boy has done it again. In the same fashion that he rammed through the First-Amendment-castrating Campaign Finance "Reform", he has now apparently beaten the WH into submission on his ban of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of jihadi suspects. I haven't been able to locate the actual text of the language agreed upon yet, so we'll have to wait and see how bad it ultimately is.

It is hard to believe we are only a little over 4 years removed from 9-11, in the middle of a war, and McCain is worried about the treatment of Militant Islamists who are sawing the heads off of "infidels" and would drop a nuke on an American city in a heartbeat if they could.

History will record that the "Republican" McCain's most famous bastardization of American Liberty (CF"R") resulted in a huge influx/redirection of campaign spending and a 2-to-1 funding advantage for Demos. Maybe he will have now similarly leveled the playing field for jihadis. I know that's not his intent, but does it matter? Oh, I forgot. To the McCainites, intentions and feelings are paramount. And McCain's are always pristine.

With this new law, the McCainites will feel good. And McCain feels good. I mean, if you all feel good about it and people abroad like it, what's to complain about? What else could possibly matter?

But hey, I've got a question. How come every story about this "torture ban" mentions the fact that McCain was a POW? Why is that relevant to how we interrogate jihadis? Maybe I am just not swift enough to get it.

Or maybe this guilt-trip form of advocacy just doesn't work on me.

It is frustrating that the WH did not stop this effort, I know. I would have preferred that they offered him one of those cups, you know, the Shut-up Cup from the U.S. troop. But hey ... that's just me and I don't have to deal with this pain-in-the-butt, egomaniac every day in the Senate like the WH does. So, it's easy for me to say: Offer him a "cup". Plus, he has some stroke, too. Apparently McCain had engendered enough feel-good sentiment in the Congress to get a veto-proof majority.

McCain and the "I-feel-better-you-must-be-okay" coalition had better hope that no Americans are killed because of this law.

Election Day

Yes, it's even bigger than the Blog Awards. Reports are that Sunnis are voting in large numbers, along with the rest of Iraqis. There have been doubts at times about the viability of an Iraqi democracy; indeed, I have shared some of these doubts. But I've never doubted our troops. Their courage and sacrifice are not only protecting American security, but also are paving the way for Iraqis to live as their spirits were designed -- in freedom.

Photo courtesy of the Drudge Report.

My Case for the Iraq War

You may recall that Jess invited me to debate with a former military type (an anti-war liberal) on issues surrounding the Iraq War and the War on Militant Islam. My worthy opponent has been out-of-pocket, however. I was thinking maybe his anti-war opinions would be posted on about Election Day. But ... who knows?

At any rate, here is my answer to Jess's Question #2:

On March 20, 2003, did I believe we were entering into a necessary conflict? Absolutely. And I think it would have been irresponsible, in light of the evidence and the Saddam's history, to NOT take down Saddam's Iraq.

Less than a year-and-a-half after 9/11, we were still being run in circles by Saddam Hussein. Why wouldn't he allow weapons inspectors to do their jobs? The whole world had agreed for many years that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. At home, politicians of both American political parties agreed on this point. Again, this was a national consensus held for many years. In fact, I think this is why Pres. Clinton ostensibly sent in his air strikes in 1998, unless one believes he did it to deflect attention from his legal troubles.

But the analysis of war with Iraq involved and involves more fundamental changes in America's relationship to the world. In the wake of 9/11, America could not afford to wait for the next attack. The country would not permit it. Nor should the country permit it. The risks were and remain too great, and a saber-rattling dictator in the Middle East could not be tolerated. And we knew that Saddam not only would rattle the saber but that he would, from time to time, attack both his own people (with chemical weapons, no less) and his neighbors.

As should have been painfully obvious to all concerned, Militant Islamists had declared war on us as of the start of the Iraq War... actually, they had done so long prior to 9/11. Although the WH speaks in politically correct terms about the threat posed by Militant Islam, I think they realized what was going on. To say that there is no "operational connection" between Iraq and the jihadis who planned and carried out 9/11 is to miss the point. The point is: The conflict with Iraq arose in the context of a larger war with Militant Islam.

In my view, I think that most people who oppose the Iraq War either fail to understand the larger war with Militant Islamists or they are not on America's side in this war.

On Saddam's connections to terror, this we know: He harbored terrorists, i.e., Leon Klinghoffer's murderer, Ansar al-Islam, He paid for suicide bombers to attack Israel. He was a source of instability in the region for many years. (If you don't want to take my "word" for it, read a good liberal like Christopher Hitchens) And to say we should have dealt with him sooner is to say what? That the Clinton Administration was negligent? To say that we couldn't do more than had been done is to prove the ineffectiveness of the U.N., is it not?

Do I still support the war? Before getting to my answer, let me look at this question and describe a bit of my disappointment with the Bush Administration. What most people are asking when they ask this question is: Since we haven't found WMD and we have lost more than 2,000 troops, was it worth it? Well, like many, I was surprised that we didn't find more evidence of WMDs. We certainly found some, but not what virtually all (including the French and Russians) expected. I will note here, too, that the failure to find large stockpiles of WMD raises still other questions for me, such as: Since we know Saddam had them, where are they? And how could the world have been so wrong? How do we make sure our intelligence capabilities are what they need to be?

The Leftists who continue to argue that the Administration lied or manipulated intelligence are themselves lying. We know that, in fact, the PBDs that Pres. Bush was receiving painted an even darker picture in Iraq than the intelligence reports given to Congress. And the Brits incidentally still stand by their Niger report.

However, I do think the Bush Administration probably didn't fully anticipate all of the difficulties we would encounter in a post-Saddam Iraq. For sure, they failed to make the case early on -- except in trite platitudes -- regarding the difficulties ahead, and what was at stake in a stable Iraq that could defend itself from the jihadi threat. This is a great frustration for me, as I believe much can and should be said to rally public support in the larger struggle against Militant Islamists.

Here is my punch line, though: Taking down Saddam remains just as right today as it was on March 20, 2003. The world is better off, and we have seen the ripple effects in Lebanon, Libya, and throughout the region. To say America is making a positive difference in Iraq is hardly some fringe right-wing position, unless you consider people like Joe Lieberman, Christopher Hitchens, and Ed Koch to be fringe right-wingers. Whether democracy will ultimately work there remains to be seen, but it is important that the Iraqi government is not a source of instability and anti-American hatred.

Note, too, that Hillary is uncomfortable with what the Demo base is demanding -- immediate withdrawal. How come? What does she know about the American public and the war that the Demo base fails to grasp?

Another important aspect to the war ... In Iraq we are delivering an important message to the jihadis in the country and elsewhere: We won't wait for you to come after us any more. We will find you. We will do what we say we will do, including the dirty work of clearing jihadis house to house. It is hard to overstate the importance of confronting and proving wrong the jihadi template that Americans are soft, weak infidels. Let's face it, these are evil people we are fighting. And their ignorance of America and the modern world is breathtaking. The jihadis selectively recall the Somalia experience as an example of American vacillation and weakness. America has been shattering this template over the last three years.

On criticizing the war ... If I didn't support the war effort, I wouldn't be saying much about it. Why? It's hard to know the point. I mean, what is the idea? It looks to many people like the Left just wants to use the war as a vehicle for political gains, in particular to damage Pres. Bush. And to those who loudly argue that our troops' mission is based on a lie and is accomplishing no good purpose, what the hell is the purpose of such rhetoric? It sounds treasonous and it emboldens the enemy. And such arguments have a tangible, negative effect on our troops. This is why they overwhelmingly want the American people to be behind what they are doing, that is, to support their mission. Wars are won with young troops whose morale and esprit de corps are critical to their success. The time for debating whether we should be involved in military action in Iraq ended when the enemy started putting bullets down range. Sure, people have a right to speak. And I do, too. And I will remind them that their actions are increasing the likelihood that young Americans will get killed. Intentions are irrelevant here. Words and actions have consequences.

When you have to check to see if a statement was made by Kennedy or Zarqawi, you know we have a problem.

It seems funny to me, too, that people want to elevate the opinions of former military types like Murtha, Kerry, and McCain to "super opinion" status, but they won't listen to the troops who are actually engaged in battle. What gives? The troops in battle disagree with the Left, that's what.

I do think it's appropriate to debate and discuss how we achieve the biggest, swiftest, and most complete victory. How come the Left doesn't want to discuss this, though? How come, Jess, the questions are always something like yours: "Do you support the war?" ... "Should we get out?", etc. I think such a view is defeatist and irresponsible. Almost all of our troops agree, for what it's worth. Unlike me, a former military member whose thoughts are no more worthy of consideration than any one's on this subject, I do think the views of the men kicking in the doors in Iraq are very relevant as to how polticians are affecting their morale.

Final point and question about military status: What difference does it make that I am former member of the military? The foregoing opinions draw upon my experiences to a degree, and thus have some credibility to this extent. But I don't believe that my service entitles me to some "super opinion" status. This is a mistake that the Left routinely makes now, I think, because they can't substantively defend their position. People such as Kerry, Murtha, and even McCain are afforded 'untouchable" status simply because of their service. This is wrong. Opinions should stand on their own. McCain, Murtha, Kerry, et al., have no idea of what needs to be done on the ground in Iraq. Their confident pronouncements of various battle plans (all of which are different, interestingly enough) proves my point. I trust the field commanders. They have all the information, and the expertise.

You asked me what I would do as commander-in-chief. As for the actual fighting of the war, this is a matter to be left to the commanders on the ground. At home, though, I would make the case every day about what is at stake and how we are fighting Militant Islamists. I would highlight their atrocities (which are legion) and implore the Muslim world to take a firm stand against Zarqawi, al Qaeda, et al. The stakes, the reality of the situation in Iraq, and the tangible progress need to be discussed and explained to people much better. This is the one thing in particular I would like to see the Bush Adminstration do much better.

When the American people are unified, we always win ... and big.

Vote Goomba ... DAILY ... through 12/15

Okay, here is my campaign speech to be kept at the top until the polls close: Vote Nickie Goomba for Best of the Top 251-500 Blogs. Why? Because he threatened me if I didn't campaign for him, that's why. Seriously, because he has a great blog, and it is better than all the pretenders in his category.

Voting is Democrat style: You can vote daily, and felons can vote. Vote here. Have you voted today?

You know, I was musing this morning: How come most of the felons vote for the Democrats and most of the military votes for the Republicans? Please discuss.

To see more new posts ... scroll on down.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Democrat Triangulation Makes a Comeback

I have watched with amazement over the past few weeks and months as Democrats have claimed "disappointment" and "disagreement" with the unceasing insanity that sprays wildly from the mouth of DNC Chairman Howard Dean.

Democrats of all stripes, even Nancy Pelosi and super-shill Bob Beckel, have repeatedly distanced themselves from Dean's "unfortunate comments", at least in public. We like our party chairman, so the story goes, but we just wish he would get a handle on his comments. They try to portray him as a guy who speaks before he thinks. Oh, it's just too bad. "Don't do that again, honey? 'Kay?"

Methinks they doth protest too much. More to the point, I think they are lying.

What Dean is doing is simple: He is rallying his base. Why? Recall that his primary job is to raise money. The majority of the Democrat base is now comprised of anti-American, fringe left-wing lunatics.

Now, this might offend the sensibilities of some of you, but consider the evidence. What is The Daily Kos, any way? Besides being a boiling pot of anti-American venom that openly roots for American defeat in Iraq, it is also one of the most powerful forces in the Democratic Party. And who is Michael Moore? An extremist who is not part of the Democrat mainstream, you say? Perhaps this is why he was seated next to Pres. Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention last year? And how about George Soros? Another extremist, or the number one Demo financier? Al Gore? Off his rocker base-igniter, or the former VP who was nearly elected President? (I know, to the all-fringe-all-the-time crowd, he was elected in 2000.) Ted Kennedy? A disgraced extremist who has aided the enemy in two wars, or the "Conscience of the Democrat Party"?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the faces of the base.

The base of the modern Democratic Party thinks America, especially America's military, is not a source of good in the world. In fact, they would secretly like to see the French humble America, if the truth be told. They find religious American conservatives more of a threat to the world than al Qaeda. They believe that Pres. Bush is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein. They are threatened by 30-second non-sectarian prayers before football games, and they labels as "haters" those who would defend traditional marriage from assault.

Well, maybe they don't believe all of this, but all we can go on are their actions ... or their omissions.

Let's take Iraq. Where is the outrage, any way? Joe Lieberman stands up and says we are doing the right thing in Iraq and winning. And the Demo long knives are out. How come? Is it bad for a Demo to root for American victory on the battlefield? Is this "un-Democratic"? Judging by the reception that Joe has gotten, one could conclude it is.

The truth is that Dean gets loose and says, "We won't win in Iraq", and most Democrats quietly cheer. Oh, how they love it. "That's our boy!! Go, Howard, go!!" So what if young some Americans get killed by an emboldened enemy. So what if our troops are demoralized.

How come the the Demo base loves it so? Because they believe Dean may hurt Pres. Bush, whom they view as essentially the anti-Christ. Their hatred of him is not rational.

Is this what it's come to?

The Democratic Party ... the party of FDR and JFK ... is now openly rooting for the enemies of the United States?

No, you say, it can't be. The Democrat leaders say they don't approve of Howard Dean's treasonous rhetoric, after all. And make no mistake about it: Taking actions that aid the enemy in a time of war is, in fact, treason.

But I've got a question for the Demos: Dean's still got a job, doesn't he? And why is that? Can you imagine Ken Mehlman making such outrageous statements and not being held accountable by the Republican Base? It would be unthinkable.

But, to understand this, just remember the principle job of both party chairmen -- to raise money.

And the Democrats have made the conscious decision to appeal to their base, even potentially at the cost of American lives on the battlefield. Yes, this is what comments by the Deans and Kennedys lead to. But they can't admit it, because it would be electoral suicide. Thus, the triangulation.

To the modern Democrat Party, though, it's worth it. It's money. It's potentially votes. And it hurts Bush. To hell with the country.

I hope I'm wrong and they fire Dean. But I fear they won't. The base of the Democratic Party will get what it wants.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Heard from the Marines this a.m. ...

Listening to the Laura Ingraham show and she had on the phone a Marine sergeant from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group in Western Iraq. A couple of great quotes from the jarhead:

On whether we're winning: "If Marines are on the ground, we're winning."

On missing Christmas with his wife and 5-year-old daughter: "Tell every one that Santa is wearing desert cammies and delivering freedom to Iraq this Christmas."

Oohrah. Chin up, naysayers and doubters. The whiners and the evildoers are sometimes louder, but freedom, and those who defend it, are stronger.

See you next week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"This is not a drill."

I was taught to remember this day. My old man never forgot it.

Many so-called peace activists seem to remember only how the war with Japan ended. But I remember the young Americans who were attacked on a Sunday morning.

The enemies of America tend to mistake America's freedom and goodness for weakness. If you are not free, I suppose America can seem hard to understand.

Still, one must ask: One doesn't sneak attack the weak, right? Or use terrorism? Maybe America's enemies have known more than they let on.

After Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto later worried that Japan had awoken a sleeping giant. He was right. In fact, he was right in ways he couldn't begin to imagine.

Indeed, the ultimate irony and testament to the greatness and goodness of America that flowed from December 7, 1941 is the Japanese democracy that we now completely take for granted.

Fast forward 60 years.

A little more than four years ago, maniacal totalitarians stuck another knife in the back of America.

Yet today, democracies are being built in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The enemies of freedom should let this sleeping giant lie.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Congratulations to Goomba

My blog brother Goomba is a finalist in the Weblog Awards for the Ecosystem-based Best of the Top 251-500 Blogs. For those who are unfamiliar, the ranking is based upon traffic and links. NZ Bear has some crazy formula that escapes us mere mortals.

But nonetheless, Nick has a great, great blog that I read every day. He deserves all the accolades he gets. I will keep up the link on the right sidebar to facilitate your voting for Goomba through December 15. Vote Nickie Goomba.

Comment Contest ... Runners-Up, Semi-finalists and Winner(s)

Okay, I am using my executive's perogative to go ahead and merge the finalists and the winner of the Comment of the Year Contest.

First, a few words. This will be for the foreseeable future the last (and also the first) Comment of the Year Contest. Why? Well, too much work. Also, there are a lot of great comments and it's too hard to pick. Plus, I don't want to alienate those who take the time to comment. But ... I said I would do it this year.

And, I find out that all of my fancy linking did me basically no good. The comments can't be retrieved after a certain time, so I am left to go on memory. Some of the fabulous comments were earlier in the year, and they are long gone. So, my apologies for not being able to post the actual content to more comments.

So, here's what I will do. I will go down the line and recognize some that I just thought were great, all the while working our way to the Comment Champion (Hint: His name begins with "R"). We start with ...


First, we had Julie, my left-wing friend, who early on saw the way to get ahead in this contest by "poisoning Goomba." Yet, of course, that was before the uber-commenters arrived on the scene. Still, this good-natured dig was great.

I also got a kick out of Pusillanimous Charlie's frustrated cry: "Smile. You're on Terrorist Sympathizer." When the too-serious Charlie got wound up (and ironically let loose), he was pretty good/funny. I also laughed for several days when he called Rhod "Savior Thesaurus." I am giggling now writing about it. Rhod clearly flummoxed the lefty commenters and added a new dimension to this fortified conservative position. Charlie didn't/doesn't seem to appreciate it, and I think that's too bad. The discussion is good, instructive, and usually good for some smiles, as well. They're just words, people, and they're generally not even from people you know. Deep breaths.

Another great comment was provided by Jess, in response to my post regarding the Newsweek-created stooge Muslim protesters with signs that looked like had made them. Jess remarked that one of them might have said that his "Naser pin was right under my turbine." Jess quickly gathered himself to point out what I already knew: He meant to say "Nader" pin. But this fumble went into the end zone and was recovered by Jess for a TD. Capturing the protesters' dual mastery of both the English language and the American political system in one sentence was genius. Doing so accidentally was hysterical.


Mark comments often and well, often combining with his fellow Viet Nam vet Rhod to create a rhetorical death trap for lefties. Mark has gotten off many good shots, including his dealing the "Air-Dale" card from the bottom of the deck to a McCain supporter and AF vet. He just recently commented about the origin of Hillary, as well: " ... cloned from Eleanor Roosevelt and Bella Abzug ... OMG I have created a monster, that would be the shortest, ugliest, almost human creature ever.. But then again that sorta sums up Hilary." That was pretty good, but ... my favorite and funniest, though, was when he got into it with Scott from the PW crowd. Scott pointed out that he, too, served in the military, and Mark remarked: "We used to say there was 99% good troops and 1% shitbird. Were you in the 1%?" This was ROFL material, and I think this was supposed to be a rhetorical question. Not satisfied, though, in the same comment advised Scott that "if you want to run with the big dogs, you had better grow some balls." I thought that about summed it up.

Of course, the Great Goomba had numerous top-notch comments this year. But as a contender for blog of the galaxy, he is ineligible for this little prize. (See right sidebar and go vote for Nickie Goomba for the Weblog Award -- Best of Top 250-500 Blogs.) I thought Nick's Memorial Day comment was extremely moving and just tremendous. Nick's humor is classic, too. The best was when he remarked that the dialogue here had sent Wanker running "Willie-in-Hand." It was pithy, a great play on words, very, very funny, and this comment might have been the contender, but for ...

The Winner

Rhod. If you have read this blog with any frequency and noted the comments this year, you are aware of the many, many great comments by Rhod. I am sorry I can't retrieve some of the older ones. Great writing. Good humor. Facts. Graciousness. A great guy to have on your side. Sounds like a conservative to me, but hey ...

Get a load of some of these great quotes: "Dean is a middle-aged stripper sent to entertain the already-drunk" ... the "impacted stupidity of the Left" ... leftist angst is like a "pocket of migrating methane".

And Rhod got rolling when the Leftists rolled up on our position here. After one cyber-tantrum, Rhod advised the offending lefty to "busy himself with the mobile above his crib and stop trying to sound like an adult." This is instructive for you aspiring lefty humorists out there. The way to do this humor thing is with subtlety and irony. Stop overreaching. I mean, I know you think I am Satan. But calling conservatives "Satan" is not funny. Talking about you, after a cyber-tantrum, playing with your mobile, is very funny.

And, by the way, stop whining about good conservative commenters who argue hard but always stay on point. Dropping a string of f-bombs and claiming the opposition is a fascist, or a big ol' angry meanie is not an argument. It's not funny. It's a sure sign you are losing the debate, too. Get smart. I mean, get on Rhod, Nick's and Mark's side. That's a start. But I digress. Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Here is what I mean. Look at the factual attack on McCain's record by Rhod in this comment:
Mark and I ran over McCain a few times on other blogs.

Point One is that being a war veteran should NEVER expand a person's importance, because it makes you an expert on nothing except your particular experience. McCain is an expert on the Hanoi Hilton; he's a grandstanding, dishonest shmoozer in The Senate.

Point Two is that one war veteran can always sense a fraud in another one when he sees it. McCain, for me, was trading off his experience as a negative value by always being so smarmy and modest about it. Add Chris Matthews to the foot-shuffling Will Rogers/John McCain routine, and you had to turn your head away in disgust. If McCain was selling vacuum cleaners door to door, he'd wear his Class-A's and medals and then say he's sorry, but he's too poor to buy another suit.

Point Three is that being stubborn as a POW is admirable, but it means nothing in the larger world. Compromising egomaniacs come in all shapes and sizes; McCain is just one of a kind. And that's because he was shot down. Big deal.

Point Four is that McCain is a liar, especially about the so-called Bush smear in the Carolinas. That entire issue arose at a town hall meeting where whats-her-name claimed that her daughter/son was appalled at a phone call smearing John McCain. NO ONE ELSE had such a phone call, and ALL the Bush phone promotions were reviewed and found innocent. McCain went on to claim everywhere that Bush smeared him. And this clings to Bush even today; The Left uses it against Bush and McCain says nothing.

Point Five is that most of what McCain says on other issues, especially McCain Feingold is connected to Point Four.
And there was this poignant comment by the old soldier on the USMC birthday about the passing of a local Marine:
Last Summer a former Marine up the road from us died suddently at the age of 69. His name was Norman, but we called him Nobby, for reasons unknown to me.

He ran nearly every day, bicycle-raced, could still do almost 100 pushups, built his own house with a fieldstone tower beside it, rode a Harley, was bright, educated, kind to a fault, and because this is Connecticut, he was our only neighbor with unfailing support for our sons and the Iraq War. He never failed to ask about them.

Even in this foggy liberal swamp, something vanished with Nobby, and it effected everyone for miles around, everyone who knew him. We all thought he'd go on forever, for one thing. But I also believe that everyone felt secure in knowing that such men existed, even the Clintonoids and Kerryites.

Marines are like that. In their excellence they raise the average for us farther than it deserves to go, and the loss of one Marine removes the vicarious courage derived from him by ten other men. Without Nobby the rest of us have to stand on our own because there's no one to replace him.

I believe this to be true.
Humor? There was this jewel about Boxer's book, which contained horribly written sex scenes, featuring both humans and horses:

The horse sex scene left me feeling happy to be human, and the human sex scenes made me wish I was a horse.

My Three Favorites

The following three winners show the versatility and writing ability of Rhod's commentary.

For instance, in the following comment after Katrina, we saw writing that is pretty special:
The sweep and scope of this terrible thing is to be reminded of how complex, and fragile, all of our lives are. I look around my realm here and see columns and piles of things, but only a few which matter. None of them is waterproof or permanent but my life would be barren without them. I'm blessed to have them, and can do without the rest if anyone else needs it.

For countless thousands, even something simple like a prescription, or a single family photo of an immigrant grandmother, down to mortgage documents, a child's band instrument or a 3rd grade popstick and yarn dream catcher, a favorite book, a family bible, a lovely but annoying calico cat or mongrel dog, indeed maybe a spouse and all those helpful or irritable neighbors, are gone forever. Your life swept clean but scuffed, stained and water-marked forever in ways visible only to you.

The prattle and incessant yowl of the MSM on the agonies and loss are an intrusion upon the only way we can understand this misery, this churning horror and bottomless grief, and that is by making yourself aware of what was lost to others by measuring it against what you have. Then you can really give in the way you're supposed to give, fully aware of your surplus and the hollowness of want a thousand miles away or across the street. I won't do it as long as my hands are full and grabbing for more.
I think, too, that Rhod is really at his best when confronting the Left, like "Anon" who strolled in here and unwisely got off some wild shots before Rhod moved in. The following comment, which typically sent me scrambling for my dictionary, also ties for Comment of the Year:

Bush raised taxes? Draw and quartering isn't good enough for him. What do you have against tax increases?

Bush defamed McCain? You're lying. This charged was raised by ONE woman at a town hall meeting, proven false by submission of 2000 phone tapes and then broadcast by McCain and Judy Westheimer on NPR. No surprise you seized on it.

Bush's Guard Service and the claims of his CO? C'mon, dope. Even YOU can do better than that.

National Debt. I don't hear any of your Donk Gods complaining about it. It's a two-party problem. This is as worthy a complaint as your others. We're also at war, and one assumes all those national disasters come free of charge. Well, don't they?

I know nothing about Texas politics, but I doubt you're figures because you can't keep facts straight anywhere else.

To discuss the progress of the Iraq War with you, or nation building, would be utterly pointless. You wouldn't understand it. What's your alternative, genius? I discount these complaints simply because you have don't have any.

Good God, you're still bleating about the White House vandalism situation? Maybe they were referring to the sink where your God Clinton used to relieve himself, or the blue Gap dress hanger. You better stay away from the subject of Clinton's misdeeds, real or imagined. It's quicksand for you.

Tax cuts for the wealthy? This saw is so old it doesn't even cut through the jellyfish spine of a Democrat.

Your last two paragraphs are so utterly without merit and hysterical that I won't address them.

Keep that asafetida bag around your neck full of lavender and garlic. That way Bush won't get you.
So, with all of its fact-based argumentation and vivid descriptions, the two previous comments tie with, yes tie, with yet another comment that, alas, can not be retrived ... for Comment of the Year. That would be Rhod's reference to Ted Kennedy as the Demo Party's "rotten sea bass" on the pier. The stench and sight of the thing is horrific, but no one wants to pick it up and carry it off. Thus, they hope that the birds will take it away. I think I smelled the thing through the keyboard. Humor but with a biting, dead-on point.

So there you have it. Prizes? Well ... I think Goomba is going to split his Weblog Award winnings or something like that. No? Maybe I will send Rhod a free shirt if I ever make them. Don't know. In the meantime, a free subscription to this website for the next year, Rhod.

So congrats to Rhod, and many thanks. And thanks to you all for making this a much better space by your input.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Photo retrospective on the Big 12 Champion Texas Longhorns

What follows are some of my shots from our trip to Austin in October to watch the Horns maul Texas Tech. Also, I've included some pics from today's Big 12 Championship.

In addition, I have posted a photo of one of the team's unsung heroes, FB Ahmard Hall. Check out the link on Ahmard, as well.

Next up ... the game that we've all been waiting for since September: Texas vs. USC in the Rose Bowl. Can't wait.

The Horns take the field against Tech on a beautiful Central Texas day in late October in one of the best venues for college football anywhere.

Raucous sea of orange in the end zone ...

Orange blurs all around as one of the nation's best defenses flies to the ball and frustrates the high-flying Tech offense all day.

As you can tell, my seats at DKR are in the end zone with the hearty fans who are prone to singing the unauthorized version of the fight song.

Another day at the office ...

On twelve occasions this season the tower has been lit orange after a Texas win. Hoping to see it lit on the night of January 4, 2006.

Apparently unaware of what George Washington said in his inaugural and farewell addresses, my alma mater has allowed his statue to remain on the South Mall. It's a beautiful scene as the nation's first president looks toward the Texas capitol.

Texas senior fullback Ahmard Hall, former Marine ... yet another reason to cheer for the guys in burnt orange.

My view of Vince Young and Co. at the Big 12 Championship Game. Not bad.

The Horns spent a lot of time around this part of the field.

This is a unique formation for this day. That is Texas ... punting. It's the only one I saw. We skied early in the 4th, so maybe there was another later.

With a quarter-and-a-half left, the numbers were ugly. This was not 2001.

The ol' lucky hat is going to get its first real shot at a national title since it sat on the head of a college student in 1983.

That's what I'm talking about, baby. Note: Vince is hoisting the Big 12 trophy, but he's got a rose on the hat.

We're not done yet.

Photo courtesy of Texas Football.

Texas 70, Colorado 3

An update later. Was there. A grand time had by all ... except the guys in black.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Programming Notes ... Important Stuff

Okay, Comment O' Year entries are closed. You people wear me out, and I can't keep up. You have already made the award post difficult enough.

And ... lurker extraordinaire, "centrist" type, and all-around good guy Jess has asked me to participate in a discussion/debate with another former military type re: the Iraq war, et al. The other guy, I think, is a Lefty, of course. I believe it will be Travis.

The format is ... Jess sends questions, and we respond. He posts the responses. First post to be up by 10 p.m. CST tonight (allegedly).

Since Jess asked, I agreed.

A request from me: Since some of you are combat vets and have family/kids that are, also ... not to mention the fact that you wield a mighty and mean keyboard, please come on over to Jess's place and comment away. As always, be nice and respectful and remember that the Left may not recognize our weapons ... those would be fact and logic. But never underestimate the power of standing up for what is right. I know you don't.

The first question from Jess is about our military experiences ... how and why we joined, what we did, effects on us, etc. So, tune in for some heretofore undisclosed DC dope. Those of you that don't know already ... I am no war hero. History didn't call. I was just a Marine. That's good enough for me, though. Also, I don't think my experience as a Marine gives my opinions on matters of national security (or anything, for that matter) any more weight than some one who did not serve in the military. I am sure that some will find this surprising, and I am skipping ahead a bit, but ... just a preview.

And warning ... there is a young hiney on Jess's site, and I am not talking about the guy I am supposed to be debating.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jennifer, Paula and Monica going to Washington?

(Cutter Network News) -- Well, it appears you can take the former president out of Arkansas, but ...

Sources tell CNN that the passing of his dog Buddy in early 2002 really hit former Pres. Clinton hard. To compound matters, the death of Mr. Clinton's loveable chocolate labrador retriever remains a mystery, as well. Unnamed former WH staffers have confirmed to CNN that Buddy was strangely encouraged by Mrs. Clinton to play in the street in front of the Clintons' NY home, beginning near the end of 2001. Many WH insiders have privately stated their belief that Mrs. Clinton's directive was the result of that infamous and unfortunate episode in front of the White House.

CNN can now report that relatively soon after the untimely death of Buddy, Pres. Clinton began to yearn again for canine companionship. In addition to his affinity for dogs, Pres. Clinton's former secretary told CNN that Dick Morris also communicated his belief to Pres. Clinton that ownership of a lovable canine was a positive in polls, particularly in Red States.

Given the encouragement of Morris, Pres. Clinton reportedly approached Mrs. Clinton in late-2003 to bring another dog into the family. Surprisingly in the wake of the Buddy WH lawn fiasco, Mrs. Clinton agreed that having a dog would, in fact, help to endear the Clintons to Red State voters, and thus dog ownership would be a net positive. Pres. Clinton further prevailed upon Mrs. Clinton that ownership of female dogs would help with wooing married surbanite women in Red States. Mrs. Clinton agreed.

In a strange twist, the Clintons also opted to purchase three large female hunting dogs. Sources indicate that Pres. Clinton apparently got Mrs. Clinton's agreement to three dogs based upon his claimed intention to take up hunting in approximately Fall 2007. (The former president explained to Mrs. Clinton the need to take up his new hobby much earlier than Sen. Kerry did.)

Reportedly, both Clintons agreed that hunting dogs would appeal to Southern gun owners. Thus, Pres. Clinton apparently placed an order with an Arkansas breeder for three large, "redneck" hunting dogs; the pups arrived late last year, just as ordered.

WH sources have privately indicated that Mrs. Clinton is not pleased with the appearance of the dogs, however:

The names are reportedly a bigger problem. A member of Mrs. Clinton's press office privately told CNN: "At least the dogs he is hanging with now have four legs."

Developing ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Note that ...

The al-Qaeda-in-Iraq jihadi pictured above was recently apprehended by Iraqi troops as part of Operation Steel Curtain. Note, too, that said terrorist is wearing a dress, ostensibly for the purpose of "escaping detection".

Finally, note also that if said jihadi were wearing a dress in Abu Ghraib, however, it would be a great affront to Muslim culture, the "Arab Street", and to Demos and RINOs everywhere; thus, it would accordingly be "torture". (h/t Blackfive).

Monday, November 28, 2005

If you can't draw a line around it or define it, then is it a nation?

Saw an interesting immigration story over the weekend that made page one in our local MSM fishwrap, The Houston Chronicle. Wow. Immigration makes the front page. So, the establishment says we can talk about it now.

While presenting the conflicting viewpoints, the gist of the story was that small border towns like Penitas (that's the scrambled word in the linked story), Texas are being overrun by illegals. Also, the Chronicle reported criticism of the nonsensical policy of local police departments refusing to assist in border enforcement. This "See No Evil" policy has apparently been promoted and condoned by the feds. However, local officials in major metropolitan areas such as Houston are also loathe to crack down on illegals for a variety of reasons, both political and economic.

And speaking of political and economic reasons to oppose reform, according to the Pew Hispanic Center and the Dept. of Homeland Security, the civilian workforce is currently comprised of 4.3% illegal aliens. Isn't this about the current unemployment rate?

You know it's gotten bad if discussion of immigration has now reached Washington, even if we are approaching an election year. The Homeland Security Department is reporting that the "catch and release" policy is no more. Also, last year in Texas alone, nearly a half-million illegals were detained, an increase of 22% over the previous year. Even Hillary Clinton is talking about immigration. Note that I said "talking". Yet, if you think she would actually do anything about it, well then you are one of those uninformed voters she will be courting in '08. But you're reading here, so never mind.

While most serious proposals on the issue have come from conservative Republicans, the fact is that neither party has done much of anything on the immigration front. It's been a non-issue in Washington. Why is that?

I think we need look no farther than the awkward coalition of business interests that simply seek the cheapest labor possible (regardless of the source or consequence) and leftists who simply want new minority voters and social service consumers. This big business-big government coalition -- aka the Demo-RINOs -- is held together by its core principle of disregarding the nation for its own selfish interests. The Demo-RINO coalition also has its own grand immigration plan, a bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy and the RINO-in-Chief himself, John McCain.

Plus, with the number of liberal Demo and RINO senators, there are enough votes in the Senate to hold back any serious reform measure. So, while the debate has been raging in the hinterlands, it' s been hard to get off the hallowed ground of the World's Most August Deliberative Body.

Furthermore, unlike how the critics wish to market this important debate, race is not the issue. In fact, most Hispanics favor curbing illegal immigration.

At the core, I believe that the debate on immigration is about the following question: Do we wish to preserve and protect this nation or not? Ultimately, true immigration reform will be passed only if we engage and win the debate over the meaning and value of this nation.

To the crowd who simply doesn't care who lives and works here, America is merely a cool spot on a map. It is a place to get a job or do business (get money) or a place to receive benefits (get money). But is this all that America has become -- a free-admission version of the Greatest Show on Earth? Where all can be had and all senses are titillated at all hours, free of charge? Is this it?

If so, then we are finished. To win the ongoing national debates over immigration and (on the broader level) national security as a whole, we must know: What is America? And why is the survival of America important? In other words, why is America worth fighting for? If we, as a nation, can't confidently answer these questions, then we won't be able to stop illegal immigration.

I would submit that America is worth preserving because it is a special place, not merely geographically but rather in human history. This nation is not perfect, but it is undeniably special and unique. And if there are no requirements for entry into this nation, as with any organization or institution, then it will naturally lose its special character. Put another way, if America means everything, then it means nothing.

The good news is that the opposite is also true: When we know who we are, we will act accordingly.

Unlike other nations, America's founding charter is really a credo: All men are created equal, with certain God-given rights. Government's role is limited to protecting those individual rights.

This unique experiment in human history is worthy of protection. Still, not all Americans seem to be convinced, or at least to possess the will and courage to fight for what they know to be true.

Years ago, I had a discussion with a friend who had gone to work for Motorola. I was decrying Japanese companies that were blatantly and openly stealing U.S. chip technology. His response was somewhat ambivalent: "It's all the same world. What does it matter?" In other words, why is America so special among nations? Why does this nation's success and survival matter?

Well, maybe one can say we are the same. People are, for sure. But nations are not. Certainly, not every nation would rebuild its vanquished enemy's homeland after winning a world war. And not every nation would conquer Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the cost of more than 2,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and then help Iraqis set up a democracy.

Other nations might. But America does.

She's worthy of defending.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

As we pause to give thanks, I want to wish the best to you and yours. This is a great holiday, albeit it might be awkward for those who don't wish to remember to Whom we are to be thankful.

That would be God. Indeed, this is a Christian holiday, and we remember those hearty, first New Englanders who stuck it out to make it to the first Thanksgiving. And they endured all manner of hardships to come here simply because they couldn't worship Christ as they saw fit. Amazing.

Around my house, I talk to my boys about thankfulness. Here is my "speech" that both recognize:

Every morning when you get up, you have at least three things to be thankful for:

1) Your eyes opened. Every day, indeed every breath, is a gift from God;

2) As a Christian, you are blessed beyond measure and have the opportunity to know God and live this day for Him. Each breath of each day has meaning; and

3) You are an American, and this means that you are among the most blessed people in the history of the world, just by virtue of this fact alone. You have before you the freedom and opportunity to make the most of every breath and every day. So, do it.

No whining allowed. Be thankful.

As for me, not to whine but ... it's hard to relax and eat a great Thanksgiving meal when our young troops are on patrols all over Iraq and Afghanistan as we speak. I will be thinking of them, and my family will pray for their success and safety.

And we will thank God this new generation of American warriors is carrying the torch to protect American security and advance freedom. They are the best.

Happy Thanksgiving every one.

See you next week.

Thanksgiving Week Special from the DC Sports Division ...

Nice guys can finish first. Let's hope so, because with wins over Texas A&M on Friday and in the Big 12 Championship Game on December 3, Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns are poised to take on USC in the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 for the national championship.

A lot of Mack's detractors had argued very loudly that he could not produce a team like the one he has this year: They’re good. They're fast. No, blinding fast. They're cool. They have been down late in two different ballgames on the road this year -- at Ohio State and Oklahoma State. They play defense, with an attacking style that flummoxes offenses and produces momentum-swinging turnovers. They play offense. Explosive offense. It helps to have Vince Young as QB, for sure. They make big plays almost routinely. And they play with a confidence and nastiness that reminds one of, well, the way Oklahoma used to look.

This year, Mack has been at his very best. Since he came to UT in 1998, he has been derided by some as a guy "too nice" to win. He said and did the right things. But the guy was too nice, the critics said.

Well, I am happy for Coach Brown, because I honestly saw this coming. He builds programs for the long term and in the right way. And he's far smarter than a lot of the self-proclaimed smart guys of fooball (i.e., Steve Spurrier) think.

During the last seven years, Mack has provided an effective model for building a winning organization: giving people a stake in the success, stressing a philosophy and sticking to it, leading from the front with a positive example, delegating to those who possess skills that the leader does not, learning from mistakes, and remaining true to yourself as a leader.

When Mack came to UT, he was known as a top-notch recruiter with an ability to perhaps build ties with Texas high school football coaches. Such ties were in bad need of repair in the wake of the John Mackovic era. Mack did in fact mend fences, and then he built bridges. But he did much more. He brought with him a philosophy: Recruit winners. Look for young men who have won at the high school level. Look for classroom success. Look for character, because disappointment and trials will surely come to almost all players at the college level.

Good players make smart coaches. Mack is humble enough to acknowledge this. Once he arrived, the talent began to follow. And the wins began to pile up, if not conference championships and wins over OU.

Upon his arrival in 1998, the thing he said that I just found the most incredible was his praise for UT fans. Listen, I went to school there and the fans were spoiled, golf-clappers who believed that a national championship is their birthright. A sizeable number of them were that way, at least. Mack, though, just praised UT fans and thanked them for their support. He encouraged them to "be loud, wear orange, and stay late." This was funny to me at first, because Longhorn fans just weren't the type. They are now, and Austin has thus become one of the most difficult places in the country to play.

He sought out the legendary UT Coach Darrell Royal for advice and made him welcome at all Longhorn functions and practices. All prior Royal successors had silently avoided the lurking legend, but Mack acknowledged and embraced the two-ton gorilla in the room that is DKR. As a result, the two became fast friends and Coach Royal has remained a steadfast supporter of Mack's.

Mack also sought to reinvigorate the pride in UT's long history of success, emboldening new recruits with the message that they were proudly carrying a torch borne by the likes of Layne, Nobis, Campbell, and Street.

Oh, but he was too nice to beat the smart-aleck genius from Norman -- Bob Stoops. However, that myth disappeared in a cloud of smoke this year, 45-12. The dirty little secret here was that Stoops and Co. actually had comparable and even better players than Texas. Now that Mack's crew has equalized and passed OU in terms of talent, we’ll see how it goes from here.

One of the most impressive things about Mack is that he has learned from past mistakes. No more waiting to play freshman phenoms against OU, like what occurred with Cedric Benson as a freshman. This year, frosh RB Jamaal Charles got the start and throttled OU. There is no more sensitivity regarding QB controversies, as Mack last season gave the reins to then-sophomore Vince Young, instead of alternating with restless senior and would-be transfer Chance Mock. No more holding the offensive cards to close to the vest; Mack has taken more of a role in the offense and encouraged his long-time coordinator Greg Davis to step on the gas. I mean, when you've got a Ferrari, you need to get the thing out on the highway from time to time.

Being an offensive coach, all Mack did was go out and hire two of the best defensive minds to run his defense during the last two seasons – Greg Robinson, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, and now Gene Chizik, who coordinated the Auburn Tigers’ nation-leading defense last season.

Mack is humble enough to change and he consistently gives his players, assistant coaches, and even fans the credit for the team's success. The result: “I love coach,” says Vince Young.

Mack’s crew knows how to coach, too. Often, special-teams play is overlooked, but knowledgeable observers know teams that return and block kicks well can win games that way. And such teams are well-coached. In this regard, almost everyone has heard of Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer, a very fine coach. His team’s are noted for their special-teams excellence, and in fact only one team in the past five years has blocked more kicks than Virginia Tech: That would be Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns.

What gives me the most pride as a UT alum, though, is that Mack stresses winning the right way. UT players go to class, and there’s a reason they don’t tend to make headlines for off-field antics while enrolled at UT. Character is recruited and excellence is expected.

A few years ago, I took my boys to Austin for our annual football pilgrimage. It was a great day, as the Horns won a hard-fought game over Iowa State. We went to Chili’s for the post-game celebration/analysis. We sat down to order and there was Cory Redding, the best player on the team at the time and now a defensive end for the Detroit Lions. My boys, weary of all my leg-pulling, didn’t believe me, though. So, I took them over to prove the point. When we interrupted Cory’s dinner to say hello, he pleasantly engaged both of my boys in conversation and signed their shirts and hats. I was amazed at what a nice young man he was.

Though extremely talented, he seemed very grounded, humble, and first-class.

Like his coach.

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Programming Note

Upcoming schedule, as we head into the holidays:

December 5 -- Finalists for Comment of the Year announced.

December 12 -- Comment of the Year announced.

December 22 -- Last post of the year.

January 3 -- State of the Blog Press Conference from the back of my pick-up at a yet undisclosed location. At the presser, the following will be addressed: 1) Name of the blog. Should it stay or should it go?; 2) Other changes to the blog; 3) Posting schedule for '06; 4) election analysis/plan for '06; and 5) still more surprises; and 6) an overall explanation of just what is going on here.

If you have any questions or comments about the foregoing ... or suggestions for the presser, I would be happy to hear them.

Update: Comment of the Year Results announced on 12/5.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Friday Night Courage in the U.S House: Only 3 Demos proudly grab the white flag

After being gone this weekend, I am having fun looking around at the left-wing reaction to the 403-3 blowout in the House of Representatives on the "Cut-and-Run" Resolution. The Kossacks are whining that the language was different than that put forth by Rep. Murtha last week.

Oh, my. Has the Party of FDR really degenerated to such a state? Are you kidding me? They need a new "party of" slogan, something catchy. Maybe we should rename them the "Party of Is /Isn't/Depends/Are we voting on this, or what?" .. or "Cut, no Wait" ... or "Will the last principle out the door please turn out the lights?"

Friday night's House Resolution contained the key phraseology from Murtha's, namely, the words that make the Demo/Left's heart sing: "The deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq is terminated." Come on, now. Wouldn't every Kossack joyously proclaim victory from the mountaintop to have the U.S. House vote that we should bring our troops home immediately? Have I been missing something? And don't all Ted Kennedy afficionados want to end the Iraq "quagmire" right now? I mean, if it's a quagmire, it shouldn't last one more day, right? No, I guess not.

So, are we now to conclude that the Demo objection is to leaving Iraq? Do they want to stay until Iraq is secure, just like the Republicans do? Or are we to believe that with a "rapid reaction force over the horizon" that all Demos would have voted for the resolution? Well, as of late last week, Nancy Pelosi would only say she was "intrigued" by Murtha's idea. She wouldn't say she was for it, of course. But you could sure tell she liked it. Rather, she liked it "out there", but she never imagined having to go on record on the concept of an immediate withdrawal. Oopsies.

I mean, I thought the American public was down on the idea of our troops being in Iraq? No? Oh, just the Demo base. Will some one please get Pelosi and Co. a political consultant in here?

Rhod called it, and I think he's right. The Demos are just looking for a political advantage to a drawdown that is surely coming. Complete withdrawal now is not what the Demos want ... in spite of what is routinely batted around in the rubber rooms of Kos, the DU, and their ilk in the left-wing blogosphere.

Why? Because Friday night's vote shows that withdrawal doesn't work as well politically as the constant battering of Pres. Bush. The American public doesn't want to cut-and-run like the Demos would clearly like to.

The plan by the Demos, their not-ready-to-be-viewed-by-the-public base notwithstanding, is to use the Iraq War as a hammer to weaken Pres. Bush, and by extension, Republican congressional candidates for '06.

Never mind the fact that this political strategy might get American fighting men killed.

The Friday night massacre reminds us that the Demos can't win legislatively. The can't say who they are because it is electoral suicide. This is why they hide behind procedural tricks, imagined scandals, and an unelected oligarchy of robed lawyers. They lose whenever they battle in the open arena of ideas.

Good luck, Demos, in explaining the "nuance" of your vote next November. Don't worry. We won't tell.

All of this is a good illustration of why I stay pretty optimistic. I know that eventually the Left is going to have to come out in the sunlight to face the truth and the music.

And there I will be waiting with the rest of the band.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Conservative's Parable on Difficulty?

Man, I am going to sleep outdoors this weekend, which I don't do unless my kids drag me or I'm paid to do so.

Before I go, though, was digging through my brief case and I came across my notes of a story told to me ... by a pastor friend of mine, incidentally ... which makes it a little more humorous, perhaps. I was going to post it during the Miers debacle, but time got away. So, I will put it up now for you to ponder. Warning: Liberals will not understand. Here goes:

A bird was going to fly south. But he waited too long. When he finally left, his wings froze and he fell to the ground. He lay there dying. Then, a cow came along and crapped on him. This was a terrible experience, but the warm cow crap thawed his frozen wings. He was so happy. He was so happy he couldn't contain himself and he started singing. Then, a cat came along and, to his amazement, wiped all of the cow crap off of him. He was so overjoyed. Alas, but then the cat ate him.

The moral of the story is:

1) Not every one who craps on you is your enemy;

2) Not every one who takes crap off of you is your friend; and

3) When you are covered in crap, keep your mouth shut.

See you next week.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Anti-war Left's modus operandi: "Cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out."

VP Cheney got into the Truth Serum cabinet and hit it hard yesterday. Then he headed for the microphone to speak to the Frontiers of Freedom Institute in Washington, D.C.

You know it was bad for the Demos because "Greenjeans" Reid was whining like Capt. Kangaroo had cut his segment shortly after the speech.

Via Drudge, here is an excerpt of VP Cheney's remarks:
As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it’s like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully.

In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

And the suggestion that’s been made by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city...

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.

They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn’t afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder.

Those are facts.

What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.

We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.
The foregoing remarks merit a spike in the end zone.

We need more of it, too. The Bush Administration also needs to be about the business of repeatedly and accurately describing the enemy we are engaging in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.

Update: Christopher Hitchens just grabbed the ball Cheney spiked, then pulled a Sharpie out of his sock, signed the ball, and threw it into the stands!!

What do you call a senator who can't write?

A Boxer? Evidently so. For proof, you need go no farther than the following must-read book review by John Miller of Sen. Barbara Boxer's book, A Time to Run. It is well-done and hilarious -- the review, that is. Boxer's book only unintentionally steers into levity, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with "well-done".

Here is a sample of Miller's subtle critique of the Boxer masterpiece:
Of course, saying that A Time To Run has a few bad parts really doesn't give Boxer enough credit — the whole book is stupendously awful, from the first page to the last. As a service to you, dear reader, I have slogged my way through it, in order to share with you the worst of the worst.
Hugh Hewitt poked his head out the Harriet Miers dog house to offer the great suggestion that Miller's review be read aloud. I say, try it. In fact, try it in a Starbucks in San Francisco.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All you really need to know about Alito's criticism of Roe

I, for one, am grateful that Judge Alito's criticism of Roe v. Wade has come to light. You see, I went to a pretty fair law school. I don't know, but I think they make such judgments as to how good your school is by counting the number of liberal profs. Mine had a lot. And I never heard one of them praise the logic or constitutional basis of Roe.

Pssst. Come closer, and I'll tell you a secret: It's not fashionable in academic circles to praise Roe. Yes, it's true. Oh, they like how the case came out, all right. "Very enlightened result," they will say, "but (blushing) not sure how they did it."

You want to know what I think about Roe? I think the the decision amounts to "heavy-handed judicial intervention" that is "difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”

Actually, the foregoing quote is from my ideological clone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Indeed, many pro-choicers are on record in their criticisms of Roe. Take time to read the foregoing link, and then spread the word.

Ironically, the truth is that the "extremist" position on Roe is that it is a well-reasoned opinion grounded both in the Constitution and applicable precedent.

Many pro-choicers like the result. Even though I am pro-life, I understand this.

However, no matter how desirable the result may be to a segment of the population, the following truth remains: Creating a fundamental right to an abortion, wholly untouchable by the elected representatives of the people, is the sort of unprincipled act that ultimately threatens the very fabric of our representative government.

Will Muslims answer the questions they are unwittingly raising?

The Armed Homeys pointed me to this great column by Dennis Prager: "Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered". Check it out, and please do advise if you hear of any Muslim answering these questions.

Man, Prager is hitting long balls out of the park these days on the subject of Militant Islam. Also found this gem yesterday at Real Clear Politics. The punch line: Yes, it's a good development that Jordanians are enraged by Zarqawi's latest act of barbarism. But, why only now?

I wonder: Will still others join the questioning that Prager is undertaking? And ... will Muslims respond?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Calling all Demos: Mama Alito was right

From this morning's Washington Times, here's Sam Alito hemming and hawing around on important issues, as he sought a job in the Reagan Justice Department in 1985:

"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican. ... It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," he wrote.

And in case that wasn't clear enough, Alito then went on,

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." (emphasis added)

Man your battle stations.

As for me, though, I've been here for a while. These comments by Judge Alito don't surprise me at all.

As I recall, I think what some were saying was something on the order of: If you you read (and understand) Alito's opinions, then you'll know that the Left "should be greatly afraid" of Judge Alito.

Maybe now the naysayers and the Perfect Church crowd (you know them ... "If they find the perfect church they are looking for, they better not join it; they'll ruin it.") will relax and stop listening to Arlen Specter's and other RINOs' versions of meetings with Judge Alito.

And maybe the Left will realize they have been had, too.

C'mon, Demos. This is war. Ride to the sound of the guns. Please do tell us that a judge who does not believe in abortion and thinks Roe was wrongly decided -- as do the overwhelming majority of law professors, even if they agree with the result -- can not serve on the Court. Tell us what you really believe: Don't you just think the Constitution ought to advocate a liberal agenda, even if the text does not dictate such a result? And do you deeply mistrust people with a sincere religious faith? And if you don't, great. But please come out and tell us.

Ah, but the Left loses when it explains itself clearly. We can hope, though.

Please, please tell us that the Constitution is "living", i.e., the meanings of the words change as the society changes, but that case law such as Roe is forevermore. Please do explain, if you dare.
Is there any one out there on the Left who can engage the substance? Or can it's PR people in the MSM merely hound Mama Alito, intimate that Judge Alito is a gangster, or whine that he owns Vanguard mutual funds?

The Left can't win on a substantive playing field. But we can. So, here we stand. And here we'll win.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Calling All Vets ...

Happy Veteran's Day. Man, what a week. Yesterday's post brought forth some of the best comments ever, and it led me to some other great posts and tributes. Some of you (and you know who you are) brought some tears to my eyes. And I thank you.

Today, we pause to remember the nation's veterans. In particular, my thoughts are with those who have fought in the nation's wars. It is good that we remember ... and are reminded to remember. Have you noticed that people tend to forget what they should remember and vice versa? Funny.

But we should remember. Those who have been there and served, particularly those of you who have done so in wartime, have made this great American experiment a reality. For the longer we live, we see more and more evidence that the free are swimming upstream, and the enemies of freedom have many structural advantages and are constantly on the prowl. The enlightened among us have taught that as mankind advanced this would not be so. They have been proven wrong ... over and over again.

What to make of this? To remain free, this nation will have to keep producing people who are willing to put it all on the line. So, how do we produce new generations of heroes? It starts in families. It continues with friends. It continues still with neighbors. And it continues on with even acquaintances.

Veterans should tell their stories. Tell people where you served and what you did. Tell them why you served. Tell your kids. Talk to your friends. Tell people about the moments that still make you cry. Live out who you are. Speak up when appropriate about the value, pride, and honor of wearing the uniform of the United States military.

We need to see. We need to hear. And for those who are doing it already, great. Keep on doing it. We need you.

Each vet has a story to tell. I know.

When I was seven, my family was in crisis. So, I went to Arizona to spend the summer with my uncle. He was a Viet Nam vet, a Marine, a prior-enlisted company commander who did two tours. I later learned he also had two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star.

During that summer, my uncle used to wake me up early -- usually with some saying about the value of getting up early and the vice of sleeping too much -- to go out and feed the horses. He was chipper and cheerful, and he loved the Marine Corps. (Man, he still does, too.) He would read me snippets ... they often sounded strange and undiscernible at the time ... out of the Marine Corps Gazette. And then he would say, "What do you think of that, little buddy? The Marines are looking for good young men. Maybe you can grow up and be one some day." At times, I thought he was a bit corny, but I respected him. I knew that my uncle had a purpose much higher than himself and this affected me in ways I didn't fully understand at the time.

Later, when I when I was making the decision (a strange one, indeed, to my contemporaries) to go into the USMC, I recalled my uncle. His encouragement and example were big factors, along with the patriotism instilled in me by dad, that led me to sign up.

I never regretted it, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. Actually, maybe I would have missed it but for the words and example of a vet.

See you next week.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 November

Each year when this day rolls around on the calendar, the reflections begin to roll in my mind's eye like a slide show of awe-inspiring images that passes too fast to absorb or describe.

It is not often that I can't put into words an idea, a thought, a picture. But I struggle very much with explaining how and why the Marine Corps meant and continues to mean so much in my life. And in the nation's life, as well.

One image keeps flashing into the memory bank, so I will start here. One cool, fall Quantico day in 1989, as I was running in formation with a group of officer candidates, the sun was breaking through the trees just so. The formation was moving right along at a brisk clip, with the rhythmic crunching of feet hitting the gravel in perfect unison to the cadence. The pounding feet of the formation seemed to get louder and louder. When the pounding became almost like thunder, it dawned on me, like the bright sun of the day that had just begun: It was simply magic. This Marine Corps magic makes the whole far greater than the sum of its ordinary parts like me. Magic. That's the only way to explain it, and I could explain it only because it happened to me.

Loyalty to each other. Loyalty to country. For most of us, loyalty to God. But ultimately, there was just a fear of letting down your fellow Marines, a complete refusal to ever let that happen. This is what drives the Marines. When this belief system takes hold and finds its way into the DNA, one has magically made the transformation to become a Marine. Ordinary young men and women ... living up to an extraordinary legacy.

Like a guardian warrior-angel, this legacy goes everywhere with the Marines. It taps them on their shoulders as they go about their duties large and small, reminding them to always be faithful to the Corps and the country it serves.

Remember those that have gone before. Remember the young men fighting their way up Suribachi through murderous fire. Remember Chapultepec. Remember Viet Nam. The nation forgot those young troops, but they did not forget the nation. Remember the Marines who for 230 years have quietly gone about their duties -- whether valiant or mundane -- and have done them with excellence and pride. It goes on and on.

Never forget. And never let them down. Stay faithful.

When comparing little ol' me to that legacy -- a legacy that Marines have beaten and drilled into them at either Recruit Training or OCS -- I have always felt small indeed. Yet, I have always felt tall in the company of fellow Marines.

I marvel at today's young Marines, too, fighting alongside brave young soldiers as a new generation of American warriors makes its mark on history. I should say I marvel, but then again I don't. They are proving what many of us know. The magic lives. And if you don't believe it, spend some time with them and have your faith in America restored. Or you could check with the enemy whom they are seeking, closing with, and destroying.

And one final note here. I want to take this occasion to thank all patriots, whether they be civilians or current/former members of other services, who share the Marines' commitment to this nation. This day is yours, too.

For the heart and soul of America continues to produce and inspire new generations of Marines ... to carry and then pass the torch.

Indeed, many nations have marines, but there is only one United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday, Marines.

Semper Fidelis

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Okay, class ...

Teacher will be out for a day or two. In the meantime, please give your undivided attention to our substitute teacher, Justice Antonin Scalia.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole speech. And marvel at how the brilliant can make the complex simple.

When you read this, you will understand what a lot of us conservatives mean when we say we are hopeful that Judge Alito will bring a similar philosophy with him to the Court. Still, there is only one Scalia.