Wednesday, May 31, 2006

So, what about Murtha?

Like I've said here before, don't read anything into the fact that a particular subject hasn't been discussed here. In other words, just because I haven't posted about Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., doesn't mean I haven't noticed.

Here are some thoughts I have about Mr. Murtha's conduct with respect to members a Marine patrol in Iraq that he claims massacred defenseless civilians in cold blood:

1) Murtha's own conduct demonstrates the truth of his premise: Just because one is or was a Marine doesn't mean that one behaves honorably all the time or that one even has any honor left at all. Sometimes, dirtbags slip through the cracks and sometimes things happen and good Marines do bad things ... or just plain go bad.

2) War is a terrible thing, and it puts young men in awful situations. We don't know about this one because we weren't there. We need to wait and let the facts pan out. As some one who worked in the military justice system, I found that things generally worked out. Marine juries are fair. And they also resent political prosecutions. Remember Tailhook.

3) Even assuming that what Murtha says is true, Americans have done worse in previous wars. This is an uncomfortable fact, and it's not meant as an indictment of American fighting men but rather a plea for perspective. The difference now is that we have the MSM working in conjunction with the Democrat Party to undermine our war effort. Make no mistake about it. This is exactly what both are trying to do.

4) Just because you served in the Marine Corps, or any branch of the military for that matter, doesn't mean you can't become a treacherous, self-aggrandizing, old bastard. People shouldn't demand a special position in society because of prior service, even valorous service. Military service is a privilege and an honor, not a step up to a podium. And serving in the military doesn't make one's opinions any more valuable than another American's. Period. I am sick of the tired argument made by an insecure populace that only those who have served in the military have a right to have opinions regarding national security. This is garbage. We have an epidemic of personal-experience worship in this culture, and such thinking inappropriately elevates one's personal experiences (which, aside from being limited by definition, might be perceived to be true while being absolutely false) to a debate-free pinnacle.

5) Most Marines and other members of the military are honorable. Indeed, the overwhelming majority are. They deserve our loyalty and our presumption that they have not engaged in criminal wrongdoing. Most who have served are a pretty loyal bunch, and they do not appreciate some one who uses his service as a platform to denigrate theirs. In wartime, such conduct is arguably treasonous.

6) For Murtha, his personal ambition and political agenda apparently trump his loyalty to the USMC, and more fundamentally, to America. There are things that, even if true, should not be said during wartime, or they at least shouldn't be said in a certain way ... or in a certain forum. Most former members of the military, being patriots, understand this. Murtha does not, proving again that one's prior honorable service doesn't equate to being an honorable man today. Murtha's premature indictment of the Marines in a time of war is in truth an indictment of himself.

7) Murtha is beholden to, and a tool of, the Leftist establishment that controls the Democrat Party. These people do not want America to succeed militarily in Iraq, or anywhere for that matter. As such, they can never be entrusted with leadership in a time of war. Never. Those who think differently need their heads examined.

I write the foregoing because I remain,

Semper Fidelis ...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Another Wartime Memorial Day

It's another Memorial Day. In the back yard, the kids will be playing, jumping on the trampoline, squirting each other with water, laughing. They've got it good.

At the end of the driveway, the flag flaps in the breeze on the fence post. It seems to stand watch over these children.

Across the world, another group of young Americans engage the enemies of freedom. For them, it's another day at the office -- another wartime Memorial Day.

Many of this latest group of American heroes have paid all they could pay, and surely more will do the same. We remember them today.

Americans, awash in our blessings, often forget that the idyllic scenes that we participate in ... today and over and over ... would represent the opportunity of a lifetime for most in the world.

Yes, it's easy for us to forget why we have it so good. This is true, even though people living in freedom have always been the exception in this world, and it remains so, even now.

Memorial Day is about remembering why we have it so good.

But first we have to know: Why have there been wars? Why are there wars now? And why will there continue to be wars? How can we remain free?

The forms of government that mankind has been most comfortable with throughout history are antithetical to the American ideal: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

The very identity of America is a call to arms for tyrants everywhere.

Tyrants will continue to misjudge us, and to take their chances. They will gamble that we will not risk our fortunes and sacred honor ... and indeed our lives, as the founders did.

The Japanese were sure of victory at the outset of WWII, for they considered Americans mere "merchants". Surely, these soft westerners would not risk it all and put their lives at risk to fight the descendants of the Samurai warriors? But Americans repeatedly risked and lost their lives in pursuit of the Japanese across the Pacific.

We remember many Americans today who gave it all in proving the Japanese wrong. Many Americans died, but the Japanese remember that even more Japanese perished.

Moving to our present conflict, the Islamic fascists that we now face thought America would shrink from a lengthy conflict in which many American lives would be lost. As soft and wicked infidels, we would quickly and quietly relent, or so it was thought. They were wrong.

Like most totalitarians, the jihadis only had and still have a mere glimpse of America, and a dim one at that. Yes, our free society permits some, too many, to choose to grow soft and wicked. The society produces some whose sole aim to be a "merchant". That's what a free society allows. But it also produces far more.

This free nation also grows and develops those who choose to love and serve America. These are the young people who chase jihadis through the dark of night ... who kick down doors and return the thrown grenades back inside ... who bleed ... who bleed and die. And they face the enemies of America like men.

How does the Land of the Free ... become and remain the Home of the Brave? It's mystical, almost magical. Yet, it's destined to be, and we've see it again and again throughout history.

A free people, living as they were designed by their Creator, produces a remant that will give all so that the nation can survive. It has happened. And it is happening now. Ask America's enemies, or spend some time with our young troops.

All life leads ultimately to death, but a free man's decision to give his life for his friends and countrymen ... this produces life.

The American ideal presupposes that there is more to life than the here and now. Americans who have taken this ideal seriously throughout our history have thus been ready and willing to give their all when the nation called.

So here's to all who have given all they could, to every one who has given his life in defense of the Shining City among nations. The nation salutes you. And we remember.

And almost magically, in looking back and remembering, we see the way to a future where America will remain "the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave."

In remembering, we believe again.

Friday, May 26, 2006

United 93

I went to see United 93 simply because I had to. I was drawn to revisit the horrific savagery of Militant Islam unmasked, but I mainly wanted to see its antidote -- the heroism of the heart of the free ... and the brave.

I went not quite knowing what to expect, but I was expecting a lot. The movie did not disappoint.

There was so much, from the eerie beginning where the jihadi pilot interrupts the morning prayers of his co-conspirators by announcing, "It is time," to the gut-wrencing conclusion where the plane plows into a Pennsylvania field ... with no sound.

My thoughts and emotions, swirling for two hours, filled the soundless void as I thought of the mothers, dads, loved ones, sweethearts, women murdered by the ruthless enemy that we now fight.

And fight we must. This is a central theme and inescapable conclusion that is powerfully delivered by the film.

As the events of 9/11 unfolded in the movie, I was struck by the unsung acts of heroism and professionalism as a free society scrambled to defend itself against a surprise attack by its totalitarian enemies. The chaos and emotional reality of this scramble for life was well-done in the movie. Only in history books is heroism and combat neat and clean.

The twists of this for-real plot are many. Inexplicably, the jihadis plan failed to account for the routine delay out of Newark on the morning of 9/11. United 93 was delayed about 40 minutes, as it often was, as the jihadis in first-class sweated it out. This delay in takeoff meant that that the United 93 strike -- apparently meant for the U.S. capitol -- would not be coordinated with the strikes at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Further, the jihadis failed to account for the likely use of cell phones by passengers who could then be informed by people on the ground (thanks to the 24-hour news cycle) of the events of 9/11. Combining the foregoing, the jihadis did not account for the passengers' ability to learn the plot before it would be carried out.

Most importantly, though, the jihadis failed to account for the heart and heroism of a group of ordinary, randomly-assembled Americans.

The movie convinced me that Divine Providence intervened on United 93. For instance, flight attendants assisting a stabbed passenger managed to see both pilots in the front of plane lying on the floor and covered in blood. This image, when relayed to the passengers assembled in the rear of the plane, stirred momentary horror, but then action.

"Who is flying the plane then?," one passenger asked. If passengers believed that an American commercial pilot was flying the plane, then perhaps they would have gone quietly. This is apparently what occurred on the three other flights. Once the passengers realized that a jihadi was at the controls, though, the situation began to change on United 93.

As cell phone calls went out to loved ones, the passengers learned the horrifying details of what was unfolding on 9/11. And then they began informing each other. By these myriad, desperate calls home, we have a good picture today of what unfolded on United 93.

Realizing that their plane would be used as a missile by the jihadi pilot, the decision to act was quickly reached by a group of men on the flight.

A plan was made, albeit it would be a long shot. There was a pilot on the plane (although with no jet or commercial experience) and an air traffic controller, too. The passengers hoped not simply to take the plane down, but to take it back form the suicidal jihadis. It was a long shot, but if it failed they would at least keep the plane from flying into an American target. Still, all realized that their prospects were grim.

A passenger with a foreign accent counseled against provoking the jihadis. He was overruled.

Crying passengers made final phone calls. This was hard to watch. The passengers were terrified in these final moments, but they proceeded with courage nonetheless.

Indeed, courage isn't the absence of fear but proceeding to do the right thing in the face of it.

And speaking of courage, men gathered in the back of the plane to arm themselves with makeshift weapons, such as forks, knives, a fire extinguisher, whatever. It was inspiring to watch their presence of mind and adaptability under such duress.

Then they spent a moment to reflect. The chaotic scene was hardly one for reflection, either. They made final calls.

Todd Beamer recited the Lord's prayer, and prompted his fellow passengers with the now-famous, "Let's roll". Jeremy Glick, a 31-year-old Jewish man who happened to know judo ("I'll break his arm, like this ..."), led the attack.

As I was watching, I was reminded of how the jihadis can only prevail when they have the element of complete surprise. They can't face us like men. They are weak. The passengers of United 93 exposed them as such.

And surprise only carries you so far. Ask the Japanese. Furthermore, it is operationally impossible to maintain the element of surprise at each stage of a long conflict. If you are going to need surprise for victory, you must deliver a knockout blow. But the jihadis are incapable of such a blow.

As the men came up the aisle, knife-wielding jihadis were taken down and a drink cart became a battering ram to break down the cockpit door. Inside the cockpit, the jihadi pilot realized that his mission was finished ... and would fail. He had placed a picture of the capitol on the stick.

The passengers ultimately reached the cockpit and then got their hands on the pilot. Then the plane came down.

As United 93 approached Washington, there were no planes in the area with shoot-down authority. That is, but for the heroism of the passengers aboard United 93, the plane would have almost certainly slammed into the capitol at nearly 600 mph.

Though the government was not ready yet to respond, its people were already engaged in the battle. America's first fighting unit of the post-9/11 world had been randomly-assembled on a commercial flight. And these ordinary Americans, with not even a former member of the military among the group that stormed the cockpit, planned and mounted their own surprise attack.

Steeped in backward radicalism, prejudice and completely ignorant of American history, it's understandable that the totalitarian, jihadi mind would fail to anticipate meeting a man like Tom Burnett on United 93. Indeed, radical Islam doesn't produce men like Tom Burnett.

The film depicts Tom Burnett as leading the planning of the passenger assault on the cockpit. Here is what Burnett told his wife in his last phone call to her: "We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something." Then he signed off: "I love you, honey".

Shortly after his final words to his wife, Burnett and his fellow passengers won the first engagement of the post-9/11 world.

Speaking of American heroism, I am looking forward to Memorial Day. I'll see you then.

Saw United 93 this week ...

I'll have some thoughts up in a while, probably later today.

Bottom line: A powerful movie that illustrates why we'll beat what the President called last night (finally) Islamic fascists.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The trouble with this blogging deal is ...

There's too much going on whilst one attempts to work, etc. ... to do proper justice to all these topics.

It's hard to zero in some days, especially when there is so much funny stuff happening.

For instance, what about the case/investigation/ordeal of Demo Rep. William "Clinton" Jefferson of Louisiana, you know, the guy the Feds have been investigating for taking bribes? Of course, since you read here, you've heard that the feds found 90 grand in cash in his freezer. But "Clinton" says he was doing something for the kids in his district. Man. I heard some one somewhere saying that Jefferson was making "cashcicles". Oh, gosh, here come the giggles. Hang on. But wait, it's better. Now, it seems that Republicans are complaining about the feds' investigation of the congressman on the basis of "separation of powers", whilst the Daily Kos calls for Jefferson's resignation. Personally, I think "Clinton" Jefferson should stand on principle and take this thing to the mat.

Can you imagine the Goomba News Network covering the "Clinton" affair? Speaking of which, GNN will be making a comeback, it appears. Maria authorized the assembling of several conservative bloggers to keep GNN running. They've got big shoes to fill. I will be watching carefully and rooting for them.

Also in the news ... The blogs are abuzz with the outing of a fake Iraq War veteran-turned-war-protester Jessie MacBeth (strangely, the MSM doesn't seem interested). Apparently, the photo of the miscreant revealed a "uniform" that was clearly fake. C'mon Jess ... You can wear burmuda shorts with your Service "A"s past a group of leftists and no one will notice. But if you're going to try and market your bilge to ordinary Americans (many of whom know what a military uniform looks like) you at least ought to do a little research.

Man, Demos/Leftists/Same Things are stepping in it over the place. What's going on? But wait. There's one more.

It seems that John Kerry has flip-flopped again, this time on a border fence. Check out the definitive fair and balanced report by The Filthy One. Apparently, Kerry wants the border fence approved by the Senate to be temporary. Yes, this is apparently true. Kerry wants the fence to come down once there are enough people to guard the border. Oh, man. He is for it, but he also promises to be against it.

Never underestimate the power of unintended humor.

If Kerry gets the nomination for the Demos in '08 (about as likely as Gary Bauer sweeping to the Republican nomination), I want you to close your eyes and imagine how much fun we would have at this here blog. Ah, dream over.

Back to real life and pounding rocks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Farewell Nickie: Remembering my Blog Brother

I'd like to take the occasion of the passing of my oldest and best blog friend, Nickie Goomba, to write the following post.

In remembering Nickie, I'd like to provide you with some personal/historical background about how I came know him and his blog. Then, I'd like to offer some observations of what we can learn from Nick's blogging career. Finally, I'd like to speak from my heart.

Time is short these days, but I felt it important to put these thoughts together at this time. But I am going to try and keep links to a minimum to get this post done.

Nickie and me ...

I came to know "Nickie Goomba" through his and my association with Homespun Blogger. When I signed up, I took a spin through the various blogs on the Homespun blogroll. Trying to get my fledgling blog off the ground, I paid visits and tried to comment where I could. A few bloggers reciprocated. Nick came by. At the time, he called his blog "Hey relax ... I was just sayin'". I thought that was a funny, catchy title.

I returned to his blog and began to notice that he was genuinely funny and creative. I mean he was really funny, often irreverent. He was also a real-deal conservative. He was a giving soul and was constantly promoting others' blogs, too.

As I got exposed to the blogging world, I noticed that a lot of bloggers visit blogs and comment, hoping that others would return to their blog. This is certainly fine, and I did some of this. Funny, at first I visited Nick's blog hoping to get him to come back to mine. Soon, I found that I wanted to go there just to see what he was saying.

We became fast friends during the '04 election cycle. We both worked our respective spheres of influence, he in Northern California and me in Texas. He was very supportive of this blog. We worked hard for Pres. Bush.

We got hacked together, although mine was minor hit. Nick's was a major job. In fact, I think he got hit twice. I remember rolling up on his site, and it looked like he had changed the language setting to Russian or maybe Farsi. Oh, man. It was bad. I emailed him and his response was ... "They got me good." I could almost hear him panting, but smiling, too. He promised to be back soon.

He was. When he returned, the blog was simply called "Nickie Goomba". The Italian self-deprecation and no-PC-zone commentary was priceless. The comedy was taken to a new level. Armed with photoshop, he was a force.

Of course, he created the blogopshere's crack news service, that is, the Goomba News Network. Via GNN, Nick would chronicle the latest developments in the world through the eyes of his staff of "reporters". Of course, the craziness chronicled was sometimes hard to separate from fiction, or was it truth? And if you watched and read closely, you could tell you were dealing with a comedic genius. A good example of this was his semi-haphazard usage of bold type. It was subtle, yet roaring hilarity, humor at the highest level.

All the while he was communicating a point ... He loved his country and his fellow man. He wouldn't give up his fight for conservative principles or the nation. And he wouldn't sacrifice people in the process. He was unique.

When some one gets you laughing over something rather serious, walls are torn down and bridges are being built. When bridges are built, then people ... and ideas ... can move.

This was the business of Nickie Goomba.

And while blogging away at his first-rate site, he all the while kept in touch and was a generous commenter, here and elsewhere. His comments were funny and generally pithy. He occasionally was serious, and when this happened we caught a glimpse of his super-sized heart. He was particulary moved by last year's Memorial Day Address, as it brought back memories of his own service and that of his friends who did not return from Viet Nam. Unfortunately, his comment is gone now, but I remember his writing that "He was crying now, as I write this".

He loved his country and his countrymen.

We had frequent "scrapes", like our imaginary drunken brawl/party at the Inaugural Ball. I would call him out for his age, looks, whatever. He would drop a "string tie" bomb. Okay, that did it. Not really ...

The Texicans came to call us "blog brothers". Funny. In my part of the world, you know, some people still call Nick's kinfolk "Eye-talians". Whatever he was ... we were ... we were blog brothers.

My most loyal readers (do the names Rhod and Mark ring a bell?, i.e.) and I met at Nick's place. Our readers went back and forth, as it should have been. We were family. That's what you do. He even took in my liberal friend Julie, just like I knew he would. No questions asked or funny looks, either.

In spite of his work in real life, he was generous with his time, and he helped many of us out with either design or other questions. He introduced me to his Italian blogger friends and helped me to learn to love and appreciate Italy more. He showed me the way to great international blogs like Free Thoughts and Big Pharoah. And, by the way, Nick designed the logos for both. He was a fantastic talent.

And this fantastic talent was an ally of freedom-seeking and freedom-loving people everywhere.
Goomba did a button for me once, too, just trying to be helpful and supportive. And ... I wrote him an email with a blogging question once and asked him to give me a call on my cell phone. Less than an hour later, the phone rang. It was Goomba.

We had a great talk. He had a beautiful New York accent. He answered my question and put me at ease. I knew his name, even before that. But I never got permission to tell you. So, I won't. I also didn't get permission to tell you what he did in real life, but suffice it to say he was in the business of helping people get their lives together. He cared about people, this "hardhearted conservative". He asked me what I did, and I told him I was a lawyer. "We've got to get you into politics," he gushed. I told him that just goes to show that even the great Goomba has poor judgment sometimes. "That's just what we need ... another lawyer in politics, " I said. He thought that was a good point: "Never mind." We laughed.

He was a great guy, my blog brother. Being listed right at the top of La Famiglia Goomba was quite an honor for me, I mean, not being an Eye-talian or nothin'. It was much better than those silly ol' blog awards that Goomba should have won.

And, oh yeah, he never confirmed this or gave me permission to say so, but he most certainly was the mysterious commenter "Hop Sing": "You no comment here, no more, Mr. Commie Boy. Hop sing say, Italians can cook but not at Ponderosa." Once I called out for a Hop Sing comment and it magically appeared. I mean, I didn't even know that Hop read Daisy Cutter.

When we talked on the phone, I asked him what had been going on with his health, but he wouldn't say. It sounded serious, but he was hopeful. This was a while back. Stefania at Free Thoughts has written that he had some sort of cancer.

Now, he is gone.

From my brain ...

What we can learn from Nickie's blogging career is that quality matters. I went to his blog first for traffic, but returned because of the quality that was there ... and on a consistent basis.

Many in the blogging world use their forums to rant and launch screeds into cyber-nowhere. Then, they in turn want others to come and read same. Well, we each have our various spheres of influence. For instance, I know a loyal cadre in my neck of the woods who will come by and read what I have to say.

I think some like our pal Don Surber (who now refers to himself as a "proud member of the MSM") fail to grasp the power of this medium, this "Army of Davids", as Glenn Reynolds calls it. We each have unique audiences and spheres of influences. We each have opportunities to make inroads and influence a certain group of people.

But we can't demand readers. To expand our reach and influence, we need to produce quality content. We need to do something that others aren't doing, or we need to do what others are doing but better. Nickie did both. Thus, he had a real impact.

He did it with humor, a positive tone, and by not taking himself too seriously. Boy, can we learn a lot from his example now?

Positive stuff works, and I am not talking Polyanna, either. People want to laugh, to be inspired, to believe. People want solutions and a way to go. There's a lot to believe in, still. Nick knew that.

From my heart ...

If you search "Goomba" at this blog, you'll find quite a few references. Nick cut a wide swath here. He both inspired content and made existing content better. He always asked the first question at our "pressers", and the back and forth with him helped me and this blog. A lot.

Indeed, there's a lot of Goomba influence here, from our common loyal readers to our "news networks" (Cutter Network News -- CNN vs. GNN). But ... I know that when doing anything Goombaesque, anything but Nick is/was but a cheap imitation of the one-of-a-kind real deal.

I wish I had known him better. I had plans for a group project, but those are gone now. It pains me to think of his suffering.

More importantly, I think of the loss of a man. And his spirit won't let me believe that such a spirit won't continue to grow and flourish in America.

He cared about people. He cared about ideas, but not at the expense of people. We can learn from this. He was a gracious host at his blog, and he welcomed differing views. He was about advancing ideas, not shuffling past or climbing over nameless faces in a crowd.

Here was his last post:

It is with great sadness that I close down the blog. Keep fighting the fight against the Left's insanity. When God gives me the opportunity to reappear, I'll be angrier and sillier than ever. I shall return.

Nickie Goomba
Until the end, he was advancing against wrongheaded beliefs, while not attacking those who held them. All the while he reached out his hand to his friends and those not yet his friends.

So, in remembering Nickie, maybe we ought to take some time today or this weekend to remember that life is fleeting. Be good to those in your life and sphere of influence. Live outside yourself. Find your life by giving it away. If you need to say something to make a relationship right or better, do it today. Serve God and your country. Live while you can.

Nickie Goomba did.

So, here's to you, Nickie.

Here's to the greatest blogger I ever knew.

Viva Italia.

God bless America.

Godspeed, brother.


Here's a note I received from Julie that sounds a somewhat familiar refrain:
... I'm still sad. Nickie ... was a wonderful supporter when I started the blog. I had asked him long questions about how he learned to write and what inspired him (besides all of us wussy liberals) and he always wrote back with care and interest. Odd how you can miss so much someone that you never really "knew". I'm sure you feel this more keenly as you and Nickie had close a close and hilarious comraderie. ...
I don't know, Julie. I can only speak for myself, because Nickie had a lot of friends. There's a hole in the blogging world and in this blog, for sure.

And thanks to the great post/synopsis at American Daughter for pointing me back to the final exchange with Nickie here at Daisy Cutter. Given how Haloscan deletes comments over time, I thought it appropriate to end this tribute with our final exchange, which includes Nick's comments to this post:
Coulter has been stealing your stuff for years.
Nickie Goomba 04.25.06 - 5:06 am



Is that you? Hold on while I kiss the computer screen. There.
DC 04.25.06 - 6:11 pm


My health is improving. Am in a remote Italian village getting healthy again. I am walking almost 15 minutes per day and I will soon be sprinting. Count on me blogging again by June.

My biggest regret is being in Italy for 2 months and not being strong enough to visit with Otimaster or Bourbaki. By the way, Maria snarls hello.

My very best to you, Mark & Rhod. DC, your kind words and sentiments have meant so much to me. I cannot wait to get back.

At the moment, I am on the keyboard of a young man who has one of the few internet computers in this village. He is suspicious of my slow typing and careful stucturing of sentences. If I dare to complain of his glare, the polizia will certainly be called to this location, post haste.

Truly, my love and respect to you all.
Nickie Goomba 04.27.06 - 9:25 am
If I could write back ... and I wish I could/would have ... I would have said, "And my love and respect to you ... always."

And now, I am sure he would say, "So, what are you waiting for? Get back to it. There's lots of work to do."

And so, I will.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Tremendous Blow

His wife reports that the great Nickie Goomba has died.

This news hits hard. I had looked forward to his return to the blogosphere. But for now our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Maria and the rest of his family.

Tomorrow I will post my tribute.

The Immigration Debate: A note on persuasion and "tone" ...

Here's some advice from Glenn Reynolds: "If you find yourself sounding like a Kos diarist, step away from the blog and take a break, lest you do for your cause what the Kossacks have done for theirs."

Food for thought, indeed.

Glenn also pointed me to this post by John Podheretz, which is reprinted here in its entirety:
The immigration debate is a very heated and passionate one, and the heat and passion on the part of those on the restrictionist side have been useful tools for pushing the conversation in your direction. But there's a difference between heated disagreement and the insistence on lock-step uniformity. Suddenly, immigration restriction has become one of those issues about which one is not permitted to disagree, because to disagree is to join with the forces of Evil. Those who favor a less restrictive policy are said to be bought and paid for by Big Business, to want to oppress poor American minorities who can't earn a decent wage, and to seek the cultural destruction of America. Chief among these villains, it appears, is the president of the United States, whose efforts on behalf of conservative causes — from faith-based policies to stem-cell research to a strict-constructionist judiciary to entitlement reform and massive tax cuts — have all fallen down the memory hole. He is not a conservative, my e-mailers tell me. He is Jorge Arbusto, an agent of the Mexican government. And neither, by the way, am I, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and someone who left mainstream journalism to toil in the fields of conservative media when conservative media weren't cool, to put it mildly.

This inability to stomach disagreement on a hot-button issue should be troubling to anyone and everyone who has found an intellectual home on the Right — in part to avoid the kind of crippling self-censorship that has afflicted the P.C. Left. We can see it at work, sadly, at the once-fine website, which has served as a Big Tent for all sorts of conservative opinion over the past few years. Its proprietor, Polipundit, has become one of the most aggressively hostile voices of restriction in the blogosphere even as some of the posters there, like Lorie Byrd and DJ Drummond, have remained more firmly in the president's camp.

Last night, Polipundit informed his fellow bloggers that he would no longer permit any postings on immigration with which he disagreed, a move that effectively kills his group blog. It is certainly his right to do so. I can even understand why he would do so on an issue he cares so deeply about. If I were a proprietor of a blog where some of those I had invited to join me began, say, writing anti-Semitic dispatches, I would not be able to countenance it. But the fact is that a more expansive view of immigration policy has long been part of the mainstream of the conservative movement — indeed, Ronald Reagan himself held such an opinion. We are moving into very dangerous territory here — territory in which it has been declared that there is to be no debate, no discussion, and no heterodoxy any longer. This is how political-intellectual movements become diseased and sclerotic. This is how they die.

Monday, May 15, 2006

As immigration speech looms ...

As I have a previous commitment tonight, I won't be able to watch the President's speech.

The initial reviews from leaks, etc. aren't good, though.

I've never been a fan of National Guard troops on the border. However, if Chuck Hagel's against it, I might need to reconsider.

We'll see what tonight brings, but it does seem that the President and the Congress (at least a sizeable chunk of the Senate) don't get it. Why is this so difficult when so many Americans are screaming for real enforcement of our southern border?

It is perplexing.

I thought politicians liked getting reelected.

If you would be so kind, you can leave your reviews of the speech in the comments section.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Smorgaswhatever ...

A few things to ponder over the weekend ...

Like this. So what does this mean? It means a couple of things. First, it means that all the phony outrage over the recent USA Today story over the gathering of phone call data by the NSA will strangely disappear. It also confirms why the Demos, whatever problems the Republicans may have, have such a hard time gaining a majority of public support from the American people. That is, they can't continue to harp and play for a "turnover", i.e., scandal, and hope to gain power.

Demos have to be for something. The problem is: Their agenda is reprehensible to the majority of Americans. Republicans don't/won't act on their purported agenda, which (the purported version, at any rate) is supported by many Ameicans. The problem with Demos is that they just might act on theirs.
Earlier this week, Peggy Noonan made the above point (Republicans lack of demonstrated commitment to their spoken agenda) in an insightful column.

Check out this paragraph:
The Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they increase it--a lot. They stand for making government smaller, but they keep making it bigger. They say they're concerned about our borders, but they're not securing them. And they seem to think we're slobs for worrying. Republicans used to be sober and tough about foreign policy, but now they're sort of romantic and full of emotionalism. They talk about cutting taxes, and they have, but the cuts are provisional, temporary. Beyond that, there's something creepy about increasing spending so much and not paying the price right away but instead rolling it over and on to our kids, and their kids.
I do think that there is some tactical advantage to making tax cuts temporary (as long as they are extended when it is time), but I largely think that Ms. Noonan has it right in the foregoing paragraph.
The incomparable Jay Cost had a fantastic column yesterday on the constant, springtime drum beat about the "generic congressional ballot". Check it out.

Bottom line: Republicans may be in trouble, but it's far too early for the Demos to begin impeachment hearings yet.

And by the way ... If you think the foregoing paragraph depicting the end result of Demo control is a little strong, think again. Indeed, for those who are cheering for a change of power in Washington, be careful of what you ask for. Speaker Hastert may not be Newt and the Contract. But I like him better than Speaker Pelosi. Don't you?

And just wait until Greenjeans gets a hold of the Senate.

No, let's have two years of complete chaos and destroy the country in the meantime. Then, we'll get it fixed. I've got a better idea. Let's pray for widespread earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes. And let's sprinkle in a terrorist attack or two. That way, we can get all this rotten infrastructure repaired.

Okay, so maybe you don't think Pelosi and co. would do this? But I see no basis for faith in them. If people are not willing to see anything good in the Republicans, they can't simultaneously ask for blind faith in the Demos, in spite of all the evidence that such faith would be misplaced.

My action plan? I think we need to prod Republicans to act like they believe their stated agenda. If they do so, we'll all be better off, both now and in November.
Ann Coulter does it again, in her own, inimitable way.

In deriding conservatives for their tentativeness in aggressively taking on domestic foes, Ann makes a larger point about how the post-modern left has made boiled frogs of would-be culture defenders. Indeed, the whole culture seems infected with an inability to both identify evil and to then act against it.

When relativistic, post-modern thinking gains a secure foothold, every type of insanity and injustice becomes not only possible but plausible ... yes, even reasonable ... no, encouraged.

Using the Yale Taliban as an example of this problem, here is how Ann puts it:
Patriotic Americans don't have to become dangerous psychotics like liberals, but they could at least act like men.

Why hasn't the former spokesman for the Taliban matriculating at Yale been beaten even more senseless than he already is? According to Hollywood, this nation is a cauldron of ethnic hatreds positively brimming with violent skinheads. Where are the skinheads when you need them? What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?

There is not the remotest possibility that a man who was recently defending shooting women in the head for wearing nail polish will so much as be snubbed on the Yale campus.

The only violence on college campuses these days occurs when people like David Horowitz, Michelle Malkin and me show up to give a speech in defense of America. Then we need bomb-sniffing dogs and a lecture hall lined with armed police. But a Talibanist goes about his day at Yale unmolested.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Texan sends regards to California ...

You know, I was thinking ... Last night, the Astros got beat by the Dodgers ... the Enron trial is wrapping up. Goomba is still incommunicado. Hey, I haven't reached out to my blue-state neighbors in California in a while.

At any rate, a Texas Democrat friend of mine sent me this yesterday. Thought you might appreciate it:
... This week back in 1850: California became a state. The state had no electricity. The state had no money. Almost everyone spoke Spanish. There were gunfights in the streets.

So basically, it was just like California today except the women had real breasts and men didn't hold hands.
I found this strangely reassuring. I mean, with the whole world changing around it at a breakneck pace, we can still count on California, pretty much as we've always known it.

California the Conservative.

Update: Mark emails the following report detailing the latest insanity to emanate from California. Is it a spoof or is it California? You be the judge.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Moose to U.S.: You still lost, but I lied, you see. Now, I promise to tell the truth if you'll give me another trial.

Moussaoui wants a new trial? One wonders if he's met his new cell-mate (Bubba) yet.

Reportedly, Moussaoui says that he lied in his sentencing hearing about his involvement with 9/11 because he didn't think he could be a fair trial. So, if I understand correctly, he was gaming our judicial system (trying to bait the jury into giving death) and since he saw they didn't have the stomach for it, now he wants to go for the "big enchilada" on the merits.

I say, this is more iron-clad proof of the folly of using the judicial system to fight a war.

However ... maybe we could get the O.J. jury back together and get death for Moussaoui. Remember, this bunch thought that perjury by Mark Furman was worse than cold-blooded murder of two people. Maybe we could get some perjury outrage out of them and then give Moussaoui death on the second go-round? Maybe not.

Or ... maybe we just tell Moussaoui that we lied, and he is actually now sentenced to death.

Or ... we could just ship him to the Texas county of his choice for trial.

Or ... maybe we just take to fighting jihadis from now on rather than giving them lawyers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Flash: Leftist Caught Brandishing Stupidity on the Internet Taken Down by Hitchens

Leftists seem comfortable defending jihadis at every turn, often noting that the jihadis' murderous tendencies are brought about by Israeli and/or American foreign policy. Or ... they deny the obvious evil in our midst.

In this regard, note the take-down of Leftist professor Juan Cole by Christopher Hitchens, who snared Cole whilst the Leftist Emperor was galavanting around the internet without any clothes on.
Holy Boot Camp Drop Out, Bat Man! First Zarqawi holds the weapon like he's a kid in the backyard playing cowboys and Indians. Then he can't clear the weapon when it jams. Then some one apparently clues him in that he's supposed to put the stock in his shoulder. So, then he kills some sand.

Then ... then ... al-Dude walks off sporting New Balance tennies. Oh, my. Oh, how the mighty Jihadi Warrior has fallen.

And ... did one of his "bodyguards" goof and grab the barrel of the machine gun after Zarq did a hit on the sand. "Yikes. Al-Damn. Er, praise Allah. That thing's a mite hot."

What a bunch of cowardly morons. Weenies. But remember ... if you criticize the size of their manhood, they will ride to the sound of your guns.

Thank you, Lord, for enemies like these.
The Patrick Kennedy story is funny, on a number of levels ... the 2:30 "vote" he was late for, out after midnight and hadn't had a drink, and, oh, what was that barricade doing in the roadway ... etc.

Look for the Demos to pawn this off as "that's just Kennedys being Kennedys". But there does appear more. Like who told the Capitol Police to shut down the investigation?

Maybe there is a "culture of corruption" in D.C. after all. One less Demo issue for the '06 elections.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More later ...

In a comment below, Mark mentioned his recent visit to the hallowed ground of Gettysburg. His comment and thoughtful follow-up email have spawned a post, with the ultimate punch-line being: the "U" in USA. I think it's timely.

So, I'll get it together and be back soon.

In the meanwhile ... fire away in the comments section with anything on your mind.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day Without DC

I see we have a "Day Without Immigrants" planned for today. This is interesting. First off, these people are largely not immigrants. Most are not here to assimilate, learn the language, respect our culture, and stay. Most are here simply to work and take what they can, usually back to their home country. They simply want to get theirs in the United States of Meal Tickets.

These are not immigrants. These are "illegals seeking benefits". If the left and the overly sensitive/McCain crowd don't appreciate "illegal alien" (which is absolutely accurate), then how about "illegals seeking benefits"? It seems accurate and appropriate. If they're not seeking benefits, then how about we agree they don't get any? I suspect this won't work.

It is strange indeed to watch the Chamber of Commerce and the Left suddenly find common ground on this issue -- their borderless self-interest. For most of us, it's frustrating to see this nation treated like a cafeteria.

So, I say, let these "illegals seeking benefits" walk off the job, school, etc. ... and arrest and deport them. No, we can't ship out all those who are here illegally, I understand. But maybe we can get the militants.

And further in response to the "Day without Illegals Seeking Benefits", I am going to up the ante. Yes, I am going to bring the MOAB: A "Day without DC" tomorrow. That'll teach 'em.