Tobacco Road Fogey
Friday, February 07, 2003
Typecasting?What to say about this:
Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton are following in the footsteps of Dame Edna Everage, Boris Karloff and David Bowie as they narrate a new recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.Gorby's got to be the wolf.
Calling Inspector Clouseau...
The European Union's anti-fraud office is investigating the potential misuse of EU funds donated to the Palestinian Authority, a spokesman said Thursday.Any wagers on what the EU anti-fraud inspectors will find and when they'll admit it.
Slipped under the radar dept.An interesting statement from the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Daniel Coats:
According to Coats, Germany should be worried about the consequences of its Iraq policy.Sounds to me like the Ambassador is suggesting that there might be an economic backlash in the U.S. against German-made products.
As my old economics professor used to say, money talks and BS walks.
Thursday, February 06, 2003
Dear Ambassador VillepinYou say that we need to increase the number of weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq.
About two hundred thousand of them, wearing desert camouflage and packing M-16s.
Their predecessors did a heck of a job in western Europe in the mid 1940's. Found a whole pile of Hitler's secret weapons.
Found a whole bunch of documents containing the bureaucratic legacy of the Third Reich, too.
Hope your French companies sold Saddam a bunch of paper shredders, along with all the other goodies you sold him.
Because, if Saddam and his minions don't get rid of the evidence, we'll find it.
You go, girl!Great rant by Deb over at insomnomaniac. My wrists ache just from looking at it, but I think she says some things a lot of us have been thinking, if not saying quite so directly.
(link via Emperor Misha I)
A question for the peaceniksJust what is it going to take for the Bush administration to "prove its case" against Iraq?
Can you even put it into words?
Talking toughRichard Perle really laid it on the line with these comments:
"France is no longer the ally it once was," Perle said. And he went on to accuse French President Jacques Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor."I have to differ with Mr. Perle on one point: the damage was done to the Atlantic community a long time ago, when the European states decided that bribing their own voters with social programs was more important than providing for their own defense. The cracks have been in the foundation for a couple of decades -- now they are breaking through to the surface where they are impossible to miss.
An interesting observationFrom a comment at Little Green Footballs:
The other terrible irony in this is that the leftie freaks who castigated Bush & Co. for "allowing" 9/11 to happen by "not connecting the dots" are the SAME leftie freaks who are trying so desperately to interfere with the connection of these new dots. Idiots!In a word, it takes practice. Practice, practice, practice...
Right now, it suits the antiwar folks' agenda to not have the dots connected, so you can depend on them to raise any argument that prevents the connections from being made. They'll also attempt to add more and more dots to the figure, relevant or not, just to be obstructive. They can't offer anything constructive to the debate at this point, so they only have obstructive tactics left.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Shhh! You'll give away the secret.Here is a superb article by Ralph Peters in the New York Post. A sample:
Today, claims of territorial sovereignty by dictators and illegitimate regimes amount to the biggest con in history. No matter how unfairly borders are drawn, no matter how monstrously tyrants behave toward their populations, no matter how ruthlessly a strongman seizes power, the world pretends that those who hold the reins in the capital city are entitled to do whatever they want on their own territory.For lack of a better word, this concept is revolutionary. Probably too revolutionary to ever gain any traction, but it does cast a whole new light on the notion of "legitimate" government. It's at least worth further debate.
Bass ackwards dept.I got bruises on the bottom of my chin (from my jaw dropping open and striking my keyboard) when I read this from an op-ed piece in the Washington Post by former Senator Bill Bradley:
3. The president minimized the importance of allies in a war against Iraq, as he has in many other areas. The major foreign policy job of the American president is to maintain healthy relations with the great powers -- Europe, Russia, China and Japan. If the United States conveys a vision in which each power can find the realization of its own interests, that job is easier.This is a stunning example of the left's obsession with process, rather than goals. The major foreign policy job of the American president is to take any and all actions that ensure that the activities of foreign governments and their citizens do not cause harm to U.S. citizens. Negotiation or consultation with foreign governments, great powers or not, is only one of the tools that a president can use to prevent harm to U.S. citizens.
Sunday, February 02, 2003
A few quiet thoughtsI wonder if my sons and their peers will ever understand why a space disaster, like the one on Saturday morning, affects me so much. I'm sure they wonder why my voice grows husky when I try to speak about it; why I have to turn my eyes away when the TV shows the video of the waving, smiling astronauts on their way to the launch pad on that bright morning when the mission lay in front of them.
For them, space shuttle flights are routine events, like the World Series or the Super Bowl. The spacecraft goes up, stays a few days, and then returns.
Occasionally, a mission is special because it involves some sort of planned interaction with schoolchildren. They watch the downlinked video, usually a quick lesson about the physics of weightlessness. They see people and objects hanging in mid-air; water globules that shimmer and pulsate as if they were alive; the occasional video shot of the Earth drifting by below, with the blue of the oceans, the browns and greens of the land masses, and the white swirls of the clouds.
Sometimes, they work with their teachers to try to invent an experiment that might be carried aboard a shuttle mission. Should they send seeds for some common local plant to see if they grow the same way in zero gravity as they do in the backyards of our town? Maybe they'll try more of a chemistry experiment, precipitating crystals out of some solution to see how the lack of gravity affects the pattern of the crystal formation.
To my children and their peers, the space shuttle is a wondrous laboratory, where a fumbled item remains near your hand to be recovered with only slight inconvenience. To them, the video pictures of the Earth sent down from the shuttle confirm what they see on the globe and maps in their classroom -- the water and the land, the day and the night, the small Earth and the vastness of space.
My sons have known only a short time when the shuttles didn't fly. The oldest was barely a toddler when the Challenger flight went so horribly awry, and his brother was two months away from being born. They were far too young to notice the 32 months between January of 1986 and September of 1988 or to understand the hearings of the Rogers Commission. By the time they could relate to events in the greater world around them, shuttles were flying again.
Now, they'll know the grief that I've known twice before. The word "Columbia" will be forever associated with trails of smoke across the blue Texas sky, just as the word "Challenger" is associated, for me, with trails of smoke across a bright Florida sky.
They'll remember President Bush telling the nation that our astronauts were tragically lost, just as I remember President Reagan telling us about the loss of the Challenger and President Johnson telling us about the horrible fire that claimed the crew of Apollo 1 on the launchpad at the Cape.
To them, this is the first space tragedy they've had to face. They'll see and hear a national outpouring of grief and sympathy. Soon, they'll hear about a prestigious panel of experts convened to discover why this event happened and, in time, they'll get some answers.
The grief will pass and the wounds will heal, unless and until another space accident happens. Then they will be the ones remembering the brave men and women who lost their lives yesterday. Feelings from yesterday, today, and the days to come, stored deep in their memory, will come rushing back.
And then they'll know that it doesn't get any easier the second time.