Monday, October 31, 2005

Confrontation good, appeasement bad

The Telegraph's columnist Mark Steyn gets it right again. In this column, he explains how Bush disregards the Clinton-style popularity contest approach to his presidency in favor of getting done the things he thinks matters.

Right on, Mark.

The Alito Debate

At 8:00 this morning, President Bush announced Judge Samuel Alito as his nominee to fill Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. At around 8:03 this morning, the howls of outrage from the batshit loonball left began.

Now, don't get me wrong. There should be honest, informed debate over the nominee for a position of such profound importance, especially when the nominee may hold that position for the next 40 years. But the agonized screams were mostly coming from people who couldn't possibly have known a damn thing about Alito at the time of the announcement. This pretty much removes "honest" and "informed" from the equation.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who almost certainly did have advance knowledge of the pick, was predictable in saying "This controversial nominee, who would make the court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people." What Sen. Schumer doesn't say is that there wouldn't be any controversy if he and his fellow moonbats didn't fabricate it. There would (and should) be serious debate, but labeling Alito as "controversial" before the guy has even had a chance to answer a single question is dishonest in the extreme. But then again, that same habitual dishonesty the Democrats collectively possess is one of the many things that drove me from the party in the first place.

So right away Alito's opponents forfeit their credibility and will reduce the debate to name-calling and mud-slinging. I hope the President gets a chance at replacing a couple more Supreme Court justices between now and 2008 since the process exposes the Democrats for the liars they are.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Prince Charles, Islam's Newest Spokesman

His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, will launch an eight day tour of the United States this week to promote better understanding of Islam among us ignorant, bigoted Americans. It seems Prince Charles is concerned that we're too intolerant of the religion since 9/11. (Link)

I guess Chuck expects us to be more tolerant of, and demonstrate more respect for, a religion/culture which has absolutely zero tolerance for
other religions and cultures, regards women as little more than breeding stock, is collectively responsible for more acts of terrorism than all other terrorist causes combined, and has bullied his own subjects into banning Winnie the Pooh's Piglet from work places and piggy bank iconogrophy from banks.

Earth to Prince Charles: Why don't you stay home and help round up the terrorists that are trying to kill your own citizens?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Religion of Peace Speaks Up In Indonesia

Those peace-loving Muslims in Indonesia are at it again, this time attacking and beheading three school girls from a Christian school, and severely injuring a fourth (link).

Of course, AP is too squeamish to state directly that the attackers were Islamic terrorists, describing them instead as "unidentified assailants". The article goes on to describe sectarian violence in Central Sulawesi, which is roughly evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.

But one shouldn't jump to any conclusions, right?

Friday, October 28, 2005

And These Guys Want Nukes?

After Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spewed forth his tirade against Israel, the reaction from the rest of the world was swift and predictable. That is to say it was swift and tepid. Sure, a few countries called their Iranian ambassadors in for an explanation, and Iran's embassy in Moscow tried to spin Ahmadinejad's words, saying"Mr. Ahmadinejad did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict". Well, when one states unequivocally that "Israel must be wiped off the map", it's reasonable to believe that he did indeed intend to engage in conflict.

Now remember, this is not some press release from Al Quaeda or Islamic Jihad. This isn't the Islamic lunatic fringe, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of Iranians rallying in the streets of Iran echoing Ahmadinejad's sentiments.
This is a public policy statement from the president of a country with a seat in the United Nations.

Iran needs to be suspended from the United Nations, and all countries with diplomatic relations with Iran must recall their ambassadors and expel all Iranian embassy staff in their countries. Iran needs to be completely isolated from the community of nations.

Let's not forget that Iran is close to becoming a nuclear power.

How The West End Was Lost

The last time I visited Dallas, around 1988 or '89, the West End was very much a happenin' place. There was every kind of bar and restaurant one could imagine, and they were all packed, every night of the week. My, how things have changed.

I've just spent the past two nights in Dallas, and I couldn't have been more disappointed. The West End is nearly a ghost town. Tumbleweeds blowing down the streets would not have been out of place. Sure, there are still a few tourists and business travelers who've strayed a couple of blocks too far from the infamous Dealey Plaza, but they all seem to have a "what the hell are we doing here?" look on their faces.

Most of the eateries and watering holes of which I have fond memories are gone, and a few big corporate chains like TGI Fridays and On the Border have moved in. Sure, The Palm is still there and seems to be doing a decent business, but Dick's Last Resort has moved, and Dallas Alley is nothing more than, well, an alley.

Last night, I went to Hoffbrau Steaks and got a beer at the bar and headed out to the patio, since one no longer has the liberty of smoking indoors in Dallas. I figured on asking for a menu and having dinner (and maybe another tasty Hoffbrau Oktoberfest beer or two) before heading back to my hotel.

I sat down at a table on the patio at around 6:15PM, sipped my beer, and waited for one of the five or six waiters tending the patio to come my way so I could look at the menu. By around 6:45, my beer was gone and I continued to wait. At this point, I had no intention of spending another dime there, but I was curious how long it would take for someone to notice me.

Finally, at around 7:30, a gentleman who looked like he might have been the manager came to my table and asked if I needed anything. I proceeded to describe the past hour of my life to him, and explained that no, I had no desire to give Hoffbrau Steaks any more of my money. I left and went in search of more hospitable surroundings.

Rounding a corner, I came across another establishment which shall remain nameless, not because it's a strip joint or anything like that, but because they allow their patrons to smoke. More accurately, they don't actively prevent their patrons from smoking. I've come across a couple of places like this in California, but I think their proprietors have since been herded off to camps. But since the anti-smoking Fatwa is only a few months old in Dallas, there are still some foolish souls who think they can resist, progress, that is.

So I sit down, order a beer (and light up a smoke), and start perusing the menu. After my dinner, I chatted with the bartender for a bit. He lamented how the West End had already seen a bit of a decline in popularity, but since the smoking ban went into effect, it's been dead (queue the tumbleweeds). I guess their passive defiance of the smoking ban is as much a statement as it is a bid to remain solvent.

I sincerely hope that the West End recovers, because it was once such a great place to spend an evening. But unless service improves and the whiz kids running the city of Dallas realize they're not everyone's mother, I don't see much hope.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Of Avian Flu, McDonald's and Radical Islam

Columnist Mark Steyn once again gets it spot on in this column which veers oddly from Abraham Lincoln, to bird flu, to McDonald's to radical Islam.

But don't let the disparate topics fool you...Mr. Steyn, as usual, knows what he's talking about.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

But, Syria-ously, folks...

There's much to find in both the online and offline press today about the UN report on Syria's role in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In the publicly released version of the report, top Syrian officials are said to have initiated the plot to kill Hariri. In not-so-public versions, however, names are named, including members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle. makes mention of the two different versions of the report, but the Times of London comes right out and says it: the report was doctored by the UN after its completion. It seems the report was written using Microsoft Word, and that the Word document was sent out...with the "Track Changes" feature turned on. The track changes feature allows the viewer to see what edits were made to the document along the way, and while the final version lays the blame for the assassination on "senior Lebanese and Syrian officials", the original version named specific names, including al-Assad's brother.

This is yet another disturbing development in Kofi Annan's UN that warrants more scrutiny, but sadly, most media outlets seem to be ignoring it.

Demonstrate Like an Egyptian reports (courtesy of AP) that the distribution of a DVD recording of a play performed at a Coptic Christian church in Egypt has sparked outrage among Muslims. There are two disturbing elements in this story.

The first, of course, is the now-familiar Muslim outrage at anything they find offensive to Islam. The play is about a young Christian who converts to Islam and becomes disillusioned. In this instance, the mob turned out after Friday noon prayers at a local mosque (hmmm...I wonder what the sermon was about that day?) hurling stones and smasing windows and trying to storm a Christian church.

It's never enough to voice a formal complaint or even to demonstrate peacefully. The first reaction is always one of violence and destructuion.

The second disturbing element is AP's coverage of the story. AP blandly reports on the Muslims' reaction, then goes on to complain, "A photographer for The Associated Press saw police fire rubber bullets into the crowd, causing injuries. Police claimed officers fired rubber bullets only into the air while trying to disperse the crowd.", and "One protester, Mohammed Zakaraya Hassan, 48, died after being trampled and inhaling tear gas". Oh, those poor, poor militants.

Once again, the media portrays militant Muslims as the victims rather than the perpetrators.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Back Home

Fredericksburg, Virginia 20:00 Saturday evening (delayed post)

As chaotic as it was for me to get to Berlin, getting home was just the opposite. My itinerary called for a flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta, with less than an hour and a half before my connecting flight to Richmond. Having flown this same pair of flights before, I was a bit concerned about making my connecting flight. An hour and a half is plenty of time for domestic flights, but when you arrive from a foreign city in Atlanta, you have to do the following:

  • Go through passport control (15 minutes minimum)
  • Claim your bag (15 minutes minimum)
  • Clear customs (5-10 minutes)
  • Re-check your bag (about 5 minutes)
  • Clear security re-screening (15 minutes minimum)
To make things even more interesting, all international flights use concourse E, and flights to and from Richmond are nearly always at concourse A or B. Best case scenario is I'll arrive huffing and puffing for my Richmond flight and find all the overhead bins full.

Not today...the gods of travel are smiling upon me.

I arrive at passport control, just as about eight windows are being opened up for arriving US citizens. Passport control takes all of 30 seconds.

I get to my flight's baggage claim belt just as the first bags are coming out. Mine is the fourth or fifth one off, and I'm out of there in less than five minutes.

There's a bit of a line at customs, but I'm still done with that in less than five minutes.

Baggage re-check has only a handful of passengers there, and more than enough handlers to move things along. Another 30 second stop.

Security re-screening (why do they have this anyway?) has a bit of a line, but it's moving right along. I'm in and out of there in about five minutes.

I arrive at the B concourse with at least 15 minutes to spare before boarding starts (not before departure!), and have time to grab a smoke in one of the putrid smoking rooms and call Deb.

I'm beat and glad to be back home.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Foot And Rail

Heidelberg, Germany 17:30 Thursday afternoon (delayed post)

Here's how good the public transportation system is in Germany. I left the Hilton in Berlin this morning, walked across the street to the U-bahn station, and took the U2 subway to the Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof in Berlin. From there, I caught the ICE 877 train to Mannheim.

Coming into Mannheim, my arriving train was about five minutes late, so I missed my scheduled regional train from there to Heidelberg. No problem. I look at a timetable, and see that there's an S3 train leaving from track 10 in less than 15 minutes. It's going to Heidelberg, with just a few intermediate stops. The regional train would have been non-stop to Heidelberg, but so what.

I get off the S3 at the Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof, and walk seven or eight minutes to the Heidelberg Marriott. Note that at no time did I have to drive, or even hail a taxi. Nothing but trains and my own two feet, and I didn't even have to walk that much. And when I go downtown for dinner tonight, I'll walk one block to the strassenbahn (street car), and walk a short way to where I want to eat.

We take a lot of what I think is unfair criticism from the Europeans, but when they criticize our mass transit system, they know what they're talking about.

Last Day In Berlin

Berlin, Germany 17:30 Wednesday afternoon (delayed post)

Last night we had a big group dinner at Wasserwerk. Wasserwerk (German for water works) is exactly as the name implies. Or was, anyway. It's an old water works facility gutted and renovated to be a restaurant/nightclub. Very cool place.

After dinner, a bunch of us took the early bus back to the hotel, but got off the bus at Potsdamer Platz. The entire commercial area surrounding the platz is new, having been built on the now-prime real estate that used to be the vast no man's land on the Soviet side of the Berlin Wall. I was told by one of my German colleagues that the land had to be carefully cleared of mines first.

We walked around and saw some of the sights, then went to the Reichstag, where the German parliament (Bundestag) meets. The building appears very old from the outside, but the inside is completely modern. It appears that an entirely new structure was built within just the shell of the old building.

There's a clear glass dome at the top of the Reichstag, with a spiral ramp running the perimeter inside it. Unfortunately, the dome was closed for cleaning until 16 October, so we had to settle for just going on the roof. It was still a pretty impressive view.

Today, the schedule is very light with just a handful of seminar sessions, none of which I have to speak at. But I have to meet informally with a few people, and have the tech support guys help out with a remote access problem I've been having for a month or so. Since I don't work at a company facility, I've gotta catch these guys when I can. Luckily, the company brought in some IT guys from our Munich and UK offices for support at the conference, and they were able to set me straight.

After that, I hop on the U-bahn (subway) and go to the KaDeWe store to return the clothes I bought yesterday. As I'm heading back to the U-bahn to go back to the hotel, I hear this odd music that sounds sort of electronic/techno. It actually sounds like some of the music played at a Blue Man group show, and since that show is now in Berlin, I think maybe they've got some promotional thing going on in the plaza somewhere.

So, I head for the source of the music, thinking I might catch a free mini Blue Man group performance. What I see instead is one guy blowing into a hollow wooden tube about six feet long. The tube looks about two or three inches wide, flaring to about five or six inches at the end. He also had a wooden stick about the size and shape of a large cigar, which he used as a percussion instrument against the side of the tube, and sometimes the sidewalk. I thought there was no way that thing could be making that sound, and maybe he had a boom box hidden somewhere, but there was no such thing in sight. That coupled with the pool of spit forming on the sidewalk where the end of the instrument rested convinced me it was for real. I must have watched the guy play for at least 15 minutes. I was so impressed, I tipped him five euros.

I finally got back to the hotel to do some work on a paper I'm writing (and way behind schedule) on. And tomorrow it's off to Heidelberg to meet with a customer, hopefully two.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Let's Go Shopping!

Berlin, Germany 18:00 Tuesday afternoon (delayed post)

My friend Mark, who's an American working at my company's office here in Berlin, calls me and wants to get together. I don't have any sessions to present at until early afternoon, so I say "Hey, great! Pick me up at the hotel and let's go shopping!"

Mark picks me up at around 9:30, and takes me to a store he's sure will be less expensive than the place I went to yesterday. The place he has in mind is a large department store called KaDeWe. I'm sure that's an abbreviation for something, I'm just not sure what. The store is located just inside what used to be West Berlin, and the commies from the other side could actually enter the store and get demoralized by seeing all the stuff they couldn't get. Retail as a propaganda tool.

Well, it didn't take me long to become a bit demoralized myself when I started looking at the prices. To make a long story short, I come out of the store with a pair of Dockers, another light-weight wool pullover and a pair of socks. Total: 155 euros. God bless capitalism.

At around 11:30, Mark drops me off back at the hotel, and as I walk in to the lobby past the concierge desk, the first thing I see is my bag, festooned with numerous airline tags marked "Rush!" and "Expedite!". Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, my bag is here! And nearly $200 of clothes worth $60 can go back to the store.

I steal a quck look at one of the tags to see when it was sent by Delta. Sure enough, Delta, to their credit, did send the bag out on Saturday for arrival on Sunday. It just took Deb's persistent phone calls to both airlines to get them talking to each other and get the damn bag out of customs.

At least I was able to properly dress for the presentations I had in the afternoon, and won't have to pay extortionist's prices for more clothes.

Hundred Dollar Levis?

Berlin, Germany 23:00 Monday night (delayed post)

As I feared, my shirt is still slightly damp in sleeves this morning, but at least the socks and skivvies are totally dry, if a tad stiff. A quick once over with an iron gets rid of most of the dampness, and I'm good to go.

First thing after breakfast, I head up Friedrichstrasse to buy some clothes. I end up shopping at the first department store I find, which is Galleries Lafayette. I browse through the men's department, and quickly come down with a case of sticker shock: the first shirt I see, a simple cotton button-down oxford, is selling for 179 euros. Oh, this is going to be painful.

Lufthansa has stated that they'd reimburse me for 50% of whatever I spend on necessary clothes and toiletries. I had visions of getting some REALLY nice stuff at half price, but at these prices, even with a 50% reimbursement I'd be paying double what I'd pay at home.

So, I come out of the store with a pair of Levis (85 euros, around 103 dollars), a simple light-weight wool pullover, a pair of socks, and a package of three pairs of underwear. Total: 175 euros.

I get back to the hotel, and quickly change. I've got an afternoon session to present at, and I want clean (if somewhat casual) clothes. I find this is not an ordinary pair of Levis. I guess they're a European cut, since they're sort of a low-rise waist, and the bottom of the legs flair out far more than I'm used to. Oh well, they'll have to do. I like the sweater, though.

Later in the morning, I set out to find a store where I can pick up the usual toiletries. I walk south from the hotel a few blocks, and I see a sign saying "You are now entering the American sector". Huh? Then I realize I've stumbled upon the world-renowned Checkpoint Charlie, and apparently, my hotel is in the former Soviet sector. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Berliners have created a monument out of the famous American checkpoint. It was pretty cool seeing that.

After work, everybody at this conference is off for a group dinner. I don't have time to go. It's time to start rattling cages at Delta and Lufthansa and get my damn luggage. I have Deb call me on my cell phone, and while I'm on the line with her, she calls Delta in Atlanta. The lady at Delta posts a couple of urgent messages to the luggage tracking system, then Deb calls Lufthansa in Frankfurt, and the lady there does the same. I'd do all this myself, but I use a pre-paid cell phone plan while in Europe, and the calls would wipe out my pre-paid credits in about two minutes.

I finally get a bite to eat at the hotel bar, and crash. Tomorrow's another day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Berlin, Germany 17:30 Sunday Afternoon (delayed post)

Got up this morning and had breakfast at the hotel in Heidelberg, then packed up my meager possessions and walked to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), which turned out to be just a few blocks from the hotel.

I caught the 10:10 regional train to Mannheim, where I boarded the 10:31 ICE (Inter-City Express) train for Berlin. If you need to travel between distant cities in Germany, the ICE is the only way to go. As much as I like driving the Autobahn here, five and a half hours of white-knuckle driving can leave you exhausted.

On the ICE, there are these digital displays that show the speed of the train. The German word for speed, by the way, is "geschwindigkeit". On the last leg between Wolfsburg and Berlin, the sustained speed was 250Km/h. That's right around 150MPH. Cool.

In Berlin, the ICE stops at the Berlin Zoological Garden Bahnhof, rather than the Hauptbahnhof. So there I had to transfer to the S7 local train to the Hauptbahnhof, where my plan was to pick up a street map and either (a) walk to the hotel if it wasn't too far, (b) figure out the street car or subway lines and take that to the hotel, or (c) failing either of those two, grabbing a cab to the hotel. Big mistake.

The Hauptbahnhof in Berlin is well into what was the old Soviet sector. The entire area appears to be under (re)-construction. So the main train station turns out to be nothing but a bunch of tracks and platforms where you can get off and on the trains. No information kiosks, no place to buy tickets, nothing. Just some massive structure under construction near the tracks. Taxi stand? Nowhere to be seen.

So, using my impeccable sense of direction, I start walking in the general direction of where I think the hotel might be. At least I got that part right. I come across a Ramada hotel, and ask the desk clerk there how to get to the Berlin Hilton on Mohrenstrasse. The gentleman there is very helpful, and gives me a map showing me where to get on and off the subway for the hotel.

So, I take the U6 about a mile down the road I was already walking on, and when I get off the subway, I'm about a block from the Hilton. Nice.

I walk up to the registration desk, and after checking in, explain to the desk clerk that I was expecting my bag to be delivered at around noon. Does she happen to know anything about that? She shakes her head and explains to me that if the bag had been delivered, there would have been a message for me at check in. Crap...still no luggage.

The concierge is helpful in calling Lufthansa for me. Lufthansa says that my bag never showed up on the flight it was supposed to have, and that Delta has no new information for them. Fan-freakin'-tastic.

I call Deb and let her know what's going on, and she calls Delta stateside. They tell her that the bag probably got held up in customs.

So, I grab my package of the previously mentioned Detergent, Laundry, 1 each and proceed to wash my skivvies, socks and shirt in the sink. I wring everything out, and drape it all on the radiator, which is running just slightly warm. I go to bed secure in the knowledge that I'll have clean, if somewhat damp, clothes in the morning.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Baggage? We dont need no stinkin' baggage!

Heidelberg, Germany 18:30 Saturday evening

Well, at around 16:00 (central European time) I drag my ass off the plane in Frankfurt. As I walk towards the baggage claim area, it occurs to me that with the re-routing of my flight plus a hand-off from Delta to Lufthansa, there's about as much chance of my baggage coming off that plane as there is of George Bush inviting Michael Moore to a state dinner at the White House.

So, I bypass the baggage belt and head right for the baggage service office. I hand my baggage claim ticket to a gentleman there and ask him if he can see if my bag is on the flight. He taps my claim check number into his computer, shakes his head ominously and advises me that my bag is still in Atlanta. On the plus side, Delta has already posted a note to the tracer that the bag will be on a flight arriving in Frankfurt at around 08:00 Sunday morning. Well, that's just fine, but I'm heading to Berlin on Sunday morning.

The nice young man at the baggage claim area advises me to contact the Lufthansa baggage service office to file a claim. So, off I trot to Lufthansa baggage tracing, where a nice young lady takes all my information, including the address of the hotel I'll be staying at in Berlin. The nice young lady advises me that once my bag is received in Frankfurt, it'll be placed on the next flight to Berlin for delivery to my hotel. She also furnishes me with an "Overnight kit-male", which contains the following:

Razor, disposable, 1 each
Foam, Shaving, 1 each
Deodorant, Underarm, 1 each
Brush, hair (w/mirror), 1 each
Paste, tooth (Colgate), 1 each
Brush, tooth, 1 each
Shampoo (Neutrogena), 1 each
Buds, cotton (aka Q-Tips), 4 each
Detergent, laundry, 1 each
Shirt, T (XXL), 1 each

I proceed to meet my shuttle ride to the Heidelberg Marriott. I turn on my cell phone, since I've told Deb (that's my wife) to call at around 17:30 my time. On the ride to Heidelberg, my phone rings right on time...and immediately turns itself off. Shit. Not enough charge on the battery. Luckily, I've got enough battery to send Deb a text message: btry dying, and another one instructing her to call me later. I figure I'd get to the hotel and charge the phone up and she could call me later. Uh oh...guess where my charger is? the bag that's somewhere, but not in Germany.

I finally get to the hotel, and call Deb to advise her not to bother calling and in general trying to coax some sympathy for my plight. While she's sympathetic, her sympathy is offset by her envy of me being in Heidelberg without her.

So, it's off to the Dubliner to have a bite to eat and a few beers. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully, it'll bring my bag.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oh, Atlanta

Manchester, England 11:50 Saturday morning.

I was booked on Delta from Richmond to Atlanta, where I was to catch an 18:25 flight to Frankfurt, Germany. I figured I'd spend a day in Heidelberg, see a few friends, then continue on by train on Sunday to Berlin for a conference.

Lousy weather on the US east coast, with the remnants of some tropical storm bringing wind and plenty of rain. With less than an hour between flights in Atlanta, I figured there'd be problems.

Sure enough, the flight doesn't leave Richmond until 17:00. With a flight time of 1:15, that would put me in Atlanta right about the time my Frankfurt flight is to push back from the gate. Naturally, my Richmond flight arrives at concourse A, and the Frankfurt leg is leaving from conourse E.

So I get to my gate at around 16:35, and I see that the flight has been delayed to 16:50. Woohoo! I made it! Not. Delta had already removed me from that flight and put me on the 20:00 flight to Manchester, England with a connection on Lufthansa to Frankfurt, and a leisurely 4:30 layover.

To Delta's credit, it was probably for the best. There's no way my bag would have made it on the plane with me even if they hadn't already re-routed me. Only time will tell if my bag makes the handoff to Lufthansa and meets me in Frankfurt.

Moral of the story: Never, EVER allow the corporate travel folks to give you anything less than two hours to connect in Atlanta.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Preaching to the Choir

I only caught pieces of President Bush's speech on the war on terrorism to the National Endowment for Democracy this morning. But I managed to read the full text here at Atlas Shrugs (a pretty good blog, by the way).

He finally made the effort to articulate that we're at war not with this nebulous thing called "terrorism" but with an actual living, breathing enemy. The trouble is, who's listening?

Certainly not the lefties suffering from what some conservative bloggers like to call "Bush Derangement Syndrome". Those suffering from BDS will call Bush a liar if he says Tiger Woods is a pretty good golfer.

And certainly not the Europeans, whose disdain for Bush, and indeed America, has blinded them to the fact that they've already begun submitting to Islam without even realizing it.

If people around the world don't start waking up to the creeping danger of Islamofascism the job of eradicating it is going to be that much harder.

UPDATE: Friday, October 07, 2005 @ 07:00
Just as I thought, a quick but unappetizing walk through a couple of the more hard-core left blogs, notably The Daily Kos and Democratic Underground, reveals their undying hatred for anything Bush, or Republican, or anything based in reality. It's still a war for oil/Halliburton/Israel. Never mind those nice Islamofascists killing people everywhere, they're just misunderstood.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oh well...we gave it a shot

After kicking Taliban ass all over Afghanistan, working diligently with moderate factions, making things secure for fair elections and in general trying to drag Afghanistan out of the dark ages, it may have been all for nothing.

The Fox News web site ran an article about the arrest of an Afghan magazine editor for "un-Islamic writing". It seems his opinion on giving adulterers 100 lashes was an insult to Islam. I'll let you guess which side of the fence the editor was on regarding the practice.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Religion of What??

God bless little green footballs. They posted a link today to a First Post (UK) article that regrettably will get little or no attention here in the US media.

The article contains excerpts from an interview with Abu Bakar Bashir, described as the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (see my previous post on the Bali bombings). In the article, Bashir gives the following chilling statement in response to the question of how the west can achieve peace with Islam: "If they want to have peace, they have to accept to be governed by Islam."

And there it is. Nothing about the Palestinian issue, nothing about troops in Iraq, nothing but "submit to Islam or die."

This is not Muslim extremism...this is core Muslim philosophy.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Religion of Peace Speaks Again in Bali

Once again, Muslim extremists have detonated bombs in Bali, resulting in the deaths of more than two dozen people. The group believed to be responsible is Jemaah Islamiyah, which is thought to have ties to Al Qaeda. The same group is believed to be responsible for similar bombings of a Bali nightclub in October, 2002, and the bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in August, 2003 and one outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta in May, 2004. That's one major bombing a year for the past few years for those who are keeping count.

The disturbing thing about these acts is that they come without fanfare, before or after the fact. There are no announcements, at least none reported by the international media, that these bombings will cease when certain demands are met. Unlike other groups committing atrocities elsewhere, they're not demanding that US and British troops withdraw from Muslim holy lands, that Israel be exterminated from Palestine, etc. Which makes them probably the most honest group of radical Muslims in the major leagues of terrorism.

No, the only thing that will make JI happy is an Islamic caliphate consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei and Cambodia. Let's see, did I leave anyone out? That would make such a caliphate a pan-Southeast Asia nation of 420 million people, according to Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. Assuming all of them stay to experience the joys of living under Islamic law, that is.

And that's why I find the silence so disturbing. This is not a group that's merely happy to kill innocent civilians and use the excuse that they're doing so to protest the British and American "crusaders". They have a mission, and they're deadly serious about it. They don't pretend to give a damn about Iraq or the Palestinians. And I fear that they're more indicative of the radical Islam movement than the handful of oddballs and losers as portrayed in the media. This is an organized and alarmingly cohesive movement with a deep hatred of everything un-Islamic and I'm afraid that the world will continue to under estimate the size and scope of the problem until it's too late.

Feminism, Hamas-style

The Telegraph of London ran an interesting item today about the role of women in jihad on behalf of Hamas. Apparently a culture that treats women as little more than breeding stock has no problem with women taking up arms, provided those arms are targeting Israelis.

Rasha Rantisi, whose husband, Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantisi was killed by Israeli Defense Forces last year, has become a symbolic leader for women aspiring to jihad. Says Ms. Rantisi, "I speak for my sisters. Hamas has always honoured women, but now the time has come for Hamas to give a role to women. We can participate in health and education, and politics too."

She goes on to say that Hamas must accept nothing less than Sharia law: "I will not accept secularism." Even more disturbing is her commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel:"I refuse any compromise," she said. "The liberation struggle will continue until we liberate all our land. Even if we enter elections our weapons will not grow dusty against Israel."

Red Sox watch

Magic Number: moot

Even though the Red Sox can tie the Evil Empire in the standings with a win over them today, the EE gets the AL East crown by virtue of having a better record against us this season.

So, here's how it shakes out: Either a Boston win or a Cleveland loss today gives us the wild card spot. If we lose and Cleveland wins, that will force a one-game playoff against Cleveland to determine the AL wild card.

*sigh* And a couple weeks ago I thought we'd be a lock.