Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Freakazoid 'church' gets cleaned out

I posted this a few days ago about the fundamentalist freaks in Kansas being sued for their disgraceful invasion of a military funeral. Well, they lost.
The father of a fallen Marine was awarded nearly $11 million Wednesday in damages by a jury that found leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family's privacy and inflicted emotional distress when they picketed the Marine's funeral.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress to the Marine's father, Albert Snyder of York, Pa.

Snyder sued the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified monetary damages after members staged a demonstration at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The defense said it planned to appeal and one of the church's leaders, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said the members would continue their pickets of military funerals.

Church members believe that U.S. deaths in the war in Iraq are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.
That ought to put that so-called church out of business.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Study: 25% of Britain's mosques promoting hatred

The Telegraph has this item about the study, and the Daily Mail has this one. Both article cite a study by the Policy Exchange in which more than 100 British mosques were visited and at which a quarter of those mosques made hate literature available. From the Telegraph piece:
Extremist literature that encourages hatred of gays, Christians and Jews can be easily found at many of Britain's mosques, according to a new survey.

Researchers for the centre-Right think tank Policy Exchange claims it found the literature in a quarter of the 100 mosques and Islamic institutions they visited.

Many of the publications allegedly called on British Muslims to segregate themselves from non-Muslims and for unbelievers to be treated as second-class citizens wherever possible.

The literature also allegedly contained repeated calls for gays to be thrown from mountains and tall buildings and for women to be subjugated.
The spin was quick, but feeble:
Dr Yunes Teinaz, of the London Central Mosque, said: "Any book or literature like this found in the mosque will reflect the views of the author and not at all the view of the mosque." [Then why is it in the mosque? --ed.] He added that the bookshop in the mosque was not run by the mosque, but was a franchise.

Iqbal Sacranie, a former secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, criticised the report. He said: "The majority of Muslims will totally dismiss this because it is written by the Policy Exchange, who have an agenda to denigrate the mainstream of Islam in this country. [Well, yeah, if by "denigrate" you mean "report the facts". --ed.]
The Daily Mail's article goes on to identify the source of the material as our 'friends' in Saudi Arabia:
Extremist literature calling for the execution of gays and the oppression of women is being distributed in British mosques.

Researchers found radical or hate-filled books and pamphlets at a quarter of the 100 Islamic religious institutions they visited.

They said much of the literature is linked to agencies of the Saudi Arabian government.
Maybe that "tiny minority" isn't so tiny, after all.

Pattern recognition

The recent successes in Iraq's Anbar province has been due in large part to local tribal sheiks turning on al Qaeda in Iraq and siding with US forces and the elected Iraqi government. Now it appears that this pattern is about to repeat itself in Afghanistan, where the Afghan government is close to turning an Afghan tribal militia leader, formerly allied with the Taliban, to its side.
An Afghan tribal leader is in talks to defect from the Taliban and take thousands of armed tribesmen with him to fight alongside British forces in southern Afghanistan.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Afghan government hopes to seal the deal this week with Mullah Abdul Salaam and his Alizai tribe, which has been fighting alongside the Taliban in Helmand province.

Diplomats confirmed yesterday that Mullah Salaam was expected to change sides within days. He is a former Taliban corps commander and governor of Herat province under the government that fell in 2001.
This almost certainly involves a promise of some level of political power for Mullah Salaam and his cronies, so it remains to be seen what the long-term effect of this alliance will be. But the short-term effect will not be good for the Taliban.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox watch


Most startling stat: Terry Francona is 8-0 in World Series games. Mike Lowell rocks, but Francona is the real MVP.

And to all those zombie followers of the Evil Empire who said we'd have to wait another 86 years: STFU.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vlaams Belang and the great blog divide

I've been watching with interest over the past few days an increasing number of posts about Vlaams Belang, a Belgian right-wing party. A number of anti-jihad, right of center bloggers have been posting with some frequency on the question of whether VB is a neo-Nazi wolf in sheep's clothing or simply a party of conservative policy in the American sense.

Pamela at Atlas Shrugs and Charles at Little Green Footballs, bloggers who've in the past seem to have had a friendly relationship, are nearly at digital blows on the topic. While I'm on the fence myself about VB, I think Pamela's charge against Charles was over the top while Charles' response was measured and reasonable. And Charles has enough facts to cast suspicious light on VB.

Hot Air appears to be on the anti-VB side (though you'll have to read between the lines and in the comments to come to that conclusion) while Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna seems more sanguine about VB's motives.

All of these are blogs I read regularly and for which I have immense amounts of respect. I only hope that a permanent schism doesn't develop over this within the anti-jihad blogosphere. As for me, I'll have to learn more before deciding which side I'm on. But right now, VB doesn't look too good.

Red Sox watch

It appears my misgivings about starting Ortiz at first instead of Youkilis were unfounded. That's why Terry Francona is Boston's manager and I'm not.

The Sox did it again last night, beating the Rockies 10-5 and putting the series at 3-0 Boston, one win away from closing the deal. At one time Boston was up 6-0 and the game became more interesting than was comfortable when the Rocks closed to 6-5. But Boston drove a stake in Colorado's heart in the late innings.

What I really have liked this post-season has been the contributions of the rookies. With guys like Pedroia and Ellsbury playing more like seasoned vets and the actual seasoned vets on the team playing well and looking healthy, it's hard not to be bullish on Boston's chances in upcoming seasons.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This just in: Aliens testing secret weapons on Italians

Game over, man. Game over!
Villagers [in Canneto di Caronia on Sicily --ed.] had been baffled for years over the way their toasters and TVs regularly burst into flames. But now the mystery has been solved.

[ ... ]

Locals were quick to blame supernatural forces, with the Vatican's chief exorcist attributing the fires to demons.

But in an interim report leaked to the Italian media yesterday, the civil protection department says the most likely cause is 'aliens testing secret weapons'.
I want to believe.

Image makeover

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson: Death metallurgist, airline pilot

No...I'm not kidding.

NAACP outdated, out of touch

The NAACP has shown, yet again, that they're as outdated as their name. Having failed to advance the cause of "colored people", they long ago became just another left-wing political action committee.

When founder Patrick Byrne said during a debate on school vouchers that minority kids who drop out of high school may as well be "burned" or "thrown away", the local Salt Lake NAACP chapter was quick to demand an apology. Here's what Byrne actually said:
Right now, 40 percent of Utah minorities are not graduating from high school. You may as well burn those kids. That's the end of their life. That's the end of their ability to achieve in this society if they do not get a high school education. You might as, [well] just throw the kids away.
Clearly, Byrne was saying that with the disadvantages minorities already have, dropping out of high school eliminates whatever opportunities minorities might have enjoyed. One would think that an organization presumably concerned with minority advancement would be cheering Byrne's remarks. One would be woefully mistaken.
Jeanetta Williams, a voucher opponent and president of the NAACP's Salt Lake branch, said the videotaped comments shocked her and she believes Byrne meant that minorities who don't graduate should be burned or thrown away.
Of course, Jeanetta Williams doesn't really think that. If she did, her English language skills could use a bit of polishing up. As a left-wing political action committee, the NAACP is opposed to school vouchers and this was merely an opportunity for her to attack one who favors the program, the fact that many minorities could benefit from such a program notwithstanding.

The NAACP no longer works for the "advancement of colored people"...they're nothing more than a wing of the Democratic Party.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Randi Rhodes: Blackwater burned San they could move there

It's no secret that Air America's Randi Rhodes has one of the more fevered minds of the remaining air personalities at far left-wing Air America. But her latest is, well, judge for yourself.
I started just doing Google searches to try and figure out. You know, arson, arson, it was like crazy trying to figure out why is that being downplayed? Why is that, you know, just a small part of the story? [The arson angle is all the media has been talking about the past couple days. --ed.] And you know, every time I look for it what comes up, believe it or not, is that Blackwater wants to move to San Diego and build this giant complex in San Diego right where most of the evacuations are taking place and you know.

You just know wherever there is fire, this administration will be out there doing what it does best and that is fanning the flames, you know. It just spooks me, I can’t explain to you how creepy this whole thing is that you know, you’ve got these fires. Some of them are thought to be the work of arsonists and in the same breath you’ve got a community that’s on fire that just recently protested Blackwater West. Just recently said no to Blackwater and apparently you don’t do that.

I mean, I don’t even know what to think. You know, nobody is saying Blackwater set the fires, that is nobody that doesn’t want their house burned down. Nobody is saying that, but it is all so bizarre that this is America and you have to sort of sit there and wonder … arson, same place Blackwater West wants to be, people protesting. And then you find out that some of the guys that used to work for Blackwater are now in Schwarzenegger’s administration.

It’s all so creepy.
Make sure you follow the link to NewsBusters for her listeners' comments. Yes, Randi. It's all so very creepy.

Hat tip: LGF

Islamist militants denounce al-Jazeera--for NOT censoring Bin Laden video

If one were looking for a sure sign that there's trouble in the ranks of the global jihad movement, look no further.
Al-Jazeera, the controversial Arab satellite channel, has been denounced for siding with the “crusaders” after it broadcast a message from Osama bin Laden that made him appear unusually humble.

In his latest missive, bin Laden admitted that al-Qa'eda's organisation in Iraq had made mistakes and called for unity among Muslims.

“Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks,” said bin Laden, in a taped message.

“I advise myself, Muslims in general and brothers in al-Qa'eda everywhere to avoid extremism in men and groups.”

[ ... ]

Islamist militants vented their fury with al-Jazeera for drawing attention to these setbacks and broadcasting bin Laden's words of humility.

A stream of abusive and threatening messages was posted on the channel's website.

"God fight al-Jazeera”, read one message, adding that the station was a “collaborator with the Crusaders”.

Another protest said: “Al-Jazeera directors have shamefully chosen to back the Crusaders' side and the defenders of hypocrites and the thugs and traitors of Iraq.”

One furious message called al-Jazeera a “miserable fly in the rubbish” and said: “Your day will come, vile one. As long as we live you won't be safe, Jazeera.”
Divide and conquer.

Freakazoid 'church' in court over military funeral mockery

I hadn't heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was being sued for making a circus of a military funeral, but it's about time.
The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers' funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son's burial made him sick to his stomach.

Albert Snyder said Wednesday he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.

"They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family," Snyder testified. "They wanted their message heard and they didn't care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside."

Snyder is suing the Westboro Baptist church, whose members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality. The York resident is seeking unspecified monetary damages in the case for invasion of privacy and intent to inflect emotional distress as a result of the Topeka, Kan., church's protest at his son's funeral in Westminster in March 2006.

The church's protests have inspired several state laws and a federal law about funeral protests, but the Maryland suit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

Asked Wednesday about a sign that read "Thank God for dead soldiers," Snyder said he thinks about it daily.
If you haven't seen the evil, hate-spewing Shirley Phelps before, watch this Fox News interview in which Julie Banderas eats her alive. Phelps appears a little more than 4:00 into the clip.

These fundamentalist freakazoids have been destroying the dignity and solemnity of military funerals with their protests over homosexuality and I hope the lawsuit cleans 'em out.

Daily Kos diarist: End the war by converting to Islam

I rarely, if ever, post anything I see at Daily Kos. While Kos himself has declared himself the mainstream voice of the Democratic party, I think a lot of Democrats think otherwise. Case in point:
While it appears from more than one point of view that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are situations from which we may never be able to extricate ourselves, from the mountains of Pakistan comes a very simple solution: convert to Islam.

Before we reject this out of hand, lets seriously consider it for a moment: Osama Bin Laden promised the wars would be over if Americans convert to Islam.

This may sound like a lot to ask from the most religious country in the industrialized world. But of all the Christians in America today who profess to be religious, how many of us are seriously devout?

How many of us are really just religious lightweights, happy to simply go to church every Sunday, attend church socials, knock back a drink or two every Christmas and not worry ourselves about the deeper implications of our faith?

Given the way most of us pay any real attention to the tenets of our faith, life really wouldn’t be that different if we were to exchange one faith for another. The prayers would be different, but we would recite them just as mindlessly as we do today. The sermons would in all likelihood be exactly the same, and we’d continue to snore through them.

Sure, there are a few people here and there who take religion seriously, but they are in such a small minority that their protests can be easily ignored.

All in all, converting to Islam would be a small price to pay for an end to the killing and maiming of our sons and daughters, not to mention the billions of dollars we could put to better use than fighting this perpetual war.

So let’s do away with our religious pretences, adopt Islam as our new faith, add a few extra holidays to our calendar, and get down to the real business at hand: pumping oil.
I suppose that last line is there to give the diarist an out to say it's satire, as the lefties are wont to do when caught out in the open making their more outrageous statements. But a lot of the commenters, who apparently are far more sane than the diarist, don't seem to be taking it as a joke.

Given that the poll the diarist included, in which it asks whether the reader would convert to Islam, only offers "Yes" as a possible answer, I'm inclined to think it's pure snark. But with the Kossacks, one never knows.

Hat tip: Hot Air headlines

Red Sox watch

As I thought, the Rockies were much better tonight than last night. But not quite good enough to handle the Red Sox. Final score 2-1, sending the series to Denver with Boston up 2 games to none. I'm pretty sure we can take two more of the remaining five games.

And courtesy of my brother Mark, proof that God is a Red Sox fan.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'I've seen the full transformation of Iraq'

There's an unusually (for Time magazine) positive article out this week on the profound changes taking place in Iraq. Actually, the good news from Iraq, while still not exactly trumpeted in the mainstream media, appears to be increasingly hard to suppress.
Osama bin Laden's latest call for Iraqi insurgents to unite against Americans fell on deaf ears this week in Ramadi, the city that al-Qaeda leaders once declared the seat of a new Islamic caliphate and capital of the Iraqi insurgency. Rather than rise up against them, the people of Ramadi Tuesday invited U.S. forces to watch a massive parade — albeit one so tightly secured that no pedestrian traffic got close to it. The almost surreal, two-hour martial procession was led by the city's children to commemorate the martyred leader of a tribal revolt that has virtually silenced al-Qaeda in Anbar Province.

[ ... ]

Marines and soldiers who work in the region every day said they've witnessed a sea change and welcomed the celebration. "I've seen the full transformation of Iraq," said Marine Warrant Officer Bobby Garza, who works on a team of 40 U.S. advisers helping train a 9,000-man Iraqi Army battalion near Ramadi. Garza said he's working on the second half of his fourth tour in Iraq. "It's a beautiful thing," he said from his spot on a wall outside Government Center, which was the focus of al-Qaeda attacks for most of the last four years. "We wouldn't have been sitting here doing this in January. No way," he said. "But just in a blink of an eye you could see this place change. The people just switched and wouldn't let [al-Qaeda] back into their communities. It's wild."

[ ... ]

"Al-Qaeda never wanted to see the sons of Anbar to unite and form security forces. Now I think we have broken their back by building the police and security force," he [Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha] said, adding that he was not afraid of meeting the same fate as his younger brother Sattar. "Let them come forward and show their faces.... Let them come out, we will fight them," he said with a certain swagger before leaving. His younger brother had said something similar several days before he was killed in September. But al-Qaeda's presence has dwindled dramatically since then, officials say. "Insha'allah" — God willing — an Army captain said.
Insha'allah, indeed.

Hat tip: Hot Air headlines

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Red Sox watch

World Series Game 1
Wow. Bottom of the 5th, Red Sox up 10-1, Colorado going to the bullpen again. Beckett's got eight K's already, and the team's got nine extra base hits.'s got me way too busy to post anything serious. But come to think of it, is there anything more serious than this?

Update: Final score, 13-1 Boston. The announcers seemed to agree that the long, 8-day break hurt the Rockies' pitching staff. Quite possible...they're obviously much better than they played tonight. I don't expect the remaining games to go so easily.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Air traffic study too terrifying to be released

If you're a long-time regular reader of news parody site The Onion, this may sound familiar to you:
PALO ALTO, CA–Researchers at Stanford University are refusing to release a comprehensive three-year interdisciplinary study on the grounds that the results are "too terrifying to reveal to the public at large," sources close to the project announced Monday.
It seems The Onion was ahead of its time. A survey of airline pilots on air traffic safety commissioned by NASA is too frightening to be released, according to NASA officials.
Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

NASA gathered the information under an $8.5 million safety project, through telephone interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots over nearly four years. Since ending the interviews at the beginning of 2005 and shutting down the project completely more than one year ago, the space agency has refused to divulge the results publicly.

Just last week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers.

The Associated Press learned about the NASA results from one person familiar with the survey who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss them.

A senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits. Luedtke acknowledged that the survey results "present a comprehensive picture of certain aspects of the U.S. commercial aviation industry."
Their silence speaks volumes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red Sox watch

So, ALCS game 7 just started, with ex-Red Sox Kevin Millar announcing Boston's starting lineup. Very cool. He's still a favorite in Boston, and every time Baltimore plays there the fans give Millar a standing O. He'll be back.

Update: Boston wins, 11-2. Sweet. But the Rockies are gonna be tough.

George Clooney to sit on board of Swiss energy company

I'm pretty sure I disagree with everything George Clooney has ever said outside of his movie and television scripts, but he's a pretty decent actor. I'm not going to be one of those who says he's a talentless hack just because I disagree with his politics. But being a talented actor does not a business leader make.
George Clooney will become an executive board member of a new Swiss energy company that will develop environmentally friendly techniques for car motors and other devices, the billionaire who is setting up the firm said Saturday.

The new company will have different branches doing research and development in the clean production of hydrogen, solar energy and fuel cells, said Nicolas Hayek, chairman of the Swatch Group.

"First I hesitated between Al Gore and Clooney," Hayek said in an interview with daily Berner Zeitung.

But he didn't ask the former vice president because it was still unclear whether Gore would run for president and therefore might have accepted the post as a mere public relations exercise, Hayek said. Herr Hayek thought Gore would only accept as a PR exercise, yet he's not afraid to hire Clooney for the same reason. He certainly couldn't be taking on Clooney for his impeccable business school credentials. Here's how Wikipedia describes Clooney's education:
Clooney began his education at the Blessed Sacrament School in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. Spending part of his childhood in Ohio, he attended St. Michael's School in Columbus, the Western Row and St. Susanna schools, both in Mason, and - briefly - William Mason High School. Eventually, his parents moved to Augusta in Kentucky, where he went to Augusta High School and graduated in 1979. He was a poor student but was an enthusiastic baseball and basketball player. He tried out with the Cincinnati Reds in 1977 to play professional baseball, but was not offered a contract.

Clooney attended Northern Kentucky University from 1979 to 1981 and, very briefly, the University of Cincinnati, but did not graduate from either.
And here's what Wikipedia says about his one known previous business venture:
On July 8, 2005, news reports said that Clooney would be working with Cindy Crawford's husband Rande Gerber to design and build a new casino hotel in Las Vegas. On August 29, the same year, Clooney officially announced his involvement with the Las Ramblas Resort project. However, the project never came to fruition, and the property on which the resort was to be built was sold in June 2006.
I'm not exactly qualified to hand out investment advice, but I feel pretty confident in providing this hot stock tip: Don't invest in Swatch Group's fledgling energy company.

No charge, man.

Arab News: Proposal to shut Saudi school in Virginia a Zionist plot

Predictably, the recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to shut down the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Northern Virginia has drawn whining and charges of a Zionist plot.
Not surprisingly, the actions of the so-called US Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF) are no different from other US commissions controlled by the Bush administration that have shown a clear pattern of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias.

Another such group that comes to mind is the so-called US Commission on Peace, whose members included, at least briefly, renowned anti-Arab and anti-Muslim basher Daniel Pipes. Pipes is accused of heading a campus watch group accused of preaching religious hatred, too, something the CIRF seems to have missed.

Although none of the members of the CIRF come close to Pipes, clearly the organization is driven by an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias that reflects the prejudices brought to it by pro-Israel activists. One director is a member of the American Jewish Committee, an organization that once fairly championed human rights but today is merely a political mouthpiece for pro-Israel policy.
The concerns voiced by the CIRF are well-founded. The ISA uses textbooks approved by and imported from Saudi Arabia, and these texts have been shown to be loaded with Jihadi rhetoric. The writer of the Arab News opinion column, Ray Hanania, is just using this as a pretext to lash out at and attempt to discredit those who expose Saudi Wahhabist influence.

Just for hypothetical fun, let's reverse this for a moment: What if the US funded Christian schools in Saudi Arabia? The answer, of course, is that it would be impossible because the Saudis would never permit such a school to exist there. This whining is hypocrisy taken to a new extreme.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Red Sox watch

Just finished watching the Red Sox beat the Indians 12-2, tying the series at three all. In the 9th inning, Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez was batting and grabbed a foul ball of his off the ground and handed it to a young Sox fan in the stands. Martinez is a class act.

Unable to decide what they're protesting, freaks attack store clerk

The anarchist freakazoids who run amok at every World Bank, IMF, G8 and WTO meeting couldn't figure out who they were angry at, so they launched a brick at a store clerk's head.
One woman who worked in a Georgetown-area store has been injured after being hit in the head by a brick thrown by a protester through the window of an Abercrombie and Fitch store and a United Colors of Benetton store near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, according to a report on

A few dozen protesters gathered at Washington Circle where they planned to begin a march through Georgetown to send a message to what they call "a seat of excessive wealth and privilege."
If they really want to protest against "excessive wealth and privilege", they should hold a rally at the home of George Soros.

Who to blame for the USAF wayward nuke scandal

The official Strategic Air Command seal up until its untimely demise

Heads will be rolling in the Air Force for the August cross-country flight of a B-52 loaded with live nuclear weapons. And well they should. But the genesis of this colossal cock-up began in the early 1990s with then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak.

Prior to that time, the USAF's nuclear weapons arsenal was under the control of Strategic Air Command (SAC), a notoriously unforgiving organization when it came to deviation from established procedures. So unforgiving, in fact, that one SAC wit came up with the following parody of the official SAC shield:

And that was as it should be for the men and women responsible for a huge chunk of the nation's nuclear weapons.

But all that changed in the early '90s when Gen. Merrill McPeak took over the reins as Chief of Staff of the USAF. McPeak, a fighter pilot from what was then known as Tactical Air Command (TAC), arbitrarily decided to merge SAC and TAC to form the new Air Combat Command (ACC).

To clear up the question of who was now in charge, the former TAC headquarters at Langley AFB in Virginia became the new ACC HQ. The former SAC HQ was located at Offutt AFB in Nebraska. McPeak also took the opportunity to take away SAC's air refueling tankers and give them to Military Airlift Command (MAC), and redesignate MAC as Air Mobility Command (AMC).

TAC was responsible for tactical fighter aircraft, and the culture there was, shall we say, a bit more free-wheeling than that of SAC. But not in any bad way or to the detriment of the TAC mission. It was simply a by-product of the flexibility and adaptability to change required of an organization whose wartime mission required deploying to forward locations to fly and fight, compared with one whose wartime mission generally was confined to flying long-range missions from home station, and quite likely not returning due to the inconveniences of Armageddon.

While I can't speak authoritatively on how SAC culture gradually changed, and possibly softened over time after being combined with TAC culture, it doesn't take a behavioral scientist to know that such change is inevitable.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Red Sox watch

Down 3 games to 1 with Cleveland. Not good. Just keep thinking about the four straight wins against the Evil Empire in 2004...think happy thoughts.


Troubled over the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton? Talk to your doctor and see if Tryphorgetin is right for you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stuart Woods: Writer without a clue

I think I may be done reading anything by author Stuart Woods, whose books I've enjoyed over the past several years. I wrote back in April about a juvenile swipe he took at George Bush in one of his books, and he's at it again.

In his most recent book, Shoot Him If He Runs, Woods regurgitates the ridiculously broad left-wing definition of "torture". In the story, the heroes are trying to track down a rogue retired CIA employee who, for reasons known only to the author, nobody is able to positively identify by sight, fingerprints, or DNA.
Well, then, we're left with kidnapping the three of them, locking them up somewhere and torturing them until one of them admits he's Teddy--the George W. Bush method of extracting admissions from people we hate. And, of course, under torture, anybody will admit to anything, so all three of them might admit to being Teddy.
So, not only does Woods know for a fact that we're torturing jihadis, but he's an expert on the efficacy of interrogation techniques.

He broadens his evil Republican theme in this book by portraying a Democratic President as a wise, just and perfectly virtuous gentleman, and projects the non-fictitious Democrats' propensity for leaking intelligence for political gain onto a conniving Republican opponent of the President.

Stuart Woods, the Dixie Chicks of popular fiction.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Denmark stands up for freedom of expression...again

You've gotta love the Danes. First there was the Great Cartoon Jihad, in which the Danish government refused steadfastly to bow to Islamist pressure to take action against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for publishing caricatures of Mohammed.

Today, the Danish government announced its willingness to provide protection to Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali after the US government shamefully failed to act when the Dutch government withdrew their protection after Ms. Ali relocated to the US.
Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish culture minister, has indicated the government would be willing to allow outspoken Dutch-Somali author Ayaan Hirsi Ali to live in Denmark under its protection from fanatical Muslims seeking to kill her.
Good on ya.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

'ware the Dembots

Of all the things that I find reprehensible about the left, it's their ideological totalitarianism that I find the most offensive. To be truly considered "one of them" (not that I'd want to be), one must fully embrace every twisted nook and cranny of their belief system. And the Democrats, once a party of at least some moral character, have been fully devoured by the far left.

Take a look at the current hive of Democratic candidates. Dennis Kucinich notwithstanding, can you really tell one from the other? Upon close examination, one might find one or two highly nuanced differences, but they're really all the same. Even Kucinich is little more than a caricaturized version of the rest.

Contrast Clinton, Obama, Edwards and the other party drones against the Republican candidates. While the GOP hopefuls have many positions in common, they seem to be at odds on just about as many.

Then, take a look at right-leaning blogs, and just try and find any two right-of-center bloggers that track the same on every position. And if you really want to see diversity, read the comments on those blogs.

Then, compare that to the left-wing blogs. The first thing you'll note is that there are almost no "left-of-center" blogs...they're all left- to loony-left wing. There you'll see such uniformity of thought it's almost breathtaking. Diversity of thought is neither welcome nor tolerated in the comments. For example, here's a message you'll see if you register on
Audition to become a commenter. To become a registered commenter on this site, you first need to be approved by our team. We’re looking for comments that are interesting, substantial or highly amusing. So write a comment, polish up your words and choose a username and password below. Your comment will only appear once (or if) you’re approved.
Just a nice way of saying that if your comments have even a whiff of divergence from the party line, you can forget about being approved. And on other sites, like MyDD or DailyKos, dissenting comments will get you banned in short order.

And then, take a look at any every-day leftist you know:
  • Pro-abortion: check
  • Anti-war: check
  • Pro-gay marriage: check
  • Anti-gun: check
  • Pro-open borders: check
  • Anti-voter ID law: check
  • Pro-national health care: check
  • Believes in anthropogenic global warming but not in Islamist threat: check
  • Thinks Che is cool: check
  • Every steaming pile of leftist dogma swallowed hook, line and sinker: check
Pure groupthink, no diversity of thought, just toe that line like a good little Dembot and nothing will happen to you.

Just ask Joe Lieberman.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

U2's Bono to build structure large enough for his ego

U2 frontman Bono and his minions have won the rights to build "U2 Tower", which will dominate the Dublin skyline and dwarf any neighboring buildings.
Details of the U2 Tower, which will be the tallest building in Ireland, emerged as it was announced that a consortium led by the band has been selected as the preferred bidder to design, finance and construct the £140 million project.

Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen will team up with Lord Foster, who built the "Gherkin" tower in London.

Neo-Soviet saber rattling intensifies

A Tu-22 "Backfire" bomber was photographed carrying a cruise missile
as it approached Norway's territorial airspace.

The Norwegian air force has intercepted and photographed 29 Russian air force probes of Norway's defenses this year, and possibly as many more probes weren't directly challenged.
Norway's military has felt it necessary to dispatch fighter jets 29 times so far this year, to monitor Russian military flights offshore. Now it's emerged that at least one of the Russian aircraft was equipped with a cruise missile.

[ ... ]

Military officials say the two Russian flights were in "classic position" to fire cruise missiles off Bodø, but both turned away before reaching Norwegian territory, 12 nautical miles from land.

The maneuvers were said to be "unusual," and part of a series of Russian flights in recent months that many are beginning to view as "sabre-rattling" on the part of Russian officials keen to assert their authority in the area.

[ ... ]

While 29 Russian military flights have been photographed, an equal number haven't been. The Russian activity over the Barents, Norwegian and North Seas has extended as far south as Great Britain, and it's increasing, but remains nowhere near the scale of activity during the Cold War.
But they're our buddies now, right Mr. President?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Muslim scholars issue warning to Pope Benedict

Some 138 Muslim scholars issued a joint message to Pope Benedict saying the world's Christians and Muslims must make peace with each other.
The "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other, leaders of the Muslim world will warn the Pope and other Christian leaders today.

In an unprecedented open letter signed by 138 leading scholars from every sect of Islam, the Muslims plead with Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions" and spell out the similarities between passages of the Bible and the Koran.

The scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."
I know of not one single person or nation "waging war against Muslims" in the name of Christianity. I can't say the reverse is true.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Does all air travel suck, or is it just Delta?

I've been known to compare membership in an airline loyalty program to being a battered spouse. Like the battered spouse, you're positively giddy when things are good. He doesn't come home drunk (the flights are on time), he takes you out to a nice dinner (the food is a notch above edible), and sometimes you don't get the snot beaten out of you (you get the first class upgrade).

Then there are the bad today:

I'm on a scheduled 13:18 departure from Richmond for Atlanta, with a scheduled departure from there for San Francisco at 16:40. With a scheduled arrival time in Atlanta of 15:00, there shouldn't be a problem. But, no, the flight doesn't leave Richmond until almost 14:15. Since flights board half an hour before scheduled departure, I just make it to the gate as the flight for SFO is boarding. Obviously, not enough time to even grab something to take on the plane with me. Not if I want to board in time to get an overhead bin for my carry-on baggage, anyway.

The flight for SFO departs on time, and within an hour a flight attendant tosses me my meal:

Having been ordered to enjoy! my meal, I figured I'd better get that bad boy opened up and start enjoy!ing.

Now, recall that my flight from Richmond to Atlanta was originally scheduled for 13:18. Recall also that one should be at the gate about half an hour prior to departure. That means I was at the gate at around 12:50. The last thing I'd had to eat was at around 9 in the morning. Since the time was now around 17:30 or so, I was pretty freakin' hungry. I was ready to tear into something good. To say that the following meal was something less than satisfying would be an understatement of criminal dimensions:

Yup...rosemary crackers (what the hell are rosemary crackers??), a shortbread round, some cheese-like spread and a box of raisins. Who the fuck eats raisins? Did I mention that the flight from ATL to SFO is five fucking hours??

OK...I realize you can't get a first class upgrade every time, and I realize that delays happen. But Delta's idea of a "meal" for a five hour flight in coach defies belief. Just tack another twenty bucks onto my airfare and give some real fucking food!! I don't care if it's a sandwich, just as long as it's not one of those stupid freakin' snak paks.

After eight years of flying Delta, I'm seriously considering switching to United.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Anti-semitic neospeak

I was wondering the other day about the term "neoconservative" and how it's used widely today as a pejorative term for, well, pretty much anyone who's the least bit hawkish and/or pro-Israel. It's the pro-Israel-hawk-as-neocon part that bugged me.

I sometimes read articles and opinion columns in Arab News, and it occurred to me that I see the term neocon thrown around there an awful lot. So I decided to conduct a little experiment.

I pulled up, and did a search on "neocon". I then browsed the returned articles at random, and found that if I substituted the term "neocon" for "Zionist" or "Jew", the article still made perfect sense, in a highly anti-Semitic sort of way.

The following article excerpts are submitted for your perusal:
Is the ‘Bomb, Bomb Iran’ Brigade Winning?

These are strange and frightening times! It seems to be that human life is being devalued by those with influence and power and what's worse their message that mass death and destruction is somehow acceptable to achieve an end-goal is seeping into the psyches of ordinary people.

On Sunday, the controversial former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told delegates attending the British Conservative Party's annual conference that in his view Iran's nuclear facilities should be bombed and regime-change effected.

Coming out of the mouth of such an abrasive, neoconservative Zionist that sentiment is hardly surprising. What is shocking, however, is the fact he was cheered and not jeered.

Anti-Muslim Campaign Driven by War Agenda

The relentless public invective against Muslims and Islamism is also clearly fueled by a political agenda, which seeks to demonstrate that jihadist violence is driven, as Tony Blair and the US neoconservatives Zionists always insisted, by a socially disconnected ideology rather than decades of Western invasion, occupation and support for dictatorships across the Muslim world. That is certainly the view of Richard Watson, the reporter behind Newsnight’s Muslim coverage, who recently wrote that extreme Islamism and terror are the product of a “seductive cult”, not Western foreign policy, and demanded that British Muslims find new leaders. And the co-author of the think tank report which formed the basis of Newsnight’s program on Islamist books in Tower Hamlets libraries is the self-proclaimed neocon Zionist Douglas Murray.

The Wrong Kind of Surge

Back in December, readers may recall, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group appointed by Congress recommended a phased withdrawal. President Bush decided to ignore their advice and opted instead for an increase in troops which became known as the surge. Up to now, little has been heard about where the surge idea came from. But according to a report in the National Examiner last week, it was not dreamed up by the Bush administration. It came from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the leading neocon Zionist think tank, which is warmly regarded by Bush.
I could go on, but my cut-and-paste hand is getting tired.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Spain takes a stand - the wrong one, of course

Reversing previous policy, Spain won't be inviting Cuban dissidents to its national day celebrations at the Spanish embassy in Havana.
Spain will not invite Cuban dissidents to its national day festivities in Havana this month in order to prevent any possible damage to its ongoing dialogue with the Cuban regime, officials said.

Spain began inviting Cuban dissidents to its embassy's October 12 national day party in Havana after Cuba jailed 75 dissidents and executed three others who tried to hijack a boat to escape the island in 2003.
Can't go around offending Commies, I guess. Way to go, Zapatero.

Selling Islam to Germany

German Muslims are holding "Open Mosque" days in Germany in a massive PR offensive.
It is Open Mosque Day in Germany.

Despite Ramadan fasting, the Muslim community was working Wednesday to counter the perception among many Germans that Islam is a danger.

The body language of some of listeners is plain: their arms are folded, an attitude of scepticism. Others listen more sympathetically as Can explains some basics of Islam, standing in the car park outside the mosque in Cologne.

[ ... ]

Ferdinand Brune, 60, already has an opinion. He has obtained a German translation of the Koran and written down at home all the objectionable verses he could find.

"There are places where it calls for violence against the infidels. I find that pretty scary," he said.

Brune, a building technology engineer and member of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union, said he was going to meet the Muslim clergy and challenge them with their own holy book.

When he did, an imam patiently told him that Koran has to be read as a whole and cannot be interpreted by taking single statements out of context. [Damned context...everything's always taken out of context! --ed.]

He said Mohammed had never waged a war of attack, but had only fought in self-defence. [Evidently, it's self-defense when you wipe out those who won't convert to the religion you just invented. --ed.] Brune nods politely, and lets the answer stand, without saying whether or not he has been convinced.

[ ... ]

The older Cologne man, 65, voices his suspicions differently after the tour.

"It has probably made me a bit more tolerant," he says. "But I still have this unpleasant sense that these people are trying to get a foot in the door and take over our place."
Trust your instincts.

Red Sox watch

All is well so far in the post-season with the Red Sox up two games to none against the Angels and the Evil Empire down two games to none against the Indians in the division series.

Looking ahead to a likely ALCS against Cleveland gives hope to those of us in Red Sox Nation. We beat them five games to two during the regular season.

I'd rather not contemplate the possibilities of an ALCS against the Evil Empire.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hot pants

Watch out where you stick your iPod. An employee at Atlanta's Hartsfield airport had his go up in flames in his pants pocket.
A Douglasville, Ga., man said he had flames coming up to his chest when his iPod Nano suddenly burst into flames while he was working, reported Friday.

Danny Williams, who works at a kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, told that he had the iPod and a glossy piece of paper in his pocket at the time. He said it was the piece of paper that saved him from being badly burned.
And no, I can't come up with anything better than this...I've been traveling all week.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Technology glitch

Walking through the airport in Richmond this morning to catch my flight for Atlanta, I passed an ATM making a horrible beeping tone. Upon closer inspection, I realized what it was complaining runs on Windows.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Farewell, Cox and Forkum

Cox and Forkum, editorial cartoon team par excellence, have decided to call it quits. Their web site will stay up, and may even be updated from time to time, but new work on a regular basis will be no more.

Gentlemen, you'll be missed.