Friday, March 07, 2003

It's Steven Den Beste

You should read it. QED.

(Okay, a bit more: Mr Den Beste points out that President Bush, yet again, has outfoxed the weasels. The French have no where to go except to get in line behind us, or show themselves as being, plain and simple, opponents of the United States. Baghdad by April 1. Tehran in a counterrevolution by Thanksgiving).
East Bay News
Go Get 'em 91st!

The 91st Division (California National Guard) has been called to active duty. The 91st(!?) you ask. The 91st, I say.

It's a training and certification unit based at Camp Parks in Dublin, California, just a couple of laden swallow flights away from Earthling Headquarters. Mostly, they clear other units as prepared for deployment, but that's an important part of the war effort, too.

So, my hat's off to everyone in the 91st!
The One on the Left... No, the one on the Right. Titov! Gagarin!

Here's a little bit on Chen Long, rumoured to be China's first astronaut ("taikonaut") come October.

Chen Long is, in fact, the one on the left.
Not Tonight, Honey, I have a giant blister of smallpox on my arm

I'm all for sleeping close to one's sweetie, but if I get a smallpox innoculation, I think I'll sleep on the couch for Bog's sake!.
Limbaugh can take care of himself, I'm sure

This bit in the article about the new Clinton-Dole segment on 60 Minutes caught my eye:

Former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart said that Limbaugh should "keep his mouth shut" and that the debates are "just one way to continue being part of the public service system," in addition to Clinton's global work on AIDS and other issues.

I'm not particularly in the business of defending Rush Limbaugh -- I listen to his show maybe 20 minutes a month -- but in this hyper sensitive climate, if a former Bush Administration official had told, I dunno, Bill Press to "keep his mouth shut" we'd hear nothing but howels of "censorship" and of attempts to "stifle the debate".
Is there something you'd rather be doing than marching up and down the square?

This is a curious article from the Evening Standard, that notes that the British troops are ill-equiped, lacking chemical warfare equipment, certain weaponry and, most importantly, good food.

I had always been of the impression that while Europe had let her armies atrophy over the last fifteen years or so, Her Majesty's Armed Services has reduced in size, but improved in quality. Perhaps this isn't quite right and this might explain part of Tony Blair's delay -- one bad day for the British Army could spell Blair's doom. If this is true, it certainly explains why the U.S. is going to take Baghdad, while the British will hold Basra and the south --- Saddam's keeping his best chemical warfare stocks in Tikrit and Baghdad, so British troops might avoid the brunt of that by staying south.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Saddam's Final Insult

Saddam is apparently providing his paramilitary units with British and US Forces uniforms so he can slaughter his own people and blame it on our troops.

"This campaign of fear and misinformation would represent the latest chapter in Saddam Hussein's long history of brutal crimes against the innocent people of Iraq," [CENTCOM Spokesman James] Wilkinson said.

Latest chapter. And his last.
Rumsfeld plays hardball

With the DPRK desperate to provoke a war, Rumsfeld comes out and suggests that maybe we don't need so many troops over in South Korea.

There's no way we're going to pull troops out right now (although moving our troops back a couple dozen miles might not be such a bad idea to give us more time to react), but he just wants to remind Seoul who is in the business of defending their border.
DPRK Update

Steven Den Beste has an excellent essay on the situation in North Korea.
Four Scenarios

Erik at Wax Tadpole sets out four scenarios facing the United States and Europe about whether we attack, or not, in face of UN pressure. We're not getting France's support... we will attack anyway. Sounds fine to me.

His fourth scenario - where we back down, Bush loses, and the Democrats try to "repair" the breach with Europe is too ghastly to contemplate. I'll be in a rubber room, curled up in a fetal position by 2007.
I don't see the Union bug on this thing...

Via LawGeek, I note Centcom's Gallery of propaganda leaflets. There's something about the garage band CD-label aesthetic here I like.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

New Mexico-Texas Border Skirmish

Here's a great article about a brewing land dispute between Texas and New Mexico. Seems that in 1911, Texas told New Mexican statehood advocates to either forget this little surveying error -- or forget statehood. And we're not talking about a couple acres of riverbed, which is the usual Arkansas v. Mississippi land dispute. We're talking about 603 thousand acres.

If you are familiar with a map of New Mexico, they're talking about the strip of land the runs south of the notch in northeastern New Mexico, in Union County.

The Blogosphere's New Status Symbol

Personalized, forward-deployed weaponry.
I don't think so, comrades

The UN draws up its plans for a post-Saddam Iraq.

I think the US and Britain need to invite some other countries in to help supervise post-Saddam Iraq, but it must decidedly not be the UN, NATO or anything else in which France has a say. I'd be delighted if we asked a few solid allies to supervise non-military affairs, something which I've discussed previously here.

The plan resists British pressure to set up a full-scale UN administration. It also says that the UN should avoid taking direct control of Iraqi oil or becoming involved in vetting Iraqi officials for links to the President or staging elections under US military occupation. It proposes instead the creation of a UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, to be known as Unami, to help to establish a new government. UN sources expected the plan to be implemented even if the US goes to war without a UN resolution authorising military action. It recommends that the UN immediately appoint a senior official to co-ordinate its strategy, who would become the UN special representative in post-war Iraq.

The UN ought to be politely ignored.
More Taikonauts News

Here's a bit more on the Chinese Lunar Program called Chaing'e. I still think the Chinese will try to send a manned circumlunar voyage (around, not on, the moon, ala Apollo 8) by 2008, ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
The GAP, Oppressor of Man

Mall Security Guard gets a bee in his bonnet. Mall Security Guard tells men to remove "Peace on Earth" Shirts. Men refuse. Arrests are made.

Stupidity prevails. Lawsuits to follow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Thought for the Day

"The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know." -- P.J. O'Rourke
Space: 1953

In 1953, Dr. Leon Stuart saw - and photographed - an impact on the lunar surface. Although he was convinced he'd seen an impact, it was hard to know that it was not some sort of optical illusion or some other event. Stuart's Event, as they called it, was a curiosity -- and essentially unprovable.

Until now.

You can read more here.
The People, United, Shall Never Be Defeated

Michael Leeden of NRO reports that the most recent elections in Iran, which were a win for the Islamist hardliners, represented a turn out of about one percent, by some accounts, up to fourteen percent by others. This after the government hoped for a "overwhelming" turnout.

The Iranian people simply refused to participate in a corrupt process which would legitimize the anti-reformist regime.

My over/under for a counterrevolution in Tehran: March 1, 2004.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Model Rocketry Update

Noted over at Transterrestrial Musings, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) is doing his damnest to save model rocketry from the jackboot of government.

Check out these links, then call your Senator.
No Other Plans

Instapundit takes to task the Catholic Church, and particularly Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, for both antisemitism* and appeasement. I do not take Instapundit’s comments to be a smear on the Church.

That said, to answer Professor Reynold’s question, I think why the Church is “always” coming out “against” Israel is that, whatever else its problems, the Church is not ignorant to the affairs of man. It knows that, Israel is the one calling the shots in the Middle East - Israel can make a separate peace with a willing partner, as it has with Jordan and Egypt, but the Arab world cannot ultimately be at peace without Israel's leadership. For good or ill (and almost certainly for good) Israel is the most powerful country in the Middle East – it could drink from the Euphrates if it so chose. It knows full well that the government of Israel is a greater friend to Christianity – and a bigger advocate of a just peace – than many governments in Europe.

Robert Heinlein cautioned “do not appeal to a man’s better nature, he may not have one.” I take the Vatican’s challenges to Israel to be, like Ghandi’s challenges to London, a tacit recognition that Israel not only has power to change the world, but has a better nature that can be appealed to. The Vatican knows corruption and anti-semitism are rife throughout the Middle East and, ultimately, has faith that there is a peaceful solution. But if there is a peaceful solution to be had, it cannot be had without Israel. Israel has a moral obligation to lead for peace in the Middle East, even if the rest of the Middle East isn’t ready for it.

For all its many, many faults, it is faith, Good Professor, that drives the Church. And while I do not believe Yasser Arafat cares for peace – I know Baghdad and Damascus ad Riyadh do not, the Church knows Israel is the vehicle for peace. The Vatican speaks to Israel...because Israel alone is listening.

In 2000, Cardinal Etchegaray delivered this homily at the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. This passage jumped out at me:

Do you know the legend that deserves to be a true story, which I was told by an Orthodox monk? Here it is. After Easter, when Christ was about to ascend into heaven, he lowered his eyes to the earth and saw it plunged in darkness, except for some small lights over the city of Jerusalem. As he ascends he meets the Angel Gabriel, who was used to earthly missions and asks him: "What are those tiny lights?". "They are the Apostles gathered around my Mother, and as soon as I reach heaven my plan is to send the Holy Spirit to them so that these small sparks will become a great blaze that will enflame the whole earth with love". The angel dares to answer: "And what will you do if the plan does not succeed?". After a moment of silence, the Lord replies: "I have no other plans!".

The temporal governments in the rest of the Middle East are darkness. The Church knows the lights are in Jerusalem, Professor Reynolds. It doesn’t intend to let Israel forget it.

* I do not care to enter into a discussion of the Church's long, unpleasant history of antisemitism. So long as it is addressed to the Vatican itself and not to all members of the Catholic clergy, I'll stipulate to almost any indictment against the Church.
One Data Point

I got an email from an old college chum who is Turkish and lives in Istanbul. He's a professional fellow, pretty secular (he was older, so he always bought the beer, God bless him!) and generally pro-American. I got his comments about the war, and I thought them interesting enough to pass along (I've tidied the spelling just a tad, but otherwise left it as is). No need to offer any analysis here, just sort of interesting:

This time also even though we (general) don't think the war is not the only way to disarm Saddam the public opinion was that with some guarantees (estimation is if the war continues more than 6 mth.our loss will be about 100 [billion] again) we would allow American troops. Now it seems the public opinion changed a bit because US started arming Kurdish groups giving them hopes to form a Kurdish state. Also the American media just showed Turkey as if we were trying to cut a deal from U.S. (24 billion loans &6 billion aid) did not mentioned how much oil and trade embargo to Iraq since 1991 cost us. Public did not like our new image that was created by media and the recent vote at the parliament was the reaction to that.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

The mailsack thud of another boy going home to Jesus

1,000 miles in 1,000 hours? This ultra-ultra-marathon seems a bit too close to The Long Walk by Richard Bachmann (nee Steven King) for my tastes. At least they won't shoot them for dropping out.

I hope.