Friday, December 19, 2003

Gays in the military

Yes, I'm robbing the Corner again, for this from Ramesh Ponnuru.

Barking up the wrong tree?

I've always wondered why advertisers were so crazy about 18-34 year olds, especially now that I haven't been one for a while. This tells why this started and why it's a lousy idea.

Aw, who cares if it's true?

Did you hear what the troops were calling the Sikorsky Blackhawk which Hillary used to tour Iraq? "Broomstick One" From The Corner.

Halliburton price gouging?

What really happened, from Byron York on NRO.

Next Tuesday on Bravo

Yep, I even stole the title from the Veep.

And how much for a break on that adultery thing?

Chris Johnson tells us about how the African Episcopals told off the Episcopal Church of the US. Indulgences are not for sale here.

It's one of those picky little doctrine things - the one group believes the Bible means what it says, and the other one just thinks it's cool and retro to dress up to visit a big fancy building once a week or so and hear some organ music.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Convoy protection

This is fairly old, but I missed it the first time.

Link stolen from The Corner.

Would-be assassin allowed unsupervised visits

Howard Kurtz' column from the WaPo is here. He notes that John Hinckley now is permitted unsupervised visits.

Hey Johnny, why don't you go drop in on Sarah Brady? She shouldn't have any hard feelings - it was the gun that did it, right?

Or maybe you should see Jody Foster? She should be happy to see you, right? Anybody who would go to so much trouble to impress her, well...surely she's been waiting for you all of these years.

And if it's OK to loosen up on Hinckley, why not cut Sirhan Sirhan a little slack? He could probably use some air - he's been locked up a lot longer and he didn't even shoot a President. I guess the only justification for the disparate treatment must be racial prejudice, right?

Iraqis Shocked, Shamed by Hussein's Sullied Image (

Right here:
"We feel he either should have fought, or if he was surrounded and there was no other way, committed suicide. That's what we were expecting," he said. "When he didn't, it wasn't a surprise for us. It was a shock."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Santa is having PeTA problems

...according to this. The link doesn't work right - page down and you'll know when you come across it.

Zero tolerance = zero intelligence

Get caught taking Motrin, get suspended from school.

It might help if the local school board would lead by example. It would appear that they don't - they must have been on drugs when they came up with that policy.

An interview with Gimli

Or rather the actor who played him in LOTR, John Rhys-Davies.

It's interesting on its own, but I was struck by Rhys-Davies' telling of some predictions his father made back in 1955.

Refuse to be boxed in

The Problem:
Affirmative action is a poorly executed attempt at achieving diversity. Unfortunately, it's hurting everyone, members of all races. It's racism. It's wrong. It needs to be stopped.

The Idea:
"What would happen to affirmative-action programs if a significant portion of college applicants intentionally misreported their races? Even if most applications were marked correctly...a little civil disobedience could introduce just enough margin of error to really bring out the pure intellectual chaos and moral repugnance of affirmative action."

What you can do:

Click here

Conceived to die

CLog points us to this abomination from NJ.

So you thought they'd just kill embryos?:
If the bill is signed by the governor, as is expected, it will be legal in New Jersey to implant cloned human embryos into wombs, allow the baby to grow for nine months, and then destroy the unborn child for research.

The bill prohibits the use of human cloning for reproductive purposes, but allows cloning to create unborn children only to be killed -- either early after their creation for their stem cells or at any time before their birth.
But it's about compassion:
Advocates of cloning and embryonic stem cell research said their bill was about compassion towards others by helping to find cures to diseases.
But here's the corker:
"Do this for your children and your grandchildren."
No, you're doing it to your children and grandchildren.

It all reminds me of a political cartoon I saw once. A stereotypical liberal was looking upward and lecturing the heavens - "Why haven't you sent us cures for cancer, AIDS,..." etc. And a voice came back saying "I did, but you aborted them".

Note: minor editing above.

Jumping his own ship?

Another WaPo article: Hussein Document Exposes Network (

I thought I'd heard that part of the reason for Iraq's performance in the war was that their command and control couldn't do jack without blessing from Saddam Hussein. But the article above says that SH was playing essentially no role in day to day operations.

That couldn't have been too comfortable for Saddam, whose generals were the single biggest threat to his skin once his sons were killed. IMO the day he figured he was safer with the Americans than he was with his generals, he sought to make sure that the Americans found him before the wrong Iraqis did.

The real reason for the bombings in Iraq...

Explosives-Laden Truck Hits Minibus, 10 Killed (

I really do have a life, so I don't go hunting for moonbats on DU or the like. Besides, they seem to be somewhat predictable. For instance, I'm sure that one of them will claim that the US is behind incidents like the above, to justify sticking around in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Triticale finally got a blog

Right here.

"Some of my fellow Democrats are unpatriotic"

By Orson Scott Card in OpinionJournal:
Am I saying that critics of the war aren't patriotic?
Not at all--I'm a critic of some aspects of the war. What I'm saying is that those who try to paint the bleakest, most anti-American, and most anti-Bush picture of the war, whose purpose is not criticism but deception in order to gain temporary political advantage, those people are indeed not patriotic. They have placed their own or their party's political gain ahead of the national struggle to destroy the power base of the terrorists who attacked Americans abroad and on American soil.

Patriots place their loyalty to their country in time of war ahead of their personal and party ambitions. And they can wrap themselves in the flag and say they "support our troops" all they like--but it doesn't change the fact that their program is to promote our defeat at the hands of our enemies for their temporary political advantage.
And then there's this:
We have enemies that have earned our hatred, and whom we should fear. They are fanatical terrorists who seek opportunities to kill American civilians here and Israeli civilians in Israel. But right now, our national media and the Democratic Party are trying to get us to believe that the people we should hate and fear are George W. Bush and the Republicans.
I can't improve on that. Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 15, 2003

The last word on LTC Allen B. West

From Baldilocks.

Too good to be true?

Back in the 70's I heard this joke with good news and bad news. The bad news was that the Martians had landed. The good news was that they excreted gasoline and ate < insert ethnic/racial group here >.

As much as that might appeal to some, we have something better:
WASHINGTON, DC – Department of Energy-funded researchers have decoded and analyzed the genome of a bacterium with the potential to bioremediate radioactive metals and generate electricity. In an article published in the December 12th issue of Science, researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, report that Geobacter sulfurreducens possesses extraordinary capabilities to transport electrons and "reduce" metal ions as part of its energy-generating metabolism.

"The genome of this tiny microorganism may help us to address some of our most difficult cleanup problems and to generate power through biologically-based energy sources," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Geobacter is an important part of Nature's toolbox for meeting environmental and energy challenges. This genome sequence and the additional research that it makes possible may lead to new strategies and biotechnologies for cleaning up groundwater at DOE and at industry sites."
On the flip side, maybe one of these days someone will come up with a bug that eats petroleum and turns it into CO2 and other byproducts without letting us burn or process it first.

A balanced diet for spiders?

It's not just good for them, it's good for us:
Money spiders – or Linyphiidae - are a vital controller of pest numbers on farms because their prey includes aphids. However, aphids have poor nutritional value and are sometimes toxic, so the spiders need to balance their diet with other prey.

In a field experiment, the Cardiff team's analysis showed that the money spiders were eating large numbers of small insects called springtails or Collembola. Stomach contents showed that they were eating several different species of Collembola, but with strong preferences – DNA from a species, which was uncommon at the site where they were collected, proved to be present most frequently in the stomachs of the spiders.

"The DNA analysis enables us to identify precisely what the spiders have eaten," said Dr Symondson. "If we compare that with the prey populations in the field, we can see which prey the spiders prefer to eat when they have a choice."

"If we can encourage this prey insect in greater numbers, it should boost the population of spiders and therefore provide better control of aphids," said Dr Symondson.
In short, you might need more bugs before you can have fewer bugs. Or something like that.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton appoints ombudsman for renewables

Read about it here.

This was my favorite part:
"If the agencies don't work together the process can be endless," said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association. "The idea of having someone at that level that can make something happen is exciting."

But environmentalists issued caution. Katherine Morrison, an attorney for U.S. PIRG, an advocate group, said renewable energy may not be appropriate on all public lands.

"It's still development, and any development should be sited carefully and go through the environmental review process," Morrison said.
Really. There has to be a way to stop development in case it obstructs someone's view off Nantucket.

Inside a nuclear power plant

This article is about personnel safety at nuclear power plants. It might be interesting because it shows some of the internals of the plant, including the installation of a new steam generator. If nothing else it can give you an idea of the size, cleanliness and general layout of a reasonably representative pressurized water reactor site.

"Merry Christmas to y'all, and to all a good night"

Look here for the story of Bubba Claus.

Time for impeachment

Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council visited Saddam on Sunday and said they found him "tired and haggard, unrepentant, even defiant." Four members of the council called the former ruler "a just but firm ruler."


Greenpeace doesn't like it much when the Justice Department enforces the law.
"If they are successful, then we could be classed as a criminal organization, lose our tax-exempt status and have to report our movements to the Justice Department," said John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA. "It's the first time in U.S. history that the Justice Department has brought charges against an organization for nonviolent direct action."
Who are "they" and what did "they" do? Matt has the goods.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Lefty logic

NZ Bear wrote an interesting question here. It's the kind that exposes the flaming idiocy of so much of the self-identified left, so of course those whom the shoe fits are crying foul.

As I write this the last comment on NZB's post is from "Mithras", another lefty who chooses to disassociate his identity from his opinions. He recites his catechism:
What people who were against this war said, repeatedly, was (a) it was not in our interests, because it would not make us safer and conceivably could make us much less safe, (b) it was a distraction from the hunt for bin Laden and the people who really are a threat to our security, and (c) it would be a lot easier to take Iraq than to keep it.
The war would not make us safe? I'd say killing off a few thousand murderous idiots 8 time zones away from the US makes us safer. Catching the guy who compensated Palestinian suicide bombers makes it even better, and the corker is millions of erstwhile admirers seeing him caught alive and fleabitten without a fight.

It was a distraction? I love that argument. Henceforth we can use it against federal initiatives - program A should not be done because it will distract from program B. But really now, it took years to find Eric Rudolph right here in the US - why would we expect it to be any quicker to find a diseased old lunatic thousands of miles away in hostile territory when he's probably dead under a pile of rocks at Tora Bora? (And he never gets around to telling us who the others are who are a more of a threat to our security. He can't mean al-Qaeda unless he doesn't know that they've sent people to fight in Iraq. Maybe he's taking the 5th...)

It would be easier to take Iraq than to keep it? True enough, but irrelevant - we don't intend to keep it. We just want
Iraq to have a govt worthy of the name so we won't have to clean house again. And although I have no problems with having Iraqis in the US, I hope they restore the place so well that our expatriate Iraqis start going back.

Then of course he has to start a totally irrelevant attack, explaining how the non-libs "don't give a damn". Of course, that's an article of faith on the left. Too bad their secular God rewards faith and not works, or else maybe they'd actually solve a problem they identify once in a while.

Enough. The lefties are never wrong, and they won't ever shut up, and they simply aren't worth the bandwidth.

Bush's real environmental record

Bird Dog tells it here.

"Talkative and cooperative"

Of course. That's what his captors would say regardless. They want to scare the people he can betray and make him look weak.

Then again it makes sense. The only reason for keeping this dirtbag alive is the information they can get out of him, and Saddam will know that.

He'll also know that being cooperative is a way to remain in the custody of the US instead of the Iraqis. So he'll dribble info out over time to keep his skin.

"Ladies and Gentlemen - we got him!"

It's terrific news of course. And it's fun to check out some of the lefty blogs, or what Glenn Reynolds calls the Coalition of the Pissy.

But 1) you already heard all this, and 2) everyone else is doing it today. So if you haven't had enough of it yet, or prefer to let it sit for a while (say, until after the DNA tests are back), go see Command Post, Reynolds and the innumerable things they link to.

Still more gay marriage

Whether you like them or not, the Weblog Awards provide a lot of links. I thought I'd check out Swirlspice and I found a link to what follows.

John Kusch gets around in the blogosphere. I first ran into him in Dean Esmay's comments, and he has written some interesting stuff. He's gay, proud of it, and isn't shy about sharing his opinions. I don't know if his opinions are representative of the majority of gays, but he's handy, so I'll work with him. All quotes are from this.

He starts with this:
I listen to a lot of arguments against gay marriage.
And shortly thereafter there is this:
If I have the opportunity to hear a straight person out regarding their anti-gay marriage arguments, I usually make it a point to mention, "I'm really impressed by what a concerted effort straight people make to learn about us homosexuals, since they seem to know so much about us, and are so eager to share that knowledge with us. I suppose, really, that I've learned everything I know about being gay from straight people, at least if you measure it by volume."
Do you suppose he gave them a fair hearing? I suppose it would get tiresome to hear the same old stuff all the time, but that must be because he keeps bringing up the same questions.
Some straight people are actually in favor of gay marriage. Oddly, they tend to be the quietest of the bunch -- again, if you measure by volume.
Yeah, the quieter it gets the more of them there are, right?
1. If same-sex couples were allowed to marry, marriage would no longer be a sure-fire way for people to prove they aren't gay.
People say that? You must hang around with some really dumb straights. If my sex life is an issue with someone, that's their problem. I just happen to be straight.
I was called a faggot by another boy for the first time at the age of five.
You should have told him to get off your back...
The children around us on the playground only had to hear the word and the air became electrified with fear, hate, excitement and the pheromonal mish-mash that is analogous to blood in the water.
That's why some of us don't want 5 year olds exposed to stuff like this. I'm having a hard time believing that your abuser, at 5, had any clue what the word meant. Or that you did either, for that matter.
Being a faggot was the worst thing in the world; and unfortunately I didn't have the wherewithal or presence of mind to do the one thing that might have refuted the accusation: beat my accuser senseless. Having missed that opportunity, I was permanently labeled in my peer group, not only as a "faggot", but as something even worse: a girl. Goodbye baseball, hello jumprope. I don't think that homosexuals are manufactured, but sissies most certainly are.
That kids are cruel isn't exactly news. What's worse is how intelligent kids react to this. They assimilate information rapidly without being sophisticated enough to recognize BS, and can reach some really lousy conclusions based on that.

For my part, I was in kindergarten when I found a ring. Girls like rings, right?, so I gave it to one and happened to mention it to my parents. They thought it was the "cutest story" and I must have heard about it 1000 times. I concluded that I wasn't going to talk about anything related to girls with my family again. And that decision made as a 5 year old stuck around for years - when I really could have used advice I couldn't seek it from the people who could have given the best.
"...I saw the boys who were faggots and I saw how they acted and how they got treated, and I decided no way was I gonna get treated like that. So I acted like the boys who picked on the faggots instead. I guess I was kind of a jerk."
I was somewhat the same, only with the artier or brainier kids. Or the boys who cried too easily - they learned how to control it or they got abused.

Any aptitude test I ever took I pegged high, and in the summer after first grade I read everything I could get my hands on. This resulted in me collecting a mass of oddball facts without any wisdom tying it together, but it was enough for me to become an exhibit. I didn't like that either, so it seemed smarter to deemphasize this. I was still at the top of the class, but I didn't have to look or sound that way.

Incidentally, I didn't hear the word "faggot" for the first time until junior high. Even then it was just a word - I didn't know anything about it or have any idea why anybody would be one willingly.

Oh yeah, artier stuff. I learned early on that about anything musical besides drums or electric guitar wasn't cool. Graphic arts could be redeemed only through rudeness or smuttiness. Singing - not us. Dancing? Forget it, at least until jr. high or later. Absent significant offsetting "cool points", such kids were provoked regularly, especially if they combined art with intelligence.

Yes, being a kid, I overreacted and bought into all this, and the effects stuck around for years. So I picked up my first serious guitar at around 19, didn't start anything like serious dancing until after I had turned 40, cameras are on the agenda, and don't be surprised if some art or music starts showing up here. I'm slow, but I'm getting there.

Considering how I was so malleable, I'm guessing I'm lucky I was never told I was a "faggot". And assuming that my Middle American small town grade school wasn't exceptional, it makes me wonder if this has anything to do with the overrepresentation of gays in arts and entertainment.
If gay marriage is allowed, heterosexuals will have one less manner in which to distinguish themselves from "them" (or "us", depending).
This matters?

Mr. Kusch twists the language treating gays and straights as peers when in fact there are around 30+ straights for every gay. Whatever else might be said about homosexuality, the fact is that it's a tiny minority that is like no other, and the majority reserves the right to define the language. We don't need asininities like "andro- or gynosexual", or notions like "the only thing that defines heterosexuals is having heterosexual sex". It's the other way around - the default is heterosexuality, and it is homosexual sex that makes you gay or bi. IOW you're the exception, not the rule.
Homosexuals who care more about tradition and acceptance than their own emotional lives (or who just like a little ass "on the down-low", as those "in the life" term it) will have one less form of camouflage.
Good grief. Unless you make a show of it, why would anyone know if you are gay or straight or not without knowing you fairly well? Absent unusual behavior, most of us assume that people are straight, and thus don't "oppress".
2. If the civil marriage of same-sex couples is allowed, it will be demonstrated once again (for those Americans who have skipped a Civics class or two) that Church and State are, indeed, separate. No church will ever be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage, but no religion will ever be able to prevent same-sex couples from being married by a justice of the peace, either.
Some religious leaders are outspoken against homosexuality of course. But take a look at the most Godless regimes that there have ever been and see how well they treated gays.

IMO most non-gay gay marriage advocates are doing it just to spite traditional religions.
3. Same-sex marriage will send a message to straight society that same-sex couples...can be whole, complete, happy people without them.
What makes you think we care? No appreciable amount of the population wishes ill upon gays - my money says that gays outnumber them. But I for one am sick and tired of a tiny minority expecting to dictate to the rest of the world how marriage should be defined so a tiny subminority of them can simplify their legal paperwork. How can anybody be so down on straights and at the same time embrace the institution that they seem to think defines them?
You'll probably never get anyone to admit it, but there are people out there who oppose same-sex marriage because they instinctively sense that to legalize it would be to surrender the last bit of power they hold over us. Whether or not same-sex couples will misbehave isn't the issue so much as whether skeptical heterosexuals will be allowed to chaperone us.
Wait a minute - you want to get married so you can escape the control of others?

Oh, we'd like some control over you alright, but no more than we ask of straights. Strange dress and behavior and overt displays of sexuality are frowned upon with straights too, so there isn't even disparate treatment in that respect. The ones who want control here are the gays, and they want it despite being in the minority.
4. Same-sex marriage will force everyone, gay and straight, to confront and address the shortcomings, inequities, hypocricies and outright failings of marriage.
That's a total non-sequitur. And of course it's insulting to straights, suggesting that they can't fix marriage without gay input. You know, the guys who have no history of being married.

If marriage is so fouled up, then why would gays want in? It would make more sense to develop your own institution with its own body of law. Then maybe the straights would learn the error of their ways and change their marriage laws to match the new enlightened ones.
Picture we [sic] homosexuals, working through years of painful self-revelation due to straight bigotry, then rising above our oppression to help those same straight people who oppressed us through their own painful marital and sociological self-revelations, liberating our oppressors in a selfless and transformative gesture. Poignant, no?
Good grief, such moral masturbation makes me want to barf.

Why is disparate treatment of homosexuals so universal to human societies? Oh sure, some made sure they had some boys around to screw, but the boys quit catching once they became men. Don't claim credit for those unless you want to claim the Boston priests too.
Honestly, it doesn't strike me as a touching or dramatic or even interesting scenario -- not nearly as touching or dramatic or interesting as getting on Matt's health insurance so I can pursue a full-time writing career without completely giving up physical and financial security. Sorry, but I don't want to prick the boil of national catharsis or orchestrate a gargantuan After-School Special. I just want a legal framework for what we're betting could very well be a lifelong partnership. I want half.
Yep, we finally get to the real inspiration. The entire US must radically change the law of its most fundamental social institution so John Kusch won't have to buy his own health insurance.
No matter how progressive or open-minded they claim to be, most people do not want their children to be gay. Legal same-sex marriages would serve as an undeniable example to gay youth that homosexuality does not necessarily deprive a person of a happy and fulfilling life, meaningful familial bonds, or the fullness of romantic love and long-term partnership. By being happy, well-adjusted, productive and healthy human beings -- with joint checking accounts and videotapes of our commitment ceremonies -- we'll just be encouraging them.
Yeah, right - how many married people do you know? Is this what they all told you about marriage?

Why can't gay youth get their examples from unmarried gay couples? It would seem to be an even better example of love and mutual respect if neither has the other by the cojones with elaborate legal constraints.

Long ago Ann Landers famously remarked that "marriage is not a reform school". It won't make you "happy, well-adjusted, productive and healthy " - you have to be that way when you start.

OK Mr. Kusch, suppose some simple standardized legal arrangement suits you. Terrific - you can have what you're talking about through civil unions, with a separate body of law dedicated to your unique circumstances and that addresses the shortcomings you identify in existing marriage law, and under your control. Create a code and get it adopted nationwide so we can have uniform laws once and for all, and there's no reason why a church of any stripe needs to have any influence in the process at all. Then maybe the straights will adopt it too and you'll have those nasty old churches out of the marriage business.
Nobody wants their child to be gay because being gay is difficult
Nonsense. If I switched teams tomorrow there's be no reason why anybody besides my partner and a few close associates would ever need to know, so how could it be difficult? I don't care what the rest think, and I have no idea why they should care anyway.

Faced with the alternative of developing a new, superior body of law for civil unions, and the much lesser opposition to implementing this, why do some insist on having "gay marriage"? It's about legitimacy (see, we marry too!), opposition to traditional religion, greed, and the sheer narcissism it takes to demand such a radical change to a fundamental social institution just to please a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of our society.

UPDATE: The above isn't particularly well written - I threw it together in a hurry before the topic scrolled off. But it has attracted some response in another post on Mr. Kusch's blog here. I've commented there myself.

She popped

And it's a boy. Congratulations to Dawn and Eric!