Monday, September 25, 2006

Romney Courts Social Conservatives

John Fund, writing in today's Wall Street Journal:

Romney Rides High
A Mormon from Massachusetts wows social conservatives.
Monday, September 25, 2006 12:01 a.m.

WASHINGTON--Right now John McCain is the front-runner for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. But everyone expects that a single major competitor will emerge to challenge him from the right. The question hung in the air of this past weekend's Family Research Council summit in Washington: Who will that candidate be for the GOP's powerful social conservative base?

FRC officials says they invited Mr. McCain to speak, but he declined. But another potential candidate benefited greatly from showing up. Surprisingly, it was Massachusetts' Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon with a Harvard M.B.A who governs the nation's most liberal state. The 1,800 delegates applauded him frequently during his Friday speech and gave him a standing ovation afterward. Mr. Romney detailed his efforts to block court-imposed same-sex marriage in the Bay State and noted that the liberal Legislature has failed to place a citizen-initiated referendum on the ballot. He excoriated liberals for supporting democracy only when they think that the outcome is a foregone conclusion that favors their views. He certainly picked up fans at the summit. "I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008," says Maggie Gallagher, author of a book defending traditional marriage.

The tall barrier many see as blocking his acceptance by evangelical voters--the fact that many Americans view Mormonism with suspicion or worse--may prove to be a mirage. "Everyone I talked to said they didn't have a problem with it," one attendee told me. "If enough people say that to each other, Romney creates a virtuous circle in which evangelical activists decide he's acceptable." Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, notes that something similar has happened in recent years as devout Catholic and evangelical Protestants have increasingly focused on areas of agreement. "Romney won't be the ideal choice for evangelicals, but against a McCain in the primary or a Hillary Clinton in the general election there's no doubt where most would go," he says.

Recently, the person most likely to be viewed as the conservative alternative to John McCain would have been Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist or Sen. George Allen of Virginia. But Mr. Frist has lost support as he has failed to herd the unruly cats of the Senate and been viewed as a Washington insider. As for Mr. Allen, he was welcomed by delegates, who sympathized with the hazing he's gotten over his use of the term "macaca" to describe an Indian-American working for his opponent. Almost no one seemed to care about the recent discovery of his Jewish ancestry. But Mr. Allen has clearly suffered from his accident-prone Senate re-election campaign. One noted that he has gone from twice being named the front-runner for the 2008 nomination in National Journal's semi-annual poll of 100 GOP "insiders" to being a beleaguered incumbent in his home state. Now he's even facing fire from the right. "I'm disappointed Sen. Allen has chosen to attack [Democratic opponent] Jim Webb for once opposing inappropriate roles for women in the military," says Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. "He's pandering and panicking."

Other social conservatives addressed the FRC summit and received warm greetings. They included Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and former speaker Newt Gingrich. But for now all are viewed as either too little known or carrying too much baggage to win the nomination. That said, Mr. Gingrich was given a rock star's welcome at the summit's closing banquet. "He is on Fox News so much that conservatives have forgotten his fall from power and now think of him as a statesman," says Fred Johnson, a prominent social conservative from Iowa. "When he said the U.S. was now in World War III against terrorism, every talk show ran with it."

Mr. Romney's can't match Mr. Gingrich's rhetorical flair or Mr. Huckabee's down-home homilies. But he impressed three separate and distinct audiences in Washington last week in a 24-hour speaking blitz. On Thursday about one out of eight House Republicans came to hear him address a weekly luncheon hosted by Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia. Mr. Kingston told the Boston Globe that Mr. Romney made a very positive impression and was clearly positioning himself for the role opposite Mr. McCain that Mr. Allen once occupied.

Immediately afterward, Mr. Romney went across town to address a group of K Street lobbyists and economic conservatives. "He was impressive in explaining how he governed as a conservative in Ted Kennedy's home state," said columnist Robert Novak. The next morning, Mr. Romney appeared before the Family Research Council's summit. "He won over a lot of people when he recalled how as a businessman he had rescued the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City," says Chris Butler of Americans For Tax Reform.

That experience helped solidify Mr. Romney's reputation as a can-do manager who knows how to delegate. "He is the only elected official I've met with who gave me a detailed power-point briefing on my area of expertise," says Bob Moffit, a health-care expert at the Heritage Foundation who worked with Mr. Romney to craft a law mandating that everyone in Massachusetts buy health insurance.

That's not to say Mr. Romney doesn't have critics back home. Even Romney allies acknowledge that should Democrat Deval Patrick win this fall's gubernatorial race to succeed the retiring Mr. Romney, his health-care plan could become a bureaucratic nightmare. Larry Cirignano, the head of the Boston-based group Catholic Citizenship, faults Mr. Romney for not allowing local officials to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He also criticizes the governor for reversing a decision to replace a state advisory commission on gay and lesbian youth with one representing all youth. Only a few hours after the announcement, Mr. Romney changed his mind. Commission chairman Kathleen Myers said she is convinced he reversed course after being "inundated" with protest calls. "It wasn't a profile in courage from a conservative's point of view," notes Mr. Cirignano.

But sniping from his home state isn't the greatest challenge facing Mr. Romney. While he is well known in the early primary state of New Hampshire, he still has scant organization in Iowa, which will vote before New Hampshire. Reporters will continue to dog him over his position on abortion. Mr. Romney says he is now "very firmly pro-life" after having frequently expressed pro-choice views. Last year, Mike Murphy, a strategist for his 2002 governor's race, raised further questions when he told National Review that, all along, Mr. Romney has been "a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly." Mr. Romney said Mr. Murphy was speaking only for himself.

But Mr. Romney also has many advantages. He is perhaps the only candidate who can plausibly claim a base in several states. He has a contributor base in Massachusetts; a large reservoir of political goodwill in Michigan, where he was born and his father served as governor in the 1960s; and the loyalty of many Mormons in Utah and neighboring states. He has a built-in corps of volunteers and contributors in any state where Mormons, the fastest-growing religion in America, have a real presence.

And then there is the charisma and poise that Mr. Romney seems to exude naturally. "Many people say he certainly looks like a president--sort of a cross between Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy," says Genevieve Wood, who founded the conservative Center for a Just Society. Anyone who draws comparisons to those political genes merits further watching.

[Back to RomneyWatch '08.]

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Last Tomcat Stands Down

Today the Navy officially retired the F-14 Tomcat.
Its mission was to protect the carrier battle group from hostile aircraft. With its twin engines, the all-weather-capable Tomcat could more than get the job done, flying at twice the speed of sound, and carrying Phoenix, Sidewinder and Sparrow missiles and a 20 mm Gatling gun. In addition, the Tomcat had a vast array of air-to-ground ordnance, making it much more than simply a defensive weapon.
And it has served in that role well for over thirty years, the Tomcat's first operational deployment occurring in September 1974. They saw service in the skies over Vietnam (covering the evacuation of Saigon), Libya, Iraq, and countless other intercepts and incidents that make up the untold story of the Cold War. Now, they're gone.
Then, the Tomcat Sunset weekend highlight will take place Friday at 10 am, with the Final Flight Ceremony at hangar 500. It will end, appropriately enough, with the final F-14 flying off into the distance. The Navy says the aircraft will likely be bound for the Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where it and other retiring Tomcats will be stored in the "boneyard," or, as it is officially designated, "war reserve."

F-14 from VF-84 "Jolly Rogers" prepares for launch. Picture from

One of the premier fighters in the history of aviation, and the most storied fighter in the U.S. inventory, has returned from deployment for the last time.

The F-14 Tomcat, a swing-wing twin-engined fighter-interceptor, is slated for retirement as the last active-duty squadrons still flying the F-14 returned to Oceana Naval Air Station. The squadrons will be re-equipped with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

That would be despite the fact that the F-14 is still a better fighter. The problem is age - the F-14 has been in active service since 1973; the F-18 design is a good ten years younger, while the Super Hornet design is younger still, with models not entering service until the early 1990s. Older planes need more maintenance time. The maintenance demands are forcing the F-14 out of service.

Makes you wonder, though; maybe they ought to just build some new F-14s, with new electronics. The basic design is still a good one. The new F-18s are slower and heavier that the older F-14s.

But the threat has changed as well. The F-14 was an answer to the Soviet threat, a way to keep Warsaw Pact bombers and fighters away from NATO convoys in case everybody's nightmares came true. (See Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October or even better, Red Storm Rising, to see how the Tomcats were used and were intended to be used.) For naval aviation, the need now isn't so much to defend against enemy aircraft as to be able to strike deep into enemy territory.

I just hope we're not ignoring tomorrow's war while preparing for today's.

For more information:
The F-14 Tomcat Association
Tomcat Alley

UPDATE: A couple of looks back...
Neptunus Lex
Chaotic Synaptic Activity, Part I and Part II

Instapinch, Tomcats, Oceana Fly-in Part I, Part II, Part III

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Modern Socialist

Via Peter Robinson in The Corner:

No longer is it said that the state can outperform the market. Rather it is said that the market itself suffers from certain “failures” that justify forms of state intervention to protect individuals who are hurt in the process. The movement toward collectivization of all public activities, if it is to take place today, will not rest on a single bold initiative that casts aside the private sector. Instead, it will take place in the form of a multiple attack along different margins, where each individual struggle does not generalize easily across the board.

The long-standing objective of the modern closet socialist is to consolidate the separate beachheads after they are taken over. Thus, state dominance can be portrayed as a device that takes the irrationality, impersonality, and cruelty out of markets and not as a device that dispenses with their use altogether. In effect, the discourse takes the form of an intellectual two-step. Step one: markets are all right when they work. Step two: but markets do not work in this particular area, be it health care, labor, housing, agriculture, or whatever, each with it sown “special” problems.

In one sense, the quiet blessing in this approach is that it obviates the risk of a catastrophic conversion to state control through aggressive nationalization. But it gives rise to a multiple-front war in which substantial chunks of voluntary markets always find themselves at risk. The case against overall socialism is irrefutable today. But the desire to keep up with its egalitarian objectives continues to exert a considerable influence in practice.

Richard Epstein, Free Markets Under Siege, Hoover Press, pp. 10 -11

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006

HeartAttack - Cox & Forkum

It has been five years since 2,996 people were murdered because they lived that day as they had any other.

I'll be dropping back to this post from time to time today to leave a few thoughts; right now; I'd like to leave some links of some great coverage & reads:

The 2996 Project is remembering the victims of the attacks.

National Review Online has a lot up, including a symposium featuring (among others) Mark Steyn and James Lileks and a link to its archives from that week.
A couple of notewothy pieces:
James Robbins, "Are We There Yet?"
David Pryce-Jones, "Resenting."
John O'Sullivan, "Patriotism Faded."

John Donovan at Argghhh! has good posts here and here.

Michael Ledeen, "I'm Still Angry."

Neptunus Lex, "Five Years On."

Cox & Forkum have a pair of excellent cartoons & posts up:
"Refresher Course" and "Confronting Terrorism, Part V."

SteelJaw talks about being in the Pentagon during the attack: Part I and Part II.

There are some well-done newsposts at these sites as well:
Winds of Change


*** ***

*** Where We Stand Now ***

Mark Steyn, writing in today's NRO symposium:
Mark Steyn
In the end, very little changed. The so-called “9/11 Democrats” are almost as invisible a presence as the “moderate Muslim,” and, insofar as one can tell, are most likely outnumbered by members of the Scowcroftian unrealpolitik Right still wedded to stability uber alles. In theory, if you’d wanted to construct an enemy least likely to appeal to the progressive Left, wife-beating gay-bashing theocrats would surely be it. But Islamism turned out to be the ne plus ultra of multiculti diversity-celebration — for what more demonstrates the boundlessness of one’s “tolerance” than by tolerating the intolerant. The Europeans’ fetishization of the Palestinians — whereby the more depraved the suicide bombers are the more brutalized they must have been by the Israelis — has, in effect, been globalized.

Anyone who’s mooched about the Muslim world for even brief amounts of time is struck by what David Pryce-Jones calls its “intellectual poverty”: It has a remarkable lack of curiosity about anything beyond its horizons. That hobbled it for centuries in its wars against the west. But our multicultural mindset is its mirror image: For isn’t the principle characteristic of “multiculturalism” its almost total lack of curiosity about other cultures? The multicultis make bliss of ignorance: You don’t need to know anything about Islam, you just have to feel warm and fluffy about it, and slap that “CO-EXIST” bumper sticker on your Subaru. If you want to know how little changed on 9/11, look at how it’s being observed in the nation’s schools.
James Lileks, writing in the same, is a bit more optimistic:
James Lileks
Half a decade later the changes seem small, and perhaps that’s a blessing. If 9/11 had been followed by 10/17, 11/02, 12/24, the Smallpox Epidemic of ’02, the EMP blackouts of ’03, and so much promiscuous anthrax distribution that mailmen tottered around in Hazmat suits on the hottest day of July, America would look quite different. But the other shoe didn’t drop — or rather, Richard Reid was KO’d before he could light it — and consequently we don’t look at the paper for news about the latest attack. We look at the ads in the paper for news about plasma-TV sales.

If 9/11 had really changed us, there’d be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there’s a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don’t. And we don’t seem interested in asking why.

The good news? We returned to our norm: cheerful industrious self-directed Americans who think in terms of fiscal quarters, not ancient grievances, and trust in Coke and Mickey to spread our message of tolerance and prosperity. The bad news? Same as the good. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

I suppose I'm more in sync with Steyn; although Lileks makes some great points. Deep down, I'm still mad. I want to hurt them. I want them destroyed, and I want it done now.

But what passion was there, has faded. It was weird here - among my friends, it's like no one was really angry that thousands of their countrymen had been murdered. Very strange. As for now - well, it's a passing thought at best, it seems.

Friday, September 08, 2006

TFFQ: Ask No Favors

Churchill Quote of the Week
"We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, "No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us." The people with one voice would say: "You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst - and we will do our best." Perhaps it may be our turn soon; perhaps it may be our turn now.

"We live in a terrible epoch of the human story, but we believe there is a broad and sure justice running through its theme. It is time that the enemy should be made to suffer in their own homelands something of the torment they have let loose upon their neighbours and upon the world. We believe it to be in our power to keep this process going, on a steadily rising tide, month after month, year after year, until they are either extirpated by us or, better still, torn to pieces by their own people."

Sir Winston Churchill

[To the Friday Furo Questus.]

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mark Steyn: "A Death in Iraq"

Mark Steyn reposted this column this week. I ask his forbearance, and reproduce it in its entirety here, if for no other reason than you remember this name: Fabrizio Quattrochi.

A Death in Iraq
from SteynOnline, October 12th 2004
FOR THE FIRST time in all my years with the Telegraph Group, I had a column pulled today. The editor expressed concerns about certain passages and we were unable to reach agreement, so on this Tuesday something else will be in my space.

I’d written about Kenneth Bigley, seized with two American colleagues but unlike them not beheaded immediately. Instead, sensing that they could exploit potential differences within “the coalition of the willing”, the Islamists played a cat-and-mouse game with Mr Bigley’s life, in which Fleet Street, the British public, governments in London and Dublin and Islamic lobby groups in the United Kingdom were far too willing to participate. As I always say, the point is not whether you’re sad about someone’s death, but what you’re prepared to do about it. What “Britain” – from Ken Bigley’s brother to the Foreign Secretary – did was make it more likely that other infidels will meet his fate.

I suppose the Telegraph felt it was a little heartless. Well, tough. This is a war, and misplaced mawkishness will lead to more deaths. In August 2001, I wrote as follows about the first anniversary of 9/11, when coverage was threatening to go the way of Princess Di and mounds of teddy bears:

Three thousand people died on September 11th, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of their children, parents, siblings and friends. Those of us who don’t fall into those categories are not bereaved and, by pretending to be, we diminish the real pain of those who really feel it. That’s not to say that, like many, I wasn’t struck by this or that name that drifted up out of the great roll-call of the dead. Newsweek’s Anna Quindlen ‘fastened on’, as she put it, one family on the flight manifest:

Peter Hanson, Massachusetts
Susan Hanson, Massachusetts
Christine Hanson, 2, Massachusetts

As Miss Quindlen described them, ‘the father, the mother, the two-year old girl off on an adventure, sitting safe between them, taking flight.’ Christine Hanson will never be three, and I feel sad about that. But I did not know her, love her, cherish her; I do not feel her loss, her absence in my life. I have no reason to hold hands in a ‘healing circle’ for her. All I can do for Christine Hanson is insist that the terrorist movement which killed her is hunted down and prevented from targeting any more two-year olds. We honour Christine Hanson’s memory by righting the great wrong done to her, not by ersatz grief-mongering.

That’s the way I feel about Kenneth Bigley. Here’s the column the Telegraph declined to publish:

WHETHER OR not it is, in the technical sense, a “joke”, I find myself, with the benefit of hindsight, in agreement with Billy Connolly’s now famous observation on Kenneth Bigley – “Aren’t you the same as me, don’t you wish they would just get on with it?”

Had his killers “just got on with it”, they would have decapitated Mr Bigley as swiftly as they did his two American confreres. But, sensing that there was political advantage to be gained in distinguishing the British subject from his fellow hostages, they didn’t get on with it, and the intervening weeks reflected poorly on both Britain and Mr Bigley.

None of us can know for certain how we would behave in his circumstances, and very few of us will ever face them. But, if I had to choose the very last last words I’d want to find myself uttering in this life, “Tony Blair has not done enough for me” would be high up on the list. First, because it’s the all but official slogan of modern Britain, the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport, and thus unworthy of the uniquely grisly situation in which Mr Bigley found himself. And, secondly, because those words are so at odds with the spirit of a life spent, for the most part, far from these islands, first as a “ten pound pom” in Oz and New Zealand, and later in more exotic outposts of empire. Ken Bigley seems to have found contemporary Britain a dreary, insufficient place and I doubt he cared about who was Prime Minister from one decade to the next. Had things gone differently and had his fate befallen some other expatriate, and had he chanced upon a month-old London newspaper in his favourite karaoke bar up near the Thai-Cambodian border and read of the entire city of Liverpool going into a week of Dianysian emotional masturbation over some deceased prodigal son with no inclination to return whom none of the massed ranks of weeping Scousers from the Lord Mayor down had ever known, Mr Bigley would surely have thanked his lucky stars that he and his Thai bride were about as far from his native sod as it’s possible to get.

While Ken Bigley passed much of his life as a happy expat, his brother Paul appears to have gone a stage further and all but seceded. Night and day, he was on TV explaining to the world how the Bigley family’s Middle East policy is wholly different from Her Majesty’s Government – a Unilateral Declaration of Independence accepted de facto by Mr Blair’s ministry when it dispatched Jack Straw to Merseyside to present formally his condolences to the Bigleys, surely the most extraordinary flying visit ever undertaken by a British Foreign Secretary. For their pains, the government was informed by Paul Bigley that the Prime Minister had “blood on his hands”. This seems an especially stupid and contemptible formulation when anyone with an Internet connection can see Ken Bigley’s blood and the hand it’s literally on holding up his head.

It reminded me of Robert Novak of The Chicago Sun-Times back in May, quoting “one senior official of a coalition partner” calling for the firing of Donald Rumsfeld on the grounds that “there must be a neck cut, and there is only one neck of choice.”

At pretty much that exact moment in Iraq, Nick Berg’s captors were cutting his head off - or, rather, feverishly hacking it off while raving “Allahu akhbar!” - God is great. The difference between the participants in this war is that on one side robust formulations about “blood on his hands” and “calls for the Defence Secretary’s head” are clichéd metaphors, and on the other they mean it.

Paul Bigley can be forgiven his clumsiness: he’s a freelancer winging it. But the feelers put out by the Foreign Office to Ken Bigley’s captors are more disturbing: by definition, they confer respectability on the head-hackers and increase the likelihood that Britons and other foreigners will be seized and decapitated in the future. The United Kingdom, like the government of the Philippines when it allegedly paid a ransom for the release of its Iraqi hostages, is thus assisting in the mainstreaming of jihad.

By contrast with the Fleet Street-Scouser-Whitehall fiasco of the last three weeks, consider Fabrizio Quattrocchi, murdered in Iraq on April 14th. In the moment before his death, he yanked off his hood and cried defiantly, “I will show you how an Italian dies!” He ruined the movie for his killers. As a snuff video and recruitment tool, it was all but useless, so much so that the Arabic TV stations declined to show it.

If the FCO wants to issue advice in this area, that’s the way to go: If you’re kidnapped, accept you’re unlikely to survive, say “I’ll show you how an Englishman dies”, and wreck the video. If they want you to confess you’re a spy, make a little mischief: there are jihadi from Britain, Italy, France, Canada and other western nations all over Iraq – so say yes, you’re an MI6 agent, and so are those Muslims from Tipton and Luton who recently joined the al-Qaeda cells in Samarra and Ramadi. As Churchill recommended in a less timorous Britain: You can always take one with you. If Tony Blair and other government officials were to make that plain, that would be, to use Mr Bigley’s word, “enough”.

And, if you don’t want to wind up in that situation, you need to pack heat and be prepared to resist at the point of abduction. I didn’t give much thought to decapitation when I was mooching round the Sunni Triangle last year, but my one rule was that I was determined not to get into a car with any of the locals and I was willing to shoot anyone who tried to force me. If you’re not, you shouldn’t be there.

Perhaps it’s easy to say that. Ken Bigley, after all, was blasé about personal security. Tootling around Iraq in his very conspicuous SUV, he told chums, “I’m not afraid. You only die once.” In the end, he revised his insouciance, grasping for a shot at a second chance. I know the Ken Bigley on display these last few weeks is not the measure of the man. But that’s all the more reason why in dangerous times and dangerous places one should give some thought to what they used to call a “good death”. None of the above would have guaranteed Mr Bigley’s life, but it would have given him, as it did Signor Quattrocchi, a less pitiful end, and it would have spared the world a glimpse of the feeble and unserious Britain of the last few weeks. The jihadists have become rather adept at devising tests customized for each group of infidels: Madrid got bombed, and the Spaniards failed their test three days later; the Australian Embassy in Jakarta got bombed, but the Aussies held firm and re-elected John Howard’s government anyway. With Britain, the Islamists will have drawn many useful lessons from the decadence and defeatism on display.

New Oil Field in the Gulf of Mexico?

USA Today is reporting the discovery of a potentially huge oil field in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tests of a deep-water well in the Gulf of Mexico could indicate a significant oil discovery, three companies said Tuesday, in the first project to tap into a region that reportedly could boost U.S. oil and gas reserves as much as 50%.
Okay, that's big.

Granted, we're still in the early stages of this, and the size of the field and quality of the oil have yet to be determined. But this is exciting and potentially very good news.

Friday, September 01, 2006

TFFQ: Civility and Disagreement

Questus Furore - Civility and Disagreement
On April 20, in downtown Washington, a constituency previously not heard from (or not listened to) turned out in impressive numbers. Its representatives looked respectable. They conducted themselves with dignity. They had a grievance. The only thing missing was an intelligible demand.

P.J. O’Rourke, Peace Kills
When passion collides with civility, civility loses.

A case in point: Mayor Rocky Anderson's 2005 and 2006 responses to President Bush visiting the United States. When Utah did not erupt in spontaneous revulsion, the mayor took it upon himself to organize protests against the President's presence. (Unanswered and unexplored is the question of what city resources and employees were used to organize these protests. Seems like a job for some enterprising reporter out there. Too bad the local newspapers - the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News - don't employ any.)

Now what, exactly, they were protesting about on Friday is unclear. The Iraq war, Israel, Palestine, stem cells, abortion, dry itchy skin, that the sun was shining - the signs had a host of reasons. In truth, they were a rabble looking for a leader. They found a cheerleader instead.

All that was clear is that the mayor of Salt Lake City did not want the President of the United States to feel welcome in his city. And that's just sad, reflecting a lack of respect for the Presidency and basic manners.

The next time a Democrat complains about how Republicans have taken the civility out of politics - you may want to remind them of this pathetic episode. An episode where the outraged passions of a decided few, a few that have made their feelings clear and known since the election of President Bush since the election of 2000, were elevated over the need for decorum and civility.

Not that the aggrieved elite care, but we all lost something with this.

Thought of the Week
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or liberty cannot exist."
John Adams

Churchill Quote of the Week
"The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. The come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage-earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our country, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians ... Nothing can save England if she will not save herself. If we lose faith in ourselves, in our capacity to guide and govern, if we lose our will to live, then indeed our story is told."
Sir Winston Churchill

The rest of The Friday Furo Questus can be found at the Wasatch Front.