Thursday, December 31, 2009

Long December

Yeah, I know it's Thursday. This has been a long, ugly fall & winter. Work's been such that there wasn't really a Christmas. Good riddance, 2009. So enjoy the whine.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hallejuah Chorus

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Deadly Mantis

Proudly returning this blog's new irregular feature, Movie Night.

Tonight's feature: The Deadly Mantis.

Hey, I never said they'd be good movies.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Shut Up, Harry

Hey Harry - I think it's time you came home from DC. For good.

The West's most disappointing senator, Harry Reid of Nevada, just dug his own grave a little deeper this week, as he stated that those who opposed the health care reform bill were the same as those who opposed abolishing slavery.

If you want to play these silly little games, Harry, I would like to remind you that the Democrats opposed ending slavery in 1860 - you know, like you?

The Wall Street Journal asks this question: "How could such a thoroughly unappealing man have gotten so far in politics?" Heck if I know.

I thought when Reid became the ranking Dem in the Senate, being a westerner and a Mormon, that some good would come of it. Since then, he's proved me wrong at every opportunity.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Well, or seen, over at The Other McCain:
Mrs. Other McCain was in my basement office when the news on TV said Tiger had been linked to nine other mistresses.

"I swear to God, Stacy, I'd kill you," she said.

That's her interpretation of the "forsaking all others . . . 'til death do you part" vow. It's a multiple-choice thing, see? I can either forsake all others or die.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Great Big Sled

Time to get Christmas-y around here...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"Attention... Attention Please..."

Proudly (sorta) introducing this blog's newest irregular feature: Movie Night.

To kick things off, presenting the original disaster movie, 1970's Airport.

To start the movie, CLICK HERE.

Thanks to
oldclassicmovies2 at YouTube for making this available.

Joe Patroni is the man.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Off to Albuquerque

The Super Chief at Albuquerque, circa 1945
Source: Wikipedia

The blog won't be out of commission while I am away, though - check in tomorrow night.

And for more on the Santa Fe, check out The Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modelling Society and

Source: QStation

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tryptophan Coma

So much turkey...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-- Robert Frost

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No Experience Needed

Does this graph make anybody besides me nervous? Especially since the Obama administration presumes to change the American economy in their image?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Woo Hoo

It's time to rock. Blur performing "Song 2."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The only Palin post

I'm not the biggest Sarah Palin fan - she's got to prove herself to me in the policy & ideas department first - but I will say this for her: she drives the right people absolutely crazy.

Or as David Harsanyri said today - "all you haters out there force me to root for her."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jason Aldean: Why

Jason Aldean - Why

Lileks on Pixar

Sorry, one more Bleat link: Lileks discusses Pixar here.

Wall-E is plucky & cheerful, but horribly lonely; whoever figured out the little scene where he rocks himself to sleep at the end of his day should get laurels and a lifetime of champagne. “Up” puts it up front. “Toy Story 2” has that rip-out-your-heart song by the doll who was left under the bed when her girl grew up and forgot her. “Monsters Inc,” less so – everyone’s well-adjusted, except for the evil lizard – but Sully’s scene at the end is pretty much every parent’s dream, a trip back to toddlerhood.

Maybe that’s why I don’t mind that they’re making “Cars 2.” Slogan: “Because we don’t need to rip your heart out every summer, do we?”


From Lileks' The Bleat:

The difficult part of the day is not sinking into the Slough of Carelessness, and letting all the obligations and duties float past while I twirl in the eddies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day & Remembrance Day

Originally conceived as a commemoration of the end of the Great War, Armistice Day became Veterans' Day in America and Remembrance Day in the UK, Canada, and elsewhere after the Second World War.

I wonder why we diverged; perhaps because America did not suffer such grievous losses in WWI, we tend to avoid the more somber connotations.

Since then, more Americans and members of the Commonwealth have answered the call, many to the sacrifice of their own lives.

All I can do is thank you. For the freedoms that I am able to enjoy, unlike so many, thank you.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Unexpected Peaceful End

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall fell. The East German government announced a new travel policy allowing East Germans to leave - at will.

The Wall fell. A wall built for the purpose not of keeping invaders out but keeping subjects within fell.

The Berlin Wall, a plain and obvious reminder of the tyranny that the Soviet Union imposed was shattered; and the world changed again. My grandparents saw that wall be built; they never imagined that it would come down in their lifetimes.

What it has become, we are still trying to understand.

The Telegraph has an excellent feature with background information.

ABC News has posted some archival footage on YouTube:
Nov. 9, 1989 Special Report
Nov. 10, 1989
Nov. 10, 1989 Nightline

And National Review has some pieces:
Centuries in the Making
The Road from 1989
Remembering the Fall

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Wasatch Fall

One last glorious day of fall.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

When hinges creak in doorless chambers,

When candles flicker, where the air is deathly still...

This is the time when ghosts are present,

Practicing their terror with ghoulish delight!

Happy Halloween...

And beware of hitch-hiking ghosts!



Ghost Village

Doom Buggies

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Campaign That Never Ends

Jim Geraghty, writing at The Campaign Spot:
Periodically you'll hear some some old Washington veteran or others lament, "When is the Obama administration going to realize that the campaign is over and it's time to start governing? When are they going to realize that the big pep rallies and media blitzes and fundraisers and attacking the opposition are supposed to be put aside, and it's time to start reaching deals on legislation and making hard choices?"

Let me help them with that question: Never. It's never going to happen, or at least not until a severe crisis forces them to put all the usual campaign stuff aside. This crew isn't that interested in governing. To govern is to choose, and this group doesn't like making hard choices...

...Well into 2012, we will still be hearing about the terrible mess they inherited, and our diplomatic representatives will go around the world, telling foreign audiences that their problems are the fault of the Bush administration.

Pugnacious Stupidity

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today,. but the bolding is mine:
My particular contribution is a piece on an interesting, maddening case: Nurre v. Whitehead. What is this? Well, in Washington State, there is a high school named for Scoop Jackson — Henry M. Jackson High School, in Mill Creek, outside of Everett. The school had had a little tradition, whereby the wind ensemble got to play a piece of its choice at graduation. But in 2006, there was a problem: The ensemble wanted to play Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria. And the superintendent of schools said no: because playing this piece — even in a strictly instrumental version, no words — would constitute an “endorsement” of religion.

If you think this is bizarre, you are not alone.

A student in the ensemble, Kathryn Nurre, sued. And the case went to the federal district court in Seattle and then to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The student lost, and the school superintendent won, in each court. The student’s backers are hoping that the Supreme Court will hear the case and rebuke the lower courts, providing clear and sane guidelines. The Ninth Circuit has a happy tradition of being overturned. And they are a little funny when it comes to religion — these are the people, remember, who banned the Pledge of Allegiance, for a time (because of “under God”).

I will not rehash the Nurre case in Impromptus — you can read about it in NR — but I’d like to say a few additional words. Biebl’s Ave Maria is less known than Schubert’s, or the one Gounod made from the Bach prelude. But it is an extraordinary, beautiful, transcendent piece. In 1964, Biebl wrote it for a choir of firemen in Munich. (Fire departments were different, long ago and far away.) It eventually made its way to our shores, picked up and spread by Chanticleer, the a cappella group from San Francisco. It is their signature encore. Audiences wait for it and do not want to leave without it. Robert Shaw also recorded it, with his Chamber Singers.

If you don’t know this piece, you’ll want to treat yourself to it.

I also want to highlight the dissent by Milan Smith. He was on the three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit, and that vote was 2 against 1 — with Smith being the 1, of course. Just listen for a second:

I am concerned that, if the majority’s reasoning on this issue becomes widely adopted, the practical effect will be for public school administrators to chill — or even kill — musical and artistic presentations by their students . . . where those presentations contain any trace of religious inspiration, for fear of criticism by a member of the public, however extreme that person’s views may be.

The First Amendment neither requires nor condones such a result. The taking of such unnecessary measures by school administrators will only foster the increasingly sterile and hypersensitive way in which students may express themselves . . . and hasten the retrogression of our young into a nation of Philistines, who have little or no understanding of our civic and cultural heritage.
In my NR piece, I talk a little about the nature of music. The school superintendent admitted that she didn’t know what the words “Ave Maria” meant. (They have to do with a football pass.) But she knew they related to religion, and that’s why she felt she needed to block the piece. She did not want the title printed in the graduation program. In my article, I ask, What if the wind ensemble had said the piece was called something else — not “Ave Maria,” but “Against the Despoliation of the Earth,” or “The Peace of Islam,” or “Ode to Obama”? Would that have been all right?
The school superintendent didn't know what "Ave Maria" meant, but she knew it was religious and therefore, wrong. This is a woman in charge of the education of thousands of children - she sounds like she shouldn't be entrusted with a janitor's mop.

And Nordlinger follows with this observation:
Finally, want to share with you a note from a friend of mine: “At my kids’ school, the singing of ‘Silent Night’ was censored by the music teacher, with humming over the ‘offensive’ parts. So the carol came out, ‘Silent night, mmmm, mmm, mmm, mmmm / All is calm, all is bright / Mmmm mmm mmmmmmm . . . You get the point.” I do. And it is a revolting point. Besides which, said my friend, other songs are not censored: not Native American chants to the Great Spirit, not Kwanzaa songs, not Hanukah songs, not odes to the Norse gods — just the Christian ones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

45 Years Ago: "A Time For Choosing"

For a speech forty-five years old, it still rings true. Maybe more now than it has in some time.

Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:

Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."

But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.

Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.

At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.

Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.

Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.

But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.

Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.

But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.

A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?

Barry Goldwater thinks we can.

At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?

I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.

I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.

Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.

But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.

Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.

This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.

An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.

During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.

Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Darling Pretty

The one, the only, Mark Knopfler.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arrogantly Stupid

"Stupidity that is arrogant and mean is an especially repellent kind of stupidity."

- Jay Nordlinger, NRO

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tiger Rag

And now, for someting completely different: the Firehouse Five Plus Two plays "Tiger Rag."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Did I Miss Fall?

Chilly again this morning. Apparently autumn was all of about 30 minutes, two weeks ago.

Ah, to live in the Rockies...

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Difference

"The only difference, that I see..."

Crank up the volume for this one. The Wallflowers, in what I think is their best:

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

The President hasn't held office for ten months yet. At the time of his nomination, he had been in office for all of twelve days.

Listen, I have no problem with Obama being awarded the Peace Prize - once he's done something to earn it. But this action removes what little credibility the award had left.

More to the point - it reveals the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Nobel committee, and reveals them as an organization more interested in electing a prom king rather than recognizing world-changing achievement.

Simply embarrassing.

Some reactions can be found at Instapundit and The Corner.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Your Love The Most

Eric Church, "I Love Your Love The Most."

Showing Off, Jay?

One of the more pleasant experiences in conservative commentary is Jay Nordliner's Impromptus column in National Review Online.

Tucked inside are such gems as this:
Show-off sentences? Couple of weeks ago, I wrote, “Recently, I was riding through Nîmes with Tony Daniels. (I know, that’s a show-off sentence.)” A reader contributed,
A few years ago, my wife was visiting with some friends who love to travel. At one point, one of them — who works for the World Bank and seems to have been everywhere — started a sentence with, “When I was in Zanzibar . . .” We all agreed that was a great line.

More recently, I saw one of the Apollo astronauts on a video talking about his experiences. He said, “When I was on the moon . . .”
As Bill Buckley would say, beat that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The University Presidency

Victor Davis Hanson writes an excellent and blistering appraisal of the Obama presidency:
If you are confused by the first nine months of the Obama administration, take solace that there is at least a pattern. The president, you see, thinks America is a university and that he is our campus president. Keep that in mind, and almost everything else makes sense.
A few excellent paragraphs:
For many in the academic community who have not worked with their hands, run businesses, or ventured far off campus, Middle America is an exotic place inhabited by aborigines who bowl, don’t eat arugula, and need to be reminded to inflate their tires. They are an emotional lot, of some value on campus for their ability to “fix” broken things like pipes and windows, but otherwise wisely ignored. Professor Chu, Obama’s energy secretary, summed up the sense of academic disdain that permeates this administration with his recent sniffing about the childish polloi: “The American people . . . just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” Earlier, remember, Dr. Chu had scoffed from his perch that California farms were environmentally unsound and would soon disappear altogether, “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.”

It is the role of the university, from a proper distance, to help them, by making sophisticated, selfless decisions on health care and the environment that the unwashed cannot grasp are really in their own interest — deluded as they are by Wal-Mart consumerism, Elmer Gantry evangelicalism, and Sarah Palin momism. The tragic burden of an academic is to help the oppressed, but blind, majority.
This paternalistic (in a politically correct way, of course) instinct applies to all.
On most campuses, referenda in the academic senate (“votes of conscience”) on gay marriage or the war in Iraq are as lopsided as Saddam’s old plebiscites. Speech codes curb free expression. Groupthink is the norm. Dissent on tenure decisions, questioning of diversity, or skepticism about the devolution in the definition of sexual harassment — all that can be met with defamation. The wolf cry of “racist” is a standard careerist gambit. Given the exalted liberal ends, why quibble over the means?
There's a reason the term "progressive" hs come back into vogue - it is a hearkening back to the supposed glories of the Progressive Era of American politics, an era so wonderful that the United States spent the 1920s trying to forget about it.
Michelle Obama during the campaign summed up best her husband’s wounded-fawn sense of sacrifice when she said, “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.”

Academic culture also promotes this idea that highly educated professionals deigned to give up their best years for arduous academic work and chose to be above the messy rat race. Although supposedly far better educated, smarter (or rather the “smartest”), and more morally sound than lawyers, CEOs, and doctors, academics gripe that they, unfairly, are far worse paid. And they lack the status that should accrue to those who teach the nation’s youth, correct their papers, and labor over lesson plans. Obama reminded us ad nauseam of all the lucre he passed up on Wall Street in order to return to the noble pursuit of organizing and teaching in Chicago.
"Stop annoying me so. I am here to help."
Many of the former Professor Obama’s problems so far hinge on his administration’s inability to judge public opinion, its own self-righteous sense of self, its non-stop sermonizing, and its suspicion of sincere dissent. In other words, the United States is now a campus, we are the students, and Obama is our university president.
Read the whole thing.

P.S. Does this mean VDH is on double-top-secret probation now?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Crossing the Bar

Crossing the Bar

    Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
    And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea,

    But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound or foam,
    When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

    Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell;
    When I embark;

    For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my pilot face to face
    When I have crossed the bar.

    Lord Tennyson

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Surrendering Missile Defense, Guaranteeing Disaster

At this point, one can only conclude that the Obama administration is choosing to be stupid.

Today, the administration announced their intentions to abandon the plans for a European-based missile defense system, moving instead to a much heavier reliance on sea-based anti-ballistic missiles.

Now I can already hear some say, "Why should I care? It's Europe." Well, for starters, it's not just about Europe.
A senior GOP Senate aide said that the effect of the administration's switch to short- range systems, such as the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), was that the program would no longer have any capability to defend the U.S. homeland and would only be able to protect parts of Europe.

"The important fact here is that if you go with the land-based SM-3s, you don't protect the United States," said the aide. "It changes the nature of the debate," the aide continued. "Why should the U.S. spend 6 or 7 billion dollars just to protect Europe? That's going to be a completely different argument."

"The Cable," Foreign Policy magazine
So, in essence we lose the first line of defence against a ballistic missile launched against the East Coast. And we do have assets in Europe worth protecting.

But the overall message is even worse - we have essentially abandoned those Eastern European nations (Poland and the Czech Republic espescially) that have been bullied by Russia ever since this plan was announced, and have withstood it because we asked them to. The United States has abandoned them, and the Obama administration has deliberately stuck a knife in their backs.
What signal does this send to Ukraine, Georgia and a host of other former Soviet satellites who look to America and NATO for protection from their powerful neighbour? The impending cancellation of Third Site is a shameful abandonment of America’s friends in eastern and central Europe, and a slap in the face for those who actually believed a key agreement with Washington was worth the paper it was written on.

Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph
But is gets better, as this also provides another example of the Obama administration's historical blindness. For you see, today is the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland in 1939.

Meanwhile, former Polish President Lech Walesa said he was deeply disappointed by the new US administration's plans. "The Americans have always only taken care of their own interests and they have used everyone else," Walesa told Polish news station TVN24. He said Poles must rethink their own view of America and start thinking about their own interests.

Lech Walesa, Der Spiegel interview, September 17, 2009

The blog Closing Velocity has much more.

The Obama administration needs to have a more intelligent global strategy than merely doing the opposite of whatever Bush did. Grow up, boys and girls. You have just placed millions in greater jeopardy than they were before, and severely damaged our relations with Eastern Europe. And please - try to remember history began before 1960.

Notes: For More Information

Closing Velocity

Jules Crittenden

P.S.: Why do I feel worse, not better? ("Biden: Iran Not a Threat." And in other news: "IAEA Says Iran Can Build A Bomb.")

P.P.S.: Still not feeling better. Again from the Telegraph: "Analysis: Barack Obama's missile shield decision will be cheered in Russia." Swell. One more give-away.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cluck Old Hen

Alison Krauss & Union Station!

And some good news: they are back in the studio, working on a new album expected in early 2010.

Remembering, 2009

FDNYWTC - Cox & Forkum

Eight years ago, a quiet and clear September morning was torn asunder by a handful of zealots dedicated to a fanatic, who proceeded to kill as many as destroy as much as their limited resources allowed.

Eight years later, we seem to have forgotten.

We have forgotten the 3000 that were murdered, the thousands hurt, the landmarks obliterated.

We have forgotten the terror we felt, as we waited for the next inevitable blow to fall... which never happened, in large part due to efforts made by many whose names we shall never know.

We have forgotten the empty skies we saw that night.

Now, we seem to have lapsed into denial, even as we have soldiers, marines, and allied troops engaged in fierce combat in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. We allow the fools to take control, to waste our attention on pointless illogical conspiracy theories, themselves unwilling to accept that a group that has declared repeatedly for our destruction would find a way to follow through on years of threats. We mistakenly assume that our enemies' patience and attention span is as short as ours. We forget that the price of peace is eternal vigilance.

Such mistakes doom us to similar and greater disasters in the future. Remembering is the first step to preventing them.

But we seem to prefer our diversions.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Death In Iraq

Mark Steyn reposted this column a while ago. 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.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Choctaw Hayride

An old favorite by one of my favorite bands: Alison Krauss & Union Station. Rumor is that they are back in the studio recording a new album, for release in early 2010.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sometime Around Midnight

If that doesn't do it for you, here's the acoustic version:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Two Russian Submarines Patrolling Off East Coast

Back to the Bad Old Days. Paging Jack Ryan...

From the New York Times(!):

Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.

WASHINGTON — A pair of nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines has been patrolling off the eastern seaboard of the United States in recent days, a rare mission that has raised concerns inside the Pentagon and intelligence agencies about a more assertive stance by the Russian military.

The episode has echoes of the cold war era, when the United States and the Soviet Union regularly parked submarines off each other’s coasts to steal military secrets, track the movements of their underwater fleets — and be poised for war.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union all but eliminated the ability of the Russian Navy to operate far from home ports, making the current submarine patrols thousands of miles from Russia more surprising for military officials and defense policy experts.

“I don’t think they’ve put two first-line nuclear subs off the U.S. coast in about 15 years,” said Norman Polmar, a naval historian and submarine warfare expert.

The submarines are of the Akula class, a counterpart to the Los Angeles class attack subs of the United States Navy, and not one of the larger submarines that can launch intercontinental nuclear missiles.
Of course, if they were of the type that could launch ICBMs, the Russians would be violating several conventions, and escalating matters far more than they already have.

And the Russians aren't denying it. From the AP:
Russian general confirms submarine patrols near US

MOSCOW – A top Russian general says two nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines that have been spotted off the U.S. East Coast are part of regular patrols. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff of Russia's armed forces, says the patrols are not newsworthy.

But this doesn't seem to cause much consternation among the Navy blogs I visit.
Cdr. Salamander isn't worried. Neither is EagleSpeak.

Galrahn at Information Dissemination isn't too concerned, but has his usual thoughtful insight, and is worth reading.

So maybe I'm overblowing this. Taken in isolation, I probably am, but taken in aggregate...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Drawing a Certain Crowd

But it seems that Orwell is still right — socialism draws with magnetic force the nudists, pacifists, sandal-wearers, and vegetarians.

Mark Krikorian, The Corner

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It's been a pretty quiet summer, mainly because I don't wish to fill this space up with complaints.

Work is very busy, and looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future. (Good, but stressful). So, there hasn't been a lot of blogging opportunity.

Once I get a couple of projects out of the way, that should change.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


"In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 52, 8 February 1788)