Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Out of Pocket

Going to be out this week - off to Oregon on business. Watch this space for pictures, though.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Gettysburg - 1st Minnesota

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

Today is for remembering those who fell in defense of their nation and home; those who left the world they knew in order to protect it, and died in its defense.


Antietam - Sunken Road 2

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

Come Again?

From Haaretz:
Some 23 percent of Israelis would consider leaving the country if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Some 85 percent of respondents said they feared the Islamic Republic would obtain an atomic bomb, 57 percent believed the new U.S. initiative to engage in dialogue with Tehran would fail and 41 percent believed Israel should strike Iran's nuclear installations without waiting to see whether or how the talks develop.
But what caught my eye was this odd statement:
"The findings are worrying because they reflect an exaggerated and unnecessary fear," Prof. David Menashri, the head of the Center, said.
How is that an "unnecessary" fear?

You have a leader of a nation engaged in developing nuclear weapons making statements that the Holocaust never happened and that Israel should be destroyed.

That sounds like an inherently logical fear to me.

Granted, Islamic extremists tend to talk a lot. But eventually they follow through on their threats.

And they only have to succeed once.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seminole Wind

An oldie but a goodie from the early 90s: "Seminole Wind," by John Anderson. This haunting tune will stay with you all weekend.

A more recent version can be found here, from when John Anderson teamed up with Big & Rich on CMT Crossroads.

And They Don't Care

Hugh Hewitt, yesterday:
"Yesterday's Dowd column blaming Dick Cheney for all future terrorist attacks in the U.S. no matter when or where they occur marks the most obvious case of end stage BDS I have ever seen, and the low point in the opinion section of the New York Times, until of course Dowd writes again. "Drivel" is exactly right, but Dowd's anticipatory defense of President Obama's innocence of any responsibility for a future terrorist attack is a signal that even the left knows the new president is dismantling the defenses brick by brick."

More importantly, they know it and they don't care.

It's not their priority. Terrorism is not where they want to spend their time, not when there is an economy, a society, and a nation to knock down and rebuild in their image.

Defense issues are a distraction for the modern left.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where I Want To Be

Love, Loyalty, and Dogs

Jonah Goldberg, today:

Why does canine affection have to be a trick or a con? After all, according to the very same logic, I love my wife and daughter because I have strong instinctive attachments for them grounded in my genes. But even if the genetic explanation is absolutely true, it doesn’t change the fact that I love my family.

Why should it be different with dogs? It’s not as if dogs have a Terminator-like computer screen inside their heads that says “run fake-love subroutine now” when their masters come home from work. Dogs don’t pose in front of the mirror practicing their tail-wags like lines from a script so they can make it convincing. If it is true of any living thing, it is true of dogs: They are what they are. A happy dog can no more be faking his joy than a hungry lion could be faking his appetite.

Do we really want to live in a society in which love is a genetically mandated confidence game? Where will that argument take us?

Indeed, if embracing modernity means I have to accept such unlovely idiocy, count me out. I’ll be elsewhere. If you need me, just follow the sound of the barking.

Read the whole piece.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Gathering Storm

Mark Steyn, writing in Commentary magazine:
On Holocaust Memorial Day 2008, a group of just under 100 people—Londoners and a few visitors —took a guided tour of the old Jewish East End...

Those few dozen London Jews considered themselves at [h]ome. But they weren’t. Not any more. The tour was abruptly terminated when the group was pelted with stones, thrown by “youths”—or to be slightly less evasive, in the current euphemism of Fleet Street, “Asian” youths. “If you go any further, you’ll die,” they shouted, in between the flying rubble.

A New Yorker who had just moved to Britain to start a job at the Metropolitan University had her head cut open and had to be taken to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, causing her to miss the Holocaust Day “interfaith memorial service” at the East London Central Synagogue. Her friend, Eric Litwack from Canada, was also struck but did not require stitches. But if you hadn’t recently landed at Heathrow, it wasn’t that big a deal, not these days: Nobody was killed or permanently disfigured. And given the number of Jewish community events that now require security, perhaps Her Majesty’s Constabulary was right and these Londoners walking the streets of their own city would have been better advised to do so behind a police escort.
Read it all. It's a disturbing and depressing observation of the direction Europe and the West are headed.

May 10, 1869.

What was it that the Engines said,
Pilots touching, head to head,
Facing on a single track,
Half a world behind each back?
- Bret Harte

On this date, one hundred and thirty-six years ago,the greatest engineering feat to date was finished. Now joined, the nation would flower, as at long last East was linked to West.

They would never look back.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Noemie Emery, writing today in the Washington Examiner:
Once upon a time, literate and intelligent people understood the difference between attack and defense, assault and pre-emption, and the use of force to conquer, destroy, enslave, or cause pain to large numbers of innocents; and the use of force deployed on aggressors to deflect or prevent the slaughter of thousands, to reverse an invasion, or to end a war others began. Once upon a time, they understood that presidents don’t have the luxury of indulging their qualms at the expense of their countrymen.

Establishing Principles

"[I]t is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand....The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty."

-- John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, 21 June 1776

Monday, May 04, 2009

California Saggin'

George Will, writing Sunday on California:

WASHINGTON -- California's increasingly severe and largely self-inflicted economic crisis will deepen on May 19 if, as is probable and desirable, voters reject most of the ballot measures that were drafted as part of a "solution" to the state's budget deficit. They would make matters worse. National economic revival is being impeded because one-eighth of the nation's population lives in a state that is driving itself into permanent stagnation. California's perennial boast -- that it is the incubator of America's future -- now has an increasingly dark urgency.

Under Arnold Schwarzenegger, the best governor the states contiguous to California have ever had, people and businesses have been relocating in those states. For four consecutive years, more Americans have moved out of California than have moved in. California's business costs are more than 20 percent higher than the average state's. In the last decade, net out-migration of Americans has been 1.4 million. California is exporting talent while importing Mexico's poverty. The latter is not California's fault; the former is.
Here is the key point: runaway spending is killing California.
If, since 1990, state spending increases had been held to the inflation rate plus population growth, the state would have a $15 billion surplus instead of a $42 billion budget deficit, which is larger than the budgets of all but 10 states. Since 1990, the number of state employees has increased by more than a third. In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent.
Bold is mine. California refuses to control its spending, and is bleeding itself white.
Liberal orthodoxy has made the state dependent on a volatile source of revenues -- high income tax rates on the wealthy. In 2006, the top 1 percent of earners paid 48 percent of the income taxes. California's income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest, its business conditions among the worst, as measured by 16 variables directly influenced by the Legislature. Unemployment, the nation's fourth highest, is 11.2 percent.

Required by law to balance the budget, the Legislature has "solved" the problem by, among other things, increasing the income, sales, gas and vehicle taxes. This, although one rationale for the federal government's gargantuan "stimulus" was to spare states the need to raise taxes which, in California, will more than vitiate the stimulus.

Proposition 1A would create a complicated -- hence probably porous -- spending cap, and a rainy day fund. Realists, however, do not trust the Legislature to obey the law, which may be why some public employees unions cynically support 1A. Another May 19 proposition, opaquely titled the "Lottery Modernization Act," would authorize borrowing $5 billion from future hypothetical lottery receipts. The title is a measure of the political class' meretriciousness.

If voters pass 1A's hypothetical restraint on government spending, their reward will be two extra years (another $16 billion) of actual income, sales and vehicle tax increases. The increases were supposed to be for just two years. Voters are being warned that if they reject the propositions, there might have to be $14 billion in spending cuts. (Note the $15 billion number four paragraphs above.) Even teachers might be laid off. California teachers -- the nation's highest paid, with salaries about 25 percent above the national average -- are emblematic of the grip government employees unions have on the state, where 57 percent of government workers are unionized (the national average is 37 percent).

Flinching from serious budget cutting, and from confronting public employees unions, some Californians focus on process questions. They devise candidate-selection rules designed to diminish the role of parties, thereby supposedly making more likely the election of "moderates" amenable to even more tax increases.

But what actually ails California is centrist evasions. The state's crisis has been caused by "moderation," understood as splitting the difference between extreme liberalism and hyperliberalism, a "reasonableness" that merely moderates the speed at which the ever-expanding public sector suffocates the private sector.

California has become liberalism's laboratory, in which the case for fiscal conservatism is being confirmed. The state is a slow learner and hence will remain a drag on the nation's economy. But it will be a net benefit to the nation if the federal government and other state governments profit from California's negative example, which Californians can make more vividly instructive by voting down the propositions on May 19.

Remember the story of the mule that paid attention only after being walloped by a two-by-four? The Democratic-controlled state Legislature is like that. Fortunately, it has handed voters some two-by-fours -- the initiatives. Resounding rejections of them should get Sacramento's attention.
Actually, probably not. They're the elite, you know. They know best.

As California goes, so goes the nation...

Related article over at The City Journal: "Spendthrift Sunbelt States." And a similar picture emerges - taxes are raised, but budgets are never cut. The government just keeps on growing.