Saturday, December 24, 2005

Osama's Niece a relative? How I wish.

Meet Osama Bin Laden's wayward niece, Wafah Dufour, no appearing in GQ magazine, accourting to Reuters.

Read more here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mercury Myths, for example...

One team of researchers compared 21 specimens of Atlantic Ocean blue hake preserved during the 1880s with 66 similar fish caught in the 1970s. They found no change at all in the concentration of mercury.In another study, Princeton scientists compared samples of yellowfin tuna from 1971 with samples caught in 1998. They expected to find a mercury increase of between 9 and 26 percent, but they found a small decline instead.And in a unique experiment, curators of the Smithsonian Institution tested tuna samples that were archived between 1878 and 1909, and compared them with similar fish tissue from 1971 and 1993. They found significantly less mercury in the more recently caught fish. In some cases, the difference was more than 50 percent.

Granted, I don't know who the first "team of researchers" is, but the others are credible. The site's good, check it out at at

Fish Scam

More evidence of pseudo-science alarmism in the environmental/animal rights/ State of Fear movement. Most telling is the mis/disinformation about mercury levels in seafood.

I'm sensing a move back to common sense, along with a healthy skepticism of social fearmongering. Hope it lasts.


Best Political Blog (Conservative)

Even on vacation, Andrew is the best.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Rummy's in, Tookie's out.

I guess the rumor about Rumsfeld getting dumped for Lieberman was just that: a rumor. But Arnold decided Tookie should pay the consequences. I am against the death penalty, but it is the law of the land in California, and Gov. S. can't flip the penalties EVERY time, and especially when Williams is definitely guilty. His Nobel nominations almost make me dislike him more, but setting that aside, I think it's too bad he didn't discover ways to help kids before he decided to commit murder.

Re: Capital Punishment

Here's why I'm against it.
  1. Innocent people can't come back from the dead. By this I mean, if some poor schlep is wrongfully convicted and executed, then it's discovered he's innocent, there's no going back to square one. At least with a life sentence you can let the guy go with a BIG apology.
  2. I honestly believe that life in a box is a worse punishment than a quiet good-night. I don't think it's a deterrent to crime, either. MAYBE it would be if we really tried people quickly and bumped them off without the long-drawn-out appeals process, but I dunno. If you're going to kill someone, they deserve a few appeals, so I'm back to the main point. Bad boy in a box is the worse punishment.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Shot-in-the-foot Dept. II

Dean's words are being played on Al Jazeera. Whaddya know? John Batchelor (WABC Radio) is in the Middle East right now and is hearing Dean being played repeatedly as the voice of the people in the United States. The only person dumber than Dean in the Democratic party at this point is Nancy Pelosi. The party is getting a dose of what happens when politics is encouraged over common sense, the safety of our soldiers and our security at home. Some bozo takes it too far. Dean will probably end up out of a job over this stupid remark, but I'd LOVE for him to stay in and say even more stupid stuff. His spin today was that it was "a little out of context." Nah. It's anti-American and oblivious to right and wrong no matter how you cut it. This guy nearly had the Democratic nomination. The party picked Kerry instead to avoid him. Send up a flare, I think the ship went down. More proof this party cannot be trusted with national security.

"White Flag" ad takes the offensive against Dems defeatism

See the ad here.

Twist of Fate Dept.

According to Andrew, Rumsfeld may be on the way out. Maybe this is a good thing. Replacing him with Lieberman, as his story suggests, is perhaps even better. I have always had mixed feelings about Joe -- mostly because of his flip to the left as Gore's running mate, (oh yeah, and the Alf's-human-dad voice.) But his recent WSJ piece was cogent and rightly nailed the left for playing politics with national security. Maybe his presence will help. I hope he gets the job in any case, if Rumsfeld's out.

The bad part is, there's a lot we don't know. Has this been in the works for a while? Is Rumsfeld really on the way out and exactly why? I think he's become a political liability, but why? What does the Bush White House really think of this guy? Is he becoming a fall guy for the torture story? Or is any of this happening at all? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Shot-in-the-foot Dept.

Seen on Drudge, I think this, Dean: US Won't Win in Iraq, could very well be a great strategy for the Democrats. Win elections by touting failure. Victory by Defeat. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Perfect for the party that has been wrong about almost every aspect of the war.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Why we went to Iraq

-- and why the left is so damaging to the cause of freedom there. In today's OpinionJournal.
Would Senators Sam Nunn, Pat Moynihan, Bob Kerrey, Chuck Robb, David Boren or Henry M. Jackson have conducted their opposition to President Bush's war policies in Iraq as have Senators Harry Reid, Richard Durbin, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer? The former group stood for the idea of a loyal opposition; the latter stand simply in opposition.
Here is one man's view of why we are in Iraq: We are trying to democratize this country so they don't try to kill us. That Iraqis should "get their freedom" is genuinely good and desirable. But I wish President Bush would say more often that Iraqi democratization is in our raw self-interest. It doesn't much matter to me whether the country we democratize is Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Syria. The theory that democracies don't attack other democracies is as strong as such notions get, and what the world most needs now is a new, large Islamic democracy. A democracy, however "imperfect," is less likely than an authoritarian state to detonate a nuclear device in someone else's territory.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's see what happens Dept.

I'm not sure how earth-shattering this is, but the fact is, an NAACP leader switching to the GOP, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel,is darned unusual. Does it foreshadow a realization among African-Americans that the Democratic Party, in decades of social welfare and PC posturing, has not helped, and in fact has hurt minorities? It will be interesting to see what the MSM do with this, if anything. Thanks to Drudge.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Costume Malfunction Department

Woman bomber's device wouldn't detonate. Despite the fact that this woman tried to kill people, it appears she was used by her husband, whose bomb DID go off. From some of the comments she's made, she appears to be an obedient wife forced to do something she didn't really want to do -- or else she's just addled. How many people involved in terrorist acts are simply being used? We know children are, now this pathetic woman. The plus side is that she may provide useful information about terrorist operations. I feel sorry for her, in a way, and for anyone else who is used by Islamist monsters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Political Grandstanding Dept.

If Senator Domenici, Senator Pelosi and others skilled in the art of indignation (and nothing else) REALLY want to help Americans pay for gasoline, they should look to the gas taxes piled on by federal and state governments that far exceed the profit margins of the oil companies themselves. This is nonsense, political theatre designed to make stupid, jealous people feel better while not doing one thing to improve the supply situation. Lower taxes and a better energy policy that frees the experts (OIL COMPANIES) to increase supply are what is needed. I don't care HOW much oil companies make, because they'll keep investing in more ways to get more oil. Scapegoating is for dummies.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Wartime atrocities should be condemned .. unless, of course, they're fabrications.

Jimmy Massey, a former Marine who has been telling the world about atrocities he committed, has been found to be a liar. Read on..

The problem is, of course, that his lies have been published and repeated ad nauseum by the press, both mainstream and in the blogosphere, so now this crap is part of the public record. Like internet hoaxes, they'll never go away. The left can't win with the truth, so they back up liars and goofballs like Massey and Cindy Sheehan (Hey, what happened to her? I thought she was the left's best buddy.)

Intelligent Design Exam

Here's a little exam for the proponents of the intelligent design "theory."

1. Can you define the difference between an full-fledged scientific theory, a hypothesis based on observable facts, and a philosophical point of view based on faith? Hint: "Intelligent Design" is in the third category. You see, while I.D. folk denigrate evolution as "just another theory," intelligent design doesn't even QUALIFY as a theory. See the Smithsonian or National Geo web sites and do a search on "intelligent design" for further information.

2. What other areas of science besides evolution would you dismiss in favor of accounts you find in the Bible? If none, why is evolution the only area of science with which you take issue?

3. Essay Question: Compare and contrast Darwin's theory with the Intelligent Design idea in terms of:
a) the observable facts they explain;
b) the archeological record;
c) any experimental results that can be duplicated following specific procedures.

4. Darwin observed not just Galapagos turtles, but hundeds of other species to formulate his ideas. What have you observed?

5. Story problem: Billy Graham, Osama bin Laden, and Tom Cruise walk into a coffee shop. After about three espressos they begin a heated argument about their respective faith-based views of how man came to be. They begin slugging it out. Who wins the fight, and why?

6. Are ALL unexplainable phenomena so complex that intelligent design is the only logical explanation? If so, in what ways does this point of view differ from, say, the idea that the sun is really a god in a golden chariot or that monsters are waiting at the edge of the earth?

EXTRA CREDIT: Explain why we should believe that Philip Johnson, father of the I.D. movement, who has no background in the biological sciences (see, should have more credibility than others in the established scientific community.

Start writing now, and most important, no cheating.

Monday, October 24, 2005

George Will on Miers

Excellent as usual:
. . . Democrats, with their zest for gender politics, need this reminder: To give a woman a seat on a crowded bus because she is a woman is gallantry. To give a woman a seat on the Supreme Court because she is a woman is a dereliction of senatorial duty. It also is an affront to mature feminism, which may bridle at gallantry but should recoil from condescension.

As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch's invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for pointing this one out.

It ain't flat, but it's squished down a lot

Hot damn, someone gets it. Bush's simpler tax forms are a great step forward. Next step, tear down the IRS edifice.

Congratulations to Concord Band

State Class B Champions. The kids worked really hard and pulled it off. Makes a Band Dad proud.

Friday, October 21, 2005

More on the Miers nomination

OpinionJournal makes it clear why the Miers nomination is a big mistake, both politically and morally. Money quotes:
After three weeks of spin and reporting, we still don't know much more about what Ms. Miers thinks of the Constitution. What we have learned is that the White House has presented her to the country, and thrown her into the buzz saw that is the U.S. Senate, without either proper preparation or vetting. The result has been a political melee that is hurting not just Ms. Miers, who deserves better. It is also damaging the White House and its prospects for a successful second term.

Instead of a fight over judicial philosophy, we're having a fight over one woman's credentials and background. Instead of debating the Kelo decision's evisceration of private property rights, we are destined to learn everything we never wanted to know about the Texas Lottery Commission.

Instead of dividing Red State Democrats from Senate liberals, the nomination is dividing Republicans. Pat Robertson is threatening retribution not against moderate Democrats but against GOP conservatives who dare to oppose Ms. Miers. Chuck Schumer couldn't have written a better script.

Why Bush did this is beyond me, and unless he knows WAY more about this woman than he's telling, I have to believe he didn't give a damn about what direction the Supreme Court is going, or should go. He talkd a good game about "originalists," and there may be some validity to having non-judges ascend to the bench. But this still seems incomprehensible, and after three weeks of discussion, it shouldn't.

My suggestion is to pull the nomination, and come back with something supportable. It will be damaging to the President, but I think the damage has already been done. And to some degree, this is good. Conservatives are finally questioning Bush's own conservative credentials, especially in light of his support for overspending and stupid laws like the campaign finance reform measures. The debate is good, but this nominee isn't.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: Exit, Stage Far Left

Cindy Sheehan has probably already started outliving her usefulness to the left and mainstream media, but this will put the lid on the can. When you start trashing the queen (Hillary), expect to be figuratively "disappeared."

Biochemist argues intelligent design not same as creationism

Oh really? What else can you really infer from the "scientific" concept of an intelligent creator? Interesting how proponents of this idea argue this point. From this report on the Kitzmiller vs Dover Board of education trial now going on, this is the kind of tortured, hairsplitting defense of intelligent design we're seeing.
The plaintiffs argue that intelligent design--which posits that some aspects of life, yet unexplained by evolution, are best attributed to an unnamed and unseen intelligent designer--really is a disguised version of creationism, the adherence to the biblical account of creation.

Not so, said (Michael) Behe [the biochemist from Lehigh University], during often heated exchanges with counsel for the plaintiffs during cross-examination. Creationism is "180 degrees different from intelligent design," he said. "Creationism is a theological concept. Intelligent design is a scientific theory that relies on physical, empirical, observable evidence in nature plus logical inferences."

Behe, who identifies himself as a Roman Catholic, said that although intelligent design cannot scientifically identify the designer and does not rule out a natural cause, he believes it is God. Behe is the author of 1996's "Darwin's Black Box," a touchstone of the design movement.
C'mon! If it isn't God, what else would it be? Space aliens (shades of Scientology)? A band of Angels? No, this is ultimately creationism in a lab coat. How this guy can call himself a scientist is beyond me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is Bush imploding?

Oh, man ... if this is true, and I'm not sure it is (it's the anti-Bush Brits after all), I'm really disappointed. If God is really his reason for invading Iraq, when he had so many good ones, I feel used. The war is the right thing, but Bush is starting to look a little nutty to me. Between this and his pronouncements about "intelligent design," I'm worried.

Thanks to my liberal daughter Paige for finding this.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

This is the director's tower, taken just after we took off for the second time. The vertical bar-looking thing at the left is the center line of the bubble windshield. We're about 10 feet above the directors -- and climbing. Posted by Picasa

Part of the Concord Band's field show in rehearsal on their practice field. This is kind of low-res. Looks better in the actual video. Posted by Picasa

Flying high for the band

The photos that will follow won't mean a lot to most people, but they were fun to take. They're aerials taken at my son's high school, by me, from a Bell helicopter. I thought I might be scared to death, what with this being a little two-seater with the passenger door taken off, and me afraid of heights, but it was a lot of fun. Following are a couple screen-grabs from the video.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Re: Harriet Miers

I'm concerned about this nomination, but am reserving judgement. Why were other highly qualified judges, some female, passed over? The Supreme Court is too important for the President to wimp out -- but did he? Bill Kristol on Fox News, and others, seem to think so. We could all be wrong. Or not.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Importing products:good, exporting services: bad. Or is it the other way around?

This opinion piece from The Economist clears some of the fog, and dispels some myths about the US reduction in manufacturing employment. The Economist makes the case that, ultimately, this is good for our economy, and we're still more productive than anywhere else -- even China. The real problem? Change is always scary, and leads to bad economic policy if we're not careful. Thanks to Daniel Drezner's Blog for pointing this one out.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Things that Offend Islam

ChronWatch has this, which I found kind of interesting. This is illustrates what indignation, carried to an extreme, can lead to. (Take note, members of the PC crowd).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Deconstructing the Blame Game

From, an Objectivist/Ayn Rand oriented site I've recently discovered, Peter de Jager discusses how the "let's just move on" proponents try to avoid blame for their own benefit and everyone else's peril.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Stopping Comment Spam

Just when I thought blogging was fun again, I started getting comments that were actually spam messages. Cute. These people have no shame at all. Anyway, I activated Blogger's word verification feature to see if this solves the problem (it should.)

Dave (as Nicky, aka Maynard G. Krebs). Posted by Picasa

Talashia and Elmer -- casting a spell... Posted by Picasa

Talashia and Lance... Posted by Picasa

Lance, Talashia and Paul Posted by Picasa

Geneele, Talashia & Dave -- doing "magic..."  Posted by Picasa

Here are a few of the BBC pix. Geneele here... Posted by Picasa

Curtain Closed

Bell, Book and Candle, the show I just recently directed, closed last weekend. Wish more people had seen it. It was good. We had respectable audiences but no sellouts, unfortunately. The cast and crew was great fun to work with. Photos are at the Elkhart Civic Theatre web site, in the photos section.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hitchens/Galloway Debate

Hear it or see it at Democracy Now. Hitchens makes the cogent, reasonable, yet passionate case FOR the war in Iraq and the positive outcomes of it. Galloway just blares leftist/socialist invective. It's hard to doubt who makes most rational case.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another nice shot in the southern end of the Napa Valley. Posted by Picasa

Here I am suffering mightily in the wind near the bridge. Posted by Picasa

From the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate. It was cold and windy up there, but the fog rolling over the cliffs was spectacular, as is the bridge from this angle. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another roadside shot Posted by Picasa

The source of it all Posted by Picasa

Conn Creek near Napa Posted by Picasa

Near St. Helena, California Posted by Picasa

Now Entering Napa Valley Posted by Picasa

Roadside North of Napa Posted by Picasa

Napa Valley -- looks and smells like God's country to me...

Here are a few shots I took yesterday morning driving up and back down the Napa Valley. Kind of a gray day, but the scenery is still pretty nice. More to come, probably.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Second amendment takes another hit in NOLA.

This from a story in BREITBART.COM:
On Thursday, in the city's well-to-do Lower Garden District, a neighborhood with many antebellum mansions, members of the Oklahoma National Guard seized weapons from the inhabitants of one home. Those who were armed were handcuffed and briefly detained before being let go.
"No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons," Deputy Chief of Police Riley said.
It seems to me that being able to defend one's home is exactly WHY we have the second amendment. Disarming law-abiding citizens in an area where looting is likely enables criminals and denies rights to the good guys. Arrest people who commit crimes, not those who are simply defending themselves in a situation where police are helpless.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

And, speaking of despicable ...

There's this on BREITBART.COM: "Dean: Race Played a Role in Katrina Deaths."
"We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not," Dean said.
Howard Dean has always struck me, from the way he tosses out little jabs-as-fact during whatever media face-time he gets, as an unfunny smart-ass. The jerk who can't quite control his mouth. This, however, is race-baiting of the worst sort, untrue, inflammatory and what's more, cruel to the people it's supposedly designed to champion. Dean was, of course, speaking to a largely black audience. To tell people a lie like this is incredibly unfair and insulting to them, not to mention the fact that it simply fuels race hatred. Is this what Dean truly wants?

And, by the way, what does he MEAN, "come to terms"? Does this mean we're just supposed to believe this drivel is true? I don't think I'd actually know if I "came to terms" with something, because the phrase is so hackneyed it's meaningless to me. This guy SHOULD be considered an embarassment to the Democratic Party, but apparently they like him. How politically desperate do you have to be to put up with this?

The article also reports: "Dean said Americans have a moral responsibility to not ignore the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Katrina when it struck the Gulf Coast."

Well no damn kidding. Has anyone said we SHOULD ignore it? The implication is that SOMEone (obviously George Bush) WANTS to ignore it. Again, another cruel lie. The people of New Orleans were FIRST let down by their incompetent city government and indecisive state government. Was the MAYOR wanting to let blacks, the poor and the elderly die?

He also goes on to say that tax cuts (for the "rich," of course) should be cancelled -- "Shall we give that to the wealthiest people in the country, or should we rebuild New Orleans?" he parrots. As if this is the choice we have (it's not). A strong economy, stimulated by tax cuts (for all taxpayers) will do more to help Gulf Coast recovery than any amount of Howard's histrionics.

Democrats wonder why they're not in the majority anymore. It's because they keep letting destructive dimwits like Howard Dean speak for them.

Yahoo Helped China Jail Journalist

If this is true, it's despicable.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Be brave, New Orleans

Let's hope things aren't as bad as they're predicting for New Orleans tonight. It would be a shame to see this beautiful classic city devastated.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Wedding of the year

Speaking of the wedding, here's the happy couple. Jen & Ben. Poolside casual wedding. Lots of fun.

Sorority Girls

This is a picture taken at my sister's wedding of Paige and Demarée in a "Southern Sorority Girl" type pose. Cracks me up.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

For once I agree with Bill Maher

I don't often agree with Bill Maher. He's liberal, smug, and tosses around a lot of leftward dogma often without having all of his facts straight. He's particularly guilty of furthering the "Bush is a dummy" myth, the "Bush lied" mantra and other juvenile arguments. But once in a while the blind pig finds an acorn.

Tonight, it came in his "New Rules" segment. Flashing a Time Magazine cover dealing with the evolution versus creationism "debate," he said the following (and I admit I might be paraphrasing).

"New Rule: You don't have to teach 'both sides' of an issue if one side is a load of crap."

Of course. And he pointed out that even though there is a well-known debate between proponents of evolution and "intelligent design," there is essentially NO debate about this among scientists.

Right on Bill. Now get some of the other stuff straight and I might start to like you better.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's True Colors

Cindy Sheehan is not much more than a shrill campus radical, as this from Drudge confirms.. One can sympathize with the loss of her son, certainly, certainly agree with her right to protest, but her real radical left roots showed through in a deranged speech delivered last April. Example:
"We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up dog s**t in Washington, we will impeach all those people."

Why is it, by the way, that the far left fringe is always demanding "their" country back? Nothing is more important to them than forcing their extreme minority point of view on the rest of us, and doing it by almost any means necessary. Our family has been enjoying the DVDs of Penn & Teller's Showtime series, "Bulls**t!" One episode deals with animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), highlighting this group's support of arsonists and fire-bombers. The rhetoric is at once irrational, goofy, offensive and just plain scary. These people don't like America, themselves or people in general. And they sound a lot like Cindy Sheehan. Cindy has taken the nobility of a mother grieving for her lost son and turned it into a radical circus, and it's time to recognize this fact.

One of the problems, of course, is that, until Cindy really embarrasses them, the liberal media continue to provide this dingbat with the luxury of national press coverage. And while they do, the less leftward media will continue to run somewhat more balanced coverage. I think they all ought to freeze her out. It's time to stop feeling sorry for this woman and call her what she is. An obnoxious irrational anti-American nut.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hitch on Cindy Sheehan's "moral authority."

Cindy Sheehan's Sinister Piffle - What's wrong with her Crawford protest. By Christopher Hitchens.

I had a friend use the Cindy Sheehan/Maureen Dowd argument on me regarding the war in Iraq recently, that being (roughly) that the moral authority of the parents of soldiers, especially dead ones, is absolute. We were discussing policy and the politics of the war in a fairly rational way., But then he brought out the big gun: "Yeah, well you don't have a nephew in Iraq with a target on his back." For some people, a direct (even if only emotional) connection to an issue trumps critical thinking. It's a form of political correctness that says:
  • you can't have an opinion on abortion if you're not a woman

  • you can't say anything about affirmative action if you're not black

  • you have to shut up about (fill in the blank) unless you've walked a mile in my shoes.

I say nonsense. So does Hitch. Here's a salient quote on the Cindy situation:
What dreary sentimental nonsense this all is, and how much space has been wasted on it. Most irritating is the snide idea that the president is "on vacation" and thus idly ignoring his suffering subjects, when the truth is that the members of the media—not known for their immunity to the charm of Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod in the month of August—are themselves lazing away the season with a soft-centered nonstory that practically, as we like to say in the trade, "writes itself." Anyway, Sheehan now says that if need be she will "follow" the president "to Washington," so I don't think the holiday sneer has much life left in it.

Read the whole article. Hitchens is smarter than 90 percent of us, and well worth the time.

This is/was a test.

More audioblogging to come (maybe).

this is an audio post - click to play

We're famous, in Elkhart, anyway.

The Dufours have 15-minutes of fame, courtesy the The Truth (aka Elkhart Truth).

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Coulter's Comparisons

Ann Coulter on John Roberts. I'm not 100% sure Ann's right on this one, but she makes some good points here. We can't afford more Souter/Kennedy types on the high court. Bush's conservative political credentials aren't pristine in the first place, so any questions about justices make me edgy.

Perhaps I should have expected this....

Bush: Intelligent Design Should Be Taught.

I'm aghast. Mr. Bush, go the blackboard and write 1000 times "THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEORY IS NOT SCIENCE."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday, July 8, 2005

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London

I rather like this, despite the R-rated language. Especially this part:
We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives. And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.
Everyone is better than the terrorists. ANYone is better than people who are so impotent all they can really do is hurt people and knock things down. Long live London. (Referred by Andrew S.)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kevin Drum wants to know

... about Tom Cruise and Scientology.

Scientology is, I guess, a religion, if by religion you mean that you take its teachings on faith, and it involves some sort of unprovable mysticism. Scientology is also not much different from more mainstream religions in its irrational opposition to various kinds of science.

A few examples:
  • The Catholic Church was ready to kill Galileo for not "admitting" that the Earth was the center of the universe.
  • Creationists or (as they call themselves today) advocates of "intelligent design theory" continue to beat the drum for a 6,000-year-old Earth and an irrational, fearful hatred for Darwin's theory of evolution.
  • Jehovah's witnesses have a problem with blood transfusions, I understand.
  • Christian Scientists, for all their positive thinking -- one aspect of the religion I happen to like -- believe modern medicine should be shunned.
And Tom Cruise apparently believes that psychiatry is bad and that his body is inhabited by an alien's dead soul. This would be scary, except that it's no different than what's been going on for thousands of years. But it doesn't make it any less dangerous. In Galileo's time, the Catholic Church was the scariest thing going. Today, I guess it's Islamists with death wishes. Irrationality is the greatest evil, whatever the era.

Cruise, who is otherwise very intelligent, is a zealot for a truly crazy set of beliefs. I noted his insistence that "I know the history of psychiatry," on the Today Show recently didn't include any statement that he actually understands the science and practice of psychiatry. Just the history. This doesn't make him an expert on therapies. As Matt Lauer did his best to stay cool and rational, Cruise came across as a jerk. A jerk with nutty ideas. To the extent that fans, enamored of his celebrity, buy in, he hurts people. People who would benefit from the kinds of treatments Cruise reviles.

Drum is right. The press needs to ask Cruise if he really, REALLY believes this crap about thetans and aliens. And then question him about his church's crusade against drug and other therapies for the mentally ill. According to Cruise's church, all you gotta do is clear out yer thetans. Perhaps trepanning (drilling a hole in the head) would help. It used to be the cure of choice for getting rid of evil spirits.

That the Church of Scientology has grown to the level it has, based on sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard's initial creation, is one more testament to the fact that a lot of people in the world somehow don't find meaning in their lives, and must look to mysticism and life-after-death promises for fulfillment.

Seeing Cruise go after Matt Lauer on national TV leaves no doubt in my mind why Nicole Kidman took her leave. She was living with a crazy man.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Re Bush's Speech

Actually, I didn't hear it. Why? I dunno. I was working on something and have been catching up with news reports today. But Andrew Sullivan has some great insights.

Rush does too. This war has, on balance been a success. and the left can't stand it. I've mentioned before that the left has been consistently incorrect in their predictions of failure in Iraq. The WMD issue is a biggie, of course, BUT, we have an insurgency now, NOT a civil war as was predicted. We had free elections (not the bloodbath the left warned us about), and the casaulties, while certainly not good, are nowhere near the "Vietnam" we keep hearing about. The left WANTS this to be Vietnam. They WANT us to lose.

Here's the deal, the only way to end this is to WIN and keep winning. Fewer will die and progress will be greater. Yes mistakes have been made. Not enough troops, intelligence failures on WMD (not the only reason we went in), etc. But pullout is not an option, and anyone who suggests it is not viewing a big picture. (Again, it is in the left's interest to focus on small-picture issues, details instead of broad strategy, symbols instead of reality.)

All is Vanity . . .

I had thought I would stop putting political comments here, but this by Peggy Noonan is too good. And it applies to both sides of the political aisle.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Movie of the year

Batman Begins is spectacularly good. As much as I enjoyed the early Tim Burton versions of the Batman story, this one really grabbed me. And, incidentally, it is far better than the last three "Star Wars" installments which slogged along under the weight of their one self-important seriousness.

The story line of Batman Begins takes Bruce Wayne in a direction we've not seen before, but one that is highly imaginative. Action sequences are breathtakingly well-paced, and not just comprised of gratuitous running, jumping and shooting. This is a character-driven movie. I mean great characters -- not cartoons -- including Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as the "good cop" Lt. Gordon (later to become commissioner, get it?).

This doesn't really qualify as a prequel to the other films because there's one little issue. The guy that kills Wayne's parents does NOT go on to become The Joker, as is the case in Burton's film. That's as much as I'll say, because the surprises and action are worth seeing in the theater. Don't miss this one.

Friday, June 17, 2005

We're 88th

According the the Old Spice "Sweatiest City" report, South Bend, our neighbor to the west is 88th Sweatiest in the nation. Indy is #65. Chicago is 83, which seems odd to me, since you'd think all that wind would blow the sweat away, but what do I know. It DOES get kinda sticky in Wrigley Field at times.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dick Durbin: treasonous weenie

As has been reported all over the place, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has likened our troops' interrogation tactics at Gitmo to the Nazis, Pol Pot and other mass murderers. This jackass should be forced out of office. With Senators like Durbin, the enemy has no need to fear losing the war. Durbin and his ilk apparently care only for the politics of the issue, not the lives of Americans both in uniform and here at home.

The left continues to play from the Vietnam template. Back then, their politics cost thousands of troops lives, and we lost a war we should have been able to win easily. We can't let politics and anti-American guilt-mongering exact the same costs, and more, now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Why is Microsoft helping to repress the Chinese people?

Microsoft helps the Chinese government supress freedom of speech.
Chinese Censors Scold Internet Users Who Input Taboo Words, Like 'Freedom' and 'Human Rights'

SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Chinese bloggers, even on foreign-sponsored sites, had better choose their words carefully -- the censors are watching.

Users of the MSN Spaces section of Microsoft Corp.'s new China-based Web portal get a scolding message each time they input words deemed taboo by the communist authorities -- such as democracy, freedom and human rights.
I think MS should not be cooperating with this obvious attack on basic human rights, benefits of trading in China be damned. This kind of cooperation with censorship and repression is unconscionable. Especially since China has a history of stealing our technology (or having it handed to them by certain unnamed presidents).

It has always bothered me that American companies trade in China, where peoples' rights are so disregarded. The Chinese government still imprisons people for saying the "wrong" things, forces people into labor, confiscates personal property and, when it feels it's necessary, kills its own people. It doesn't deserve the technology and consequent freedom Microsoft brings, and morally, Microsoft shouldn't give it to them. The Chinese government needs to understand that the benefits of capitalism shouldn't come to a government that has no concept of freedom.

As to the censorship of it's MSN Spaces web site based on the rules of a foreign government, Microsoft should be ashamed. And Microsoft should just say "Hell no." If this technology is important to the Chinese people and/or its government, it comes without restrictions, especially restrictions that are a clear violation of our sacred values.

I am a capitalist, but this is worse than a sell-out. It's anti-American. And I never thought I'd say this about a company I respect for so many other reasons.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Here come the lawyers

Emmett Tyrrell presents another indication of how our legal system is not really about justice or protecting people so much as it is about a) making huge fees or b)political agendas or both.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why do Democrats hate private accounts?

The left's insistence that private accounts must come off the table before they will allow any progress on Social Security reform is incomprehensible to me.

Wait a minute. No it's not. They want us to remain dependent on government. Well, that's part of it. The other part is they want the MONEY. Private accounts reduce the slush fund congress has been raiding for years. Is any of this fair to retirees? The ranting about changing a great benefit and turning it over to Enron-types is smoke and mirrors to hide the real agenda.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Try these fun hoaxes. My personal fave:

Buy a pie at a pie shop, carefully remove the upper crust, and then gently lower a family of live gerbils into the pie. Replace the crust and storm back into the pie shop, indignantly pointing out the five little heads poking up through the crust. Collect ten million dollars and appear with the gerbils on “Larry King Live.” Repeat in all fifty states, with different pastry-rodent combinations so as to elude detection.

Shut-up-and-sing watch

Coldplay bashes it's evil record company's stockholders, who, by the way, have given the band a hugely profitable career. My heart bleeds.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thanks, Newsweek

As is predictable with religious zealots who hate America no matter what, Muslim and Taliban leaders don't accept Newsweek's retraction. But it's very telling that Newsweek wouldn't retract at first, attempting to weasel around their culpability in the riots that followed their erroneous story. Someone on their staff lied and now much of the headway we were making with Muslims in Afghanistan and elsewhere has been destroyed. And 16 people (or more) are dead in wake of violence.

Zealots will be zealots, I guess, but we don't need our most visible media handing them a club to beat us with.

Naturally the left's answer to this is "Well, George Bush lied and a lot more people died." This is old stuff, and not really true, either -- Bush didn't lie. And our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have had largely GOOD results, if the press would bother to mention them. Newsweek has screwed up in their drive to make Bush and America look bad, and now they can't even tell the truth and be believed. The source-checking appears to have been almost non-existent on this story. What happened to real journalism?

Whether or not this newly threatened Jihad against the US will mean anything in the long run (the zealots hated us BEFORE, so nothing's really changed), it will certainly escalate conflict and death in the short run.

Good job, Newsweek. Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy are probably proud of you, but no one else is.

Hitchens on the Religious Right

This guy is brilliant. I didn't see this article when it first appeared in OpinionJournal a couple weeks ago, but it was called to my attention today. I do worry about an overzealous religious right that can't see any parallels between its own agenda and that of jihadists. Yes, I do worry about our society getting more repressive as people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson get a bigger audience with our government.
Salient quote:
At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percentage points. Does it propose to welcome these new adherents or sympathizers by yelling in the tones of that great Democrat bigmouth William Jennings Bryan? By insisting that evolution is "only a theory"? By demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself? If so, it will deserve the punishment for hubris that is already coming its way. (The punishment, in other words, that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson believed had struck America on Sept. 11, 2001. How can it be that such grotesque characters, calling down divine revenge on the workers in the World Trade Center, are allowed a respectful hearing, or a hearing at all, among patriotic Republicans?)

Rock on, Hitch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More irresponsibility from Ted Kennedy

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH carries Kennedy's latest anti-American memo. The actions at Abu Ghraib were stupid and wrong. But so is this, and it undermines the efforts of our armed forces abroad. Either Kennedy doesn't realize this or he doesn't care. Either conclusion is disturbing.

Monday, April 18, 2005

More on Einstein

A neat little slide show about the evidence supporting Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

100 years of relativity

Einstein’s revolution enters second century - -

My Past Life.

This is a little weird, but my daughter Paige did it so I had to keep up.

Quiz Me
David was
a Lowly Monkey Trainer
in a past life.

Discover your past lives @ Quiz Me

AARP's disingenuous campaign against real reform.

OpinionJournal has this piece laying it out. AARP's highly emotional campaigns offer no alternative solutions, and continue to promote Social Security as "one of the most successful government programs ever." By what standard? WSJ points out that the only solution AARP has is to simply raise more taxes. Check it out. AARP can't continue to define itself as non-partisan when this is the approach it takes.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Peggy Noonan on Teri Schiavo

She pretty much captures the way I feel about this in OpinionJournal today.

The passion of those who want her to die seems so perverse it's hard to understand. Unless you connect the dots in the fringe left. Their compassion is for everything except human beings. They love animals, whales, trees, the environment, the earth. It's people (and, I believe, themselves) they can't stand.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

McCain-Feingold vs Blogosphere

The potential problems this stupid counterproductive "reform" bill is causing for bloggers, who are in fact simply citizens stating their opinions. The problem is, running a blog costs something even though many writers post here on, which is free. Read the whole article here.

Here's the nut, one of several:

The problem facing the FEC is that McCain-Feingold broadly restricts coordination with, and contributions to, political candidates. So what is the agency to do with all those people who use their Web sites to praise a candidate? Computers and Web access cost money, which could be construed as a financial contribution to a campaign. Ditto bloggers who link to politicians' Web sites, or any individual who forwards a candidate's press release to a list of buddies. All this is to say nothing of blogs that are affiliated with political campaigns and coordinate their activities.

Congress should act quickly to repeal this idiotic law. John McCain, admit you screwed up. Please. The problem is, McCain won't. In fact, he (or the sponsors of the bill) sued to make sure the Internet wasn't exempt from the law. And of course, they got an out-of-touch federal judge to agree.

The last election wouldn't have been very interesting at all without the Internet to keep things hopping. In the early days of our nation, pamphleteers were the equivalent of today's bloggers. Would Congress have prevented their activities, knowing how this nation turned out?

Some weeks ago, I predicted that bloggers would be the next group under attack from politicians, in the name of "reform." I'm becoming convinced that when "reform" is spoken, it is almost NEVER the politicians themselves who wish to change their activities. Instead, they will seek to control segments of the public that upset their status quo.

Blog on! (While you can.)

Friday, March 4, 2005

The coming crackdown on blogging

I predicted this, but since my blog's search engine isn't in gear yet, I can't find it (I'll link to it later). But this is precisely the kind of thing I suspected was next after McCain-Feingold got passed.

Wonkette has more on this, and it may not be as bad as it sounds, but if you read the C-Net article, it becomes obvious how out of touch with reality some judges and most bureaucrats are. Not to mention the fact that ultimately, trying to wrangle with free speech on the internet is going to be difficult, time-consuming, and above all, immoral.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

OpinionJournal on The Supreme Court decision yesterday.

The Blue State Court

As I predicted. And also, as I predicted, Mark Levin dedicated a lot of time to this on his radio show last night.

From the article, this is my biggest issue in a nutshell:

Perhaps the most troubling feature of Roper is that it extends the High Court's recent habit of invoking foreign opinion in order to overrule American laws. "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty," Justice Kennedy writes. We thought the Constitution was the final arbiter of U.S. law, but apparently that's passé.

If a court can selectively use "international law," or a "consensus" of foreign laws to change and/or overturn our own laws, why have a constitution at all?

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Supreme Court vs the People

The Supreme Court today decided that the death penalty could not be applied to those under 18, regardless of the crime, or the rules in any particular state. I've just started reading Mark Levin's book "Men in Black," but I'm sure he will react to this as an example of more judicial activism and overstepping.

Justice Anthony Kennedy,not quoted in the article referenced (I heard this on the radio), cited international trends (as well as supposed trends in the US), to voice his portion of the majority's opinion. Understand something, I am against the death penalty in virtually all cases --- for different reasons, but the big point here is that the court is not supposed to make law, or take polls to determine what the law is. The Constitution, so far as I know, does not place age limits on punishments, and several states across the country (19), have decided that the death penalty is justified in some cases for minors. The high court basically is telling the people and their elected legislatures that their laws are morally wrong.

Justice Scalia gets it:

In a dissent, Scalia decried the decision, arguing that there has been no clear trend of declining juvenile executions to justify a growing consensus against the practice.

"The court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: 'In the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty,' he wrote in a 24-page dissent.

"The court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our nation's moral standards," Scalia wrote.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Much ado about much ado

The Oscar show was pretty bland, when it came down to it. Not sure it was Rock's fault, as Tom Shales noted, it's probably because most of the movies were not of a genre generally considered "fun." Scorsese really deserves an Oscar, maybe not for The Aviator, but for SOMEthing. That said, I'm always happy when genuine good guys like Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman are recognized. Freeman is a treasure -- he's come a long way from The Electric Company.

My only concern about Rock was not that I thought he would go "dirty," but that when it came down to it, he was kind of cruel to some actors in his opening monologue. Oh yeah, I know it's all jokes, but it could have been a little lighter -- and probably funnier. HOWEVER, I thought in general, he did a great job, came across as the pro he is, and that's great. A lot of his quips were clever, and he's just fun to watch. Maybe it's not his thing, but Drudge is reporting this morning that the ratings for this year's show were the highest since 2000. So, good for Chris.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Taxes aren't funny ...

Or cute, or whimsical or fun. I just heard, for the the hundredth time, a radio ad for TurboTax, in which a perky couple talk about how easy and great the software is, finding deductions they hadn't thought of, and ending with a cute refrerence to the "little tax deductions jumping on the sofa." Gag me.

The fact is, if it weren't for the grotesquely complicated tax code with which our leaders have saddled us, there would be no need for software such as TurboTax. This company has every right to make a product designed to help people deal with a complex problem, but when will it dawn on people that taxes don't NEED to be so complex (not to mention unfair) that individual taxpayers need a computer or an accountant to figure them out? Here's an alternative ad for TurboTax.

HUSBAND: Honey, please keep the kids quiet. I'm working on our taxes.

WIFE: Sorry, Dear. You've been working on that for three weeks. I thought you were all finished.

HUSBAND: Are you kidding? This stuff is incomprehensible. I have to spend at least a half hour researching each deduction, just to make sure we're entitled to it. It takes forever.

WIFE: Why don't you call the IRS for help?

HUSBAND: Because they lie, honey. Either that or they don't know what they're talking about. Remember last year, they told us 80% of our Emily's (name changed to avoid an audit) college education was deductible?

WIFE: Yes.

HUSBAND: Lie. Lie. Lie. That's why we owed another $500 instead of getting a refund. Bastards.

WIFE: Isn't there a better way? I mean, short of leaving the country?

ANNOUNCER: Now there IS a better way. Now there's TurboTax, the tax prep software that will put your taxes in order, as near as we can tell, in no time. Find all the deductions and credits possible, because the IRS is bound to deny a couple of them. Beat those bastards. With TurboTax.


Only in my dreams, unfortunately.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Enough Rope Alert

In an article about Richard Perle's recent misadventures in My Way News, there's this quote from the head of the DNC:
Dean also said the Bush administration has ignored the mounting threat in Iran and North Korea. 'We picked the low hanging fruit in Iraq and did nothing' about the other, more dangerous regimes," he said.

Dean heads a party that has been serially incorrect about the Iraq War outcomes and other foreign policy issues ever since 9/11. I don't think they can afford any more uninformed analysis. Somebody's going to catch on when it turns out our strategies with Iran and North Korea have been right as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Protesting Too Much About Social Security Reform

Pete DuPont in OpinionJournal nails it. Read the whole thing, because he points out how hypocritical (and wrong) all the carpers (AARP, Pelosi, Harry Reid) really are then, the money quote:
Ultimately the argument isn't about investment accounts, or stocks or bonds or 'gambling' or 'insecurity.' It is about socialism versus individualism, about Attlee's social justice and Hillary's common good and Chomsky's economic solidarity. AARP CEO William Novelli is in favor of allowing the government to invest Social Security surplus funds in the stock market, but against allowing individuals to do so--exactly the socialist argument, that government should control the distribution of the nation's wealth.
When you increase an individual's wealth, he becomes less dependent on government, and his attitude towards government changes. Socialists can't allow that, for it erodes their fundamental principle that social justice can only be achieved when important segments of the economy are under government control.

You cannot trust people who insist you are not smart enough to manage your own money.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Chris Rock and the Oscars

The hubbub about Chris Rock is painfully silly. The comment he made, "Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f**king," was, I believe part of his last HBO special, and is intended to be a JOKE. You know, a joke? Like I tell a joke and you laugh, because there's a certain absurdity in the logic?

I have been at times a fan of Sean Hannity, but he's going after Rock pretty hard on his radio show as I write this, and he's wrong. He doesn't know the context and he really doesn't get Chris Rock, who is one of the funniest guys around. Sure he's kind of dirty, but he also has some great insights, and dammit, he's funny as hell. Please don't pillory this guy for being who he is.

According to Drudge, some Academy insiders are expressing "concern," about Rock hosting the upcoming Academy Awards Show. Well, they could have expressed the same concern many, many weeks ago because this comment about abortion clinic pickups is not that new. Rock may not have been the best pick for the Oscar hosting job -- he may also be a GREAT choice, who knows? -- but to pretend you didn't know about his humor until now rings pretty hollow, and is unfair to the guy to whom you just offered the job. He wasn't hiding anything, that's for sure.

As for Rock's comment that abortion is "beautiful;" in context, this is a joke about how to pick up willing women, not that abortion is good, or bad for that matter. Is that so hard to understand? For Hannity it apparently is, or else he simply doesn't care to approach this intelligently. Chris Rock does not deserve this kind of treatment.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Andrew on the SOTU Address

Check out his entire real-time take, certainly, but here's one of the best quotes:
That Iraqi woman in the balcony brings a lump to my throat. I've thrown much criticism the way of this president because of missteps in the occupation. But it remains true and undeniable that without him, Saddam's tyranny would still be in place, terror would still have the initiative, and hope would be dim. His obstinacy is better described in this context as alloyed with something more profound: steadfastness. This president deserves the applause. And his insistence on no artificial time-table is exactly right. No surrender.

Andrew is taking a much-deserved hiatus, and I will miss his great commentary and analysis, even when I don't agree with everything. Andrew Sullivan has really proven the blogosphere to be an intellecually stimulating aspect of the web, not just a buncha bad writers. Here's to you future Andrew. Keep writing somewhere.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Finally, a more rational look at Social Security from the left

Bob Kerrey, whom I don't always agree with, wrote today in OpinionJournal. The shrill faction of the Democratic party should catch a clue from this guy. Shouting and lying about the crisis won't help us solve it.

Re: 24

Yes, I'm addicted to 24 this season. Great show. Now I find out Dave Barry is too. Check out his take on last night's episode at Dave Barry's Blog

Hitch on why Iraq is not Vietnam

More from my favorite lefty. Why the American left should stop trying to relive their (dubious) glory days.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Fox News is reporting at this moment that turnout is about 60 percent of registered Iraqi voters, when Zogby expected between 40 and 50 percent. We don't get that kind of turnout in the US. How will the left spin this now?

The history of the left's opposition to US involvement in Iraq is that of shifting targets and points of view. Initially, they did believe, as everyone did, that WMD's existed. But as soon as the invasion started, they immediately talked of "quagmire" and that we couldn't win. Then we won.

So, the left changed its objections to say yes, we had won the war, but we were screwing up the "winning of the piece," whatever that means. They said we didn't have enough troops there to deal with the insurgent situation. But they demanded an "exit strategy." And on top of that, we now we have Ted Kennedy stating that we should pull troops out and that our troops are the PROBLEM. More troops? Fewer troops? Which is it, folks?

The left said early on that we could not have the elections so soon, because they wouldn't work, insinuating that democracy is not something Iraqis are "ready for" (an arrogant, near-racist point of view if I've ever heard it.) Now the elections ARE working. Yes there is violence, which was expected, but the Iraqis, the people who "aren't ready for democracy" have turned out in larger-than-expected numbers, defying threats of death. How many Americans would do the same under similar circumstances? Certainly not to vote for the likes of John Kerry, I'm thinking.

The left has consistently predicted wrong on every aspect of this war. And when proven wrong, they consistently move to the next "Yes, but.." argument, only to be proven wrong again. Isn't it time we stopped listening to these people?

Spoken like a true loser

You-know-who on the rocky, but (so far) successful Iraqi election:: "'It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote,' Kerry said."

Congratulations to the people of Iraq

If you voted, you should be proud that you defied the thugs and did the right thing. If you did not, or could not, there will be more opportunities to do so in the future, and you should be proud of your brethren who did go to the polls. This is a great day for Iraq, and, I hope, the first of many.