Victor Davis Hanson, again.

8:06 PM Jan 31, 2004by Rob Ritchie

If it was wrong and cynical to have left the Afghans to the mercy of once useful Islamic fundamentalists after the expulsion of the Soviets in the 1980s, it is right and humane now to stay and help after defeating those who further ruined Afghanistan.

If it was calculating and shortsighted not to have helped the Kurds and Shiites after the conclusion of the Gulf War in 1991, it is moral and visionary now to rectify that lapse and invest our most precious resources to set the ledger straight with them both.

You know, this guys is rapidly becoming my favorite commentator. He's erudite and sensible, and always expresses things with a measure of precision that's accurate to twelve decimal points. Go read.

7:03 PM Jan 31, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Via Andrew Sullivan, I found this Presidental Match Quiz, which asks a bunch of questions about how you feel about various issues, then matches you to canditates who are running for president.

For me, Bush came up 100%, followed by Leiberman, Edwards (!), Kerry and Dean. I don't know if I expected Bush to be 100%, because I really do have some differences with him on certain issues; however, the questions here didn't stress those areas.

Anyway, give it a try. In my case, at any rate, it seemed pretty accurate, but what Edwards was doing in there I'll never know.

If you do decide to take the quiz, please post your results as a comment to this post.

Steyn Speaks

5:23 PM Jan 30, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Mark Steyn:

That leaves John Kerry, the tall, gaunt, dozy Massachusetts blueblood I’d written off ever since last summer when he came to the Barge Inn in Woodsville and, in the strangest political entrance I’ve ever seen, walked through the door to cheers and flags and popping cameras and worked his way through the crowd pressing the flesh until he got to the men’s room, whereupon he went in, leaving the clapping and waving to just sort of peter out as we waited for him to emerge.

Read the rest: How ‘None of the Above’ won

Joe Speaks

12:13 PM Jan 30, 2004by Rob Ritchie

“We live in a dangerous world. ... In a dangerous world, sometimes you have to use that power against dangerous people. The statements that this administration made before the war, the questions we now have about intelligence about the weapons of mass destruction, the failure of the Bush administration to be prepared for what to do after we overthrew Saddam have all unfortunately given a bad name to a just war. The fact is that Saddam Hussein himself was a weapon of mass destruction. ... I will never waver in my conclusion that the world is a safer with Saddam Hussein in prison and not in power.”
Joe Lieberman at the recent debate.

He's outlined some legitimate complaints about the Bush administration, without denying the need for the war.

He's the only Democratic canditate that seems to understand the threat that stands before us. Come on, Democrats! Nominate him so that, whoever wins in November, we'll still have a country in ten years!

Ann Speaks

11:48 AM Jan 30, 2004by Rob Ritchie

If Democrats want to talk about middle-class tax cuts, couldn't they nominate someone who hasn't been a poodle to rich women for the past 33 years?

Ouch. From her latest.

Ann's got a rhetorical flair that's hard to categorize. Some people do it this way. (Available here.)

Personally, I find her harsh, painful words an antidote, or correction, for stuff like this.

The Saddam / Al Qaida Connection

11:31 AM Jan 28, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Via Instapundit, I found this post listing the mounting evidence of a pre-9/11 connection between Osama and Saddam.

There are a lot of suspicious things here. To paraphrase Bogey from Casablanca, maybe some of these things aren't very important, but look at the number of them! Considering how the "Bush Lied / People Died" crap still gets play, I wonder why these things aren't nosed about more?

Al Franken, Free Speech Vigilante!

4:53 PM Jan 27, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Uh, I'm no lawyer, but isn't this assault and battery?

Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.
Update: You know, the more I think about this, the stranger it seems. Imagine for a minute if some rabid-anti-Bush demonstrator was manhandled by, say, Mel Gibson at an event. Would Al Franken still think it was cool?

Hang in there, Baby!

2:47 PM Jan 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

So long, Captain

5:14 PM Jan 23, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Bob Keeshan, 'Captain Kangaroo,' dies at age 76

Better or Worse?

4:45 PM Jan 23, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson with another must read.

10:57 AM Jan 22, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks reviews a children's Star Wars book:

It’s bad enough that Lucas invented Jar Jar in the first place; it’s bad enough that they made childrens’ books with him, but Anakin is DARTH FRICKIN’ VADER. To have him show up and dispatch the bully by suggesting that Jar Jar has mob connections is so totally farged I can’t even begin to untangle the moral idiocy of the story. Boil it down: young Damien from “The Omen” saves Rastus McWebfoot from a beating by claiming that the Corleones have his back.

Life on Mars!!!!!

10:32 AM Jan 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Finally, proof of life on another planet! If this doesn't stir you, NOTHING WILL

George W. Bush has not captured Osama bin Laden so that SUV owners, big corporations, and white men could upset Al Franken.

5:49 PM Jan 21, 2004by Rob Ritchie

This, and more conspiracies, may be found here

12:09 PM Jan 21, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

brain terminal has another interview, this time with folks who turned out for Al Gore's recent global-warming speach, sponsered by

Gettin' a MoveOn

If you haven't seen any of these movies, browse the site. It may take a while to download, but they are defintely worth the wait.

New Wood Floors

11:08 AM Jan 21, 2004by Rob Ritchie

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had some new wood floors put in while we were away this last weekend. We're pretty happy with them.

6:46 PM Jan 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Where's the Rake?

Not safe for kids

Bonita Beach

12:39 PM Jan 20, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Here's the view out the bedroom window

Monday morning on the porch

Video of the surf is here

Here's what we did.

Both videos are pretty big downloads.

Blogging on the Road

12:52 AM Jan 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Just like big-named bloggers like Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan, I too can blog from the road (thanks to Carita's painfully slow dial-up connection).

Had a great drive down and a terrific day playing cards and sitting in the rather-too-chill wind.

Michael Moore Speaks His Mind

12:23 PM Jan 16, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Comes clean at last!

Click here

Yellowcake from Iraq?

12:15 PM Jan 16, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Via Instapundit, I find this story:

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — A recycling company found uranium oxide -- a radioactive material also known as yellowcake (search) -- in a shipment of scrap steel it believes originally came from Iraq (search), the company said Thursday.

If true, how do those who claim that Iraq didn't have a WMD program explain this stuff?

Now he's just bragging

11:10 AM Jan 16, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A couple of days ago a guy named Dennis Perrin wrote this column for the Citypages, a alternative freeby paper they hand out in Minneapolis, criticizing James Lileks's Bleats.

Basically, and I'm not really doing good service to him, Perrin is mad because Lileks uses his personal web site to talk about political beliefs that are at odds with Perrin's own beliefs. He suggests that perhaps Lileks should return to writing about the homey stuff that he's also well known for.

Well, I'm not the only fan of Lileks, and a round-up of his defenders can be found here on Instapundit. Opinion seems to be that Perrin is an envious little wart who's stuck writing for a freeby newspaper while Lileks (who holds all the wrong beliefs) is a successful and well-known writer.

Not that Lileks needs defenders. Here's what he wrote yesterday.

So: do you think the guy who wrote that article called up this site today, hoping he’d find a foamy-mouthed point-by-point reply?

Maybe. Who cares? Let’s talk about the stars.

Pretty classy, just ignore him and go about your business, right?

But they say that living right is the best revenge; today's Bleat goes out of its way to show how good Lilek's has got it! National fame! Lucrative book deals! Desired weight loss! More work than he can handle!

Read it and weep, Dennis.

Update: This original draft of Perrin's column has just come to light.

11:52 AM Jan 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I haven't been posting very much lately, for which I am somewhat sorry, but I've had a few things occupying my time. In no particular order:

  • Work - The new year has introduced new projects. Everybody is implementing new systems. Everybody has new yearly goals and want to accomplish them as early in the year as possible so as to be able to laurel-rest for as much of the year as possible.
  • LotR - I've been working on my Lord of the Rings RPG campaign; I had a break over the holidays, but now it's time for another session. I've got a pretty intricate story to tell, and trying to intertwine it with character backgrounds and canon Tolkein material requires caution and care. Plus, the new movie has jump-started the groups engines, so I want to make this good.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - Not the movie, but the computer game. We got this for Christmas, and Donna and I have spent practically all our spare time playing it. It's terrific, and consumes an inordinate amount of my attention.
  • Visiting - Carita and Paul are en route to their condo in Bonita Beach, and we're visiting with them this weekend. I can't pretend that this requires much of my time (packing is pretty simple) but it is something that I'm thinking about.
  • New Floors - Over the self-same weekend that we'll be in Bonita Beach, we're having wood floors put in our library and dining room. This is in itself pretty exciting. Pictures will be posted.

11:07 AM Jan 13, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan has some interesting thoughts on Paul O'Neill and the limitations of the Bush White House.

Much of the O'Neill stuff can be dismissed as sour grapes. But there are some worrying themes about the way this administration runs itself that rightly endure.
UPDATE: Apparently, Paul Krugman likes Paul O'Neill now. This is a strike against him.

I would have guessed more

6:08 PM Jan 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

54.76190476190476% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

I demand a recount.

History Lesson

5:08 PM Jan 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson describes how our current world situation is a repeat of 30 years ago. Read this, because I don't do it justice with this summary.

The Same Old Thing

Thirty years ago, during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, most of the Europeans of the NATO alliance refused over-flight rights to the United States. We had only hours in which to aid Israel from a multifaceted surprise attack and were desperately ferrying tons of supplies to save it from literal extinction. In contrast, many of these same allies allowed the Soviet Union — the supposed common enemy from which thousands of Americans were based in Europe to protect Europeans — to fly over NATO airspace to ensure the Syrians sufficient material to launch and sustain their surprise attack on the Golan.

12:52 PM Jan 9, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Jay Nordlinger on Clark:

In a recent column, I attributed the following comment to him: that President Bush "is more concerned about the success of Halliburton than having a success strategy in Iraq." The Associated Press reported that Clark had said it; Reuters reported that his spokesman, Chris Lehane, had said it. It seems that it was Lehane. Either way, the remark is in perfect harmony with current Clarkian rhetoric.

The general has told us, "I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in occupying countries to extract their natural resources. I think you buy them on the world market." Because, as you all know, the United States is in Iraq to extract their oil, and not buy it on the world market. You did know that, didn't you? Haven't you read your Noam Chomsky, or the speeches of Wesley Clark?

Look: Even if you think George W. Bush is dead wrong about the War on Terror, and about Iraq in particular, you should know that his motives are sincere — and that he has the deepest respect for the men and women who serve. Anyone awake must see that. It takes a real ignoramus or creep to miss it. And Wesley Clark gives me the heebie-jeebies.

There is, of course, more and his whole column is interesting today.

Bill writes:

10:40 AM Jan 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Wondered why you do not have an article about Halliburton being cleared of overcharging. Seems like an obvious choice for your site. And how the news media doesn’t talk too much about it. Probably will never make it on Terry Gross’s show.

Frankly, I don’t know anything about the Halliburton story. I’m really not that smart, you know. I wasn’t interested in it from the beginning, because I never thought it was true, so its completion doesn’t surprise me. I realize that there are leftists who believe that Halliburton is the entire reason for the war, but that kind of thinking is so foreign to me, I have a hard time giving it credence. It shows a capacity for cynicism that I just can't accept.

That said, here's a link:

Halliburton Cleared Of Overcharging U.S. Army

Also, on how the story is being played by the networks (featuring 'Dean Hookups').

You're right, though that it's unlikely that Terry Gross will mention it.

But, back to Bill's email:

Also. Where are more pictures? I figured you would be flooding your blog with them by now what with your new camera.

I really feel bad I haven't taken more pictures, but I have to overcome a lifetime of camera-avoidance behavior. But, just for Bill, here is a short photo-montage of my work environment:

Here is a shot of my truck parked outside the door of the offices where I work.

This is the dark and joyless outer lobby of this office space. This is a new area for us, and we've only been in here for a couple of months. We are the only people who work over here full time. I presume they will cheer this place up a bit eventually.

And here is my work space. I share a rather large office with two other Techguys©.

This is the view just down a short hallway from my office. This warehouse space is filled with paper. This is a very small portion of the whole warehouse.

Another view of the warehouse. Later on in the day, the gate shown here will be opened to allow me to move about freely within the plant, but I'm shut up early for my own protection.

There you have it. Oh, and Bill, the animated pictures I sent at Christmas were made with GIF Construction Set Professional from Alchemy Mindworks. I've found it to be a pretty powerful tool for doing my very limited animation projects.

GIF Construction Set Professional by Alchemy Mindworks

American Atrocity in Iraq?

5:01 PM Jan 8, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds received a report of a disturbing and shocking murder of an Iraqi youth "on his wedding day" by American troops.

If there's any truth to this story, it's terrible. However, many are suspicious, as am I.

US Senator Displays Racist Bigotry

1:48 PM Jan 8, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A shocking story! A sitting US Senator compares Mahatma Gahdi to a "gas station owner," an obvious reference to the stereotype of Indian immigrants as managers of convenience stores and other types of establishments.

Hillary apologizes for Gandhi remark

The New York Democrat made the remark at a fund-raiser Saturday. During an event here for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, Mrs. Clinton introduced a quote from Gandhi by saying, "He ran a gas station down in St. Louis."

Imagine for a minute if it had been a Republican instead of Hillary Clinton. Would an apology be enough?

The Three Way Struggle

4:34 PM Jan 7, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Steven Den Beste has a terrific and detailed description of the three social forces at work in the world today:

Two contending factions are agnostic (but with some religious members), one is theistic (but with some agnostic members). Two are idealist, one is realist. None really like or trust any of the others, but the realists have been prospering while the others have failed, and so it is that the other two are afraid. In peaceful competition, they'll lose.

When the Islamists lashed out violently at the realists, the idealists tried (and failed) to prevent the realists from fighting back, and thus the lines in this war were drawn. The realists are engaged in a shooting war with the Islamists, and in diplomatic war with the idealists.

4:10 PM Jan 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Islamist terrorists claim to strike in “self defense” against the aggressive policies of the United States, especially in regards to US support Israel, the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, and US “support” for Arab dictators.

1) The United States supports Israel because Israel is an ally of the United States, a fellow liberal democracy surrounded by enemies. To withdraw support for Israel would be to abandon it at a time when it is sorely beset, which is something that Americans are loath to do at any time. To acquiesce with their demands to treat all nations “fairly” is to ignore the murderous, tyrannical and anti-American tendencies of Israel’s enemies, and to lend legitimacy to their wholly illegitimate and stated ambitions for Israel’s destruction.

2) United States troops entered Saudi Arabia at the request of the Kingdom in order to protect it and its oil fields from the armies of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the First Gulf War, and their continued presence there was entirely at the request of the Kingdom. Now that Iraq no longer poses a threat to Saudi Arabia, the US is in the process of leaving the Kingdom. This has been the US pattern wherever we station troops; they remain only as long as they are needed to protect the countries that requested them, and they leave when their mission is complete. This pattern is apparent to anyone not blinded by ideology and anti-American bias.

I should note that the US has made every reasonable effort to respect the traditions and religious sensibilities of the people of Saudi Arabia with regard to their holy cities and with their desires that our soldiers uphold their laws.

3) Accusations that the US “supports” dictators should be examined on a case by case basis. It is true that in its war against Soviet expansion, the US sometimes supported autocratic regimes against Soviet efforts to overthrow them; this is not something that we, as a nation, are particularly proud of, but the goal to contain Communism (and, incidentally, maintain stability within in the nation) was deemed of utmost importance. Since the end of the Cold War, we have seen US support for Arab dictators turn towards the desire for democratic reforms throughout the Middle East. You may have noticed that we have lately taken a more active role in this area. No doubt you approve.

The real question becomes why so many Arabs support their own dictators? Cold War autocratic regimes were in-place when the US entered the theater, and in the last 15 years there has been precious little movement towards democracy indigenously in the Arab world. The few instances where a change in government actually took place (Iran, Afghanistan) they went towards stultifying theocratic rules more ruthless than any mere secular dictator could ever be.

Finally, with regard to Saddam Hussein, during the Iran / Iraq war, after Iran declared itself the enemy of the United States, the US provided some very minor aid to Iraq under the well-know “enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” strategy. Indeed, the aid given to Iraq lags behind the aid given to it by France, Germany, Russia, and China, and other nations. The fact that Islamists truly care about the plight of poor Muslims laboring under dictators, and because they feel deeply that all nations should be treated equally, no doubt explains why on 9/11 Islamist terrorists flew airplanes into the Eiffel Tower, the Cathedral of Ulm, and into the Kremlin. Oh, wait, that didn’t happen; my mistake.

Dang, this is funny!

1:13 PM Jan 7, 2004by Rob Ritchie

In response to this well-blogged column by Neal Starkman about how shtoopid Bush supporters are, Iowahawk presents:

A Taxonomic Theorem By Which I Shall Explain the Pathological Phenomenon of Bush Tolerance

Millions of words have been written as to the motivations of voters, according to my dog-eared copy of The Annual Review of the Number of Words Written As To The Motivation of Voters. Particularly in close elections, as in the 2000 presidential contest, pundits and laypeople alike have speculated on why people voted for whom, and especially whom people who end their sentences in "who" may have voted for, and why. And, also perhaps, where and when from whom these votes were cast, and how? The exit poll has been a major tool in this speculation.

12:11 PM Jan 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Via LGF we learn that there is an Israeli Flag on Mars!

As far as I can tell, there are only two flags currently represented on the Red Planet. The Israeli flag is pictured here next to Ilan Ramon's name, which appears on the memorial plaque to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. The plaque is located on the high-gain antenna of NASA's Spirit spacecraft, which is currently sitting peacefully in Mars' Gusev Crater. The landing site is to be named Columbia Memorial Station.
He's got pictures. As LGF said "Jihadis, this is your cue to go nuts."

Arabian Fairy Tale

10:46 AM Jan 7, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Once upon a time, there was a desert city that was situated along a rich trade route. Visitors from all over the land came to trade their wares and the people of the city were very happy.

One evening, a falling star was seen in the night sky over the city, and a bright flash was seen in the dunes not far away. In wonder, the people went to see what had happened, and they found a large black meteorite had fallen from the sky. They asked themselves what this could mean, and they decided that this stone must have been sent as a blessing to the city by the Moon God.

Happily, they dragged the stone back to their city and there built a shrine around the stone. They worshiped the Moon God in the shrine and established a priesthood to guard the shrine and to conduct them in the proper worship of the stone.

Traders from all around came to see the shrine, and made offerings to the Moon God in hopes that they would be blessed in their business dealings. The leaders of the town and the priests of the Moon God became very rich and the fame of the city and of the shrine increased.

So famous did the city become that the priests of other gods came to build their own shrines. Gods of the Sun, the Stars, the Rivers, the Seas; gods of the Air, gods of Fire, every god that the people could name, all had shrines built for them, and the people of the city welcomed them all, because they knew that their city would be blessed by all the gods, and enriched by the people who came to visit the shrines.

The priests of the Moon God, however, were very jealous of the other shrines; for they saw that many people no longer came to worship the stone that they served, and no longer made donations to the priests to pray for them. The shrine of the Moon God became neglected and poor, and the priests became thin and their robes threadbare.

The son of the high priest of the Moon God was a merchant, and in much need of money to finance his business. Though he married a rich old woman, still he desired more gold. So he decided to go out into the desert to think of ways to get money for himself.

When he returned to the city, he began to tell people that they should no longer worship at any of the shrines except at the shrine of the Moon God. He told them that only the Moon God was a real god, and that all the other gods were false. Only by worshiping at the shrine of the Moon God, and making donations to the high priest, his father, would people be blessed in their business dealings.

The priests of the shrines of the other gods all scoffed at him and called him names, but he persisted in preaching against their gods, and insisted that only by worshiping the Moon God would people be blessed. Many people were interested in what the man had to say, and started to worship only the Moon God, and to neglect the other gods. They made donations only to the high priest of the Moon God in order that they would be blessed in their business dealings. The shrine of the stone of the Moon God again became rich, and the son of the high priest had the money he needed to finance his business.

The priests of the shrines of the other gods complained to the leaders of the city. “This man, this son of the high priest of the Moon God, preaches against us! He wants us to remove our own shrines to the many gods and to only worship the Moon God! If this happens, people will no longer come to the city, and the city will not prosper! Instruct him to stop preaching in this way.”

The leaders of the city came to the son of the high priest of the Moon God and told him to stop preaching that only the Moon God was a true god, but the man persisted in his preaching. They argued back and forth for many months, and all the while the man’s business prospered and the number of his followers increased.

At last, the leaders of the town expelled the man and all his followers, because he preached against the many gods of the city. The man and his followers went to a neighboring city and continued to preach about the Moon God.

The man was again in need of the money, because when he was forced out of his old city he had left most of his wealth behind. So, he instructed his followers that the Moon God ordered them to become bandits, and to prey upon the rich caravans that traveled to the old city. They were very good at being bandits, even better than at being merchants, so they became very rich by attacking traders and stealing their goods. Bandits from all around came to join with them, and swore allegiance to the son of the high priest of the Moon God, so that they could share in the rich loot to be had.

So bothersome and dangerous did these bandits of the Moon God become, that finally the leaders of the man’s home city sent an army to destroy them; but, the number of bandits had grown so great that they easily overcame the army and killed them all. Next, the bandits descended upon the city and captured it, and they killed the leaders of that city who had exiled them.

The son of the high priest of the Moon God went to the shrines to all the other gods and destroyed them, so that there was only one shrine left in the city, the shrine to the rock of the Moon God. He then instructed the people that there was only one god, the Moon God, and that the man was the prophet of the Moon God. And the bandits followed the man and grew rich on the violence that he directed them to do.

6:23 PM Jan 5, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michael J. Totten discusses the differences between Liberals and Leftists:

Liberals fly the American flag. Leftists burn it.

Liberals see America as the land of opportunity and freedom. Leftists see America as the bastion of Imperialism, Racism, and Oppression.

Liberals want higher taxes on the rich because it’s fairer to the middle and working classes. Leftists want to soak the rich out of class hatred.

There's more, and it's all pretty good.

6:08 PM Jan 5, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

11:53 AM Jan 5, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Mark Steyn comments on the likelyhood of justice:

Don't leave Saddam trial to the 'jet set'

Anyone who goes goo-goo at the mention of the words ''international tribunal'' -- i.e., Clark, John Kerry, Howard Dean and the rest of the multilatte multilateralist establishment -- should look at what it boils down to in practice. Even though the court forbade Milosevic and Seselj from actively campaigning in the Serbian election, they somehow managed to. In other words, ''international law'' is unable to enforce its judgments even in its own jailhouse.

12:41 PM Jan 2, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In today's Bleat, Lileks talks about movies, movie trailers, politics and the 30's. As usual, it's terrific!

And the next trailer is for Indistinguishable Central American Village Drama #234 – well, look at that! It revolves around a big dinner with dishes indiginous to the Guapo region of El Salvador! Never saw that coming!
Go read and enjoy.

Nostrodamus, Call your Office

8:15 PM Jan 1, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Mark Steyn makes predictions for the coming year. I particularly like this one:


He will continue to be dead throughout 2004.

Read them all! Amaze your friends!

Happy New Year

3:08 PM Jan 1, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous new year.

On the other hand, this doesn't bode well.