12:56 PM Feb 27, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Jack Kelly: All but won

It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi.

Pious gratitude to: Power Line

12:51 PM Feb 27, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I hope that Mark Steyn is wrong when he writes that the U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode

Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.

12:09 PM Feb 27, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Liberalism: Can it survive?

Conservatism revived with great intellectual ferment and a long burst of new ideas, and liberalism presumably can do the same. But there is no sign that this is happening. No real breakthrough in liberal thought and programs has occurred since the New Deal, giving liberalism its nostalgic, reactionary cast.

Worse, the cultural liberalism that emerged from the convulsions of the 1960s drove the liberal faith out of the mainstream. Its fundamental value is that society should have no fundamental values, except for a pervasive relativism that sees all values as equal. Part of the package was a militant secularism, pitched against religion, the chief source of fundamental values. Complaints about "imposing" values were also popular then, aimed at teachers and parents who worked to socialize children.

11:44 PM Feb 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

"Legs" writes about the Jeff Gannon nontrovercy:


11:40 PM Feb 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Periodically, I see Susan Estrich appearing on Fox News as an increasingly-skull-like talking head pronouncing whatever Democratic talking point has been downloaded into her memory bank.

Apparently, she's a Hysterical Feminist.

Who knew?

Two by VDH

10:02 PM Feb 26, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Postmodern War

To an American television audience, al-Qaida videos of pajama-clad killers in ski masks beheading captives look scary, of course. But a platoon of Rangers would slaughter hundreds of them in seconds if they ever approached Americans openly on the field of conventional battle or even for brief moments of clear firing. In Mogadishu, Somalia, everything boded ill for a few trapped Americans—outnumbered, far from home, facing local hostility in urban warfare—and yet the real lesson was not that a few Americans were tragically killed, but that the modern successors to Xenophon’s Ten Thousand or the Redcoats at Rorke’s Drift managed to shoot their way out and kill over 1,000 in the process.

Nevertheless, the numerous setbacks of Western armies from Thermopylae to Vietnam prove that there are several ways to nullify these military advantages, both on conventional and irregular battlefields. The question is: Are such historical precedents still relevant to the modern age?


Merchants of Despair

Some on the hard left sought to cite our support for Israel or general "American imperialism" in the Middle East as culpable for bin Laden's wrath on September 11. Past American efforts to save Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan counted for little. Even less thanks were earned by billions of dollars given to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The Islamofascist vision of a Dark Age world run by unelected imams — where women were in seclusion, homosexuals were killed, Jews were terrorized, Christians were routed, and freedom was squelched — registered little, even though such visions were by definition at war with all that Western liberalism stands for.

8:06 PM Feb 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

When I was a kid, I saw a "monster movie" about a scientist who could catch murderers by recovering the final image from their victims' retinas. He had a gizmo that would project the faces of the murderers on a screen.

Via Instapundit I find this link:

John and Jackie Knill of Vancouver, British Columbia, pose at a resort in Khao Lak, Thailand, on December 12, 2004. The couple were killed when the December 26 tsunami struck the resort. Their digital camera was found, and though the camera was destroyed, searchers were able to recover photos of the tsunami from its memory card.

Silence broken

11:25 AM Feb 24, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Tim Blair has the scoop on ROVE'S BRILLIANT PLAN

Fall has arrived

12:41 PM Feb 20, 2005by Rob Ritchie

As I sit here in the den before church, I can see falling leaves out my window.

It's the right time of year for it here in Orlando. The two oaks remaining after last Summer's hurricanes have tenaciously held on to their leaves all Winter long, clutching them sleepily against the chilly winds of December and January.

Now February is here and the trees are waking up to warmer temperatures. Things are stirring in their branches and twigs, and some arborial housekeeper has decided that Spring cleaning should begin.

So, down come the leaves, thin and brittle, desiccated and shopworn, to make way for the fresh crop of green.

I can hardly wait!

5:40 PM Feb 18, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Why haven’t I been posting?

It’s a simple question, without a truly simple answer. I haven’t given up this blog, but a convergence of events, internal and external, have occurred in such a way that I am disinclined to post at present.

The most obvious explanation is that I have become rather busy at work; a crisis that I am tangentially involved in has arisen, and my analytical skills are necessary to understand and solve the problem. Much of the time that I would otherwise be available to surf the Internet and post has been usurped by this project; I can hardly feel ill-used that my employer is putting my abilities to work on something rather important, but I must confess that I feel somewhat put-out, as this project is in crisis due to a certain measure of incompetence in a department and by persons whose incompetence has been acknowledged for quite some time, yet the situation has been allowed to continue until it now requires considerable effort by others to dig them out to daylight. That’s one of the reasons I’m not posting.

Also, I seem to have caught cold from one of the persons with whom I am working with to solve this crisis. No doubt the stress has reduced my immune system, but I can’t help but feel that I would not have caught this cold if it hadn’t been necessary to clean up other people’s messes. The resulting malaise of illness has sapped any strength I might have had to post after hours.

Plus, I am currently not in love with my little lap-top computer, no doubt due to its association with my work. As such, I don’t wish to spend any more time with it then I absolutely have to, though I suppose this is only a temporary cooling, and does not signal a more permanent separation.

In addition, my little department also recently moved into new offices. Our previous offices were somewhat isolated, which afforded me the privacy and solitude necessary to compose posts; in other words, with no-one watching I could manage my time as I wished. Our new offices are up in the front office where everyone can see, and I’m not comfortable enough with my new visibility to continue with my previous habits. This move is related to a new interest that our boss had taken in our department, which has the dubious merit of increasing our value and our work load at the same time.

These, then, are some of the external reasons my posting has been infrequent, though these are, perhaps, not the most important ones.

The Lenten season began with Ash Wednesday on February 10th, and as a Lenten observance I started saying the Rosary on the way in to work, instead of listening to the local talk radio station. Working through five decades of the Rosary puts me into a contemplative and prayerful mood, one quite different from the mood I formally was in by the time I arrived at work. I have found that praying has helped me to deal with some of the more unpleasant aspects of my job currently.

At the same time that this began, I started reading a wonderful novel by Diane Shoemperlen called Our Lady of the Lost and Found an absolutely wonderful book that I recommend to anyone. This book, too, has led me into a contemplative mood. In the book, Shoemperlen writes:

The German philosopher Hegel once described the ritual reading of the daily paper as the secular equivalent of morning prayer.

If this is true, then how much more so would the obsessive reading of Internet news sites and blogs be considered to be prayer by Hegel? Has my morning rosary filled the “prayer space” inside me that once was reserved for my morning blogroll? I don’t know. I can only suppose.

As I said, a combination of events. The planets will unalign themselves soon enough, and I’ll be back to normal; but for now (or, perhaps, for the Lenten season) I’m working and praying and blowing my nose instead blogging.

I just thought some explanation was in order.

Update:  Reading this over, I seem to detect a quality akin to "whining" in some of the above, which distresses me. Please believe that I'm not whining about my work; I actually am glad to have a chance to show off to the new boss. But the circumstances could be more pleasant.

10:33 PM Feb 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

This disappoints me.

The campaign would have been glorious.

6:31 PM Feb 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Dick Morris urges us to Draft Condi!

Of course, she isn’t running — nor is there any indication that she is harboring thoughts of a candidacy. But as her visibility increases, so will her viability. It may just be possible to draft Condi into the race. A real presidential draft movement hasn’t happened since 1952, when Republicans urged Eisenhower to get into the race. A draft-Condi movement seems almost antiquated in this era of ambitious and self-promoting candidates, but it may well fill a deep need in the electorate to vote for someone who is running in response to a genuine call of the people.

I agree that Dr. Rice would make a terrific president because of her obvious merits; I also agree with what Morris writes about the symbolic nature of a Rice presidency:

America longs to put the period on the disgraceful chapter in our nation’s history that began when the first slave arrived at Jamestown, Va., more than 400 years ago. We also want to send a message to every girl, and every African-American or Hispanic baby, that there is no ceiling and that you can rise as far as your ability will carry you. The day Condi Rice is sworn in as president, regardless of the fate of her administration, that message and the punctuation of our history of racism will be obvious.

The thing I think is funny is that actual breathing Republicans would vote for her in a heartbeat because she's such a smart, sharp lady with the necessary experience and world-class accomplishments.

And some actual, breathing Democrats would vote against her because her skin color.

A Tale of Two Posts

5:50 PM Feb 12, 2005by Rob Ritchie

There really is a difference between the Left and the Right wings of the Blogosphere. Here's an example of that difference:

Both of the following were posted on February 6th.

The first is a post on the Daily Kos site, one of the most popular (if not the most popular) Lefty blog. I apologize in advance for the vulgarity.

I'm a Republican: Fuck you

I'm a republican. Fuck you. I'm a republican. I have my own pile of money. Fuck you.

I'm a republican. My kids go to private school. I don't care about your kids, or public schools. When my kids are better educated than yours, they will get better jobs and make more money than your kids. Fuck you.

I'm a republican. I have a job with health insurance. If you were not so lazy or stupid, you would have a good job with health insurance too. It sure is sad when you go bankrupt after a catastrophic health crisis, but its probably your own damn fault anyway. Fuck you.

It goes on like that. I hope that you realize that this person is not really a Republican; this is what passes for humor or irony or argument on the Left. Goodness, but this person hates Republicans, and who can blame her! The way she describes them, they sound awful!

That same day, over at Power Line blog (one of the best Right-wing blogs and one of the blogs responsible for exposing the fraudulent TexANG "memos"), Hindrocket wrote a spirited defense of James Watt, recently slandered by Bill Moyers at a graduation speech.

Bill Moyers Smears a Better Man Than Himself

On January 30, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published as an op-ed the text of a speech by liberal commentator Bill Moyers. Moyers delivered the speech upon the occasion of his receiving an environmental award from a group at Harvard Medical School. Like pretty much everything Moyers writes, the article was an attack on the Bush administration. Specifically, he alleged that the Bush administration's policies, as they relate to the environment, are "based on theology" and therefore "delusional." Moyers' theme was that the Bush administration, and Republicans in general, don't care about the environment because they are crackpot Christians who believe that the world is about to come to an end. That being the case, why worry about future generations?


In support of his startling claim that the religious right is deliberately trying to despoil the environment, Moyers offered three bits of "evidence." One was the popularity of the "Left Behind" novels, which use the second coming of Jesus as a plot device. But Moyers offered not a shred of support for the proposition--dubious on its face--that these works of fiction have somehow influenced the Bush administration's environmental policies.

The second bit of "evidence" offered by Moyers was, in a sense, even odder. He harkened back to the early 1980s, when James Watt was President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior. Moyers painted Watt as a harbinger -- sort of a John the Baptist, since we're talking theology -- of the "let's destroy the environment" movement.

This one also goes on, but in this case I recommend you read it all.

On the left, we are offered vulgar slander. On the right, we are offered reasoned argument and analysis.

Now, I'm sure that there are Right wing blogs out there that contain the same kind of hateful vulgarity as is offered at the Daily Kos; I am equally sure that there are Left wing blogs that offer tempered analysis.

But Daily Kos is the number one or two lefty blog out there! It is frequently linked and blogrolled by left-of-center bloggers all over the blogosphere.

But to my knowledge, I've never visited a right-blog that bashed democrats with such obvious bigotry and hatred; and I've never seen one blogrolled.

And that makes all the difference.

Update:  Michael Barone has some similar thoughts

Victor Davis Hanson

11:24 PM Feb 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Why Democracy?
Ten reasons to support democracy in the Middle East

Neoconservatives hope that a democratic Iraq and Afghanistan can usher in a new age of Middle Eastern consensual government that will cool down a century-old cauldron of hatred. Realists counter that democratic roots will surely starve in sterile Middle East soil, and it is a waste of time to play Wilsonian games with a people full of anti-American hatred who display only ingratitude for the huge investment of American lives and treasure spent on their freedom. Paleoconservatives prefer to spend our treasure here at home, while liberals oppose anything that is remotely connected with George W. Bush or refutes their own utopian notions of a world to be adjudicated by a paternal United Nations. All rightly fear demonocracy — the Arafat or Iranian unconstitutional formula of "one vote, one time."

Yet for all its uncertainties and dangers in the Islamic Arab world, there remain some undeniable facts about democracy across time and space that suggest with effort and sacrifice it can both work in the Middle East and will be in the long-term security interests of the United States. So why exactly should we support the daunting task of democratizing the Middle East and how is it possible?

Well, I know what I think, but I admit that my opinion has been influenced by the author....

Pious gratitude to: lgf

10:50 PM Feb 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Liberal Friend: Rush Limbaugh is mean spirited!

Me: I seriously doubt you've listened to him enough to actually form your own opinion, but even granting that he is sometimes, so is Al Franken.

LF: Oh, so since someone else does something bad, it excuses Limbaugh?

Me: Not exactly; but I'd believe your outrage was a little more genuine if you condemned Franken with the same vitriol you throw at Limbaugh. If you actually listened to him, I think you'd find him pretty funny.

LF: All he does is make fun of people. I'm not going to listen to Rush Limbaugh!

Me: I'm certainly not asking you to!

LF(sotto voce): Yes you are....

Me: No, I'm just asking you to not be so damned prejudiced about something you know nothing about.


10:12 AM Feb 10, 2005by Rob Ritchie

I've been very busy at work, so I've had no time to post, except for this brief line.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Who is this guy?

10:34 AM Feb 9, 2005by Rob Ritchie

11:06 AM Feb 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds explains it all:

"The only two forces in American politics are joyless religious prudes and the brave cosmopolitans who resist them."

Response to Correspondence from a Liberal Friend

10:56 AM Feb 7, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Millicent Fenwick sounds like a terrific person. I suppose if you searched long enough you might find one other person alive today serving in the Republican Party that didn’t make your gorge rise, but I won’t put you to the test. I’ll just accept that you believe that there isn’t a single living Republican that you don’t hate.

Now, substitute the word “Jew” for “Republican” in the previous paragraph and tell me that you aren’t engaging in the grossest form of bigotry.

You rushed (pun certainly unintended) out rather hurriedly, and as a consequence, I wasn’t able to really engage what you said. I agree that $40 million dollars is a lot of money, and that it can be used to “raise people out of poverty” as you so eloquently put it. I’d like you to consider that it may actually have done that.

That money wasn’t flushed down a toilet and removed from the economy. That money rented halls and hotel rooms, hired caterers, waiters, chefs, dishwashers, musicians, DJ’s, and janitors. It was used to rent cars and hire drivers, buy decorations and shrimp cocktail. Businesses, large and small, took on extra staff on a temporary and in many cases full-time basis. The reputations and resumes of companies and people were enhanced as a result of this expenditure. If each person got only $1,000, that’s 40,000 people who benefited, and most statistics show that many people who have financial problems could have them resolved for this amount of money. Even if you engage your dark suspicions and assume that half of the money was shoved deep into the already well-stuffed pockets of BushHitler McChimpy’s NeoCon Haliberton Cronies, that’s still a lot of money getting into the hands of working people and small businesses.

And all of this money was injected into one of the poorest areas of the country, the DC area. I wish it had been $400 million dollars spent.

So, yeah, I think the money did have a chance to raise people out of poverty and pay for educations. It’s interesting that you seem to think that the only way that poor people benefit is through charitable contributions, but I assure you that involvement in the economy works more efficiently and provides people with more opportunities.

(I suppose I should have known that introducing such a polarizing figure as Rush Limbaugh would cause you and F**** to flip out express disapproval. I sometimes forget that there are some people who are so evil that absolutely nothing they say or do is acceptable. I’ll chalk it up to experience.)

12:44 PM Feb 5, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Funny stuff here:

Well since Star Trek: Enterprise has just been canceled, now is as good a time as any to count down the Top Ten Most Embarrassing Moments in Star Trek History

10:59 AM Feb 5, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Captain Ed notes an interesting convergence of two stories: General James Mattis's evident (and I think desirable) joy in killing terrorist scum; and Eason Jordan's evident (and I think deporable) joy in slandering American soldiers.

Give it a read.

11:57 AM Feb 4, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson discusses the value of Idealism in foreign policy, discussing by way of example Fourth-Century BC Greece

By the 370s B.C. idealists were firmly in control of the government of conservative ancient Thebes, and turned an oligarchic Boeotian Confederacy into a real democracy. Convinced after their victory at Leuktra (371 B.C.) that a wounded Sparta was still a perennial threat, the new Boeotian democrats mobilized a Hellenic coalition of the willing to drop the old realist idea of containment or of just waiting for Sparta to attack.

Hanson discusses this historical situation is great detail in his engrossing book The Soul of Battle

Pious gratitude to: Mitch

6:57 PM Feb 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Some bloggers are 13-years-old, and others simply act like it.

Pious gratitude to: Florida Cracker

6:42 PM Feb 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress on Harry Reid:

Reid is just too, too precious for my taste...he scrunches his nose and wriggles his shoulders as though he is the Meg Ryan of the Democrat party. He's like a weird amalgam of Tom Daschle and Mr. Rogers.

11:47 AM Feb 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Free Will Blog finds Nancy Pelosi Beneath Contempt.

Aaron writes about the bravery of the Iraqi forces as they defend their country from terrorists. Then:

For the purposes of Nancy Pelosi, they don't exist. They're all figments of our imagination. Forget what you can plainly see with your own eyes: The Iraqi soldiers Mohammed and Omar came across on their way to vote the other day? Another Bush lie!

There have been failures, for sure, because Iraq's security forces are green, young, and have a long way to go before they mature into a self-sustaining institution, and they can only learn by example. (That, someone may want to explain to Nancy, is why we're sticking around.) However, they are most certainly there, and that awful harpy's apparent assertion that they aren't is so ludicrous as to defy explanation. It's a despicable, stupid lie, one that escaped through her mock smile in astounding disregard for the dignity of Iraq's fighting men and the memory of Iraq's fallen.

11:31 AM Feb 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Hardball: State of the Union

Hee hee hee!

7:09 PM Feb 2, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Walter E. Williams on Anti-intellectualism among the academic elite.

Universities are supposed to be places where ideas are pursued and tested, and stand or fall on their merit. Suppression of ideas that are seen as being out of the mainstream has become all too common at universities. The creed of the leftist religion is that any difference between people is a result of evil social forces. That's a vision that can lead to the return to the Dark Ages.

Pious gratitude to: Miss O'Hara

4:00 PM Feb 2, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

My world, such as it is, is shaken.

I am not kidding. I really feel as if the earth under my feet has shifted.

After reading this damning post in the proper usages of the serial comma, I realize that I have not only been using it incorrectly; I have been vociferous in my misuse.

I am very seriously considering proofreading every document on my computer, current or archived, to correct my mistake.

If you, like me, have any tendencies towards OCD, please think carefully before you read this.

Update: Please note that, despite my use of OCD in a somewhat joking manner in this post, I realize that OCD is a serious matter and no offense is meant to sufferers of this malady. Hey, I like Monk too!

6:54 PM Feb 1, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Oh, dear. This is embarassing.

It's almost as if they were criminals....

6:23 PM Feb 1, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

If you can read to the end of this, will you please tell me what he's talking about?

Pious gratitude to: The Tensor

Mark Steyn

4:20 PM Feb 1, 2005by Rob Ritchie

The 'civil war' that wasn't

AND so the "looming Iraqi election fiasco" joins "the brutal Afghan winter" and "the brutal Iraqi summer" and "the seething Arab street" and all the other junk in the overflowing trash can of post-9/11 Western media fictions. The sight of millions of brave voters emerging from polling stations holding high their purple dye-stained fingers was so inspiring that, from America's Democratic Party to European protest rallies, opponents of the war waited, oh, all of three minutes before flipping the Iraqis their own fingers, undyed.