11:22 AM Jun 30, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

From a variety of sources I find this commentary by a Marine about (what else?) media bias in Iraq reporting at the Washington Post:

This effect is magnified because of the Post's influence on what other news organizations report. While its national clout lags behind the New York Times, many reporters look to the Post for cues on how to approach a story. The Post interprets events, and the herd of independent minds bleat their approval and start tapping on their keyboards with their hooves.

Chandrasekaran's crew generates a relentlessly negative stream of articles from Iraq – and if there are no events to report, they resort to man-on-the-street interviews and cobble together a story from that. Last week, there was a front-page, above-the-fold article about Iraqis jeering U.S. troops, which amounted to a pastiche of quotations from hostile Iraqis. It was hardly unique. Given the expense of maintaining an Iraq bureau with a dozen staffers, they have to write something to justify themselves, even if the product is shoddy.

It's On! Live-blogging follows!

5:33 PM Jun 29, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Kathleen the Cake Eater and Robert the Llama Butcher have started Round One!


Update: Ok, Robert makes a fine argument why we should love and cherish Emma (and, really, all posturing aside, she is perfectly lovable, despite her faults). As he states, her flaws have such consequences that we cannot help but be moved by her foibles and improvement.

I think he's on weaker ground in his last paragraph, though, where he contrasts Emma with P&P, and where he again "slanders" Elizabeth Bennett as a "paragon of virtues".

Update 2: Kathleen has taken the interesting path of presenting Elizabeth Bennett as a prior-age super-hero. I am somewhat chagrined to find that she, like Robert, seems to believe that Lizzie is a "paragon of virtues!"

I don't deny any of her fine qualities, but Kathleen seems to forget that Lizzie's problems do, to some extent, arise from her inclination to view all others as a source of amusement, and from her tendency to pre-judge others (for example, and primarily, Mr. Darcy). She has her blind spots and their impact on the plot are not insignificantly smaller than those in Emma

Gosh, after reading these through, and simply on the evidence provided, I am led (dragging my feet and screaming bloody murder) to asign the first round to: Emma

D'oh! I had earlier continually called Kathleen Katherine, due to stupidity and poor memory on my part. This has been corrected. Sorry.

2:12 PM Jun 29, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

It's stories like this that underscore my support of Second Amendment rights.

Co-workers said Freda Elliott was so scared of her ex-husband, whom she divorced last year, that she had taken out court orders of protection against him, forbidding him from coming to her 2005 Forrest Ridge Trail home or going to her children's school in Mount Pleasant.

On Thursday, Parker Elliott made so many telephone calls to Freda at her workplace that her co-workers at the Tennessee Farm Bureau refused to put them through to her.

That afternoon, they walked her to her car as she left to make sure she was safe.

But the worst came that night, when Parker Elliott kicked in the front door to the modest one-story Culleoka home she shared with their children and began firing a handgun.

God knows, I support the police, but they couldn't have saved her or her family. A gun would have equalled the score; and if he knew she had one, he might not have come calling.

Hat tip: alphecca

1:44 PM Jun 29, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Photograph of a note from U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to President George W. Bush , released June 28, 2004, confirming the formal handover of power in Iraq ,delivered during the opening session of the NATO Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on June 28. REUTERS/Eric Draper/White House/Handout

John Kerry got a note, too!

Update: Photos

12:06 PM Jun 29, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Via Tim Blair, I find this interesting comparison between post-war Germany and Iraq.

Reconstruction: Putting It In Context

11:04 AM Jun 29, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I haven't (and won't) see FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and now you don't have to either. A transcript of the odious propoganda is available on the web.

I hope you have a strong stomach. I couldn't read more than one page. Moron's lie-filled innuendo-heavy retelling of the Florida election [can't we just "move on", people?] was more than I could bear.

Update:Moore lies exposed

Update 2:Ed Koch weighs in.

10:51 AM Jun 29, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan fisks a review of Michael Moron's lie-fest.

[L]et's summarize Moore's "conclusion": that the Bush family was, by its close financial ties with the bin Laden family, passively complicit in 9/11; that the administration did too little to apprehend the perpetrators of that massacre; that it invaded Afghanistan primarily to get an oil pipeline built; that it shifted the nation's resources to Iraq solely in order to appease oil interests and to enrich its own members; and that it lied about all of this. If William Raspberry really believes all this, then he should tell us why and how. But if he doesn't, he should have the basic integrity to say that Moore's movie is not just "sly" but a fantastical piece of malevolent propaganda whose only connective thread is a pathological demonization of the President of the United States. Raspberry cannot have it both ways. And the fact that he tries to get away with it says a lot about how corrupted the left has become in our national discourse.

A Manufactured Scandal

10:53 PM Jun 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Andrew C. McCarthy presents a detailed and convincing argument that the New York Times created from whole cloth the controvercy concerning the Bybee "torture memo."

It's quite good, and I recommend you read it all.

A tip of the halo to: lgf

7:02 PM Jun 26, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

A vary sharp storm hit in our area last night, knocking our power out at 10:00 PM, and it didn't come back on until 12:00 Noon Saturday!

I heard that 3000 homes were without power in the Orlando area, and I saw that there were lots of trees and power lines down.

No damage at our house, thank the Lord, but we do have some branches and other crud littering the yard.

Victor Davis Hanson

12:25 AM Jun 25, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Year Three

Right after 9/11, some of us thought it was impossible for leftist critics to undermine a war against fascists who were sexist, fundamentalist, homophobic, racist, ethnocentric, intolerant of diversity, mass murderers of Kurds and Arabs, and who had the blood of 3,000 Americans on their hands. We were dead wrong. In fact, they did just that. Abu Ghraib is on the front pages daily. Stories of thousands of American soldiers in combat against terrorist killers from the Hindu Kush to Fallujah do not merit the D section. Senator Kennedy's two years of insane outbursts should have earned him formal censure rather than a commemoration from the Democratic establishment.

2:59 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

...and away I go. The eagle has landed. Goodnight!

2:09 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

2:02 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I couldn't believe my eyes!

Hat tip: Florida Cracker

1:29 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I'm up late this evening (for me, anyway) because I'm picking someone up at the airport. As expected, her flight is delayed....

1:28 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Coalition of the Wild-eyed

1:15 AM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

6:47 PM Jun 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Florida Cracker directs our attention to this article that demonstates the difference between Spain and Korea:

SEOUL, South Korea · The beheading of a South Korean hostage in Iraq provoked demonstrations on Wednesday against plans to send 3,000 more troops to Iraq this summer. But it also set off an angry backlash.

Callers deluged mosques with telephone bomb threats, e-mail messages crashed a Defense Ministry Web site with offers to fight terrorists and nearly one-quarter of poll respondents at two youth-oriented Web sites said the killing of their compatriot prompted them to back the deployment of more troops.

I think one of the reasons for this difference in national resolve is that Spain is part of the Western Self-Doubt League, who look at their history and see only their own sins. In this case, the Reconquista, wherein the Christians took Spain back from their Muslim masters.

I may be full of crap on this, but I suspect that there is a part of the Spanish psyche that feels national guilt for the expulsion (extermination?) of Muslims in 1492, which makes them feel that anything that happens to them at the hands of Muslims is justified on some level.

Koreans probably don't feel this way.

Ugly Half-Truths

5:46 PM Jun 24, 2004by Rob Ritchie

George Hunka provides a lists of what he calls Ten Ugly Truths for the Right

1. George W. Bush is an oafish tongue-tied idiot.
This is surely more of an opinion than a “truth.” Tongue-tied, I’ll admit, but “oafish” is harder to quantify. I’m sure that I’m not the first to point out that the president has some rather significant scholastic credentials for an “idiot” and for someone described as an idiot, I certainly agree with what he says quite a bit of the time; either I am equally an idiot (a possibility) or there is some other dynamic at work here.
2. Rush Limbaugh is neither funny nor reliable.
Rush Limbaugh is sometimes funny and sometimes not, which is the nature of most comedians. I agree that he is not reliably funny. As a source of commentary, he is reliable in the strictest definition of the word, in that you can turn him on every day and get some. I’d compare him to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show; it’s “fake news” but it’s entertaining, unless it’s your ox being gored.
3. Globalization may have devastating effects on the economics, culture and health of developing world nations.
I’ll go even further and say that globalization has had devastating effects on the economics, culture and health of some developing world nations. Not all nations are equally devastated, however; most are improved immeasurably.
4. Fetuses are not babies.
I can’t argue with this since it’s almost a tautology; however, I believe the implication is that fetuses are so dissimilar to babies as to make comparisons meaningless, which I believe is far from proven.
5. Nobody really cares whether homosexual couples can marry or not.
Obviously not true, as there are plenty of people, both homosexual and not, who hold opinions in this area. Perhaps what is meant is that the majority of people do not hold an opinion about this issue, and I believe that the polls do not back up this assertion.
6. Both people and guns kill people.
As do lightning strikes and car crashes and animal attacks. If this is meant to refute a 30-year-old bumper sticker, I suppose it contains an amount of innate cleverness equal to the original. I don’t know a single gun owner that has ever wounded or killed anybody with his gun.
7. The Bible is a body of history, poetry, allegory, fantasy and moral teaching that was written by human beings and has been redacted and edited over and over again over more than three millenia at least.
No argument. It has also been at the base of Western thought, law, ethics and morality for and equal amount of time. While I realize that there are those who hold the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, this is a religious belief held by some members of the Right.
8. The Bible was not written in English.
See answer above. (I think he was running out if “truths” and stretched this one out a bit.)
9. The death penalty is indicative of a community's spite and vengefulness and does not deter crime.
The death penalty is indicative of a community's dedication to justice; the deterrence of crime has always been secondary to the concept of justice.
10. Bill Clinton is no more nor less imperfect than you are.
You have no way of knowing how imperfect I am; I may be much more imperfect than Bill Clinton. I will agree that he certainly has been vilified far beyond his inherent venality by some part of the Right, but that he was equally sanctified by some of his supporters on the Left. I believe, however, that Bill Clinton is certainly more imperfect than many people on both the Right and the Left (and the Middle, too).

For what it's worth, he's also provided a similar list for the Left. I leave it as an exercise for the reader.

Hat tip: Reflections in d minor

Growing Up With Ronald Reagan

6:49 PM Jun 23, 2004by Rob Ritchie

By Frederick Turner

[T]here is a stage in real grownups' lives when they become more givers than earners or fighters or sellers. We all do when we die, at least. The grownups among us can become net givers before we die. But the only way to get there is through the work of life. I realized this at the death of my own father -- a great giver if ever there was one -- and I now feel an echo of that death as we prepare for the funeral of Ronald Reagan. The work of life is only possible if we accept that we are going to die. But the eternal children in our society refused, and still refuse, to accept that they will die. Their anguish at the cost of the Iraq war is the great symptom of that refusal, of the inability to grow up. There should be no costs, they feel; when we were children there were no costs, in a socialist society there would be no costs.

Hat tip: Reflections in d minor


1:41 PM Jun 23, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I have the new AIM Weatherbug installed, which gives me real-time access to weather information. It's currently 90° with 62% humidity.

And it isn't even 11 AM!

11:11 AM Jun 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan has a very funny story about Reagan that I won't spoil by repeating. Go read it. Scroll down a bit.

10:45 AM Jun 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Oh, please!

7:08 PM Jun 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

There's been further developments in the Elizabeth Bennett / Emma Woodhouse feud I mentioned earlier.

Both the Butcher and the Cake-Eater have talked a little trash, but the Llama Butcher goes over the line by calling Ms. Bennett "Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes." The book doesn't have the word "Prejudice" in the title solely for alliterative purposes, after all.

I can only assume that the camelid dismemberer has never actually read the novel under discussion.

Is it possible that his only prior aquaintence with Ms. Woodhouse was here?

Man, I watch a lot of movies!

6:46 PM Jun 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Here is a list of the 100 top-grossing movies, (which I found at Reflections in d minor) and I'm supposed to put in bold those movies I've seen. As a general rule, I don't do these kinds of lists, because I'm usually embarassed by the results. This one is no exception.

1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000
9. Shrek 2 (2004) $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) $250,147,615
31. Toy Story 2 (1999) $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) $227,965,690
41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) $215,397,307
47. X2 (2003) $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) $198,655,278
56. Pearl Harbor (2001) $198,539,855
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) $178,406,268
75. Tootsie (1982) $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) $171,301,428
87. Tarzan (1999) $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) $170,684,505
90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)$165,500,000
93. Hannibal (2001) $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) $163,214,286
97. Batman Returns (1992) $162,831,698
98. Bug's Life, A (1998) $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) $161,487,252

Update: Going over the list, I've found more that I've seen and marked them as such. Which is funny, because Donna and I are always saying how we ought to go to the movies more often.

UFOs Explained

11:16 AM Jun 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

When I was a teenager, I had an unlimited appetite for science fiction. I still enjoy it today, but I rarely read it any more, limiting myself to whatever movie fare is offered. But when I was a teen, I read everything, good, bad and indifferent.

Among the stuff I read was undoubtably bad stuff: "true" stories of UFO encounters, that I now recognize as simple horror stories dressed-up as science fiction, but at the time both chilled me and, if I may be so bold, thrilled me.

But the scholarly books on UFOs were the ones that puzzled and intrigued me, as they should, for here were, apparently, researched and corroborated stories of encounters with strange extra-terrestrial objects presented in a manner to engage the intellect, not the adreneline.

The stories of strange lights, mysterious government agencies, background radiation, motherships that zoom away, etc., had a similarity that prompted two explanations: either 1) the various reports were feeding upon each other, repeating details until eventually all began to resemble each other because they all had the same sources; or 2) the different reports were independant and unique, but similar because the reporters were, in fact, experiencing similar things.

I tended to believe the first explanation, until I read this article in the Skeptical Inquirer about The Cold War's Classified Skyhook Program.

Now I understand it all. Read it and have all the mysteries explained.

Unfairenheit 9/11

10:34 AM Jun 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The lies of Michael Moore.
By Christopher Hitchens

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
Read it all.

Hat tip: Lileks

Update : Hmmm...this is all over the place, which isn't surprising. Via Andrew Sullivan we see a related column.

Moore isn't likely to find a more severe appraisal of his film and his work than this Slate piece by Christopher Hitchens. Read it, Mr. Moore. We invite your suit.

4:37 PM Jun 21, 2004

by Rob Ritchie


Given the 9/11 Commission's account of ties between (Sunni) al Qaeda and (Shia) Hezbollah, and what we now know of A.Q. Khan's nuclear proliferation network that encompassed Sunni, Shia, secular Islamic, and non-Islamic states, wasn't Bush more right than wrong to speak of an "axis of evil" and a network of rogue states and terrorist groups? And, finally: What really is Kerry's view of the war against Saddam? Leave aside all the nonsense about a "rush to war." Does John Kerry now believe we would have been better off to have left Saddam in power in Iraq?

And then there's this, from William Safire:

The Zelikow report was seized upon by John Kerry because it fuzzed up the distinction between evidence of decade-long dealings between agents of Saddam and bin Laden (which panel members know to be true) and evidence of Iraqi cooperation in the 9/11 attacks (which, as Hamilton said yesterday, modifying his earlier "no credible evidence" judgment, was "not proven one way or the other.")

First shot at the X-Prize

4:06 PM Jun 21, 2004by Rob Ritchie

First private astronaut reaches space

Test pilot Michael Melvill rocketed into the history books on Monday, as the first person ever to become an astronaut without the help of any government-funded hardware.

The 62-year-old test pilot flew a three-seater rocket called SpaceShipOne to the fringes of space, high above the Californian desert. He reached an unofficial altitude of 100 kilometres - official confirmation is expected later on Monday, from radar surveillance at nearby Edwards Air Force Base.

Instapundit has more.

6:08 PM Jun 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Ashley riding Simon Says at a competition held at the Grand Cyprus Equestrian Center Saturday evening.

Ashley won the blue ribbon in the 3' Table II jumps. Way to go Ash!

7:12 PM Jun 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Allah, most gracious, most merciful, has this to say about Drudge showing pictures of poor Paul Johnson on his web site:

...literally millions of people are getting a dose of reality today that they wouldn't otherwise have gotten. Dan Rather doesn't show severed heads, folks. Not unless it's the Marines who are holding the knife.

6:30 PM Jun 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Florida Cracker describes Calamity Jane:

She was rough; a slattern and a drunk, but always pitched in when hands were needed

You know, slattern is a word that we have plenty of opportunities to use nowadays, but rarely give ourselves the pleasure of doing so.

Try using it today: I'll bet a visit to the mall will give you an excuse.

Jane Austin Cage Match!

6:14 PM Jun 19, 2004by Rob Ritchie

This ought to be fun.

Robert the Llama Butcher has challenged Kathleen the Cake Eater (or maybe, Kathleen challenged Robert, it's hard to say) to an Austin-off, to determine, once and for all, which Austin character is better, Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) or Emma Woodhouse (Emma).

Visit them at the links above for details, and stay tuned because I'll be following up on this.

Punk-ass Emma can't touch my girl Lizzy, but that'll be apparent soon enough.

5:51 PM Jun 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

By now, you've probably already read plenty of print and broadcast news stories that distort the 9/11 Commission's findings in order to manufacture a dispute between the Bush Administration and the Staff report.

Patterico over at OTLM has a terrific example from the LA Times. Go give it a read.

He sums up this way:

But you know how I learned about all this? I don't watch Chris Matthews's show. I learned it by reading the internet and watching Fox News. So when you look at what the bipartisan heads of the commission are saying about the media reports, this constitutes a clear and undeniable example of the mainstream media distorting the facts to hurt Bush -- and the truth comes out mainly in the alternative media of the internet and Fox.
My liberal friends insist on calling it Faux News (mimicking their idol, Al Franken). But then, they're dumbasses.

5:00 PM Jun 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Charles Johnson explains warfare in the 21st Century:

Any time the US military is deployed against an Arab target, Arab stringers for Western news wires instantly deploy Arab propaganda across the media, quoting unnamed “hospital officials” and random Arabs on the street to cast the most negative light possible on whatever happened. The strategy is fairly obvious: to pump out 5, 6, a dozen of these reports as quickly as possible, before the US has a chance to say anything. They know that most newspapers in the US will simply run these pieces without any editing.

11:41 PM Jun 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Wow! Jason Van Steenwyk asks Why are reporters so stupid?

She doesn't know what's in the commission's report. She doesn't know what the Administration has been arguing all along. She doesn't know who Zarqawi is, apparently, or where he was in February 2003, before the war (along with a dozen other members of his cell who also found refuge in Iraq along with him). She doesn't grasp the English language--the primary tool of her trade--sufficiently to discern the difference between "relationship" and "connection," nor does she grasp the logic that makes "Al Qaeda" a distinctly different entity from "September 11th," sufficient to understand that one can have a relationship or connection with one, but not a direct connection with another, and that this is no contradiction.
Hey, do what you want, but I'd read the whole thing.

6:34 PM Jun 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

What the heck was she doing in Lincoln, Nebraska?

It's Friday, so that means VDH

4:20 PM Jun 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Let Europe be Europe

The ethicists of Europe don't want to see success in Iraq, since it might be interpreted as a moral refutation of their own opposition to Saddam's removal. So let us in turn stop begging old Europe, NATO, and the EU to participate in the rebuilding or policing of the country. To join or help, in the collective European mind, would be to suggest that an emerging democracy far away was worth our own sacrifice to rid the world of Saddam Hussein. Liberating Iraq, shutting down Baathist terror, and establishing consensual rule, after all, was a dangerous — and mostly Anglo-American — idea, antithetical to all the Europeans have become.

War Chief Bush

11:00 AM Jun 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan writes:

[A]m I the only one who is far less enthusiastic about Bush's war leadership now than I was a year ago? I supported the war in Afghanistan and Iraq; I support pre-emption as a policy; I believe in taking the fight to the Jihadists at every possible opportunity. But hasn't the last year changed things somewhat?
What has changed, Andrew, is that the reality of war, which is horrible and ugly and brings out the very worst in bad people (even our own) has clashed with your somewhat-idealized mental image of liberation.

You knew (or should have known) that things weren't going to go entirely our way; and you knew (or should have known) that there would be mistakes and setbacks. You also knew (or should have known) that our leadership would make hard choices, some of which you wouldn't like and with which you wouldn't agree; and that they would make mistakes that would have grave consequences.

But what you knew (or should have known) conflicts with what you felt, and that's why your enthusiasm has flagged. In a way, this is good; you should be clear-eyed about the fact that war should always be a last resort because it damages all who participate.

But the question shouldn't be is Bush the perfect leader in this current war, because the answer has to be a resounding 'No!' as there is no-one who is a perfect leader.

But he is steady, solid and steely. He understands that the responsiblity of his office requires him to confront our enemies militarily, and he doesn't back down from that responsiblity. And he understands that his foreign policy should result in a safer America and an improved world situation overall, and he's working in that direction.

Is there anybody out there who would be a better war leader than Bush? No doubt.

But they ain't running for president.

10:21 AM Jun 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks (who else?) has some thoughts on Star Trek's General Order 24:

It’s just surprising to know that Starfleet had the nuke & pave option, but it tells you something about the 60s. Star Trek was very much a liberal show in its day, but it’s early-60s liberalism. JFK-New-Frontier liberalism. We come in peace, and we’d like to invite you to join us; if not, so be it, but if you honestly think I’m going to beam my crew down to walk into disintegration chambers to fufill your treaty obligations, you’re going to start losing cities. Capisce?

11:18 PM Jun 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

It's not respectful.

It's not reverent. No, sir!

But it's damn funny.

Vice President Cheney has decided to step down, in order to spend more time with his family.

Additionally, his de-aging process requires that he bathe in the blood of virgins on an increasingly frequent basis. While this has not hampered his ability to perform the duties of his office in any way, it sort of creeps Condi out.

I imagine it would.

9/11 Commission Report

9:57 PM Jun 16, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds has a very good roundup of posts on the commissions finding of "'no credible evidence' of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in attacks against the United States."

It's worth your attention.

7:13 PM Jun 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

If this were 6th-Century Arabia, this would inspire a new religion!

10:52 PM Jun 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

If you love Monty Python and Tolkien, then whatever you do, Don't Click Here!

Hat tip: Robert the Llama Butcher

10:21 PM Jun 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Remember Air America? The brilliant pre-publicity campaign marred only by an ill-advised decision to actually launch the product?
Mark Steyn does.

2:26 PM Jun 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

When I was 17, I visited Greece, and stood at the ruined temple that faces the sea into which, legend tells us, King Aegeus threw himself. His son, Theseus, had sailed away to confront the Minotaur of Crete and, if he was sucessful in killing the beast, his ship would hoist white sails; but if he failed and died, then the crew was to hoist the black sails.

The crew in its joy at Theseus's success, forgot to change the sails from black to white, so when the old father stood at the point and saw the ship returning, he cast himself onto the rocks below for grief over his slain son.

Who hasn't stood at a great height and felt a brief, horrifying voice whisper "Jump! Jump!" I certainly felt it when I was 17 and stood gazing out over the waves towards an island beyond the horizon.

Why do I bring this up? No particular reason, except to introduce another terrific Victor Davis Hanson column: Feeding the Minotaur

Litany of Stupidity

2:11 PM Jun 11, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan has a great collection of what some people were saying about President Reagan in the 1980's. He sums it up:

Rest in peace, Mr President. And know that after all these years, you were right - and all these people were clearly, emphatically, embarrassingly, wrong.

Take a look.

11:56 AM Jun 9, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Florida Cracker has a nice series of pictures showing the personal relationships between heads of states -- and their wives:

Dubya has to kiss big forehead lady, while Chirac ponders wife-swapping.

Go see the rest of these hilarious pictures.

11:29 AM Jun 9, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan writes:

June 7 was the fiftieth anniversary of the suicide of Alan Turing, one of the forefathers of modern computing who was also critical in cracking the Nazi Enigma Code that helped win the war against Hitler. For these achievements, he was persecuted, given estrogen injections and threatened with jail because he was homosexual. Just another gay man fighting for his country only to be treated with contempt and cruelty - like so many American servicemembers today.

I learned about Alan Turing when I was in college studying computer science. His was a brilliant mind; in a world without computers, he envisioned most of the concepts necessary for their programming. He is often remembered as the inventor of the Turing Machine, a sort of virtual mathematical computer.

I've known of the sad circumstances of his suicide for almost as many years, though it was not part of any course curriculum. I've always considered it a scandal and a shame, and the discovery that one of my professional heroes was gay certainly effected my opinion of homosexuals early in my life.

And the realization that an enlightened country could, in an attempt to "cure" him of his condition, inflict such life-shattering indignities upon him made me deeply hostile to the idea of such institutional, court-ordered "therapy".

Victor Davis Hanson

11:36 AM Jun 8, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Our Look Back at Normandy
What our generation might have said a month later in July, 1944

Noam Chomsky: It is well recognized that there is already a pipeline across the Channel. On good authority we know that petroleum is already flowing to this new captive European market. As leading scholars have pointed out, to understand the barbarism at Normandy one must learn about Standard Oil and British Petroleum—and the Rockefeller-Ford nexus.

Michael Moore: I have secret footage of Prescott Bush with unidentified Nazis! And a secret tape of Eisenhower admitting defeat—never released, but proving he knew it was a failure before he started.

Of course, there are many more....

11:19 AM Jun 8, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Tim Blair has a gripping account of the attack on Khobar in Saudi Arabia:

The terrorists then went on the rampage kicking in doors and slitting the throats of any non-muslims they could find. They took 54 hostages and put them on the sixth floor of the guest hotel in the centre of the compound.

They then booby-trapped all the exits and proceeded to fortify there position. The Soha Towers Hotel. The correct name for the building taken in the siege is located at the far East end of the compound as an attachment to the Soha Oasis. During the first minutes of the initial assault the military personnel on site are reported to have fired over 1000 rounds of 50cal into the building.

Read it all.

Rest in Peace, President Reagan

11:37 AM Jun 7, 2004by Rob Ritchie

"When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."

My prayers go out to his widow Nancy, his children and family. And my prayers contain thanks for a man who won the Cold War and thereby made the whole world more secure.

God bless.

Update: Tim Blair has a nice collection of links.

Update 2: Mourning in America

Update 3: And, just so you can keep in mind the sweetness and light that is the Left, Alphecca has a roundup of what some leftist bloggers are saying.

Update 4: Mitch wins one For The Gipper

Update 5: More hatred and disgusting behavior at Democratic Underground

2:08 PM Jun 6, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Volokh Conspiracy weighs in on the Communion Kerfuffle

Our house is full of guests for William's first communion tomorrow, so it seems a good time to address the communion kerfuffle, the controversy over whether public officials who support abortion rights ought to be able to receive communion in the Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "universal," apparently in the sense that absolutely everybody is entitled to an opinion about what the Church should do, whether or not it is their wish that St. Peter's will someday be a car museum. People who would no more go to Mass than they would last year's Manhattan eatery are suddenly full of advice about how Peter should manage the big ministry.

Read the rest

Hat tip: Fr. Jim Tucker

Victor Davis Hanson

11:35 AM Jun 6, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The New Defeatism

Judging from our newspapers, we seem to care little about the soldiers while they are alive and fighting, but we suddenly put their names on our screens and speak up when a dozen err or die. And, in the latter case, our concern is not out of respect for their sacrifice but more likely a protest against what we don't like done in our name. So ABC's Nightline reads the names of the fallen from Iraq, but not those from the less controversial Afghanistan, because ideological purity — not remembering the departed per se — is once again the real aim.

9:45 AM Jun 6, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michael Feingold in the Villiage Voice:

Republicans don't believe in the imagination, partly because so few of them have one, but mostly because it gets in the way of their chosen work, which is to destroy the human race and the planet. Human beings, who have imaginations, can see a recipe for disaster in the making; Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don't give a hoot about human beings, either can't or won't. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.

Republicans, your identifying badge is in the mail; wear it at all times.

Hat tip: scaramouche

Just time for a quick one...

11:54 AM Jun 4, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The Exorcist in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

If you've got the time, there are other funny things on their home page

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

Busy, busy, busy

2:24 PM Jun 3, 2004by Rob Ritchie

All work and no blogging makes Pious Agnostic a dull boy...but the work gets done.

2:35 PM Jun 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Mark Steyn is Recalling a time when setbacks didn't deter us

[T]hat's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screwups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.

Iraqi Wedding Massacre Update

11:37 AM Jun 1, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I received the following email from a correspondant with connections to the Pentagon:

"Wedding Party" Details

Just reviewed a classified brief on the supposed wedding - no way it was. Here are some unclass details I can provide (brief had lots of pictures to back up the details):

  • Weddings traditionally held on Thursdays in Iraq to take advantage of Friday as a day of rest - raid took place on Tuesday night.

  • Only permanent dwelling at the site held large stocks of food,bedding, medical supplies (lots of these - was the wedding going to be cage match of some sort or were the caterers just bad cooks?),ammunition and weapons, as well as an apparent document forging set up. Meat was still frozen solid - not prepared for a wedding feast and there were no stocks of dishes,plates, etc.

  • Contrary to media reports, no "Nuptial Tent" was found and a 1KM area around the site was searched - any further away than that would be just too far for the catering staff to walk carrying all those huge platters of food -- against union rules.

  • No evidence of any means of support for the house (like sheep farming which is most common in that area). All evidence pointed to a smuggler way station - fit perfectly the description of several others found in the past.

  • "Wedding guests" (deceased of course) were almost all men of military age, only a couple of women, no elders at all and only one child (wounded) noted. All dressed as city dwellers, not Bedouins who would hold a wedding at such a location. All of the deceased were sterilized, as in none had any form of ID on them at all. Only ID's found were in a nice neat stack inside the house - and then quite a few less of those than there were people at the site.

  • Weapons were varied and included RPG's (they really suck when you fire them up in the air for celebration), there were also military binoculars (when they separate the men and women they have to look at each other with bino's I guess), and IED making material (party favors?).

  • Lots of clothing prepackaged in pants and shirt sets. - There were also no gifts, no decorations, no food set out or leftover, and the good bit of money recovered was all in the pockets of the "guests" (maybe they were just cheap guests).

I strongly suspect that after their Foreign Fighter way station got whacked, they tried to set it up to look like what happened in Afghanistan when a wedding was actually hit due to celebratory firing being taken for ground fire by orbiting aircraft. I also would not put it past the scumbags to sweep a local village for appropriately aged "guests" to kill and display for the TV cameras.

Our BDA assessment was made by people on the site just after the schwacking and they took their time to count and exploit the site. This is just speculation on my part.

Bottom line assessment: Good hit - no wedding. These were foreign fighters that had just crossed into Iraq and got an early trip to paradise and the martyrdom hall of fame.

Thought it was important to get this word out as much as possible as you won't see any of this on CNN.