Monday, February 21, 2005
In all communist countries, the "revolutionaries" had their opponenets killed off. Recently in Russia, Putin has been silencing opposition and dissent on his way to becoming a President for Life. Robert Mugabe won Zimbabwe's first full election in 1980, but has remanied there since, while killing off his opponents. France has gone through...how many Republics?
Washington's quote: "Guard against the imposters of pretended patriotism" is as relevant in the 1790s as it is in 2005.
Lincoln will always be #2, as he saved the Union. The thing about Lincoln is that he was hated when he was in office by many. The press constantly wrote bad things about him. Against screaming opposition, he did what he felt was right and now has people thanking him for it 150 years later. Many others wouldn't have been up to the task. Presidents that cater to wavering public opinion cannot be respected as great.
The man so worried about his "legacy," Bill Clinton will go down in history as scandal ridden and mediocre at best. Papa Bush fared no better. GW Bush, well, we'll see in 10 years.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano...is a young, intelligent, charismatic Marine officer and all that that entails. And yet he is incomprehensibly charged with heinous crimes related to a dangerous military operation that took place in “the triangle of death” just south of Baghdad. It was during the peak of insurgent violence in mid April of 2004, with hundreds of fellow Marines and soldiers being killed and wounded throughout the “Sunni Triangle.” Terrorists, captured while trying to recover a vehicle used in an earlier attack on the Marines, had given detailed information about a supply of weapons and terrorist hideout that my son and his platoon were hastily dispatched to search. Their search revealed weapons, ammunition, mortar equipment, bomb-making material and two fleeing terrorists. In an ensuing search of the terrorists’ vehicle, my son, concerned for his safety and the safety of his men shot them both in self defense and then disabled their vehicle so it could not be used in further attacks. He and his men went on to fight with distinction and honor in Falluja and the surrounding areas and, when possible, aided in the reconstruction effort. Months later, the government began an investigation that only now, 10 months after the fact, alleges an evil intent which is at polar opposite of my son’s character and principals. DefendtheDefenders.orgThe site was largely put together by his mother, and I appauld her for being so proactive in the defense of her son.
Well, as liberal media use homeless stories to argue against opposition to welfare, etc...perhaps they will now do the same with global warming. They've found a tiny Pacific island, Tuval, that is supposedly sinking and whose residents believe that Kyoto is their last hope.
They claim that the most of the island is 6.5 ft above sea level and the sea is rising at an alarming rate of 0.08 inches year. That means that the most of the island will be underwater in a brief 975 years, with the entire island disappear in 2550 years. Will the headline in the NY Times in 4555 read: "Tuvalu disappears into sea. Blame centered on Bush for not signing Kyoto treaty in 2000).
Of course, the climate has changed hot and cold long before the burning of fossil fuels. Although I like to see nature preserved in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt, global warming is junk science designed to promote a political agenda.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Islanders on tiny Tuvalu in the South Pacific last week saw the future of global warming and rising sea levels, as extreme high tides caused waves to crash over crumbling sea-walls and flood their homes.
"Our island is sinking together with our hearts," wrote Silafaga Lalua in Tuvalu News (www.tuvaluislands.com). Tuvalu is a remote island nation consisting of a fringe of atolls covering just 10 sq miles, with the highest point no more than 17 ft above sea level, but most a mere 6.5 ft. Global warming from greenhouse gas pollution is regarded as the main reason for higher sea levels, now rising about 2mm (0.08 in) a year, which could swamp low-lying nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean if temperatures keep rising.
On Feb. 16, a landmark U.N. pact to curb global warming comes into force. Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries are meant to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, largely from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil in power plants, factories and cars, by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during 2008-12.....
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
LISBON (AFP) - Flags flew at half-mast across Portugal as the nation marked a day of mourning for the funeral of Sister Lucia, the last of three shepherd children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary during a series of apparitions in 1917 in the town of Fatima.If God was saddened by the lack of faith from people in 1917, I wonder what he thinks today?
Thousands of faithful from across the country are expected to attend the funeral of the 97-year-old Roman Catholic nun who died on Sunday of old age at the Carmelite convent where she has lived in virtual seclusion since 1948. The funeral services will get underway at 4 p.m. (1600 GMT) at the main cathedral in the historic centre of Coimbra and Sister Lucia will be buried, as was her wish, afterwards in the graveyard of the convent where she lived for more than five decades.
Her remains will be transferred in a year to a shrine built in nearby Fatima at the site where the visions are said to have taken place. The shrine has become one of Catholicism's most revered sites, drawing millions of pilgrims each year, including Pope John Paul II who has visited it several times.
Hundreds of people flocked to the convent on Monday, with many waiting up to two hours to pay their last respects to the nun. Many brought flowers and candles which they left by the casket. Political parties have postponed their campaigning for this weekend's general election while President Jorge Sampaio called Sister Lucia in a letter of condolences "a symbol and a point of reference to many people around the world."
Sister Lucia and her two younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, said the Virgin appeared to them six times on a tree near Fatima, which was then a small farming town. The first sighting was on May 13 and the children said the Virgin appeared to them at the same spot on the 13th of each subsequent month until October when the visions abrubtly stopped. The descriptions of the visions, which Sister Lucia -- the only one of the clidren who could clearly hear the Virgin -- recorded years later, are believed by the faithful to have predicted the outbreak of the Second World War as well as the attemped assasination of the pope in 1981.
Pope John Paul II attributes to Our Lady of Fatima his survival of the shooting in St. Peter's Square which took place on May 13 -- the same day as the first of the reported Fatima visions in 1917. The pontiff beatified Francisco and Jacinta, who died from influenza within three years of their visions, in May 2000 at a ceremony in Fatima attended by more than 600,000 people. The Vatican is also expected to take steps to beatify Sister Lucia, who the pope has met three times since his shooting.
Beatification is the last step to sainthood.
Born Lucia de Jesus dos Santos on March 22, 1907, the youngest of seven children in a peasant family, she was popularly known simply as Sister Lucia after she became a nun. AFP
Well, lawyers trying to make money off the tsunami by suing. NOAA does not have a responsibility to forecast anything, hence they aren't liable. It is not a service they have contracted with the board of tourism in Thailand. This is merely the case of lawyers looking for deep pockets to sue resulting from the tragedy. Typical plantiff's lawyers.
A group of Austrian and German victims of the Asian tsunami disaster are to file a lawsuit demanding that Thailand, French hotel chain Accor and US forecasters prove they reacted adequately to the disaster, their lawyers said.The suit, naming Accor and the US-run tsunami early warning system in the Pacific as well as Thai authorities, will be filed in a New York district court this week, the lawyers said in Vienna.'We found that serious lapses were committed,' said Herwig Hasslacher, one of the three lawyers for the group....
The targets are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington and its Hawaii-based tsunami warning centre; the Accor group of hotels where some of the victims stayed; and the Thai government.The NOAA is accused of having registered the earthquake but failed to alert Indian Ocean countries of the impending tsunamis as the Hawaii centre covered only the Pacific.The lawyers said that if the NOAA and Thai authorities, which had their own information, had passed on their alerts in time, it would have enabled people on shorelines to flee inland.'We have evidence they did not warn us, even though they knew a quarter of an hour later about the strength and location of the quake, and although there is supposed to be a tsunami warning' from 6.5 on the Richter scale, Hasslacher said. The quake measured 9.0.Accor is named in the lawsuit because the plaintiffs say the chain did not properly inform relatives of the victims after the disaster and had built its Sofitel hotel on the island of Phuket on a quake fracture line. AFX
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
In case you wonder where he stands on the issues... he has a professional website where he answers questions without nuance. Curiously, playing chess is "absolutely unlawful" and "absolutely forbidden", but playing cricket (see under games) is okay. Why exactly is chess forbidden?
How exactly is freedom going to be achieved if Iraqis won't even be allowed to play chess? How can democracy and freedom going to be achieved with Sharia? How Bush will try balance classical liberal freedoms and a new theocratic government will be interesting...
MEET THE NEW BOSS... SAME AS THE OLD BOSS
Friday, February 04, 2005
In 2002, Iran and Iraq made 2/3 of the Axis of Evil. Iran is a Shite Islamic theocracy. Iraq was a secular Sunni dictatorship. The results of the Iraqi election is starting to show a vast majority for the Shite clerics. If the clerics have 2/3 of the votes (so far) there is a strong chance that the government will be entirely run by Islamic clerics. It remains doubtful that vast freedoms would be enjoyed by Iraqis under a new theocracy. They may "say" that they will be secular, but do you really think so? There is also the possibility of a strong alliance between Iran and Iraq, creating a vast theocratic superstate. The resulting lack of freedom will prevent a reduction in the conditions which foster terrorists. Has anyone really thought of this? Am I just being pessimistic?
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A new, partial tally of votes Friday from Iraq's landmark elections showed a Shiite coalition whose leaders have close ties to Iran rolling up a strong lead over other tickets, including that of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.The United Iraqi Alliance, which has the endorsement of Iraq's top Shiite clerics, won more than two-thirds of the 3.3 million votes counted so far, the election commission said. Allawi's ticket was running second with more than 579,700 votes.... Ap via Yahoo
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Last night, Bush delivered his ambitious State of the Union Address. Here are the goals that I liked and my commentary:
--Stabilizing Iraq - That may mean having to cease playing incessant politics or letting the Iraqis do the hazardous interrogations.
--Reform Social Security- Bush is on the right track with having private accounts. I would prefer to be in control over my own destiny regarding my retirement. Give me, my 12% (or at least part of it) to invest as I see fit. Even a 4% money market account is better than the 0.68% rate of return of the current social security. At least a money market would keep up with inflation. Once people start seeing statement slips informing them how much money they have, they will respond well to the changes that have been made. It’s like income tax in reverse. People would revolt against high taxes and out of control spending if there were no federal withholdings and everyone had to write Uncle Sam a big fat check in April.
--Appointing conservative justices – Two words not to forget: David Souter. Don’t appoint a liberal justice to the Supreme Court. The Democrats will do that when they eventually get reelected. Don’t try to appease the left. If the Democrats threaten filibuster, be men and force the filibuster. Make them actually stand and talk until they can’t talk anymore. Then force a vote. If you all have to stay late: DO IT! Be men!
--Limiting lawsuits – Mass class action lawsuits tend to make lawyers rich only, while bankrupting honest companies. I’ll expand on this more in a future posting.
--Curb spending and the deficit. – Democrats are supposed to rampantly spent government money. Don’t be Democrats.
What was missing in Bush speech:
--Finding Osama Bin Laden – What emphasis has been made of finding Bin Laden recently? He’s all but forgotten. However, he still needs to be caught because he hasn’t stopped planning his next attack. I don’t care that perhaps he’s been marginalized. He is still responsible for 9/11 and attention in his capture shouldn’t be taken away.
What I didn’t like about his speech:
Does terrorism pay? It probably does. Bush has promised “Palestine,” $350 million in aid. A small violent society ceases to bomb civilians for a few weeks and we throw money at them in praise and hope that they will stop slaughtering innocent people? I’m not impressed.
AIDS, AIDS, AIDS – More federal funding for AIDS this and AIDS that. Being an entirely perventable disease, AIDS gets way too much attention. How about using the money to help fight cancer? Why continue to throw money at AIDS?
Immigration – Is his immigration policy, a sugar-coated amnesty program? He was very vague in his termonology, so we’ll have to wait and see.
I responded well to the bulk of Bush’s agenda. However, having an agenda and pushing it through is what separates the men from the boys. If Bush is going to be a leader, he has to hammer through his agenda. Sure he might face harsh opposition, but it will be appreciated 20 years from now. This is the Republicans time to shine. The Republicans will NEVER have a better opportunity to push through their agenda. Republicans always seem to claim to have something hampering them like a Democratic senate, or liberal Republicans. No more. They have a 30 seat advantage in the House and 55 senators in the senate. If they don’t act, why bother voting Republican if they will act like Democrats once elected?
Don’t try to appease the Democrats by trying to compromise much. The American people have voted the Republican party into a vast majority because we believe in its agenda. Don’t waste that mandate with trying to appease the people whom the American people don’t agree with anyway. If you give them an inch they will take a mile. Bush decided to work with Teddy Kennedy on his education plan. Did that abate Kennedy’s relentless attacks? No!
The next 4 years will make or break the party. The have a opportunity to present real change, but they also lack any real excuses for failing to complete their agenda. If the Republicans get comfortable and sit on their hands…or worse yet…swing to the left, they will be defeated harshly in the next elections. State of the Union Transcript