Sunday, September 29, 2002

I'm not sure this is a proper Fisking (go to Instapundit for some good info on the concept), but here goes...

In a an article on CNN's web site, we were treated to news of Barbra Streisand's latest pronouncement from on high. Text from the article is in bold.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Barbra Streisand has instructed an aide to fire off a letter urging House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt to "go on the offensive" against President Bush in the debate over Iraq.

So how much of this letter is actually Barbra's opinions? And it must be nice to have aides to do this kind of work. Or maybe Ms Streisand isn't capable of forming the opinions herself, possibly being too busy having an apoplectic fit over Gore and Daschle making fools of themselves with their sanctimonious indignation.

Margery Tabankin, the singer-actress-activist's top political adviser, penned the memo, which was faxed to the Capitol on Wednesday, several hours after Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, delivered a fiery floor speech about the debate over Iraq and national security.

"While the Republicans are shouting about the Democrats' special interests," Tabankin wrote, "why are the Democrats not saying the same about the Republicans? How can we ignore the obvious influence on the Bush administration of such special interests as the oil industry, the chemical companies, the logging industry, the defense contractors, the mining industry, and the automobile industry, just to name a few?

Maybe the Democrats are, for a change, showing some smarts and keeping their yaps shut. The Dems know that they're as much beholden to special interests as the Reps. In some cases the special interests are different, but many of these special interests contribute to both parties - just a matter of covering their bets, regardless of who's in power. Also, some of the Republican special interests, such as defense contractors, are kinda hip right now, what with national defense mattering again. The Dems aren't stupid enough to go after the defense contractors in this climate - maybe Babs should pick up a clue. On the flip side, the Dems count various gun-control groups among their special interests, and the Dems realize it ain't hip to be telling folks that self-defense is unnecessary, or dangerous.

"Many of these industries, run by big Republican donors and insiders, clearly have much to gain if we go to war against Iraq. Barbra urges the Democrats to publicly convey this message to the American people," she wrote.

And many of these industries are publicly owned. Would the shareholders have anything to gain if we go to war against Iraq? And how about some thoughts on what the nation stands to gain by eliminating Saddam Hussein?

Tabankin added that while there are "serious problems" with Iraq and Saddam Hussein, "Barbra feels that we can't let this issue become a distraction from the country's domestic problems and the president's inability to fully dismantle the Al Queda (sic) network. After all, Sadam (sic) Hussein did not bomb the World Trade Center."

The president's INABILITY to fully dismantle Al Quaida?! WHAT IS THIS WOMAN SMOKING! We could easily fully dismantle al-Qaeda with a couple dozen nuclear weapons properly used against targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and (bada-bing!) Iraq. If we rounded up and exterminated everyone on the planet with any hint of Islamic thought, we'd be making a good start at dismantling al-Qaeda. Plow the jungles of the Phillipines and root out Abu Sayef, turn Somalia into a melted sand parking lot, and commit all possible resources to the task, and we may stand a chance of fully dismantling al-Qaeda and its "root causes." Of course, we'd vaporize a lot of innocent people in the process, flatten entire cities, and create a whole new set of problems for the Dems to bitch about. And, Ms Streisand, what if it turns out Saddam Hussein is connected to the WTC attack? Will you be apologizing for your comments? Please, tell us. You seem to have no problems with telling us that guns are bad, that Republicans are the embodiment of evil, and that we should all use solar power instead of drying our clothes in machines. How's that solarization effort at Casa de Babs going, anyway?

Ms Streisand's latest attempt to be an opinion leader comes across as more self-important babble from a star in decline. Maybe the babble belongs to Ms Streisand's political adviser. (And just why does a singer/actress need a political adviser? That's right - she's also an "activist." From comfy digs in Hollywood, it's easy to be an activist, eh?) Of course, if Ms Tabankin is the best political adviser Ms Streisand can buy, maybe we won't have many more of these babbles to deal with. Preaching a politics of division, Barbra is throwing herself into the Gore and Daschle camp. Soon, I think we'll see that whole camp's policies of appeasement, division, and distraction thrown onto history's scrapheap. Good riddance.

Monday, September 23, 2002

MARYLAND - DISARMED AND BROKE From an article in Time on Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, running for governor of Maryland: "And her association with Governor Parris Glendening has saddled her with some blame for next year's projected $1.3 billion deficit." If I recall correctly, Glendening has been one of the more rabidly anti-gun governors, and it was primarily for that reason that I hoped someone would whup his tail this year. I was disappointed when I learned he wouldn't be running for re-election, but I take some solace in the possibility that his heir apparent may very well not ascend to his position. It's OK by me that it may be fiscal issues that sink her chances. Townsend's opponent is Robert Ehrlich who, according to the same Time article, is willing to re-examine Maryland's gun restrictions.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

In a well-written but potentially controversial article, Steven Den Beste, captain of the USS Clueless, writes: "The existing Arab culture which is the source of this war is a total loss. It must be shattered, annihilated, leaving behind no more traces in the Arab lands than the Samurai left in Japan or the mounted knights left in Europe." Den Beste puts in a lot of supporting detail, and the article is very worth the read. His argument comes down to the need to eliminate the portions of Arab culture which have produced those who would destroy us. He tries, admirably, to separate the elements of Arab culture that would destroy us from the whole of Arab people. I agree, and I think if we don't destroy the culture (or sub-culture, perhaps) that has created our enemy, we will eventually be forced to either surrender our own culture (and everything that supports and/or is a product of our culture - our religious tolerance, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, Britney Spears, modern medicine, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera), or to utterly destroy the whole of the people from which our enemy come. I absolutely refuse to consider surrending American or Western culture. I prefer not to destroy the whole of the Arab or Muslim peoples, but if it comes down to them or us, well, buh-bye Mecca.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Tonight I graduated three students from a private pilot ground school class (Kay, Dustin, Ryan - good on ya!). I didn't intentionally plan for their final exam to fall on 11 September - it just worked out that way. As I was putting the schedule together, back in June, and came up to the final exam date, I was a little taken aback to see it fell on the first anniversary of That Day. I considered shifting the schedule, giving my students a day off in the middle of the course perhaps, so the last class would not fall on the 11th. I decided to leave the schedule as it was. My biggest reason for leaving the date the way it worked out? A year ago, I was teaching another ground school, and that class's first stage exam was scheduled for 9/11. Damn if I was going to let Osama's bastards dictate my schedule again.

Hey, this is pretty cool! Ran into it on one of the other blogs (don't remember which one, now - note to self: keep better notes!)

What revolution are You?
Made by altern_active

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

I just watched PBS's Why the Towers Fell and Stranded Yanks: Diary Between Friends, and in the contrast between the insane violence shown in the first and the incredible generosity in the second, I see how an oft-discussed concept works. Some call it karma, others say "As ye sow, so shall ye reap," still others, "What goes around comes around." To all those who've stood by America in the past year - the Canadians in Gander and other locations across our neighbor to the north, the Queen's Guards who played the Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace, all of you - may you be blessed for all of your days, and beyond. To Osama, and his supporters, allies, and those who celebrated the attacks a year ago - God damn you all to the hell you so richly deserve.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Too much TV coverage on 11 Sept 2002 of the events on 11 Sept 2001? Not possible. The image of airliners being flown into buildings, of towers of steel and concrete crumbling, pulverizing the people left inside, should be burned into every American's mind. Those who think That Day should be swept under the rug deserve to be visited by this nightmare scene every time they close their eyes. Maybe the numbers - four airliners, 1.7 million tons of steel and concrete, 3000 dead - are just too much for them to handle. Maybe they need it personalized. Maybe they need to think about their child being incinerated, their father dying from aerosolized botulism toxin, or some other close to the heart horror, before they'll understand: we cannot forgive, we must not forget.

OK, so what's the deal with Scott Ritter? Isn't this the guy who the Iraqis called a cowboy because of his persistence when he was on the weapons inspection team a few years ago? What's changed his mind to make him Sadam Hussein's best close personal bud, saying that Iraq has no WMD, nor ability to develop them? Maybe his mention of letting the inspectors back in is one of those rope-a-dope things, or he's the good cop, telling Sadam bad cop Bush is gonna come over any time now.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Ten days until The Anniversary. My two cents on rebuilding: replace the towers. Add one floor to each, to give Osama a nice concrete and steel poke in the eye, to say, "You knock it down, we'll build it back, bigger and better." Consider relocating the towers on the site, and preserve the original "footprints" as memorial space, but, assuming there is a continuing need for the office space, rebuild the towers. Most of the people who died at the WTC did not die at ground level, but rather hundreds of feet above the site, so a memorial "observation deck" should be included in each of the new towers, at the level where the respective aircraft made first contact. Yes, rebuilding the towers creates a target for all manner of deranged yayhoos, but other large or symbolic buildings (as a very few examples: the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower) are also targets, and I haven't heard or seen any call to relocate the people who live or work in those buildings so the structures can be torn down and replaced with something less, oh, target-worthy, or offensive to Islamikaze sensibilities. The memorial which should be included in the reconstructed WTC site should be restrained - many have mentioned the Oklahoma City memorial as a model, but I disagree. I come from the "simple is better" school, and I think the Oklahoma City model borders on the mawkish. The entrance and exit, with the "before attack"/"after attack" time on each, are fine, but the chair concept leaves too little to the imagination. Any memorial constructed at the WTC will be a part of the site for many decades to come, and it needs to speak to the future as strongly as it does to the present. The best memorial, though, is to rebuild the towers. WTC 1 & 2 were built for business, and that is at least a part of why they were attacked. Rebuild them, and get back to business.

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