Thursday, November 30, 2006

Leaving Downtown Portland

Schumacher Furs & Outerwear has had enough:
"We're leaving downtown Portland because we feel that it's losing its appeal for people to shop in" said Schumacher, 51, rattling off a list of what he called his customers' complaints. "The panhandling, the musicians on the street, the urination in the parking garages. Yes, the protests. But the whole place is not conducive to running a retail operation."
The City of Portland should be ashamed.

Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Nikon's advertising department struggles mightily to illustrate the difference between "2 millions de pixels" and "3 millions de pixels". Cowboy Blob shares the result with us.

Thanks, Blob!

Baker's No Friend of Israel

Dick Morris & Eileen Mc Gann:
In short, we can only get Iran's help on Iraq if we let Tehran get the bomb.

Yet, with nukes, Iran gains the leverage to force Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and all the region's oil producers to move in its orbit. The Middle East will become an Iranian sphere of influence.

Such an under-the-table deal would amount to a total sellout of Israel and Saudi Arabia and America's other Arab allies.

The Jewish state would be left with no alternative but to take whatever military action it could to stop Iran from completing its nuclear program. American capitulation will have left it with no alternative.

Would Jim Baker cut such a deal? In a heartbeat. Never a friend of Israel, he wouldn't flinch at a realpolitik solution giving Iran power throughout the region.

But why would Bush go along? It would be "peace in our time" — Munich, 1938 — all over again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wayne McLoughlin

I saw the Lesters poster (Lesters—America's Cheapest Ammunition "It usually works") on someone's blog with no attribution but thanks to the omniscience of Google I managed to track it down to the artist Wayne McLoughlin.

Check out his Golden Age Parodies. He's also been published in National Lampoon. I'd hate to guess which ones he's responsible for.

Keep An Eye On Their Proboscises

Bomb-sniffing dogs are so passé.
Unlike sniffer dogs which require three months training, it takes 10 minutes to train the bees.

After training three or four bees are put in a shoebox-sized "sniffer box", held in position on plastic mountings. Air is sucked by a fan into the box via plastic tubes and wafts gently over the bees.

If they detect explosives in the air, the trained bees all stick out their proboscises together.

A miniature video camera in the box is trained on them and is connected to a computer programmed with movement recognition software. As soon as the movement of the proboscises is detected, an alarm sounds to alert the security operator.

To avoid false alarms from rogue results, a single bee sticking out its tongue does not set the system off.

Paramilitary Police

Glenn Reynolds has thoughts on SWAT. Also more on the Atlanta shooting.

Actually, I like Tamara's crack about that.
Let me get the obligatory joke out of the way: If I gotta die, I want it to be at 92 years old in a shootout with the cops.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Nativity Story

In theaters December 1st. Parental Guidance strongly suggested—you wouldn't want the little beggars ketchin' religion or nothin'.

Global Warming Watch

Utah: Winter whips in, snow warnings issued
While temperatures were in the 40s on Monday, by Wednesday the high should drop to the mid-20s. "That's record cold afternoon temperatures," he said.
California: Bay Area braces for more cold, frost
Near-record cold temperatures are expected Wednesday.
Illinois: Winter's Debut is Near
...the first week of December will be cold, really cold, but still it will be warmer than the record cold of a year ago.
Washington: New Winter Storm Watch Issued for Puget Sound
In the meantime, record cold temperatures will prevail over all of Western Washington. In Kitsap County, low temperatures could dip into the mid-teens tonight. Highs on Wednesday are expected in the low to mid-30s.
Click here for updates throughout the season!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Flaming Feet

James Lileks:
I thought it was about dancing penguins, but it was actually about overfishing. To hear it recounted (by my wife, who endured the thing) it seems that the penguins were dying, a nice touch for a kid's film, and the hero followed a fishing boat and ended up in a zoo then told everyone to stop fishing and so everyone stopped fishing and yay the day was saved.

Overfishing? I asked. They stopped overfishing?

No, they stopped
fishing.
May I suggest a gastronomical alternative?
Flaming Penguin Kabob

An Armenian specialty traditionally made with lamb or beef, this Antarctic variation will delight even the most discriminating palette.
2 pounds ground or whole penguin
2 sliced onions
2 sliced green or red bell peppers
1 cup olive oil
1 bottle Bud Ice (chilled)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 Bay Leaves
3 sharp skewers
Slice penguin into 1-inch cubes. Mix spices in with olive oil. Marinade cubes in spice mix. Refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally. Slice onions and bell peppers into wedges. Place vegetables and penguin cubes alternately on skewers. Brush lightly again with marinade. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown outside. Turn and baste continually with Bud Ice. Douse lightly with brandy or lighter fluid and light before serving.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Russian Criminal State

David Satter in Opinion Journal:
In the last six years, the makeup of the ruling elite in Russia has undergone a dramatic change. Once in power, Mr. Putin filled the majority of important posts with veterans of the security services, many with ties to him dating back to his work in St. Petersburg. By 2003, the top ministers, half of the members of the Russian security council and 70% of all senior regional officials in Russia were former members of the security services....

The first victim was Sergei Yushenkov, a co-chairman of the Liberal Russia Party and member of the commission on the apartment bombings. He was shot on April 17, 2003....

In July 2003, Duma deputy Yuri Shchekochikhin, another member of the commission on the 1999 bombings, died after contracting an unexplained illness....

Finally, Anna Politkovskaya, perhaps Russia's best-known journalist, was murdered last month....

In the wake of Litvinenko's death, the West must insist on cooperation from the FSB in finding his killers. If that is not forthcoming, it should be assumed that the murder of Litvinenko was ordered by the Russian regime.

Under those circumstances, not only should Russia be expelled from the G-8 but the whole structure of mutual consultation and cooperation would need to be re-evaluated. This is not just a matter of refusing to trivialize a murder. It is also a vital political obligation. Russians of all types are watching to see whether the West will simply swallow this crime or finally react to the rampant criminalization of Russian society.
Satter's most recent book is Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State.

Wii Workout

Nintendo's new game console gives you a workout:
One of the Wii's distinguishing features is a motion-sensitive technology that requires players to act out their character's movements, wielding the game's controller like a sword or swinging it like a tennis racket.

The new console has been wildly successful, selling out at stores and winning high marks from critics and game buffs. But as players spend more time with the Wii, some are noticing that hours waving the game's controller around can add up to fairly intense exertion -- resulting in aches and pains common in more familiar forms of exercise. They're reporting aching backs, sore shoulders -- even something some have dubbed "Wii elbow."
"Oh, my gosh," says Leslie, "We have got to get one."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Poisoned With Polonium-210

The Sydney Morning Herald on the death of Alexander Litvinenko:
...police had called in the Health Protection Agency on Thursday night, after Mr Litvinenko's urine sample revealed "significant, large" traces of alpha radiation.

Traces of polonium-210, an emitter of alpha radiation, were also found in Mr Litvinenko's home, a sushi restaurant where he had met a contact, Mario Scaramella, on November 1, and the Millennium Hotel in central London, where he had met a Russian former intelligence official, Andrei Lugovoy, and a second man, also on November 1.
Before his death Mr. Litvineko dictated and signed a statement that among other things said:
You may succeed in silencing one man. But a howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Little Christmas Music

I haven't had time to blog today because first thing this morning I had to go in to the Guitar Center (10% off until 10:00 am!) and buy a Casio Celviano AP-45 to replace that huge old upright piano we bought fourteen years ago.

Oddly enough, after bringing it home I thought I could leave it in the box for a few days while we disposed of the old piano and re-arranged the living room. But NO! We had to roll the old piano into the dining room, unload bookshelves, dust, sweep, mop, beat carpets, move furniture, and unpack and assemble up the new piano right now before... well, before we all just had a fit.

With the old piano out of the way I also had room to set up the new Yamaha speakers and DVD/CD player I bought six months ago, and which really have been sitting in the boxes ever since.
So now we're all set up to enjoy some Christmas music.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving

"Home for Thanksgiving" by Norman Rockwell, November 24, 1945.
Before we served pie last year Leslie went round the table and asked us each to finish three sentences:
  1. Worldwide I am thankful for...
  2. This year I am thankful for...
  3. This day I am thankful for...
Well, this day I am thankful for my Mom and Dad, my wife Leslie, and my kids Lizzy, Charlie, and Marielle. And all my brothers and sisters and their children and grandchildren—all of us healthy and as happy as can reasonably be expected.

This year I am thankful for my new office windows, but more especially that I work at home. The Internet has made it possible to work in Gold Hill, Oregon for a company in Walnut Creek, California, who has a client in Livermore, California, who has a customer in Springfield, Missouri—and we conduct 99% of our business over the network.

And worldwide I am thankful for these guys: the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and all Marines everywhere who do the dirty work so that we can live free. They'd all rather come home for Thanksgiving. Maybe next year some of them will. Some of them won't.

Cole Reeves Indicted

The Mail Tribune reports:
A Jackson County grand jury today indicted Cole Reeves, 36, on a single count of third-degree assault for shooting hunter Glen Bogart in the back Oct. 1.

The seven-member jury chose the felony charge over two lesser misdemeanor options — fourth-degree assault and negligent wounding of another, said David Orr, the Jackson County assistant district attorney who is handling the case.
I should hope that, convicted or not, he never hunts again.

Fly US Airways

Ann Coulter says:
Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.
Sounds good to me.

Brazilian ATC at Fault?

AVweb reports on the Brazilian midair:
The NTSB yesterday released "factual information" on the progress of the Brazilian government's investigation into the Sept. 29 midair collision between a Boeing 737-800 operated by Gol Airlines of Brazil and an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet owned by Excelaire of New York.
Read the report itself, which confirms that both planes were assigned—and flew—the same altitude.

Brazil continues to hold the pilots, and the complete investigation may take another ten months. The AOPA on Wednesday asked Condoleezza Rice to intervene in the matter.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Independence Day Canceled

Lebanon's Independence Day has been canceled due to a lack of independence. On the same day that a Wall Street Journal editorial recommended that we not let Syria get away with killing Rafik Hariri someone—it's pretty obvious who—gunned down the anti-Syrian minister of industry Pierre Gemayel.

The Dictators Are (Mostly) Gone

Michael Barone finds reason to hope in Latin American politics:
Years ago, when I first started traveling to Latin America and I went to bookstores to find reading material on the region, I found that almost all the books on the shelves were written by leftists. Academics specializing in the region, both in Latin America and in the United States, took it for granted that the great mass of the people in Latin America hated the United States and capitalism and yearned for economic redistribution and socialism. There was some reason to believe that when many countries were ruled by dictators and when there was great economic inequality.

Latin America still has great economic inequality, but the dictators, except for Fidel Castro and (if you want to count him as such) Hugo Chávez, are gone, and elections are frequent. And it seems that Latin American voters are mostly less interested in government-mandated redistribution and more in government-provided monetary stability and civil peace. Sort of like voters in the United States.

Syria and Iran

VDH on Hewitt:
Don't give up. Don't weaken. Don't hesitate. Don't pause. Do not cut a deal with those two governments. They're killing American soldiers through surrogates in Iraq. They're trying to destabilize Lebanon like they did in the 1980's. They're the source of most of the evil that's now causing us problems from Afghanistan to Iraq. And this idea that you're going to bring James Baker back, and that team back who gave us everything from Iran-Contra to jobs, jobs, jobs as the only reason we're going to go into the Middle East, to flank the Jews. I could go on, but it's a very sensitive point with me. I think a lot of us, Hugh, stood by this administration through thick and thin when the paleocons turned on them, when the liberal hawks turned on them, when the neocons are starting to bail. But my God, if you're going to go into the Middle East, and put 130,000 Americans in harm's way, fighting for democracy, and then you turn around and you appease those two governments who are killing people, I don't think a lot of us are going to stand for that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November Sunrise

Left the house before daylight this morning and reached the first notch of Nugget Butte just in time to see the sun come up. Then it started to drizzle. I was pretty damp when I sat down to breakfast.

The Elephant in the Room

Via Instapundit, word that Ryan Sager has been banned. I hadn't intended to pay any attention to Sager or his book, but now I have to. "Banned!" is probably the most powerful word in advertising, right up there with "Free!"

So first to Sager's web site to discover that the name of the book is The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party.

Then off to TCS for an excerpt—in fact, the entire first chapter. I'll save you time. Here's the theme:
For as long as there has been a self-aware conservative movement—that is, since roughly 1955, when William F. Buckley Jr. founded National Review—a debate has raged as to whether its two main factions, traditionalists and libertarians, truly share the same goals or whether they share only common enemies....

The traditionalists—typified by political philosophers such as Russell Kirk and Richard M. Weaver—placed the highest value (as their label might suggest) on tradition and social order. Repulsed by the rise of mass society and horrified by the depravity of the "total" war waged by and against Nazism and fascism, they radically rejected their own age. Seeking solace in the past, they exalted concepts such as a rigid class structure, elitism and obedience to authority—especially the authority of God. As Kirk put it, this brand of conservative believed, first and foremost, that a divine intent rules society and that "political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems."

The libertarians, on the other hand—typified by economists such as Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard—placed the highest value on human freedom. These men, too, were aghast at the age in which they lived, though for very different reasons than those of the traditionalists. They believed that, if anything, society had grown too authoritarian. In the march toward greater and greater state control of the economy, first during the Great Depression and then during the war, the libertarians made out what Austrian economist F.A. Hayek called, in a slim volume published in 1944, "The Road to Serfdom." Control over the economy, Hayek argued, meant control over every aspect of man's being—which could only lead to totalitarianism. The government, libertarians believed, must be kept as small as possible, and individuals must be restricted in their actions as little as possible.

Libertarians considered traditionalists little dictators, aching to subject their fellow man to one particular view of God's will. Traditionalists considered libertarians imitation anarchists, isolating man from society and reducing him to nothing more than the sum of his material desires. Yet, somehow, by 1964 these two warring factions would ally to take over the Republican Party. By 2004, 40 years later, they would dominate the entire country.
And two years later the whole thing falls apart again.

As one with a foot in each camp I thought I'd detected a little sniping over the past couple of years, but by Ryan Sager's analysis the pellets in my thick hide are the result of friendly fire, growing less friendly all the time.

We better read the book. Maybe he's got a plan.

Post-Election Groovitude

Crunch-EZ

Jack Sargent lost control of his Long-EZ when the canopy popped open shortly after takeoff. The newspaper report quotes Gary Queior, the airport operations supervisor, as saying that when the canopy comes open in mid-air, "it disrupts the whole airflow of the craft."

That's true enough, but then Queior went on to say that the Long-EZ has been nicknamed the "flying coffin."

That's hard to believe. I've been reading about Burt Rutan's Long-EZ for a couple of years now, and I've never seen it called that. In fact, due to its composite construction, it's an unusually survivable aircraft. In another article a day later Sargent himself described the crash:
"I could see that it was going down in a straight line. There wasn't any chance. There was nothing I could do about it," said Sargent....

"If it would have been a little steeper it would have been a serious crash. It just hit and bounced. It wasn't a sudden stop or anything," said Sergent.
Sargent plans to fly again, but not this one. "There's no way to rebuild the thing. Just have to live with that."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tax and Bribe Won't Work

Hal Colebatch in The American Spectator suggests that the answer to Europe's demographic "death-spiral" might be Australian-style maternity payments. At $3600 per child they seem to be persuading Australian women to have a few more.

But there's one obvious problem with the cash-for-kids approach:
To give grants to unassailable and hostile immigrant communities as a reward for breeding more would produce the opposite result to that intended. There would have to be tests for people to qualify, emphatically not on the basis of race — which would be both immoral as well as impracticable — but on the basis of culture and values. This is of course desperately politically incorrect but it is practicable. Obviously a good deal of fine-tuning may be necessary.
Obviously.

Instead of the tax-and-bribe approach why not just let the poor working stiff keep more of his (or her) paycheck and decide for him (or her) self what to do with it? He and she might just decide they want more kids—once they're permitted to afford them.

This gets around the "culture and values" conundrum automatically. Because before you can keep more of your paycheck you have to have a paycheck to keep in the first place. And oddly enough those hostile immigrants tend to be disproportionately unemployed. Who'd want to hire them?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nov 19: National Ammo Day

OK, I've done my bit. Shot about half the box of Remingtons on the way home, too. I'm not getting better but I'm getting more consistent. I'll settle for that.

Eisenhower, Enterprise, Boxer, and Iwo Jima

Hugh Hewitt's wondering why four carrier groups are in the Gulf.

Al Jazeera's wondering too.

We're just messing with their heads, that's all.

Update: The LA Times is really messing with their heads.

Piracetam

Joseph Ruchalski in the LSU Daily Reveille:
Nootropics, popularly known as "smart drugs," are thought to enhance cognitive function in the brain. Largely unknown in the United States, these substances are often prescribed in Europe and South America to treat a wide variety of symptoms... The first formulated and commonly available drug is Piracetam. Discovered in the 1960s, it is believed to work by stimulating the cerebral cortex and increase the energy level of neurons as well as flow of information between the right and left brain hemispheres. Not approved by the Food and Drug Administration or a scheduled narcotic, it is considered a nutritional supplement and purchase and importation of the substance for personal use is legal.

Not shy to try new things out in the name of science, I recently acquired an ample supply of Piracetam...

The effects were immediate if mild. Unlike the induced attentiveness of caffeine, there were no feelings of jitteriness or adrenaline rush induced edginess. Increased memory and mental clarity followed, allowing pages and pages of reading to be started and finished.
Nice to know that the experiments continue.

Messing With Their Heads

Mark Steyn:
I support the Bush Doctrine on two grounds—first, for "utopian" reasons: If the Middle East becomes a region of free states, it will have been the right thing to do and the option most consistent with American values.... But, second, it also makes sense from a cynical realpolitik perspective: Promoting liberty and democracy, even if they ultimately fail, is still a good way of messing with the thugs' heads. It's one of the few real points of pressure America and its allies can bring to bear against rogue nations, and in the case of Iran, the one with the clearest shot at being effective.
The Sunday Steyn.

(This link will self-destruct in thirty days—the Chicago Sun-Times has a somewhat ephemeral web presence.)

Meteor Strikes Mercury

The Peekskill meteor of 1992 was captured on 16 independent videos and then struck a car. Documented as brighter than the full Moon, the spectacular fireball crossed parts of several US states during its 40 seconds of glory before landing in Peekskill, New York.

Todays APOD.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Milton Friedman Sampler

Selections from his writing, from 1961 to 2005, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal. Print and study.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Thirty minutes of the 2002 Leonid meteor shower: "Perched on the moonlit rocks at the bottom right, Leica, the photographers' dog, seems to be watching the on going celestial display and adds a surreal visual element to the scene."

The Leonids peak this weekend. If we get a break in the clouds, watch to the east just before dawn.

Glove Thief

Meet Rocky the cat burglar:
He began victimizing neighbors more than a year ago. They know the thief's name and where he lives and even what he's stolen — his ill-gotten booty hangs mockingly on a clothesline in his front yard on Hybiscus Street.

Rocky, a tabby with a glove fetish, is the resident bandit.

By day, he strolls nonchalantly past doting neighbors. When the coast is clear, he sneaks onto back porches and into storage sheds, seeking out gloves of every shape and style.
It's a copy cat crime.

Israel

Victor Davis Hanson:
We are witnessing strange things about Israel. Columnists this year wrote about it being a ""mistake." And for the first time emboldened Islamic leaders talk seriously not about restoring lost land on the West Bank and the Golan Heights, but of ""wiping"" it off the map entirely....

Back home, the Left/Right split on Israel has also been turned upside down. If you wish to read sick hatred about the Jewish state go to the leftist blogs or the campuses, not the Montana badlands....

Now more than ever Israel is nearly all alone—and so serves as a barometer in the West of true liberal courage of conscience. It has no oil, no international terrorists, no large population, no real material advantages and no threats to be made in the most crass sense.

Instead, it is a humane liberal society, an atoll of reason in a surrounding sea of autocracy. So it is the perfect litmus test for the Westerner: on the one hand is principled support for an embattled democracy; on the other, is easy appeasement that wins applause...
Hanson has other thoughts—and advice to the Democrats that will be ignored—on his Works and Days blog.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Station Wagons

Say Uncle notes that the station wagon is coming back. About time. I miss that old Rambler.

Above: Ford Freestyle.

Below: Chrysler Pacifica.

Music: The Beach Boys.

Permission to Disarm

Jerusalem (Reuters):
Miss Israel has been given permission not to carry her assault rifle during service in the Israeli army because she says it bruises her legs.

Reigning beauty queen Yael Nezri, a private who recently completed basic training, said the bruises were making it difficult for her to model in photo shoots.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Nezri, 18, had been granted an exemption by her commanders during her two-year army stint.
Yes, Sir!

The Rumsfeld Treatment

Peggy Noonan sees a surprise coming:
What is the first thing men do when they're drowning? They save themselves. With the waters rising on every side the president will attempt to re-enact his first and most personally satisfying political success when, as governor of Texas, he won plaudits and popularity for working hand in glove with Democrats. He accepted many Democratic assumptions--he shared them, it wasn't hard.

The White House's reaction to the recent election was, essentially, Now we can get our immigration bill through with the Democrats. That was a clue. I suspect the president will over the next two years do to Republicans what he did to Donald Rumsfeld: over the side, under the bus and off the sled.

He doesn't need them. They're not popular. They're not where the action is. He'll work closely with Democrats, gain in time new and admiring press--"Bush has grown," etc.

This is the path he will take to build his popularity and create a new legacy. If the Democrats let him. It would be in their interests, so I think maybe they will.
I hope she's wrong.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman 1912-2006

I first met Milton Friedman in the ten-part PBS series Free to Choose which my Econ 201 professor had taped a couple of years earlier. She loaned me the tapes to watch in the library at Umpqua Community College, and as I watched I gradually began to understand her enthusiasm for free markets.

Milton Friedman's patient teaching changed millions of minds in addition to mine. His ideas changed the lives of billions.

The television series aged as topical references faded. It was later repackaged in a four-part series, with an introduction by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ten years on that seems a little dated too. But the ideas behind it are as fresh as ever. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton and Rose Friedman is still in print, and still worth reading.

The Gettysburg Drafts

Gabor Boritt writes in Opinion Journal:
In the middle of a terrible war that would take the lives of more than 600,000 Americans, Abraham Lincoln went to a little Pennsylvania town on Nov. 19, 1863, to dedicate the nation's first national cemetery and to explain why the war had to go on. In some 270 words he gave the world a definition of democracy, and in time his Gettysburg Address became not only the best known speech on the globe but a document of great monetary value as well.

The first draft of Lincoln's speech, often called the Nicolay copy, has an adventurous post-creation history. The president probably wrote the first part in Washington, with pen, on Executive Mansion stationery, and the second part in pencil, at the Wills House in Gettysburg, on the evening of Nov. 18. But we do not know for certain....

Lincoln wrote the second draft in ink on the same lined paper as the second page of the first draft, most likely on the morning of Nov. 19, at the Wills House. If so, this was the reading copy, though this, too, is not entirely certain.
And of course there are differences between the first two drafts—lines crossed out, words inserted—as Lincoln struggled to find the right words.

Interestingly enough we don't know which words he ultimately used. Edison invented his phonograph fourteen years too late, and newspaper accounts of the speech differ. You can view the drafts here. Transcripts highlight the differences. Which words would you have used?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tsunami Hits Crescent City

Eureka Times-Standard, November 15, 2006:
Two docks were torn apart and numerous boats were broken loose when a tsunami surge hit the Crescent City Harbor around 3 p.m. Debbie McAndrews of the harbor said the surge wasn't waves, but appeared to look like a rolling river.

As of 3:30 p.m. two boats were drifting away and harbor workers were scrambling to prevent further damage and loss.

A Coast Guard transmission on the scanner said it was only receiving reports of damage to the Crescent City Harbor.

The tsunami is believed to be the result of a powerful undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 off Japan that prompted tsunami warnings for Japan, Russia and Alaska.
The Tsunami Warning Center reported a Crescent City wave height of 35 inches.

Update: More from the Curry Coastal Pilot.

Neanderthal Chicks Way Too Ugly

Science editor Maggie Fox of Reuters:
Researchers have sequenced DNA from the leg bone of a Neanderthal man who died 38,000 years ago and said on Wednesday it shows the Neanderthals are truly distant relatives of modern humans who interbred rarely, if at all, with our own immediate ancestors....

"We see no evidence of mixing 40,000, 30,000 years ago in Europe. We don't exclude it, but see no evidence," Edward Rubin of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California, who led one study, told reporters.
Cave man's got to know his limitations.

Top Ten

Top Ten Signs George W. Bush Is Depressed
  1. Speaks wistfully of the days when his approval rating was 33%
  2. Barely musters a smile when catching Cheney torture detainees
  3. Smug, arrogant smirk replaced by smug, arrogant frown
  4. Barely laughs anymore during "Happy Days" reruns
  5. Falls asleep during intelligence briefings... actually, he always did that
  6. No longer pretends he quit drinking
  7. Sits in the Oval Office listening to Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" over and over
  8. When Rumsfeld left yesterday, Bush pleaded, "Take me with you"
  9. At lunch with speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, he hardly touched his fish sticks
  10. Asked Bubba if he still had the big chick's phone number

Emergency Landing

In Brooklyn:
The builders of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge probably saved someone's life yesterday. They needed a place to dump all the displaced dirt from its construction, and ended up creating a new hunk of land that jutted out of Brooklyn into Coney Island Creek like a hitchhiker's thumb.

In 1962, that land became part of a city park. Yesterday, it became an impromptu runway for Paul P. Dudley, a pilot, by being in the right place—under him—at the right time when his small airplane's engine quit.

"There was no engine," said John Lloyd, one of three fishermen who saw the Cessna 172 coming in. "The plane was off."

Mr. Dudley made an emergency landing in Calvert Vaux Park shortly after 10:30 a.m., touching down in an empty field and taxiing about 100 yards before crossing a small berm and coming to a stop, man and machine undamaged.
Nice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

National Ammo Day

As I've mentioned before, next Sunday, November 19th, is National Ammo Day. I intend to use the excuse to stock up. One of the nice things about a .357 is the wide variety of ammunition it can handle. Shown above, from left to right
  • UMC 130 gr .38 MC
  • Speer GoldDot 125 gr .38 +P GDHP
  • Winchester 110 gr .357 JHP
  • UMC 125 gr .357 JSP
They range in muzzle velocity from a subsonic 790 ft/s to a supersonic 1450 ft/s and in muzzle energy (proportional to recoil) from 173 ft-lbs to 583 ft-lbs. Needless to say the .357s are a lot more fun but the indoor range doesn't like us using magnum loads.

I've gone through about a thousand rounds of the UMC .38s and I'm just beginning to get the hang of it. Fortunately they go for less than 20¢ a round in the 250 round bargain box at Bi-Mart, making this is one of the cheaper hobbies I've taken up.

Now They Call Me Infidel

Nonie Darwish:
I always blamed Israel for my father's death, because that's what I was taught. I never looked at why Israel killed my father. They killed my father because the fedayeen were killing Israelis. They killed my father because when I was growing up, we had to recite poetry pledging jihad against Israel. We would have tears in our eyes, pledging that we wanted to die. I speak to people who think there was no terrorism against Israel before the '67 war. How can they deny it? My father died in it.
Her new book Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror is available now on Amazon. FrontPage magazine has a collection of her articles.

The amazing Instapundit, who has eyes everywhere, has called our attention to it.

Neither Partial, Nor an Abortion

G. Tracy Mehan in The American Spectator:
During the last week's oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court, over a federal law seeking to ban this latest assault on the integrity of the human person, my ears perked up when I heard that the lawyers and judges used the term "fetal demise" to describe the fate of the doomed subject of the horrendous practice.

The "fetal" part refers to a baby. The "demise" refers to the killing of the baby, by means of crushing her skull, in the course of a breech delivery....

Listening to judges and lawyers arguing whether or not this tragedy occurs in utero is to descend into the theatre of the absurd. At this late stage in pregnancy, no sane human should be disputing the child's expectation of a safe harbor in the arms of the mother.
This stuff gives me the creeps, like reading about the Holocaust.

Why do I have to read it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

So Far It's None of the Above

Washington (AP):
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a moderate Republican best known for his stewardship of the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has taken the first step in a 2008 presidential bid....

The former mayor is a moderate who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights...
That's not a moderate, that's a liberal.

Red Oregon, Blue Oregon

Upper Left Coast has the maps. Numbers are from the race for Governor. Interestingly enough in six counties the winner did not get a plurality. Mary Starrett took 3.64% of the votes statewide; not enough to tip the balance, but pretty good for a third-party candidate.

A Worthy Opponent!

John Derbyshire's October Diary:
Imagine yourself on the battlefield at Agincourt. You are a noble English knight, clad in full armor. Across the battlefield you see a noble French knight, also in full armor. A worthy opponent! You make your way towards him, hewing aside with your sword the unarmored peasant pikemen who are in your way. They may be English or French—who cares? They're just peasants. Noble combat is the thing!

That's Kerry's mentality. A Bush-is-a-moron quip would come as naturally to him as breathing. An insult to our common soldiers would not come easily to him at all. Not because he's too decent (he isn''t), or because he has too much respect for our troops (he doesn''t), but just because it would never occur to him to think about ordinary soldiers. To a guy like Kerry, they are just... scenery.
"Imagine yourself on the battlefield at Agincourt." I would have found that difficult had I not just read John Keegan's The Face of Battle, in which we spent forty pages doing just that. Derbyshire's scenario bears more resemblance to a Monty Python sketch, but then, so does John Kerry.

Wait A Minute. I Voted For Me!

Waldenburg, Arkansas:
Randy Wooten figured he'd get at least one vote in his bid for mayor of this town of 80 people - even if it was just his own.

He didn't. Now he has to decide whether to file a formal protest.

Wooten got the news from his wife, Roxanne, who went to City Hall on Wednesday to see the election results.

"She saw my name with zero votes by it. She came home and asked me if I had voted for myself or not. I told her I did," said Wooten, owner of a local bar.

However, Poinsett County results reported Wednesday showed incumbent William H. Wood with 18 votes, challenger Ronnie Chatman with 18 votes and Wooten with zero.

"I had at least eight or nine people who said they voted for me, so something is wrong with this picture," Wooten said.

Poinsett County Election Commissioner Junaway Payne said the issue had been discussed but no action taken yet.

"It's our understanding from talking with the secretary of state's office that a court order would have to be obtained in order to open the machine and check the totals," Payne said. "The votes were cast on an electronic voting machine, but paper ballots were available."

A Nov. 28 runoff is scheduled to decide the mayor's race.

"It's just very hard to understand," Wooten said.
It couldn't possibly be voter fraud. In Arkansas?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How Not to Lose and Why

Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times:
It has been a long time since America unambiguously won a war, and to choose to lose Iraq would be an act of such parochial self-indulgence that the American moment would not endure, and would not deserve to. Europe is becoming semi-Muslim, Third World basket-case states are going nuclear, and, for all that 40 percent of planetary military spending, America can't muster the will to take on pipsqueak enemies. We think we can just call off the game early, and go back home and watch TV.
William J. Stuntz in the Weekly Standard:
War is not poker; the stakes in Iraq are much higher than a little money or a few chips. But war's psychology bears some resemblance to a well-played game of cards. The only way Americans lose this war is to fold. That seems likely to be the next move, but it is the last thing we should do. Far better to call and raise. Our cards are better than theirs, if only we have the nerve to play them.
Thanks to Lucianne and Instapundit respectively.

If I Ran the Newspaper...

The Sunday Comics would look like this.

The Party of Big Government

Six out of six community college measures failed in Oregon, as well as 21 out of 41 school bonds and property tax levies. Of 161 property tax measures on ballots throughout Oregon, 72 went down.

It's no surprise. Voters may have chosen Democrats 55-45, but they weren't voting for higher spending. A recent poll commissioned by the Club for Growth found that people thought that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to eliminate wasteful spending by 39 to 25 percent. 30% said it made no difference. Asked which party was the "The Party of Big Government" they said Republicans 39% and Democrats 28%. Sixteen percent said both.

2.7 billion dollars worth of general obligation bond measures appeared on Oregon ballots this fall—$750 for every man, woman and child in the state. Fortunately the voters have learned how to say, "No."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

Before Veterans Day we had Armistice Day which in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland they also called Remembrance Day. That we must: we must remember.

Of the half dozen histories I've read this year, these two were the best.

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E. B. Sledge. If you only read one book about the war in the Pacific, read this one. Private Sledge was there with the Marines, amid the mud and maggots, taking orders, killing Japanese, and paying close attention.


Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy by Ilario Pantano. Lieutenant Pantano narrowly escaped court-martial for killing two Iraqi insurgents during a raid in Al Anbar. Here he tells his side of the hearings and the war that led up to them.

The Conservative Movement Is Dead

Noemie Emery in The Weekly Standard:
Not even Rasputin has died so many times as the modern conservative movement, which has been dying since mere moments after its birth. It first died in the 1982 midterms; it died a second time with Iran-Contra; a third time in 1992, when Bush pere lost to Bill Clinton; again in 1996, and after the 1998 midterms; a fifth time during the Florida recount, and now, wouldn't you know it, the damned thing is dying again. Of course, this time it IS dead, but, but they said that the last time, and all the times previous. It has been shot, strangled, stabbed, beaten, stomped on, had its hands cuffed and been tossed into the Neva River, and, sure enough, a short time later, is rising up with a grin. And it will again.
Shoot Him Again, Clem!

Making Sense of Islam

As distasteful as the subject may be, we must understand our enemies and the enemies of our enemies who would be our friends. Karen Elliott House suggests five books essential to understanding Islam.
  1. Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith by Vartan Gregorian
  2. Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong
  3. What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
  4. The Koran Interpreted: A Translation by A. J. Arberry
  5. Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad by Natana J. Delong-Bas
Opinion pieces by Bernard Lewis have appeared frequently in the Wall Street Journal.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Voting While Drunk

Tulsa World, November 1st:
Will Rogers once said Oklahomans would vote dry as long as they could stagger to the polls. He wasn't entirely right, but he might not have been entirely wrong, either....

By almost 2-to-1, respondents to the latest Oklahoma Poll said they will vote against a measure on next Tuesday's ballot that would allow liquor stores to stay open during elections.
The Daily O'Collegian, November 8th:
Oklahomans voted Tuesday to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to remove a ban on liquor stores selling alcoholic beverages during polling hours....

"Those kind of laws came about initially because of a fear that people would get drunk and go vote," [the bill's sponsor, Rep. Kevin] Calvey said.
We're not afraid to do that anymore.

Election Fallout

Captain's Quarters cites an article in the London Times:
Troops expressed little pleasure at the departure of the man responsible for their protracted deployment to a hostile country where 2,839 of their comrades have died.

Indeed, some members of the 101st Airborne Division and other troops approached by The Times as they prepared to fly home from Baghdad airport yesterday expressed concern that Robert Gates, Mr Rumsfeld's successor, and the Democrat-controlled Congress, might seek to wind down their mission before it was finished.

Mr Rumsfeld ""made decisions, he stuck with them and he did what he thought was right, whether people agreed with it, liked it, or not"?, Staff Sergeant Frank Notaro said.
The Captain has more to say, and it's worth reading it all.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds who reads the world while I'm still asleep.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deval Patrick and Ruby Ridge

David Hardy, who blogs at Of Arms and the Law, reminds us that Deval Patrick, the newly elected governor of Massachusetts, in 1994 as the Justice Department's chief civil rights prosecutor made the decision not to prosecute FBI agent Lon Horiuchi for shooting and killing Vicki Weaver during the Ruby Ridge standoff.

Fourteen years is a long time and most people have forgotten the incident, if they knew of it at all. I have not. In the basement I have a box with eleven video tapes of the Senate subcommittee hearings, which ran on PBS, starring Arlen Specter, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Larry Craig, and including testimony by Randy Weaver, Kevin Harris, and Bo Gritz. I listened to every bit of it live, and most of it a second time.

I've read portions of the transcripts and dozens of newspaper accounts and magazine articles. I've read Ambush at Ruby Ridge: How Government Agents Set Randy Weaver Up and Took His Family Down by Alan W. Bock (1995), Every Knee Shall Bow: The Truth and Tragedy of Ruby Ridge and the Randy Weaver Family by Jess Walter (1996), and The Federal Siege At Ruby Ridge: In Our Own Words by Randy and Sara Weaver (1998).

I've gone over in my mind every minute of the morning of August 22, 1992, from all angles and all points of view, and I have no doubt that FBI agent Lon Horiuchi is inexcusably guilty of cold-blooded murder. Our government disagrees, and this is one more reason that we no longer trust our government.

Secrets of the Voting Trade

The Wall Street Journal on the Virginia recount:
Mr. Allen's chances of overturning his apparent loss seem unlikely. In Virginia, a recount "is largely about checking the math," says James Alcorn, a lawyer with the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Voters in much of the state used touch-screen voting machines, which record votes on memory cards with a backup count on an internal memory. The state's 2006 election law says that in a recount, the vote totals from the memory cards are to be looked at again to make sure they were read correctly the first time.

The memory cards in each machine record an image or "screen shot" of each ballot. But there's no provision in the law for looking at the image during a recount. And in any event, only the machine makers could do that because they have kept access to their software a trade secret.
The future of democracy is in the hands of Wally and Dilbert—if we're lucky.

Eminent Domain Wrap-Up

The Castle Coalition summarizes the results of the eminent domain ballot issues across the country: overwhelming support except in California and Idaho where confusing measures said little about eminent domain and concentrated instead on regulatory takings. Other states would be advised to keep eminent domain (Measure 39) and regulatory takings (Measure 37) issues separate.

The Golden State

Two short essays on California: The Left Coast''s Right by Bridget Johnson on NRO, and Oh California, I Barely Knew You! by Victor Davis Hanson on Works and Days (scroll down), compare and contrast the Golden State.

I have lived (temporarily) and worked in California the last two years, and, sacrilegious though it may be for a native Oregonian to say it, I love California. Johnson and Davis capture some the reasons why.

The Record of Donald Rumsfeld

VDH on Rummy:
Here is the record of Donald Rumsfeld. (1) Tried to take a top-heavy Pentagon and prepare it for the wars of the postmodern world, in which on a minute's notice thousands of American soldiers, with air and sea support, would have to be sent to some god-awful place to fight some savagery—and then be trashed live on CNN for doing it; (2) less than a month after 9/11 he organized the retaliation against al Qaeda in the heart of primordial Afghanistan that removed the Taliban in 7 weeks, when we were all warned that the U.S., like the British and Russians of old, would fail; (3) oversaw the removal of Saddam in 3 weeks—after the 1991 Gulf War and the 12-years of 350,000 sorties in the no-fly-zones, and various bombing strikes, had failed. (4) Ah, you say, then there is the disastrous 3-year insurgency—too few troops, Iraqi army let go, underestimated ""dead-enders"? etc.?

But Rumsfeld knew that in a counterinsurgency (cf. Vietnam 1965-71) massive deployments only ensure complacency, breed dependency, and create resentment, and that, in contrast, training indigenous forces, ensuring political autonomy, and providing air and commando support (e.g., Vietnam circa 1972-4) is the only answer—although that is a long process that can work only if political support at home allows the military to finish the job (cf. the turn-of-the-century Philippines, and the British in Malaysia). He was a good man, and we were lucky to have him in our hour of need.
Amen to that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Time To Stock Up


Tamara K says
I've worked in a gun store during the passage of the '94 Assault Weapons Ban, the eve of Y2K, and 9/11, so I'm ready. Coal Creek employees new to this gig, on the other hand, are probably in for a bit of a shock, because I'm predicting a Christmas season filled with a spectacular amount of panic buying. Get those .50 Cals and Evil Black Rifles now, kiddies. While you still can...
National Ammo Day is November 19.

Judges Gagged; Democracy Suffers

As of 7:45 am Jack Roberts trails Virginia Linder by 27,000 votes.

Six times that many voters left this one blank.

I attribute that to a failure, mandated by law, to campaign or even so much as express an opinion on the issues. What's the use of voting for judges if you don't know who or what you're voting for?

The Benefits of a Classical Education

I for one welcome our new Democratic overlords.
Mark Liberman at Language Log explains Jonah's joke.

Wake Me When It's Over

Alter Egotistic

So concerned Moms are outsourcing pretexting, in a new creepy America, where everybody's pretending to be somebody else in order to find out what we're REALLY up to, even though nobody knows who anybody really is. People used to criticize Americans for being egotistic, now I guess we'd be called alter egotistic.

We're all secret identity, no super power. We can't keep track of our nicknames and passwords. Our biographies are pure fiction, and Oprah Winfrey will no longer have us on the program. Who are we?
Ian Shoales wants to know.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In the Mail Today

Measure 39 Wins Big

As of 10:00 pm Measure 39, the anti-Kelo measure, is winning handily with 67% of the votes so far. Credit goes to the folks at Oregonians in Action who sponsored the initiative petition and coordinated the necessary advertising campaign. I chipped in my 20K¢ worth and consider it money well spent.

The beneficial effects of Measures 37 and 39 will go well beyond the claims of the individual property owners, the homes they save, and the waivers they obtain. In addition to those effects so readily apparent are the effects unseen—regulations not passed, property not appropriated, freedoms not lost.

We'll never know, in other words, how bad things might have been.

And now, of course, the litigation begins. Measure 37 almost lost in the Oregon Supreme Court. The opponents of Measure 39 will try to destroy it too. Consider sending a small, tax-deductible donation to the Oregonians in Action Legal Center. Buy freedom a lawyer. It can use one.

Soggy Voters

Washington state voters might have some trouble getting to the polls.
State elections director Nick Handy said the flooding problems were confined to the western part of the state. In extreme circumstances where voters can't get to a polling place or ballot drop site, he said, they will be able to fax or e-mail ballots, then send in their regular ballot as soon as possible, writing "flood ballot" on the outside. Counties will need to separate any ballots received or postmarked after Election Day, and the canvassing boards will determine whether they can be counted.
Washington voters mostly vote-by-mail so the only people who haven't yet voted are the classic "undecideds". They may just choose not to decide.

Let The Games Begin

The polls close in Indiana and Kentucky at 6:00 PM local.

John Fund has an hour-by-hour guide to the election returns, and the Wall Street Journal has printed up a handy scorecard (PDF) so you can follow the play-by-play.

The Election Law blog is following the bugs and glitches.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Four Score And Six...

In 1928 John Paul Stevens (on the left) was eight years old.

Lawyers Standing By

Hugh Hewitt:
I'm worried about Missouri about fraud, Karl Rove, and obviously, that happened in 2000, and there were problems in 2004. Is the party prepared to keep it clean in Missouri?
Evil Genius:
Well, I was in Missouri on Friday, and met with some of the leaders of the campaign there, and talked to others, and they are well aware of the problem. They're on top of it. They have lots of good boards of elections, which they feel will do a good job of providing an honest vote, but they also have a large number of lawyers that are standing by, trained and ready to intervene, because as you remember in 2000, they literally went to a judge in St. Louis, and got selected polls in African-American Democratic areas, kept open longer so that they could try and count us out. It didn't happen, but nonetheless, it was a lesson which they will not forget easily and soon in Missouri.

Which Deer? Whose Headlights?

I for one relish the prospect of Nancy Pelosi staring down George W. Bush in a contest of which deer is in whose headlights.
Craig Winneker on TCS.

Voting For Malcolm Peter Brian

Hope it's not a write-in vote.

In A Fair Fight

The Wall Street Journal says thousands of volunteers will monitor polling stations Tuesday.
"This is going to be the most heavily watched election in history," predicts Marybeth Kuznik, who founded a group called VotePA after the 2004 election to monitor voting issues in Pennsylvania. Ms. Kuznik, a former arts educator, calls herself a "progressive," but says VotePA includes members of both major parties, two minor parties and independents.

Many of the groups share liberal roots, their members smarting from the narrow Democratic losses in the last two presidential elections. But they also share in Ms. Kuznik's assurances—and the tax and lobbying status that requires them to remain nonpartisan—that they simply want to see a clean count.
Neither side believes the other side can win in a fair fight.

Let's try it and see.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Too Much Fun!

Carnival of Cordite #79 is up at Spank That Donkey.

The Unmentioned Factor

Greg says Dean Barnett, who like me thinks the Republicans will hold both houses, is living in fantasyland. I had to reply.

It's not just that the polls are inaccurate, it's that all their inaccuracies are skewed in the same direction. They don't care, either. It's not like there's some Olympic competition to see who can make the most accurate predictions. Their number one goal is to please their paying clients. They make a show of careful sampling, scientifically adjusting for demographic variations, and all that, but it's mostly just marketing hype. They do what they can reasonably do, but if a little bias creeps in, who really cares?

I think Barone's April analysis had it right: this is a 50-50 nation, trending inexorably toward 51-49 or even 52-48. The trend is in the conservative direction. There may be an anti-Bush wave but there may not. Most people don't change their opinions day by day in reaction to the evening news. Below the surface there's also an anti-anti-Bush sentiment, and these people definitely don't talk to pollsters.

But there's another factor no one's talking about that I think works strongly in the Republicans favor: Voter fraud, or rather, the lack of it. The recent indictments of the ACORN workers in Missouri were just part of a nationwide undercover investigation. I think there's a lot more to this story than has thus far been reported, and we won't hear about it until after the election. The people who are involved, however, know what's going on.

Not only is your typical fraudster a lower class of coward than the common thief, she has less incentive to commit the crime in the face of increased personal risk--after all, what's in it for her? A little intimidation here will go a long way, and as word gets out on the street that the Feds are serious about prosecuting voter fraud, I expect that the fraudsters will "stay home" in droves.

St. George Reef Stamp

The Curry Coastal Pilot:
The St. George Reef Lighthouse, which can be viewed from Brookings to Crescent City, may soon have admirers worldwide, as its image is one of five Pacific lighthouses to be immortalized on U.S. postal service stamps.
The other stamps will commemorate Diamond Head Light in Hawaii, Five Finger Light in Alaska, Grays Harbor Light in Washington, and Umpqua River Light at Winchester Bay in Oregon.

What They Mean

Steyn on Kerry:
...what he said fits what too many upscale Dems believe: that America's soldiers are only there because they're too poor and too ill-educated to know any better. That's what they mean when they say "we support our troops." They support them as victims, as children, as potential welfare recipients, but they don't support them as warriors and they don't support the mission.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saddam: Death by Hanging

Really, hanging's way too good for him. If turning him over to the Kurds is too cruel couldn't we just lock him up in the Supermax like Moussaoui? He could "hang" with his buddies Ted and Terry and Charlie*. They could play Pinochle on Saturday nights—for the rest of their unnatural lives. After all, L'Enfer, c'est les Autres.

*I know, I know, Charlie's at Corcoran. Maybe he could get a transfer. He's such a fun guy.

Not Free Speech

Brainstorm NW magazine has endorsed Ron Saxton.
For 20 years Democrat governors have driven a relentless course toward bigger government, more spending, higher taxes, and more government employees. The first biennial budget (1987-89) adopted by this nascent Democrat dynasty was $3.8 billion. Now, 20 years later, the most recent biennial budget has reached $12.5 billion dollars—an average biennial increase of 23 percent. During that same period of time, Oregon total personal income grew at an average rate of about 13 percent per biennium.

As a result of this unrestrained growth, the Democrat governors, starting with Barbara Roberts and continuing through John Kitzhaber and now Ted Kulongoski, have supported a series of massive tax increases, including a sales tax, increased income taxes, increased corporate income taxes, reduction of historic deductions, and withholding the return of Oregon's popular "kicker" or earned tax refund. Only direct voter intervention has stopped these tax increases from becoming law.
Brainstorm NW paid two newspapers to distribute the endorsement as an insert. Kulongoski says it's a political advertisment. The magazine says it's journalism. Kulongoski says they had better shut up.

What He Says.

I said a week ago that the Republicans will retain both houses. I'm sticking with that. Dean Barnett concurs:
So what are the pollsters missing? Well, first they're missing the fact that a disproportionate amount of Republicans are likely to tell them to take a hike. Next, they're overestimating the enthusiasm on the left. For all the cacophonous din that emanates from the left, it's critical to note that even their greatest hero, Ned Lamont, underperformed the polls on primary day. By several points.

Lastly, and most importantly, they're missing a historic Republican Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort. Republicans are going to turn out like it's a presidential year. Independents and Democrats will turn out like it's an important midterm. The Republican turnout will be worth between a few and several points in every race where there's an effective Republican machine. And that includes every battleground state.
My wife says if she gets one more call from Saxton's people she's going to tear up her ballot right in front of them. She won't, of course. It's already in the mail.

The Anti-Kelo Wave

Opinion Journal on the Kelo backlash:
A narrow Court majority decided that the Constitution's "takings" clause somehow allowed the government to seize private property not merely for "public use" but also on behalf of other private interests.

As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor argued in dissent, this departed from 200 years of precedent and was an invitation for the politically powerful to use government as an ally against the weak. The one grace note was the majority's concession that "Nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power."

Next week's vote will show just how many Americans are taking up the Court's challenge. No fewer than 11 states have ballot measures designed to limit government's ability to pilfer private property for someone else's private economic development. Eight initiatives would enshrine those restrictions in state constitutions, and polls show that most are headed for victories.
Our votes are in—YES on Measure 39.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Voter Fraud Will Be Prosecuted

Austin:
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court today threw out a court order barring voter fraud prosecutions in Texas...

A three-member panel unanimously struck down a federal district court injunction issued Tuesday that halted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott from prosecuting individuals who possess another person's ballot or who mail it without identifying themselves....

"Texans can rest assured that the integrity of our elections will be protected," Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said in a statement. "The office of attorney general remains fully committed to enforcing state voter fraud laws and will continue protecting everyone's right to vote."
And the right not to have your vote canceled by a zombie.

Lieberman vs. Lamont

William F. Buckley:
A newsman pressed me a couple of days ago on the matter of the Senate election in Connecticut. Whom would I vote for? That's an improper question, as we all know: that's why voting is done in private. But I had been noisy on the subject of Joe Lieberman and could hardly, at this moment, plead the superordination of privacy. So I said, "Lieberman." And he said, Why? And I said, "I like Lieberman"; and politely declined amplification....

The important contention next Tuesday doesn't involve the Republican candidate. It is Lieberman vs. Ned Lamont, the other Democrat. And the political drama in Connecticut isn't just among the candidates. It has to do with the future of the Democratic party. And that future affects everyone.

Couldn't Care Less

Steyn on Hewitt, talking about the Iranian missile tests:
I don't understand why the left aren't upset about this. When it was just crazy people like Reagan and Thatcher who had nukes, the left thought Armageddon was coming in the next 48 hours. And now, it's just perfectly sane chaps like Kim Jong Il and President Ahmadinejad who have them, the left couldn't care less.

Voter Fraud: Millions?

The Wall Street Journal:
So, less than a week before the midterm elections, four workers from Acorn, the liberal activist group that has registered millions of voters, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board. But hey, who needs voter ID laws?

We wish this were an aberration, but allegations of fraud have tainted Acorn voter drives across the country. Acorn workers have been convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, and investigations are still under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
You may recall that in 2000 the city of Philadelphia had more registered voters than it had people.
The good news for anyone who cares about voter integrity is that the Justice Department finally seems poised to connect these dots instead of dismissing such revelations as the work of a few yahoos. After the federal indictments were handed up in Kansas City this week, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement that "This national investigation is very much ongoing."
Hugh Hewitt says If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat.

It is close, and they will try.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Polling Ambiguity

Daniel Henninger in Opinion Journal:
If the Democrats win the House by a large margin, media commentary will call it a "repudiation" of the administration's policies in Iraq. This sort of zero-sum analysis may be the norm now, but it's not at all clear this is the message voters want to send.

A closer look at the Times Oct. 27-31 poll is revealing on this count: 55% favor sending more troops to Iraq; 51% say the U.S. "will have lost" if it pulls out now; 62% think the U.S. will have to remain in Iraq beyond two years; 59% say neither side is winning; a majority, 52%, think the U.S. is likely to succeed there.

On whether the U.S. "did the right thing" with military action against Iraq, it is 44% yes to 51% no. Some 59% say congressional investigations of the administration are "not necessary." On whether invading Iraq has increased the terror threat against the U.S., 46% say it's about the same. George Bush's approval rating on Iraq is 29%, but his approval rating for the war on terror is 44% (with 48% disapproving).

There is more ambiguity--and common sense--out there than imagined. Enough ambiguity that come the moment of choosing a course Tuesday, voters may give the Democrats less than they expect.

Mein Jihad

Heather Reisman, CEO of Canada's largest (and apparently only) bookstore chain, refuses to stock bestselling author Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf in the Arabic translation (kampf, interestingly enough, translates as "jihad"), nor will she stock bestselling Canadian author Mark Steyn's America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It.

In a side note, President Bush has a personally autographed copy. Of Steyn's book, that is.

Two Years On

The Tacoma News Tribune says little has changed.
Oregon property owners have filed 2,970 claims involving 161,468 acres and totaling nearly $4 billion in requested compensation from the government, according to a report from Portland State University.

In all but one case, governments chose to waive land-use regulations instead of paying compensation.

The claims vary from a proposal to build one house to a proposal to subdivide farms and forests. So far, little — if any — dirt has been moved because of a claim. That's partly because courts haven't decided whether waivers granted under Measure 37 apply only to the current property owner or may be transferred to a buyer.

Banks aren't lending money to projects in which the development rights are in question, said Sheila Martin, director of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies at Portland State University, which keeps a database of Measure 37 claims. "Unless someone can bankroll their own development," she said, "nothing's happening."

Leonhardt: Kulongoski Knew

The story of Neil and the girl had circulated for years in Portland bars and boardrooms, among lawyers, judges, reporters, editors, business executives, developers, elected officials many of whom had gained power and wealth from their association with Goldschmidt.

No one spoke up; no one confronted him.

Goldschmidt, unencumbered by conscience and sheltered by those who knew the truth, went on to a stellar career....

Convinced by Neil's former state police bodyguard in 1994 that the rumors were true, I told Kulongoski, my close friend and at that time Oregon's attorney general. But the statute of limitations had expired, and Neil had obtained a confidentiality agreement from his now-adult victim in exchange for cash....
Willamette Week links to the story on Alexander Cockburn's CounterPunch website.

(I don't usually hang out in that part of the web, but I remember enjoying Mr. Cockburn's writing in the Wall Street Journal.)

Give Her A Microphone

New York Magazine:
The Republican pollster makes no bones about his party's present predicament. The House is history, the Senate hangs by a thread, the GOP coalition is disunited and dispirited. The Democrats are holding all the cards and playing them, if not perfectly, then at least as well as Democrats ever do. There is, he says, only one cause for hope that Republicans can cling to: Her name is Nancy Pelosi. ""Whenever she opens her mouth, she loses the Democrats votes."?
And yet, next to Hillary, she seems all soft and cuddly.

Thursday Is Ann Coulter Day

And she's in fine form:
Despite the precedent of big wins in midterm elections for the party out of power — especially in a sixth-year midterm election — something is depressing the Democrats' popularity with Americans this year. I suspect it's the perception that many of them are Democrats.

But instead of recognizing that the Democratic Party is a dying party, falling far short of its due historical gains, any gain by the Democrats will be hailed as a crowning mandate for the party that wants to lose the Iraq war, shut down Guantanamo and stop spying on Islamic terrorists on U.S. soil.

Even a dying party has death throes. If Democrats win a slight majority in the House or Senate, Americans will get shrill, insane leadership of the nation in time of war.
And by the way, she has retained a lawyer. Come to think of it, she is a lawyer. Good luck, guys. You're going to need it.

Stern Review: Dodgy Numbers

At the risk of facing future climate-crime tribunals, the Wall Street Journal offers the floor to the statistician Bjørn Lomborg, whose Copenhagen Consensus Center met at the United Nations this week.
Ambassadors from 24 countries--including Australia, China, India and the U.S.--mulled which problems to address if the world suddenly found an extra $50 billion lying around. Mr. Lomborg's point is that, in a world with scarce resources, you need priorities. The consensus was that communicable diseases, sanitation and water, malnutrition and hunger, and education were all higher priorities than climate change.
Read Lomborg's comments in their entirety before making up your mind. Unless, of course, this is a religious issue for you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Voter Fraud Indictments

Missouri may be the "Show Me State" but its Supreme Court said there was no need to show ID before voting because there weren't any proven instances of voter fraud.

That may change now.
Four people have been indicted on charges of voter fraud in Kansas City, officials said Wednesday....

The four indicted -- Kwaim A. Stenson, Dale D. Franklin, Stephanie L. Davis and Brian Gardner -- were employed by ACORN as registration recruiters. They were each charged with two counts.

Federal indictments allege the four turned in false voter registration applications. Prosecutors said the indictments are part of a national investigation.
Part of a national investigation. This could be huge.

Thanks to Instapundit. Roundup at Gateway Pundit.

Recycling Is Garbage

Rinsing out tuna cans and tying up newspapers may make you feel virtuous, but recycling could be America's most wasteful activity.
When John Tierney wrote this article for the New York Times Magazine in 1996 it inspired record quantities of hate mail. It's worth reading again, unless recycling is one of your deeply held religious beliefs.

Halp Us Pleez

(Thanks to Drudge.)

Another Martian Panorama

Click and scroll.

Smiling and Laughing

Bush and Rove in Sugar Land, preparing to have the last laugh.

Do they know something we don't?

Or do they just know better?

'My Country Needs Me'

Opinion Journal profiles Iraqui patriot Mithal al-Alusi.
Polls suggest a majority of Americans think it was a mistake to enter Iraq. Mr. al-Alusi respectfully disagrees. "We didn't have any kind of hope, and now, even with all our difficulty, we have hope." Iraq today is a central front in a war against extremists who view the murder of civilians as political expression. "I will be killed--if not today, tomorrow," Mr. al-Alusi says. "The point is not me, but children--for a child to be a child, not a killer; for a teenager to be a teenager, not an extremist."

Mithal al-Alusi could have left Iraq for a comfortable life in exile; Mr. Shays, a friend, offered to help him relocate to the U.S. But he said no: "My country needs me."

He has not given up the fight. How can we?