Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Friday, April 02, 2004

Tammy Bruce is a neo-conservative. I know she considers herself to be a Democrat and is actually registered that way, but Bruce is a neo-conservative. A new conservative. Ronald Reagan considered himself to be a Democrat and said that he felt like the Democratic party had left him. That's how Bruce has said she feels. The senator from Georgia, Zell Miller; the same thing. Miller is a registered Democrat and he refuses to switch parties because he feels that the party has changed while he has stayed the same.

I like Tammy Bruce. She's a hellfire and brimstone sort of columnist. She pulls it off because she's a former president of the L.A. chapter of NOW. Instant cred as the kids say. I look for her column every week.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

James Lileks goes off:

Is the world angry at Russia, which spends nothing on AIDS and rebuffed Kyoto? Is the world angry at China, which got a pass on Kyoto and spends nothing on AIDS for other countries?

Is the world angry at North Korea for killings its people? Angry at Iran for smothering that vibrant nation with corrupt and thuggish mullocracy? Angry at Syria for occupying Lebanon? Angry at Saudi Arabia for its denial of women?s rights? Angry at Russia for corrupt elections? Is the world angry at China for threatening Taiwan, or angry at France for joining the Chinese in joint military exercises that threatened the island on the eve of an election? Is the world angry at Zimbabwe for stealing land and starving people? Is the world angry at Pakistan for selling nuclear secrets? Is the world angry at Libya for having an NBC program?

Is the world angry at the thugs of Fallujah?

Is the world angry at anyone besides America and Israel?

A headline at Drudge: Judge quizzes doctor about pain fetus might feel during controversial abortion procedure

"Does the fetus feel pain?'' Judge Richard C. Casey asked Johnson, saying he had been told that studies of a type of abortion usually performed in the second trimester had concluded they do.

Johnson said he did not know, adding he knew of no scientific research on the subject.

The judge then pressed Johnson on whether he ever thought about fetal pain while he performs the abortion procedure that involves dismemberment. Another doctor a day earlier had testified that a fetus sometimes does not immediately die after limbs are pulled off.

That's just horrible.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I recently discovered a team weblog called Power Line. It's quickly become a favorite and maybe if I can get properly motivated I will add it to my favorites here soon.

It really is campaign season!

I think Tony Blankley makes some valid points:

The second emerging liability is the matter of Senator Kerry's health and vigor. Few people commented adversely when Mr. Kerry had his cancer operation last year. Most otherwise healthy men go on to fully active lives after such a successful operation. But some people began to notice when he took a week off to relax and "re-charge his batteries" at his wife's ski lodge -- just when the campaign was heating up and he had not yet recovered from his foolish foreign leaders claim. His staff had to explain that he gets verbally sloppy when he gets tired. (Of course, the presidency is a darned tiring job 365 days a year.)

I know that many people would automatically see this as a republican attack on John Kerry, but Blankley makes a great point when he remarks that "the presidency is a darned tiring job 365 days a year." People should be aware when a candidate could not serve effectively because their judgement may be affected by physical pain or general weariness. These are legitimate concerns the voter should take into consideration.

The other day I saw on Fox News where NASA was preparing to fly an unmanned plane to mach seven. That's seven times the speed of sound which is around 5,000 miles an hour at 30,000 feet. I never did get to see the drop from the B-52, but I did get to see the aircraft (with booster rocket attached) and now I get to learn more about the physics involved with flying at such high speeds because of an article by Jed Babbin at National Review. Here's why we need this technology:

When the manned recon version of the X-43A are built, America will again have the ability to see — anytime, anywhere — anything that's visible. And with modern sensor packages, that will mean everything that's visible to science, including — by virtue of ground-penetrating radars and other sensors — what the enemy buries deep underground. The boost to our intel capabilities will be immediate and enormous. And that's far from all.

Read the whole thing. It's fascinating.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Mark Steyn devastates Richard Clarke:

Having served both the 42nd and 43rd Presidents, Clarke was supposed to be the most authoritative proponent to advance the Democrats' agreed timeline of the last decade - to whit, from January 1993 to January 2001, Bill Clinton focused like a laser on crafting a brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, but, alas, just as he had dotted every "i", crossed every "t" and sent the intern to the photocopier, his eight years was up, so Bill gave it to the new guy as he was showing him the Oval Office - "That carpet under the desk could use replacing. Oh, and here's my brilliant plan to destroy al-Qa'eda, which you guys really need to implement right away."

The details of the brilliant plan need not concern us, which is just as well, as there aren't any. But the broader point, as The New York Times noted, is that "there was at least no question about the Clinton administration's commitment to combat terrorism".

Yessir, for eight years the Clinton administration was relentless in its commitment: no sooner did al-Qa'eda bomb the World Trade Center first time round, or blow up an American embassy, or a barracks, or a warship, or turn an entire nation into a terrorist training camp, than the Clinton team would redouble their determination to sit down and talk through the options for a couple more years. Then Bush took over and suddenly the superbly successful fight against terror all went to hell.

I can't believe how dumb Richard Clarke is.

William Safire in The New York Times:

Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.

At least $5 billion in kickbacks went from corrupt contractors — mainly French and Russian — into the pockets of Saddam and his thugs. Some went to pay off his protectors in foreign governments and media, and we may soon see how much stuck to the fingers of U.N. bureaucrats as well.


To calm the belated uproar, Annan felt compelled to seek an "independent high-level inquiry," empowered by a Security Council resolution, as some of us called for.

Nothing doing, said France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sablière. The money for the huge heist known as the Iraq-U.N. account passed exclusively through BNP Paribas. French companies led all the rest (what's French for "kickback"?), though Vladimir Putin's favorite Russian oligarchs insisted on sharing the wealth. That explains why Paris and Moscow were Saddam's main prewar defenders, and why their politicians and executives now want no inquiry they cannot control.

This doesn't even include the oil contracts the French and Russians had with Saddam Hussein. If they had been successful in stopping the U.S. invasion of Iraq and then ultimately getting the sanctions dropped, France would have profited to the tune of around one hundred billion dollars.

While the U.S. was accused of starving the Iraqi people during the 1990's, it's clear now that French and Russian business executives and politicians are the ones who were really to blame. They shipped diluted medicines and rotten food to Iraq to enhance their kickbacks.

France is a despicable country full of equally despicable politicians.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Yes, Arab and French leaders would love to see John Kerry elected president:

The Arabs are not alone in deluding themselves that a Democrat at the White House will let them do as they please. Kerry's claim that several foreign leaders told him they need him to beat Bush is not as fanciful as the Republicans pretend. Some "old Europe" politicians, including France's President Jacques Chirac, also hope a President Kerry will dance to their tune - not only on Iraq, but also on issues such as the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court.

Dominique de Villepin, France's foreign minister, makes no secret of his belief that the Bush presidency has been an "aberration" and that a Democratic president will "lift the fog of war."

What the outside world must understand is that most Americans now believe that they are threatened by enemies who can strike in the very heart of the United States. But the average American's reaction is quite different from that of the Spaniards who changed their votes because of the 3/11 terrorist attacks on Madrid. Few Americans are prepared to turn the other cheek for Osama bin Laden and societies that have helped breed, raise and finance him. Nor would they share the "old Europe" illusion that one can change the nature of a man-eater by feeding him vegetables and cuddling him.

America has the extra large target on it because we have a history of defending freedom around the world, most prominently Europe. We are the ones who must be defeated before terrorists can blackmail and murder at will. Europe is hoping they won't have to do anything. They are so close to the Middle East that they can feel the threat. They assume that if they can appease and mollify murderers then they will be spared.

I got news for you dumb bastards: They will get around to you. Especially if they can force the U.S. electorate to become isolationist in policy following a devastating attack.

Can you imagine if the U.S. surrendered like the Spanish? Quite a few on the left would change and finally understand what and why we were fighting all along.

It sounds like Lebron James came of age last night. He had 41 points (on 54% shooting--10 for 10 at the line), 13 assists, and six rebounds.

Yes, the Nets were missing Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, but the Nets are still an NBA team and to put up those kind of numbers against NBA quality players and to do it while playing 43 minutes (more than any other player on his team) at 19 years of age is very impressive.

I can only imagine what he'll have accomplished by the time he's 25. James could be the next Michael Jordan. Only this time the comparison may actually be apt.

Roger Franklin in The Age, an Australian newspaper, explains the history and some numbers behind the U.N.'s oil for food program. To get some idea of what happened, Franklin opens with this:

Almost a year ago, when kitchen workers at the United Nations' headquarters walked off the job in a dispute over holiday pay, the cream of the world's diplomats thronged to the five unattended restaurants there and stole everything that wasn't nailed down.

As one witness marvelled after seeing an envoy make off with a baked turkey under one arm and a framed picture under the other: "They were locusts!"

The next day, however, the incident had not happened - not officially, anyway.

A UN spokesman swore blind that a senior official, concerned that his colleagues might go hungry, had granted permission for staff to help themselves. In other words: no mass theft. As excuses go, it was not bad.

If all pillage was as easy to explain, the UN might not today be facing what is shaping up as the biggest scandal in its history. This time it's not about cutlery and baked hams, but at least $11 billion, depending on who is doing the counting - or rather, the guessing, since the UN has been disinclined to investigate.

The corruption in the U.N. goes a long way toward explaining the opposition many ordinary people have towards the U.S.'s action in the war on terror. I think it's safe to assume that many prominent opinion makers have felt the influence of Saddam's cash. They may not have taken it directly, but I bet somewhere along the line some of that money at least was used to feed the propoganda machine that was designed to thwart the U.S and to ultimately end the sanctions.

We know about France's reasons for opposing the war. They had about a 100 billion reasons. It goes to reason that influential voices in Europe were bought with some of Saddam's cash. Again, perhaps not openly, but through largesse by direct recipients of Saddam Hussein's cash.. Call it charitable giving or financial support for the freedom of speech. Whatever. It was influence bought and paid for by Saddam Hussein and it served as a sort of advertising campaign. Sort of like what a company does when it wants to buy a commercial campaign with a memorable catch phrase.

I think it's even likely that Saddam's cash financed a war protest or two last year.