Wednesday, December 28, 2005

You Don't Say...

A University of Chicago poll claims to show that Americans are more stressed and depressed as 2005 comes to an end, primarily because of the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast and higher fuel prices. Makes sense. Here's the "duh!" part, though:

The survey... found that troubles were greatest among those with low income, poor education levels and among unmarried mothers.

Hidden In Plain Sight

A DeKalb County, Georgia woman missing for nearly three months has been found... in the county jail. Seems that the county either mishandled her, or lost track of her altogether. Scary...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. WIll be out and about for a few days spending time with the people I love. Hope you can do the same. And everyone please remember our men and women in the Armed Forces who are away from home this Christmas defending our rights and freedom.

Response To A Comment Below

A liberal poster named Reilly questioned my values and my support for our military in Iraq below. I was going to respond in the comment section, but a full-blown post just seems more appropriate. You can read the post that brought this on if you'd like. It's from December 19th. In his comments, Reilly states

"Let's say I don't support a war waged by my country. Do I hope that my country wins that war? Of course not."
I responded...
"I can't see a situation where I would ever, EVER, want the U.S. to lose a war. Regardless of whether I supported how or why we went to war, I would always support our troops who are fighting. And to me, to support the troops, you have to want them to be victorious. Plain and simple. These 109 Representatives who voted against this resolution have made it clear that they do not support our soldiers. Period."
His retort...
"Good to know where your values lie. [Reilly mistakenly summarizes my comments] 'I don't care why they're fighting, I just want them to win.' So, you'd rather have troops killed in combat than come home (alive) without winning?"
I couldn't let this moronic comment go. I should be more tactful, I know, but I don't understand this degree of flawed liberal crackpot logic. So here we go...

You want to question my values? It's on.

I value each and every human life. Period.

I believe every single person has the God-given (yep, God) right to determine their own destiny, to live their own life, and to be free from the tyranny and misery brought by people like Saddam Hussein.

I believe in doing what we can to give everyone, everywhere, the best life possible. Part of that is allowing them to determine, for themselves, the course of their own future. The course of their nation's future. The Iraqi people are basking in that ability now, for the first time in most of their lives.

My values tell me that the Iraqi people are worth helping, much like the Germans and Japanese were sixty-five years ago, and the South Koreans a decade later.

My values tell me that it's an abomination to sit back and watch while a despot and his twisted, murderous sons kill thousands of their own people with poison gas (heard of the Kurds?), operate rape and torture rooms, and threaten do de-stabilize their entire region.

My values tell me that it's absurd and insulting to politicize a war because of blind hatred of a President.

My values tell me that it's wrong to hate, as so many on the Left seem to hate President Bush.

My values tell me that we must be intellectually honest in our beliefs. Blind allegiance is never good.

My values tell me that it's hypocritical and negligent to vote to send our troops into battle, then deny the need for the war they are involved in, deny financial and moral support for those troops, and then lie and distort the reality of the situation they find themselves in.

I find it morally reprehensible for congressmen and a former president to spend years making claims about Saddam Hussein, but suddenly change their tune when a president from the other party actually does something about those claims.

My values (both human and professionally as a journalist) tell me that it's morally wrong for the media to present blatantly biased coverage of such important goings-on. Journalism has a high calling, and equally high moral standards to which it is bound to adhere. Yet so many mainstream news outlets allow person bias and hatred slant their coverage. Remember, journalism is the only profession specifically mentioned and protected in the Bill of Rights. (For you Lefties, it's in the First Amendment)

As for our troops...

Certainly, I would rather our troops not have to fight. Only an idiot would feel otherwise. But if they must fight, I absolutely do want them to be victorious.

Let me educate you on what I mean by "victorious". To be victorious in battle meant to defeat the enemy, to kill more of them that they kill of us. Yeah, I'm sure that sounds horrible to a bleeding-heart liberal, but in the real world that's what war is about. In war people die, and better it be the enemy than our own soldiers. That's what it means to support our troops, and that's what it means to want victory.

Sure, I'd rather have our soldiers come home alive than killed in battle. Anyone would. But I also want the world to recognize how honorable and brave and heroic our military men and women are. I also want the world to look at the U.S. and see us as a strong, powerful nation. A nation that stands behind our soldiers, sailors and airmen. A nation that stands behind, and defends, our friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Inmate King of Frivolous Lawsuits

A man with a history of filing frivolous lawsuits claims that flaws in a greeting card caused him "mental, physical and psychological suffering." The man, serving a life sentence in a Washington State prison, has filed more than 500 federal lawsuits, including one against Kelloggs Cereal for supposedly selling stale cereal.

Monday, December 19, 2005

109 Democrats (and one Independent) Who Want Us To Lose In Iraq

The House of Representatives on Friday passed a resolution "expressing the commitment of the House of Representatives to achieving victory in Iraq." This simple resolution, HR 612, did not pass unanimously. It wasn't even nearly unanimous. The final vote was 279 to 109, with 34 voting Present and 11 not voting or absent. All 109 voting No were Democrats (with one Independent).

More than 100 Democrats, for all intent and purpose, have declared that they are not committed to a U.S. victory in Iraq. Any victory in Iraq is a victory for President Bush, and the liberal Left hates Bush so much that they would prefer to see us defeated and humiliated in Iraq rather than support anything which might be seen as a victory for the President.

For the votes on this resolution, and the names of those who do not want our work in Iraq to be successful, click here. And pass it around, too.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

More Info On Katrina Deaths

We're learning more about where the Hurricane Katrina death in New Orleans took place, and again the information contradicts what many would like to see. Unlike what was reported early on, deaths were just as likely to have occurred in the middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods as the poorer areas. Aside from the bodies recovered in hospitals and medical facilities, almost half of all victims were found in neighborhoods with average incomes over the New Orleans median income.

As for the idea that the poorest areas were the most damaged, try this on for size...

Many of the city's wealthier neighborhoods sit on Lake Pontchartrain in the lowest-lying sector of town, Campanella said. For example, Lakeview, a predominately white neighborhood that contains mansions valued at more than $1 million in addition to crowded streets studded with modest bungalows, fronts the lake and is adjacent to the 17th Street Canal. When the levee collapsed, the neighborhood was destroyed. The only neighborhood with comparable destruction, the Lower 9th Ward, sits on higher ground but was unluckily flanked by two broken levees.
Many people would have you believe otherwise, but the deaths and destruction knew no bounds.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Facts About Race In Katrina Deaths

The facts are coming about concerning just who died in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and contrary to the race baiters and liberal lefties, caucasians died at a higher rate than anyone else. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals indicates that caucasians constitute 36.6 percent of the storm's fatalities in the city, yet make up only 28 percent of the city's population. African-Americans make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Other minorities constitute approximately 5 percent of the population and represented 4.3 percent of the storm's fatalities.

Economy Keeps Right On Chugging

Boosted by the falling price of gasoline, consumer prices fell by 0.6 percent during November, the biggest drop since July 1949. That's just more of the excellent news about the American economy. It's not getting as much news play as it should, but it can't be avoided much longer. The economy is booming.

Along with the drop in the Consumer Price Index, the Federal Reserve said output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose a solid 0.7 percent last month following a 1.3 percent rise in October.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports national unemployment remained steady at a relatively low 5%, with 215,000 new nonfarm jobs created across the country.

The stock market is riding a very high wave, with the Dow flirting with the magic 11,000 mark.

Despite the devestating Gulf Coast hurricanes, the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by a robust 4.3 percent during the July-to-September period. The GDP is the best measure of economic standing, measuring the value of all goods and services produced within the U.S.

Sales of new homes jumped to an all-time record in October, up 13 percent from the previous month, the largest increase in 12 years.

No Good Deed #2

A Wichita, Kansas high school freshman faces suspension for removing a hidden spy cam from the ceiling of a boys bathroom. The kid thought the camera was inappropriate, placed by some "perverted janitor". What else would one think about a tiny hidden camera in a boys room? Turns out the school placed that camera, and another, in the bathrooms without the school district's knowledge. A school district spokesperson acknowledges that the cameras should have never been placed, but the student still faces suspension.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

96 Year Old LaGrange, Georgia Man Finally Gets His Diploma

His senior year in high school was 1926, but thanks to a failed Latin class and a cancelled summer school class, Thurman Barnes never graduated from high school. Now, after seventy-nine years, he's apparently the oldest person ever to earn their GED.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thank A Soldier Week

American soldiers are risking their lives all over the globe defending America's interests and defending the freedoms that many of us take for granted. During Thank a Soldier Week (December 19-25), is encouraging Americans to stop for a moment and give thanks to the men and women risking everything for us.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Not Completely Gone

I haven't disappeared for good, just for a few days thanks to a work trip. The last six days have been completely consumed with work, so everything else had to go on the backburner. I'm catching up on all that's been going on since last Thursday, and will post again later today or tomorrow. Also gotta Christmas shop.... urgh!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Who Should Be Remembered?

North Carolina death row inmate Kenneth Lee Boyd is scheduled to be executed in about 15 hours for two murders he committed in 1988. He would become the 1,000th prisoner executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. The AP story by reporter Estes Thompson contains the following quote from Boyd, about being the thousandth execution:

"I'd hate to be remembered as that," Boyd told The Associated Press in a prison interview Wednesday. "I don't like the idea of being picked as a number."
He's worried about being remembered in such an infamous way. Apparently he isn't worried about being a killer, just being a noted execution number. He shouldn't be remembered at all. Still, the article, and the killer himself, focus on the sad notoriety of his time of execution.

What bothers me about all this, especially the AP article, is the idea of remembrance. There is no single mention, no remembrance, of Boyd's victims. They are the names people should remember. Not only does Estes not mention them, the crime itself is barely referenced.
"Unless they intervene, 57-year-old Kenneth Lee Boyd will be put to death by injection at 2 a.m. Friday, earning a man who shot and killed his estranged wife and her father an infamous place in American history."
That's it, the only reference to the man's evil. Here is what Estes Thompson felt wasn't germane to the story, courtesy
On March 4, 1988 Boyd entered the home of his estranged wife's father, Thomas Dillard Curry, where his wife and children were then living, and shot and killed both his wife, Julie Curry Boyd, and her father with a .357 Magnum pistol. The shootings were committed in the presence of his own children--13, 12 and 10.
In Boyd's own words, he described what happened:
"I walked to the back door and opened it. It was unlocked. As I walked in, I saw a silhouette that I believe was Dillard... I pulled the gun out and started shooting. I think I shot Dillard one time and he fell. Then I walked past him and into the kitchen and living room area. The whole time I was pointing and shooting. Then I saw another silhouette that I believe was Julie come out of the bedroom. I shot again, probably several times. Then I reloaded my gun. I dropped the empty shell casings onto the floor. As I reloaded, I heard someone groan, Julie I guess. I turned and aimed, shooting again... I kept pointing and shooting at anything that moved."
AP writer Thompson might not see fit to mention the victims, but they are the ones who should be remembered. Their story should be told, not their killer's.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The (Idiot) Mouth of the South Speaks

Ted Turner delivered a guest lecture at Kansas State University yesterday as part of a prestigeous lecture series the school hosts. He pushed the same liberal talking-point that Iraq is "no better off" following the U.S. led liberation. We know that argument is bunk. Just check out any of the blogs written by servicemen and women in Iraq, or speak with a soldier who's been there. Here's where Teddy lost me:

He said the U.S. and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on a "hair trigger." He said if he were in charge - making it clear he was not and never would be - "we'd be rid of them."

He warned that a nuclear war could "kill everything on the planet" and said it could take place in an afternoon. Turner said he was afraid someone in power could make the mistake to launch a nuclear war, including President Bush.

"You have to question... the president on a lot of decisions he's made," Turner said. "He might just think launching those weapons would be a good thing to do..."

Turner said war is an outdated form of diplomacy that has stopped working.

Turner also said the authority of superpowers of tomorrow will be derived from education, health care, and science and technology. He encouraged the United States to focus on those areas.
Let's take that last bit. Superpowers of the future will gain their authority from education, health care, science and technology. I'm thinking the U.S. is pretty high on the list for each of those. Do we not have the highest standard of living in the world? Aren't we one of the world's leaders in scientific and technological discovery and innovation? Where else in the world would you want to be admitted to a hospital for treatment of deadly disease or injury? I'm betting the good old USA is near the top of everyone's list.

The war we're fighting is against Muslin extremists, people who believe the killing of "infidels" is a free ride to Paradise. Explain to me how they are going to recognize any "authority" based on education, health care, science or technology. That's the same mindset that believes all problems can be solved by talking. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. That philosophy only works if all parties are willing to talk. Somehow, I don't see representatives of Islamic terrorists sitting down at the negotiation table to discuss their needs. These animals only understand one thing - dominance. Anything less is a sign of weakness, and they work to exploit any weakness.

Ted mentions nuclear weapons and our "hair trigger." Sorry, but I don't buy it. We haven't used a nuke in battle since 1945, and those two were used to (1) prevent the loss of potentially a million Japanese and Amercian lives in an American invasion of Japan; and (2) demonstrate the ultimate doomsday device. I'd say they worked on both fronts. The Soviet Union was held in check throughout the Cold War ONLY because they knew we had a nuclear arsenal that we were prepared to use. Since the nuclear bomb was presented as a deterrent, it's achieved that very goal. Elimintaing our nuclear weapons would be foolish at best, fatal at worst. And to think that any president would mistakenly launch a nuclear war... that's just naive. Or stupid.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Maybe I Was Wrong About CNN

I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I gave them too much credit. From Drudge:


A CNN switchboard operator was fired over the holiday -- after the operator claimed the 'X' placed over Vice President's Dick Cheney's face was "free speech!"

"We did it just to make a point. Tell them to stop lying, Bush and Cheney," the CNN operator said to a caller. "Bring our soldiers home."

The caller initially phoned the network to complain about the all-news channel flashing an "X' over Cheney as he gave an address live from Washington.

"Was it not freedom of speech? Yes or No?" the CNN operator explained. "If you don't like it, don't watch."

Laurie Goldberg, Senior Vice President for Public Relations with CNN, said in a release:

"A Turner switchboard operator was fired today after we were alerted to a conversation the operator had with a caller in which the operator lost his temper and expressed his personal views -- behavior that was totally inappropriate. His comments did not reflect the views of CNN. We are reaching out to the caller and expressing our deep regret to her and apologizing that she did not get the courtesy entitled to her. "


A couple of months ago I discussed the pork that Congress inserted into the massive Transportation Bill. Well, now I'm proud to see many members of the blogosphere working together to fight this pork and bring an end to Washington's outrageous spending habits. This project is called Porkbusters.

The "Fiscal Watch Team", U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and six senate colleagues, have authored a proposal to offset government spending on relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This proposal would eliminate, tweak, or delay proposed spending in so-called "pork" areas, to help offset the costs of hurricane relief. This package of offsets could save taxpayers $130 billion just over the next two years.

I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package. I hope you'll take a look at it, and join in. You can find out whether your senators have chosen to support this package, or (like Ted kennedy, John Kerry and John Warner) not to support it. Check it out, then write to your senators and tell them you want their support for fiscal responsibility.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Not much activity on the blog between now and Monday. Just turkey, dressing, football and family. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and, if possible, get to spend time with the people you love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Follow Up To Cheney "X"

After hearing CNN's explaination of how the "X" appeared, and after seeing another image of the graphic, I'm inclined to give some credence to their story that it was a "glitch". The Drudge Report posted another screen shot of the graphic, with the X appearing white this time instead of black.

Image Hosted by

In this graphic, below the X, you can somewhat make out the following text: "Transition begins after 5 frames of black". It's tough to make out, because it's white letters over other white letters in the Cheney graphic. This fits with the CNN explanation...

"At the end of the speech the plan was to do, to have a CNN logo up on the screen and use that as the way of getting back from the speech back to you on camera and one of the many graphics we use here at CNN.

A majority of graphics we use on the air, we use as a big x to identify at what point should the tape be cued up.

This is the x you see in the control room but it is never meant to be seen on the air. "
I've used similar slates to denote where effects, transitions or video b-roll should be cued prior to usage on-air. There are many ways that a graphic could make air unintentionally. If it preceeds a keyer graphic or effect, and the keyer is taken live too early, it could happen. Most switchers (my experience is primarily with Grass Valley machines) will give you a transition preview, which keys the graphic on a preview monitor. An incorrect keystroke during preview would bring it up live. There are other ways it could happen by operator error, and probably as many by equipment "glitch". Remember, here's what a typical broadcast switcher might look like...

Image Hosted by

They can be very complex. In this situation, I've gotta believe it probably did happen in error.

Monday, November 21, 2005

CNN Brands Vice President With "X" During Speech

Subliminal Message? Editorializing? Dick Cheney gave a stirring speech live from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC on Monday and it was carried by all the cable networks. But in an odd incident TVs tuned to CNN saw a large black 'X' repeatedly flashed over the vice president's face.

Image Hosted by

CNN responded, only after being called out by the FoxNews program "Hannity and Colmes", with this explanation:

"Upon seeing this unfortunate but very brief graphic, CNN senior management immediately investigated. We concluded this was a technological malfunction not an issue of operator error. A portion of the switcher experienced a momentary glitch. We obviously regret that it happened and are working on the equipment to ensure it is not repeated."
The story says the graphic appeared repeatedly, but only during the speech. Curious...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Her District Must Be So Proud...

Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney, one of the whackiest members of Congress and one of the most liberal, has introduced this piece of legislation: HR 4210 - The Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act of 2005. Rep. McKinney actually wants taxpayer dollars spent collecting and storing all governmental records "related to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur... for historical and governmental purposes." Wait, it gets better.

The bill also calls for "the creation of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection at the National Archives; and a second repository at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia." The stated purpose for the Stone Mountain location is to "encourage continuing study and education regarding the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur."

Here's an interesting bit: "... the National Archives shall appoint an independent Citizens Advisory Committee... to hold hearings, administer oaths... [and] to subpoena private persons and State and Federal employees to compel testimony, and other information relevant to its responsibilities under this Act."

This is why she was re-elected? Good grief!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Speaking of Democrats and Iraq

Senator Joe Lieberman had this to say Tuesday in response to his party's actions and rhetoric lately concerning the Iraq War and pre-war intelligence.

"It is no surprise to my colleagues that I strongly supported the war in Iraq. I was privileged to be the Democratic cosponsor, with the Senator from Virginia, of the authorizing resolution which received overwhelming bipartisan support.

"As I look back on it and as I follow the debates about prewar intelligence, I have no regrets about having sponsored and supported that resolution because of all the other reasons we had in our national security interest to remove Saddam Hussein from power, a brutal, murdering dictator, an aggressive invader of his neighbors, a supporter of terrorism, a hater of the United States of America. He was for us a ticking time bomb that if we did not remove him I am convinced would have blown up, metaphorically speaking, in America's face. I am grateful to the American military for the extraordinary bravery and brilliance of their campaign to remove Saddam Hussein.

"I know we are safer as a nation, and to say the obvious that the Iraqi people are freer as a people, and the Middle East has a chance for a new day and stability with Saddam Hussein gone. We will come to another day to debate the past of prewar intelligence. But let me say briefly the questions raised in our time are important. The international intelligence community believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Probably most significant, and I guess historically puzzling, is that Saddam Hussein acted in a way to send a message that he had a program of weapons of mass destruction."
How refreshing to know that some people hold true to their beliefs and principles, in spite of what their so-called colleagues are doing and saying. Shows the class of Joe Lieberman. He made his decision based on the info available at the time, and still stands behind it. His fellow Deocrats could learn a lot for the man.

Iraq and Intelligence

Donald Sensing, the man behind the blog One Hand Clapping, is fed up with Lefties pushing the notion that intelligence on Iraq was "cooked" by the Bush Administration in the lead-up to war. He looks back to the intel that was available, and presents a very compelling argument as to why the war was necessary. He also takes the Democrat leadership to task for their current behavior.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

GOP Calls Out Dems For Iraq Lies

The Republican National Committee has posted a video on their web site showing clips of various Democrats, during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, arguing about the menace that Saddam Hussein posed.

I love the fact that the Dems are trying to rewrite history and change the stances they took prior to the invasion of Iraq. The world is different today, with every comment these politicians make recorded for posterity. And don't forget the bloggers. History can't be rewritten anymore. There are far too many fact checkers. Ask Dan Rather.

As much as many Democrats would like to change their record on the war to suit their current political needs, it's just going to make them look foolish to try. They still hold the American people in such low regard. They will lie to our faces, thinking most Americans are gullible enough to believe the lie. I believe we are all smarter than that. We should all be offended by what they're trying to do. However, it should be fun watching them try to defend their "new" records.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Drilling in ANWR, the Eco-Left's Lies Not Dead Yet

Last week a group of so-called Moderate Republican Congressmen, mostly from the Northeast, joined with Democrats to remove from the House Budget Bill a provision permitting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Fortunately, Republicans in the Senate appear to be more strong willed. Or maybe just smarter. They've approved the provision. Hopefully, in conference, the provision will be kept in for hte final budget bill.

The Republicans flipping sides on this issue illustrate how the misinformation and lies from the ultra-environmental Left continue to prevent the US from working to escape the grip Arab oil producers have on this nation. We've heard how the Native Alaskans don't want their land raped by the evil oil companies. We've heard how drilling in ANWR will decimate the caribou population. We've seen all the pretty pictures caribou munching on the lush green land, alongside clear, clean streams, with snow-capped mountains in hte background. It's all so serene.

Unfortunately, it's all hogwash. Every bit of it. The environmentalists and tree-huggers are lying to us. The general public doesn't seem well enough informed to see through it. Here's a few facts for you to chew on...

First, about the people... The Inupiat Eskimos of Kaktoviak, the Native Alaskans in the area around ANWR for thousands of years, have expressed their support for drilling, so long as "we are given the authority and the resources to ensure that it is done properly and safely." The residents of Kaktovik are the only people living on the Coastal Plain of ANWR. Their opinions should be paramount to the argument. The details of their position are stated in much greater detail in what they call the Kaktovik Papers, a set of documents entitled In This Place: A Guide to Those Who Would Work in the Country of the Kaktovikmiut (PDF file).

One public face for the Inupiat people is Tara Sweeney, who has served as a government affairs officer for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) and as a special assistant for rural issues in the administration of Governor Frank H. Murkowski. In her capacity with the ASRC, she represented the wishes of her fellow Inupiat. These are her words, their words...

"Our struggle, happening as we speak, going on nationwide, is between the informed and the uninformed, and it is happening today in the halls of Congress.

"Within those halls there is a debate on the most controversial element of the President’s national energy plan. This element is the responsible development of oil and gas on a tiny parcel of land within my region; it is the Coastal Plain of ANWR. Again, my people hold title to 92,000 acres of land within the Coastal Plain. We cannot develop our privately owned land unless Congress authorizes development within the Coastal Plain.

"The uninformed will tell you that the Coastal Plain is untouched by man; that it is America’s Serengeti; the last great wilderness on earth; or that it cannot be developed responsibly. I am here to tell you the truth. In short, the Coastal Plain of ANWR is not untouched by man, nor is it the last great wilderness on earth. Finally, we believe that ANWR can be developed responsibly.

"The Inupiat people of Kaktovik own the surface rights to the 92,000 acres while ASRC owns the subsurface rights to that land.

"Kaktovik residents support responsible ANWR development, as do 75% of all Alaskans and the Alaska Federation of Natives, an organization that represents all Alaska Natives.

"The decision of my people to support development was not made in haste, nor were we pressured by the industry. Our decision is rooted in our knowledge of the environment, stewardship of the animals and history with the Prudhoe Bay development.

"The Prudhoe Bay oil fields lie within our regional boundaries. When oil was discovered in our region in the late 1960’s, we were fearful of development. It represented the abolishment of our traditional way of life; we feared development would drive out the caribou that we depended on for sustenance. Concerns of the care for the environment were raised, and the industry was viewed as an incompetent steward of our homeland.

"Those issues were and still are very important to my people. The land and sea bear the fruits of our garden. We depend on both to provide us with food, to carry on our ancient traditions, to live, to exist. Safeway, Wegmans or Kroger stores are not present in our region. Therefore, we feared development threatened our very existence. To exist without the bounties of both land and sea was to not be Inupiaq at all. So, we opposed development.

"Over thirty years later we have changed our opinion. Development has not adversely impacted our ancient traditions or our food supply. The caribou population that we feared would be abolished as a result of development has thrived since the Prudhoe Bay discovery. What was once a meager population of 3,000 caribou in the late 1960’s, is now flourishing to numbers over 27,000. The population increase is a result of our careful stewardship over the land. Not because of lack of predators, as the environmental industry would have you believe. Our regulatory powers over the oil industry safeguard our wildlife and protect the environment.

"The uninformed proclaim that at least 400 oil spills occur on the North Slope each year. What qualifies as an oil spill? Thanks to the environmental standards enforced by the North Slope Borough, the industry is required to report and clean up an oil spill when one tablespoon of oil spills on the ground. If the industry fails to report a spill, they run the risk of having heavy fines levied against them.

"My people were the aboriginal environmentalists of our region, long before it was trendy to become a member of the Sierra Club. We would not support responsible development if it compromised our ancient traditional practices and values that make up who we are as a people."
Strong words. Her people know the area, and it's animals, better than anyone. Their voice should be first and last in this argument. But the enviro-weenies, who have never been to Alaska, have never seen the land set aside for drilling, and who certainly have never spoken to an Inupiat, think they know better.

As for the land itself, it's not the beautiful, green meadowy wonderland the eco-nuts would have you believe. Don't believe me? Check out the picture gallery on the City of Kaktovic web site. These people live in ANWR. They take pictures of it. You should see them.

So what are the environmentalists' real motivations here? Their agenda is spelled out in the "Earth Charter", a document approved by many "green" groups, including the Sierra Club. As FrontPageMag puts it...
...[Earth Charter] reads: "the dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation." In other words, they want to destroy the free enterprise system and replace it with a system that "Promote(s) the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations" - in other words, socialism.

In order to destroy free enterprise, the eco-socialists are using false arguments about Alaskan natives, false images of life in ANWR and false claims about the effect of oil drilling on wildlife. Their real goal and its affect on the day-to-day life of millions of humans is contained in the preamble to the Earth Charter which reads: "when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more."
Their agenda has nothing to do with ANWR, caribou, the Inupiat or Alaska. They're all just a means to an end for these nuts.

Creating A Myth

With no historic all-Black basketball league to exploit for cash, Eric Williams of the Toronto Raptors has created one. At least, he's created clothing to sell for top dollar emblazoned with logos of the phony league's fictitious teams.

"Why make up something about cultural history and pawn it off as that?" asks Claude Johnson, a former NBA employee who works for a company, Black Fives, that makes memorabilia of its own.

"It's truly an affront to someone who actually had to go to the back of the diner to eat," adds Johnson, a historian of black baseball who says he belongs to the North American Society of Sport History and the Association of Professional Basketball Researchers.
Well said. But of course, it's not about the heritage. For Williams, it's about the Benjamins.

Friday, November 11, 2005

President Bush's Fantastic Veterans Day Speech

Here's the text of President Bush's powerful, empassioned speech in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania this morning...

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thank you all for coming, please be seated. Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm glad to be back in Pennsylvania and I'm proud to be the first sitting President to visit Monroe County. (Applause.) I'm especially pleased to see so many military veterans with us today. Those who have risked their lives for our freedom have the respect and gratitude of our nation on Veterans Day and on every day. (Applause.)

Tobyhanna is a fitting place to commemorate Veterans Day. In the better part of a century, this facility has provided critical services for our armed forces. Around the clock and around the world, personnel from here maintain technology that our troops use to take the fight to the enemy. From Afghanistan to Kuwait to Baghdad International Airport, technicians from Tobyhanna are carrying out dangerous missions with bravery and skill. I know you're proud of them, and so is the Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

Tobyhanna is also home to a thriving community of military families. Your support for those who wear the uniform and your support of each other through difficult times brings great pride to our country. The American people stand with our military families. (Applause.)

I want to thank Colonel Ellis for allowing me to come and give you this speech today. Thank you for your service to our country, Colonel Ellis. (Applause.) I want to thank Senator Specter and Congressman Kanjorski and Congressman Sherwood for joining us today. It was good to have them on Air Force One. (Applause.) I appreciate their service to our country. And I want to thank all the state and local officials, and I want to thank all the veterans. (Applause.)

Today, our nation pays tribute to those veterans, 25 million veterans who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. Each of these men and women took an oath to defend America -- and they upheld that oath with honor and decency. Through the generations, they have humbled dictators and liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world. This year, 3.5 million veterans celebrate the 60th anniversary of freedom's great victory in World War II. A handful of veterans who live among us in 2005 stood in uniform when World War I ended 87 years ago today. These men are more than a hundred years old, many of their lives have touched three different centuries, and they can all know that America will be proud of their service. (Applause.)

On Veterans Day, we also remember the troops who left America's shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans. On this Veterans Day, we honor the courage of those who were lost in the current struggle. We think of the families who lost a loved one; we pray for their comfort. And we remember the men and women in uniform whose fate is still undetermined -- our prisoners of war and those missing in action. America must never forget their courage. And we will not stop searching until we have accounted for every soldier and sailor and airman and Marines missing in the line of duty. (Applause.)

All of America's veterans have placed the nation's security before their own lives. Their sacrifice creates a debt that America can never fully repay. Yet, there are certain things that government can do; my administration remains firmly committed to serving America's veterans. (Applause.)

Since I took office, my administration has increased spending for veterans by $24 billion -- an increase of 53 percent. (Applause.) In the first four years as President, we increased spending for veterans more than twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years, and I want to thank the members of the Congress and the Senate for joining me in the effort to support our veterans. (Applause.)

We've increased the VA's medical care budget by 51 percent, increased total outpatient visits, increased the number of prescriptions filled, and reduced the backlog of disability claims. We've committed more than $1.5 billion to modernizing and expanding VA facilities so that more veterans can get better care closer to home. We've expanded grants to help homeless veterans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, because we strongly believe no veteran who served in the blazing heat or bitter cold of foreign lands should have to live without shelter in this country. (Applause.)

I've joined with the veterans groups to call on Congress to protect the flag of the United States in the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.) In June, the House of Representatives voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. I urge the United States Senate to pass this important amendment. (Applause.)

At this hour, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of the 21st century. The war came to our shores on September the 11th, 2001. That morning, we saw the destruction that terrorists intend for our nation. We know that they want to strike again. And our nation has made a clear choice: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity; we will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won. (Applause.)

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh, another deadly strike in Bali, and this week, a series of bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed dozens of innocent Jordanians and their guests.

All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random, isolated acts of madness -- innocent men and women and children who have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology -- a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews -- and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.

Many militants are part of a global, borderless terrorist organization like al Qaeda -- which spreads propaganda, and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda -- paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Chechnya, Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells -- inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for the world.

We know the vision of the radicals because they have openly stated it -- in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and on websites.

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, their "resources, their sons and money to driving the infidels out of our lands." The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter of a century: They hit us, and expect us to run.

Last month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda's number two leader, a guy named Zawahiri. And he wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq -- the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy." The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country -- a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. And now they've set their sights on Iraq. In his recent letter, Zawahiri writes that al Qaeda views Iraq as, "the place for the greatest battle." The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. We must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war against the terrorists. (Applause.)

Third, these militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Zawahiri writes that the terrorists, "must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq." He goes on to say: "[T]he jihad … requires several incremental goals. … Expel the Americans from Iraq. … Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq1⁄4 Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq."

With the greater economic, military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction; to destroy Israel; to intimidate Europe; to assault the American people; and to blackmail our government into isolation.

Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme -- but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life." (Applause.) And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously -- and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.

Defeating the militant network is difficult, because it thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustration of others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution. They exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, recruiting them through radical mosques as pawns of terror. And they exploit modern technology to multiply their destructive power. Instead of attending far-away training camps, recruits can now access online training libraries to learn how to build a roadside bomb or fire a rocket-propelled grenade -- and this further spreads the threat of violence, even within peaceful democratic societies.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes -- allies of convenience like Iran and Syria -- that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews. This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded: cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and de-stabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy. (Applause.)

The radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity. They are strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam into unstable parts of the world. The militants are aided as well by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories, and speak of a so-called American "war on Islam" -- with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Somalia and Kosovo and Kuwait and Iraq; or our generous assistance to Muslims recovering from natural disasters in places like Indonesia and Pakistan. (Applause.)

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions in Iraq -- claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom -- and, yet, the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.

Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: the Israeli presence on the West Bank, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of killers -- and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this road -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride. (Applause.)

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We have seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg and Margaret Hassan and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I don't feel your pain … because I believe you're an infidel." And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

Recently, in the town of Huwaydar, Iraq, a terrorist detonated a pickup truck parked along a busy street lined with restaurants and shops, just as residents were gathering to break the day-long fast observed during Ramadan. The explosion killed at least 25 people and wounded 34. When unsuspecting Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast are targeted for death, or 25 Iraqi children are killed in a bombing, or Iraqi teachers are executed at their school, this is murder, pure and simple -- the total rejection of justice and honor and morality and religion. (Applause.)

These militants are not just the enemies of America or the enemies of Iraq, they are the enemies of Islam and they are the enemies of humanity. And we have seen this kind of shameless cruelty before -- in the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination -- and they wish to make everyone powerless, except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books, and desecrated historical monuments, and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, to rule the soul itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future of oppression and misery.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples -- claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque.

It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom. (Applause.)

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom -- by distrusting human creativity and punishing change and limiting the contributions of half a population -- this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible, and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past -- a declaration of war on the idea of progress itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation and decline and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future. (Applause.)

We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence, and with a comprehensive strategy. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, constant pressure, and strong partners in Europe and in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia and beyond. Working with these partners, we're disrupting militant conspiracies, we're destroying their ability to make war, and we're working to give millions in a troubled region a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.

First, we're determined to prevent attacks of the terrorist networks before they occur. We are reorganizing our government to give this nation a broad and coordinated homeland defense. We're reforming our intelligence agencies for the incredibly difficult task of tracking enemy activity -- based on information that often comes in small fragments from widely scattered sources, both here and abroad. And we're acting, along with governments from other countries, to destroy the terrorist networks and incapacitate their leadership.

Together with our partners, we've disrupted a number of serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th -- including several plots to attack inside the United States. Our coalition against terror has killed or captured nearly all those directly responsible for the September the 11th attacks. We've captured or killed several of bin Laden's most serious deputies, al Qaeda managers and operatives in more than 24 countries; the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, who was chief of al Qaeda's operations in the Persian Gulf; the mastermind of the bombings in Jakarta and Bali; a senior Zarqawi terrorist planner, who was planning attacks in Turkey; and many of their senior leaders in Saudi Arabia.

Because of this steady progress, the enemy is wounded -- but the enemy is still capable of global operations. Our commitment is clear: We will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken, and their leaders are held to account for their murder. (Applause.)

Second, we're determined to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes, and to their terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation. (Applause.) The United States, working with Great Britain and Pakistan and other nations, has exposed and disrupted a major black-market operation in nuclear technology led by A.Q. Khan. Libya has abandoned its chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its long-range ballistic missiles.

And in the past year, America and our partners in the Proliferation Security Initiative have stopped more than a dozen shipments of suspect weapons technology, including equipment for Iran's ballistic missile program. This progress has reduced the danger to free nations, but it has not removed it. Evil men who want to use horrendous weapons against us are working in deadly earnest to gain them. And we're working urgently to keep the weapons of mass murder out of the hands of the fanatics.

Third, we're determined to deny radical groups the support and sanctuary of outlaw regimes. State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists, and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror. The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally guilty of murder. (Applause.)

Fourth, we're determined to deny the militants control of any nation, which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror. This mission has brought new and urgent responsibilities to our armed forces. American troops are fighting beside Afghan partners and against remnants of the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies. We're working with President Musharraf to oppose and isolate the militants in Pakistan. We're fighting the regime remnants and terrorists in Iraq. The terrorist goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and other free nations with increasing violence. Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power, so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq. (Applause.)

Our coalition, along with our Iraqi allies, is moving forward with a comprehensive plan. Our strategy is to clear, hold, and build. We're working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting, democratic Iraqi institutions through an increasingly inclusive political process. In recent weeks, American and Iraqi troops have conducted several major assaults to clear out enemy fighters in Baghdad, and parts of Iraq.

Two weeks ago, in Operation Clean Sweep, Iraq and coalition forces raided 350 houses south of Baghdad, capturing more than 40 of the terrorist killers. Acting on tips from local citizens, our forces have recently launched air strikes against terrorist safe houses in and around the towns of Ubaydi and Husaybah. We brought to justice two key senior al Qaeda terrorist leaders. And in Mosul, coalition forces killed an al Qaeda cell leader named Muslet, who was personally involved in at least three videotaped beheadings. We're on the hunt. We're keeping pressure on the enemy. (Applause.)

And thousands of Iraqi forces have been participating in these operations, and even more Iraqis are joining the fight. Last month, nearly 3,000 Iraqi police officers graduated from 10 weeks of basic training. They'll now take their places along other brave Iraqis who are taking the fight to the terrorists across their own country. Iraqi police and security forces are helping to clear terrorists from their strongholds, helping to hold onto areas that we've cleared; they're working to prevent the enemy from returning. Iraqi forces are using their local expertise to maintain security, and to build political and economic institutions that will help improve the lives of their fellow citizens.

At the same time, Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy. Last month, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote, and they approved a new constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for lasting democracy. Many more Sunnis participated in this vote than in January's historic elections, and the level of violence was lower.

Now, Iraqis are gearing up for December 15th elections, when they will go to the polls to choose a government under the new constitution. The new government will serve a four-year term, and it will represent all Iraqis. Even those who voted against the constitution are now organizing and preparing for the December elections. Multiple Sunni Arab parties have submitted a list of candidates, and several prominent Sunni politicians are running on other slates. With two successful elections completed, and a third coming up next month, the Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a democracy united against extremism and violence. (Applause.)

The work ahead involves great risk for Iraqis and for American and coalition forces. We've lost some of our nation's finest men and women in this war on terror. Each of these men and women left grieving families and left loved ones at home. Each of these patriots left a legacy that will allow generations of fellow Americans to enjoy the blessings of liberty. Each loss of life is heartbreaking. And the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come. (Applause.)

The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we've ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of our common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight.

Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified. With every random bombing, with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters -- they're murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves.

In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress -- from tyranny, to liberation, to national elections, to the ratification of a constitution -- in the space of two-and-a-half years. (Applause.)

I have said, as Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down. And with our help, the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence with each passing month. At the time of our Fallujah operations a year ago, there were only a few Iraqi army battalions in combat. Today, there are nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces. (Applause.) General David Petraeus says, "Iraqis are in the fight. They're fighting and dying for their country, and they're fighting increasingly well." This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny, or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people. (Applause.)

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)

The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East. This is difficult, and it's a long-term project, yet there is no alternative to it. Our future and the future of the region are linked. If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery while radicals stir the resentment of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger, in our generation and for the next.

If the peoples of that region are permitted to choose their own destiny, and advance by their own energy and participation of free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized, and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end. By standing for hope and freedom of others, we make our own freedom more secure.

America is making this stand in practical ways. We're encouraging our friends in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to take the path of reform, to strengthen their own societies in the fight against terror by respecting the rights and choices of their own people. We're standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes, because we know that the dissidents of today will be the democratic leaders of tomorrow. We're making our case through public diplomacy -- stating clearly and confidently our belief in self-determination, and the rule of law, and religious freedom, and equal rights for women -- beliefs that are right and true in every land and in every culture. (Applause.)

As we do our part to confront radicalism and to protect the United States, we know that a lot of vital work will be done within the Islamic world itself. And the work is beginning. Many Muslim scholars have already publicly condemned terrorism, often citing Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity, and saving the life of one person is like saving all humanity. (Applause.) After the attacks July -- on July 7th in London, an imam in the United Arab Emirates declared, "Whoever does such a thing is not a Muslim, nor a religious person." The time has come for responsible Islamic leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends, and defiles a noble faith. (Applause.)

Many people of the Muslim faith are proving their commitment at great personal risk. Everywhere we've engaged the fight against extremism, Muslim allies have stood up and joined the fight, becoming partners in this vital cause. Afghan troops are in combat against Taliban remnants. Iraqi soldiers are sacrificing to defeat al Qaeda in their country. These brave citizens know the stakes -- the survival of their own liberty, the future of their own region, the justice and humanity of their own tradition -- and the United States of America is proud to stand beside them. (Applause.)

With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle -- between those who put their faith in dictators, and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure -- until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent -- until the day that free men and women defeat them.

We don't know the course of our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice, we do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail. (Applause.)

Thank you for coming. May God bless our veterans, may God bless our troops in harm's way, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Speaking of the Marine Corps...

Saw this on Uncooperative Blogger's blog...

The Final Inspection

The Marine stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, Marine,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Marine,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

- Author Unknown -

'Jarhead' Not A Veterans' Day Movie

Yesterday was the 230th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, and today is Veterans' Day. If that puts you in the frame of mind to check out the new Gulf War movie "Jarhead", Oliver North says forget it. He writes...

The film has absolutely not one character or scene containing any redeeming virtue or value. It is an excessively vulgar movie without a moral or a point. With our nation at war this film is not just anti-war or rotten to the Corps - though it is certainly that - "Jarhead" is anti-everything that is good and decent.

During a week when Americans honor the Corps and thank their veterans, "Jarhead" cheapens and distorts the heroism, warrior spirit, superior intellect and selflessness of America's fighting forces. Those who participated in making this nihilist flop deserve nothing but scorn in return.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Valerie Plame Outed... By Herself and Husband

It's looking more and more like the special counsel investigating the outing of Valerie Plame's CIA employment is unnecessary. Seems more people are coming forward with the knowledge that they knew Plame was a CIA employee long before the supposed outing by Robert Novak. And just how did they know it? They were informed by Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson. And those who have come forward, including Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, say that many others were aware of Plame's secret identity.

Wayne Simmons, a 27-year veteran at the CIA, told Fox News Radio: "As most people now know, [Plame] was traipsed all over Washington many years ago by Joe Wilson and introduced at embassies and other parties as 'my CIA wife.'"

Andrea Mitchell told CNBC that Plame's occupation "was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community."
Of course, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has never interviewed these people. None of them have even been contacted by his office. That makes sense. His goal through all this seems simply to have been to hang some charges on some high-ranking members of the Bush Administration. Never let the facts get in the way of a good witchhunt.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Does Atlanta Deserve The NASCAR Hall of Fame?

Former crew chief and Fox Sports announcer Larry McReynolds says no, and as much as I hate it, I think I agree with him. While the facilities are second to none, and the racing is the fastest (and often the closest) in Nextel Cup, there's one thing missing. Where are the fans? Why can't they sell out the two races each year?

The race just does not have the fan support. When you look at the size of metropolitan Atlanta, it's incredible that those grandstands can't be filled twice a year.

Don't get me wrong. There was a good crowd, but there were still a lot of empty seats. That confirms for me that Atlanta should not get the hall of fame. And that's nothing against Atlanta Motor Speedway, but for whatever reason, the people just do not jump on the bandwagon. I know that there were people are down there screaming, "We need the hall of fame! We want the hall of fame!" OK people, are you going to support the race weekends?

The people at Darlington jumped up and down for two years. "Don't take one of our races!" Then, get out there and support the race. If you want to benefit from the business that comes to Darlington twice a year, get off your butt, get out there and support this race. That's what will save the races. I don't know that less than 100 percent attendance was the whole deal in Darlington losing a race, but it certainly would have helped.

But as far as the Atlanta Motor Speedway is concerned, the track officials have created a great facility, and I hope that they don't touch that race track. Don't even paint a stripe across it. We've got great racing there. The speeds are fast, and they've got everything that they could possibly want there. It's a very fan-friendly track, but I just don't understand why both races don't sell out. It ought to be like Bristol. Fans ought to be waiting in line to buy tickets.
How can you disagree? Why should NASCAR choose to locate their shrine in an area that doesn't sell out it's races each year? Especially when those races tend to be some of the most exciting races of the entire season.

Today's Public School Idiocy

This zero-tolerance horror story comes from Desoto, Texas. An eleven year old and two of her classmates were ordered transferred to an alternative school for 30 days for violating the school's weapons policy. The girl's crime: she folded a piece of paper into the shape of a gun. Here's the "weapon" in question:

Image Hosted by

To their credit, the Desoto Independent School District reviewed the charges, and revoked the punishment.
(Thanks to for the heads-up.)

High-Tech Sonic Weapon Warded Off Pirates

The cruise ship that came under attack from pirates off the African coast last weekend used a new sonic weapon to defend itself. The device uses a 150 decibel, highly directed burst of sound to repel attackers. Ain't technology great?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Random Links

A few neat sites, just for the heck of it...

A woman is selling her Denver, Colorado home on eBay for $600,000. She's part of the package, though. The house apparently comes fully furnished, complete with its own housewife.

Professor Solomon, Finder of Lost Objects, will use his 12 principles for finding lost objects to help you find anything you've lost.

For Peanut Butter Lovers

The World's Largest Petition

What you drink gives a woman an immediate idea about what kind of man you really are. Dang it, sweet tea isn't listed.

Big Win For Georgia Southern

A huge win Saturday for my Georgia Southern Eagles over our hated rival Furman, who just happened to be ranked number one in the nation in I-AA. With one game left (against Morehead State), not only are our playoff hopes brightened, but suddenly we're back in the hunt for the Southern Conference title. It'll take some help, but it could happen. The Eagles showed some of that good old option football that's won us so many national championships. Woo hoo!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The WMD Lie (from the Left, that is)

Jack Kelly writes that, despite the wishful thinking of the Left and the carefully crafted reporting of the mainstream media, evidence does link Saddam to WMD programs and terror groups.

Friday, November 04, 2005

No Public School Bias In LA? Well...

A rally was held by against the policies of President Bush in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Adults were urged to attend, and to hold their children out of school so they too might attend. I have no problem with that. I don't believe it's in the best interests of the kids, but parents have the right to make those choices.

You know there's a BUT coming, don't you?

It seems the Los Angeles Unified School District allowed more than 800 high school students to walk out of classes to attend the rally, sending staff and school police with the students. Public school buses were even used to transport some of the students.

That's right. Taxpayer funds were used, and public school staff took part. Think there's any chance they'd make staff and buses available for students to attend a pro-Bush rally? Yeah, right.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Some Budget Cutting

The U.S. Senate today approved cutting about $36 billion in spending over the next five years. Got to say, it's a nice start.

CBS Skews Polling Data

In a CBS News opinion poll released Wednesday night, President Bush's approval rating was given as 35%. As Noel Sheppard of the NewsBusters blog shows, the methodology for the poll is skewed against Republicans. Don't yell at me folks, the math backs it up...

NewsBusters reported Wednesday evening, a new CBS News poll pegged President Bush's job approval rating at 35 percent. Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics posted an analysis of this poll's methodology at his blog last evening (hat tip from a NewsBusters reader named "Jsemby"). What his figures show is that CBS polled 46% more Democrats in its weighted sample than Republicans:

New CBS News poll out tonight. Highlights:

· Bush job approval at all time low of 35%

· Bush favorable rating at 33%

· Right track 27%, wrong track 68%

· Congress job approval 34%

· Congressional Dem favorable rating 41%, Congressional Republican favorable rating 35%

Now for the numbers behind the numbers. Take a look at the composition of the respondents:

Total Respondents (Unweighted) = 936
Republicans = 259 (27.67%)
Democrats = 326 (34.83%)
Independents = 351 (37.5%)

Now look at the weighted sample:

Republicans: 223 (23.80%)
Democrats: 326 (34.79%)
Independents: 388 (41.4%)

The result is a 35% job approval for the president, which is roughly 4-8 points lower than the other polls out right now.

To put these numbers in proper perspective, according to the November 2004 exit polls, the nation's current party affiliation is 37 percent Democrats, 37 percent Republicans, and 26 percent Independents. As such, the polling agency involved in this result fell 36 percent short in sampling Republicans while over-sampling Independents by 59 percent.

This demonstrates what many statisticians have been saying about polls for years: If you are trying to ascertain a certain answer to a question, all you have to do is ask the right people.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Recommended Reading From Military Blog

I've added a couple of new links to the menu over on the right. They are military blog: A Soldier's Blog and Major K. I wish I'd discovered these sooner, as they are great looks at what's really going on, and how are soldiers are getting by, in Iraq.

From Major K's blog, I feel compelled to share this post of his from October 11th. He lets us know how the activities of the Left affect the troops involved in the War on Terror. He pulls no punches.

Against All Enemies...

"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

-Oath of Office (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959)

I swore this oath in 1992, then a young Second Lieutenant. In the past few weeks as I watched and read about the latest round of war protests, I thought about Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese Strategist, who made it very clear how important it is to "know your enemy" in order to be victorious. This war has many enemies and many fronts both at home and abroad. Iraq is only one, but over the past two years, it has become the centerpiece. As I listened to the same old slogans come from the same people like Jane Fonda, George Galloway and recent media darling, Cindy Sheehan, I am reminded of Tokyo Rose. I have had my fill of hearing enemy propaganda from my own homeland. I do consider them an enemy. They might as well be arhabi recruiters.

When a Soldier is asked what he thinks of these protestors by a reporter, he will usually say something to the effect of, "I'm glad they have the freedom to do that in the USA. Most of the places we go, they kill people for things like that." What the Soldiers don't say, but overwhelmingly think is: "I wish they would quit working against us and abusing their freedom." I don't speak for all fighting men anymore than Cindy speaks for all of our parents. But I can tell you that I have spoken to more than she has, and very few of us here like her, and we wish she would honor her son, Casey's noble sacrifice. He truly was a hero.

While many of us have questioned the wisdom of coming here at one time or another before our arrival, I can say that most everyone that I have spoken to and commiserated with has become a believer in the mission since arriving here inspite of the cost. How we execute the mission can often be the subject of much debate and discontent, but seeing the kids run to our HMMWV's, or cleaning up after a VBIED that has killed numerous innocents has a tendency to make one believe in the mission. This is what I think of when I have the urge to gripe - the mission. Through all the tactical errors, diplomatic mistakes, corruption in the interim government, and fallen brothers, the mission remains constant. It is the among the most sacred things we have here.

While mistakes are made, and bad seeds do bad things, I do not see the value in wallowing in public pennance. Bad things happen in wars, on all sides. But the amount of good we are doing and attempting to do here far outweighs them. I think everyone has seen enough pictures from the Abu Ghraib scandal, and yes, the arhabi do use them in their propaganda. How is giving them more going to help anyone except them? I have distant, vague memories of the ACLU being a good organization that stood for justice. What happened? They have become a disgrace.

I received an e-mail from someone who asked how best to support the troops if he was against the war. My response is this. Pray for a swift and victorious conclusion. The die has been cast. The war has been enjoined. The time for protests was before the shooting started. If we stop before we are finished, we will cause the deaths many thousands more and have yet another war to fight, bloodier, and not too far down the road. The first battle of that war, may again be on our home turf. By all means, vote your conscience. Write your Congressman. Discuss your views with your friends. Better yet, donate to a charity like Operation Iraqi Children, but please don't be a propaganda pawn of the arhabi via the nearest media outlet.

This is a monumental undertaking. It is worthwhile. It is frustrating and painful. It is at times irritating and annoying. It is good and right. It will take time. No one said it would be easy.

Fun New Book

Author Peter Schweizer has a very interesting new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do). Basically, it delves into the apparent hypocrisy of many of the far left's leading voices. Some of the juicier tidits...

Filmmaker Michael Moore has declared that he owns no stocks, isn't a shareholder in any companies. But Moore's tax returns show that he actually owns hundreds of thousands of shares of stock, including 2,000 shares of Haliburton.

Ted Kennedy favors racial set-asides on federal contracts. But when it came to his own investment in an entire city block of Washington, DC, he got his political friends to help him waive an affirmative action set-aside.

Nancy Pelosi has made supporting labor unions a cornerstone of her public career. Yet the vineyards and hotels that comprise her $35 million fortune have one thing in common: they won't use union labor.
Of course, this stuff isn't exclusive to the liberal Left. It's just so much more fun when it's them!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush's New Supreme Court Nominee

President Bush has nominated federal appellate Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice O'Conner. A pretty good choice, too. Blogger Keith Burgess-Jackson looks at what kind of battle to expect, and why it's important to fight it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Waffle Returns

Sounding like a man who's planning another run for president, John Kerry delivered a speech recently at Georgetown University. It's mostly the same old song and dance from the '04 loser. He's even showing a little bit of the John Kerry we last saw during the campaign.

On the subject of American troop presence in Iraq:

"When they could have listened to General Shinseki and put in enough troops to maintain order, they chose not to. They were wrong."
Then later:
"...Our military presence in vast and visible numbers has become part of the problem, not the solution. And our generals understand this. General George Casey, our top military commander in Iraq, recently told Congress that our large military presence 'feeds the notion of occupation'".
So which is it? Did we send in too few troops or too many? You can't have it both ways. Oh yeah, it's Kerry. As the Wall Street Journal's Best Of The Web puts it, "Apparently Kerry was for more troops before he was against it."

Monday, October 24, 2005

More PC Idiocy

This story of political correctness run amuck comes from the U.K. Seems British banks are banning piggy banks because they might offend Muslims, who view pigs as unclean animals.

"The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity," the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said. "We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them."

To his credit, one Muslim member of Parliament recognized the nonsense of the ban, saying, "I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

500 Could Be The New 50

A British researcher says it's possible that people alive today could live 1,000 years or longer. He has a simple, seven step procedure. One of the steps... cure cancer. Sounds simple enough.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Not A Bomb, Just An Anti-Alien Device

A mysterious object found in a Davenport home, which prompted a visit by the local bomb squad, turned out not to be a bomb. Instead, it was a device that was supposed to scare off aliens believed to be living under the ground. The device had been left by a previous homeowner, who got it from a friend of a relative.

About the friend: "He's an astrologer who believes aliens live under the ground... He was a little off his rocker."

Do ya' think?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sounds Great, If He Means It

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department aims without exception to expel all those who enter the United States illegally. It's about time the problem of illegal immigration was addressed this way. Of course, Chertoff saying this and the practice actually being done are two totally different things. The article correctly mentions that this idea lies in sharp contrast to the U.S. policy on illegal Cuban immigrants, which permits those who actually reach U.S. soil to stay in the country. Still, it's a great start if it holds true.

Pro Fair Tax Editorial

Here's an educated, positive editorial about the Fair Tax, courtesy of yesterday's Gainesville Sun.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chris Wallace: "Astonishing" Media Bias

Former ABC News anchor Chris Wallace, now host of "FOX News Sunday", discusses in an interview the tremendous amount of anti-President Bush sentiment he's seeing and hearing in the media. He says the questions he hears seem to almost always be slanted against the Bush Administration.