Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another Day, Another

non-sequitor of an editorial in the Star Tribune. The editors have chosen the Lewis Libby indictment as an occasion to print another "Bush lied" editorial. But first, they start out with a hefty dose of hypocrisy:
Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, stands indicted for lying to a grand jury and obstructing investigators probing the outing of an undercover CIA operative. These are serious charges brought by a serious prosecutor. They are not, as some would have it, "technicalities." You can't have justice unless people cooperate with criminal investigations and tell the truth when they have sworn an oath to do so.

Certainly if Libby lied to the grand jury he should be appropriately punished. The Star Tribune's endorsement of the idea that one should be punished for perjury comes rather late, as they were rather cool to the idea when the liar was President Clinton. Then, it was "only about sex" and thus unimportant.

The rest of the editorial is an attempt to cast a policy disagreement as a crime. The usual allegation of taking the country to war in Iraq on shaky intelligence is made, without mentioning that most of the world's intellegence services agreed that Hussein's Iraq was working on or had possession of WMDs. It also ignores the other arguments made in favor or removing Hussein, implying the only reason for the invasion was WMDs.

The editorial accuses the administration of "smearing" Joseph Wilson while ignoring the fact that what the administration said about Wilson was in the main correct , and omitting the fact that Wilson's version of events as reported in the New York Times was not what Wilson reported to the CIA (as noted by the Senate's investigation of the intelligence failures in Iraq).

To the Strib's partisan clowns - where's the thousand crimes?

Friday, October 28, 2005

A little car-blogging

I thought I'd try my hand at a little car blogging today. If it's good enough for Kaus and the Instapundit.... .

A week ago Friday I had the chance to test drive a 2006 Ford Fusion. My car was at the dealership for some routine maintenance, and while I was killing time in the lot a salesman even more bored than I was tried selling me on a small SUV.

I told him his time would be better spent with someone who actually was interested in buying a car, but apparently those people were in short supply that day as well. He was good enough at what he does to find out from me what kind of car I'd be looking at if I actually was buying one, and I found myself agreeing to a test drive.

The Fusion is the replacement for Ford's Taurus. The car I drove was the SEL model with a 3.0L V6 rated at 221 horsepower - about 50 more than my current seven year old Contour and almost as much as the 5.0L '89 Mustang I used to own. The car accelerates decently (at least compared to my '98)and got down the freeway on-ramps with power to spare. The 6-speed automatic took some getting used to - it just seemed busy when accelerating from a stop. The car rides well if a bit firmly, and it went where I pointed it without any fuss. Cornering at speed - I can't say, since I wanted to be careful with a car that wasn't mine (I mean, they know who I am there). The milage looks like it would be a bit less (21/29 vs. 22/30 for the old car) and the thing had more gadgets than I knew what to do with. I guess when you keep cars a long time the natural march of technology just makes the standard load of gadgets more impressive.

Inside, the car was done in leather (I'm one of those people who prefer cloth, what can I say?) and the color scheme was basic black, with not much chrome or anything else to distract. Compared to my Contour, it's very quiet, and the 6 disc CD changer was rather nice. All in all, if I was actually in the market, I might consider one.

Alas, one thing hasn't changed: new car smell + me = asthma attack. Annoying on a daily basis, which probably provides a neat excuse for buying used cars all the time (besides my natural cheapness, of course...).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oil for Food, coming to

a local company near you... . Of the estimated 2200 companies implicated by a UN report on the OFF program for paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, KARE-11 TV reports 2 of them are based here in Minnesota. Yep, Cargill and St. Jude Medical were fingered for kickbacks, Cargill to the tune of $81,000 and St. Jude Medical for about $650,000.

It sure doesn't do much for that squeaky-clean Minnesota image....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Just Because

Here is an image from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), a view of galaxy Centaurus A, taken with UV, Infrared and X-ray cameras.

The photo is linked gallery of images from GALEX.

Deja Vu, Anyone?

I found this article at NASA's website discussing the vehicles that will be taking us back to the moon. Here's an artist's conception of what the lunar vehicles will look like. Deja vu, anybody?

I guess after 35 years I was hoping we could come up with something better.

So George, didn't

you notice the noose (pdf file) on the end of the rope Norm Coleman was handing you?

Georgie isn't a big fish, but it's still good to see a blustering, sycophantic suckweasel to Saddam get the right kind of light shown on him. Let's see if he can crawl back under his rock as fast as he came out.

All in all, it couldn't have happenend to a nicer guy.

(via Harry's Place)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Howard Dean,

the gift that keeps on giving - to the GOP, that is...
"I'm tired of the ayatollahs of the right wing," Dean said. "We're fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're going to fight for freedom in America."

Well, at least he admits that it's freedom that our soldiers are fighting for in Iraq. Now if he could just figure out that Republicans are not ayatollahs.
(via Drudge).

I oppose the Miers nomination

I oppose the Miers nomination. (just in case the Ecosystem didn't pick it up from the title)
Not all that long ago, I wrote a
post chiding John Podhoretz and other conservatives for what I felt was an unwarrented elitism running through their crticism of the Miers nomination. After further consideration, I feel compelled to oppose her nomination.

Why? Two reasons. The first is that she has just not impressed me as having the right abilities to be on the Court. Admittedly, there isn't much info out there to work with, but I do expect that a Justice be able to reason clearly and communicate that reasoning for a decision just as clearly. What little of her writing I've seen doesn't support the idea that she can. I admit to being a bit biased when I found out she is a supporter of race and gender based affimative action. I cannot understand how the Constitution (and the 14th amendment) can be read in a way that allows unequal treatment under the law based on race, but I digress. Obviously, I'm not a lawyer, so I may not be the best judge of her writings.

The second reason is even her supporters do not seem to know how to sell the nomination. She's presented as one thing to one group, another thing to another group. It's all very muddled. If her own supporters can't make a clear case for her being a justice (beyond the "trust the president on this" line), perhaps it's because they can't. If so, the president should find someone else.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This is probably a waste of effort, but I wrote a letter to Senator Norm Coleman today asking him why he voted against the Coburn amendments. I also expressed my disappointment in the GOP's inability to exercise the restraint on spending promised by them when they were campaigning for office. After all, if I wanted DFL-type spending from Congress, I would have voted Democratic.

I can't say I expect anything but a boilerplate response, but when/if I get a response I'll post it on the blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is it possible

for the lefties in Berkeley to set aside their hostility to the military and to George W. Bush for even one day?

Apparently not.

(via Michelle Malkin)

Not even one hour, apparently. I just have one request for the Berkeley Veteran's Day organizing committee: Grow up. If you don't agree with the cause, you can at least have the good grace to honor the good faith and service of those who have answered the call, many of whom have died in our service. Not Bush's service. Not the "neocons" service. Service to the citizens and Constitution of the United States of America.

Please. Can't you drop the damn politics for just one damn hour?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knowing your opponent

I was "leafing" through the archives of Dissent (an intellectual magazine of the Left) from 2002 (which covered the period of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath), and I couldn't help but notice references to conservatives as the "authoritarian right" or hubristic statements like this:

Liberals and radicals are the only people in politics who can insist on closing the gap between America as the apotheosis of democratic strivings and the sordid realities of greed and arrogance that often betray it.

This, out of an otherwise interesting piece about patriotism and the Left, helps illustrate what I think is one of the great flaws of the American and European Left, however they are defined. The flaw is their inability or unwillingness to objectively evaluate their political opposition.

In the case of the American lefties, they seem to be unable to separate US conservatives from the images of brownshirted thugs. In so doing, they close themselves to the truth (or possibility if one prefers) that conservatives have cherished values, principles, and goals, with some of said goals and values being pretty similar to those of the Left - democracy, opportunity, liberty, stuff like that. Instead, we get Marxist class rhetoric and writing that basically writes off the other side as stupid, dishonest money-grubbing imperial oppressors and such.

Perhaps those intellectuals on the Left should read some Buckley, some Hayek, read though some National Reviews and Weekly Standards, rather than get their views on the Right filtered through the Nation, The New Republic or the New York Times. The Right is not primarily Limbaugh and Michael Savage, after all.

One other thing - could someone explain what the phrase "social justice" means? I see it used a lot in publications of the left, but no one ever bothers to explain what it means as if we are somehow born knowing it, even before we pick up little tricks like spoken language. Does "social justice " have a single defined meaning or is it one of those vague catch phrases that are used to bond without actually having a definite meaning?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Gentleman's 'D'

I heard John Podhoretz's segment on the Hugh Hewitt show about the Harriet Miers nomination and I must confess to a certain disappointment. On this subject, he came across as rather a snob. One would think that Mr. Podhoretz could allow that 25 years experience practicing law might actually lead to some knowledge of it but apparently practicing law isn't anywhere near as valuable as writing about it, in his view. From his tone, one could get the idea that he considers himself a better choice for the Court than Miers.

Does he really think that extensive experience practicing law, managing a large law firm, serving as White House counsel are intellectually undemanding exercises? Could it be his patently unfair 'D' grade of Ms. Miers is partially due to his disappointment that a Luttig or Janice Rogers Brown wasn't picked this time? Perhaps he should get his head out of the ivory tower, instead.

Look. This post isn't a defense of the nomination. I'm certainly not a Constitutional scholar, nor am I an expert politician. But. The fact is that the criticisms that I have seen from conservatives seems to be along the lines of "we didn't get the person we wanted, this one must be incompetent". The one valid complaint I've seen is the nomination smacks of cronyism. Given her membership in Bush's inner circle, that one's got some traction. But that fact does not establish incompetence (or competence for that matter). At this point, the only accurate thing that can be said about her qualifactions is that she would not be the only Justice was not a constitutional lawyer, and that we don't really know how competent she would be. Hopefully the hearings will provide some insight into the issue. Until then, why not reserve judgement instead of trashing the lady before she has a chance to make a case?