Saturday, December 30, 2006

You've got to be kidding, right?

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today:

"Responding to Rangel--IX
We were left with so many unpublished letters about the U.S. military that we thought we'd take the opportunity of the holiday-shortened Christmas week to publish some more of them. We begin with one from Robert Eleazer, who tells us about a bit of recent history of which we'd been unaware:

I spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force from 1974 to 1999 (not counting 4 years of ROTC from 1970-74). Although my family could not afford to send me to college without financial aid, and although I did not get a military scholarship, I joined because I wanted to serve my country--and the urgency to do so seemed greater to me at a time when the military was unpopular in some circles.

We need to recall that we would know about the attitudes of some leaders towards the quality of people who serve in the military even if the Vietnam War had never occurred, and if we did not have Kerrys and Rangles to remind us.

Robert Strange McNamara's attitude toward the U.S. military was well illustrated by an experiment he imposed on the armed services in the 1960s. Project 100,000 was a plan to place 100,000 retarded people and other mental cases in the military. Presumably, McNamara thought that these people had mental abilities compatible with military service.

Some of the senior officers I served under had the misfortune of having to deal with McNamara's experiment. A decade later they still shook their heads in dismay.

This sounded too crazy to be true, but sure enough, we found a February op-ed piece by Kelly Greenhill of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government that describes the program:

Four decades ago, during the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara created Project 100,000, a program intended to help the approximately 300,000 men who annually failed the Armed Forces Qualification Test for reasons of aptitude. The idea behind Mr. McNamara's scheme was that the military would annually absorb 100,000 of the country's "subterranean poor"--people who would otherwise be rejected.

Using a variety of "educational and medical techniques," the Pentagon would "salvage" these Category IV recruits first for military careers and later for more productive roles in society. Project 100,000 recruits--known as New Standards Men--would then return to civilian life with new skills and aptitudes that would allow them to "reverse the downward spiral of human decay."

Mr. McNamara further concluded that the best way to demonstrate that the induction of New Standards Men would prove beneficial was to keep their status hidden from their commanders. In other words, Project 100,000 was a blind experiment run on the military amid the escalation of hostilities in Southeast Asia.

Some 150,000 NSM were inducted by 1968. The experiment proved not just foolish but deadly:

A Project 100,000 recruit who entered the Marine Corps in 1968 was two and a half times more likely to die in combat than his higher-aptitude compatriots. After all, they tended to be the ones in the line of fire.

But Project 100,000 recruits fared poorly outside combat as well. . . . Research conducted in the late 1980's revealed that across the services Project 100,000 recruits were reassigned at rates up to 11 times greater than their peers. Likewise, 9 percent to 22 percent of these men required remedial training, as compared to only one to three percent of their higher-category counterparts in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

So the false Rangel-Kerry description of the current volunteer military as a provider of dead-end jobs to losers was, at least in part, an accurate description of the draft-era military--and by design. It's particularly perverse that Rangel calls for instituting the draft (albeit he votes against it) as a way of "solving" this problem, which in fact has not existed for 35 years."

Turnabout

Exclusive: Videographer of Saddam Execution - Newsweek: World News - MSNBC.com: "Ali Al Massedy was 3 feet away from Saddam Hussein when he died. The 38 year old, normally Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's official videographer, was the man responsible for filming the late dictator's execution at dawn on Saturday. 'I saw fear, he was afraid,' Ali told NEWSWEEK minutes after returning from the execution."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dennis Prager and Howard Zinn

The Dennis Prager Show:

"DP: And take, for example, Korea.

HZ: Yes.

DP: I believe that we fought in Korea in order to enable at least half of that benighted peninsula to live in relative freedom and prosperity, and the half that we did not liberate is living in the nightmare—almost Nazi-like condition—of the North Korean government.

HZ: Yeah, well....

DP: Why don’t you see that as a great good that Americans did?

HZ: Well, I think that it’s....your description of the North Korean government is accurate. It’s sort of a monstrous government. But when we went to war in Korea the result of that war was the deaths of several million people. And I question, you know, whether the deaths of those several million people—Koreans; of course maybe 55,000 Americans—was worth the result. Because the immediate result was to leave the dictatorship in place in North Korea and to leave a dictatorship in place in South Korea. Remember, at that time, South Korea was not a democracy. South Korea was a dictatorship just as North Korea was. And we had gone through three years of war with all these people dying, and at the end of it, we were back where we started. Now, there are brutal regimes around the world, like the North Korean regime. But what I’m saying is I don’t think the answer to these brutal regimes is wars which kill large numbers of people. I think we have to find ways of undermining brutal regimes over a period of time, letting people themselves build up their own resistance. This is what’s happened in the Soviet Union. We didn’t destroy Stalinism by going to war....

DP: Well, alright. Let’s stick....forgive me....Professor, let me just stick to Korea for a moment.

HZ: Sure.

DP: Do you....this is why I mean....I just want to understand where we differ. Do you believe if America had never intervened, do we both agree that Kim Il-sung—the psychopathic dictator of North Korea—would have ruled over the entire Korean peninsula?

HZ: Um....probably. I think that’s probably true.

DP: Okay. Do you believe that that would be a net moral or immoral result for the Korean people and the world?

HZ: Well, there were two immoral results. That would have been an immoral result, but the result of the war itself was also immoral—and I’m talking about the killing of several million people. And what I’m suggesting is that the answer to tyranny—the tyranny of North Korea, whether it existed just there or it moved to South Korea—the answer to tyrannies like that is not war, which in our time always involves the massive killing of innocent people. I mean, that’s what war is. And I think we have to find ways other than war to get rid of dictatorships and tyrannies.

DP: Well, I would love that. But this is where we often consider people on the Left, at best, to be na├»ve. There aren’t peaceful ways to get rid of a Kim Jong-il or a Kim Il-sung."

I agree with Prager.

The Pill

Pill that tricks you into losing weight | the Daily Mail: "An obesity pill which can help women drop two dress sizes in a year has been hailed by scientists after stunning test results.

The drug fools the body's metabolism into staying active, cutting weight by 12 per cent in under a year."

Ohh, thank the Lord, just in time. I'm going to turn 40 in 2008 and I'm enjoying a delicious cherry pie as I blog right now.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Monday, December 25, 2006

Panning the Globe for Election Gold

Hugh Hewitt: "Rarely have we ever had such a clear demonstration of the hard-left nature of a modern MSM paper than in the side-by-side comparison of the Globe's Kerry/Romney coverage.

What the paper's staff doesn't seem to understand is the incredible lift they are giving the Romney campaign. There is no surer signal to the GOP base of a candidate's conservative principles, competence and electability than an early and sustained attempt to damage him by the MSM. One of the reasons that Senator McCain is viewed with such distrust by the Republican base is the fawning coverage he receives from the Beltway-Manahattan media elites. One of the reasons Rudy Giuliani has credibility with base despite his views on abortions rights etc is that the MSM clearly fears him. Negative MSM coverage of Republican candidates is like a divining stick pointing towards those Republicans the Democratic Party fears the most."

Former Athiest, for God

Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels: Is Belief in God Bad for the World?: "We don’t do these things because we’re morally superior people. We believe Jesus is right: only God is good. We do them because we’re forgiven people who want to love and serve others as Christ has loved and served us. We do them because we’re grateful to God. And we do them because we want to be authentic Christians, imperfect but forgiven people who roll up our sleeves and love the world God loves.

Maybe if some of today’s angry atheists spent one month in the worship services and service activities of the average Christian church around the corner, they might not change their minds about God, but at least they’d see that faith in God isn’t a bad thing."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sex for Kids at Christmas

I went to see Happy Feet with my kids today. It had plenty of sexual lyrics, gestures and positions but no skin, at least not human skin. Plenty of penguin skin though. Naked penguins everywhere, looking for action. To be fair, this was lost on my kids because their young minds have not yet apprehended the symbolism of the birds and the bees. As a film, it was visually spectacular, musically inventive but morally confused. Typical of much of modern children's fables it is an amalgam of worldviews. Much like Dinosaur this movie is mostly a materialist tale of nature's evolutionary politics with a dash of humanism to make it gibe with Western politics. So it shouldn't be surprising to see sexuality for the young in a film such as this. Its natural isn't it. Yes, and so is flatulence. When humans are cut off from the image of God, limits, taboos, boundaries or what is otherwise known as "sin" is no longer an issue. Just do what comes naturally. Real animals care nothing for the humanism that humanizes these cute animal "kids" films. They are consistent materialists. Real humans blanch at the impolitic cruelty and unbridled sexuality of the natural order, so much so that some question the existence of God. Ironically it is the Christmas story, God with us, word become flesh, which elevates from materialism, and underwrites humanism. If God has not made us, then of course we should act like animals.

Merry Christmas. God save us, every one.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Choosing to live in Reality

I'm on the train into Boston right now. The new version of Word (2007) has removed some of the mental barriers of tedium that keep me from blogging.

The train has become my time. I've got more to do than I have time for and I realized recently that I was crowding out personal health and development in favor of chipping away at my to do list. I decided that the train to and from Boston each day would by my 30 minute mental vacation from my usual grind.

This has been very good for me. I realized recently that perhaps more than any other thing, I enjoy learning. The train is my time to learn. Usually that means reading. I'm currently reading Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work by Eugene Peterson. But I forgot my book at the office the other day so this morning I'm blogging.

I need to change the blurb on my blog because the reality is that I don't blog about life and God and all that other stuff. I used to do movie reviews but since moving to Boston my schedule has been so crammed that I can't justify the time to do those any more. And since it's rude to take a laptop into the theatre…

In reality I link to news stories that I find interesting or significant. Usually the stories are political, moral or cultural. Since the war in Iraq is the central moral, cultural and political issue of the day, I spend most of my blog time on Iraq and its implications.

I may put on my headphones and "read" my other book. I'm listening to the audio version of Mayflower. It's really good, especially now that I live in New England.

OK, gotta go to work.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winter in New England?

BREITBART.COM - Blizzard Warning in Colo., N.M. Digs Out: "Heavy snow blew across Colorado on Wednesday, canceling hundreds of airline flights and shutting down a major highway, as a major storm plowed onto the Plains after pummeling New Mexico.

The National Weather Service posted blizzard warnings for most of eastern Colorado and adjoining sections of Nebraska and Kansas."
I thought I would get a white Christmas by moving to Boston! Not a flake of snow is due any time soon. I should have stayed in CO where the winter is harsh and bleak.

Christmas Rhapsody Mix

Christmas: "1. Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi
2. Carol Of The Bells - Mannheim Steamroller
3. O Little Town Of Bethlehem - Sarah McLachlan
4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
5. The First Noel - Bing Crosby
6. Skating - Vince Guaraldi
7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay
8. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Glad
9. Stille Nacht - Mannheim Steamroller
10. The Christmas Song - Vince Guaraldi
11. Gabriel's Message - Sting
12. The Coventry Carol - Alison Moyet
13. Some Children See Him - Andy Williams
14. Christmas Is Coming - Vince Guaraldi
15. I Wonder As I Wander - Julie Andrews
16. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) - Mel Torme
17. Joy - George Winston
18. (It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus (with Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste) - Harry Connick, Jr.
19. Christmas Island (Single Version) - The Andrews Sisters
20. Christmastime Is Here (Alternate Vocal Take 5) - Vince Guaraldi
21. Welcome Christmas - Dr. Seuss
22. Little Town - Amy Grant
23. Christmas Day - Dido
24. O Tannenbaum - Wiener Sangerknaben
25. J.S. Bach: 10. Choral: 'Jesus bleibet meine Freude' [Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, Cantata BWV 147] - English Baroque Soloists
26. O Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi
27. Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby
28. Christmastime Is Here (Vnce Gauraldi Trio"

And so forth.

Hearts, Minds and Schools

Hearts, Minds and Schools - washingtonpost.com: "But as I encountered daily the intractability of Latin America's problems, it became clear to me that poverty and injustice were rooted in the region's values. I was learning what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan would articulate years later, after the Russian economy collapsed in the late 1990s. 'I used to think that capitalism was human nature,' he reflected. 'But it isn't at all. It's culture.' The same is true of democracy."
TAKE ON THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP

Appeasement is not the answer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"will hold their manhood cheap"

OpinionJournal - Best
of the Web Today
: "Here are links to the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh installments."

The links above contain the passionate response of members of our military to Senator John Kerry and Representative Charles Rangel who made comments disparaging the intelligence of those who serve.

Read them. Read them all. Read them and measure your soul in their span.

That's what I call cheating...

BREITBART.COM - Runner Fails Gender Test, Loses Medal: "An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games failed a gender test and was stripped of the medal.

Shanti Sounderajan, 25, took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after placing second."

Monday, December 11, 2006

New Office 2007

I just downloaded the trial version of the new MS Office 2007. It's pretty cool. The trial is free and Word now comes with this auto publish blog feature so that you have all the word processing power of Word and seamless blog publishing right from the new document menu. Maybe I'll start blogging more.


 

Don't hold your breath.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Greatest Action Story Ever Told

A little something to remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Hot Air?

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: "Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the outgoing Chairman of Environment & Public Works Committee, is pleased to announce the public release of the Senate Committee published booklet entitled “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge To Journalists who Cover Global Warming.”"


It will be interesting to see how well this holds up.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Peanuts for Israel

AccessNorthGA.com: "A longtime aide to Jimmy Carter has resigned from the Carter Center think tank, calling the former president's new book on Israel and the Arabs one-sided and filled with errors.

Kenneth Stein, the Carter Center's first executive director and founder of its Middle East program, sent a letter that bluntly criticized the book to Carter and others.

Stein wrote that the book, 'Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,' was replete with factual errors, material copied from other sources and 'simply invented segments,' according to an excerpt of the letter published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ivy League to fig leaf...

New York Daily News - News & Views - Wild sex 101: "New York's Smartest still dream of winning a Nobel Prize. And bookworms still pull all-nighters in the Butler Library. But the 2 million-volume monument to the mind, which stays open 24 hours a day, doubles as a temple of earthier desires.

'Having sex in the stacks of Butler Library is one of the ultimate Columbia experiences,' said Miriam Datskovsky, the sex columnist for The Spectator, the student newspaper.

'There's very little dating. It's predominately a hookup scene,' said the 21-year-old, a senior from an Orthodox Jewish background who writes the 'Sexplorations' column.

'Everything is so much easier and so much quicker - you go to dinner and then have sex,' she added.

Consider the party scene. But it's no reason to get dressed up. In fact, there's no reason to get dressed at all: The merrymakers of Morningside Heights host naked parties, lingerie-only parties - and the more bourgeois 'clothing-optional parties with naked rooms.'

And taxpayers indirectly foot a chunk of the tab because bond offerings and loans from the state Dormitory Authority and federal Department of Education partially fund the renovation of dorms where naked frolickers muster."


Sigh.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another Bushism?

Power Line: Spelling Optional: "At first glance, you might think this is a Photoshop job, but if you follow the link, you'll see it is straight from AFP. So I guess you can be an absolute moral authority without being an absolute spelling authority."

Speaking Truth to Power

OpinionJournal -
Best of the Web Today:

"Responding to Rangel
'The National Commander of The American Legion called on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to apologize for suggesting that American troops would not choose to fight in Iraq if they had other employment options,' says a press release from the legion:
'Our military is the most skilled, best-trained all-volunteer force on the planet,'
said National Commander Paul A. Morin. 'Like that recently espoused by Sen. John
Kerry, Congressman Rangel's view of our troops couldn't be further from the
truth and is possibly skewed by his political opposition to the war in Iraq.' . . .
'These brave men and women lay it on the line every day for each and
every one of us, for which I am very grateful,' Morin said. 'Their selfless
commitment for the betterment of our world from radical extremists is beyond
commendable. It's time for members of Congress to stop insulting our troops. . . .'

Some of our readers, responding to our item yesterday, took Rangel's disparagement personally. Here is Brian Bartlett:


I have a message for Mr. Rangel; I will not use the term Honorable
with him. At age 17, I had already had seven years of college and university
education for which I had received 3 1/2 years' credit due to the vagaries
of our educational system and I was teaching at the university for those
3 1/2 years as well as working as a professional consultant starting at $40
per hour, a rather princely sum in 1974.
Following family tradition--my mother, father, grandfathers and beyond had all served--I entered the United States Navy nine days after my 17th birthday. There followed an education second to none in various fields of engineering including nuclear. The training was intense, essentially cramming years of engineering into six months, and not very many were left at the end of the school even in my section, the best and brightest. The civilian world has no equivalent; graduate school is a joke by
comparison, and I should know, having been through both.
Despite my disabilities that resulted in my discharge after over 13 years of service, I am subject to recall to this day, and should they call, I will answer willingly.
Unlike, apparently, Mr. Rangel, I know what is happening on the ground over
there, as I have kin there to this day. I have been to the Middle East several
times, and my sister served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq for the First Gulf War. In
my family we serve, peace or war, because that is what we are and what we do.
It's not for money, it's not for the educational benefits after the service,
which in my case were laughable. He can go peddle his contempt elsewhere.

Patti Sayer adds:
I am the mother of a fine young man, an American soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve, who risked his life in Iraq for 14 of the longest months of his and my life . By the way, he just re-enlisted for another eight years. I also happen to be the Air Force brat daughter of a Vietnam vet. I grew up in Europe while my father defended that ungrateful continent from attack by the Soviet Union.
My father's brother served on the USS Louisville in World War II, and his turret was struck by a kamikaze during the Battle of Surigao Strait. He was grievously wounded. Another uncle spent a miserable year of service in Korea in 1951. I guess you could say that my family has sacrificed a lot for this nation. So when I hear Rep. Rangel imply, in essence, that my son, father and uncles served only because they had no other economic choices or were too stupid to know what they were doing, I get angry.
As for the issue of the Iraq war, how dare Mr. Rangel denigrate my son and his fellow soldiers as nothing but a bunch of uneducated, patsy, losers, being manipulated by an evil George Bush? He makes their sacrifice appear to be that born of ignorance and poor upbringing, and I am deeply resentful of his attitude. My son is not stupid, and there are plenty of economic opportunities where we live. It is
apparent that Mr. Rangel perceives himself as smarter than my poor dumb son, who voluntarily joined the military and who is honored to serve our nation in spite
of Mr. Rangel's contempt.

And here is Ben Kohlmann:

I think the comments attributed to Rep. Rangel reveal not only the mindset of liberal policy makers in relation to the military, but also their view of what I like to call "duty to the self." Those that achieve the greatest academic achievement usually tend to be the most self-centered, imagining their indispensability to the world as a
whole. Why should someone give up four years (or more!) of comfort and high
earning potential to be subjected to months away from family, cramped living
conditions, and the legally binding orders of others? In our modern, liberated,
self-centered mind, such a thought is inconceivable.
Much of this is fostered in the academic environment they are indoctrinated into. This view, in and of itself, is at odds with the underlying selflessness that must be present for an effective member of the armed forces. So I don't so much take it as
insulting as revealing a gross negligence in comprehending the true nature of
sacrifice.
I am a young naval officer, and for the record, I graduated with
both Latin and departmental honors from a top 10 university. I was named "Greek
Man of the Year" and held numerous leadership positions throughout campus. One
of my good friends, who happens to be a Marine just back from Iraq, won the
freshman writing award at the same institution, and also graduated with honors.
My peers in our squadron's ready room have masters degrees from MIT and Ivies.
My best friend earned a graduate degree from Stanford before his current service
in Afghanistan. My roommate's wife, a Marine signals-intelligence officer,
recently finished up work at Cambridge in chemistry stemming from a Gates
scholarship.
We are all under 26, and had we so chosen, certainly could have
had the "option of having a decent career" apart from the military. I cite these
things not to egotistically promote our individual accomplishments, but only to
show that I personally know the representative is wrong.
He scoffed at our true willingness to fight. Ironically, as an aside, since the beginning of the Iraq war, my only desire has been to get over there and fight, but to no avail,
as my current military obligations have me training elsewhere. Anyway, we fight
because we recognize that the best years of our lives are better spent serving
something bigger than ourselves than serving selfish ends. We fight knowing that
for all the hardship and tears shed over being away from loved ones, the defense
of our Republic, and even the giving of our lives, is far more worthy than going
through life focused on wealth and pleasure.
It is undoubtedly true that to the last, we all would like nothing better than to settle down, have a family, and raise them in peace, being there for every birthday and anniversary. We, too, would like to pursue jobs that pay tens of thousands more per year than we currently receive. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at my friends in law school and other prestigious professions in envy at the "opportunities" they have while I "endure" months of boredom.
But it is also true that there are men and ideologies in the world that would like nothing better than to rip those things away from many in our population who enjoy such blessings. We will not stand idly by and allow that to happen. Our educational and academic accomplishments make us more duty bound to serve the country that enabled us, better than any other, to realize our full potential. These past few years of service have encompassed the greatest struggles and most trying times of my
entire life, but ultimately, that is the cost of defending an ideology of
freedom. Indeed, it is that cost itself that brings true value to freedom.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles someone with a similar attitude:


If Dr. Martin Holland had his way, he'd be in Iraq right now. In
Fallujah or Ramadi or Baghdad. Up to his elbows in blood and brain matter,
operating on Marines and soldiers with severe head injuries.
As it happens, it's unlikely the doctor will find himself hovering over a battlefield operating table. But he has a strong desire to serve -- to do something for the troops
suffering severe combat injuries. Instead of teaching residents and interns how
to stop intracranial bleeding in San Francisco, Holland is wearing Navy whites
and operating on sailors and Marines in San Diego.
Holland is not an 18-year-old who joins the Marines fresh out of high school. He's 44, and he quit a prestigious job as director of neurotrauma at UC San Francisco. But there are similarities: Both put aside personal lives to enlist in the military.
They also serve who stand and operate.
"When I was a kid, I loved stories about knights in shining armor," he said. "There was something very appealing about the ideals of honor, courage and all that kind of stuff.
"The only thing I saw in the modern world that was even close to that code of chivalry was, one, the military, and two, was medicine with the Hippocratic oath."

It's noteworthy that few if any of Rangel's fellow Democrats have stepped forward to defend his bigoted statements. Further, when John Kerry* said something similar last month, he didn't even have the courage to stand by it and instead claimed to have been talking about something else entirely.
On the other hand, we haven't noticed many Democratic politicians or liberal
commentators repudiating what Rangel said--in sharp contrast to the way
Republicans and conservatives responded to Trent Lott's infamous comments about
Strom Thurmond four years ago. "

Interesting Stuff