July 31, 2006

TIME.com: Why the Middle East Crisis Isn't Really About Terrorism -- Aug. 7, 2006 -- Page 6

TIME.com: Why the Middle East Crisis Isn't Really About Terrorism -- Aug. 7, 2006 -- Page 6

This author slices her salami far too thin and misses the point of Islamic jihad by RATs (Radical Arab Terrorists), whatever their immediate goals. She basically says it's not in America's interest to classify Hezbollah as 'global terrorists' of the Al Qaida ilk. Instead we should classify/treat them differently because they do not directly threaten America's homeland. That's nonsense.

The facts show they are brutal bastards who have killed hundreds of Americans, including the Marines in Beirut, and would do so again if they had the chance.

That both Hezbollah and Hamas have the goal to eradicate Israel, a bastion of Democracy in the Middle East and a good friend of America, is reason enough for them to be on America's hit list. They deserve the same fate as Al Qaida.

July 30, 2006

The American Thinker - Using Innocents as Tools of War

The American Thinker - Using Innocents as Tools of War

Lewis in this piece makes it exquisitely clear that what Hezbollah and other terrorists are doing is murder. It drives me nuts when the liberal media, particularly the New York Times ignores the reality of what Hezbollah is doing in Lebanon. The 'innocents' may or may not be willingly complicit in Hezbollah's tactics.

Israel has little choice but to do what's necessary to kill Hezbollah fighters even if they mingle among innocents. We cannot be hamstrung by a double standard of morality when fighting the RATs. War is hell and innocents will be killed. Western moral outrage is best directed at the RATs.

"The UN’s difficulty in even defining terrorism is symptomatic. It is a lie that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” In the Western tradition, freedom fighters did not target innocents. Terrorism is nothing but murder – the killing of innocents for political gain. The fact that the United Nations has been unable to understand that elementary point for twenty years is a measure of its moral corruption.

Today, Hezbollah warriors have not changed from those of Mohammed’s time. If anything they are more willing to sacrifice innocents, and the art of media manipulation has been perfected. The Western moral distinctions are treated with contempt."

...There is a solution: It is for the media and the United Nations to rediscover the elementary moral distinctions of the original Geneva Conventions. Killing innocents is murder. Drawing enemy fire on children is evil. It’s not hard."

Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock - New York Times

Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock - New York Times

This sort of questioning within a congregation and the evangelical community is healthy and necessary. I have always been bothered by the symbiotic relationship between certain Christians and the state. That's not to say Christians should not be involved in politics. Our voices and belief should always be available in the public square without fear.

However, I am concerned that this legitimate evaluation of who and what the Church is by Christians will be exploited by those godless people in our society who reject all aspects of Christian faith.

July 29, 2006

Media Matters - CNN or CBN? Phillips asks apocalypse authors: "[A]re we living in the last days?"

Media Matters - CNN or CBN? Phillips asks apocalypse authors: "[A]re we living in the last days?"

We have the Scriptures and the prophecy contained therein. Events in the Middle East always trigger thoughts about "are we there now?" We should recognize that the epic battles that have been fought in or around what is now Israel, and particularly Jerusalem, the seat of God's involvement with mankind, have occurred several times since Christ lived on the earth.

We have had wars galore in the Middle East and each time people assume we are in the 'End Times.'

Hey, the facts are we don't know the day or the hour. We must always be ready for the Rapture and the return of Christ.

Here is the reality in the Scriptures:

"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be ... Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh ... (Mat. 24:36-51)"

Arabs Disavow Hezbollah - article by Daniel Pipes

Arabs Disavow Hizbullah - article by Daniel Pipes

Pipes captures some intriguing Arab reactions to Israel's fight with the RATs (Radical Arab Terrorists). The Sunnis are afradi of the Shiites. Maybe they'll fight each other again as they did in the 80s (Iran & Iraq).

The American Thinker - The Real Battle Isn't With Hezbollah

The American Thinker -The Real Battle isn't with Hezbollah

Whatever the strategy with Iran and the nutso mullahs running the place, Israel must destroy Hezbollah's and Hamas' capacity to fight. And the rest of the civilized world must find a way to interdict supply lines to prevent missiles and other weapons from reaching the RATs (Radical Arabic Terrorists) in the future.

The Wi-Fi in Your Handset - New York Times

The Wi-Fi in Your Handset - New York Times

And E911 service would work how? No mention of it in this article. GPS is the solution, I presume.

On the Eve of Madness - New York Times

On the Eve of Madness - New York Times

Thomas is frustrated as well he should be with the craziness coming from Islam in the Middle East. He casts blame everywhere, but he is absolutely right when he says:

"There will be no new Middle East Â? not as long as the New Middle Easterners, like Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, get gunned down; not as long as Old Middle Easterners, like Nasrallah, use all their wits and resources to start a new Arab-Israeli war rather than build a new Arab university; and not as long as Arab media and intellectuals refuse to speak out clearly against those who encourage their youth to embrace martyrdom with religious zeal rather than meld modernity with Arab culture."

He could have added: The case for modernity is hopeless until and unless the radical Arabic terrorists (RATs for short...hey, I like that acronym!) are eradicated. Neutralization is insufficient. Peace is impossible while the Sunni and Shiite RATs continue their jihad against Jews and Westerners.

Never forget 9/11 and the other acts of indiscriminate terror perpetrated by the RATs against Western civilization.

Bush and Blair Push Plan to End Mideast Fighting - New York Times

Bush and Blair Push Plan to End Mideast Fighting - New York Times

The words seem right, but the reality is this: Who will disarm Hezbollah and drive them back from the border with Israel? The West won't negotiate with them because you cannot negotiate with stateless terrorists because to do so would give them legitimacy.

The only channel to convince Hezbollah to stop fighting for the moment is through Syria/Iran. The Europeans probably will talk to them.

To create an international force and insert it into southern Lebanon will take several weeks, considering the logistics support and command and control structure required. If such a force is inserted, their rules of engagement must include fighting Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Israel must do all in its power to eradicate as many of them as possible.

July 27, 2006

Beheading Nations: The Islamization of Europe’s Cities | The Brussels Journal

Beheading Nations: The Islamization of Europe’s Cities | The Brussels Journal

Scary stuff!

Landis Fails Drug Test After Triumph in Tour de France - New York Times

Landis Fails Drug Test After Triumph in Tour de France - New York Times

In the long run will it really matter if professional athletes dope themselves to win? Athletics long ago lost its 'best man/woman/team win ethos.' There is far too much money at stake in sports for any success in keeping athletes clean from performance enhancing drugs.

It's been going on for years and IMHO attempts to stop it are futile.

Israel Decides Not to Expand Offensive - New York Times

Israel Decides Not to Expand Offensive - New York Times:

The headline above is surely wong, if not deliberately misleading, given this quote from a different Times article:

"Before the meeting, Israeli officials said they regarded the failure of an international conference to reach agreement on a cease-fire plan as clearing the way for further assaults on Hezbollah.

“We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world,’’ Justice Minister Haim Ramon told Israeli radio, “to continue this operation, this war, until Hezbollah won’t be located in Lebanon and until it is disarmed.’’

With the Rome conference on what to do in the Middle East reaching no conclusions and NOT calling for a cease fire, consider that a success for Condi Rice.

Australia understands that Israel will soon establish a free-fire zone in southern Lebanon, as soon as the IDF finishes removing Hezbollah fighters and sympathizers from a strip along the border.

Australian PM John Howard has it right. Any nation that thinks that an international force should be 'peace-keeping' is misguided. Any military presence must have the will and resources to fight to keep Hezbollah out of that area. The fact that U.N. forces were accidentally killed in the fighting is not the real reason for Australia's withdrawal. I think they understand what's going to happen there...and soon.

"In the first apparent ramification of the killing of four U.N. observers by an Israeli airstrike earlier this week, Australia decided to withdraw 12 unarmed logistics specialists who had been sent to southern Lebanon to help with evacuation efforts.

It also said it would not support a new international force in southern Lebanon unless it had the strength and will to disarm Hezbollah, Prime Minister John Howard said Thursday."

Microsoft to Offer Software for Health Care Industry - New York Times

Microsoft to Offer Software for Health Care Industry - New York Times:

This is a BIG move by Microsoft and the system they have purchased seems to be the right way to go rather than try to replace the 'silos' of information that exist within the health care industry.

"Dr. Craig F. Feied, a principal designer of the software, describes Azyxxi as mainly a “data exploration engine” that typically works with existing clinical systems rather than replacing them."

"Analysts and health care experts who have seen the software work in the Washington hospitals say it is impressive technology. Many hospitals and clinics, they say, have various kinds of patient information in electronic form, but the different computer systems and software programs cannot share the data. That is the principal problem the Azyxxi system addresses, analysts say."

"At Washington Hospital Center, the system has done its job, Dr. Feied said. In 1995, before the system was introduced, the emergency ward handled 37,000 patients a year, waits stretched up to nine hours, and there seemed to be an urgent need for more doctors and rooms, he recalled. Today, the emergency department handles nearly 80,000 patients a year and 70 percent of them get a diagnosis, are treated or are admitted in three hours or less. The staff has increased only 5 percent, and few rooms were added.

The problem, Dr. Feied said, was mostly that patients were waiting in rooms because doctors could not quickly find the patient records, treatment history and other information to treat them.

“We weren’t doctor-poor or bed-poor,” he said. “We were information-poor.”"

July 26, 2006

The American Thinker - A Few Basics of War

The American Thinker - A Few of the Basics of War

This piece by Greg Richards should be required reading for those who think appeasement or negotiations with terrorists is a reasonable alternative to victory. Here's why.

"Al-Zawahiri (second in command of Al Qaida) said ( 7/27 tape released) Muslims everywhere must rise up to attack "crusaders and Zionists ... and support jihad (holy war) everywhere...until American troops are chased from Afghanistan and Iraq, paralyzed and impotent...having paid the price for aggression against Muslims and support for Israel."

Greg Richards has it right. Policy wonks and those who believe America should 'cocoon' within its borders and call for a negotiated peace would do well to heed his clear admonition:

"The only solution is the destruction of the aggressor. Otherwise the logic of the aggressor is to keep up the aggression. The aggressor doesnÂ?t want peace, he wants victory. The only way to block that is to inflict defeat on him. There is no third way." ( peacekeepers, cease- fire, a third force, negotiations, etc.)

Israel to Occupy Area of Lebanon as Security Zone - New York Times

Israel to Occupy Area of Lebanon as Security Zone - New York Times:

The French cannot be serious about giving Hezbollah a say in any of this. Why would the French legitimize terrorists? If the French feel this way, Israel should pursue the eradication of as many Hezbollah as possible. The French are an odd lot with little credibility on the world stage, IMHO.

"France is perhaps the most likely European country to contribute troops, given its history with Lebanon. France administered Lebanon as a protectorate from 1920 to 1943, and the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a car bombing last year that many believe was linked to Syria, was a close friend of the French president, Jacques Chirac.

But France is now resisting the American idea of moving a force in quickly, insisting on a cease-fire first, followed by a political agreement between Israel and Lebanon that would also be accepted by Hezbollah, said Jean-Baptiste Mattéi, the French Foreign Ministry spokesman."

July 25, 2006

No Troop Commitments for Lebanon - New York Times

No Troop Commitments for Lebanon - New York Times

This initiative for foreign troops to keep Hezbollah at bay on the border of Israel obviously is going nowhere in the short term. This means Israel will be left with the job of eradicating as much of the terrorist group as they can until the world gets its act together. Israel is up to the task and will do a far better job of it than any armed force under U.N. control.

"The challenge of creating a viable international force to secure IsraelÂ?s border with Lebanon was captured by Nahum Barnea, a columnist for the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot. The European foreign ministers were enthusiastic, he said.

Â?They only had one small condition Â? for the force to be made up of soldiers from another country,Â? Mr. Barnea wrote. Â?The Germans recommended France; the French recommended Egypt, and so on. It is doubtful whether there is a single country in the West currently volunteering to lay down its soldiers on HezbollahÂ?s fence.Â?"

July 23, 2006

Conspiracy Theories 101 - New York Times

Conspiracy Theories 101 - New York Times

This piece is correct as it argues that academic freedom does include the study of theories and ideas that may be considered strange. Such personal study of strange, even wrong, ideas by loopy professors, however, does not mean they can be freely introduced into a classroom as part of what students should be expected to learn. Known falsehoods such as 'there was no Holocaust' or 'the U.S. government orchestrated the World Trade Center attack' clearly fall outside the definition of academic freedom and teachers promoting those ideas in a classroom have crossed over the line and should be banned.

I agree with the author that "...no idea belongs in the classroom if the point of introducing it is to recruit your students for the political agenda it may be thought to imply." I also believe that patently false ideas and known lies portrayed as facts have no place in a classroom except to point out their lack of veracity.

The author sums up the piece this way:

"All you have to do is remember that academic freedom is just that: the freedom to do an academic job without external interference. It is not the freedom to do other jobs, jobs you are neither trained for nor paid to perform. While there should be no restrictions on what can be taught [known falsehoods should not be taught as fact] — no list of interdicted ideas or topics — there should be an absolute restriction on appropriating the scene of teaching for partisan political ideals. Teachers who use the classroom to indoctrinate make the enterprise of higher education vulnerable to its critics and shortchange students in the guise of showing them the true way."

I agree.

July 22, 2006

CommsDesign - Muni Wi-Fi faces tech trouble, analyst warns

CommsDesign - Muni Wi-Fi faces tech trouble, analyst warns

An interesting insight concerning municipal Wi-Fi networks. They may not work as anticipated by the general public and probably will not be free. Further, Seybold goes on to say that 3G cellular technology will eventually be very competitive with, or win out over mobile Wi-Max.

I have found Verizon's BroadbandAccess to be quite reliable and much more useful than Wi-Fi while traveling.

July 21, 2006

Order vs. Disorder - New York Times

Order vs. Disorder - New York Times

Thomas makes rational points, and good ones, too. But he fails to dig deep enough to understand and portray that the 'World of Disorder' is driven by the radical Islamic belief that all infidels should die or be subservient to Islam. Rational political thinking will not solve that problem, merely delay the day of reckoning.

More Than a Cease-Fire Needed - New York Times

More Than a Cease-Fire Needed - New York Times

If the Times truly believes that what they recommend from the comfort of their editorial room would work in the violent world of terror, they have been in the room too long and become even more irrelevant with this 'solution.' In a more perfect world, this would all be wonderful advice. In the violent world that confronts us, it is mere pap for its readers.

"The United Nations called on Hezbollah to disarm nearly two years ago. But the United States and Europe never brought real pressure to bear, believing that Hezbollah would shed its weapons as it was drawn deeper into electoral politics. It did not. Hezbollah, which sparked this crisis, believes mayhem is in its long-term interest, especially if it further weakens the Lebanese Army and government.

So it is not surprising that the Israelis are skeptical that another Security Council resolution will make any difference. A robust resolution is nevertheless a prerequisite for robust diplomacy and clear threats of punishment for all who resist. Ideally, the resolution would not only require all sides to stop fighting and authorize the deployment of a peacekeeping force, it would also order Hezbollah to withdraw from IsraelÂ?s borders and begin to disarm Â? and order Syria and Iran to stop supplying their client. The price for refusing should be international sanctions and complete isolation."

The U.N. cannot and will not enforce its resolutionsUnfortunatelyly, history shows they are corrupt, powerless in the face of evil, and can provide only words in the face of serious conflict. Yet the Times thinks they are relevant. So sad.

However, the Washington Post had it right on July 18, 2006 when their editors wrote:

"SOMEWHAT remarkably, the world leaders gathered in St. Petersburg managed to grasp the most important point about the current Middle East crisis: It "results from efforts by extremist forces to destabilize the region and to frustrate the aspirations of the Palestinian, Israeli and Lebanese people for democracy and peace." In other words, the current warfare in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel stems not from Israel's occupation of Arab lands or its holding of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners, but from a blatant bid by Iran and Syria and their allies in Hamas and Hezbollah to stop the creation of a democratic Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and the parallel consolidation of a democracy in Lebanon.

It follows that the only satisfactory outcome to the conflict would be a decisive defeat for those extremist forces. Should Hamas and Hezbollah fail militarily, Arab democrats and those who favor the creation of a peaceful Palestine alongside Israel would see the removal of their largest obstacle, while the pernicious influence of Iran and Syria in the region would be curtailed."

Wake Up to the Radical Islamist Threat

From a speech by Brigitte Brigitte Gabriel, an Arab Christian who lived in Lebanon and an
expert on the Middle East conflict who lectures nationally and internationally on the subject. She is the former news anchor of World News for Middle East television. This is from a speech she gave at the Intelligence Summit in Washington DC, on Feb. 18, 2006.

"...This intentional, indiscriminate and wholesale murder of innocent American citizens is justified and glorified in the name of Islam. America cannot effectively defend itself in this war unless and until the American people understand the nature of the enemy that we face.

Even after 9/11 there are those who say that we must "engage" our terrorist enemies, that we must address their grievances. Their grievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our freedom of speech. Their grievance is our democratic process where the rule of law comes from the voices of many not that of just one prophet. It is the respect we instill in our children towards all religions. It is the equality we grant each other as human beings sharing a planet and striving to make the world a better place for all humanity. Their grievance is the kindness and respect a man shows a woman, the justice we practice as equals under the law, and the mercy we grant our enemy. Their grievance cannot be answered by an apology for who or what we are.

Our mediocre attitude of not having confronted Islamic forces of bigotry and hatred wherever they raised their ugly heads in the last 30 years has empowered and strengthened our enemy to launch a full scale attack on the very freedoms we cherish in their effort to impose their values and way of life on our civilization.

If we don't wake up and challenge our Muslim community to take action against the terrorists within it, if we don't believe in ourselves as Americans and in the standards we should hold every patriotic American to, we are going to pay a price for our delusion. For the sake of our children and our country, we must wake up and take action in the face of a torrent of hateful
invective and terrorist murder..."

July 20, 2006

Marines Aiding Evacuation in Beirut; New Clash in South - New York Times

Marines Aiding Evacuation in Beirut; New Clash in South - New York Times:

"Â?Is this the price we pay for aspiring to build our democratic institutions?Â? he asked in a bitter and emotional speech. Â?Can the international community stand by while such callous retribution by the state of Israel is inflicted on us?Â?"

It is the price you pay for tolerating Hezbollah and cozying up to Syria, rather than resisting radical Islamic terrorists.

Survey of the Blogosphere Finds 12 Million Voices - New York Times

Survey of the Blogosphere Finds 12 Million Voices - New York Times:

A recent Pew study about bloggers and blogging. The results are interesting. I wonder what the data show for those who are not yet adults, another group of heavy Intenet users?

"The report also said that 8 percent of Internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog, and that 39 percent of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs."

July 19, 2006

Not So Smart - New York Times

Not So Smart - New York Times

Thomas may be mostly right about the bad mistakes that Hezbollah/Iran/Syria have made by prompting the present wave of violence. But he fails to realize that Israel will blast as many Hezbollah radicals to Kingdom come before any political intrigue takes hold.

He also miscalculates the Bush administration's resolve and intelligence...but that's because he works for an elitist publication that thinks it's right but is going up on the rocks of public opinion.

The American Thinker

The American Thinker - Disproportionate Response

The bottom line: You cannot negotiate with Islamic terrorists. The wild card in the equation this time is 'Weapons of Mass Destruction.'

However, we are in 'World War III, like it or not. The difference this time is the sizable and growing populations of Islamic people in Western nations.

July 17, 2006

Senator Clinton Speaks Up for Israel at U.N. Rally - New York Times

Senator Clinton Speaks Up for Israel at U.N. Rally - New York Times

Three cheers for Hillary on this issue. She's on the right page. Where are the other Democrats? Why haven't they been speaking to the media about the Israeli fight against terrorists?

July 16, 2006

Atomic Balm? - New York Times

Atomic Balm? - New York Times:

A major article in the Times Sunday Magazine describing the re-emergence of nuclear powerin the U.S. The data below is useful information as the debate continues to unfold. In Vermont, approximately 35% of the base load demand is produced by Vermont Yankee.

Nuclear generated electricity will again grow in the U.S. because there is no other long-term economically viable source for the increasing demand. Conservation will help slow the pace of growth but not eliminate it.

As I have often expressed, wind power for Vermont is 'feel-good' energy contributing little to the real dilemma: 2/3 of Vermont's electrical capacity is generated by nuclear and hydro, both sources that are not guaranteed beyond 2012-2015. We do not have the luxury of the wind power debate. We'd best decide where we will get our baseline power sooner ratehr than later.

"All told, the 103 active nuclear reactors in the United States supply about 20 percent of our electricity. And in some places the contribution is much larger. New York gets 29 percent of its power from nuclear energy, New Jersey 52 percent. Abroad, nuclear energy has its hot spots too;? in France, for instance, 78 percent of the electricity comes from nuclear energy. There are currently 337 working reactors in 30 countries outside the United States, and there may soon be many more, as India and China embark upon ambitious plans to build dozens over the next decade to satisfy their thirst for electricity."

Some further data from the article...

"Less than 3 percent of our electric power is generated from oil. Besides the 20 percent contribution from nuclear power, 50 percent of our electricity comes from burning coal, 18 percent from burning natural gas and (in a heat-free method that is often the cheapest) 6.5 percent by harnessing the energy of water moving through dams. Wind and solar power make up less than one-half of 1 percent of what we use on a typical day."

A Wake-Up Call From Craig McCaw

A Wake-Up Call From Craig McCaw

WiMax mobile is intriguing, but I'm betting that more than three years will elapse before we see it in Vermont. I live in a state which bumbles along saying it wants full state cell coverage while denying cell antenna sites and/or making the permitting cost so onerous that providers cannot profitably serve our tiny, sparsely populated rural state.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Who are Hezbollah?

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Who are Hezbollah?

Hezbollah background from the BBC. Mention is made of the Golan Heights, which we visited in 1986. I said then after seeing the area and continue to maintain that Israel should never give up this strategic area captured in the 1967 War. The land is rocky, barren and unsuited for agriculture for the most part, but its position serves as a militarily valuable buffer to Syria.

As Israel Goes for Withdrawal, Its Enemies Go Berserk - New York Times

As Israel Goes for Withdrawal, Its Enemies Go Berserk - New York Times

David Brooks provides analysis that makes more sense than most commentators. The upshot of this current fighting in Israel, Lebanon and Gaza is a clear demonstration that the radical Islamists will continue to pursue the eradication of Israel.

Those who argue for restraint by Israel should note that Israel has not yet been reported to have invaded southern Lebanon. If this is true, they have shown restraint because that's where the rockets falling on Haifa and other northern Israeli cities originate.

Lieberman Hopes His Fate Isn’t Sealed With a Kiss - New York Times

Lieberman Hopes His Fate Isn’t Sealed With a Kiss - New York Times:

Senator McCain is right. The wild left wing of the Democrats would see Lieberman ousted. The country would be worse off fo it. He is a decent man.

"Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and one of Mr. Lieberman’s closest friends in the Senate, called him “one of the most decent men I have ever known” and simply shook his head when asked about his friend’s situation. “I hesitate to say anything nice about him, for fear that it would be used against him,” Mr. McCain said. “And that’s a terrible commentary on the state of politics and the political climate today.”"

July 15, 2006

U.S., Needing Options, Finds Its Hands Tied - New York Times

U.S., Needing Options, Finds Its Hands Tied - New York Times

Does it occur to others that the timing of this thrust by the terrorists is calculated to coincide with the U.S. mid-term elections? Do the terrorists and their sponsors believe they can influence the elections because they believe the Democrats would be 'more friendly' to their goals? Perhaps they believe that pressure to remove American forces from Iraq would increase thereby giving them a freer hand in the region if we do withdraw.

The presence of 140, 000 American troops in Iraq and Kuwait is something they should be concerned about.

Perhaps they even imagine that the U.S. would abandon Israel if the pain becomes great enough.

Playing Hamas’s Game - New York Times

Playing HamasÂ?s Game - New York Times

The Times editorial is likely correct, but how do Israel's leaders avoid the provocateurs' game? Easier said than done.

If anyone doubts a major conflagration (read that as war) is brewing within the Middle East, they have been on another planet. There is no other short term alternative but to eradicate as many extremists as possible.

Long term, the children produced by the extraordinarily high birth rates in the Muslim world, must be educated differently than the Wahabis would have it. That's also easier said than done.

"This perverse dynamic is again coming into play after Israel'?s wide-ranging forays into Gaza and Lebanon. Most Arabs are not blaming Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking these Israeli raids. They are blaming Israel for carrying them out.

That is not fair. But it is the way things work in the real world, and the provocateurs of Hamas and Hezbollah and their allies in Damascus and Tehran understand how to use it to their long-term advantage. Israel'?s political and military leaders need to understand it too and not let themselves be drawn into the provocateursÂ? game."

July 14, 2006

The American Thinker -On Fanatics, Religion, and Islam

The American Thinker -On Fanatics, Religion, and Islam

Required reading. Somewhere down the road there will be a test! We should be prepared.

The Kidnapping of Democracy - New York Times

The Kidnapping of Democracy - New York Times

Friedman may be right, sadly. The real story is that free elections do not a democracy make. Freedom is much more than elections. Freedom rests on stable and robust institutions like education, charitable organizations, social and fraternal groups and capitalism within the 'rule of law,' opportunity for all to better themselves, etc. A democracy is not based on religious fervor, but on a basic tolerance of all religions or factions, or none. These requisites are absent in the Middle East. Therefore, what's going on there cannot truly be called democracy, certainly not as we understand it. What we have is a power grab cloaked in democracy. Let us not be deceived.

"What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world. This is not a conflict about Palestinian or Lebanese prisoners in Israel. This is a power struggle within Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq over who will call the shots in their newly elected “democratic’’ governments and whether they will be real democracies."

There is such a thing as too much choice - Jul. 12, 2006

There is such a thing as too much choice - Jul. 12, 2006:

This commentary (worth the read...click on the link above) about the upheaval in our culture is a fascinating examination of the changes that are underway in this country and in Western civilization, generally. It's sad to think that 'the good old days' may have been held together by the shallow institutions, icons and cultural symbols he suggests. I would prefer to think, perhaps naively, that our shared values were more deeply rooted in what we believed rather than what was fed to us by the media; the two may be so deeply connected that we cannot separate them.

Nevertheless, Western civilization faces a tremendous threat from the Islamic fundamentalists, in addition to specific acts of terror, if our culture is as shallow and deteriorating as Mr. Gunther suggests. In fact, that is what the Islamists believe and are acting upon that belief...and they are in it for the long term. That is why the radical Islamists must be neutralized or eradicated.

The problem is much bigger than journalism and/or politics, as suggested below. I think our survival is at stake. The Roman Empire is no more. Our fate could be similar.

"He said we may lose some superficial ties to one another as the culture fragments, but that we gain deeper ties to smaller, virtual communities made possible by the Internet as we pursue own passions. I think the explosion of choice has left us poorer in at least two arenas.

The first is journalism. (Yes, as a Fortune writer, I've got a stake in the health of the mainstream media, which bloggers call the MSM.) The network evening newscasts, big-city newspapers and the national news magazines once had the money, access, skills, commitment and power to deliver lots of original reporting and put important issues on the national agenda. Today, they are all diminished.

The second arena where we are worse off is politics. This is related to journalism, as the moderate and responsible (okay, bland) voices of the MSM get drowned out by partisan, opinionated cableheads and bloggers.
Politics in America has become polarized for many reasons, but a big one is the fact that people can now filter the news and opinion they get to avoid exposure to ideas with which they disagree.

Anderson suggests that this could well be a temporary problem, and that if the major parties continue to move to the extremes and the quality of debate continues to deteriorate, the Internet could well enable a new party or parties, to arise."

July 13, 2006

Las Cruces Sun-News - White Sands missile test phenomenal'

Las Cruces Sun-News - White Sands missile test phenomenal'

Some day in the future we will be thankful we have a missile defense system that works.

Many years ago when I was with the Safeguard ABM program in Huntsville, Alabama,we were capable of destroying multiple warheads launched via ballistic missiles using both long and short range interceptors.

Now, 40 years later, the technology is so much more advanced, I'm pleased to see that we are getting even better at it.

July 12, 2006

Recent Arrests in Terror Plots Yield Debate on Pre-emptive Action by Government - New York Times

Recent Arrests in Terror Plots Yield Debate on Pre-emptive Action by Government - New York Times:

Here's the problem with some lawyers. They prefer legal niceties in the face of radical terrorists whose aim is to kill us by any means they can. The government is correct to nip these plots in the bud. The 'skeptical' lawyers such as Mr. Stolar can defend the plotters, pro bono, if they choose.

"But the Miami and New York cases are inspiring a new round of skepticism from some lawyers who are openly questioning whether the government, in its zeal to stop terrorism, is forgetting an element central to any case: the actual intent to commit a crime. 'Talk without any kind of an action means nothing,' said Martin R. Stolar, a New York defense lawyer. 'You start to criminalize people who are not really criminals.' In the two most recent plots, the authorities have simultaneously warned that the suspects were contemplating horrific attacks Â? blowing up the Sears Tower in Chicago and setting off a bomb in a tunnel between New York and New Jersey Â? but then added that as far as they knew, no one was close to actually making such a strike."

The Rule of Law: Limits of Congressional Rights - New York Times

The Rule of Law: Limits of Congressional Rights - New York Times

I agree with this Times editorial. Law enforcement was right to legally search the Congressional offices of a suspected crook. No 'separation of powers' issue was threatened. Pelosi and Hastert were wrong in their earlier bluster.

Would the Times feel the same if the FBI searched their offices in a criminal investigation?

July 11, 2006

Why missile tests worked for Kim Jong Il | csmonitor.com

Why missile tests worked for Kim Jong Il | csmonitor.com

This fool in North Korea will one day step over a line that will require a swift and powerful military response from the U.S., South Korea or both. Let's hope we and they are ready to do it and not pussyfoot around with their military or their nukes. We will need to destroy both...and quickly. Russia and China cannot be counted on to help.

July 10, 2006

IMG_1265 (2)GreatItalianFood

IMG_1265 (2)GreatItalianFood
Originally uploaded by Wooliedales.
Wonderful Italian food from premier cooks who satisfied all the attendees at the Vermont Italian Cultural Association (VICA) Annual Picnic at Sand Bar State Park in Milton, VT. Yum!

July 9, 2006

Young Bocce Player Searching for the Pallino

Gotta Love Kids!

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster. "No, said another, "he's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs", she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant.

Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit - New York Times

Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit - New York Times

The Times has adroitly managed to turn a good news story into yet another broadside against America's strong economy following the tax cuts in 2003. Power Line has a fascinating counter to the story
here, which includes a chart published by The Treasury Secretary that clearly shows the Times distorts the facts.

For stories like these and their zealous campaign to berate the Bush Administration, the Times deserves the bashing it's taking. They probably believe they're right in doing all in their power to elect a Democrat administration and Congress, but blindness to facts and national security have overtaken their common sense.

The Liberal Inquisition - New York Times

The Liberal Inquisition - New York Times:

Senator Joe Lieberman has always seemed to me to be a decent man, sincere, moderate in most of his views, a statesman who I have respected. This attack from the liberal crazies of the Dean mold is a crying shame. These people will eventually implode or be cooked in their own vile juices. It's almost comical to watch Hillary and others try to straddle the chasm created by these mobsters. Their extremism will tear apart the Democratic Party and eventually help the Republicans, as Brooks suggests.

To sample their hyper-ventilation and the attacks on Brooks by pointing at it, visit this piece at Daily Kos.

"What's happening to Lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition. Whether you agree with him or not, he is transparently the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men. But over the past few years he has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain. I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate. "

July 7, 2006

Big Award on Tobacco Is Rejected by Court - New York Times

Big Award on Tobacco Is Rejected by Court - New York Times

Common sense once again staves off the trial lawyers who would like to make billions more from the tobacco industry. Let's hope other courts will have the sense to ward off other frivolous class action suits whose primary reason is to make trial lawyers richer.

July 4, 2006

Independence Day Thoughts

Follows an excerpt from a speech by Calvin Coolidge, the Vermonter, about the meaning and relevance of the key message in the Declaration of Independence as excerpted from a Power Line blog post:

"President Calvin Coolidge rose to the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Indepence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion deserves be read and studied in its entirety. The following paragraph, however, is particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the ubiquitous variants of Stephen Douglas's position that pass themselves off today as the higher wisdom (some of which are prominently on display in certain Supreme Court opinions):

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

Also this excerpt from a speech by Georgia (Democrat) Senator Zell Miller at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

"Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.

And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag."

Don't Turn Us Into Poodles - New York Times

Don't Turn Us Into Poodles - New York Times

An employee defends his employer. Kristof and many other journalists seem to forget that elected and other public officials have as much right to criticize the press as the press is free to report what they consider to be 'in the public interest.' Neither have the right to disclose classified information that may endanger our country or its armed forces.

Update 7/9/06: Jay Rosen has a thoughtful post that explores the various sides of this debate on the 'freedom of the press.' I don't agree with everything he says, but he does see the basis for the arguments on both sides of the fury over the Times publication of the SWIFT story.

Even more to my way of thinking is this post by Hewitt at townhall.org. In effect, the for-profit media, particularly the 'Times Two,' simply does not have the knowledge, background or experience that qualifies them to be trusted in their judgment about releasing classified information.

Tapping the Latent Power in What's Left Around the Barnyard - New York Times

Tapping the Latent Power in What's Left Around the Barnyard - New York Times

This seems to make sense, but what isn't described is whether the farms must purchase fertilizer to substitute for the manure that is digested for methane, rather than spread on the fields.

A Search Engine That's Becoming an Inventor - New York Times

A Search Engine That's Becoming an Inventor - New York Times

A fascinating tale of Google's implementation of advanced technologies by smart people to do computing, networking and applications on a grand scale. Their designs for distributed data storage make frequent backups of the data unnecessary.

They are intent on creating the cheapest, most reliable computing network in the world. They probably already have it. In any event, such a task is necessary if they truly intend to "organize the world's information."

July 3, 2006

Laughing Squid » Kyocera KR1 Mobile EV-DO Router

Laughing Squid » Kyocera KR1 Mobile EV-DO Router

A very cool way to create mobile WiFi hot spots. This router would also have been great for our recent RV cross-country trip...if we had had two laptops. Carol and I always wanted to be online simultaneously when we were camped at an RV park. This router would have enabled that.

Internet Calling Pressures Bells to Lower Rates - New York Times

Internet Calling Pressures Bells to Lower Rates - New York Times:
It seems the days may be numbered for Verizon in Vermont. The big question, though, is finding a buyer for the landline operations in the northern New England states.

"Verizon is concentrating on selling a suite of products to customers in its faster-growing markets and is considering pulling out of markets where it sees little profit potential in upgrading its older network for the new technologies. These markets may include Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, according to people with knowledge of the company's strategy."

July 2, 2006

Soggy Weather Compounds Misery of Beleaguered Dairy Farmers in Vermont - New York Times

Soggy Weather Compounds Misery of Beleaguered Dairy Farmers in Vermont - New York Times

An excellent summary of the dairy farmers' pain in Vermont this year. The photo accompanying the story is also superb.

Painful though it is for so many farmers and other businesses in Vermont's dairy industry, commodity milk production in Vermont is on its way out. Vermont simply cannot compete with other dairy states who have far more efficient farms, primarily because they are larger and the vast tracts of level land make profits more likely in the web of complex, subsidized milk production in the U.S.

When Do We Publish a Secret? - New York Times

When Do We Publish a Secret? - New York Times

The NY & LA Times editors continue to circle their wagons in the face of the withering criticism against their decision to publish their stories about the U.S. government's selective surveillance of international financial transactions.

I wonder why the Wall Street Journal, which also published similar information that day, did not join these two.

After reading their defense of the decision to publish the SWIFT surveillance stories, I continue to believe they were wrong to do so. Perphaps it's because I trust my government more than I trust the media that reports on it. Or perhaps it's because I believe the liberal media, particularly the NY Times ( I know less about the LA Times) is so virulently against the Bush Administration that they may very well cloak in higher motives their intent to denigrate it at every opportunity .

Their dismal track record on fairness fails to persuade me. I think most Americans expect our government to fight the terrorist bastards in every possible way so as to prevent another catastrophe on American soil and to find and neutralize their leaders who are intent on our detruction. By their decisions the media either help or hinder that effort. My observation is they mostly hinder, to their great discredit.

Note this from a Fox News poll on June 29:

"The poll shows there is strong support for the Treasury Department
program tracking financial transactions in search of terrorist funding. Seven of
10 Americans support the program, including majorities of Republicans (83
percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (58 percent).

The Bush administration asked the New York Times not to publish information about the secret program, but the newspaper went ahead because it felt it was in the public interest to do so. By publishing the story, a 60 percent majority thinks
the Times did more to help terrorist groups than the public (27 percent).
More Americans blame government employees for leaking the classified info (51 percent) than the media for reporting it (28 percent).

Furthermore, almost all (87 percent) [emphasis mine] think the employees who leaked should face criminal charges and two-thirds think the news organizations should. Even so, only 43 percent are willing to call what the media did treason, and almost as many think the organizations that published the information were
operating for the public good (37 percent)."

July 1, 2006



An intersting description of Antarctica translated 'stodgily' from Spanish to English. Someday, I hope Carol and I can travel there on a cruise. I t would be fun to visit again in Ushuaia.