Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hot Wing Blues

I'm sick. No, it's not the flu or even a cold. I ate some hot wings last night that simply did not agree with me and spent the whole night doing everything but sleeping. What a way to go into New Year's Eve.

Breaking News

The CIA engages in covert action. More at 11.

Et Tu, Brute?


I don't know. Does it work better than this, Chuck?


This is bitter-sweet. I have many good memories of Rhein-Main Air Base and it's a shame to see it go. But then I have many good memories of Hahn Air Base and that has been gone for years. Still, it is good that we are drawing down our forces in Europe. Let them defend themselves for a change.

Plugging Leaks

Good. Can't wait until they find them and prosecute them

We Can Quit Them

Box office receipts have fallen for the third year in a row and as you can see from this article, Hollywood still wants to blame the fall on DVDs and video games.

They just cannot accept the fact that is it type of movies they are making that are driving average Americans away from the theater. The give us films about gay sheep-hearders (not that there is anything wrong with that, I don't want to see a movie about straight sheep-hearders either), movies that equate murdering terrorists with those who fight them, and badly-made remakes of ape movies, and then complain when we don't go see them. They need to realize that Americans do have choices now and that until they change we will exercise those options.

To paraphrase Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain, "We can quit you."

Son Of Tookie

In all the hubbub surrounding the execution of the Stanley "Tookie" Williams, I missed this story about his son. I guess he didn't write those anti-gang childrens books in time, huh?

It's Not Right

Anyone who reads me regularly knows I am very vocal about illegal immigration. I feel we need to stop the flow of illegals into our country for social, economic, and security reasons. I believe all illegals should be immediately deported, employers who hire them should be held both civilly and criminally responsible, and there should be no amnesty for those already in the country. And I don't care what country they come from or what color they are, what language they speak or what religion they follow. If they are here illegally they need to go to make room for legal immigrants.

All that being said, this law is wrong. While I understand a community wanting to control over-crowding, it's obvious this law is targeted against Hispanics, both legal and illegal, since they are one of the few cultures in our country that still live in large extended family groups. And even if it wasn't, this is just a cowardly and ineffective way to address our immigration problem. All you are doing is moving the problem to another community. If you want to solve it you stop the flow at our border. You find and deport those already in the country.

Of course, laws like this are to be expected. Local communities are becoming increasingly frustrated by the unwillingness of the federal government to stop the flow of illegals throughout the country. Local services are being stretched beyond limits due to this human wave washing farther and farther into the heartland of America. Schools, social services, housing, you name it, all being overwhelmed one community at a time.

So local governments under pressure from residents are enacting all sorts of laws to deal with the problem. Some good and some bad. All because our federal government simply refuses to act.

And because of it families like this, in the country legally, U.S. citizens, are being hurt. That is not right and we need to do something about it.

Neil And Friend

Neil and a buddy wish their readers a Happy New Year. I've never met either one of them but they seem like nice guys.

Clear And Present Danger

The ACLU once again takes the side of terrorists. If there is any one group that stands out as clear and present danger to security of the United States of America and the safety of its citizens it is this organization.

Seat Of High Culture

Despite my earlier "Southern hunting and trailer" joke, I heartily agree that the seat of high culture is not the blue states. It is the solid South.

Reality-Based Shooting

This shooting in New Orleans gives me the opportunity to address something that has bothered me for a very long time. And that is the public's perception of when officers are legally within their rights to use deadly force. To shoot a subject.

So I am going to give a quick lesson. I'm not going to bore you with a long legal explanation of why this shoot was a good one, i.e. legal and justified. If you want one I recommend this excellent site. It provides a detailed analysis of deadly force and the circumstances in which officers are justified in using it.

What I do want to speak to is some of the ideas people have about incidents like this.
1) The officers should have tried to talk him into surrendering.

They tried. As in many incidents of this type, they ordered him to drop the knife and surrender numerous times. He refused and from what I can see, got even more agitated. All law enforcement agencies teach their officers to try to deescalate situations like this. To try to talk the people down so to speak. But it didn't work in this situation.

2) The officers should have used non-lethal methods to subdue him.

Again, they tried. They used pepper-spray on him but that did not work. Unfortunately that is often the case with extremely agitated subjects. They did not "taze" him. Not all agencies use tazers and I don't know if NOPD does, but my guess is they would have tried it if they had them. Unfortunately, there have been a few deaths involving tazers and the predictable lawsuits have made many agencies either stop using them or restrict their use.

3) The officers should have shot him in the leg.

Virtually all law enforcement agencies teach their officers to shoot center mass. Center mass being the area from the waist up to the shoulders. The reason for this is simple -- it is the largest part of the body and the easiest to hit. This is especially important when the officer's adrenaline is at its peak and shooting a gun accurately at a moving target is much more difficult than at the firing range. No agency that I know of teaches its officers to shoot at limbs. And no agency teaches its officers to shoot to wound. In fact, you don't shoot to kill or shoot to wound. You shoot to stop. You shoot to stop the action that caused you to shoot in the first place. Unfortunately that sometimes results in the death of the subject, which is unfortunate, but certainly not the fault of the officer.

Shooting at a small target in such a tense situation is inviting a miss, and contrary to what you see in the movies, bullets tend to travel quite a distance past the target. And sooner or later they are going to hit something and that something could be an innocent bystander. So officers shoot at the biggest target. Make sense? Good.

4) The officers should have shot the knife out of his hand.

See the answer to number three. This is not the Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. No trick shooting is allowed. That is for Bruce Willis movies.

5) The officers should have tried to disarm him.

Are you crazy? Do you know what a knife can do to a body. You want officers to try to physically restrain and disarm a knife-wielding crazy man knowing that one swipe could kill them or result in serious bodily harm? A cut so deep it tears into nerves and muscle and major arteries. Sorry, not gonna do it. Cops are NOT paid to die or incur seriously bodily harm just so the bad guy doesn't get hurt. It isn't in the contract, folks. Yeah, they are paid to take their fair share of bumps and bruises. And the public should expect that of them. It's part of the job and all cops know this. But no cop is required to die or lose the use of a limb just to save the bad guy from harm. I know damn near all officers would give their lives to protect the innocent, but when it comes to them or the bad guy, the bad guy is going down.

6) The officers shot him when he couldn't hurt them. He only had a knife and they had guns.

There is an old saying - never bring a knife to a gun fight. All agencies recognize that a subject with a knife is a potential deadly force situation. While this guy may not have been a threat with the knife at 100 feet, the closer he came to the officers the greater threat he posed. Once the officers developed a reasonable belief that he posed a threat of death or serious bodily harm to themselves or others they were within the law to shoot. He doesn't have to be stabbing the officer for that point to have been reached. Any move towards the officer might be justification and it appears this was the case here.

Not convinced? Try this test. Have a friend stand about 20 feet away from you and suddenly charge you with no warning. You will see that he can close the distance between you in a second or two, touching you almost before you can react in any way. Now imagine your friend had a knife and was attacking you. Could you have stopped him before you were stabbed? Even with your gun out and pointed at them? Could you have fired quickly and accurately, while tensing for the onslaught? And remember the bad guys normally don't just fall down and die immediately. You might get off one or even two shots and he still might reach you, swinging that knife down into your chest or across your face.

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, folks.
Anyway, I think that covers my major points. The problem here as I see it it that the public has gained a warped perception of these types of situations from TV and movies. They think officers can shoot knives out of hands at 100 yards and that people can be stabbed, shot, thrown through plate-glass windows, run over by cars, and still go dancing with their wives or husbands later that night. It just doesn't work that way in real life.

Leaking Thoughts

If, in the not so distant future, you happen to find yourself dead, severely injured, inhaling radioactive fallout, or simply breaking your own neck from the intensity of convulsions from al-Qaeda’s release of nerve toxin, remember, you may be going through intense pain, and being killed before your time – but you’re dying a well-informed citizen! Imagine how much worse off you would be if that leaker and that reporter had never met, and these government programs had continued in secrecy!

Read it all here.

Brunette Of The Week

Carrie-Anne Moss.

Just When I Thought I Was Out

They pull me back in by publishing national secrets that can do nothing but damage the security of our great nation and put our people at risk.
The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program. At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat. The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.
Damn the government to hell for monitoring radiation levels in major cities in the hopes they would find a dirty bomb before it was used by terrorists. Damn them to hell for monitoring those levels near Muslim areas of towns, despite the fact that 99.9% of those terrorists are Muslim. Damn them a third time for not getting a search warrant even though one is not required to do what they were doing.

That's what the main stream media says anyway.

Only I don't feel that way. And neither do the vast majority of Americans. In fact, here's an e-mail from a reader over at The Corner that sums up my attitude toward these traitors who reveal our national secrets at the expense of our national security.

I find it interesting that common sense just doesn't exist in many Americans and even in fewer Europeans. WE ARE AT WAR. Do any of these fools know what that means? It means you do any and everything you can to vanquish the people who are bent on killing you and your countrymen. It also means that you NEVER TIP YOUR HAND, the way the NY Times seems bent on doing for us. I don't care if the methods of collection are "obvious," you never state what they are--never.

Cliff, I've been associated with the military all my life and served in it during the decades of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Now, as a support contractor, I still work on DOD programs to this very day. I will never understand why you'd ever give any quarter to people who are galvanized in their resolve to kill you. Everyone in the Marines (the branch in which I served) understood the stakes. There was a time when other Americans did as well, but clearly Cindy Sheehan is not among them. The editors and writers at the NY Times are not among them. Harry Reid and his brain-dead colleagues are not among them. It's unbelievable to me that politics is trumping the safety of the American people.

Have a good Christmas, Cliff. Hopefully, next year, a few more lights will come on in the cranial cavities of the American left.

Skip Parker
It appears that you can count U.S. News and World Report among those brain-dead who allow politics to trump safety. In my mind this reporter and those in charge at News and World Report are traitors. The people who leaked this program are traitors. And they should be tried as such.

My only consolation, and believe me it is a tiny one, is that they would be caught in the nuclear fire brought by these terrorists. If only so many innocents would not be hurt in the bargain.


Here is a great summary of why this does not require a warrant. I knew this, why didn't the main stream media? Answer -- because they didn't want to. Either they are lazy or corrupt, or in my opinion, both.

Michele Malkin tells us more about how the MSM seems determined to sell America out to our enemies.

Christmas Vacation

I've decided to take a short vacation from blogging during this Christmas holiday season. I originally planned to take a load of leave days, but it looks like I will have a trial the second week of January so I am going to be very busy getting ready for it. I won't know for certain until Friday afternoon, but even if it is postponed I plan on taking the break.

I won't lie to you though, if something catches my eye I will no doubt rush to the computer to post about it. I just don't plan on posting every day. No early morning Diet Coke-fueled Googling. No mumbled curses when I post the wrong hyper-link and have to redo it. I might even try to sleep late for a change.

I am planning a little change around here too, so the break will give me a chance to work on that without interruption.

So if I don't get a chance again, please know that I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year.

Over The Top?

With friends like this, who the hell needs enemies. And in case you didn't know, this was a payoff to terrorists to obtain the release of a German hostage. Here's hoping the CIA kidnaps this guy, takes him to one of those secret prisons, tortures the hell out of him and then puts a bullet in his head.

Is that over the top? Maybe. But you know what? I am angry. I am angry that our allies betray us time and time again. I am angry that the liberal main stream media won't tell the truth about, well anything, and that they are making it their purpose in life to destroy the President even if it destroys our nation in the process. Disclose national secrets? No problem for them. Doesn't matter if it costs American lives as long as it damages Bush.

I am angry that corrupt politicians, mostly Democrats, but some Republicans too, would do the same, put politics over principle and virtually give themselves over to the terrorists for that one little chance to achieve power. These despicable people vote against what is arguably the best tool we have to fight terrorism, yet at the same time complain that the people fighting that war are not doing enough. And they voted for the damn thing in the first place. Shame on their hypocrisy times two.

I am angry that some people claim to love America, but clearly cannot stand anything about her. Her history. Her traditions. Her institutions. They attack them daily, and expect me to believe that they love her?


Some of my oldest and dearest friends think I am a fascist for my opinions. They read my thoughts and wonder what has come over me. Especially since not too many years ago I was probably more liberal than they are now.

But no matter how much I write I can't seem to get the reason across to them. I wish I could. Because it is important to me not only for them to understand why I feel this way, but also to realize that they need to feel this way too. I want them to see and understand the danger our nation faces today. And that danger is not from the President. That danger is from those Islamic fascists who will do anything in their power to destroy us. And from those in our own country who would either ignore that threat or assist our enemies in the pursuit of their own political or ideological ambition.

I wish I had some magic wand that would let them see what I see, but that doesn't exist. So I will just have to keep posting. Putting out there for them to see all the reasons why I feel the way I feel about these issues. That this is not a September 10 America.

And hoping that one day they will understand and maybe even agree.


Here's an example of what I am trying to get across.

Let's say a suspected al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan calls a suspected co-conspirator in New York City, who is, say, a Saudi legally here on a tourist visa.

The government has reason to believe that the Afghan is plotting an attack in the U.S. So the Justice Department goes to the FISA court with an application for a wiretap. But, in his infinite wisdom, some FISA court judge decides there is not enough "probable cause" to justify eavesdropping.

The Supreme Court has recognized, for about 150 years, that the POTUS has a constitutional obligation to protect the United States from external attack. Not just the power to do so, but an obligation to do so.

Are we really to believe that the commander-in-chief, the constitutional officer responsible for our security, is, in this example, powerless to order monitoring just because a federal judge -- who has no constitutional responsibility, NONE, for the national security of the United States -- has decided that there is not enough evidence for a FISA warrant?

Is that what we're supposed to believe? We are a superpower with a defense budget that is larger than the economies of most countries -- paid for by the American people precisely because they are concerned primarily about their security. Yet, when it gets down to brass tacks, our security hinges on whether a single, unaccountable federal judge thinks there is probable cause to monitor a telephone call that may not even involve any American citizen?

Have we gone insane?

Separate But Equal

Narnia proves boys and girls can be empowered and different at the same time.

It's 5:15 AM

And I can't sleep.

A Divisive Document?

I also missed the President's press conference yesterday, but from what I have read he slammed the clueless reporters harder than a professional wrestler. And compare this moronic babbling from the Democratic response to the President's quote I posted earlier.
The Iraqi constitution as it now stands is a divisive document...I was so disappointed that Prez failed to follow bipartisan recommendation of 79 senators to urge Iraqis to amend the constitution to achieve share Sunni Arabs can be brought on board...
A divisive document? Arguably the greatest step towards democracy and peace in the middle-east ever, not to mention the war on terror, and the best thing the Democrats can do is to call it divisive?

Does anyone seriously believe they can be trusted with our foreign policy? With the security of our people? Does anyone think they are serious at all?


Powerline likens the Democrats to Wile E. Coyote.

Catch Them, But Don't Watch Them

The Counterterrorism Blog has a great question. How do we catch them without watching them?

And Michele Malkin has a great roundup of blogger opinions on this non-scandal.

Power Line points out that, among other things, all searches do not require warrants.

Want To Eliminate Third World Poverty?

Establish the rule of law and educate people.

The President's Speech

I missed the President's speech last night as I was sleeping off my Best Buy adventure, but I have been reading about it this morning and evidently he hit a home run. I especially liked this part.
September 11th, 2001 required us to take every emerging threat to our country seriously, and it shattered the illusion that terrorists attack us only after we provoke them. On that day, we were not in Iraq … we were not in Afghanistan … but the terrorists attacked us anyway – and killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children in our own country. My conviction comes down to this: We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them. And we will defeat the terrorists by capturing and killing them abroad … removing their safe havens … and strengthening new allies like Iraq and Afghanistan in the fight we share.

We do not creat terrorism by fighting the terrorists. That is a line worth remembering.

The Spirit Of Christmas

*** Grab a Snickers, this is a long one.

I'm sleepy. But then again who wouldn't be sleepy, and achey, and cranky from staying up all night in a line outside a local Best Buy.

You see, I have been turned into one of those people. You know, those people you see on the local news. The zombie-like creatures standing outside the big glass doors of the department store slapping at them with hungry eyes, waiting for them to open so they can rush in, attack the clerks, eat their brains, and finally grab that one thing on sale that they so desperately need to live.

Yep, that's me now. And all because my middle son wanted one of the new X-Box 360s for Christmas.

If you have been paying any attention to the news lately you know that the 360 is the toy this year and, naturally, the evil that is Bill Gates didn't make enough to meet demand. The initial shipments of the game were sold out even before the original November 22nd release, and since then the only way to buy one was to pony up three to four times the $400 price on Ebay. If you walked into any electronics store and asked about them, you would be met with that pitiful laugh teenage clerks reserve for pathetic adults who should know better.

So because of this we told our son that he stood a good chance of getting a Santa IOU for Christmas. He was okay with that actually. He's a good kid and wasn't unreasonable about it at all. But even so, he kept surfing the Internet for intelligence on a second pre-Christmas release of the game. Day and night he peered into the flickering computer screen, chasing rumors of shipments much like NSA chases rumors of Moroccan-based terrorists calling florists in the United States.

So about a week ago he stumbled on intelligence about a second release of a limited number of 360s to Best Buy stores nationwide. He not only had the release date, December 18th, but knew exactly how many games would be shipped to each store. According to his sources, 24 games would be put on sale at 8:00 am at the Best Buy near us. Twenty-four. No more, no less. And if we wanted to get one we would need to be there early.

Now I admit I didn't really believe him. Most of his intel came from rumors on gaming web-site forums. But since this was Christmas and he had been so good about the impending Santa IOU, we decided we should at least make an attempt to secure one if it was possible.

Loving wife started the process over a week ago by doing some HUMINT (Human Intelligence) while shopping for other presents. She made friends with Best Buy clerks and assistant managers, culling small bits of information which she then relayed to an NSA computer for analysis. No doubt she obtained most of her information through bribery. Her chocolate-chip cookies are quite tempting, and when combined with a low-cut sweater few can keep secrets from her. I don't think she used torture, and even if she did I would deny it. But whatever she did worked because she found out that the store was indeed going to get at least 20 of the games and they would go on sale first thing Sunday morning, December 18, 2005.

It was good intel. From multiple sources. The WMD 360s were there and we made a decision to go in and get them.

Her sources told her the games would be available on a first-come, first-served basis. So after dinner on Saturday evening she and my son drove the 20 miles to the store to get in line. They took folding chairs, sleeping bags, snacks and drinks, and a tank full of gas so they could take turns getting warm in the van. I was to follow later in the night to relieve them, taking our youngest son for a modern-day "camping-trip" in the parking lot.

When they arrived there were already three people sitting in chairs near the entrance. So they set up their chairs behind them, got in their sleeping bags and settled in for the long night. Slowly but surely other people showed up and by the time I arrived, there were about 26 people in line along the side of the store. Everyone was sitting in chairs covered-up from the cold, talking and laughing. The mood was much like a pre-game tail-gate party without booze and chili.

The manager had spoken with the first people in line and recommended they start a list of the people as they arrived. She said she would use the list when the stored opened and she assured everyone it would be an orderly process. No mad Wal-Mart rushes. No crazed herd stampeding over kids and old people. It was a good plan and everyone seemed fine with it. Even the ones at the end of the line.

Of course, I was the cynic. I told loving wife I thought there would be trouble when the store opened in the morning. I had already heard some college-age boys mumbling that they were going to get one of the games no matter when they arrived, and I also knew there would be a lot of people showing up right as the store opened after they read the Best Buy circular in the Sunday paper.

It was peaceful now, but I knew how quickly things can change in the jungle.

Anyway, the night went pretty well. Loving wife sat bundled up in her chair holding our place in line and I ran errands, getting food and hot chocolate for us and several people in the line. Early in the evening the group was pretty active. Lots of conversation about families, Christmas and sports, especially football. But as the night moved into early morning people started getting tired and quiet, and like scared turtles most of them disappeared into their blankets and sleeping bags.

At this point imagine lots of muffled whispers, some loud snoring and a lot of shaking from the cold and you have a good description of the early morning hours.

The manager showed up at about 5:00 am and took the list. Things were looking up as she assured us that she would either hand out vouchers or let the people on the list in a few at a time to buy the games. I started feeling some hope. But that was short-lived because at about 6:00 am she came out and said that she had read the letter from her corporate office and she wasn't going to be able to give out vouchers or let the people who were in line get their games first. Basically she said that she was going to be forced to open the doors up and whoever got to the games first won.

This caused as stir as you can imagine, with those of us at the front of the line suddenly feeling betrayed and those at the end of the line moving forward to take advantage of the chaos. They moved up to the door, trying to get in front of the first ten or so, sensing panic in the herd. Naturally, we moved in to protect our territory and suddenly there was a big crowd pushing into the closed glass doors.

As I feared, in a matter of moments what had been a friendly atmosphere turned into one of anger, distrust and frustration.

Now most of the people tried to keep things civil. Even the ones who were trying to break in line didn't argue too much. Mostly they just held their ground, keeping quiet while those of us who had been near the front of the line advised everyone to take it easy and do what we had originally planned which was to follow the order of the list.

But the first few of us in line realized that things were going to get out of hand so I suggested we call the local police department to have an officer respond to keep control. Someone did and about 20 minutes later not one, but three officers drove up to see what all the ruckus was about.

I walked over and talked to them, explaining the situation and warning them that they might have a mini-riot on their hands if they didn't do something. They didn't seem happy about it, mostly because no one had broken a law and they didn't really have any authority to do anything, but also because shift change was coming up. But they went inside and talked to the Best Buy folks, who read and re-read some letter on company letterhead and made phone calls to what we found out later was their corporate office.

So we waited. And to tell the truth I thought we were going to have to fight for the stupid games. I figured the officers would not be able to do anything to enforce the "list" and that the best we could hope for was for them to try to keep order so no one would get hurt. (I wasn't worried about loving wife; she could handle herself. I was worried about whoever tried to take one from her, because they would end up in the hospital and I would be bailing her out of jail.)

But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when one of the officers came out and said, "I don't care what Best Buy says, we are going to go by this list."

What a guy.

He told everyone that he had decided to go by the list in the interest of public safety and that if anyone caused any problems he would have no hesitation in arresting them for Breach of Peace.

Again, what a guy.

So he gave the list to the first guy in line and told him to call out the names. And as he did, everyone got back into the original line. Since there were only 20 games, everyone past that mark were simply out of luck, but as badly as I felt for them, there wasn't much I could do. You have to get up pretty early to beat loving wife to a bargain, believe me.

Now, there was some mumbling and a lot of dirty looks, but the presence of the three officers kept anyone from getting too vocal, and most of those who were not in "The Twenty" left. A few hung around in the small hope that there might be more than twenty games, and I can't say I blame them. If I had been out there that long I would have too.

The mood lightened and all was good with the world again. The next hour went by pretty quickly and even though new people started arriving they went to the back of the line and waited their turn. Whether they weren't told there were only 20 games or they didn't believe it, I don't know. And I didn't care. All I know is loving wife was fourth in line and we were getting one of the things.

So at 8:00 am the manager came out with an officer and they let in people two at a time, and in a few minutes loving wife emerged with her trophy. The crowd cheered as they did for the first three people, and I escorted her to the van all the while scanning the parking lot for X-Box bandits.

But we made it safely and drove off home with smiles on our faces and Christmas in our hearts.

And I am not being sarcastic when I say that. Yes, I know Christmas is about much more than buying stuff. Or at least it should be.

But when you think about it, this was very much more than that. We met a lot of nice people last night. We talked about kids and families and sports and I had a long conversation with a soldier who is shipping out to Iraq on Monday. His unit is already there, but he was allowed to stay back for a couple of weeks so he could be home for the birth of his first son. He was in line to get one of the games so he could take it with him for the guys to use during down-time there.

And he got one because in the end good triumphed over evil. The evil of Bill Gates and line-breakers. And to me that is very much in the spirit of Christmas.

*** Welcome Moderate Voice readers. My blog is quite conservative, but even if that is not to your liking, feel free to look around a bit. You still might find something interesting, including my many Brunettes of the Week. And regardless of your politics, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Oh, and thanks, Joe, a very special Holiday Greeting to you and yours.

NSA Spies, Oh My

This is an excellent post on the NSA "scandal" I commented on in the previous post.


I notice the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers are using carefully cherry-picked "experts" from the ranks of the ACLU and the former Clinton administration to provide comment on the president authorizing the NSA to do what the NSA does, i.e., spy, among other things. Many of these "experts" -- joined by a few uninformed, media-obsessed politicians like Arlen Specter and Russ Feingold -- have claimed shock at the eavesdropping and have either suggested or pronounced the president's acts illegal or even unconstitutional.

Now, what exactly do we know from these hysterical reports? Not very much. As I wrote yesterday, the FISA permits the government to monitor foreign communications, even if they are with U.S. citizens. A FISA warrant is only needed if the subject communications are wholly contained in the United States and involve a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Today's Los Angeles Times writes that the program "was designed to enable the NSA to monitor communications between Americans in the U.S. and people overseas suspected of having ties to terrorist networks." Fine. That's not illegal or even unusual. And these "experts" know it. But the truth is that we have no idea of the contents of the president's executive order and, therefore, we have no idea what conduct we're supposed to be offended about. Perhaps the executive order expanded the authority of the NSA or expedited the processing of wiretaps. We just don't know. Unfortunately, the administration's hands are tied for while revealing the executive order's contents to the public might well demonstrate the appropriateness and legality of its conduct, thereby deflating the effort to create a scandal, it may well be too damaging to ongoing operations.

But clearly many members of Congress who have not spoken on the record do know about the program. As the president said today, Congress has been consulted, and often. It's remarkable that the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press failed to uncover this fact. Indeed, they did the opposite. In addition to cherry-picking experts from the ACLU and the Clinton administration, the media are cherry-picking from their favorite politicians to give the opposite impression, i.e., that Congress was in the dark. And who better to react hysterically to hysterical reporting than Arlen Specter. The fact that Specter may not have been consulted, as he doesn't serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is of no consequence, except to Specter. He might want to ask his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee what they know before stomping all over their congressional-oversight turf. But for a brief mention of Jay Rockefeller's knowledge of the program in yesterday's New York Times, we've hear nothing about of from the relevant committee members. Indeed, their silence, if anything, suggests to me their likely awareness of the program, consistent with the president's statement that Congress was aware.

What is clear is that this is not some Watergate-type rogue operation, as seemingly hoped by some. In addition to repeated congressional notification, the program has been heavily lawyered by multiple agencies, including the Department of Justice and NSA and White House, and is regularly reviewed. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condi Rice have both insisted that program is legal. The fact that some might disagree with whatever legal advice and conclusions the president has received does not make them right or the program illegal. But at this point, we, the public, don't really know what these news stories are really about, do we?
As I said, this is much ado about nothing. The only damning thing here is that government officials revealed classified information vital to national security and the MSM published it knowing that.

UPDATE 12-20-05:

The Moose doesn't think it is 1984, and neither do I.

The rules are different for Democrat presidents. And President Clinton claimed the authority to do just what President Bush did.

So this really is all about politics, isn't it?

The War On Terror, A Recap

The President's authorization of the NSA to monitor international calls was both appropriate and prudent after 9-11. In the end it will be proven to not only be legal, but the right thing to do. It no doubt saved American lives. And the disclosure of it by the New York Times borders on treason. Those who leaked it should be prosecuted.

The successful Iraqi election signals the beginning of the end of our military involvement there. We should continue our support until victory.

The failure to re-authorize the Patriot Act is all political and will put our nation at risk. I've read it, I've worked with it. It works.

This bill will also hurt the war on terror and grants greater protection to terrorists than it gives to our own soldiers. Our guarantee to not torture (something we cannot even define) will not keep them from cutting off heads and blowing up children. Oh, and Senator McCain, we don't need to ban torture to prove we are better than the terrorists. That is an indisputable fact.

If the Mexican government is against this new immigration bill, then it must be a good thing. It will help stop the uncontrolled flow of illegals into our country and improve our security.

Tookie's Purpose

It appears the death of Tookie Williams served another purpose. Shedding light on the wide gap between left and right. And here's more.

Southern Discomfort

I am in trouble with my Mom. Maybe my Dad too, but I am not sure.

What happened was that I made what I thought was an innocuous comment about the South being all about living in trailers and hunting and how I felt disconnected from it sometimes. I also talked about how I thought Northeastern Catholics were more "Catholic" than Southern Catholics. Both comments were made in humor, but my little sister read it and then ran and tattled on me. Shades of childhood. (She denies tattling, by the way.)

So in the interest of family harmony I feel compelled to offer up this clarification.

I am proud to be from the South. I don't think that Southerners all live in trailers or that trailers are a shelter that is unique to the South. I also know that people from all parts of the country, indeed the world, hunt, so it is obviously not a uniquely Southern thing. And even if it were it would not be a bad thing. Much of my extended family hunts, including my sister's husband who is probably sighting in his deer rifle in preparation for the next time he sees me.

What I meant by the comment was that I sometimes feel disconnected from being a Southerner because I don't hunt or fish and that, while they are not unique to the South, they certainly are a major thread of the fabric that is Southern life. I could get into all sorts of Southern stereotypes here, and while the South is obviously much more than a stereotype, what I meant was that I sometimes -- many times really -- feel very disconnected from it because I don't fall into any of those stereotypes. And let's be honest, things don't become stereotypes unless there is some truth to them.

I probably feel this way at least in part because I have spent much of my adulthood traveling and associating with people from all over the country and even the world. There is a saying in the Air Force that you don't see people as Northern or Southern or black or white or Catholic or Jewish or Southern Baptists. You see them as blue and nothing much else matters.

And maybe that is my real problem. Since I have moved often, I have a hard time identifying with any area of the country or any group of people except the Air Force which was a long time ago, but still is very much a part of me.

But I am working on it. We have lived here for eight years now -- the longest we have lived anywhere since my childhood -- and slowly but surely we are developing a local identity. One I enjoy, although I refuse to wear overalls to church.

As to the Catholic comment. Well, that was a joke too and the more I try to explain what I meant the harder it becomes to do so. Let's just say that I wasn't trying to insult Catholics or Southern Baptists and especially not the Pope.

So let me end this by again proclaiming my love for the South and the Pope and my wonderful parents who probably from time to time feel like they brought the wrong baby home from the hospital.

And as to my sister. Well, one day soon I will tell the "climbing on the roof of the Glass Kitchen diner" story and set the record straight as to who is the "good" one.

Friday Night

Beer, Chinese food, Wow playing and blogging. Not bad on this very cold Friday night.

A Chewbacca Christmas

And I bet the ACLU won't sue him either.

If Men Designed

Christmas wrapping paper.

WARNING: It's naughty, but nice.

Purple Finger Victory

For those of my readers who don't understand what we are fighting for in Iraq, here is one reason.

It's also proof of tremendous progress, although you won't hear much about it from the MSM and it will be downplayed by leftist Democrats. Seventy percent turnout? When there is the threat of being bombed? Hell, we can't get half that and some Americans won't vote just because it is raining.

And it was a joint effort with all the various factions voting, including the Sunnis who boycotted the last election. Again progress.

There is still much to be done, but we are on our way to victory and we must continue our support for this burgeoning democracy.


Early morning here again. I wake up even before loving wife's alarm clock goes off and she has to get up very early indeed to prepare breakfast and lunch for the little and not so little ones to take to school. Oh well, I can sleep in tomorrow I hope.

Ask The Guy Which Sport He Plays

This wonderful happy ending story reminds me of an old joke.

A woman was trapped on the third story of a burning apartment building holding her baby. She was screaming for help repeating over and over again, "Someone save my baby, please save my baby."

A man walked by, saw her and yelled up at her, "Lady, toss down your baby and I will catch it." The woman said, "No, you will drop her." The man yelled back, "Lady I won't drop her, I play wide receiver for the NFL."

The woman still hesitated, yelling back that she was sure he would not catch her precious little one. The man yelled again, "Lady, don't worry, I will catch your baby, I was All American in college."

The lady still hesitated, crying that she was sure her baby would hit the ground if she dropped her. The man, exasperated by this time, yelled up, "Look lady, I am the best receiver in the NFL, I have not one, but two Superbowl rings. I was MVP in both those games. Throw me the baby and I will catch her on my honor."

The woman, feeling the heat from the flames, finally let her baby drop down into the man's arms. She held her breath.

And just like he promised he caught the poor darling effortlessly.

Then he did an end-zone dance and spiked her.
I'm glad this guy was a baseball player.

My Original Quote

It's a woman's nature to deny her beauty. It's a man's duty to convince her of it.
At least I think it is my original. It came to me while driving home from work today. I was thinking about about how whenever I tell loving wife she is beautiful she will roll her eyes in that "maybe when I was young" kind of way.

I searched several quotation web sites and found nothing. If it is something I read somewhere and have kept buried in my unconcious I apologize to both my readers and the person who said it first.

I like it. I know it may be considered sexist in today's world and to some cynical people it may sound hokey, but I am comfortable with that.


Two years ago this week, U.S. forces yanked Saddam Hussein out of his miserable rathole.

Two years later, the Iraqi people are voting for a four-year parliament--the nation's first democratically elected government.
So says Michelle Malkin, who presents a roundup on the Iraqi elections.

So much progress, so little MSM coverage of it.

Iraq the Model has first person updates on democracy in the process.

Movies For The Minority

Tammy Bruce points out why movie receipts are down, down, down.

So true. I read the list of Golden Globe nominees and there were few I would even consider going to see. Brokeback Mountain? Even the name sounds stupid. A new Woody Allen movie? He stopped being interesting and relevant decades ago. Add in the new Stephen Spielberg Israel-bashing fantasy film, Munich and the George Clooney "American corporations are bad, Muslim terrorists are good" flick, Syriana and you have movies that the vast majority of Americans do not find appealing. I'm not saying people won't go to see them -- both Spielberg and Clooney demand audiences on their names alone, but I don't see either one of them being the blockbuster than turns plummeting tickets sales around.

Just check out what Hollywood thinks are Oscar worthy films. Are many of us going to see this stuff? I think not.

Of course, Hollywood can make a movie about anything they want. But if they insist on making movies about subjects that few are interested in besides film students and people with political or social agendas then they really shouldn't complain about losing money.

It's not called show business for nothing.

It's 5:10 AM

Why am I awake? I am turning into an old man. Up before dawn and wanting dinner before 6:00 pm these days.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


It's evening now and we just finished celebrating loving wife's birthday. I am sure she has had her fill of one husband and three boys in the house after all these years, but I think she enjoyed our haphazard party of manly-made cake (hey, we tried), balloons, little horns and those popper things that shoot conffetti and streamers in the air. She seemed to enjoy her presents too, but then Mom's are expert in the art of appearing pleased when they are not.

Happy Birthday, honey.

Brunette Of The Week

Loving Wife. This was the brunette hair I first saw when she opened the door on our blind date. Do you blame me for falling in love with brunettes? Oh, and it just happens to be her birthday.