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Monthly Archives: November 2005

Suggested Reading

November 10th, 2005 - 10:12 am

Peggy Noonan seems to have shaken her blahs from a couple weeks back. Today’s column is light and breezy and mostly fun. Check it out.

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As Butt-head Once Said To Beavis…

November 10th, 2005 - 7:58 am

… this is going to be cool.

Den Beste is back.

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November 9th, 2005 - 9:50 pm

Burned two fingers tonight experimenting with this week’s Friday Recipe. Nothing to do with the recipe and everything to do with my innate klutziness. Some days, I wonder I how made it to 36. Every day, I wonder why I have only one visible scar on my face.

Typing is quite literally a pain right now, so I’m going to pour a third glass of this marvelous cheap Zin and load up Tuesday’s Nip/Tuck on the TiVo.

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Required Reading

November 9th, 2005 - 9:43 pm

Orson Scott Card rips a new one for Brent Scowcroft:

When our soldiers go off to kill and die, they had better be dying for something that actually matters or we won’t stand for it. Stalemates feel like losing; realpolitik feels like we’re no better than the cynical 19th-century border-drawers who got the world into such an ugly shape in the first place.

Americans will not long endure a government whose goal is a “balance of power.” We don’t want power to be balanced. We want to feel like our power is enormously lopsided, but that it is used exclusively for either a noble cause or our own direct national defense.

What is more, “realism” does not work. It cannot work, because the equations of power-balancing are fully readable by our enemies and opponents and rivals. When they know that we will go this far and no farther, we become predictable to them.

And when we are predictable, then our enemies are free to act as they wish within the safe, “realistic” boundaries we have laid out for them.

Read the whole thing here.

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November 9th, 2005 - 9:33 pm

Now that the PJ Media launch party/conference is less than a week away, I’m getting emails from lots of folks wanting to get together for drinks or chat or whatever. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you, and there are bunches of other people I’d like to at least have a little meet & greet with.

So. If you’ve signed your blog away to PJ and are planning to be in NYC next week, leave a comment here. I’m sure we can put together something fun.

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November 9th, 2005 - 9:22 am

I’ll have something on the election fallout tomorrow. Meanwhile, there’s this:

AMMAN (Reuters) – At least five people were killed and more than 12 others were wounded on Wednesday in a blast at a major hotel in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Reuters witnesses said.

The explosion shook the Radisson hotel and several wounded people were seen in the lobby, witnesses said. The hotel is known to be popular with Israeli tourists.

More here and here.

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Making The Almanac

November 9th, 2005 - 6:28 am

Steve hasn’t mentioned it yet himself, but his “Monster” post from yesterday was picked up by the reigning guru of American politics, Michael Barone. Barone mentioned the post on Fox News last night, and writes about it today on his own blog.

It’s an interesting world these days. Five years ago, a Barone never would have read anything by a Colorado Springs investor and racouteur, and the Washington Post or BBC never would have dreamed of quoting an obscure engineer and occasional sports writer from suburban Atlanta. Interesting world, and in a real and better way, a much larger one.

As for myself, while Steve gloats and prepares to buy the Boeing, I’ll just sit around in reflected glory–and only moderately insane jealousy…

UPDATE: Correction time, I misread an email about Barone, thinking it said that’d he’d appeared on Fox News Tuesday and referenced Steve’s post. I was apparently incorrect, and the fault in this case is entirely mine. All apologies. I stand by my reporting of the post on Barone’s blog, since, er, that part wasn’t wrong.

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Dot-Com Madness

November 8th, 2005 - 11:27 pm

My blog is worth $684,222.48.
How much is your blog worth?

I am so willing to sell out.

We’ll start the bidding at $600,000.


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Coming Soon to a Suburban Home Near You

November 8th, 2005 - 10:52 pm

Reporting from Texas – where the cause of gay marriage just suffered an election setback – Nospeedbumps.com argues that the battle against it has already been lost.

I agree.

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That’s Just Wrong

November 8th, 2005 - 10:35 pm

Yesterday, I gave you 3,000 words of well-thought out prose. Today, not so much. Instead, let me tell you that…

…whoever called the cops on these two sweet, sweet girls is the one who really deserves to get arrested and go to jail and lose their job.

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November 8th, 2005 - 10:00 pm

It’s funny because it’s true.

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The Arm of Decision

November 8th, 2005 - 12:23 am

Four years into the Terror War, “What’s the most important element for victory?” is a question long overdue. It’s also a question our national leadership, nearly all of our intellectuals, and none of our mainstream media have yet to answer.

President George W Bush hasn’t told us, because he doesn’t know. His rivals for the Oval Office never answered the question

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November 7th, 2005 - 9:56 pm

I’ve promised myself, at long last, to finish the long-promised Monster Essay. It’s 10:02pm now, and I’m hoping to have it finished by midnight.

Finished, not polished.

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A Worthy Cause

November 7th, 2005 - 4:05 pm

Blogger Bill Roggio wants to embed with USMC Regimental Combat Team

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Down Under

November 7th, 2005 - 4:03 pm

Score one for the good guys:

Australian authorities believe they have foiled a major terrorist attack, arresting 15 people on Tuesday during raids in the country’s two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The arrests come less than a week after Prime Minster John Howard said Australia received intelligence about a “terrorist threat”.

“We believe … we’ve disrupted a large-scale operation which, had it been allowed to go through to fruition, we certainly believe would have been catastrophic,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney told Australian television.

Full story here.

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November 7th, 2005 - 3:57 pm

I finally broke down and got the FRIGGIN’ HUGE TV set that I’ve been lusting after for lo, these many years, and verily, it is good (okay, honesty time–it was my wife who broke down; I’d been ready to buy the thing for months). At Steve’s suggestion, I added a DirecTV HD Tivo box, and it’s also very, very good.

My only problem at this point–other than the looming credit card bill–is tuning in the local CBS affiliate in HDTV.

(Oh, don’t start. It’s not for 60 Minutes. It’s for SEC football, and the Auburn-Alabama game is next Saturday, so pay attention.)

The DirecTV box includes an off-the-air tuner, which I’ve hooked up to the ancient 70′s-vintage VHF/UHF antenna on my roof, which is pointed as near as I can manage at that station’s transmitter. Unfortunately, even after installing new coaxial cable and new connectors from the antenna to the house, CBS is the only station in town that isn’t coming in 5X5. It’s running about 70% max signal on the DirecTV box’s signal meter, and the picture is subject to frequent breakups.

All you RF and/or digital TV experts out there (and you know who you are), any suggestions?

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Escalation III

November 7th, 2005 - 3:33 pm

This is shocking:

France announced plans on Monday to impose curfews on rundown suburbs hit by violence to try to halt almost two weeks of unrest in which one man has been killed and thousands of cars have been torched.

If France is imposing a curfew only after two weeks of riots, then it would seem hardline Interior Minister Nickolas Sarkozy doesn’t have that much pull in the Cabinet.

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Escalation II

November 7th, 2005 - 2:20 pm

Robert Bidinotto asks, “Jihad begins in Europe?

Perhaps. But Robert certainly has me convinced that no matter the scope or aims of the riots, multiculturalist relativism is to blame for them.

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November 7th, 2005 - 11:19 am

It’s hard to tell ust how bad things really are in France, or even the real motivation of the rioters. Intifada? Kids just having some bad-natured fun? Something in between?

Then again, a line was crossed today:

Rioters shot at police and torched more than 1,400 cars in the worst violence since unrest erupted in France’s poor suburbs 11 days ago, and a man beaten by a youth became the first fatality on Monday.


“This is real, serious violence. It’s not like the previous nights. I am very concerned because this is mounting,” said Bernard Franio, head of police for the Essonne area south of Paris, after about 200 youths attacked his colleagues in Grigny.

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November 7th, 2005 - 10:54 am

La Shawn Barber’s blog turned two years old this weekend. Give her a visit and help her blow out all those candles.

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Caught in the Act II

November 7th, 2005 - 10:37 am

Curtis Nieboer has more on the Chinese spy ring, including what it all means for the Navy.

By the way, if you didn’t take last week’s advice and bookmark The Officers Club, do so now.

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Consider the Source

November 6th, 2005 - 10:26 pm

The headline to Janny Scott’s NYT story on Sam Alito explains why I support him for the Supreme Court:

Court Choice Is Conservative by Nature, Not Ideology

It’s a long story, but a pretty damn positive one – especially considering the source.

GUT CHECK PREDICTION: Alito will be confirmed, by a vote of 65-35 or better.

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Do Ask, Don’t Tell

November 6th, 2005 - 10:20 pm

We’re getting serious about dealing with the Syrian border:

U.S. and Iraqi security forces swept through an area near the Syrian border to root out foreign fighters Sunday, the second day of one of the largest military offensives since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

About 3,500 troops participated in the operation in the region in and around Qaim, which the military has dubbed Steel Curtain. This is the second time in about a month that U.S.-led troops have stormed the expansive desert area in a full-fledged assault intended to expose fighters linked to the insurgent group al Qaeda in Iraq.

There’s one detail the story leaves out, and it’s an important one: it doesn’t say how many Iraqi Army battalions are working with American forces. Total forces number around 3,500, but that’s as much detail as we get.

I don’t fault reporter Jackie Spinner for the gap, because the Pentagon probably isn’t ready to say.

If anyone finds better numbers somewhere, please leave a comment and a link.

UPDATE: Charlie tells me CNN has the numbers:

About 3,000 U.S. troops and 550 Iraqis are taking part in the effort, which is aimed at rooting out suspected insurgents and stanching the influx of foreign fighters through a mix of ground maneuvers and aerial attacks.

So a mini mea culpa is in order: I do blame Spinner for not reporting the most important fact in the story. We need the MSM to be informed and knowledgeable enough to put war stories into proper perspective. Otherwise, this war (and not just the Iraqi campaign) will be lost, right here on the home front.

But that’s an essay for another day.

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Caught in the Act

November 6th, 2005 - 10:08 pm


Four persons arrested in Los Angeles are part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ring, federal investigators said, and the suspects caused serious compromises for 15 years to major U.S. weapons systems, including submarines and warships.

U.S. intelligence and security officials said the case remains under investigation but that it could prove to be among the most damaging spy cases since the 1985 one of John A. Walker Jr., who passed Navy communication codes to Moscow for 22 years.

The Los Angeles spy ring has operated since 1990 and has funneled technology and military secrets to China in the form of documents and computer disks, officials close to the case said.

The ring was led by Chi Mak and his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, along with Mr. Chi’s brother, Tai Wang Mak, and his wife, Fuk Heung Li, officials said.

Key compromises uncovered so far include sensitive data on Aegis battle management systems that are the core of U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.

China covertly obtained the Aegis technology and earlier this year deployed its first Aegis warship, code-named Magic Shield, intelligence officials have said.

The Chinese also obtained sensitive data on U.S. submarines, including classified details related to the new Virginia-class attack submarines.

You have to give the Chinese their due credit here. The US Navy is China’s biggest obstable to crossing the Taiwan Straits. They went after Aegis (the Navy’s shield) and the Virginia-class SSNs, which are the Navy’s latest, quietest, and deadliest subs. Most worrisome is that those aren’t just brand new boats – they’re also designed to work in “brown water,” unlike the Los Angeles-class boats they’re replacing.

Heads ought to roll after getting sucker-punched like this.

Is there any good news here? Uh… the best I can think of is, at least Washington didn’t officially sell sensitive technology to China, like it did a decade ago.

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New Blogs

November 6th, 2005 - 10:00 pm

I can’t name names, but here’s the blog of a guy I trust – in Ukraine.

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From Bad to Worse and Back Again

November 6th, 2005 - 5:56 pm

For the first ten (!) nights, the Paris Riot was an orderly affair, as these things go. But now this:

Rioters fired shotguns at the police in a working-class suburb of Paris on Sunday, wounding 10 officers as the country’s fast-spreading urban unrest escalated dangerously. Just hours earlier, President Jacques Chirac called an emergency meeting of top security officials and promised increased police pressure to confront the violence.

New York Times reporter Craig H Smith doesn’t use the word “Muslim” until the 24th paragraph, well after the jump. He did, however, include this tidbit (in the 15th graf) I hadn’t seen anywhere else:

The attack angered people in the neighborhood, which includes the old Jewish quarter and is still a center of Jewish life in the city. “We escaped from Romania with nothing and came here and worked our fingers to the bone and never asked for anything, never complained,” said Liliane Zump, a woman in her 70′s, shaking with fury on the street outside the scarred building.

Coincidence? Smith doesn’t address even that tenuous a connection.

As if on cue, Mark Steyn writes:

If Chirac isn’t exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren’t doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They’re seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the ‘burbs gets you more ”respect” from Chirac, they’ll burn ‘em again, and again.

It’s difficult to keep a riot going – whether the cause is just or otherwise – for more than a couple weeks. Passions subside, or the government cracks down, or the rioters get what they want. I’d expect a combination of all three things to happen in Paris before long, and a return to normalcy.

But the new normal won’t be exactly like the old normal. The unassimilated and unhappy Muslim underclass of Paris has found an effective new weapon. Don’t think they won’t use it again.

UPDATE: Talk about fast learners. It seems at least one “youth” has franchised into the city itself.

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Required Drinking

November 4th, 2005 - 11:38 pm

Eric Shimp was kind enough to send me this link, and I’m kind enough to share it with you.

NOTE: I know some folks hate “blind” links, so here’s a clue for you. It involves science. And drinking. What’s not to love?

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“Boobs Not Bombs”

November 4th, 2005 - 9:51 am

Patrick Carroll forwarded this story from the Sacramento Bee:

Mendocino County women who have been baring their breasts at various venues to protest the war in Iraq are in Sacramento federal court seeking an order prohibiting the California Highway Patrol from arresting them during a planned noon demonstration Monday at the Capitol.

The women’s group, Breasts Not Bombs, is suing CHP Commissioner Mike Brown and two of his officers over a warning that if the women demonstrate while topless, they will be arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Rights issues aside, when confronted with the choice of either breasts or bombs, the correct decision is “both.”

Seriously, though, the police need to cool it – and the women need a buy a clue. If they wonder why a misogynist culture wants to blow up Americans, maybe someday they’ll understand that protests like these are part of the reason.

Me, I’m a big fan of breasts. Which is why the answer is and must be “boobs and bombs.”

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Going Geek

November 3rd, 2005 - 10:40 pm

Do yourself a favor and watch the trailer for Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

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DRM Gone Wild!

November 3rd, 2005 - 10:30 pm

Sony Music wants to control what you do with CDs you purchased legally:

According to reports, Sony has been stealthily installing hidden software on PCs, when people try to play Sony BMG music albums on their computers.

This software installs automatically, when users insert music CDs with XCP digital rights management technology in their computers. The software is geared towards limiting the number of copies that users can make from CDs, plus restricting ripping of the disk.

Software developer, Mark Russinovich, discovered that Sony had secretly installed a rootkit on his system. He traced the software back to Sony and the XCP technology, from First 4 Internet, an English software developer.

Sony’s perogative, I suppose. But I can choose not to buy their music.

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