Saturday, April 05, 2003

It turns out that they've found another bunch of moons around Jupiter. They're finding rocks smaller than Pike's Peak orbiting a planet that is always at least 366 million miles away (and more than 600 million at the farthest, according to my World Almanac).

And people wonder how the stories about spy satellites can read a license plate from space.

Here's something that will startle you... It was said that the SR-71 Blackbird had cameras that could tell the difference between a Top Flite and a Titleist golf ball, from 80,000 feet.

And that was during the Vietnam War...

Read a license plate? Hell, they can read the newspaper over your shoulder... (Well enough to tell page number and date, the rest is just a matter of finding the proper edition.)

Next time you look up and wonder if there's anybody up there, remember that someone's looking back. Pleasant dreams, folks.
I'm certainly not the first to tell this, and you might have seen it elsewhere, but bear with me for those who hadn't...

The Iraqi leadership's personal physician calls together all of Saddam's body doubles, and says (in Arabic), "Thank you for coming. We have some good news, and we have some bad news. First, the good news is that our Glorious Leader is alive, so you all get to keep your jobs. The bad news is that he lost an eye and an arm."

I've been having such fun watching the war and commenting on it (while slapping a few braindead types around), I forgot to post anything here yesterday. I promise that unless I am in the hospital (or worse) I will have something new at least once a day, unless I let you know about it beforehand.

I've got a vacation planned for later this year, but we're still trying to decide on destination. San Diego, Las Vegas, or maybe even go all the way up to the Bay. All are do-able (barely), and I have zero problem with the drive for any of the three. We're closer to San Diego, but I once made it from San Bernardino (CA) to Midland (TX) - a distance of just under 1,100 miles - in just over 19 1/2 hours. And lemme tell you, that trip on Interstate 10 from about Palm Springs to El Paso is all desert. (Except for the major cities, such as Pheonix, Tucson, and Las Cruces). I got so sick of the sight of sand and rocks... and this was in the middle of June, several years ago.

Anyhow, I was talking about not having a problem wth driving long distances. I've gotten so used to the drive up Interstate 15 to Las Vegas that I can predict our arrival time to within five minutes before we ever hit Baker (The World's Tallest Thermometer!), the traditional "halfway point". I can guess it to within half an hour before we ever hit the freeway.

So... I'm also working on a longer essay on child punishment, which was suggested by David in an earlier e-mail, and one on what it means to be a patriot (which does not mean blind allegiance to a flag or person.). If you like longer essays, go visit Bill Whittle's site. He is what I aspire to become. Read them all, collect the whole set!

Thursday, April 03, 2003

So we're actually inside the city limits of Baghdad, we have units assaulting Baghdad International Airport (10 miles from downtown Baghdad), and the Iraqis are still issuing press briefings that we're not anywhere near Baghdad, and that we're "tied down all over the country by the brave Iraqi fighters".

{Dr. Evil voice} Riiiiiiggghht. Can't we even get a few frickin' sharks with laser-beams? Oh, sorry...

I'm sorry guys, but the news from Al-Jazeera (even before they got kicked out of Baghdad) was just becoming like a Fellini film... I was expecting to see a guy wearing something in a baggy checkerboard pattern walk by on stilts or something.

The Iraqi leadership is still pretending that Saddam is firmly in charge. Saddam (assuming that he's still consuming valuable oxygen) is issuing statements that we're the ones losing this war. And any second, the midget (excuse me... "little person") is gonna jump up on the table and do a little happy dance for us, while talking backwards. In Italian.

I've got to go visit a job site for a computer install this afternoon, so keep me posted!

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I haven't been blogging as much as I ought to have been doing the past few days. I've gotten a letter from the Social Security Agency, and I've also been working with my wife trying to arrange for Dental Insurance.

Social Security says I'm disabled, but I wasn't disabled enough as of the last date of coverage, which was December 31, 2001. They are basing this on the statement that my disability decision didn't come through until last summer, so I'm not eligible. But I think they have miscalculated. I have proof that I had applied for increased disability rating in May, 2001. The VA's decision included a back-dated payment to that earlier date, despite the fact that the ultimate decision as delayed.

I have an appointment with them on the 30th. I'm also going to be applying for my replacement SSN card. Maybe I'll laminate this one, rather than just stuff it into my wallet.

Progress is occurring on the "own domain" front, as well. But we have to arrange a lot of different things, and they all need to "boil" at about the same time. Be patient neighbors, it's tough to come up with something new and different without focusing exclusively on the war ("All NEW, all the time! 24 hour coverage from a slit trench just north of Kuwait City!") *Sigh*

We are winning, though.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Something to use for your closest anti-war ranters... maybe they'll scream "Free Speech", but that defense has been tossed out of court several times. I found it out on the web, and I forgot where, so due credit where appropriate.

The U.S. Sedition Act
United States, Statutes at Large, Washington, D.C., 1918, Vol. XL, pp 553 ff.
A portion of the amendment to Section 3 of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917.
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, . . . or incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct . . . the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, or . . . shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States . . . or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully . . . urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production . . . or advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.... (emphasis mine)

Well that pretty much sums it up. Sweet dreams, Hollyweird.
It's Tuesday, and so I guess it's time for the weekly (April Fool's) edition of "This-Or-That Tuesday". It's kinda weird, so hang on for an interested trip...

1. The Bogey-Man or Henry Kissinger? The Bogey-Man. Him I can put up with...
2. Whips 'n chains or soft ropes with furbound cuffs? Soft ropes and fuzzy cuffs. Nuff said
3. Fish sticks or Fish sticks. With a tartar sauce dip
4. Whitewall tires or color TV? Color TV. Duh.
5. Leather or lace? Denim and cotton
6. Abraham Lincoln or leftover turkey? Abraham Lincoln
7. Movable Type or Star Trek? Star Trek. Bill Shatner may be a putz, but it was a good series
8. Happy Happy Joy Joy or Bounce Bounce Bounce like Tigger? Neither. Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
9. The Michelin Man or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man? The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man
10. Thought-Provoking Question of the Week: If you HAD to marry one of the talking M&M's in the TV commercials, would it be the red one or the yellow one? Why? The Green one. She got these reeeeeally long eyelashes.

We now send you back to regular programming...

Monday, March 31, 2003

I've been skimming around, and hanging out at Lee's place, sharpening my arguing skills, and I've been using my wife's suggestion to savage a few dingbats with absolutely zero sense of reality. She suggested that whenever I get into a discussion about the election (any election), ask the other party whether they are registered to vote. I said, "But that doesn't answer his question..."

"So what?", she asked. "If they're not registered to vote, they're not entitled to any opinion. If they can't be troubled to at least register, then they have walked away from the reponsibility that all of us share. I'm not asking them to get up off the couch, and vote, just to register."

I sat and thought about it, and it seems simple, because it leads to questions that are just as simple, and things that are public knowledge (to anyone who wants to pay the fee - I think it was $140 in this county for the entire Registrar's Roster), but which will expose the subtle biases of your opponent's position, such as "Which party affiliation did you list? When was the last time you voted? Really? Why not?"

I've just adapted it to distill the basics of any argument to a single question, with a simple 'either/or' answer. (If you can't get a simple question, then you can ask me. I'll come up with it.)

Every argument can honestly be distilled down to an 'either/or' position, without ever resorting to ambiguous labels. For the war in Iraq, I found that "right" and "wrong" depended on your point of view (Saddam thinks he's right, after all), so the question of "Is the war a Good Thing?" or "Is America right to be fighting this war?" are both wrong. It is even simpler than that: "Who do you want to win the war, the United States-led Coalition or Saddam's Iraq?"

In one fell swoop, you get down to the root of the matter. It doesn't matter that they wouldn't actually affect the decision (or that they could, for that matter), but that makes it easier. They're not going to be held responsible for the consequences of that decision. If they refuse to answer, then the discussion ends.

I've had trolls spitting out straw men arguments in rapid fire sprays, in an attempt to confuse the issue, but the beauty of the 'either/or' question is that you just have to keep returning to it. The rest is bullshit.

Once you get an answer, you can then require them to be able to support that position with facts and evidence. It's effective, instructive in the habits of liberals forced to actually answer questions, and it can be fun, too!

Something else that's fun can be found over at American RealPolitik. Drink warning in effect, as Emperor Misha is fond of saying... Have a fun night. I'll be back.
I've apparently gotten a visit from one of the sub-literate anti-war weiners, who come into sites, whinge their most recent pro-Saddam anti-war talking points, pick a few apparently insulting words from the Liberal's "Pick-An-Insult" card, and run away again. Misguided little souls, I can understand how exposure to the nasty ol' truth can cause you pain (like sunlight to vampires and Kryptonite to Superman), so I'll try to give more early warnings. But you WILL be exposed to high levels of the truth in this site. Logic, too, whenever necessary.

I learn this morning that Peter Arnett has been fired from both MSNBC and National Geographic. Do we have to let him back into the country? He doesn't have a job, he's subject to arrest for treason (that was "aid and comfort" as bad as Hanoi Jane ever did), and he's not even a native American citizen (born in New Zealand, naturalized later). He was fired from CNN (!) for knowingly reporting provably false information about the U.S. Government. Can't we just ship him back to Baghdad after we take the city, and let them decide?

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I was just checking my visitor's stats, and found that I had a visitor from Mauritius. Go ahead, look it up, I don't mind. I'll wait.

Ah, back so soon? For those who didn't bother, the island Republic of Mauritius is a small island (about 700 sq.mi.) about 500 miles east of Madagascar. Those of you familiar with the board game "Risk" knows that Madagascar is the largish island off the southeast coast of Africa. What it doesn't show is that Madagascar is about 224,000 sq.mi. in area, so this little island is 1/3 of 1% of the size of that little island off the southeast coast of Africa. It has a population about that of San Antonio.

And at least one of them came by my page. Hee. I'm thrilled to have visitors, no matter where they come from, and so I just say, "Welcome!"
I've decided to put together a list of the anti-war rhetoric and the quick and dirty answers, explaining why the reason is basic bullshit. If any of you think I've missed something, please let me know.

None of these comments are my own ideas, but are taken from various sources around the web, and as they have occured to me. I wish I could give credit (but if anyone knows where they actually came from, feel free to let me know and I'll be happy to give roper credit, once it has been confirmed). Ready?

"It's all about oil" - If we wanted oil, we could have worked to have the UN sanctions lifted, and bought all the oil we wanted. At fair prices. We have an annual GDP of about 10 trillion dollars, and Iraq's is about $60 billion. Hell, Bill Gates could have bought the country, lock, stock and weapons of mass destruction.

"We want the oil for free" - Why didn't we keep it the last time? We could have claimed Kuwait as 'war booty', and gone into southern Iraq and taken what we wanted, and we had enough power at that time to make it stick. But we freed a nation, put out the fires, and went home.

"We're trying to colonize the region" - Bullshit. If we needed living space, we have whole swathes of the West where no one lives, with much the same climate. If we needed the natural resources, realize that the only thing in the region worth having is the oil, but see above.

"It's a war of the West against Islam" - Tell that to the hundreds and thousands of Muslim Americans who are faithfully serving with honor and distinction in the U.S. military. Tell that to the secular Ba'athist regime. And Saddam has never struck anyone as a particularly religious man, until he realized we were serious about taking him out. Then, lo and behold, it's 'Arab brother, this...' and 'Palestinean, that...' and 'Allahu Achbar, the other...' He'll use anything he can to slow us down. Tell that to Saddam's soldiers who are using mosques (and schools and hospitals) to hide their military equipment, because they know that we will do everything we can to preserve the holy places of any and every religion.

"Millions of people are going to starve" - Millions of people have already starved, but not because we're marching across their sands towards Baghdad. We are shipping in hundreds of tons of food and water every day as part of the humanitarian aid packages. We are the first nation on the planet to ship in food to the people of a nation at the same time we're fighting that nation's government. We might lose a few, or even a few thousand, but not because we're not trying to help. How many people would have starved while we were dithering around with months of worthless inspections?

"What's the rush?" - Ask Clinton back in 1998 why he was demanding that we take out Saddam by force? (But follow up by asking him why he only sent in a few missiles without any real effort. Ask him why he never sent the UNSCOM inspectors back into Iraq.) We've been aiming at terrorist states - and those states that support terrorism for two years now. Bush said that Iraq was a member of the Axis of Evil more than a year ago. I gotta say... this is the longest "rush" that the world has even seen. if we had dealt with Germany and Japan this way, we wouldn't have invaded Normandy until the mid-50's, and then Japan sometime during the 60's.

"Increase the inspections" - Even Hans Blix said that inspections are worthless without cooperation. Iraq has lots of practice and a nation the size of California in which to hide stuff. A few dozen people - heavily chaperoned, monitored, bribed, and threatened - aren't going to find anything more than Saddam wants them to find. It has taken defectors from inside the regime to reveal Saddam's perfidy and treachery, followed by a diplomatic scramble to cover it up, and yet another "full, final, and complete" declaration of everything we had proof of, while denying everything else.

"Bush is doing it to avenge his Dad" - if this were the case (never mind that it is a legitimate casus beli for any nation on the planet), the question should be, why didn't Clinton do anything? Is it because he wanted his predecessor dead?

"This is an illegal war/war of aggression" - Which body politic is necessary to give the United States permission to declare war, based on its national security and the peace and stability of the region? The United States Congress? The United Nations Security Council? How far back are the goal posts going to be moved? How many votes do we have to get to make it legitimate in their eyes? 2? 3? How about 17?

"We're losing, so we should pull out" - By what standards? We've taken HUGE swaths of ground, totalling more than 50% of the ground, and 95% of the air. We've had entire divisions of Iraqi soldiers surrender without firing a shot. We've had Iraqi refugees giving up their precious supplies to cook our soldiers a feast. We've suffered less than 50 deaths, and less than half of those have been because of Iraqi fire (and a few of those were because Iraqis were violating the flag of peace, and we came out to accept their surrender, only to be fired upon). All of that in less than 10 days. What would they require for this to be a win? If Tommy Franks had gone on camera and stated that we would achieve the things we have achieved, he would have been widely pronounced deranged. But he did it, nevertheless.

We're killing thousands of Iraqi children" - I would demand verifiable proof. I would also point out reports that Saddam's son, Qusay, has demanded that school administrators send over young girls (12-14 years old) for his pleasure, and if the girls resist, they are beaten and raped. Those that resist too effectively have their families brought in to watch. So who's the monster here?


I know I've forgotten some, so I might be adding to that list, and if any of you can think of anything, feel free to remind me.

Pleasant dreams, kiddies...