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Friday, June 30, 2006

Quote of the Day 

Those Justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief’s wartime decisions, only 10 days ago deferred to the judgment of the Corps of Engineers with regard to a matter much more within the competence of lawyers, upholding that agency’s wildly implausible conclusions that a storm drain is a tributary of the water of the United States. It goes without saying that there is much more at stake here than storm drains.
-Justice Thomas, in regards to the Hamdi fiat.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Land Down Under 

I now know where I'll go if things ever dissolve into anarchy in this country...

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Why, of course. 

Rove and Satan are in cahoots. I mean, even second-rate newspapers know that...

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Chicago Terror Plot, and the future of the Bush Whitehouse 

With the foiling of a massive terror plot in Miami, one aimed at none other than the Sears Tower, it is officially pouring for the Bush Whitehouse. It seems like the Bush presidency has been marked, at least since September 11th, by the alarming waxes and wanes of his political fortune; more so than many of his predecessors. Perhaps it is that increased public scrutiny and awareness, that desire to find leadership in time of crisis that accompanied the country's awakening to terror, that caused this trend toward fluctuation in both the public opinion and, seemingly, presidential fortune. At any rate, the triumphant capture of Zarqawi seems to have been the latest trigger for a much-needed upswing. Since then, one can trace the streak of victories, small and large, for the President: the completion of the Iraqi cabinet, the killing of "religious emir" Mansour Suleiman Mansour Khalifi al-Mashhadani, or Sheik Mansour, in Iraq, the recent press release reminding the public and the press that, yes, Saddam had weapons and lots of them, the surprising and encouraging backing by European leaders of the President on both North Korean and Iranian policies, etc. Today's news, however, may be the most important of all.
A federal indictment against seven men revealed Friday details of what the government said was a plan intended to "kill all the devils we can."

The mission was intended to be "as good or greater than 9/11" beginning with the destruction of Chicago's Sears Tower, according to court documents obtained Friday by CNN.

Certainly a chilling prospect, made all the more worrying by my current proximity to the building in question (its only a few blocks from my office in the Federal Reserve). Yet the discovery of this plot is a powerful opportunity for the Bush administration to capitalize on recent success, and translate it into a change in lagging public approval. The news of this latest would-be attack reminds America not only that we are at war with an ideology, one that supersedes traditional understandings of nationality and warfare (5 of the suspects are reportedly American, this is still unconfirmed) and will go to any lengths to inflict change upon its perceived adversary, but also that we must remain vigilant in the pursuit of our own preservation, and not lose sight of the lessons of September 11th. Most important, perhaps, is the unspoken implications behind the fact that this plot is a foiled one. For all his critics, and there are many, all those who decry the Bush administration as lacking focus in the war on terror or trampling civil rights, he sure seems to be doing something right. It's time Republican leadership, and the Whitehouse, started saying so.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You might be a grad student if... 

I'm not yet a grad student, and I already resemble a large majority of the items in this list. I guess that means I'd better become a grad student, huh?

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Shakespeare and Google 

Wow.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Quote of the Day 

Wars are the natural and unavoidable effects of the constitution of human nature and the fabric of the globe it is destined to inhabit and rule. I believe further that wars, at times, are as necessary for the preservation and perfection, the prosperity, liberty, happiness, virtue, and independence of nations as gales of wind to the salubrity of the atmosphere, or the agitations of the ocean to prevent its stagnation and putrefacation. As I believe this to be the constitution of God Almighty and the constant order of his Providence, I must esteem all the speculations of divines and philosophers about universal and perpetual peace as shortsighted, frivolous romances.

--John Adams

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hitler cats 

In case you needed another reason (and certainly you don't...): why you don't want to become one of the great punch-lines of history...

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Religous Liberty vs Gay Marriage 

Watch out for the coming "train wreck"...

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

No, not sabotage 


Justice.

This video encapsulates much of my feelings about the death of Zarqawi today.

While there is a slight twinge about the killing of another human being, even one as deserving of being and necessarily killed as Zarqawi that let's me know I haven't lost my humanity due to the brutality that Zarqawi has unleashed on so many, it's far below the overwhelming joy I get every time I see that house explode in that video. I know at that moment he got the justice he had coming.

For thousands of years it was considered, even in Christian times, to be virtuous to bring justice to ones enemies. Zarqawi was certainly an enemy of mine and every other citizen of the US, Iraq, Jordan, and several other nations. The death of such a vile enemy is truly a very great and noble deed.

I congratulate and thank the soldiers, and even any informers that provided intel, for this, but especially our US troops, for this. Today is a great day.

Also, interestingly, I think the joy I know I can rightly have over the death of this very evil murderer must be something similar to that felt in ancient times when one defeated an enemy in battle. While I certainly did not contribute to this victory directly, I am a citizen of a democracy--the victory of the nation is a victory for every citizen. So thus, I celebrate our victory.

UPDATE:You have to enjoy the good when it comes around, for it doesn't come around often in war. If you don't, you won't have the will to make it through the bad and trying times that'll inevitably come. Celebrate now, and harden your hearts with the resolve to keep pushing towards victory.

Another UPDATE: A sentiment from someone in the Administration that I think sums up Zarqawi's death well as far as our war to bring democracy and stability to Iraq:
At worst this is really, really good, at best it's ground-breaking.


UPDATE-the-third:From The Captain:
While Zarqawi's strength came from his decentralized ability to cause casualties randomly, our strength comes from our ability and resources to plan and execute complex and overpowering missions to defeat asymmetrical threats. Today, we see that our strengths will inevitably provide victory over those of the terrorists. They are outclassed, and the only way they can win is if we give up


UPDATE Four: Yeah, just to further make clear why the flash of that bomb in the above viedo brings me so much joy--Zarqawi is the guy with the saw and the head in his hands in the infamous Berg decapitation video.

1000 lbs of high explosives was too generous for Zarqawi.

UPDATE Five: Proverbs 11:10
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicket perish there are shouts of gladness.
So shout for joy!

Also, why this is good for our efforts in the war--Proverbs 11:7
When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
Certainly our moral is increased, and our enemies decreases. Also, a great propogandist and organizer of men has been killed. The death of Zarqawi cannot be interpreted as anything but a great step forward.

Finally, he had it coming, and was ratted out by his associates--Proverbs 11:5
The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
(NB: all of the above biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version of the Bible [ESV])

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Machiavelli on running Harvard 

Mansfield certainly channels the Florentine Devil in this piece on the resignation of Larry Summers a few months back. Machiavelli's influence (and that of several other thinks, like Aristotle) on Mr. Mansfield is especially obvious in the closing paragraph:
Summers's administration was a one-man show. He did not build a group of supporters to carry out his plans. He relied on himself alone. It was as if his individual superiority would bring victory in a series of single combats without his having to build an army with soldiers, marshals, and a Garde Impériale. His audience would applaud his victories and the common good would be served. Yet this picture is not quite right. Far from imitating Napoleon, Mr. Summers believed in reason and in self-interest as the object of reason. He thought he could prevail without winning and apologize without losing. Nor would he have to out-argue his intellectual inferiors. He would merely question their opinions and show them their indubitable self-interest. He was in a deep sense impolitic, an economic man who knows nothing of war and hence nothing of politics. He lost his own opportunity and in doing so may have spoiled it for others.

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Strap-on 'Batwings' for SpecOps 

This is totally awesome, and a great idea as well.

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Anti-War Protesters at D-Day 

The whole list is great, but this is my personal favorite (you won't get it if you know nothing about the start of WWI, which hopefully isn't the case):
5. We are attacked by Japan and then attack France? Roosevelt is worse than the Kaiser!

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The in-betweeners 

This article tries to answer the question about why there seems to be a lack of great artists in the Baby Boom generation, and concludes with a very damning indictment:
The generation born in the '30s and early '40s was at the forefront of this campaign to destroy old taboos, to eradicate the fears and restraints. For a while, it seemed an epic struggle — taboos and fears and restraints die hard. An aura of heroism, of great projects of liberation, clung to their efforts. And those efforts did take courage and conviction.

But by the early '70s, the battle had been won. The taboos were gone. And all we had left were "lifestyles," the religion of the baby boomers, with their extended egos. Whatever else this religion is, it is not a formula for greatness.
Ouch.

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Polygamy Versus Democracy 

Marriage, as its ultramodern critics would like to say, is indeed about choosing one's partner, and about freedom in a society that values freedom. But that's not the only thing it is about. As the Supreme Court justices who unanimously decided Reynolds in 1878 understood, marriage is also about sustaining the conditions in which freedom can thrive. Polygamy in all its forms is a recipe for social structures that inhibit and ultimately undermine social freedom and democracy. A hard-won lesson of Western history is that genuine democratic self-rule begins at the hearth of the monogamous family.
So, if you say that's a ridiculous opinion, read the article, which is full of historically-backed argument, and then get back to me.

Also, as an aside, I found this little passage to be very thought-provoking:
The 12-year federal drive to enforce Reynolds was far more than a quest to root out polygamy. In effect, the fight against polygamy was a slow, frustrating, expensive, ultimately successful campaign to democratize Utah. (The parallels to the war on terror are eerie.)

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On Manliness 

Wow. If ironic, I call that 'review' brilliant rhetoric. If instead it holds any pretensions to criticism, I call it hilarious for a very baser reason.

Again, wow. Sometimes I forget the depths that pretentious ignorance can plumb. That article is better than any parody I could do. Reading is truly believing; check it out for a good laugh, especially if you've actually engaged with Mansfield's book.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

6606 

Well, on this auspicious day, I thought I should post something on-theme.

You might find it more entertaining if you know it's inspired by Evil Dead(of which Army of Darkness is a classic).

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