Wednesday, June 29, 2005

R & R

I will be on vacation for a week or so, so posting will be light... LOL, who am I kidding - posting will be non-existent!

No electricity, no phone, no computer... yep, no posting.

And that's the good news. The bad news is I won't be reading, either.

For those interested, read on. All others - see you in a week.

Each year at July 4th, my family gets together for a campout on our family owned campground in Northern California. What with travel time and all, we are left with several days of food, fun and games. Here are some photos of previous camps.

A view of part of the camp itself. Yes, the large trees are Redwoods, Sequoia Sempervirens. Out of sight to the right is the South Fork of the Eel River.

Speaking of the river, one of the annual activities is a float down the river.
This photo was taken from the normal put-in point, about two miles upstream from the camp. At this time of the year the water level is low, so even though this is now classified as a Wild and Scenic river, there is no whitewater. That is, unless you create it yourself. Conditions range from wide, shallow riffles a few inches deep, to narrower, faster riffles, a foot or two deep, to slow, languid pools, excellent for swimming.

Of course, activities such as the above generate a large appetite. Division of labor is by consensus, with some cooking:


And some waiting...


But we all eat!


And don't forget the nightly campfire tradition: S'mores! (chocolate and hot, fire-toasted marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers)


And even though we're way off by ourselves, and have no need to display our patriotism, we don't forget who we are.


With a few exceptions, these annual gatherings turn out well. As long as California doesn't experience 'The Big One!' while we're there, I anticipate that everyone will be happy. Two of the large 'quakes a couple of weeks ago were very close to this location, but we're far enough inland that there are no worries about tsunamis.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Absolute Funniest

This is so far out it isn't even annoying. The image that immediately popped into my mind was Daffy Duck slobbering... daffy_pic.jpg

You're despicable!

Thanks to Free Republic for the pointer. You should read the whole thing, some of the comments are priceless.

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No! He Didn't Say That! Did He?

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill suggested to a forum on conscientious objection they might be more effective in opposing war if they supported the "fragging" or killing of line officers. [...]
No comment at this time.

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Update: (06/27/05 11:58 AM CDT) Michelle Malkin speaks up on this, and has lots of links to previous Ward Churchill idiocy.

And I am still speechless. I mean, how incredibly stupid can a single person be?

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C'ya, Wouldn't Wanna B'ya

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrived in Washington on a short trip, so says the AP. I would respectfully suggest to President Bush that if the esteemed (or should that be 'e's steamed!) Herr Schroeder does not have his hat in his hand, that the trip be more akin to a 'touch and go'!

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Death Wish - Cloned!

Now THIS is a man after my own heart!
A HOSTAGE held alongside Australian Douglas Wood in Iraq has hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors, promising to eliminate them one by one.
Who says modern-day Swedes lack cojones?

Update: (06/27/05 9:20 AM CDT) Via Instapundit comes this link to Tim Blair's take on the subject, offhandedly:
How dreadfully coarse.
I think I detect a bit of sarcasm there... read it all, plus comments!

Also, read Arthur Chrenkoff on the subject.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sedition and Unpatriotic Activities

I am sickened, saddened, hurt, and really, really pissed off. Last night at about midnight, I pulled up a Yahoo News page. For your edification, I have provided below a paragraph or so of the text from all of the Featured Articles and Opinion & Editorials sections that were displayed. I did not even look at the (more stories) links. Each of these articles can easily be categorized as a negative portrayal of the efforts of the United States and her Allies in the Global War on Terror. Nearly every instance of a positive report is quickly followed by a series of but... statements, all negative.

I have railed and ranted on the subject before, along with many others, on how the Mainstream Media presents an overwhelmingly negative slant on the news. Actually, in many cases it goes far beyond a slanting or bias in reporting, it is an actual twisting of facts. Lies, if you will. Or even if you won't.

"But wait!" you say, "These are facts being reported."

PERCEPTION IS REALITY! To the majority of Americans these facts being reported are their only perception of the news. Their perception, therefore their reality, is distorted. For a news organization to pawn this perception off on the American public is to LIE to that public. Enough preamble.... check these out:

Feature Articles

BAGHDAD--From dusk till dawn, chaos reigned. As darkness fell last Wednesday, three apparently synchronized bombs exploded in a Shiite neighborhood, killing 23 people. With the rising sun came four more blasts in another Shiite part of Baghdad that killed at least 17 Iraqis. The dead were found in two mosques, a shopping area, and a bathhouse. Even in a city becoming inured to such horrors, this seemed staggering in its intensity--and its audacity.

A surge of suicide attacks--largely against civilian targets--has had almost no military effect on American forces nor any significant impact on the development of the Iraqi Army. But the bombs nonetheless have proved quite effective--on both sides of the globe. [...]

Following the trail of death: how foreigners flock to join holy war
By Richard Beeston and James Hider
How long can the Syrian border remain porous?
IN A garden café on the airport road into Damascus clusters of young men gather to drink coffee, smoke shisha and hear some awe-inspiring accounts of death and glory that will lead many on a journey to certain death in the battle raging across the border in Iraq. [...]

President Bush and his guest, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, reversed roles yesterday in the East Room. While the quiet Iraqi delivered a peppy sales pitch to the United States and spoke cheerfully of declining violence, the famously sunny president kept talking about how terribly rough things are. [...]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
President Bush insisted on Saturday he had a strategy for defeating the deadly insurgency in
Iraq but Democrats said the war was threatening to descend into a quagmire.

Bush said he had a two-track plan that involved training Iraqis to handle more of their own security, and helping the country develop a stable democracy. [...]

Some key economic statistics since the June 2004 handover of sovereignty in


Actual crude oil production in June 2004: 2.295 million barrels a day.

Actual crude oil production in June 2005: 2.20 million barrels a day.

(Stated goal: 2.5 million barrels a day).

Actual crude oil export in June 2004: 1.148 million barrels a day.

Actual crude oil export in June 2005: 1.362 million barrels a day.

Oil revenue from exports in June 2004: $1.28 billion.

Oil revenue from exports in June 2005: $0.61 billion.

Speak to any Iraqi and they will tell you their standard of living has not improved since the toppling of Saddam Hussein two years ago.
Many will tell you it has got worse. The power supply is still off more than it is on. Water is intermittent. The queues for petrol stretch round the block. Jobs are hard to find. And all despite the billions of dollars budgeted for reconstruction. So where has all the money gone? [...]

Opinion & Editorials

To have the sober conversation about the war in Iraq that America badly needs, it is vital to acknowledge three facts:

The war has nothing to do with Sept. 11. Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of Washington, but there was no Iraq-Qaeda axis, no connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks on the United States. Yet the president and his supporters continue to duck behind 9/11 whenever they feel pressure about what is happening in Iraq. The most cynical recent example was Karl Rove's absurd and offensive declaration this week that conservatives and liberals had different reactions to 9/11. Let's be clear: Americans of every political stripe were united in their outrage and grief, united in their determination to punish those who plotted the mass murder and united behind the war in Afghanistan, which was an assault on terrorists. Trying to pretend otherwise is the surest recipe for turning political dialogue into meaningless squabbling
. [...]

Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one to let reality get in the way of his message. With his credibility already strained after it turned out that none of his pre-war assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were true, he is nonetheless still deluded by wishful thinking. A case in point: his recent assertion that increased violence in Iraq indicates the insurgency there is in its "last throes, if you will."

No, we won't, and neither, as it turns out, will the Army's top brass. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, essentially said that was nonsense while testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. "I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago," he said, adding that the strength of the insurgency is "about the same" as it was six months ago. [...]

The script was Brussels does Baghdad this Wednesday at an international conference of foreign ministers - co-sponsored by the US and the European Union - high on rhetoric and low on practical decisions, designed to support nation (re)building in Iraq as a "pluralist democracy". UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Iraqis should "take heart from this strong message of support".

Unscripted response in the streets of Baghdad: four car bombs, 32 dead, more than 50 wounded. [...]

[...] "This war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged. And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying. And there really is no end in sight," Kennedy said, as the Secretary of Defense sat opposite him during an appearance before the
Senate Armed Services Committee.

Arguing that "the American people, I believe, deserve leadership worthy of the sacrifices that our fighting forces have made, and they deserve the real facts," Kennedy told Rumsfeld, "I regret to say that I don't believe that you have provided either." [...]


In this former imperial capital, every square seems to contain a giant statue of a Habsburg on horseback, posing as a conquering hero.

America's founders knew all too well how war appeals to the vanity of rulers and their thirst for glory. That's why they took care to deny presidents the kingly privilege of making war at their own discretion.

But after 9/11 President Bush, with obvious relish, declared himself a "war president." And he kept the nation focused on martial matters by morphing the pursuit of Al Qaeda into a war against Saddam Hussein. [...]

The questions about U.S. presence in Iraq aren't about winning or losing. The driving factor must be improving, protecting and respecting the lives of the Iraqi people. [...]

See what I mean? Has anyone seen any reports of President Bush's poll numbers dropping like a rock recently? Do you wonder why? Most Americans do not wonder why, instead they read the news about the dropping polls, and think that maybe this President isn't so good after all. Maybe time for a Democrat in that office. And the culpable news organizations strut around acting all innocent like ("Did I do that?"), while privately gloating gleefully about this fine kettle of fish. (Thanks to Gerry at Daly Thoughts for the poll link)

Watch Your Six has this to say:

[...] Part of what I am doing is to combat the perception that we are losing this war. If we are losing, it's because the will of the American people is being sapped by constant negative images in the press. War, much like life, is not black and white. There is no such thing as a "good" war or a "bad" war. War is a dirty, nasty, cruel, but sometimes necessary thing. My dad told me when I was a kid never to get into a fight. He also told me that there was one thing worse than getting into a fight and that is losing a fight. I have way too much personally invested in this war to just stand by and watch America lose. That's part of what I'm trying to do here... get the word out and win back some popular support to see this through to the end and not see America "cut and run" too early to make our sacrifices worthwhile. [...]

We are in a multi-front war here, folks. We have a Campaign happening in Afghanistan, another in Iraq, but first and foremost, we have the home front to deal with. The people responsible for twisting the news, gaming the system so to speak, must be countered at every turn. When they are in a position of power, and the ability to set the tone of the American conversation IS a position of power, and they misuse that power, they must face consequences. Sedition and unpatriotic activities are cause for removal from said positions.

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Update: (06/27/05 12:40 AM CDT) From the Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal (Subscription section, excerpt available here at Free Republic):

"It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq." – Senator Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.), June 27, 2005, U.S. News & World Report.

"And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying and there really is no end in sight." – Senator Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.), June 23, 2005, Armed Services Committee hearing.


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Update: (06/27/05 9:40 AM CDT) And from ABC News:
[...] Public views are largely at odds with Cheney's assessment of the strength of the insurgency in Iraq: While Cheney said in an interview in late May that it's "in its last throes," only a quarter of Americans agree. And while Rice said success in Iraq "will be a death knell for terrorism as we know it," again only about a quarter of the public believes that defeating the insurgents in Iraq would do a great deal to defeat terrorism more generally, beyond Iraq's borders. [...]
Nefariously create, then innocently report! I repeat: Bastards!

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Update: (06/27/05 5:00 PM CDT) Cenk Sumbas of (where else?) Cenk Sumbas offered a comment to this post. I prepared a (I think) nice reply, then Haloscan or Blogspot decided that I had included too many links! So, because I'm basically lazy and didn't want to waste all of that typing, I am reproducing both here (TAKE THAT, Haloscan!). First, the comment by Cenk Sumbas:
Sometimes it is important to hear other voices. Maybe, they are telling the truth which you do not want to hear. Do not blind and try to see everyview possible.
And my reply:

Yes, I agree that all voices should be heard... to a point. We in the United States have the right to express our opinions, and that is a good thing. Even if that opinion includes the burning of the flag.

The evaluation about whether the United States should have used force against the Iraqi Hussein regime was important. And that question was answered. Those who continue to throw up the same arguments are saying, in effect, that our system is wrong, and they won't support it if the result goes against what they want/believe.

The question about whether the Iraqi Campaign is being won or lost is also a good discussion, and necessary. But to continually harp on the losing aspect at the expense of contrary data and opionions may become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that is wrong.

Read my post again... I am not saying that the hard facts (i.e. number dead, amount of attacks, etc.) are incorrect. In fact, I accept them as accurate until they are shown to be incorrect. I did not read each of these stories with fact checking in mind, and am not making the accustion that they are incorrect. However, once a fact has been shown to be wrong, it is dishonest to continue using the original numbers as fact. For instance, how many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the toppling of the Hussein regime? Is it 100,000, or closer to 25,000?

Opinions are just that... opinion. People will come to differing conclusions based on the same facts. That's fine, and expressing those opinions is our right.

Here is where we get to the crux of my rant: Facilitating the expression of only negative opinions is also dishonest. In a time of war, this amounts to sedition and treason, and is by definition unpatriotic.

Again, read the articles referenced by my post. At best, a few might, if you stretch, be classified as neutral. Most are negative.

Yet you should be well enough informed to know that there are good and positive things happening in Iraq. The economy has improved tremendously, violence outside of the Sunni triangle is very low, and the Iraqi people are fast becoming self-governimg, and self-policing.

Now I fully understand that individually, not all reporters, editors, and publishers either condone or facilitate this practice of presenting negative bias, or spin, to the American public. But the preponderance do, especially when you look at the news entities as a whole, rather than as a collection of individuals. And that negativity colors what the American public thinks about the war effort. And that's wrong.

The fact that you or I like or dislike President Bush (yes, I visited your blog) is not relevant to any of the above.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and offering your opinion.

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