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Saturday, August 02, 2003

do read ...

A great essay by David Warren, Yea, though I walk:
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."

This is one of the "hard lines" in the Psalms -- hard to understand for a person coming to the Bible with glib, post-modern expectations of what he will find there...

... Now think about this fine old Hebrew sentiment for a moment, which I will now translate into plain contemporary language: "Let my starving enemy watch me eat."...

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... Likewise it was right for Americans and all lovers of liberty to exult, in two profoundly rightful killings. Justice was served in an instance where mercy could only have been granted at the price of injustice.

The Christian had every business going to church to thank God, for this deliverance from evil. He has every business feeling joy that God has delivered. His prayers, if for the souls of the malefactors, may remain private; they cannot be publicly understood. We pray instead, in victory, for the souls of all the many thousands, the tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent and helpless victims that these tyrants tortured and killed. And for their survivors, who can now sleep in the knowledge that justice is served.

And the words of that prayer might well be those of the Psalmist: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

For it is in such moments as this, that we discover the meaning of the hard lines; and the joy in them -- the joy of God's mercy working in this instance for the people of Iraq. The joy, for the Americans, in having been the instruments of God's mercy.
(via Relapsed Catholic)

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This one is funny ...

Satire: Dem Campaign Heats Up As Saddam Tosses Hat In Ring By David Burge, Political Satire
...During a televised debate at Iowa State University in Ames Wednesday, he deftly parried a question from Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt who challenged his compassion of the plight of working families.

"Mister Gephardt, I am the only candidate on this stage who knows, first hand, how the policies of the Republican Bush gang can destroy families, topple their statues, and leave them in financial ruin," he snarled to thunderous applause.

He also went on the offensive against Kerry, noting that, "while my good friend the senator may talk a good game, I actually know what it takes to implement a 110% flat tax rate."

Perhaps his strongest moment of the night came in a verbal free-for-all against Dean, when the two engaged in a 15-minute argument over which candidate had the stronger anti-Bush record.

Dean later appeared flummoxed when Saddam challenged him to detail his chemical weapons deployment platform. "My record on gassing Kurds is very clear, Howard. Yours is not. You are simply missing in action."

"That's not fair," responded a red faced Dean.

In a verbal coup de grace that drew laughter and cheers, Saddam said, "I knew Chemical Ali. I was friends with Chemical Ali. And Howard, you are no Chemical Ali." ...
(via Bill Quick)

Friday, August 01, 2003

On and on it goes ...

Ralph Peters in the NY Post:
August 1, 2003 -- THE outrageous double standard the "world community" applies to Iraq just reached a new height of hypocrisy.

In a statement worthy of the French diplomat he apparently aspires to become, World Bank President James Wolfensohn concluded his meeting with the Iraqi Governing Council with the disdainful remark that "a constitution and an elected government would constitute a recognized government, but what do we do in the meantime?"

Whoaaa there, Daddy Warbucks! Hold the sauterne and the foie gras!

I don't recall that Saddam's regime was elected. Or that it governed by a constitution. Yet that terror-state was recognized as legitimate by the world's diplomats and international bankers. Every slithering, interest-bearing one of them.

And now Iraq's interim Governing Council doesn't deserve the level of recognition accorded Saddam Hussein?

Saddam seized power in a coup, slaughtered his opponents, started successive wars of aggression, pursued weapons of mass destruction and never held a single honest election. But he was just fine with foreign ministries, the United Nations and world financial institutions.

Yet Iraq's representative Governing Council lacks legitimacy as it seeks to build democracy? And Iraq doesn't qualify for reconstruction loans?

This is a double standard of such a disgraceful magnitude that the only appropriate adjective is "European."...
(via Betsy Newmark)

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Quagmire update ...

Our coalition forces are taking the fight to the enemy in an unrelenting campaign that is bringing daily results. Saddam Hussein's sons did not escape the raids, and neither will other members of that despicable regime.

--George W. Bush
Read it and weep, lefty appeasers. You can bite the President's ankles all you like, you can hinder our nation's efforts in time of war like the treasonous toads you are, but you won't delay by even a week the coming of the day when people in Iraq can order a Big Mac and fries, and a chocolate milkshake to go with 'em...

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P. Krugman
#111: Republicans, not deficits, for as far as the eye can see...

It's hard to see where Paul Krugman is going in State of Decline (08/01/03) which is mostly about the California budget crisis . Ostensibly by trashing California he gets a lead-in to trash Washington and the Bush administration for being potentially as bad off as the Golden State. The trouble is there is so much blame to go around in California that it is hard to know which way to point the fingers. Hence his connection with Washington is a fairly weak rehash of his views on deficits and a Benny Goodman ending "California, here we come."

We take all of this to mean that Krugman is running out of arrows in his anti-Bush quiver. As his column was going to press the 2nd quarter GDP was estimated to have grown at an estimated 2.4 % annual rate. Just as important, the source of growth was widespread, including growth in the elusive business investment and construction categories.

The Krugster better get prepared for some ugly (from his point of view) numbers this Fall and going into 2004. We would not be surprised to see real GDP growth of 4 or 5% in some of those quarters.

What can he say then? It'll probably be something like " the Bush fiscal mess in Washington is being camouflaged by rapid economic growth, job creation and a shrinking deficit". Admittedly that's a tough sell, but, like we said, he's running out of arrows. His best hope is that employment continues to lag for a while. Normally, that's the last indicator to turn up, so he can harp on that for a few more months. After that he's looking at Republicans, not deficits, for as far as the eye can see.

[The Truth Squad is a group of economists who have long marveled at the writings of Paul Krugman. The Squad Reports are synopses of their discussions. ]

Thursday, July 31, 2003

We've been hearing about the 'last mile' for years, and now ...

Richard Bennett linked to a fascinating article in Business Week on Verizon's aggressive new moves
...Now Seidenberg is launching a series of sweeping initiatives to make good on his vow. From hardball pricing tactics that have knocked rivals back on their heels to a capital-spending war chest that's the largest in telecom, he's determined to transform what was once just another sleepy phone company into the pacesetter for the industry. "When you're the market leader," says Seidenberg, "part of your responsibility is to reinvent the market."

At the heart of this reinvention is the most ambitious deployment of new telecom technology in years. Verizon plans to roll out fiber-optic connections to every home and business in its 29-state territory over the next 10 to 15 years, a project that might reasonably be compared with the construction of the Roman aqueducts. It will cost $20 billion to $40 billion, depending on how fast equipment prices fall...

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... Whether the numbers work for Verizon will depend on its costs for the new network. Installing a fiber-optic line in a home or business has dropped to about $2,000 today from more than $4,000 five years ago, according to market researcher Render, Vanderslice & Associates. The firm expects that will fall another 50%, to $1,000, in the next five years, although that will depend on how quickly Verizon and the Bells buy equipment. Doreen Toben, Verizon's chief financial officer, says costs have just now come down enough for the initiative to make financial sense. It should be profitable if the company's expense per line comes in between $1,200 and $1,800...

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Charlene just found this one ...

Brazil is a country of enormous
potential—and always will be.

-- Charles de Gaulle
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

good stuff ...

Dean has an interview with Cox and Forkum, the cartoonists...

cartoonists Cox and Forkum

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Here lies, neatly wrapped in sod,
Henry Hankins c/o God.
On the day of Resurrection,
May be opened for inspection.

-- X.J. Kennedy

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Such a boring neighborhood we live in ...

...there's never anything interesting to see on the street...

Doggie Diner Heads

* Update: Alas, the charming mystery of the three Doggie Diner heads, seen parked a few blocks from our house, yielded to the power of Google in about 20 seconds... Read about them here. And here's a link to the last Doggie Diner head still "in operation," near the SF Zoo...

I'm not sure all this information-at-my-fingertips is a good thing.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Yet cheerfulness will keep breaking in ...

I just happened on this paragraph by Russell Kirk
Yet cheerfulness will keep breaking in. At this hour when Communists and other totalists are busy ripping to shreds the "wardrobe of a moral imagination," certain people of a different cast of mind have turned tailors, doing their best to stitch together once more the fragments of that serviceable old suit we variously call "Christian civilization" or "Western civilization" or "the North Atlantic community" or "the free world." Not by force of arms are civilizations held together, but by the subtle threads of moral and intellectual principle...

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as if it were the Holy Grail ...

I was just thrilled by this story by a 9/11 widow who went to Iraq on a USO tour...
by Christy Ferer

6/30/2003 -  NEW YORK (AFPN)  -- When I told friends about my pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, reaction was underwhelming at best.

Some were blunt. "Why are you going there?" They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf...
How can anyone not understand? Unbelievable! Well, actually not so hard to believe-- sure and I know the type. Prissy cold-hearted urban-elite Liberals--this town is full of them too...
...As we were choppered over deserts that looked like bleached bread crumbs, I wondered if I'd feel like a street hawker, passing out Port Authority pins and baseball caps as I said "thank you" to the troops. Would a hug from me mean anything at all in the presence of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and a Victoria’s Secret model?

The first "meet and greet" made me weep. Why? Soldiers, armed with M16s and saddlebags of water in 120-degree heat, swarmed over the stars for photos and autographs. When it was announced that a trio of Sept. 11 family members was also in the tent it was as if a psychic cork on an emotional dam was popped.

Soldiers from all over our great country rushed toward us to express their condolences. Some wanted to touch us, as if they needed a physical connection to our sorrow and for some living proof for why they were there.

One mother of two from Montana told me she enlisted because of Sept. 11. Dozens of others told us the same thing. One young soldier showed me his metal bracelet engraved with the name of a victim he never knew and that awful date none of us will ever forget...

...One particular soldier, Capt. Vargas from the Bronx, told me he enlisted in the Army after some of his wife's best friends were lost at the World Trade Center.

When he glimpsed the piece of recovered metal from the Towers that I had been showing to a group of soldiers he grasped for it as if it were the Holy Grail. Then he handed it to Kid Rock who passed the precious metal through the 5000 troops in the audience. They lunged at the opportunity to touch the steel that symbolized what so many of them felt was the purpose of their mission -- which puts them at risk every day in the 116 degree heat, not knowing all the while if a sniper was going to strike at anytime...
In a recent post Donald Sensing wrote that 3d Division was a wasting asset. That because of its over-long deployment, re-enlistments would fall catastrophically and the division would have to be almost re-built with new people. Perhaps it will be so, it will be interesting to see. But perhaps he has overlooked one thing. We are all of us hungry to have meaning in our lives, to feel like we are making a difference. Our guys in Iraq have a difficult duty, but I would guess that every one of them also has the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that may change the world...