Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What's Up With Iran?

Via LGF Iran continues to pursue their nuclear development, while the Europeans continue to keep doing the same thing, but hoping for a different result.

Violence Is NOT the Answer

I have to agree with Arthur Chrenkoff, while I’m very happy to see some eyes opened in Europe, vigilantism is NOT the way to go. For all the talk of how ‘backwards’ the US is, seems we handle things a bit differently.

Like The Anchoress, I am becoming a bit concerned though, that the ‘intellectual left’ is trying to incite the extreme right with articles like this. I hope they get through all the nuance of their loss and move on.

Oh Gee, Seems the Patriot Act May Be Crimping Style

Via John Moser at No Left Turns. Seems the government has really been making the universities account for foreign students, (even foreign historians), regarding visas and greencards. They are also looking at some curriculum being taught in k-12, (perhaps the Koran being taught, in the guise of multiculturalism? Anyone say California?)

Never fear, they are working on a way to combat these incursions. (Unite and Overcome!)

Spanish PM Went A Bit Too Far

(HT Discarded Lies) Spain has not been a major player for years, then came the support for US/UK via José María Aznar with the chance to be on stage with the most serious. Unfortunately the Spanish chose a new leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, following the mishandling of the Madrid terror bombings.

Zapatero has made criticizing and attempting to humiliate GW a centerpiece of his administration. He should be very happy to be ignored for 4 years. . .

I Fear This Is Probably True

I would hope the government wouldn’t try to ‘protect’ us from threats, especially if our military members are the ones paying the price. Blaster’s links however, seem more than credible. With links, he makes the case. If I ever figure out how to add ‘favorites’ his blog most definitely has a link.

Cheney To Hospital

Shortness of breath. Hospital will already have a readout from the pacemaker, seems it is hooked up via a computer to constantly provide a readout.

Happy Birthday!

Oh I loved these as a child, now I make my own. . .

Washington Post on CIA

It looks like a shake-up is coming, none too soon, hopefully there will be real changes:

. . .Transitions between CIA directors are often unsettling for career officers. Goss's arrival has been especially tense because he brought with him four former members of the intelligence committee known widely on the Hill and within the agency for their abrasive management style and for their criticism of the agency's clandestine services in a committee report.

Three are former mid-level CIA officials who left the agency disgruntled, according to former colleagues. The fourth, Murray, who also worked at the Justice Department, has a reputation for being highly partisan. When senior managers have gone to Goss to complain about his staff actions, one CIA officer said, Goss has told them: "Talk to my chief of staff. I don't do personnel. . ."

Japan Protests China Sub

Hey Eddie, if you see this please comment on what the news is in Japan. Been watching this a couple of days, wondered if it would turn into something.

Iran Answers

What will be the European response?

. . .Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity from atomic power plants, not making bombs.
Tehran gave its response to the EU deal Thursday but there has been no announcement yet of a final agreement. EU diplomats say Iran has been trying to change some of the terms of the deal, including the scope of the enrichment suspension.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to release a report shortly on Iran's nuclear program ahead of an IAEA board meeting on Nov. 25.
The IAEA has found several potentially weapons-related activities in Iran but so far no "smoking gun" that points to a nuclear arms program.
Kharrazi said it was time for Iran's case to be closed.
"We have done all we could to cooperate with the agency. Most of the questions are addressed now. There is nothing more Iran can do … We think it is time to close Iran's case with the agency," he said.

Some Will Escape, But Not That Many

It appears the Marines are not going to allow the melting of insurgents that has happened elsewhere. . .

Is the CIA A Rogue Agency?

This has been going on for a while, one of the earliest examples was hinted at by Tenet, even before the beginning of the war. As Brooks notes in the title article, the CIA purpose is to serve an administration’s policies, not make them. While the leaks from the CIA have always been a problem, the escalation in the Bush administration has reached dangerous proportions. Personally, I hope the underlying reason is only the criticism leveled in relation to the 9/11 attack.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Ok, Gonna Get Some Joe

Via Blackfive, Starbucks is donating 50k pounds of coffee for the troops. Note also that Sears is doing their part.

Let the Analysis Begin

Via Best of the Web:

Twelve days before the election, James Carville stood in a Beverly Hills living room surrounded by two generations of Hollywood stars. After being introduced by Sen. John Kerry's daughter, Alexandra, he told the room — confidently, almost cockily — that the election was in the bag.

"If we can't win this damn election," the advisor to the Kerry campaign said, "with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55 percent of the country believing we're heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates, and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs — if we can't win this one, then we can't win shit! And we need to completely rethink the Democratic Party."

Well, as it turns out, that's exactly what should be done. But instead, Carville and his fellow architects of the Democratic defeat have spent the last week defending their campaign strategy, culminating on Monday morning with a breakfast for an elite core of Washington reporters.

At the breakfast, Carville, together with chief campaign strategist Bob Shrum and pollster Stan Greenberg, seemed intent on one thing — salvaging their reputations.

They blamed the public for not responding to John Kerry's message on the economy, and they blamed the news media for distracting voters from this critical message with headlines from that pesky war in Iraq.

"News events were driving this," said Shrum. "The economy was not driving the news coverage."But shouldn't it have been obvious that Iraq and the war on terror were the real story of this campaign? Only these Washington insiders, stuck in an anachronistic 1990s mind-set and re-fighting the 1992 election, could think that the economy would be the driving factor in a post-9/11 world with Iraq in flames. That the campaign's leadership failed to recognize that it was no longer "the economy, stupid," was the tragic flaw of the race.

UPDATE: More from the New Republic:

. . . The lack of message was made worse by the failure to articulate a compelling narrative. "People had a story about George Bush," says a senior Kerry adviser. "The story was he was the accidental president who was transformed by 9/11 into a strong and serious leader. That kind of story matters to people." Instead of a story, aides confess, the Kerry campaign had a laundry list of policy proposals, or, in the words of James Carville, a litany rather than a narrative. "The human mind revolves around a story," says Carville. "Churches have litanies. Religions have a narrative.... It's the way we think. But we're selling a set of issue positions. The same thing always comes back: People always like our positions on the issues, and we always lose. . ."

I Can't Believe This Man Was A US President

Jimmy Carter may have been the worst president we ever had, I think so. David Brooks wrote about just how isolationist he was. Others have criticized him on many other grounds, yet he has the temerity to write an op-ed, linked above, praising Arafat and decrying the present administration.

Iran and England, France, Germany

Since this attempt to deal with Iran, I've thought the main EU members going down the wrong road, one well traveled by the Clinton administration and NK. The above article explains why. Captain Ed has a post that seems to point to a lesson learned perhaps. Here’s a more recent take.

Scott Peterson Guilty of Murder-First Degree

of both Laci and second degree for Conner.

The Euro/US Divide

Via a comment at Medienkritik . This letter, reminiscent of this or this written by Victor David Hanson and this, and this, and perhaps most applicable, this by Steven Den Beste, tries to converse with the Europeans that refuse to understand that it’s not the US that has changed:

. . . But before you write us off as just a bunch of sweaty, hairy-chested, Bible-thumping morons who are more likely to break their fast by dipping a Krispy Kreme into a diet cola than a biscotti into an espresso – and who inexplicably have won more Nobel prizes than all other countries combined, host 25 or 30 of the world’s finest universities and five or six of the world’s best symphonies, produce wines that win prizes at your own tasting competitions, have built the world’s most vibrant economy, are the world’s only military superpower and, so to speak in our spare time, have landed on the moon and sent our robots to Mars – may I suggest you stop frothing at the mouth long enough to consider just what are these ideas we hold that you find so silly and repugnant?

We believe that church and state should be separate, but that religion should remain at the center of life. We are a Judeo-Christian culture, which means we consider those ten things on a tablet to be commandments, not suggestions. We believe that individuals are more important than groups, that families are more important than governments, that children should be raised by their parents rather than by the State, and that marriage should take place only between a man and a woman. We believe that rights must be balanced by responsibilities, that personal freedom is a privilege we must be careful not to abuse, and that the rule of law cannot be set aside when it becomes inconvenient. We believe in economic liberty, and in the right of purposeful and industrious entrepreneurs to run their businesses – and thus create jobs – with a minimum of government interference. We recognize that other people see things differently, and we are tolerant of their views. But we believe that our country is worth defending, and if anyone decides that killing us is an okay thing to do we will go after them with everything we’ve got.

If these beliefs seem strange to you, they shouldn’t. For these are precisely the beliefs that powered Western Europe – you -- from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, on to the Enlightenment, and forward into the modern world. They are the beliefs that made Europe itself the glory of Western civilization and – not coincidentally – ignited the greatest outpouring of art, literature, music and scientific discovery the world has ever known including Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Bach, Issac Newton and Descartes. . .

UPDATE: Captain Ed links to an op-ed by Brent Scowcroft, that provides proof that idiocy is not limited to the Europeans. . .

Yesterday Was Conferences

Not much time for blogging or checking out the news. Not the most pleasant conference day/night I've ever spent, though there were high and low points. In spite of my age, I've only been teaching 6 years probably due to my age, my learning curve has been pretty high based on parent and administration responses. For the past year I've been increasing my knowledge of attending to the challenges of exceptional children, while addressing these issues since the beginning, I'm doing so in a more systematic method.

So what happened? In the past, nearly all parents were positive with the progress of their children and my attention to their adolescents. Last night the parents of the students with the most problems, academically and behaviorally (5), were thrilled with their progress. Most of the parents were pleased (24). Some of those with the most successful students though (3), felt their children were being challenged too much and I wasn't helping them enough with 'issues' of social natures. I'm trying to analyze if these three parents have a legitimate complaint or having consulted/argued with each other, (their girls have been bickering), and are trying to dump their problem on me? While it may be a case of 'you can't please everyone,' I'm concerned that perhaps too much of my energies are being directed to the special needs and gifted students.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Speaks Volumes

Really, there is nothing else to say, via Instapundit :

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on Arafat's death:"Chairman Arafat personified the Palestinian people's struggle to see their right to self-determination realized. Canada calls on Palestinians, and all peoples of the Middle East, to reflect on the tremendous cost of conflict, and, building on the legacy of their leaders and the guidance of their governments, to renew their commitment to peace."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Arafat's death:"I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity in the year 2000 to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barack [sic], which involved the Israelis agreeing to 90 per cent of what the Palestinians had wanted."

Captive Found In Falluja?

FOX just had an alert that military forces have located a captive held in Falluja, does not appear to be a Westerner. He was beaten and shackled. No link yet. That is one of the reasons why the UN is wrong about not dealing with this terrorist enclave.

UPDATE: Seems to be nearly accurate, but they found 3 Iraqi captives

From A Grateful Nation

“Honoring all who served”

My dad served in WWII, he was wounded at Omaha Beach,
Big Red One-This from a tank attachment. I grew up respecting vets, including during and after Vietnam. Since the first Persian Gulf War, especially since 9/11, it seems all the more incumbent on all of us to thank those that protect all of us.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes”! ~Maya Angelou

National Site
Related quotes
Thank You!


Palestinian Leader Arafat Dies at 75

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Veteran's Day

My favorite, though departed newspaperman Mike Royko, via one of my favorite bloggers, Blackfive:

I just phoned six friends and asked them what they will be doing on Monday.

They all said the same thing: working.

Me, too.

There is something else we share. We are all military veterans.

And there is a third thing we have in common. We are not employees of the federal government, state government, county government, municipal government, the Postal Service, the courts, banks, or S & Ls, and we don’t teach school.

If we did, we would be among the many millions of people who will spend Monday goofing off.

Which is why it is about time Congress revised the ridiculous terms of Veterans Day as a national holiday.

The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all veterans.

So how does this country honor them?

By letting the veterans, the majority of whom work in the private sector, spend the day at their jobs so they can pay taxes that permit millions of non-veterans to get paid for doing nothing.

As my friend Harry put it:

"First I went through basic training. Then infantry school. Then I got on a crowded, stinking troop ship that took 23 days to get from San Francisco to Japan. We went through a storm that had 90 percent of the guys on the ship throwing up for a week.

"Then I rode a beat-up transport plane from Japan to Korea, and it almost went down in the drink. I think the pilot was drunk.

"When I got to Korea, I was lucky. The war ended seven months after I got there, and I didn’t kill anybody and nobody killed me.

"But it was still a miserable experience. Then when my tour was over, I got on another troop ship and it took 21 stinking days to cross the Pacific.

"When I got home on leave, one of the older guys at the neighborhood bar — he was a World War II vet — told me I was a ----head because we didn’t win, we only got a tie.

"So now on Veterans Day I get up in the morning and go down to the office and work.

"You know what my nephew does? He sleeps in. That’s because he works for the state.

"And do you know what he did during the Vietnam War? He ducked the draft by getting a job teaching at an inner-city school.

"Now, is that a raw deal or what?"

Of course that’s a raw deal. So I propose that the members of Congress revise Veterans Day to provide the following:

- All veterans — and only veterans — should have the day off from work. It doesn’t matter if they were combat heroes or stateside clerk-typists.

Anybody who went through basic training and was awakened before dawn by a red-neck drill sergeant who bellowed: "Drop your whatsis and grab your socks and fall out on the road," is entitled.

- Those veterans who wish to march in parades, make speeches or listen to speeches can do so. But for those who don’t, all local gambling laws should be suspended for the day to permit vets to gather in taverns, pull a couple of tables together and spend the day playing poker, blackjack, craps, drinking and telling lewd lies about lewd experiences with lewd women. All bar prices should be rolled back to enlisted men’s club prices, Officers can pay the going rate, the stiffs.

- All anti-smoking laws will be suspended for Veterans Day. The same hold for all misdemeanor laws pertaining to disorderly conduct, non-felonious brawling, leering, gawking and any other gross and disgusting public behavior that does not harm another individual.

- It will be a treasonable offense for any spouse or live-in girlfriend (or boyfriend, if it applies) to utter the dreaded words: "What time will you be home tonight?"

- Anyone caught posing as a veteran will be required to eat a triple portion of chipped beef on toast, with Spam on the side, and spend the day watching a chaplain present a color-slide presentation on the horrors of VD.

- Regardless of how high his office, no politician who had the opportunity to serve in the military, but didn’t, will be allowed to make a patriotic speech, appear on TV, or poke his nose out of his office for the entire day.

Any politician who defies this ban will be required to spend 12 hours wearing headphones and listening to tapes of President Clinton explaining his deferments.

Now, deal the cards and pass the tequila.

- Mike Royko

Spend That Political Capital

The President can't 'save' his political capital, anything can happen to make it evaporate. Bush is coming out swinging, which should give Iran/NK pause:

WASHINGTON - Fresh from re-election, President Bush is dusting off an ambitious proposal to overhaul Social Security, a controversial idea that had been shelved because of politics and the administration's focus on tax cuts and terrorism.

Bush envisions a framework that would partially privatize Social Security with personal investment accounts, similar to 401(k) plans, that would be voluntary for younger workers.

A starting point is a plan proposed by a presidential commission in 2001 to divert 2 percent of workers' payroll taxes into private accounts. The remaining 4.2 percent — and the payroll taxes employers pay — would go into the system, helping fund benefits for current retirees. That leaves an estimated shortfall of about $2 trillion to continue funding benefits for current retirees.

Bush said his commission, headed by the late Democratic Sen. Patrick Moynihan of New York, provided "a good blueprint." The commission had been asked to propose a plan for establishing personal investment accounts.
. .

Koffi Accused of Obstruction

For anyone that's been following the Oil-for-Food scam, this is a 'no duh' moment:

Senators Accuse U.N. Leader of Blocking Their Fraud InquiryBy JUDITH MILLER
eaders of a United States Senate subcommittee investigating allegations of fraud in the oil-for-food program in Iraq have accused Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, of obstructing their inquiry.

In a letter sent to Mr. Annan yesterday, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations charged that the secretary general and a panel he appointed to conduct an independent investigation into the charges of abuses appeared to be "affirmatively preventing" the Senate from getting documents from a former United Nations contractor that inspected goods bought by Iraq.

The senators also complained that Mr. Annan was blocking access to 55 internal audit reports of the program and other relevant documents and refusing to permit United Nations officials to be interviewed by the subcommittee's investigators.

The United Nations-administered program, which ran from 1996 to 2003, allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy food and other essential supplies for Iraqis hurt by economic sanctions.

The senators said it had taken four months for Mr. Annan to reply to the subcommittee's requests, and when he finally did, he refused to cooperate with the Senate inquiry.

"We are concerned that the U.N.'s nondisclosure policy is being used as both a sword and a shield," the senators wrote, "sharing such 'internal records' when it favors the U.N., but then declining to do so when such disclosure could have negative implications."

The blunt letter is signed by the subcommittee's chairman, Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, and Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan.

Edward Mortimer, director of communications in the secretary general's office, said United Nations officials would "carefully look into what is clearly a very awkward and troubling letter."

He said he would also consult with Paul A. Volcker, who heads the United Nations-appointed investigation panel. Mr. Mortimer emphasized that Mr. Annan had instructed all United Nations staff to cooperate with Mr. Volcker's panel, known as the Independent Inquiry Committee.

Neither Mr. Volcker nor members of his staff, who have had a tense relationship with several House and Senate committees investigating the program, could be reached for comment last night.

The subcommittee also announced yesterday that on Monday it would hold the first of several hearings into allegations of widespread corruption in the $64 billion program. Among the first witnesses scheduled is Charles A. Duelfer, the chief American adviser on Iraq's unconventional weapons programs. Mr. Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, recently published a lengthy report on Iraqi weapons programs that documented Saddam Hussein's use of the program not to buy civilian supplies as intended, but to generate billions of dollars in illicit money, undermine sanctions and buy conventional arms.

In their letter to Mr. Annan, the senators cited the United Nations' refusal to permit Lloyd's Register, which the United Nations had hired to inspect Iraq's purchases, to provide documents to the Senate investigators.
In an Aug. 31 letter, the director of the United Nations' legal affairs office told Lloyd's that while Lloyd's should cooperate fully with Mr. Volcker's panel, "under no circumstances" was it authorized to provide documents to the subcommittee.

The letter also asks Mr. Annan to permit the Senate investigators to interview 11 senior United Nations officials, including Benon V. Sevan, who headed the program. Mr. Duelfer's report said Mr. Sevan might have received oil allocations from Saddam Hussein. Mr. Sevan has denied any impropriety.

Peaktalk on Netherlands and Islam

via Carnival of the Vanities, http://www.legendgames.net/myblog.asp?view=plink&id=359

The key question after all the great analysis of the
Van Gogh murder and its origins is, where do we go from here? The Dutch cabinet yesterday announced a set of drastic measures to more effectively wage the war on terror. It’s good news that there is now a clear recognition of what’s happening and that half-baked measures (monitoring radical mosques, stepped up alertness) do not longer work. But I have my doubts about their effectiveness. Firstly, any overhaul of the justice and security systems needs to be done on a pan-European basis. One of the more disastrous implications of the new European Union is the open border policy and it was one of Fortuyn’s wishes to reinstate border controls, simply because it is a very simple way to enhance security. The other qualifying statement needs to come in terms of the commitment to wage this war, if you look at the reaction to the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” sign you can see that the Dutch have ways to go and leave their pre-programmed politically correct values behind. Only time will tell if the required mentality change has indeed materialized. But there is one other component that will be an integral part of the fight against Islamist terror, here’s what it is.

Amsterdam deputy mayor
Ahmed Aboutaleb – yes, Amsterdam has a Jewish mayor and a Muslim deputy mayor, both from the left-leaning Labour party – showed guts earlier this week. A very emotional Aboutaleb addressed his fellow Muslims in an Amsterdam mosque shortly after the murder, focusing in on the core values of Dutch society and the need for immigrants to accept these: You won't believe what is said! Read it...

What The Marines Are

Happy Birthday!

It May Be Getting Harder to Keep UN Eyes Shut

The Sudanese are making it more difficult to ignore what is happening:

Sudanese security forces have again stormed a refugee camp in the troubled region of Darfur and attacked crowds.

At least four jeep-loads of police arrived at the El-Geer camp near Nyala in the early hours, according to a BBC correspondent at the scene.

They fired tear gas and assaulted residents in front of representatives of the international community.
It happened a day after Sudan's government and rebels signed an agreement aimed at ending the crisis.
UN chief to visit

It is the second time in a week that the camp has been attacked in this way.

In pictures: Camp evictees Representatives of the United Nations, who arrived at the camp to investigate, later withdrew for safety reasons.

What Did the Dutch Do to the Extreme Islamicists?

I guess the 'live and let live' philosophy still needs to be tweaked?

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Three Dutch police have been injured after a hand grenade exploded in a raid to arrest suspects in an ongoing anti-terrorism investigation, justice officials say.

Officials declined to say whether the operation, which was continuing with suspects still in a building cordoned off by police in the Dutch seat of government, was linked to the murder last week of a filmmaker by a suspected Islamist extremist.

"On the request of criminal investigation branch, an arrest team this morning at 02:45 (1:45 a.m. British time) tried to arrest suspects in an ongoing probe by the crime squad into terrorism," chief justice official Han Moraal told a news conference on Wednesday.

Moraal said three police officers were injured when a hand grenade was thrown at them. Shots were also fired, he said. An unspecified number of suspects were still in the building.

Two of the injured officers were in hospital while one had been allowed to go home, police said.

The raid recalled a police operation in Madrid in April when three suspects in the March train bombings blew themselves up after police cornered them in a suburban apartment. A policeman also died and 11 people were injured.

Dutch police have arrested 10 people in their investigation into the killing of film director Theo van Gogh last week and are still holding six, including the prime suspect Mohammed B., who has been charged with murder and suspected links to a terrorist group.

The Netherlands has seen a series of apparent tit-for-tat attacks since Van Gogh's murder, including an arson attack on a Muslim school on Tuesday night, where the words "Theo R.I.P." were scrawled on the walls along with a "White Power" sign.

Online Education

I don't think that online education is a good idea, especially for elementary/secondary education. Yet when it's physically impossible for the student to attend school because of the family's movements, as mentioned here: http://teachersramblings.blogspot.com/2004_10_31_teachersramblings_archive.html or in the case of prolonged illness or physical handicaps, it may be the best available and cost effective alternative.

Darfur: US Doing Some, The UN Shuts Eyes

Why does the following remind me of the Red Cross allowing themselves to be deceived in the Nazi concentration camps?

November 9, 2004: Troops have closed most of the roads in southern Darfur, and apparently are trying to force more refugees to return home. Another UN investigation team has arrived, and has twelve days determine if genocide took place. The government apparently plans to stonewall this group, then depend on its allies on the UN Security Council to halt any move to condemn the Sudanese government for mass murder. While about 70,000 people have died in Darfur so far, the death toll will climb much higher if food aid is continually slowed down, or halted for tribes forced back to their burned out villages.

November 8, 2004: Bending to African Union criticism, the government has agreed to halt forcible movement of refugees back to their burned out villages and farms.

Meanwhile, the US is getting a bit done, though it's impossible to do enough, without real support by the "international community," http://www.intel-dump.com/archives/archive_2004_11_07.shtml#1100025506 , via Phil Carter

Abraham McLaughlin and Duncan Woodside report in the Christian Science Monitor on the support being provided right now by the U.S. Air Force's 322nd Air Expeditionary Group — which has roughly 125 personnel conducting airlift operations in support of the African security initiative in the Sudan. The Monitor reports that the support is entirely logistical in nature — and that the U.S. is deferring to its African allies on all things operational. So far, the arrangement appears to be working.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hoping for Lose in fallacy

I've heard that some are hoping we'll lose, to make GW look bad. On the other hand, if the military comes through, it will be obvious that the UN/EU is not only off base, but irrelevant. Funny, thought that had been done in 2003. Oh well.

Bush Owes Bin Laden

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it seems to me that TIME is saying that without the Bin Laden tape, Kerry would have won? Wow, how changling is the American electorate? My guess is, it was Afghanistan and Iraq, but the success of the military, not in spite of.

On Germany, By a German

He's in the minority, but Medienkritik ruminates on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the US roll in that event. Reagan wasn't alone, while I was but a baby I do remember the original JFK at the site. Historically I'd have to say the airlift was more important than the 'tear down this wall,' yet one cannot underestimate the impact of that day:

Not many German politicians believed prior to 1989 in the fall of this symbol of communist dictatorship.
Gerhard Schroeder - now Germany's chancellor - and Joschka Fischer - now Germany's foreign minister - were still marching to a different beat in the years preceding 1989... (But then again, they are still marching to a different beat

It was an American president - Ronald Reagan - who in 1987
exclaimed " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Taking a Breath

I must admit, I really thought GW would lose. I know, heresy. Yet, I was ready for the lose and the consequent feelings of impending disaster, it didn't happen. I do think the mindset makes me more empathetic to the poor dems found at locales such as democraticunderground.com.

While I disagree with them, I KNOW that if JFK had won, I'd be scared to death of the future. That is where they are. My sympathies, I feel your pain.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Bush and the SCOTUS

WSJ is free this week, well worth checking out. Not only fine writing, but fine thinking. If NYTimes had half a brain, never mind, they would hire some of the reporters away.

Supreme Court StrategyNovember 9, 2004; Page A18

The first post-election political skirmish is taking place over the Supreme Court, with President Bush getting lectures that his re-election victory means nothing when it comes to judges. Funny, that isn't what his opponents told us before the election.

Then they warned that the "future of the Supreme Court" for a generation was at stake, that if Mr. Bush won he'd have license to name more Antonin Scalias and Clarence Thomases to the federal bench. John Kerry said this explicitly. GOP Senate candidate John Thune, in South Dakota, and those in every race across the South made judges a central campaign issue. So now that they've won, why is Mr. Bush the one who is supposed to appoint different nominees than he named in the first term?

We'd say the President has an obligation, all right, but it's to the voters who elected him. His supporters sent a clear signal about the kind of judges they want nominated and confirmed. The Democrats who filibustered appellate court nominees for the first time in history are the folks who need to rethink their strategy.

To set the proper tone, Mr. Bush could begin his new term by re-nominating every candidate who was filibustered and is willing to go through the process again. All 10 nominees were highly qualified and had enough Democratic support to be confirmed if they hadn't been blocked by a liberal minority from receiving a full Senate vote. They include three women, an Hispanic, an African-American and an Arab-American. . .

"Not Here to Liberate Iraqis"

From the World News Section of the Guardian, just for fun:

US troops enter Falluja· Black Watch soldier killed in blast· 3,000 insurgents defy assault force
'We are not here to liberate Iraq'
Bomb kills Black Watch soldierGo kick some butt, US troops urged
Families flee besieged city Leader: Fearful in Falluja

Checking out the second item, notice the inconsistancy between words and actions? Hmmm, Euros? What's the explanation for the Iraqi Muslims they kill?:

. . . At first sight, they all looked and behaved the same; young men in trainers and tracksuits preaching Islam. As time passed, they became more relaxed and open about who they were and why they were there.
It became apparent that they were an odd bunch of people from different places and with different dreams.
There were two kinds of mujahideen bound together in a marriage of convenience. One kind, Arab fighters from the new generation of the jihad diaspora, were teachers, workers and students from across the Arab world feeling oppressed and alienated by the west; they came to Iraq with dreams of martyrdom.

The other kind, Iraqi fighters from Falluja, were fighting the army that occupied their country.

They were five Saudis - or the people of the peninsula, as they called themselves - three Tunisians and one Yemeni. The rest were Iraqis.

Most of the time, when they weren't reading or praying, they spoke about death, not fearfully, but in happy anticipation. They talked about how martyrs would not feel pain and about how many virgins they would get in heaven.

I asked one of them, a young teacher from Saudi Arabia, why he was there. He started reading the verses in the Qur'an that urge Muslims to commit jihad. He read about the importance of martyrdom. After 20 minutes, he directed me to another fighter, an older man with a beard and a soft voice who said his name was Abu Ossama from Tunisia.

"We are here for one of two things - victory or martyrdom, and both are great," he said.

"The most important thing is our religion, not Falluja and not the occupation. If the American solders came to me and converted to Islam, I won't fight them. We are here not because we want to liberate Iraq, we are here to fight the infidels and to make victorious the name of Islam."

He continued to explain his jihad theories: "They call us terrorists because we resist them. If defending the truth is terrorism, then we are terrorists."

Suddenly, there was a heavy burst of gunfire. The young Saudi teacher ran to fetch a machine gun. With ammunition belts wrapped around his neck, he and a young Tunisian carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher ran outside.

The Saudi reached a trench. Opening his Qur'an, he read for a while and then pointed his machine gun at the horizon, trying to release the safety catch.

He fiddled with the gun for a few minutes, then turned to me: "Do you know how to make these things work?"
Abu Yassir, a short, heavy-built, middle-aged Iraqi with a grey beard, was the "amir", or commander, of this group. He was a more experienced fighter and looked after the others.

When it was time to break their fast, the men poured food into a big tray and, exchanging jokes, scooped rice with their fingers. I had to keep reminding myself that these people blow up civilians every day in Iraq.
After the food, the amir told his story.

He was a retired military officer and ran a business making electric generators. He was happy to see the back of Saddam Hussein and to get rid of the Ba'athist regime.

But, he said, "as the time passed by and as the occupation became more visible, more patriotic feelings grew bigger and bigger. Every time I saw the Americans patrolling our streets I became more humiliated."
He described how locals from Falluja and other places started to organise themselves into small cells and to attack the Americans.

"We just wanted them to leave our cities. In the beginning I had a 'job' every month, setting IEDs [improvised explosive devices] or firing mortars, and would go back to my work most of the time. But then I realised I can't do any thing but jihad as long as the Americans occupied my country."

He closed his workshop, sold his business and used the money to sponsor the group of fighters.

"The world is convinced that we people of Falluja are happy to kill the innocents, that's not true, even when we execute collaborators and people working for the Americans, I feel sad for them and sometimes cry, but this is a war. . ."

Alive or Dead?

Not that he deserves any better, but what has been going on between Arafat's soon-to-be widow and the Palestinian leadership is pretty dark.

"From a proud tower in the town, Death looks gigantically down"-Edgar Allen Poe

The UN/Euro Stand

One would think given the level of criticism from the UN and Euros that they had a great track record of dealing with genocide. Darfur going unmentioned, though not out of mind, here is what happened on THEIR watch. Note, the Europeans were impotent to deal with this, even with UN assistance, until the US came to help. Shameful:

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - A Serb commission's final report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre acknowledges that the mass murder of 7,800 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces was planned, an international official said Monday.
AP Photo

The report on the worst massacre of civilians in Europe since World War II was presented to the Bosnian Serb government last month but has not yet been made public.

"The report itself admits and provides details of the plan and deliberate liquidation of thousands of Bosniaks (Muslims) by the Bosnian Serb forces," Bernard Fassier, the deputy to Bosnia's top international administrator, Paddy Ashdown, told reporters.

Although Bosnian Serbs have long been blamed for the massacre, it was not until this past June — following the Srebrenica commission's preliminary report — that Serb officials acknowledged that their security forces carried out the slaughter. . .

Michael Barone Best of Tea Leaves Readers

He saw it first and explains why it may be repeated:

The line among political insiders was that turnout would increase from 2000 and that higher turnout would favor John Kerry. Right and wrong. Turnout was up 11 percent, but Bush's total votes were up 18 percent from 2000, while Kerry's were up just 10 percent from Al Gore's. The Democrats relied on labor unions and billionaire-financed 527 organizations for their turnout drives. They depended primarily on paid workers, some of whom were very good and some very poor; one in Ohio signed up Mary Poppins to vote and was paid with crack cocaine. The Bush campaign built its own organization and relied primarily on volunteers, some 1.2 million of them. Volunteers were given varied tasks and numeric goals and were repeatedly tested. They delivered on Election Day.

On election night, most observers were focusing on central cities to see how many votes the Democrats would roll up. Working for Fox News, I concentrated on smaller counties in Florida, Ohio, and other target states in which all or nearly all the precincts had reported results. I found a clear pattern in state after state. In small and medium-sized counties, turnout was up, by 10 percent, 20 percent, even 40 percent in fast-growing areas, and the Bush percentage was up as well, by 2, 4, or even 8 percentage points. Aggregate those increases, and you have more new Republican votes than new Democratic votes in Cuyahoga or Broward counties. That, repeated over and over again, is the story of this election. Karl Rove's strategy of concentrating on increasing Republican turnout worked.

Media bias. Four years ago, I wrote that this was a 49 percent nation. In the 1996, 1998, and 2000 House elections, Republicans led in the popular vote by 49 to 48 or 48.5 percent; the 2000 presidential election was a 48-to-48 percent tie. Americans seemed evenly divided, mainly on cultural and religious lines. In 2002 that changed a bit: Republicans won the House vote 51 to 46 percent while Bush's job approval hovered around 65 percent.

This year his job rating has hovered around 50 percent or below. He has been the target all year of vicious and biased coverage from old media, many if not most of whose personnel saw their job as removing this scourge from the presidency. The 60 Minutes story about Bush's Air National Guard service, which was based on obviously forged documents, is only the most egregious example. Old media have headlined violence in Iraq and reported almost nothing about positive developments there; they highlighted the charges of self-promoter Joseph Wilson and spoke nary a word when they were proved bogus; they have given good economic news far less positive coverage, studies show, than they did when Bill Clinton was in office.

Yet the results of this election closely resemble the 2002 House results. Bush beat Kerry 51 to 48 percent; the popular vote for the House appears to be about 51 to 47 percent Republican. Voters knew the stakes--polls showed majorities thought this was an important and consequential election--and both candidates had plenty of opportunity to make their cases. Thanks to the 527s, more money was apparently spent against Bush than for him. So the results cannot be dismissed as an accident. We are now a 51 percent nation, a Republican majority, as, once again in America, love has proved stronger than hate.

Has Karl Rove Begun to Control the DNC?

Please Howard say, "YyyeeSsss"!!!

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Former presidential candidate Howard Dean (news - web sites) is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party...

Showdown Between UN/Europe and US

I'm certain some would say it is with Bush, but he is the US for the next 4 years:

...For Bush, elected Tuesday for a second, four-year term, Fallujah is a test of wills to assure that elections, scheduled for January, are held as planned, opening to door to the return of 140,000 US troops deployed in Iraq.

"We fully expect (the election) will happen in January," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters, in response to European European Foreign Minister Javier Solana's statement earlier in the day, which put the January date in doubt.

Solana, speaking to reporters in The Hague (
news - web sites), said the situation "from the point of view of security does not give much of a hope that that will be realized."

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi announced Sunday a state of emergency for 60 days saying it was necessary to ensure the successful conduct of the elections in January.

"Sixty days gets very close to the electoral time: Therefore that is not a good sign to have elections in time," Solana said.

McClellan disagreed.

"If you look at what the United Nations (
news - web sites) election officials said just last week, they talked about the efforts already under way to register people in Iraq, and they talked about the thousands of registration clerks that are in place and the sites that are in place for people to go and register in Iraq.

"And we have continued to work closely with the Iraqi forces to address the ongoing security challenges."

Allawi has "made it very clear that he was reaching out to people who wanted to participate in the political process.

"Unfortunately, there remain some terrorists and insurgents who do not want a political solution; they seek to spread fear and chaos and destruction," McClellan said.

The only solution "is to go on the offensive and bring them to justice. That's what the Iraqi forces are doing and we are there to partner with them in that effort," McClellan added.

On Friday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (
news - web sites) said that operation "Phantom Fury," as the US military calls it, could actually undermine the chance of January elections.

Bush and Annan spoke by telephone Saturday, but sources close to the US administration said the conversation was only about Bush's re-election.

A UN spokesman however said the conversation touched on Iraq as well, and that Annan reiterated his point of view.

"We would like to see the United Nations continue to be involved and take a greater role," McClellan said Monday...

The Unthinkable

via Instapundit, http://instapundit.com/archives/019094.php I've printed a copy for my pricipal and sent another to my brother, a deputy police chief in a major Chicago suburb. We do need to be prepared. I'm posting the entire article, it's too important to be skipped:

Are plans in place if schools attacked?
Sunday, November 07, 2004

It's about 8:42 in the morning, and you have just sat down at your desk with a cup of hot coffee. As the sheriff of this small rural community, you are reviewing the overnight reports from your graveyard shift deputies. It was, as usual, a relatively uneventful night.

Unbeknownst to you as you read your reports, only about five minutes before, a nondescript car with tinted windows along with two minivans just rolled into the parking lot of your local county elementary school. They stop near the school's main office, parking along the curb.

The doors suddenly fly open and out rush teams of hooded, armed men. They are carrying military load-bearing equipment, handguns, canteens, small backpacks and have rifles, M-16s and AK-47s. They rush to the doors, and immediately two of the men move directly to the front office. The men charge inward, a team of three others follows behind, and two more are hand-carrying a large kit bag between them. The hooded intruders begin to fan out through the school, several rushing down the halls toward the side door exits.
The secretary at the front desk jumps up with her mouth open, ready to scream, but she is slammed to the floor as the two men with weapons pointing shout for all to move away from their desks. One of the men grasps the microphone for school announcements. The other man rounds up those in the office - the vice principal, a student - and orders them to sit down on their hands; another hooded man comes in and begins to quick cuff them. The team with the kit bag moves to the auditorium shouting for the workers to move from the kitchen inside the room. A teacher in the hallway upon seeing armed men running toward her begins to scream, some doors open as teachers peer out. Systematically, armed men enter classrooms screaming orders while blasting air horns for the children to move to the lunchroom. It's chaos at one end of school. Rapidly, students and teachers are herded to the auditorium that doubles as the lunchroom.

An accented, angry voice comes over the intercom system: "Attention, attention teachers. You must move your students to the auditorium immediately." There are screams and confusion in the hallways; one teacher in her classroom begins to argue with one of the men; he shoots her in the head in front of her class. Another teacher, sensing the spreading danger, closes and locks her classroom door, quickly she yells to open the windows and tells the children to climb out and run away. A driver passing by sees a group of children rolling off the school's window ledges and darting across the athletic field.

The auditorium begins to fill. Armed men demand that everyone sit down on their hands; teachers are being beaten and cuffed; children are crying and wetting their clothes; others sit in silent, stunned shock. The men with the kit bag begin to unload homemade bombs. They look like military mines, plastic explosives packed with BBs and buck shot surrounded by duct tape. White milk jugs filled with jelled gasoline are brought out, too. The terrorists are booby trapping the student body.

Its now 8:47 a.m., and you receive a call from the city police, who relay that they just got a hysterical 911 call from the school. "People with guns are in the school!"

What you don't know is that this scenario is also simultaneously playing out in rural schools in Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky and Maine.

What do you do?

As you jump up, you yell a code word alert for the school; you rush to the arms room and order all deputies to move with you. What is your manpower? What deputies and police are available? What is the response time for your special weapons team? Do you have one? Your police dispatch is crying - she has two children at that school. Who do you call at the state level?

As you climb into your cruiser slinging on a flak vest, a city patrolman is at the scene. He can't tell much from outside; he does see vehicles parked at the curb. The alert teacher who sent her students through the window comes running to the patrolman and describes what she saw. As you speed to the school, cable news networks are breaking in around the United States with reports of a school under attack or seizure, first from some small-town location in Kentucky, then another state; the news is confusing.

You arrive by the field across from the school; it's 8:56. You are thinking of the need to seal the area. A state trooper cruiser speeds in. You hear the sounds of fire trucks en route. You are thinking whether you know the layout of the school; whether you know where all entry and exit points are; whether there are clandestine entry points. Finally, you remember what happened in Russia, and you can't believe this is real. Can you try to contain or control this situation? Have you prepared for this test?

I hope so. I hope, too, that the state has planned for it; that procedures, chains of command and jurisdictions are clear. I hope all first responders have thought about this and trained for it. I hope our schools have plans, alerts and procedures in place to react, not from instructions from the principal, but from good instincts and "triggering activities." I hope in terms of combat response that our police can act quickly if need be - to stop a massacre on their own without support - and they have at least practiced once for it.

Time is of the essence. Lt. Col. Joseph C. Myers, a Huntsville native, is a graduate of West Point and Tulane University. He has served in a variety of infantry and foreign area officer positions within the United States and overseas. He is an expert on terrorism and insurgency and served as chief of the South America Division at the Defense Intelligence Agency. His e-mail address is Joseph.Myers@maxwell.af.mil.
Copyright 2004 al.com. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATE: The linked letter is of a series, the beginning of which can be found here: http://www.thegreenside.com/TwoCol.asp?SID=5549&N=Second%20Tour%20Emails

Some of us have thought a mistake was made when the Marines were pulled back in April, leaving the insurgents to do what they were. When I saw the video last evening, with the Iraqis taking the hospital without a shot, looking very much like video of American military, I'm reassured. I hope it is so with the Iraqi people.

(via INDCJournal, http://www.indcjournal.com/archives/001274.php ) This letter from a Marine to his father puts Falluja in perspective, why there and why now.

Now, their own ignorance and arrogance will be their undoing. They believe that they can hold Fallujah. In fact, they have come from all over to be part of its glorious defense. I cannot describe the atmosphere that exists in the Regiment right now. Of course the men are nervous but I think they are more nervous that we will not be allowed to clean the rats nest out and instead will be forced to continue operating as is.

Its as if a window of opportunity has opened and everyone just wants to get on with it before it closes. The Marines know the enemy has massed and has temporarily decided to stay and fight. For the first time, the men feel as though we may be allowed to do what needs to be done. If the enemy wants to sit in his citadel and try to defend it against the Marine Corps and some very hard Soldiers... then the men want to execute before the enemy sobers up and flees.

It may come off as an exceptionally bellicose perspective but where the Marines live and operate is a war zone in the starkest reality. When the Marines leave the front gate on an operation or patrol, someone within direct line of sight of that gate is trying to kill them. All have lost friends and watched as the enemy hides within his sanctuary that has been allowed out of what one must assume is political necessity. The enemy has been given every advantage by our sense of morality and restraint and by a set of operational rules that we are constrained to operate under. The Marines feel like their time has come and we will finally be ordered to do what must be done and be given the latitude to do it. Even though the price will be high, there is not a man here that would chose status quo over paying the price.

Read the whole letter...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Falluja Begins

Just came back from 'Family Weekend' at the boy's university. No news, just football, karoke, and pizza. Gotta catch up!

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