Friday, July 29, 2005

A Military Response

How come the Left in general and Democrats in particular (with the usual exception such as Senator Lieberman) have nothing good to say about their own country's military forces? Why is it that "news" organs such as the New York Times cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the debt they owe to our soldiers, but have no problem criticizing them at every turn? Well, today an un-named member of our great navy decided to answer all of these gutless naysayers in the Press, the Senate and in their comfortable, taxpayer-funded universities around the nation. The column can be found at Navy The anonymous author closes with a suggestion for the military's many armchair critics, writing,
I'd like to close with an invitation to those
journalists, analysts,
experts, and politicians who sit up at night dreaming
up new ways to
criticize our armed forces. The next time you see a
man or woman in
uniform, stop for ten seconds and reflect upon how
much you owe that
person, and his or her fellow Sailors, Marines,
Soldiers, and Airmen.


Two words -- that's all I ask. "Thank you." If that's
too hard, if you
can't bring yourself to acknowledge the dedication,
sincerity and
sacrifice of your defenders, then I have a backup plan
for you. Put on
a uniform and show us how to do it right.

Good point. So how about it, Pelosi? Are you listening, Durbin? How about you, Sulzberg? Maybe you should cut out the shrillness and think about a little loyal opposition for once in your selfish, unpatriotic lives. Maybe? Link courtesy of Instapundit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Recent Reading

Well, I finished the latest of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga this Tuesday. I confess I did not pre-order this time, which I had done on the previous two books. My copy arrived Monday, and I had finished it by Tuesday- regrettably being unable to read straight through! Without giving away any secrets, I can safely say that this was easily the darkest one yet, and in many ways the saddest. However, I find myself hooked on the characters, and cannot wait for the final installment of the series. It should be a bang-up finish in Book Seven. And the characters are rounding into form, espeically in their interaction with each other. Highly recommended.

On another note, I have also been reading Castles of Steel by the fine historian Robert K. Massie. Massie examines the First World War from the perspective of the great fleets of dreadnaughts that eventually met at Jutland. A easily read narrative style is the hallmark of the book, together with Massie's trademark personalization of the men and women who lived through those momentous times. Not at all dry or boring, this tome is also highly recommended. Set aside a good block of reading time though- neither of these two books is particularly slim!

Red State Housing

I have not been able to post for some time, due to family complications. Mrs. gankomon is barely two months away from delivering our first child, and we have understandably been absorbed in activities connected with that event. We are also in the process of joining the ranks of homeowners in California, as we are about to buy our first house. However, that brought on a fit of cold feet, and we have been rather uncomfortable with the overheated nature of the California housing market, as we have both been through the collapse of the Bubble economy in Japan.

However, I happened across Rich Karlegaard's very fine article on Forbes Online regarding the differences in Red State and Blue State housing. He comments that although most Blue Staters turn their oh-so-sophisticated noses up at anything not in California or the East Coast (but not the South!) there are very definite advantages to living in red states- especially the price! Karlegaard writes "The last publicly expressible prejudice in the U.S. is that of Blue State sophisticates sounding off about Red Staters. The Red Staters, comfy in their $400,000 five-bedroom homes on two acres, don't much care." Great quote, and highly applicable to the current situation.

I close by admitting that we are buying in that same San Francisco area, but would cheerfully exchange the borderline treason and highly offensive air of superiority displayed by so many Bay area lefties for the more down-home and certainly more patriotic attidtudes of the interior. Even if good Asian food is a little more difficult to come by!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

DVR Users Skip Ads...

...and Yahoo Singapore is reporting the television purveyers of advertising garbage (with a few exceptions, such as the Budweiser Frogs) are in a panic. Somehow I find myself quite unable to sympathise with their predicament. Via Matt Drudge.

PowerBooks & Mac Minis

According to Apple Insider, IBM has at long last produced a potential G5 chip for the PowerBook series. Unfortunately, it appears that Apple may not avail themselves of the new product, as it contradicts their stated Intel transition strategy. Too bad- I could aways use a more powerful PowerBook, though my recently purchased 1.42 GHz Mac Mini is still a delight.

NOTE: One word of advice to potential Mac Mini buyers: If you plan to install 10.3 Server, be aware you will need a machine running 10.3 in order to successfully install it. If you have 10.3.9 or above, you should be OK.

Is .Mac Worth It?

The guys at Macintouch have a short discussion today on the benefits or lack thereof regarding Apple's .Mac account. I agree with the majority, who argue that .Mac simply doesn't offer enough benefits to justify the high ($80-100/year) price involved. Speaking solely for myself, I find SBC Yahoo DSL a much more satisfying option- particularly as it includes he ISP, which .Mac does not.

BBC Attempts to Rewrite History

Via The Jerusalem Post, it appears that the BBC's entrenched bias towards Islamist thugs has not changed much. As others have noted, the BBC has a policy of referring to any terrorist attacks against Israel by Islamists by any name other than terror. However, regarding the London attacks, The Post reports that although the intial reports of the London bombings called the perpetrators by their right name (terrorists), the overseas editions have quickly gone back to more-generic terminology-avoiding any mention of the terms 'terror' and 'terrorist'. What is worse, from my point of view, is the sneaky changing of the original posts to reflect the new propaganda.

To the BBC: If you are going to call a spade an agricultural implement, then please do so from the first. Attempting to change the terminology and definitions after the fact and without proper notification is neither courageous nor is it honest. The BBC weasels have struck again! Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds the Instapundit.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thoughts on the Slave Trade

In the previous iteration of StoneHeads, I made a point of noting the role played by the U.S. Navy in the eventual ending of the slave trade. I am therefore reproducing my original postings of February 24 and March 1, 2005 respectively as follows:

Suppressing the Slave Trade
I was visiting the Official Site of the US Navy this evening, and was reminded of something too many Americans seem to forget.

On February 24, 1861, the USS Saratoga, attached to the United States African Squadron, captured the slaver sloop Express, freeing the slaves on board.

The United States often is excoriated, and rightly so, for its sordid history in regards to African slaves. What is usually overlooked, however, is that slavery long predated the Atlantic slave trade, and that said slave trade was only stamped out by the efforts of the Anglo-American navies.

While the Royal Navy, which began the anti-slave trade effort during the Napoleonic wars, had by far the larger role, and deserves most of the credit, the US Navy, as is shown in this example, was also active in suppressing the slave trade even before the Civil War began.

Interested readers can read a fictionalized episode in the fight against the Atlantic slave trade in C.S. Forester's masterful Hornblower Series #10 Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies.

U.S. Slave Trade Prohibited March 1, 1807
In my last historical posting, I discussed the part played by the United States Navy in suppressing the worldwide slave trade. However, I have a footnote to add to that report.

March 2, 2005, is the one hundred ninety-eighth anniversary of the outlawing of the slave trade by the United States Congress. That occasion occurred on March 2, 1807, making the United States the first nation to outlaw the slave trade, even anticipating the British actions outlawing slavery(1808) and slave trading(1834)in the British empire.

This act is particularly noteworthy, though i observe that few if any of our so-called pundits or journalists have deigned to so notice the momentous occasion. It is noteworthy because it is a direct result of the Constitution itself, which states in Article One, Section Nine, the following passage:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight

Note that while the Constitution does not require Congress to cancel the slave trade, it does set a starting time from whence when the slave trade may indeed be prohibited. Congress, to their eternal credit, did so at the first possible opportunity.

War and the American Left

The Left's view of the war on Iraq continues to confound me. Apart from the exceptionally clear-eyed Christopher Hitchens and a few others, the Left is simply in denial as to the nature of this conflict upon which we are currently engaged. Radioblogger has a wonderful exchange between Ron Reagan Jr and the afore-mentioned Mr. Hitchens. The execrable term "bitch-slap" defintely applies here, as Mr. Hitchens takes Ronnie to the proverbial woodshed for his lack of understanding and historical perspective.

However, the exchange proves little other than that most leftists are incapable of putting aside their fervent and damaging partisanship long enough to confront the threat that this country and indeed our civilization, face from the Islamists. I would provide a point of reference, however. In 1996, then-President Clinton launched missile strikes against Iraqi targets (as documented at the time by CNN) to punish Iraq for attacking the so-called Kurdish safe areas. The Republican response, voiced by then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, was praise for Clinton's action and a recommendation of even stronger military action. There was no chant comparable to the oft-repeated "Bush lied, people died" from the conservatives. The same was true in Somalia and even in Kosovo. Conservatives wondered how these operations advanced U.S. interests, and there were rumblings of worry regarding the percieved wasting of valuable resources on non-strategic objectives, but by and large the Right supported the actions, despite their misgivings. The same spirit is evidently not true of the Left- unless it is in power at the time.

Compare the differing reactions from the media on Clinton Administration warnings of Iraqi danger as opposed to how the same media organs reacted to Bush's essentially restating the same facts less that three years later. If the charges were true in 1998 when advanced by a Madeleine Albright, why were they less true in 2002 or 2003 when advanced by Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell? It seems to me that the answer is that it was a despised Republican making the arguments, not a beloved Democrat.

I would wish that the left today would show the patriotism that their forbears showed in Korea, World War II and even in Vietnam. However, I fear that the days of the Democratic Party as one of loyal opposition may be gone forever.

Welcome to StoneHeads

This will be the introduction of my new blog, wherein I shall do my poor best to keep a current commentary on the events surrounding us. This blog will cover music, sports, and of course politics, as I endeavor to wend my way between the Scylla and Charybdis of extremism of all stripes.