Sunday, August 21, 2005

Fortunate Dangers (or Dangerous Fortunes)

I have seen individuals receive insults from many and varied sources, but until last night, I have never seen insults emanate from a fortune cookie!

The tale is that Mrs. Gankomon and I were out with a few of our friends, and we ended up at a Chinese seafood restaurant known to one of my friends, who originates from Taiwan. We ordered, and after enjoying an excellent, meal, the ubiquitous fortune cookies made their appearance. Said fortune cookies rarely contain relevant commentary, but are usually good for a few laughs. Knowing this, imagine our surprise when one of the group received a fortune which read (as near as I can recall) as follows:

"The greatest danger could be from your stupidity."

I must confess that this was a first- dissed by a fortune cookie! If this were a movie, I think the title would be, 'When Fortune Cookies Attack'!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Air Scamerica Update

I would (belatedly) draw your attention to Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney's The Radio Equalizer's excellent co-authored piece of investigative reporting on the burgeoning Air America scandal. Michelle and Brian have been on top of this story, with an able assist from Captain Ed Morrissey, from the beginning. And then the liberals wonder why conservatives cry bias all the time regarding their so-called "news" coverage. Read it all.

A New Space Race

And they're off! It appears that with the burgeoning interest in commercial spacefilght, the Japanese, ever-watchful for the Next Big Fad, have decided to jump on the bandwagon. Yahoo News reported today that no less a player than JTB will be offering package deals into space. This will apparently be via Russia's Soyuz spacecraft- the same one that took American millionaire Dennis Tito and South African Mark Shuttleworth to the International Space Station. Those trips were brokered by Space Adventures, Ltd.. The same company is scheduled to send a third private traveler, Greg Olsen, into space this coming October.

JTB apparently plans to charge a mere 2.2 billion yen for the trip. They are also planning to offer other packages, including a trip around the moon (11 billion yen) and a zero gravity tour up to an altitude of 100 kilometers. The last offering is by far the cheapest, coming in at a mere 11 million yen. Personally, the whole endeavor sounds like a real blast. Now if I only had the cash...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Today in US Navy History

Another milestone in naval operations took place on this day in 1942. According to the Official US Navy Site, the submarines USS Nautilus (SS168) and USS Argonaut (SS166), landed 222 Marines between them on the Japanese-held island of Makin. This island is a part of the Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands archipelago. This operation was the first submarine-based amphibious attack in history. Congratualtions to the US Navy, and to the men who successfully carried out this operation.

Air Scamerica

I have been asked once or twice if I have been following the sordid story of Air Scamerica and the Gloria Wise Clubs. Well, not really.

Let's see- liberal organization steals money meant for social organization. Mainstream press ignores it. Liberal organization claims to have been hoodwinked. Story is allowed to die. Liberal politicians and pundits continue to claim that Republicans are evil people who want to steal from your Social Security account.

This all sounds too depressingly familiar- like maybe Chicago in the Gangster Era? But at least back then, one could light up without fear of the Tobacco Police, compliment a hottie on her short skirt without fear of the Sexual Harassment Police, drink homemade hooch anywhere, and there was good music! Of course, that was also when income tax was a relatively new thing and FDR had yet to turn the country over to the socialists!

To wit, I have been following the story with great amusement, but defer to those who are much better at the twists and turns than I. Such as Brian Maloney, who has owned this story from the beginning.

Ably Encouraging Danger

I have not posted much of late- blame it on increasingly compicated negotiations for the our new lodgings. However, as I perused the news stories this afternoon, I could not help but notice the latest on the near-discredited 9/11 Commission here.

After seating the architect of the wall between intellignece and law enforcement, Jamie Gorelick, as a member of the Commission, it appears that maybe the Commission was more concerned about covering their own mis-cues than digging for the truth. According to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, the military intelligence team known as Able Danger actually did attempt to notify the FBI, but were dissuaded by military lawyers- citing the Gorelick Wall! The original story becomes more interesting as the 9/11 Commission claims that they never heard from the Able Danger team. However, the military says that Commissioon staffers and members were informed of the top secret operation, and its results.

The question now is- who is to be believed? As the Commission has now admitted they DID receive info on Able Danger, only to discount it, I would side with Able Danger. However, more information needs to be brought forward before we can really get to the bottom of this one. Kudos to Colonel Schaffer for stepping forward and shame on the MSM for refusing to cover him beacause of their partisan politics.

Hat tips to Glenn Reynolds, Captain Ed and amazingly, the New York Times.

UPDATE I: It appears that not only were the US Armed Forces snubbed by the 9/11 Comission, so was German Intelligence! A new report says that Germany arrested two spies in Heidelberg in February 2001. Not just any spies, mInd you, but Iraqui spies. Captain Ed also reports that during this time period, three of the four ringleaders of the plot were taking trips through Germany. Why? Knowing what we know now about the 9/11 plot, why was this ALSO left out of the 9/11 report? It appears that not only wer the commissioners trying to cover for Gorelick, they weere also trying to cover any apparent or even potential contacts between the 9/11 plotters and Iraqui Intelligence. These trrips may have been coincedence, but they may not. Why did the 9/11 commission not even try to decide which?
Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

UPDATE II: And it appears that the Commission was whitewashing the Clinton Adminstration as well! So how much whitewash can one Commission apply? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke- except this one turned out to be tragic instead of comedic. A new report in the New York Times says that the State Department warned President Clinton in 1996 not to allow Osama Bin Laden to relocate to Afghanistan. Naturallly, like the Sudanese offer to arrest and extradite him, the Clinton Administration ignored the warning. Why was this also left out of the 9/11 Commission's report? I think the 9/11 Commission has some explaining to do, personally.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Historical Bible

Well, it appears that despite hopes on the left side of the aisle, the Bible does actually qualify as history. According to Matt Drudge, sewer workmen found the biblical Pool of Siloam today in Jerusalem- "exactly where John said it was" according to the Princeton Theological Seminary's James H. Charlesworth. The Pool of Siloam was where Jesus reportedly cured a man who was blind from birth.

This leads me to wonder how many other items in the bible are also historically accurate. Some, such as the Zionist rebellion against the Romans that culminated in the destruction of Herod's Temple (and much of Jerusalem), are known to have occurred. Others remain in the realm of faith. However, with the discovery of the Pool of Siloam, and the excavation of Hezekiah's Tunnel perhaps even committed secularists may give at least some credence to the Biblical authors' accuracy.

Hiroshima Revisited- Part Deux

Speaking of revising history as regards the atomic bombs, Thomas Sowell has a good rebuttal over on today. Pity that most of the Obsolescent Media is too busy bashing their own country or paying tribute to Peter Jennings to think about taking a good hard look in he mirror at themselves.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Hiroshima Revisited

I observe that the annual hair-tearing, soul-searching anniversary of the First Use of Atomic Weapons by the usual suspect, the Horrible Terrorist Amerika has arrived. Spare me. More eloquent scholars that I have made the case for the use of the Bomb, and I will not revisit the affair here. However, as Jeff Jacoby points out today, this anniversary (the 60th, for those keeping score at home) is not being argued with the strength of the fiftieth. He is right. I was in Japan ten years ago, and I can still remember how bitter (even from across the Pacific Ocean),the battles were over the Smithsonian's Enola Gay exhibit.

Unfortunately, I also observe that the Japanese themselves are still making the case of victimhood- when they can tear themselves away from this sort of thing, that is!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Slippery Rumour-mongering

I was informed at a rehearsal recently that one of the Bay Area's better trombonists had passed away, and so posted earlier this evening. However, I have just been informed by a very reliable source that rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated. That being said, I am deleting the original post from this site. Good to hear that the individual in question is still with us- hopefully for many more years! Moral of the story- never trust news from a trombonist- they are slippery fellows! (Must be all that slide work....)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More Navy History

Today was a busy day in history for the United States Navy, according to their official site. In 1804, under the command of Commodore Edward Preble, the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, and a squadron attacked Tripoli to free captured, enslaved American seamen. This occurred as a part of the Barbary Wars, waged against slave-trading Moslem kingdoms in North Africa. Hmmm, some things never change, apparently.

On this day in 1861, the construction of the USS Monitor was authorized, leading to a revolution in the design of warships. In 1942, yet another milestone occurred, as the first female officer commissioned in the Naval Reserve. On this day in 1950, Marine aircraft and helicopter actions in the war against North Korea were being taken. And to harken back to my earlier post regarding the USS Nautilus, on this day in 1958, she reached the geographical North Pole- the first ship ever to do so submerged.

Finally, on this day in 1970, the USS James Madison, SSBN 627, fired the first Poseidon missile whilst submerged off the coast of Cape Kennedy.

Please see the Naval Historical Web Site for additional information regarding our Navy's great history.

And REAL Voter Intimidation... in solidly Democratic hands! I am sure we all remember the shrill screams of vote-rigging and voter intimidation that emanated from the Democratic side of the aisle following their last few national defeats. However, as we discovered courtesy of a report by the new and apparently impartial American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), the Democrats are far dirtier (at least during the 2004 elections) than the Republicans. Perhaps an example, as Captain Ed Morrissey suggests, "...of little more than a classic case of projection." Read the whole report on ACVR's site linked above and see what you think.

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

Europe- Awakening at Last?

Maybe Europe is at last waking up to the facts of its disastrous flirtation with multiculturalism. After allowing a tight-knit, bloodthirsty 'community' of radical Islamists past its borders over the past forty years, maybe Europe is finally atempting to undo some of the damage.

According to Yahoo News, France, Italy and even the heretofore reliable United Kingdom are stepping up deportations and keeping a closer eye on their Islamic rabble-rousing clergy. Could this be a long-awaited turn in the right direction? Only time will tell....

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Living Chance

Well, well. It appears that the State of Virginia actually understands that life is precious and that it should be encouraged, not brutally snuffed out without even a fair chance (are you listening, NARAL?)

The Associated Press reports that a brain-dead woman was kept alive for three months so that her unborn baby would have a chance to survive. The baby, named Susan Anne Catherine Torres, was born today. Here's to Life!

Hat tip to the lovely and cutting-edge sharp Michelle Malkin.

More Thoughts on the MSM...

..and particularly why they are paying so little atention to the confession by Bill Keller of the New York Times, (documented by the indefatigable Mark Tapscott) that
"...even sophisticated readers of the New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages."

Really?! I agree with Mr. Tapscott and Captain Ed Morrissey that this should have been looked into much more thoroughly by the mainstream media. Or, like The Whimperer, maybe they simply consider themselves above the rules? Mr. Tapscott and Captain Ed both have opinions on why this might be. Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

Democrats, Filibusters and Recess Appointments

Over at Hoystory, Matthew Hoy reminds us (once again!) of the Democrats' lack both of consistent positions and memory. It appears that despite their sudden distaste of the recess appointment for someone (John Bolton) who would easily be confirmed by the full Senate, Democrats are not at all averse to using this tool for someone who would NOT be confirmed by the full Senate.

The case in question is the nomination of Bill Lamm Lee, a 1996 Clinton-era appointee to the post of Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Opposed by the majority Republican Senate of the time, minority Democrats actually filibustered Lee (to prevent him from being brought to a up-or-down vote wherein he would surely have been defeated) and then the President used recess appointments both for the acting assistant A.G. position and later to promote Lee to Attorney General! In fact, in his introduction, then-President Clinton specifically said,
My constitutional right and responsibility as President is to put in office men and women who will further our policies consistent with our obligations under the Constitution. Some people want to wait for me to appoint someone to this position whom I disagree with. But America cannot afford to wait that long.

He continued by saying,
In the coming months, I will resubmit Mr. Lee's nomination to the Senate. I will be pressing very hard for a straight up or down vote, and I am confident that once the Senate and the American people are given a fair chance to judge Mr. Lee's performance, he will be confirmed.

So in other words, Democrats have no problem with recess appointments when it is their nominees, even if a majority in the Senate disagrees (as was the case in 1997)! Furthermore, according to President Clinton, "a straight up or down vote" is necessary. Where is that sentiment gone, O Democratic Party? it appears that when it a dastardly Republican, then the minority is justified in using any tactic to block that individual. How soon they forget....

Hat tip to the guys at Power Line.

Warren Harding

Warren G. Harding would top few persons' lists of best U.S. Presidents. He is known today mostly for the shenanigans of a group of his close advisors, led by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, who authored the incredible Teapot Dome scandal that became the first large case of government corruption.

Harding died on this day in 1923, in San Francisco, carried off by a sudden heart attack. He never lived to discover the effect the scandals of his Administration would be viewed by the voters. He was succeeded by 'Silent' Calvin Coolidge, whose apparent incorruptible and upright nature did much to restore voters' faith in the Administration. Hat tip to Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan on the KSFO Morning Show.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Onward the Nautilus

One last thought for August 1, 2005. I was browsing the Official Site of the U.S. Navy and happened across this story regarding the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.

On this day in the year 1958, the Nautilus submerged beneath the Polar ice cap to execute the first underwater traverse of the North Pole. While this feat has been repeated many times since, and today icebreakers can and do successfully traverse the Passage, the Nautilus was the first ship to do it completely underwater. My congratulations go out to her and her crew.

Staff Sergeant Sheik!

Apparently the mainstream media (better known in the blogosphere as the MSM) can overlook a positive story about Iraq and the U.S. military no matter what the circumstances. Besides their well-known reluctance to live by the laws they like to presccribe for others (see the Helen Thomas fiasco for proof), they also appear to have a strong aversion to actually doing their jobs (ie. reporting the day's occcurrences instead of pontificating their personal preferences for Soviet-style Communism- usually dressed in socialistic rhetoric). In this case, apparently the MSM cannot even report when an American soldier is rewarding by the Iraquis themselves in a most unusual way!

As it happens, an American Army sergeant was elected a Iraqi Sheik in the town of Qayyarah because of his assistance to common Iraqi people, and the MSM (surprise, surprise) ignored it. Fortunately, the Salt lake Tribune has either more professionalism or a less-biased worldview than most of the MSM, and reported the entire episode. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Garlic & Gastronomy

As I happen to live in the (very blue) San Francisco Bay Area, Mrs. Gankomon and I, accompanied by another couple attended the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, held (as one might suspect) in the city of Gilroy, approximately 45-60 minutes south of San Jose and two hours south of San Francisco. While the food and beverages were well up to my high standards, I found the trip down to be wearing, as traffic moved at about 2 miles per hour for a good portion of the journey. I might suggest that Gilroy give some thought to expanding the access roads, particularly the Monetery Street exit off from Highway 101.

That being said, I found the food, especially the garlic ice cream and the stuffed mushrooms to be delicious. And we were extremely grateful for the cooling spray in the wine-tasting tent. the walnut-flavored champagne was an eye-opener as well. i cannot remember the maker, but will post if I do. The music and entertainment, provided by apparently local groups, was determined, and was at least not annoying. And there was a plethora of things to observe, not least the other attendees of the Festival! I have not seen that many short skirts (not that I am complaining) in quite some time.

After we partook of the offerings at the festival proper, we moved over ot the nearby Outlet center, containing a large number of name-brand shops offering merchandise at low prices. Mrs. gankomon and I were able to secure some apparel for the coming addition, and our friends found some things as well. We topped off the day by eating taiwanese noodles at a small shop not far from our domicile. All in all, it was a very rewarding day, and I highly recommend it to any passers-by who have any interest at all in garlic and good food, drink and an all-around fun time.