Thursday, March 29, 2007

@ Technorati (Finally!)

After much thought, I finally broke down and claimed my blog on

Go check out my Technorati Profile and drop me a line if you're a Technorati reader!

03/29/2007:1130 PM UPDATE- Well, I installed Andrew Gwozdzieywcz's excellent Technorati Widget and installed automatic ping in Technorati as well. This may seem to be rather late in the day, but as I took a lengthy absence form my blogs, I would like to let all (one?) of my former readers know I am back up and raring to re-commence blogging.

What Geneva Conventions?

Remember the furor over the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay? Those supposedly poor, allegedly tortured 'civilians'? Well, now that Iran has clearly violated the terms of the Geneva Convention, specifically Convention III, Article 13, where are all the protestors and civil rights lawyers? As a reminder, the article in question states,
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

The prisoners held by Iran are clearly members of the British military and as such, they qualify as prisoners of war, unlike terrorists (al-Quaeda, etc) who refuse to abide by any rules of war. In fact, the Geneva Conventions as signed and ratified by the United States clearly and specifically spells out who is protected by the Conventions. The relevant text is as follows:
Art. 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[ (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

Clearly, the British Naval prisoners seized by Iran, whether they were or were not in Iranian waters (based on the data I have seen, there seems to be little doubt they were actually in Iraqi waters), are clearly entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. This means that parading them and interrogating them (which probably included worse forms of torture than any supposedly used by the United States) violate those Conventions. However, I have yet to hear a single voice from those who were so diligent in condemning the U.S. for it claimed violations condemn the Iranians for flagrantly violating the same document.

As a side note, based on the text of the conventions, there is little doubt that the terrorists who reside in Guantanamo are NOT entitled to any of the protections or rights enumerated above. They do not fall into any category listed, and the U.S. did not ratify the protocols of the 1970s which weere designed to give terrorists exactly these rights. However, since our Supreme Court apparently either cannot read or cannot resist pressure from ignorant or agenda-driven media personnel, we are forced to give protections and rights that these folks are not entitled to. It is a pity when our so-called elites in the government, courts and media are more willing to invent rights to those who would happily murder them in their beds without warning than they are to stand up for previously granted rights to members of an ally's professional military who are fighting to keep them safe.

Hat tip to Ed Morrissey.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hillary 08?

It has long been known that Hillary Ciinton lacks both her husband's political skills and his charm. Where Bill was able to parlay a 43% approval rating into two terms in the White House, Hillary is looking more and more like a wannabe politician, not the genuine article.

It is also well known that where Bill was and mostly still is genuinely liked as a person even by his political enemies, Hillary has no such good feeling. Unlike the politically gifted but ideologically centerless Bill, Hillary is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist/communist ideologue who lacks the political skills or charisma to bring her overweening ambition to fruition.

This knowledege was reinforced by a new Harris Poll that came out today, stating that 50 percent of Americans who are of voting age say they would not vote for Hillary. This includes a whopping 48 percent of independent voters and even 20 percent of registered Democrats.

This poll reinforces the feeling among many Democratic strategists that Hillary cannot win a national election. While I respect Hillary's ambition and her fund-raising skills, I would tend to agree that her only real chance of winning would be if a strong independent candidate split the Republican/libertarian/conservative vote, much as Ross Perot did in 1992. And even then, Hillary's chances are slim, as her negasitves are so high. Only thirty-six percent say they would vote for her. and eleven percent are undecided.

I believe that a Hillary presidency would be disastrous for the United States for many reasons. However, it is looking more and more that we will spared such a disaster, as Hillary does not appear at the moment to have enough support to actually win. IF the Republicans nominate a strong candidate, I don't think Hillary can win. At least , so I hope.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Democratic Plan for Iraq

Courtesy of the fine bloggers and journalists who form The Victory Caucus, I am pleased to present to my readers here at StoneHeads a visualization of the Democratic Party's plan for victory in Iraq. Included is a diagram of how the Democrats' new rules of engagement for our fine soldiers (ie. being permitted only to engage in what Congress, not the Constitutionally-designated Commander in Chief, categorizes as 'counter-terrorist activity') might work in practice. By the way, for any Democrats who may be reading this, the Constitutional Commander in Chief is the United States President. Keep in mind the Congresspeople who are proposing this new 'strategy' are the same people who are claiming that they "support the troops". I think the guys at Victory Caucus put it best, accurately identifying it as "the latest iteration of the Slow Bleed strategy"!

As as been stated in many other places, elections have consequences. For the past several elections, the Democrats' constant losses allowed them to carp, complain and do their best to sabotage the majority and the elected President in a time of war. However, they did win the last Congressional elections. This victory, while it allows them to dictate policy, also makes them responsible for those policies. If the Democrats really want to end the United States' military involvement in Iraq, or anywhere else, they have merely to end funding for it. Of course, that would require them to actually take responsibility- something that they aren't very good at.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Friday, March 23, 2007

To Protect and Serve?

It is a long-standing belief that community police forces exist to protect the citizens of said communities. As a corollary, using the 911 number instead of relying on our own protection has been forced down our throats, together with the false (and very dangerous mantra) that calling and then waiting for the police to arrive is better than defending oneself. In fact, as explained in a 2002 Woman's Quarterly article various legal precedents around the United States have made the exact opposite true.

Police forces are essentially useless in actually protecting citizens from crime (unless you live in a city like Clovis, California where the police actually pride themselves on fast and accurate response). Certainly in the Bay Area, it seems many police officers are more interested in hanging out in coffee/donut shops and issuing tickets for parking violations than actually protecting the public against criminals.

This i not intended as an indictment of police officers in general, many of whom are hard-working and conscientious individuals. However, too many police forces are famed for slow responses, condescending attitudes toward the public and over-zealous enforcement of minor offenses by law-abiding citizens.

If cities are sued when they (invariably) fail to protect citizens against crime, they will respond like a home invasion rape/murder case in San Jose, where a California court held that
...the city of San Jose was shielded from the suit because of a state statute and because there was no "special relationship" between the police and Ruth--the police had not started to help her, and she had not relied on any promise that the police would help. Case dismissed.

This is simply horrendous. The only suggestion I can make is "buy a gun and become a competent shot". Guns are the ultimate equalizer, and the more people who possess them, the fewer criminals will be willing to risk facing them.

And the sentence is...

Well, in a Muslim country, it depends. If you are a Muslim caught beheading Christian schoolgirls, you might get 14-20 years in prison. If you are a Christian caught doing, well anything that any Muslims don't like (like being accused of smuggling drugs, you could get the death penalty.

This is not to defend drug smugglers. However, the disparity in sentencing is striking. As Publus Pundit points out, it does make you wonder if there is a little bit of anti-Christian/Western bias operating here. And yet these are the same folks who cry for extra-legal protections when they receive any criticism based on their own actions.

Remind me again why the West has to compromise with these people? Hat tip to Publius Pundit.

Living the Environmentalist Way

According to a hilarious new video over on Mary Katherine Ham's blog at Check it out and enjoy a good laugh.

PS- It's made on a Macintosh.

Hat tip to the lovely and talented Michelle Malkin.

We Support the Troops..

...but only if they are deserters from the United States Armed Forces, according to Scrappleface. In the meantime, the New York Times tries to convince us that desertions are rising due to "toll of wartime deployments and point to the increasing percentage of troops who are on their second or third tours in Iraq or Afghanistan." In other words, it's all because of George Bush's warmongering!

However, as Jules Crittendon clearly demonstrates, if one actually reads the article in question, one finds that according to Lieutenant Colonel Brian Hilferty, "..numbers remain below prewar levels, and retention remains high. So the force is healthy." Crittendon also states that in the actual article from the Times, the following text is buried,
Desertions rates actually jumped in 2001, with nearly 1,000 more soldiers deserting when all we were doing was invading Afghanistan and hunting for Osama bin Laden, than since we opened the second GWOT front in Iraq, when desertions dropped. Desertion rates during Vietnam Redux nowhere near desertion rates during Classic Vietnam. The 2006 increase mentioned above is still many hundreds below the popular war period of 2001 and 2002.

Curiously, in the online version of this article, the above text is not included. Could the NYT be trying to spin a story to give the opinion diametrically opposite to what the actual data shows? The "Paper of Record"?? Say it isn't so!

Hmm, does that also mean that soldiers were more apt to desert BEFORE the supposedly unpopular war in Iraq began? One would think so. One would also think it would behoove journalists to actually proofread their writing so as to avoid cases like this where the actual news is in complete opposition to the headline. But that would require open minds and the ability to think logically- something too many reporters clearly lack.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

About The '300'

There has been much talk about ancient history since the recent release of Zach Snyder's 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel (think comic book for adults) adaptation of the epic battle between a small Greek force, made up of 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans and the army of Imperial Persia, made up of as many as ten thousand.

The battle took place in the narrow pass of Thermopylae, and for three days the Greeks, led by Spartan King Leonidas, held off the Persians. In the end, the Greeks died almost to a man, but their heroic sacrifice at Thermopylae, coupled with the near-simultaneous Athenian-led naval action at Salamis that destroyed the Persian fleet, gave the other Greek city-states time to organize together, and the Persians were eventually completely defeated.

Since the movie's release, there has been some controversy as to how accurate th movie actually is regarding its portrayal of the events at Thermopylae. I have yet to see the film, but I would like to offer a few thoughts.

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to study with the estimable Professor Victor Davis Hanson. Though Wikipedia mis-identifies him as a 'military historian', Dr. Hanson is in fact one of the pre-eminent classicists of our times. In a recent article on, he provided his take on the movie's accuracy.

As regards the movie, he says, "...remember that "300" does not claim to follow exactly ancient accounts of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Instead, it is an impressionistic take on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, intended to entertain and shock first, and instruct second." However, in Dr. Hanson's opinion, "...the main story line mostly conveys the message of Thermopylae."

Read the whole thing and make your own decision. Hat tip to Expat-Leo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Cancer is a terrible disease in all of its many forms. I lost my mother to a particularly vicious brain tumor a few years ago, and I myself have so far survived a less pernicious form myself. That being said, I am saddened to read that the lovely and talented Cathy Seipp of the Cathy's World blog appears to have lost her own long-running battle with the disease. As a very small fish in the blogger pool, I never had the opportunity to meet Cathy, but I have enjoyed reading her penetrating thoughts since she joined the blogging community.

If you can, please sign the wonderful petition for Cathy, and send your thoughts and prayer to her and to her family. For myself, thank you to Cathy for her many wonderful thoughts and your presence, Cathy, and while your memory lives, you will not be forgotten.

God bless you Cathy, and may you go peacefully into that good night.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Animal Rights

I have conflicting opinions on the animal rights lobby. On the one hand, they do serve a valuable purpose in bringing up inhumane treatment, and groups such as the SPCA save many abandoned and mistreated animals every year. Our first puppy came from an SPCA shelter.

However, they do seem to be a little over the top in their quest for animal "rights" at times. PETA's extremism is well-documented, and groups such as Animal Liberation Front are terrorists in their tactics and ideals. They also seem to lack balance. According to the United Kingdom's Daily Mail, animal rights activists would rather see a baby polar bear killed instead of being raised by zoo personnel.

The problem arose when the baby was abandoned by its mother. After the baby bear's brother died, Berlin Zoo personnel intervened, feeding the bear from bottles and making sure it would survive. However, these so-called animal rights activists say that the bear is better off being killed than brought up in such humiliating circumstances. I gather they see being brought up by humans as worse than death. So would these activists also advocate the killing of all domestic pets? This seems to be their argument.

Sometimes these extremists hurt their own position with their far-out views. This is clearly one of those cases. The zoo is doing its best to save the endangered animal, and if these animal rights activists really want to help, they should applaud the zoo's actions. However, it seems they are more interested in making headlines than actually helping the animals.

Monday, March 19, 2007

History, anyone?

I posted a few weeks ago on the fact that many on the Left like to ignore the many moments of splendor, both moral and cultural, displayed by Western culture.

However, there are those who have made the realization that Western civilization, while certainly not perfect, has many more positives than negatives, on balance. Michael Barone pinpoints this in his article "The Blame-America-First Crowd". Barone uses the writings of Winston Churchill and the British historian Andrew Roberts to make the point that,

...almost all the advances of freedom in the 20th century have been made by the English-speaking peoples -- Americans especially, but British, as well, and also (here his account will be unfamiliar to most American readers) Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. And he recalls what held and holds them together by quoting a speech Winston Churchill gave in 1943 at Harvard: "Law, language, literature -- these are considerable factors. Common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice and above all a love of personal freedom ... these are the common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-speaking peoples."

Read the whole thing. And if you know any Blame-America-First folks, feel free to share it with them. They could use all the real history they can get....

Sweet Sixteen

Well, the NCAA men's basketball tournament has so far lived up to its billing, with the games on both Saturday and Sunday providing plenty of down-to-the-wire finishes. Though only one high seed (Wisconsin, Number 2 seed in the Midwest region), was upset, all the top seeds received tough tests from their second-round opponents.

So we are now down to the sweet sixteen. In the East Region, the top two seeds, #1 North Carolina and #2 Georgetown will face #5 USC and #6 Vanderbilt respectively. In the South, top seed Ohio State faces #5 Tennessee and #2 Memphis faces #3 Texas A&M. The West showcases all four top seeds- #1 Kansas against #4 Southern Illinois and # 2 UCLA against #3 Pittsburgh. The Midwest is the most upset-minded region- #1 Florida will face #5 Butler while #3 Oregon faces #7 UNLV.

Next weekend should provide some good games, so I will attempt to predict them here:

North Carolina over USC, Georgetown over Vanderbilt.

Ohio State over Tennessee, Texas A&M over Memphis.

Kansas over Southern Illinois, UCLA over Pittsburgh.

Florida over Butler, UNLV over Oregon.

My Final Four:

East- North Carolina
South- Texas A&M
West- UCLA
Midwest- Florida

If next weekend lives up to the past weekend, we will see some great games. Go Tar Heels!

So are we at war yet?

The Democratic Party and their shills in the mainstream media have been insisting that we are not at war with Iran or their fellow-travelers in al-Quaeda almost since the beginning of the Iraq campaign of our fight against Islamic terror. However, it appears that whether or not the Democrats and the media recognize it or not, we re engaged in a battle against Iran.

News has appeared in recent months amounting to a veritable smoking gun of Iranian involvement in the Iraqi campaign. In addition, Iran has a long history of military acts of war against the United States, beginning with the capture of our Embassy in 1979. Last month, US forces found and captured a number of Iranian military officials in Iraq, and the recent defection of General Ali Resa Asgari has also increased our knowledge of Iranian actions against us.

However, Iran has now raised the bar in their long-running war against the US and Western civilization. The Times of London reports that Iran is threatening to kidnap US soldiers all over the world in what Iran claims is retaliation for supposed undercover kidnaps of its Revolutionary Guards leadership. According to the Times, security analysts say that this is a credible threat, especially in Iraq, where US personnel are easier to reach.

We need to scotch this immediately. Iran need to understand that their Revolutionary Guards are operating outside the lines in Iraq, and any such attempt to kidnap US personnel would be met with a strong and immediate military response - including the targeting of the Iranian political leadership.

That being said, when will the media and the Democrats wake up and realize that we have been at war with Iran since 1979, and the time allotted us to teach them a permanent lesson is growing shorter as they reach desperately for nuclear weapons. History shows that countries such as Iran only respect force, and that when they are allowed to nourish delusions of grandeur that the cost to squash those notions increases exponentially the longer they are allowed to pursue them.

Monday, March 12, 2007

'Fair and Balanced'???

For many years, the Democrats have enjoyed an echo chamber in the national media. CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS are all reliably and heavily partisan toward the Democrats. The biased coverage is goods for at least five points in most elections. Yet apparently the Democrats are not satisfied with this. When the Nevada Democratic Party allowed the Fox News Network- the only network that actually allows conservatives a fairly even voice- to co-sponsor a debate, the Democrats threw a temper tantrum. John Edwards' campaign wrote on their blog, "Fox News already proven they have no intention of providing "fair and balanced" coverage of any Democrat in this election." This from the campaign that engaged in reckless and hateful blogging about Catholics?

I think the reaction of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is the most apt. The editors wrote a stingingly honest editorial today regarding the Democrats' inability to engage in any debate where they do not enjoy a totally controlled media environment. Among other things, the editors wrote,

"You'd think the deal called for having Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter mock the candidates between comments. No, even unfiltered, unedited, live debate between loyal Democrats couldn't be entrusted to Fox News.

The approach of outfits such as is so juvenile it's laughable. Imagine if every political organization created litmus tests for news organizations before agreeing to appear on their programming. Republicans would have boycotted PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, National Public Radio and The Associated Press decades ago."

This seems about right. Apparently Democrats are so out of touch with American values that they imagine liberals are a majority, and that conservatives are not even human. I have some advice for the moonbats of the Left- try actually talking a few conservatives once in a while instead of demonizing us. Or even better, actually meet a few in person. You might learn why we believe the things we do, and perhaps you might even find that you can entertain a few novel ideas once in a while.

Friday, March 09, 2007

NCAA Thoughts, Part 2

Well, so far our teams are batting .500 (I wish there was a better way to describe this than using terms from my least favorite sport- baseball). In any event, our hometown Fresno State Bulldogs weren't able to deliver, losing 78-73 to Boise State's Broncos in the WAC tournament. This almost certainly means the 'Dogs will play on in the NIT, as opposed to the NCAA Tournament.

After a wild first day in the ACC tournament, in which all the higher seeds lost, North Carolina avoided the upset bug, smacking down Florida State to remain on track for their first ACC tourney title since 1998. Hopefully they can remain focused tomorrow when they will face Boston College, who defeated Miami (FL) 74-71 earlier today.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reminders of Western Clarity

Multi-culturalists dislike being reminded that Western culture is responsible for many moments of moral clarity not shared by non-Western cultures. A case in point is the movement against the slave trade. While many cultures have been involved in the slave trade (among them Islamic, Asian and Western), only the West has made any effort to end this abominable trade in human souls. To note, Saudi Arabia officially ended slavery only in 1965 (at the behest of its Western allies), and the two Barbary Wars of the early United States were fought against slave-trading Moslem nations of North Africa.

This March marks the 200th anniversary of the success of the abolitionist movement in passing the Slave Trade Act of 1807. This Act of the British Parliament, passed on March 25, 1807, made it illegal for any subject of the British Empire to engage in the slave trade and by classifying slaver ships in the same category as pirates, also allowed British warships to engage in military action against those ships of other nations who were carrying slaves.

This Act marked the beginning of the end for slavery, though the United States would engage in bloody internecine war partially due to the slave question, and other cultures would continue to condone slavery. However, were it not for the moral clarity and steadfastness of men of the West like William Wilberforce, slavery might yet be a blight upon our world. For that, we owe them much.

And for the multi-culturalists, why is it that these other oh-so-equal cultures who engaged in slavery saw no reason to end it? Why only the West? Why was it that the West had to force these other cultures to end it, why couldn't they see the evil of this pernicious trade on their own? I await the answer...

March Madness Begins

Well, March Madness, aka the annual NCAA basketball championship, is about to commence, and the preliminary craziness, also known as the individual conference tournaments, are already in full swing. With that in mind, we are stepping away from our usual preoccupation with political and historical matters to offer some thoughts on the sports scene.

First, congratulations to those teams who have already made the field of 65. As for us over here at StoneHeads, we are rooting for the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Western Athletic Conference and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Bulldogs will be playing Boise State at 5PM Pacific time this afternoon, and the Tar Heels will play Friday against the winner of today's game between Clemson and Florida State. Good luck to all.