Tuesday, January 31, 2006


My good friend Lori in SFO sent this to me today. I thought I'd share it with you - it's ALL true!

When you're from Texas, people that you meet ask you questions like, "Do you have any cows?" "Do you have horses?" "Bet you got a bunch of guns, eh?"

They all want to know if you've been to Southfork. They watched Dallas.

Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas. Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup. There is some little bit of Texas in everyone.

Did you ever hear anyone in a bar go, "Wow...so you're from Iowa? Cool, tell me about it?" Do you know why? Because there's no place like Texas.

Texas is the Alamo. Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom. We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Crockett and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes. John Wayne paid to do the movie himself. That is the Spirit of Texas.

Texas is Sam Houston capturing Santa Ana at San Jacinto.

Texas is "Juneteenth" and Texas Independence Day.

Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett National Forest.

Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.

Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.

Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas.

Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas.

Texas is world record bass from places like LakeFork.

Texas is Mexican food like nowhere else, not even Mexico.

Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome.

Texas is larger-than-life legends like Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Darrell Royal, ZZ Top, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, George Bush, Lyndon B.Johnson, and George W. Bush.

Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments and Compaq. And Lockheed Martin Aerospace, home of the F-16 jet fighter and the JSF Fighter.

Texas is NASA.

Texas is huge herds of cattle and miles of crops.

Texas is skies blackened with doves, and fields full of deer.

Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local high school football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and for the Night In Old San Antonio and their River Parade.
Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities.

If it isn't in
Texas, you probably don't need it. No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas.

By federal law,
Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, or Maine and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Pine Tree High in Longview or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height: 20 feet. Do you know why? Because it is the only state that was a republic before it became a state

Also, being a Texan is as high as being an American down here. Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the Capitol building in
Washington, D.C., and we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to! We included these things as part of the deal when we came on. That's the best part, right there.

Texas even has its own power grid!!

Song of the Day

Today was a great day...warm enough to drop the top (mid-70s) and take a long, long drive north and east into Texas, just to clear the cobwebs. I was gone for about five hours, and as luck (or stupidity/forgetfulness) would have it, I forgot to take the camera. I can rationalize my oversight by saying "well, there wasn't much to photograph, anyway." Wrong. There's always something to photograph...always. But I digress.

While I was motoring and thinking today, the thought occurred to me to add a new "feature" to the blog: the song of the day. I'll post the artist, album title, song name, lyrics, a link to the song (if available), the source (radio, personal collection, other) and perhaps something or other about the song, ranging from a simple "I just like it" up to and including a long, drawn out and most likely boring war story. There probably won't be too many war stories. You should be glad.

I keep about 15 or so CDs in the car. The really good ones seem to stay there permanently, the "B" list gets rotated every two weeks or so. Matchbox Twenty's "Yourself or Someone Like You" is one of the CDs that hasn't seen the inside of
El Casa Móvil de Pennington for at least two years. It got a lot of airplay today. It always does, it's one of my favorite albums. And here comes a war story.

"Yourself" is, in a way, the last gift The Second Mrs. Pennington gave me. The album was released in 1996; we broke up in 1998. I first heard the album while visiting my youngest son in the Fall of 1998, shortly after TSMP left Rochester and moved back to Detroit. I visited my son at TSMP's house. TSMP put my boy down for a nap and we went into her kitchen to talk. She put "Yourself" on her little boombox CD-player and said "I think you'll like this; it's a great album." I half-listened to the music while we talked, but I bought the album on my return to Rochester. She was right: it is a great album, and it's one of the best musical chronicles of a broken relationship I've ever heard. I have a tendency to project feelings into or on music (whichever is the appropriate usage), and it's like Rob Thomas was a fly on my wall when he wrote half the songs on "Yourself." I lived the situations he describes in most of the songs on the album, and most particularly the situation in today's Song of the Day: "Hang."

Artist: Matchbox Twenty

Album: Yourself or Someone Like You

Released: 1996

Song: Hang

Track available here. (Click the album on the far left; last track on the drop-down list.)

Source when heard today: Personal collection.


She grabs her magazines
She packs her things and she goes
She leaves the pictures hanging on the wall, she burns all
Her notes and she knows, she's been here too few years
To feel this old

He smokes his cigarette, he stays outside 'til it's gone
If anybody ever had a heart, he wouldn't be alone
He knows, she's been here too few years, to be gone

And we always say, it would be good to go away, someday
But if there's nothing there to make things change
If it's the same for you I'll just hang

The trouble, understand, is she got reasons he don't
Funny how he couldn't see at all, 'til she grabbed up her coat
And she goes, she's been here too few years to take it all in stride
But still it's much too long, to let hurt go (you let her go)

And we always say, it would be good to go away, someday
But if there's nothing there to make things change
If it's the same for you I'll just hang
The same for you

Well I always say, It would be good to go away
But if things don't work out like we think
And there's nothing there to ease this ache
But if there's nothing there to make things change
If it's the same for you I'll just hang

"I'm Gonna REPORT you!"

The WaPo reports Iran will be reported to the UN Security Council as a result of negotiations between the five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, that just concluded in London.
The agreement to report, rather than "refer," is less than Washington wanted and gives Iran another chance to negotiate a way out of the crisis. Had the matter been "referred," it would have become the immediate domain of the Security Council.

Winning the support of Russia and China to report the matter to the Security Council does not guarantee what action the council might take. It also does not guarantee that Russia and China would vote to support sanctions or other action proposed at the council.

Iran now has six weeks to meet the requirements of the IAEA.
Iran blustered in response:
"We consider any referral or report of Iran to the Security Council as the end of diplomacy," Iranian state television quoted Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and its chief nuclear negotiator, as saying on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

"This statement does not discuss referral but I believe that the Europeans should be more careful," the semi-official ISNA students news agency quoted him as saying. "We have asked for talks with the Europeans which shows that Iran wants to try all amicable ways to achieve peaceful nuclear technology."
So, we’ll do a few more turns around the diplomatic dance floor while the Iranians continue to dig deeper and disperse production to more and more locations, making the ultimate resolution of this problem much more difficult. In any event, Iran won’t be “reported” to the Security Council until early March, rather than immediately. That’s great, guys. Give them more time to offer a few more unconvincing gestures, or outright lies, to the “international community.” Lord knows we can trust them to do the right thing since their past-performance has been so outstanding and cooperative. (/sarcasm)

It’s highly doubtful the Security Council will do anything meaningful once the IAEA delivers its report, considering its 12-year record of dithering on Iraq. Passing weasel-worded resolutions wouldn’t deter your average nine-year old, let alone a certifiable madman Hell-bent on bringing on the Apocalypse.

Tick-tick, tick-tick, tick-tick…

Monday, January 30, 2006


Don't get in her way! Whatever you do!

P.S.: You'll like it, I promise.

Cloture Passes...

...72 - 25. Samuel Alito most certainly will be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

All Rise!

New Zawahiri Videotape

And while we're waiting for the outcome of the cloture vote (still in progress), there's that new Zawahiri videotape, broadcasted by Al-Jazeera today.

Walid Phares has a translation and analysis. The lede:
The new Zawahiri videotape released by al Jazeera today shows a sophistication in the propaganda war waged by the Jihadists worldwide against the US and its allies. Designed to "crumble" the morale of the American public and "boost" the commitments of the Jihadi forces, the tape is another attempt to score points in the War of ideas and media. The results were immediate in the West. The Associated Press immediate leads were stunning: 1) Zawahiri proves he wasn't killed by the US strike, therefore he scored one point against the US. 2) He labeled his enemy, the US President, as "butcher of Washington," hence attempting to rally the widest anti-American axis as possible AP lead. But the tape is not just that, another message from the number two in al Qaida. It is a very well orchestrated political offensive aimed at the nervous centers of the "enemy's public. A shot that may preceed action or asking for it.
Interesting reading, to say the least. Al Qaeda knows information warfare. They see our strings and are very adept at pulling them. Too bad the Western media plays along.


...apparently isn't a requirement in the Senate. The cloture vote was delayed about ten minutes due to Frist exercising his "majority leader's time." The vote is on-going as senators stroll in to the chamber...

Hillary just voted "no." Lieberman voted "aye."

Results as soon as I hear...

15 Minutes to Cloture

Kennedy survived his rant. Amazing. I really thought he was going to implode, or explode, whatever.

Frist, or his representative, is supposed to summarize prior to the cloture vote. But nothing is happening, no one is speaking as I write. A quorum call has been issued.

This is serious high drama!

Watching Kennedy...

...on C-SPAN2 right now, and he is in full-rant mode. An amazing display. His face is red, he's shouting; I'm afraid he's going to explode. Seriously. His gesticulations are absolutely WILD. I wish the camera would pan over the rest of the Senate, it would be great to see the reacions of the other senators to this display.

I hope there's a doctor in the house.

Update, 1/30/2006, 1740 hrs.: Michelle Malkin was watching Teddy, too. Links to video of Teddy's rant there, too. I tell ya, it was a spectacle!

USAF and the QDR

Steve, over at LinkedInUSAF, has written a good post defending the U.S. Air Force’s position in the DoD pantheon. I want to add my thoughts, too.

It’s interesting that airpower is under severe pressure at the moment, largely because of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The QDR is a good idea, in principle, because every organization needs a periodic “bottom-up” review to validate its raison d'être. The current QDR, however, has devolved into a budget cutting exercise. I’ll quote:

The Pentagon’s first three post-Cold War strategic reviews—staged with great fanfare in 1993, 1997, and 2001—generally have been viewed, and accurately so, as budget-cutting drills without much supporting analysis. Things were supposed to be different the fourth time around.

A year ago, officials pledged that the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, now nearing an end, would assess US forces and policies and let facts dictate the conclusions. DOD first would establish the requirements, it was said, with budgets to come later.

That, as they say, was then, and this is now. Today, there is much evidence to suggest that QDR 2005 has mutated into something fairly familiar: a search for a way—any way—to clamp down on military spending.

The editorial I’m quoting is from Air Force Magazine, and as such, represents a parochial point of view. I’m sure there are similar editorials in the journals of associations of the other services defending their particular “turf.” The Navy is also being hit very hard in the current QDR, if one reads the tea leaves correctly. One should also note all the current comment is merely speculation; the actual QDR has not been published as of yet. All that said, it’s hard to deny the truths contained within the AFA’s editorial.

The danger, as I see it, is the tendency to be focused on the “here and now,” as exemplified by the near-term emphasis on Special Operations forces, and supporting components of SOF, required to prosecute the War on Terrorism effectively. History, however, is replete with rapid and dramatic geopolitical changes. It would be very, very hard to point to a specific instance in the past where this, or any other, country went to war with optimum forces in place to meet the threat at hand. I speak strictly of defensive measures, aggressors always go to war with forces tailored to achieve their objectives. It has been ever so.

So, and the point is? I’ll provide the closing paragraphs of that AFA editorial:

…“traditional” threats are alive and well. Pentagon planners have included in the QDR three major combat scenarios—most particularly China. “The enhancements ... of the Chinese military [do] cause concern,” Gen. T. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In general, the QDR is not the best place for preparing detailed budgets. It is intended to provide a broad, 20-year view of DOD needs and not delve deeply into programs. It would make quite a lot of sense to give each service a budget figure, and then let uniformed leaders forge the most workable plans.

The real issue is not even so much the size of the budget, but whether the defense program as planned and projected is adequate to provide for national defense. Getting that part right is critical. It is a legitimate task for Pentagon civilians, working in close cooperation with the armed services and Congress.

It’s all about considering each and every threat to the nation, and the force structure required to meet and defeat those threats. Allocating the money required to build and maintain the forces required to meet the threats is the second, not the first, step in the process. The current QDR appears to put the cart before the horse.

This Just In!


(2006-01-30) — Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who parlayed the death of her soldier son into a successful public speaking and writing career, will join Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Tuesday night to deliver the Democrat response to President George Bush’s State of the Union address.

“Our choice of Cindy and Hugo demonstrates our commitment to diversity, and personifies our platform for the future,” said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democrat National Committee (DNC). “Plus, they’re among the few well-known progressives who didn’t vote to support the war in Iraq while publicly attacking the Bush administration for its policy toward Iraq.”

Follow the Scrappleface link and read the comments to Ott's post. Much truth there. It boggles the mind what some people consider "acceptable dissent." Sheehan is nothing but the moonbat's moonbat, true. At the same time, she's also perilously close to becoming an outright traitor. Just sayin'.

Tell ya what: There's no one, and I mean NO ONE, who does political satire better than Scott Ott. You can take that to the bank!

Monday Meanderings

You ARE clicking on the “Carnival of the Insanities” logo in the sidebar every Sunday, aren’t you? (It’s that little image of the famous Munch painting, “The Scream.”) What? You’re not? Well, then, you’ve missed stuff like James Lileks’ “Simple rules for making a fool of yourself on the Internet.” Some of the work-up before giving us the rules:
Ever since Bush imposed martial law and shot the cast of "The View" -- sorry, since Bush won the last election, hard-left nuttery seems more mainstream. Bob Dole did not post on bulletin boards that claimed Bill Clinton would soon use FEMA to herd everyone into U.N.-run camps where everyone would get Mark of the Beast bar codes on their necks. John Kerry, on the other hand, has posted at the Daily Kos, whose neck-vein-popping contributors seem to think Bush spends his nights getting hammered and ordering Halliburton to poison Iraqi water so he can get kickbacks from the Pepto-Bismol Crime Syndicate.
Debra Burlingame is a former attorney and the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. She writes an impassioned op-ed on the PATRIOT Act in today’s WSJ Opinion Journal titled “Our Right to Security; Al Qaeda, not the FBI, is the greater threat to America.” Excerpt:
We now have the ability to put remote control cameras on the surface of Mars. Why should we allow enemies to annihilate us simply because we lack the clarity or resolve to strike a reasonable balance between a healthy skepticism of government power and the need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from such threats? The mantra of civil-liberties hard-liners is to "question authority"--even when it is coming to our rescue--then blame that same authority when, hamstrung by civil liberties laws, it fails to save us. The old laws that would prevent FBI agents from stopping the next al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were built on the bedrock of a 35-year history of dark, defeating mistrust. More Americans should not die because the peace-at-any-cost fringe and antigovernment paranoids still fighting the ghost of Nixon hate George Bush more than they fear al Qaeda. Ask the American people what they want. They will say that they want the commander in chief to use all reasonable means to catch the people who are trying to rain terror on our cities. Those who cite the soaring principle of individual liberty do not appear to appreciate that our enemies are not seeking to destroy individuals, but whole populations.
The PATRIOT Act expires in five days. This editorial, written by a woman who knows and understands the magnitude of what’s at stake, couldn’t be more timely. I, for one, am not confident this essential legislation will be renewed in a timely manner, if at all. One can only hope.

And meanwhile… The Senate “debate” on Judge Alito drones on. I’ve been watching C-SPAN2 off and on all morning and it’s (the debate) more of the same. The Republicans and the Democrats are trading debate time off amongst themselves, an hour at a time. I’ve heard the same arguments, from BOTH sides, over and over, ad nauseaum. My feelings? Vote, already! The cloture vote is scheduled for later today, I WILL watch that vote. The Left hasn’t given up on the filibuster fight, haranguing the faithful to call, fax, or send messages via carrier pigeon to their senators to give the American public a “full, open, public debate on Alito.” Yeah, right. Here’s what The Boston Globe thinks of that idea:
In Massachusetts, old liberals never die.

They just keep tilting at windmills.

At the last minute, Senator John Kerry called for a filibuster to stop the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. Senator Edward M. Kennedy joined the fight.

The initial reaction from fellow Democrats was tepid. Tepid it should remain.

Alito is conservative. But radical? The Democrats failed to make the case during hearings which proved only one thing beyond a reasonable doubt: their own boorishness.
You can’t get anymore Blue-State than The Globe, now, can you? Kerry and his friends on the far-left fringe are simply posturing. And that's a good thing, because it's a beautiful illustration of just how incompetent and unfit for leadership they truly are.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday Stuff

The Left is busy this weekend. The major Lefty blogs are undertaking a full-court press in support of Kerry’s, and now Kennedy’s (D-Chappaquidick), call for a filibuster against Judge Alito. You have to give them credit: they appear to be dedicated and well-organized on this one. See what I mean at dKos, firedoglake, and TalkLeft. I find virtually no comment on this activity on the Right side of the blogosphere; there is one exception: (Political) Circus Coming To Town at The Jawa Report. Perhaps there will be other right-side comment as the day progresses.

Speaking of Lefty blogs…Jane Hamsher at firedoglake (bio and selected Huffington Post posts here) apparently reads only “selected” blogs on the Right. Here’s her comments on the proliferation of Right-side blogs:

Every time I look at my Technorati links these days there are a lot more wingnuts than there used to be. You're never quite sure what they're saying since it's always misspelled but you're pretty sure it's supposed to be insulting, in that sort of ham-fisted, remedial, back-of-the-class monobrow humor that finds its apex in the word "booger." Anyway, these are the people who are usually castigating me for my awful language and doing their part to spread the meme "sandpaper snatch" such that Kate O'Beirne will most assuredly never walk into a room wearing tafetta again.

I don’t know just WHO she’s reading, do you? Credit where credit is due, however. The taffeta line is a good one, even if taffeta is misspelled. Pot, meet kettle.

The news from Iraq ain’t all car-bombs and other assorted terrorist acts of mayhem. There’s good news, too, but you wouldn’t know it from reading the MSM or watching the network or cable news. Yes, that includes Fox News. Want to read about some positive developments in the war? No End But Victory has lots. Keep scrolling!

Too frickin’ funny. From the Beeb’s site: US plans to 'fight the net' revealed. My reaction? Duh! We’ve always had information war plans, and we’ve executed them in every war we’ve ever fought, albeit in an awkward sort of way most of the time. It only stands to reason the DoD would update info war plans to reflect advances in technology. Nonetheless, the funny part is the reaction from a couple of our friends in the “reality-based” community. See Hoffmania and Brilliant at Breakfast, who obviously isn’t. Comment at BaB is sparse, mostly just a reprint of Auntie’s article. The proprietress of BaB closes with:

You knew they wouldn't allow blogs to stay online forever...not once the power of bloggers became known.

This country is being led by some pretty crazy-ass m*****f****ers.

Those black helicopters constantly buzzing around her house have GOT to be annoying as Hell.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

On Cars

That “Which Sports Car Are You?” quiz got me to thinking right after I took it. Bad thoughts. Thoughts about replacing the Green Hornet with a new Miata, even though the current one, with only 38K on the clock, is in immaculate condition and is eminently serviceable in each and every respect. I did all the usual things: went to the Kelly Blue Book site and found out what the Green Hornet is worth (always a shock), what folks are paying for new Miatas (also a shock), and fired off a request for a quote to the nearest Mazda dealer. Yesterday I came to my senses and put those thoughts out of my head. Why replace a perfectly good thing with something that’s gonna cost you a lot of money, relatively speaking, and provides only limited advantages over what you currently own? Crazy, is what that is.

What I really need is a new motorcycle!

But back to cars. How well traveled is your car? I’ve owned some cars that have been exceptionally well-traveled. The Green Hornet is probably typical. I took delivery in SFO and have driven it as far north as the central Oregon Coast, south to the Mexican border, east to Houston, and lotsa points in between, especially in New Mexico. My Corvette, on the other hand, didn’t get out a lot. I took delivery in Detroit, and drove it all over Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, west to South Bend, IN and east to New York. The ‘Vette was a toy, pure and simple. The most well-traveled car I’ve ever owned was a 1983 BMW 320. I bought it while living in London, took delivery in Munich, drove it through Germany, Holland, and all over the UK before bringing it back home. Once in the US, that car took the Second Mrs. Pennington and me from coast to coast, New Jersey to Los Angeles, all over Michigan, south to Oklahoma City, and more than a few points in between. I owned that car for nearly ten years, getting rid of only after it had well over 100K on the clock and maintenance costs began to exceed operating costs. I replaced it with a SAAB 9000, which was one of the worst cars I’ve ever owned, and my first and last front-driver.

So, apropos of nothing, here’s the inventory of cars I’ve known and loved or hated, from first to current, with a few comments on each.

1950 Buick coupe, yellow with a black top, straight-eight with a slush-o-matic Dynaflow transmission. The engine never changed pitch and there were no perceptible shift points in that car. Very weird, very geeky. Like its 18-year old owner.

1957 Triumph TR-3. God, I loved that car! It was a chick-magnet! It had a short life, and very nearly ended my own. I managed to toss it off a 50-foot embankment just outside of Lompoc, CA. Rolled it three times, once laterally and twice end over end before it came to rest.

1964 Chevy Impala. Technically not my car, it belonged to the First Mrs. Pennington. But it was the family car for a few months after we were married. I walked between totaling the TR and marrying TFMP.

1965 VW Beetle. A thoroughly utilitarian, forgettable automobile, no matter what Bug-lovers say. Cramped and underpowered.

1967 Chevy Malibu SS396. 350 hp, three-speed Hydramatic, great looking, wonderful car. One of the few automobiles I wish I still owned.

1970 Dodge Dart Swinger 340. 275 hp, four-speed. The best way to get more than 275 hp out of that car was to turn the ignition key to the right. VERY quick. Sold it during the First Great Oil Crisis, coz it got all of ten mpg, highway.

1972 (maybe 1973, I don’t really remember) Mazda RX-3 station wagon. Very powerful and very smooth, for its size. About as reliable as a hand grenade; Mazda put two replacement engines in that car under warranty, TFMP put one in it on her dime.

(Following my first divorce I went about three years without owning a car at all. I had a succession of motorcycles for basic transportation. An interesting period in life, to be sure.)

1972 Chevy Nova, bought used in 1977. Straight-six, three-speed stick. Best value for money in a car I’ve EVER had. Bought it for $750.00, sold it in 1979 for $500.00. It took me from South Bend, IN to North Dakota, to Florida, back to ND, and out to Oregon. I sold it once I could see my feet while looking down into the trunk. Serious rust-bucket, but it sure worked.

1978 Ford Courier pick-up. Another utilitarian vehicle. Four-banger, four-speed. Took The Second Mrs. Pennington and me from Oregon to the East Coast and all over the UK for a year or two.

1983 BMW 320. See above. Another car I wish I still owned.

1984 Nissan pickup. TSMP’s daily driver. Utilitarian. Forgettable.

1991 SAAB 9000. Four-banger, five-speed, hatchback. Front-wheel drive. I seriously disliked this car, even though I kept it for four years.

199X Mercury Cougar. TSMP’s daily driver; I drove this car rarely. Don’t even remember what year it was.

1992 Corvette. I owned this car for seven years and I LOVED it. Technically TSMP’s car, I inherited it in the divorce.

1996 Chevy Impala SS. The last big-assed, RWD, ‘Vette motored Impala. Great road car! Another one I wish I had back.

1999 Dodge Durango. TSMP’s vehicle, I rarely drove it.

1953 Cadillac Four-door sedan. Hobby car, money-sink. TSMP christened it “The Smokin’, Drinkin’, Partyin’ Car.” And so it was. It was fun, but I won’t go there again.

The Green Hornet. 2000 – current. Reliable, fun, good looking. This car STILL gets approving comments and glances from all sorts of people, from nine-year old boys to Sweet Young Things, to Grandmas.

The bold-faced cars were my favorites. And there you have it.

Update 1/29/06: I forgot the "other 'Vette." The Corvette was TSMP's daily driver and she didn't want to drive it during the Detroit winters. So I bought a "winter car," as lots of Michiganders do, and the 'Vette was garaged "for the duration." The winter car was a 198X Chevette, maybe an '85, maybe an '86, I don't know. It's hard for me to express just how BAD that car actually was. A Chevette would give the Yugo a run for its money for the title of "Worst Automotive Abomination, Ever." If ever there was a reason to be glad to see Spring, it was the fact I didn't have to drive the Yu...er...Chevette again until November.

More needs to be said about that Cadillac, too. That thing was HUGE inside. TSMP and I used to joke that if we fell on hard times and lost the house, we could always live in the Caddy. I also imagine a lot of kids were conceived in full-size American cars of the early and mid-'50s. TSMP and I split the back-seat upholstery of that car one afternoon (the upholstery was old, we were "exuberant"), and that became an inside joke between us concerning "the best thing about the Caddy."

Insomniac Reading

Good stuff for the light of day, too!

Ralph Peters, in Condi's Revolution, writes a good editorial about Ms. Rice’s efforts to reform the State Department. I saw her speech, and the Q&A session following Ms. Rice’s speech was just as, if not more so, enlightening as the speech itself. If you’re into this sort of thing (sometimes I assume too much, no?) you can watch the speech on C-SPAN. The title of the video is “Sec. of State Rice on Transformational Diplomacy;” and is the third entry on the page I link to. No direct link is available; I tried.

Michelle Malkin is encouraging folks to submit “alternative” Google logos for their new Google.cn search site. Some pretty cool and creative graphics work!

Tax cuts actually work! Imagine that.

Further on the subject of my “Fratricide” post, Tom Bevan writes in Big Media, Big Problems:

While little more than a nuisance at the moment, the aggressive hostility displayed by hard-left liberals demanding “more balanced” coverage from big media is a potentially ominous sign. The mainstream press, which already leans to the left, can’t afford to lose its appeal to such a core constituency. But lurching further to the left will only alienate more readers and more viewers living between the coasts, significantly impeding the ability of large media outlets to appeal to a broad national audience.

In other words, big media has big problems.

Further discussion at The Claremont Institute’s blog. Excerpt:

If a Tim Russert raises serious questions with liberalism, it could well mean not only that he is an honest man, but that liberalism for him has lost some of its lustre, or some of its spokesmen are seen as less than principled. The hard left's rage is thus not surprising. It smells heresy.

Powerline weighs in, too.

And that's it, for the moment. I'm gonna try and get some sleep!

Challenger Remembered

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. Go read Dr. Sanity for a first-hand account. She was the Crew Surgeon for Mission 51-L.

Friday, January 27, 2006


No, it's a campaign.

I didn’t say anything this past week when the Lefty blogs all got their knickers in a twist about Tim Russert asking Barack Obama about Harry Belafonte’s anti-American remarks. The cries of “racist!” seemed too typical to be of any note. Ditto when the moonbats went ballistic about Chris Matthews comparing bin Laden to Michael Moore. While I was mildly surprised about Matthews’ comment, given the fact Zell Miller wanted to kill him (well, OK, duel him) during the Republican convention, I just didn’t think Matthews deserves any attention from me. At all. I have an active dislike for Matthews and MS-NBC, in general.

But the Left sure jumped on Matthews, big time. I read some of the Left’s self-righteous outrage and thought “fratricide; how droll” and let it go. But I did think it somewhat strange the Left would go after one of their warhorses, and not just one or maybe two of the smaller Lefty blogs, but it was the Biggies, and a lot of ‘em, too. And then there was that whole WaPo blog flap…more of the same outraged cries about right-wing bias from the Left. WTF? RIGHT-wing bias? Washington-frickin’-POST?

Then I read The Left's Revolution Against the Media in NRO. Bingo! Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Typical liberal left reaction when they hear something/anything they disagree with, or simply don’t like, even if it’s said by a brother-in-arms. Toe the line, guys, or we’re gonna kick your a$$. So what exactly are the Lefty bloggers saying?

Here’s some of the action at firedoglake: Get Katie Couric. Get the WaPO. Get Chris Matthews. Actually, I should have just given you the url for the blog and you could simply scroll down. About every third post is anti-media this or anti-media that. Over at dKos, the meme is pretty much the same. Here’s Crooks and Liars; just scroll.

So the Left is now whining the media is overwhelmingly right-wing? How quickly they forget. Here are the major newspapers’ presidential endorsements for 2004:

Kerry--The New York Times, the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Miami Herald, Kansas City (Mo.) Star, St. Petersburg (Fla) Times, Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal, Florida Today, Palm Beach (Fla) Post, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Nevada Appeal, Grand Forks Herald, Sacramento Bee, Jackson (Tenn) Sun, Duluth News-Tribune, Charlotte Observer, Hawk Eye (Iowa), Free Press (Minn), Daily Camera (Boulder), the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Portland Press-Herald in Maine. The Oregonian in the other
Portland (which had backed President Bush in 2000), and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Detroit Free Press, Columbia (Mo.) Tribune, the Daily Star in Tucson, Ariz., and both of the big papers in Seattle -- the Times and the Post-Intelligencer -- have announced their support.

Bush-- the Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press and Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Las Cruces Sun-News, Other endorsements are generally by small town newspapers in uncontested states, the WP reports.

Bush had exactly three major market endorsements as of
October 18, 2004. And that's just an example of print media political leanings. For a comprehensive look at the liberal tilt in all media, see the October 2004 archives of OH, THAT LIBERAL MEDIA! Sure, it's a right-wing blog, but facts is facts, folks. Chase a few links, they speak for themselves.

This is the “right-wing media.” I think NRO is on to something here.

Bad Ethernet Connection

The SAME damned problem just reoccurred. I immediately got on the phone with the tech support guys at my ISP and did some troubleshooting on the phone. It turns out that my problem is probably a weak connection on the back of my PC. A little judicious wiggling of the ethernet cable on the back of the PC made the problem go away...for the moment.

Another great thing about small-town life: I'm on a first-name basis with the tech support guys at my ISP. They're friendly, helpful, and above all, knowledgeable. It is so VERY cool to be able to make a phone call, get connected to tech support by a real live person, and have your problem seriously considered. No "make an appointment," no damned voice response systems with a menu that would confuse Einstein, no hassles, no problems.

Life is good.

Written Last Night

Everything is back to normal, it appears. I received an automated reply from Blogger when I sent my "Help!" e-mail; one of the suggestions was to delete my Blogger cookies. I dutifully did so and Voila!...I'm back in the blogging world!

So, what follows is the post I wrote last evening and added to VERY early this morning, like 0300. Read this with a grain of salt; it's a lesson in PANIC.

Boy, all HELL must be going down in Palo Alto. Blogger is down. G-Mail has slowed to a snail’s pace, if and when it decides to load at all. This has been going on since around 10:30 p.m. MST, and it’s 1:30 a.m. as I write (in Word). I feel like a fish out of water as I’ve put all my eggs in Google’s basket. Now that’ll teach me, won’t it?
I also spent way more time than it should have taken writing the post that will be either immediately above or below this one, depending on which I decide to post first…assuming Google comes back to life. And why did that post take so long to write? Check out the sheer quantity of links in that post, all of which were obtained in an excruciating slow manner, from Google, of course. Things were SO slow I got paranoid and downloaded Firefox, thinking IE had succumbed to some sort of nefarious nastiness, which it is prone to do, so I’m told. But no, Google and all its apps run just as slow in Firefox. I’ll write more about Firefox in another post, after I’ve used it for a day or three. I’m probably the last guy in the US to download and use it, but that’s me: a late adopter.
I’ve just tried to load a few Blogger-based blogs and all the results are the same: nothing. Or rather, the connection times out. There’s gonna be about 14 million people seriously upset at Google later on today, say in about three hours, when they get up at 0500 on the Right Coast and attempt to read their favorite blogs, or worse yet, post to their own blog.
Boy, am I ever glad I’ve taken to writing my posts in Word and then pasting them into Blogger’s “Create” window. I’d have had a serious case of the a$$ if all those links in the post above (below) had vanished into the ether because I couldn’t connect to Blogger.

OK, I’m done bitchin’ about Google.

Truth-telling time, Guilty Pleasures Division. Yesterday (which is still in progress at 0200, for all practical purposes) I put on Sky FM’s All Hit 70s channel (“All Hits All The Time” no kidding, they actually SAY that in the WINAMP channel listing) and left it there all freaking day…it’s been on for about 14 hours straight, with an hour or two off to watch the news. Average White Band; Pointer Sisters; Bee Gees; KC and the Sunshine Band; Earth, Wind and Fire; Donna Summer; Barry White; A Taste of Honey; Hall & Oates; Commodores; Kool and the Gang…you know what I’m talking about, right? All the music us politically-correct wanna-be hippies wouldn’t have ever admitted listening to back in the day. I love that stuff, and I know ALL the words. Now you know one of my deepest, darkest secrets. That, and the fact I bought the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Don’t tell anyone, OK?
This just in (three days ago) via Scrappleface:
Bush: NSA Won’t Listen In On Senate Alito Debate
by Scott Ott
(2006-01-24) — President George Bush today promised Senate Democrats that the National Security Agency (NSA) would not secretly listen in to their floor speeches during debate over the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, even though Democrats have promised to make the legality of NSA wiretaps a major issue during the debates.
“We don’t want to impinge upon the Democrat’s civil rights,” said President Bush, “So I’ve received assurances from the NSA and most other government agencies that no one will listen in on their speeches.”
The president said that Democrat Senators could “speak their minds without fear that anyone will ever hear a word they say.”
Google Update, 0300 hours, 1/27/06: Google Web Search, Blog Search, Froogle, Image Search, and other services seem to be up and running well. If I click “preferences” on the Google main page, the page loads slowly; saving the preferences has taken at least six minutes, so far. Blogger is still down, as is my G-Mail. Interestingly, I received two e-mails at 1230 and 0130 hours. I was able to access those notes, provided I waited at least half-hour for them to load. Searching for “Google Outage” on Yahoo search reveals nothing but the May, 2005 outage.
I’m going to bed. I hope this stuff is over by the time I get up later today.

Well Now. This IS Strange.

I see the post I attempted to put up with the desktop around noon got partially published before the connection failed. I'm going to delete that post.

And it's obvious I can publish from the laptop. I'm going to boot up the desktop and work on it some more. But first I'm going to send a "HELP!" message to Blogger; I'm not sure what, if anything they'll be able to do since Blogger obviously works from my laptop.

Like I said below, I HATE computers sometimes.


I can't publish from my desktop, I can't even get a solid connection to Blogger/home. So, I drug out the laptop, fired it up, and I'm gonna try and publish from here.

This all began last evening around 9:30 pm. Everything Google began to slow down, and painfully slow. Searches took forever. Sometime around midnight everything went to Hell in a handbasket. I couldn't access ANY blog hosted by Blogger, I couldn't post, and I couldn't even access my blog. Everything else worked fine: Yahoo searches, my WinAmp Internet Radio player, all other websites. Anything Google, however, failed to work at all.

I freaked out. I downloaded and installed Firefox, thinking IE had caught some nasty disease. But, no. I installed Firefox and things remained the same: no access to anything Google. This has continued all day. I ran a Norton AV full system scan, nothing. I did a full system scan using Ad-Aware SE, nothing. I downloaded and paid for another spyware/malware program, and it caught three trojans Norton and Ad-Aware missed. I rebooted. Same thing.

There's SERIOUS nastiness involved here. If this post goes up I'll know I have a severe problem with the desktop. Damn but I HATE computers sometimes!

Posting may be infrequent and irregular, as the saying goes.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Well Now

That last post seems to have broken the blog template. You can't see my profile, my "Greatest Hits," or "Recent Posts." I have a feeling that the photos encroached upon the space allocated for all those things that just went missing.

I don't really care, actually. I like the cars better than the profile, et al. So it is what it is. And it'll stay that way, too! Eventually the car post will cycle through and stuff will get back to "normal."

Actually, I'm NOT

I'm a Honda S2000!

You live on the edge, and you live for the adrenaline rush. You don't need luxuries, snob appeal, or superfluous gadgets. You put your top down, get your motor revving, and take all the curves that life throws at you at full speed. So what if you spin out occasionally?

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Close enough. I'm actually a 2001 Mazda Miata, going the wrong way. As usual. The photo was taken the day I bought the Green Hornet (October of 2000), in California's Oakland Hills.

I used to be a Corvette. Photo taken In Letchworth State Park, New York. October of 1999.

Just A Few Things...

Just a quick post with a few things I think are worth reading, and then I’m going to bed. It’s late, ya know!

First off, there’s Christopher Hitchens, in Slate, this past Tuesday: Al-Qaida Is Losing. Excerpt:
The fratricide within the insurgency offers a perfect opportunity, which one hopes is being fully exploited, for infiltration, for the spread of damaging rumors about secret negotiations with one faction, for sabotage and for provocations that will increase the misery and distrust now infecting the ranks. It also offers an occasion to reverse the questions that we have been so anxiously asking ourselves. It is for the murderers and video-beheaders to ask themselves: How long can we sustain this effort? How many casualties is too many? Was our postwar planning adequate to the task? Are we winning hearts and minds? Are we endangered by sectarian strife within our own camp? And they have to pursue these discussions in secrecy, with superstitious reference to dreams and omens and prophecies, whereas at last we can pursue our argument in the open.
Here comes Dr. Sanity, with The Political Paranoia Of The Left - Part I. Excerpt:

While there is merit in debating how best to go about achieving our objectives in the war in Iraq and the GWOT; believing that terrorism is a conspiracy cooked up by Bush and Co. to consolidate power and institute (take your pick) a fascist state; a theocracy; or both; is simply a paranoid fantasy that consoles those of the liberal left who cannot cope with their loss of power and influence.

The hallmark of the paranoid individual and the paranoid style is constant anticipation or expectation of either attack or personal betrayal. Paranoia finds causal connections everywhere and in everything; for them, nothing is coincidental. They can develop complicated conspiracies about innocuous behaviors and seemingly irrelevant events. Their paranoia makes them constantly on guard, searching for hidden motives and meanings in everyone else's behavior. (Just go check out the Democratic Underground, where these fantasies on every action or inaction on the part of the Bush administration are immediately converted into conspiracies and plots). The tragic death of a reporter -- Bush et al had him killed because he knew too much. Osama's most recent tape -- a Rovian plot to show how frightened we should be. And so on.
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred comments on Dr. Sanity’s post and points us to Shrinkwrapped’s superb post in the same vein. All three of these posts are as right as rain (no pun intended, of course).

The upshot of these three posts is that the Left is pretty much an answer in search of a question. The answer may have been appropriate 30 or 40 years ago, but it certainly isn’t today. To be more specific, I don’t like the answer and I’ve not asked the question, at least not in the last 25 years or so. I say this as a former liberal, and like most reformed ex-anything (smoker, druggie, you-name-it), those of us who have seen the error of our ways are often the most outspoken opponents of whatever it is we left behind.

Dr. Sanity observes that the Left had successes in the past, and rightly so. Roosevelt arguably did good things for the country in the '30s and the '40s, but there are lots of conservatives who will argue THAT point. The Democrats were the civil rights champions of the ‘60s and they deserve credit for those successes. But that was then, this is now. The question I have for today’s Democratic party is the classic “What have you done for me (us) lately?” I mean, other than to be obstructionist in all aspects of American politics, undermining the war in Iraq while giving (inadvertent?) aid and comfort to the enemy, insist that I be politically correct in all aspects of my life, tax the living Hell out of me, and… Oh, what’s the point?

My bottom line is pretty simple: If the Democrats ever expect to get MY vote again, they better come up with something a lot more powerful than NO!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Good Idea, Cleaning, and "Stuck"

Now here’s a good idea: Researchers Launch Anti-Spyware Site. You can bet I’ll bookmark this site when it becomes available. Spyware is one of the internet’s most despicable curses, every bit the equal of spam, and a lot more dangerous. Related: Washington State Sues Over Spam, Spyware.

Got all motivated and did some serious cleaning today. I have a question for the Domestic Engineers among my readership. I use Johnson and Johnson’s “Scrubbing Bubbles” bathroom cleaner. The directions don’t specify whether to use the foam on dry or wet surfaces, i.e., should I wet down the shower stall before I spray the cleaner all over everything, including me? I’ve done both wet and dry, but I seem to use two or three times as much cleaner on dry surfaces. The results seem to be about equal, with slightly better results by spraying on dry surfaces. Can’t let this thought go by without saying “I hate housework!”

Here’s something I’ve always wondered about: Why do most people seem to get “stuck” in a particular era when it comes to music? I’m a sucker for threads on music; I’ll read most anything on the subject. I recall one commenter in a “70s vs. 80s” music thread saying “The best music ever made was made when you were a senior in high school.” I don’t agree. I graduated in 1963 and the music was pretty damned lame during that time, what with the Beach Boys’ paeans to hot-rods and beach bunnies being the most popular stuff at the time (in LA). That era gave us such luminaries as Leslie Gore (It’s My Party”), Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton, and other eminently forgettable pop artists. There were exceptions, and some great ones, like the Girl Groups (the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Chiffons, Martha and The Vandellas) and just about anything and everything classified as early “soul,” e.g., Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, The Drifters, and James Brown, just to name four. So, with exceptions as noted, the early 60s sucked. QED.

I don’t believe I’m stuck in an era, but I could be wrong. My boys will probably disagree immediately, simply because I don’t like hip-hop, and they do. I have my favorite eras; it's hard to beat the 70s and 80s for sheer variety and creativity. I still buy new music, but not nearly as much as I did back in the day, say the 70s and 80s. But, back to the question at hand. Do people get stuck because they drop out? Music begins to slide down the priority scale once one begins raising children and gets serious about a career. But that’s not a good answer, because my Mom never got “stuck.” She maintained a cutting edge taste in music until the day she died. As a matter of fact, my Mom turned me on to quite a few artists, from her “old days” and from the at-the-time-present, too. My last girlfriend was/is about my age, and that woman was stuck! On Elvis. No one could possibly be better. I may have changed her mind when I introduced her to Van Morrison, who, by the way, isn't a 70s artifact. Van released a new album in 2005, and it's not bad. Yes, I bought it.

So. Why DO people get stuck? Inquiring minds wanna know!

(Now playing: Devo's “Whip It!” Just before: Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark’s “If You Leave”)

Just Ramblin' On...

So. Just had to get the Stein thing out of the way earlier. In one respect, it’s not a pleasant thing to begin your day by reading some such twit. On the other hand, it does get the blood and bile flowing, especially when you see that many, many others share your view.

Now it’s on to mundane, hum-drum, everyday life as I know it.

Today’s soundtrack is being provided by KXLU, the Loyola Marymount college radio station in West LA. I’ve written before that one of the best things about going back to a desktop as my primary computer is I can listen to internet radio again. The laptop’s tinny speakers just didn’t cut it. The desktop’s audio is adequate in terms of volume and fidelity, even if it doesn’t come close to my stereo. And adequate is sufficient as background, as opposed to serious listening.

I love internet radio, especially the college variety. College radio exposes me to stuff I’d never hear on commercial radio, some is lame, most is good. Commercial radio is entirely lame. If you disagree, give me an example. I’m willing to change my mind. In the mean time, here’s a good resource for college radio, 77 stations from which to choose, to be precise.

I was first exposed to college radio back in 1967. I’d come home after a swing shift up on the radar site and wasn’t quite ready to go to bed. So I flipped on the stereo, grabbed a beer and began twiddling the dial, winding up on KCSB 91.9FM, Santa Barbara (Isla Vista, actually). And my life was changed forever. No hyperbole here, I really mean it. I stayed awake the entire night listening to the most amazing music I’d ever heard, groups like Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield. While it sounds strange today, those groups got next to zero airplay on commercial radio at the time. The sun came up, the First Mrs. Pennington walked out of the bedroom, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, and said “You’ve been up all night?” Indeed I had. We had breakfast and within an hour we were on the road from Lompoc to Isla Vista. I dropped an obscene amount of money (for a poor USAF three-striper) in the campus record shops that day on music I’d heard the night before. Hearing KCSB was an epiphany quite unlike any other, before or since. My politics changed, my circle of friends changed, my outlook on life changed. If that ain’t epiphany, I don’t know what is.

Two more college radio anecdotes. First: If you didn’t click on the KCSB link above you don’t know that Sean Hannity was fired from his student DJ gig on KCSB for making a “disparaging remark” about homosexuals. The great irony is the ACLU came to his defense and KCSB offered him his slot back. Hannity refused, demanding more air time. The A-C-frickin’-L-U, one of Hannity’s biggest targets these days. The ingrate. Second: The great thing about college radio? Earlier this morning, the 20-something female KXLU DJ played Joni Mitchell’s “Song for Sharon,” off of Hejira, quite possibly my favorite Joni album. Why is this unusual? Joni turned 62 back in November. I find it amazing a 20-something would even listen to someone old enough to be her grandmother, let alone play her on the radio. But that’s college radio. And by the way, the First Mrs. Pennington and Ms. Mitchell share birthdays: November 7th. I had a thing for older women back in the day. They could buy me beer.

Last year around this time I wrote a 14-page illustrated story titled “When I Was Eight” for my youngest son and my grandson on the occasion of their eighth birthdays. Sean, my grandson, is five months older than my youngest son. I’m thinking of serializing that story for the blog, but I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other. The most interesting thing about my eighth year? I attended the third grade in three different countries: Atlanta, Georgia; London, England; and Paris, France. I also was victimized by a cross-country road trip from Sacramento, CA to Atlanta, GA, including an unprogrammed three-day layover in Salome, Arizona when the family car broke down. This was in 1953, well before Interstate highways criss-crossed the country. A road trip back then was a serious adventure; it was a lot more serious for a young Mom, alone, with an eight-year-old and a two-year-old in the back seat. I had an “interesting” childhood. In a lot more ways than one, lemmee tell ya!

Well. Enough for now.

Seriously Clue-Free and Offensive

The Big Item on the right side of the blogosphere today is the unbelievably offensive column by Joel Stein (titled Warriors and Wusses) in the LA Times. Joel Stein is a serious tool:

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.
When you get this much reaction from the blogosphere, you can be sure you’ve stepped on your most sensitive body parts. Here are links to just some of the people kicking Stein’s ass:

Media Blog on National …, Hugh Hewitt, The Glittering Eye, Captain's Quarters, Patterico's Pontifications, Power Line, Gina Cobb, RedState, Dean's World, One Hand Clapping, Mark in Mexico, Flopping Aces, Michelle Malkin, Argghhh!, JunkYardBlog, Sister Toldjah, aaron, AMERICAN FUTURE, The Middle Ground, The Sundries Shack, WILLisms.com, BLACKFIVE, euphoricreality.net, Myopic Zeal, The Officers' Club, tapscottscopydesk.blogspot.com, The Corner on National …, TigerHawk, the evangelical outpost, The RCP Blog, Brainster's Blog and Iowa Voice

The milbloggers are particularly entertaining reads. Even the Left is upset. According to Editor and Publisher, Atrios at the liberal blog, Eschaton, dubbed Stein "Wanker of the Day." Radioblogger has the transcript of Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Klein on Hewitt's radio show, and an mp3 file of the interview so you can listen.

Apparently Mr. Stein’s mom never told him “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or if she did, he didn’t listen, further evidence Stein is seriously clue-impaired. It’s one thing to hold an offensive opinion, it’s quite another thing to publish said opinion in a major newspaper and have the whole United States read it. The other cliché that comes to mind is Mark Twain’s famous quote: “It's better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you're stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” Truer words were never spoken.

And before I leave this topic: Just what the HELL were the editors of the LA times thinking when they published this offensive drivel? Their circulation is in free-fall at the moment; it’s gonna get worse. A LOT worse.

Update, 1/29/2006: Changed everything"Klein" to "Stein." Some days you just can't get it right. I apologize.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Good News, Bad News

The good news: the F/A-22 went operational earlier this month. (The link is to a nine-page photo essay in PDF form) The bad news is the USAF apparently won't be able to buy and field the number of F/A-22s it says it needs.

USAF will be prohibited from acquiring more than about 183 F-22A fighters, the aircraft USAF considers the heart of future aerial combat. That is about half of the 381 Raptors needed for the minimum deployment of one squadron for each of the service’s 10 air expeditionary forces. The decision kills plans for building an FB-22 bomber, too. In effect, DOD reaffirmed last year’s sudden program cut, though it extended production to 2010.

From what I read, it appears the F/A-22 fell victim to competing budget priorities. Current DoD focus is putting more "boots on the ground," that is, increasing the size of the Army and Marines. All those soldiers and Marines will need air support and they most definitely will require the USAF establish air superiority to protect them from air attack. While it's true that al Qaeda doesn't present an air threat, the next adversary just might. Especially if that adversary is spelled C-H-I-N-A. Or even I-R-A-N. The Iranians have an Air Force (they have TWO, in fact) and unlike the Iraqis, I believe the Iranians will fight. They'll lose, but they will fight. And the Iranian air defense environment is formidable, and about to get better. All the more reason for the stealthy F/A-22. Just sayin'.

I can't find the "official" results of the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review; I don't think it's been published and sent to Congress yet. The Air Force magazine editorial quoted above is certainly pessimistic, but it ends on a "good" note. I use scare quotes because I don't believe it's the best of all possible worlds to have DoD go head to head with Congress over competing priorities. But, if DoD is wrong, then Congress is the last hope to right that wrong.

Images of New Mexico - IX

Sunset Bat Flight, Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A most amazing spectacle. If you follow the Bat Flight link, you'll read that the bat population has declined dramatically in recent years. One can only wonder what it was like to see millions, rather than a couple hundred thousand, bats emerge from the cave mouth at sunset.

Previously, in the archives:
Shiprock (I)
Very Large Array near Soccorro, NM (II)
Flightline, Cannon AFB (III)
Taos Church (San Francisco de Asis) (IV)
US 84 Roadside (V)
Valley of Fires (VI)
Brazos Cliffs (VII)
Main Street Portales 0328 hrs. (VIII)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Just Catching Up

I’m obviously catching up on my reading, in case you haven’t noticed. There’s just SO much to read, and even though I have all the time in the world, what with no job and no child to raise (not in a direct, hands-on manner, anyway), I still find it difficult to read everything I want to read. Tonight I’m catching up on the OpinionJournal. And there’ll be others to catch up on, as well.

So. Also in the WSJ, Peggy Noonan’s Not a Bad Time to Take Stock: Thoughts on the decline of the liberal media monopoly and the future of the GOP is worth reading on several levels. She begins with pointing out the liberals have lost their mouthpiece, the Mainstream media. She ends with advice to the GOP: you better clean house. Right now. At least that’s the way I read Ms. Noonan. Her final paragraph in the linked article reads:
Republicans in Washington struggle with scandal and speak of reform, and reformation. They would better think of words like regain, refresh, rebuild. If they don't, if Republicans don't choose to lead well, and seriously, and with principle, they should ask themselves: Who will? Seriously: Who will?
And that, to me, says “Clean house.” Return to being the party of Reagan, guys. You, and we, have a lot at stake.

It IS a time to worry, if you’re a Republican. I’ve tended to vote Republican for national offices for the last 25 years, but there have been exceptions, most notably in local races up to and including governor. I’d forsake the GOP in a heartbeat if there were a viable Libertarian party in this country. There’s too much about the Republican social agenda I don’t like. But I won’t trust the country to the Democrats in war time. Not even, no chance. But still, I’m not a straight party-line voter. As an example, I won’t vote Republican in the Texas gubernatorial race this year. My vote is going to Kinky Friedman. As he says on his web site, “Why the Hell Not?” I will vote to return Kevin Brady, my congressman, and Kay Bailey Hutchison to Washington this year. Both are Republicans. If Tom DeLay were my congressman he’d be OUT. But, he’s not.

This is probably way too much information for ya, innit? {he said, with a big ol’ grin}

Here's a Switch

A reasonable, clear thinking Democrat. One with good advice for his party. I doubt they'll take it, but that's good news for conservatives, in the end. This is Dan Gerstein, a former communications director for Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, on the dismal performance of the Democratic senators during the Alito hearings, in the WSJ:
And that's the heart of the problem with our party and its angry activist base. It's not so much that we're living in a parallel universe, but that we have dueling conceptions of what's mainstream, especially on abortion and other values-based issues, and our side is losing. We think that if we simply call someone conservative, anti-choice and anti-civil rights, that's enough to scare people to our side. But that tired dogma won't hunt in today's electorate, which is far more independent-thinking and complex in its views on values than our side presumes.
While I disagree with Mr. Gerstein on the "parallel universe" thing, the rest of what he has to say hits the mark.