December 14, 2006 - December 7, 2006
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Honda Insight (top) and Toyota Prius
more and more talk these days about hybrid cars, which combine electric
motors or windmills or something with internal combustion engines to
use less gas. Buying one is a very politically correct thing to do, and
those of us who don't are supposed to feel a little guilty about
clinging to an old-fashioned technology that enriches the Saudis and
represents a continuing danger to the Alaskan caribou.
I think this is a lot of piffle. The manufacturers of these things
aren't serious. They're trying to score PR points with rabid
environmentalists, and that's it. My evidence? Look at the damn things.
These are cars for people who hate cars, a niche market that used to be
served by Volvo and Saab. They're almost affectedly goofy in their
lines and proportions. They're the automotive equivalent of castor oil,
vile tasting stuff that's supposed to be good for you. If they could
speak, they'd sound like Mortimer Snerd, and they'd say things
like, "Uh, I'm just sensible transportation, yup, yup, yup, thank you
very much." And, yeah, I know Honda is also offering hybrid versions of
the Civic and the Accord. So what. I don't care how ecstatic Car and Driver
waxes about the
Accord; throughout its long history, it's been about as seductive and
fascinating as a Maytag washer. Serious car people don't want'em, and
there's a very long evidentiary record in this country demonstrating
Americans to be, on the whole, extremely serious car people.
Furthermore, there's absolutely no reason for us to apologize for
loving cars and wanting them to reflect our personalities and tastes.
The ongoing geeking of America may be satisfying to some, but I
guarantee that there's still a commanding majority of us who believe
that even 21st century life should still permit individuals to pursue
romance, excitement, and esthetic enjoyment. Environmentalists can
fantasize all they want about the virtue of transforming us into a
nation of drab Luddite drones, but if they should ever succeed,
millions of people would stop getting out of bed in the morning. What
would be the point? Life has to be about more than what we consume and
excrete from our tailpipes, and recycling as an avocation is even less
inspiring than collecting Star Wars merchandise.
So forget about the guilt trip. The onus is all on the automotive
manufacturers. Design and build hybrids that are cooler, sleeker,
faster, and more fun to drive than the old technology, and people will
buy them. Until then, if I have to choose between a Honda Insight and
the brand new equivalently priced Pontiac Solstice gas-burner, there's
no question at all which one I'll pick.
TO HUGH HEWITT READERS
. The reported "plummeting" of the stock was
caused by a malicious rumor that site superstar Puck Punk had badly
sprained his syntax and would be unavailable to play in the upcoming
season. The truth is that Puck
suffered a compound fracture of his diction three years ago
but is now fully recovered. As much as can be expected anyway.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Despicable politician (left) and
despicable politician (right).
. The flashpoint was a quotation posted by Laura Lee Donoho at
. A conservative blog quoting a conservative columnist --
Max Boot. What's the problem? Here's how it starts:
AND THE DEMOCRATS wonder why they are
considered weak on national security? It's not because anyone doubts
their patriotism. It's because a lot of people doubt their judgment and
It's not because anyone doubts their patriotism. It's not because
anyone doubts their patriotism. It's not because anyone doubts their
patriotism. It's not because anyone doubts their patriotism. It's not
because anyone doubts their patriotism. It's not because anyone doubts
their patriotism. How many times do we have to write and say this to
appease the traitors of the left? Well, I, for one, am done with this
flavor of bullshit. Sorry, Max. This time I'm lining up with Ann Coulter
When Democratic Rep. John Murtha called
for the withdrawal of American troops in the middle of the war,
Republicans immediately leapt to action by calling Murtha a war hero, a
patriot and a great American.
I haven't heard Republicans issue this many encomiums to one man since
Ronald Reagan died. By now, Murtha has been transformed into the
greatest warrior since Alexander the Great and is probably dating
In response to Murtha's demand for the "immediate withdrawal of
American troops" — as The New York Times put it — President Bush called
Murtha a "fine man, a good man" who served with "honor and
distinction," who "is a strong supporter of the United States
military." He said he knew Murtha's "decision to call for an immediate
withdrawal of our troops ... was done in a careful and thoughtful way."
Vice President Dick Cheney called Murtha "a good man, a Marine, a
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Murtha is "a fine man, I know
him personally ... and it's perfectly proper to have a debate over
these things, and have a public debate."
National Security Adviser Steve Hadley called in his praise for Murtha
from South Korea, saying Murtha was "a veteran, a veteran congressman
and a great leader in the Congress."
During the House debate on Murtha's insane proposal to withdraw troops
in the middle of the war, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., said Murtha deserved
an "A-plus as a truly great American," and Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.,
said "none of us should think of questioning his motives or desires for
Coulter think it's a pack of nonsense. So do I. She makes a point that
should have been as glaringly obvious to everyone else as it was to her
and to me:
One of only two American Navy aces that
the Vietnam War produced, [Randy] Cunningham shot down five MiGs, three
in one day, including a North Vietnamese pilot with 13 American kills.
Cunningham never did something as insane as proposing that we withdraw
troops in the middle of a war, but this week he did admit to taking
And yet, no Democrat breathed a word of Cunningham's unquestioned
heroism before rushing to denounce him as "the latest example of the
culture of corruption" — in the words of Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Is it okay that he took bribes? No. He's a slimeball. He's a hero AND a
slimeball. Hmmm. Work it out in your little heads, kids. The key to
understanding lies in the fact that the words "hero" and "saint" are
not synonyms. Not even close. Here's a useful example of the difference:
At Washington's suggestion, ______
again joined the northern army, and by a brilliant stratagem dispersed
the army of St. Leger, which, in cooperation with Burgoyne, was coming
down the Mohawk valley, and had laid siege to Fort Stanwix. After
Schuyler had been superseded by Gates, ______ was placed in command of
the left wing of the army on Bemis heights. In the battle of 19 Sept.,
at Freeman's farm, he frustrated Burgoyne's attempt to turn the
American left, and held the enemy at bay till nightfall. If properly
reinforced by Gates, he would probably have inflicted a crushing defeat
upon Burgoyne. But Gates, who had already begun to dislike him as a
friend of Schuyler, was enraged by his criticisms on the battle of
Freeman's farm, and sought to wreak his spite by withdrawing from his
division some of its best troops.
This gave rise to a fierce quarrel. ______ asked permission to return
to Philadelphia, and Gates granted it. But many officers, knowing that
a decisive battle was imminent, and feeling no confidence in Gates,
entreated ______ to remain, and he did so. Gates issued no order
directly superseding him, but took command of the left wing in person,
giving the right wing to Lincoln. At the critical moment of the
decisive battle of 7 Oct., ______ rushed upon the field without orders,
and in a series of magnificent charges broke through the British lines
and put them to flight. The credit of this great victory, which secured
for us the alliance with France, is due chiefly to ______, and in a
less degree to Morgan. Gates was not on the field, and deserves no
credit whatever. Just at the close of the battle ______ was severely
wounded in the leg that had been hurt at Quebec. He was carried on a
litter to Albany, and remained there disabled until spring.
Who is the great hero this passage is delineating? His name is Benedict Arnold
. A hero and
a traitor of the American Revolution.
I don't really care why John Murtha is a traitor. He just is. Here's
culled from Drudge today:
Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within
a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to
mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group. Two weeks ago, Murtha
created a storm of comment when he called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq
now. The Democratic congressman spoke to a group of community and
business leaders in Latrobe on Wednesday, the same day President Bush
said troops would be withdrawn when they've achieved victory, not under
an artificial deadline set by politicians.
Murtha predicted most troops will be out of Iraq within a year.
"I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course," Murtha
said, referring to Bush. "Staying the course is not a policy."
What does this do for the troops in the field? It gives their enemies
hope. It suggests that the United States military is so pitiful, weak,
and cowardly that 2,000 battlefield deaths can break their spirit
utterly. It suggests to the insurgents
who are trying to kill our troops every day that they should try
harder. It suggests to the millions of Iraqis who are trying to build a
democratic nation with our help that they can't count on our help and
should therefore stop taking risks for their freedom. It frightens and
disheartens our allies, and it emboldens our enemies. That's treason.
And what is this all about anyway? Ostensibly it's about the dread
number 2,000. (If you need proof, here's an uproariously ridiculous
column by the ancient moron who calls himself Jimmy
. The dread number is so awful that it even has the power to
make lockstep Clinton ass-kissers turn on their beloved godhead -- send
Chelsea to Iraq! -- you gotta love it.)
If 2,000 American dead are sufficient to require immediate cessation of
the policy that caused the deaths, regardless of the short and long
term costs and consequences, then we have a whole lot of rethinking to
do as a nation. Automobiles must be outlawed immediately because while
2,000 professional soldiers were dying in Iraq, more than 100,000
American civilians were dying in their cars. All hospitals must be
closed immediately, because while 2,000 were dying in Iraq,
approximately 300,000 Americans were being killed by negligence,
erroneous prescriptions, and surgical mistakes. All cities must be shut
down immediately, because the concentration of human beings in urban
centers results in homicide, and while 2,000 were dying in Iraq,
upwards of 100,000 Americans were being murdered by relatives, friends,
and strangers. And while we're at it, we'd best demolish the Lincoln
Memorial and rip Abe's face off the $5 bill, because he misled the
nation into a war that killed 600,000 Americans (corrected for
population growth since 1860, that's the equivalent of 5 million of
today's more sophisticated Pussy-Americans). Come to think of it, tear
down the Washington and the Jefferson memorials too, because those sick
bastards misled this country into a war that killed more than 7,000
Americans. And get that lying S.O.B. FDR off the dime; he said he'd keep us out of WWII and wound up killing more than 400,000 Americans. Nothing is worth this kind of loss of life.
Or so certain kinds of hero veterans would have us believe. Why?
Because serving in the military in a democracy can be done by almost
anyone, including fools and knaves and ambitious politicians. And if
you're a canny ambitious politician, you are especially anxious to
serve because then your opinions about foreign policy are automatically
sanctified by your service. You become immune to criticism from chickenhawks
like Dick Cheney and split-tails
like Ann Coulter. You are free to pioneer a new species of vermin
called Eaglepussies, who put on a raft of medals
and patriotically assert that the best policy for their nation is to
surrender unconditionally to those who have done her harm.
Consider it a new kind of arithmetic. Veteran + Treason = Patriotism
As long as you're a goddam Democrat.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Reminding Ramsey Clark
According to recent trial
, former Attorney-General and Saddam defense counsel Ramsey
Clark is concerned about security:
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey
Clark, who has joined the defense team as an adviser, said it was
"extremely difficult" to assure fairness in the trial "because the
passions in the country are at a fever pitch."
"How can you ask a witness to come in when there's a death threat?"
Clark told CNN. "Unless there's protection for the defense, I don't
know how the trial can go forward."
The tribunal adjourned until Dec. 5, only 10 days before the country's
parliamentary elections, to give the defense time to replace lawyers
who have been assassinated since the trial opened Oct. 19. Monday was
the trial's second session.
We always pay close attention to what Mr. Clark says and try to apply
the same lofty intellect and moral sensibility to his remarks that he
brings to bear on the world stage. For this reason, we'd like to urge
him not to be too hasty in his response to the current situation and to
remember his own sterling principles.
Yes, it's true that a couple of defense attorneys have recently died
under suspect circumstances. On the other hand, we have no absolute
proof that these deaths were definitely linked to the trial of Saddam. And even if there is such a link, there's no certainty that just
because there have been assassinations in the past, there will be more
attempts in future. It's at least possible that everything is sort of
Intervention into the lives of witnesses and attorneys for the defense
by military or other weapons-bearing personnel simply cannot be
justified at this
time without first exhausting all possible diplomatic options.
Here's what we recommend. While the trial proceeds, Mr. Clark should
petition the United Nations Security Council to appoint a team of
international inspectors to study the circumstances of recent deaths
among the Saddam defense team. In accordance with international law,
the inspectors must be
given as much time as they need to conduct interviews and amass
evidence, and they must observe the requirement not to work behind
closed doors or to infringe the rights of any suspects they examine.
The results of this investigation should then be forwarded to the
Security Council for review. If that body deems, upon due
consideration, that there is
quantitatively proven threat
to the lives of the defense team, a U.N. peacekeeper force can be sent
to Iraq for the purpose of ensuring security. However, in light of Mr.
Clark's long record of opposing violence against murderers of all kinds, we would further
recommend that any U.N. peacekeepers who might ultimately be sent to
Iraq should be restricted to the use of rubber bullets and tasers
rather than live ammunition. They should also announce, in advance, the
exact date on which they will withdraw their protection. These
constraints may seem onerous, but they have the virtue of being
entirely consistent with French
international standards of ethical conflict resolution.
We understand that the trial may be over long before the appropriate
U.N. procedures can be carried to completion, but it would be far worse
to sully Mr. Clark's impeccable reputation with an unwarranted
application of force in what is incontestably a volatile situation.
In closing, we would also urge Mr. Clark to soften his rhetoric about
those who may be disposed to wreak violence on the Saddam defense team
and instead seek to understand the underlying reasons for their alleged
grievances, which may involve longstanding cultural, social, and
religious factors that a white man such as the former U.S.
Attorney-General has no right whatsoever to condemn or engage in any
Good luck, Mr. Clark. We hope it all works out in a way that preserves
your massive integrity -- and your scrawny old neck.
There. We feel better now. How about you?