Saturday, January 15, 2005

The ACLU has dropped its lawsuit
against the Webb City school district for Brad Mathewson's right to wear gay pride t-shirts. It seems Mathewson dropped out of school and no longer has legal standing. And then there's this:
In Mathewson's case, school officials contended his gay-pride T-shirts were disruptive and breached the dress code because of the antagonism brewing between him and other students.

Mathewson, the school alleged, had drawn threats from other students after fondling another student's groin area and brandishing a lewd photograph of himself and another youth in front of other students. Mathewson's T-shirts were banned because they would provoke other incidents, the school argued.

Mathewson disputed that version of events and maintained administrators violated his First Amendment rights when they barred him from wearing the shirts.
Hmmmm...if what the school is alleging is true, I can see why Mathewson would get threats. Besides, gay or not, wouldn't fondling another student or displaying such photographs be grounds for suspension or expulsion anyway? It would seem he wasn't doing himself any favors.

The ACLU isn't giving up:
But Hampton countered the school district has denied other students besides Mathewson of their First Amendment rights. She also said the organization may lodge a complaint on behalf of seven other students who were sent home in early December after they refused to change T-shirts they wore to school in a gesture of solidarity with Mathewson.

ACLU officials have already met with a girl who was among those sent home and discussed whether she would be willing to bring suit.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm just getting around to reading
yesterday's Best of the Web, which points to this article, which included the following paragraph regarding an elementary school's philosophy on math education:
In 2001 Mr. Young, Mrs. Wyatt and an assortment of other well-paid school administrators, defined the new number-one priority for teaching mathematics, as documented in the curriculum benchmarks, "Respect for Human Differences - students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors." It continues, "Students will: Consistently analyze their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination; Take effective anti-bias action when bias or discrimination is identified; Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them; Demonstrate how their membership in different groups has advantages and disadvantages that affect how they see the world and the way they are perceived by others..." It goes on and on.
David, you were a math major. Find the racial bias in the following equation: 2 X 3 = 6.
Hat tip to today's
Best of the Web for pointing to this Yahoo story. There weren't any "fun czars" when I was at Harvard, but I can understand the need to have someone specifically designated as a go-between for students and the University's bureaucracy. I mean, if you had a party and wanted a keg of beer, you had to register all keg deliveries with the Dean's office.

I do like this quote, though, from Dean Judith Kidd:
"Yes, the kids work very, very hard here. And they worked very, very hard before they got here in order to get here," she said. "It's not us: They arrived needing help having fun."
Fantastic. It's not that Harvard students are super-busy, or that their sense of a good time is quieter than at most campuses (or the fact that Harvard, because of gender non-discrimination guidelines, cannot officially accept the existance of fraternities or sororities, thus effectively eliminating them from campus life), it's that they're irrepressible nerds who have no sense of fun.

Of course, I wonder what they mean by fun. The sci-fi clubs, Society for Creative Anachronism, various appreciation societies (Texas and Arnold Schwartzenegger both had fan clubs), etc are certainly in existence. The College is probably concerned that all us Harvard nerds only have nerd fun, and they want to spice it up with non-nerd fun. I wonder what that entails (the drunken free-for-all at this year's Game, perhaps).

One last thing, is anyone else amused by the fact that the fun czar's name is Corker?
Jane Galt asks an important question
and my answer is "neither". The best super power would be super-freaky intelligence, so then I could invent a way to fly or to become invisible or anything else I'd want to do. Yes, I guess that means I want to be Syndrome, just nicer. And less hair.
"There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist"
and it may end up being a crime in Great Britain to say otherwise.
Scalia v. Breyer
over at Power Line:
I'm not sure I would have believed that if I hadn't read it: "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students." No mention of the language of the Constitution; no mention of statutes enacted by Congress or the state legislatures; no mention of American customs, traditions, or popular opinion. Do you think this an extreme view? It is, of course, but the Associated Press doesn't think so. Its article calls Scalia a "conservative" justice, but does not label Breyer. His view is, from the AP's perspective, the mainstream one. (A personal note--Justice Breyer was my honors thesis adviser in law school. I did not view him, then, as an extremist; on the contrary, he was one of a handful of professors who introduced me to free market economics. But no Supreme Court justice has ever moved to the right after being appointed; not in my lifetime, anyway.)

This discussion starkly illuminates the battle that will be fought over the Supreme Court during the next four years. The newspapers and television networks will tell you that President Bush's nominees, who will uphold the sovereignty of the United States and will decide cases based on our Constitution and statutes, and not some other countries', are "extreme." No one will suggest that those holding the opposite view--that American law should be decided by Europeans, Africans and Asians--are out of the meanstream.

The stakes could not possibly be higher.

UPDATE: InstaPundit has more, including the possibility that Breyer's comments were taken out of context and thus aren't as ridiculous as they sound.
As the flap over Herr Harry
(as some of the press is starting to call him) and his Nazi costuming started to come out, one of the questions that I saw posted on places like The Corner was: What if he had been wearing a Che Guevara or Soviet/KGB inspired costume? It's a good question. For some reason, Communist-chic is good, it's popular. Britney Spears wore some kind of red-starred, Soviet-style costume at a performace a couple of years ago (sorry, I don't have a link). No one seemed to notice.

Two years or so ago, I read Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million by Martin Amis. The book is a combination personal memoir and somewhat-biography on Josef Stalin. As the title suggests, the book also deals with the millions killed in the Stalinist purges, as well as the sense that it's okay to joke about Communist crimes in a way that, if said jokes were made about Nazis, everyone in polite society would look at you like you were a moral degenerate.

For some reason, being an old Soviet-supporting neo-Stalinist isn't an embarrassment. The old Nazis hide out in basements, move to South American cities and hide out, etc. Old Communists are invited to speak at state dinners. Why? Stalin killed millions more than Hitler. Communisms history is far darker and longer than Nazism. Why is it chic to be a Stalinist?

Amis' theory was, in part, that Nazism had a reckoning. We kicked the crap out them in WWII, put all their leaders on trial, executed a bunch of them, and forced Germany to come to terms with their actions. No such thing has occurred with Communism. There was no military show-down with the Soviets. Communism collapsed via diplomacy and the system's inherent contradictions. No reckoning has ever been given.
I defeated Knights of the Old Republic II
a few days ago and it was certainly fun to play. Was it better than the first KOTOR? Eh. There are certainly new elements in the second version that would have been nice to have in the first, but that's to be expected. They both certainly play very much the same. The user interface is pretty much the same in both versions, combat works the same.

Just so you know the perspective I'm using, the character I used was a female who ended the game as a light-sided 17th level Jedi Guardian/10th level Weapons Master. Her primary weapon was a double-bladed silver light saber, which looked all nice and light-sidy, almost white. She kicked a whole lot of dark side butt - she became untouchable about 2/3 of the way through the game, just no stopping her. More on that later.

But my primary complaint about version II is it's too easy. In the first one, it didn't seem to matter what kind of characters I had, there would be several situations where I had to be real careful or die, or I'd have to fight a battle over and over again until I finally got through it. The Star Forge was really bad, and I had one character I thought I wouldn't be able to get through it because the game just kept sending wave after wave of Dark Jedi and soldiers without a break. And certainly there were tricks to defeating Darth Malak at the end if you knew what they were, but still, he was a tough. It took forever for me to defeat him the first few times I played through.

In II, though, there were only a couple of situations where the fights were tough, and they weren't against the enemies I expected. The final level doesn't throw wave after wave of baddies at you like in the Star Forge, so you have time to rest or recharge your force points between each encounter. Also, I beat down the big bad enemies pictured on the game's cover in just a few swings of the saber - not like fighting Malak at all. On the other hand, I encountered a random colonel that seemed to have about 1,000 hit points. He just kept taking damage and kept coming. Strange.

Yet, it is fun to take a party of three Jedi and just rip through the bad guys. If you excuse me for saying so, it does make you understand a bit about the appeal of the dark side. I mean, I had this character that could take out a room full of Sith Lords and soldiers in just a few rounds, without taking significant damage herself. Such power. It actually was tempting a few times to just let her slip to the dark side and go on a rampage, just to see what she could do. Ah, but with great power comes great responsibility, and I actually did a pretty good job of keeping her pegged on light side points. The only two times I took dark side points were from picking the wrong responses by accident in conversations. For example, RK47 was going off about slaying some meatbag or other, and I said something like, "You do what you have to do" in an effort to not be argumentative, but the game awarded me dark side points for saying so. And here I was trying to be nice. Oh, well.

Some more:

  • You can make stuff. Let's say you want a few computer spikes or scope for your rifle or a new emitter for your light saber. If you can get enough parts, a high enough skill and a workbench, you can make it yourself. Or have the one-armed dude make it (sorry, I forget his name, something like Bao Dur) 'cause if you level him up right, you can max him out on just about every skill.

  • Your alignment affects your party members' alignment - they'll become light-sided or dark-sided right along with you. Also, you can gain influence over your party members by how you talk to them and act around them. For example, I gained influence with one character by talking about the force in tones she could understand, but I lost influence with another character because she thought I was too nice to the random people we'd meet.

  • The whole Jedi Forms thing, where you learn different light saber techniques for different situations, was a waste of programming effort on their part. I kept forgetting about it, just left it on the default all the time. Perhaps the forms are more valuable for Sentinels and Consulars that are not as good at melee fighting, but my first character ripped through opponents no matter what. We'll see.

  • Like Halo 2, this one really didn't really end, providing no final resolution to what your character has been fighting for. If there's any good news in this, it sounds like you get to hook up with Revan in version III. That'd be cool.

  • Speaking of which, the game uses whatever version of Revan you wish. You have a conversation early in the game where someone's asking you questions about Revan, and you can specify if Revan is male or female or if Revan saved the Republic or fought against it. That's cool.

  • I found a suit of armor in Telos, the second planet you go to, and ended up wearing it the rest of the game because I never found anything better. That's kind of boring.

  • You get Mandalore, the leader of the Mandalorians, in your party. He's a monster: give him two vibroswords and let him go. You find out later that Mandalore is Candorous from the first game. That's cool.

  • Some of the party members you gain as regular people (soldiers, scoundrels, etc.) can become Jedi if you get enough influence with them. I was only able to do so with Disciple, but I heard you can get a few others to become Jedi, too, if you play it right. The weird thing about Disciple was that he was a soldier that turned into a Jedi Consular (the game gave me no choice in the matter). It would have been more natural to make him a Guardian, and I certainly used him like he was one. Just gave him a light saber and let him loose.

  • Insanity is a good force power, particularly for Kreia and Visas. It seemed like no one was immune except for the big boss types. I used it a lot to freeze up the competition and cut them down without opposition. Not very sporting, but I never took dark side points for it, so...

  • Like the first game, you take on characters that have no use except for when the game forces you to use them. I never took the droids out unless the game forced me to. I never took Mira or Atton. The dude with one arm has his uses because of his high skills, but (ironically) having those skills becomes more and more insignificant as the game progresses. In general, there was no level a pack of three Jedi couldn't handle.
Hey, David, I think I'd take some
amortization spams. Not that I need them, but it beats the ones I'm getting now. Here's a sample subject line, cut and pasted from Hotmail: "@¿©¼ºÀü¿ëÄ«µåÀå±âºÐÇÒ´ëÃâ". What the hell is that? It was sent by one Dmctw Otkz, and here's the message body:
´ëÇÑ ¹Î±¹ ½Å¿ëÁöÅ´ÀÌ!!!

Ä«µå ¿¬Ã¼±Ý 10ºÐ³» ´ëÃâ °¡´É

@ÃÊ°£Æí Ä«µå´ë±Ý / ¿¬Ã¼ÀÚ±Ý ´ëÃâ

@Ä«µå´ë±Ý Àå±âºÐÈ° »óȯ ´ëÃâ

@Çö±Ý¼­ºñ½º 24°³¿ù ºÐÇÒ »óȯ ´ëÃâ

@Á÷ÀåÀÎ/¹ýÀÎÄ«µå ´ë±Ý ´ëÃâ

@¿©¼ºÀü¿ë Ä«µå Àå±â ºÐÇÒ ´ëÃâ

ÀÚ¼¼ÇÑ »ó´ãÀ» ¿øÇÏ½Ã¸é ¿©±â¸¦ ´­·¯ ÁÖ¼¼¿ä!!

Okey-dokey. The last line, starting "ÀÚ¼¼ÇÑ" is a link to a Korean shopping service, I think.
What is up with spam trends
that for the last several days my Hotmail address is getting pounded with mortgage and amortization messages from different senders? I have never gone looking for a loan or whatever online, so why the barrage? Strange.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Don't panic.
I decided to go to a new template. I had screwed with the original one so much that is was a mess, so it was time to start over. Thankfully, the good folks at Blogger have a variety of templates that are ready to go, so I picked one, tweaked it ever so slightly, and here you go. I think it looks better, but I'm open to suggestions.
Life imitates Monty Python
in San Francisco (emphasis mine):
January 22nd, 2005 will be the the 32nd anniversary of the Roe v Wade, the court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. "Walk for Life West Coast", a city-wide anti-choice event, is also scheduled for that date. Last year, women nationwide celebrated the first "I'm not sorry I had an abortion day". Some pro-choice activists feel that it's time to do it again as one of the ways of countering the Walk for Life's messaging. Elizabeth Creely says, "it's clear that women (and men) who have had abortions need to continue to defend our right to reproduce on our own terms."
The hat tip goes to Best of the Web.

This is straight out of Life of Brian, one of their best scenes ever:
FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?

STAN: I want to be one.

REG: What?

STAN: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me 'Loretta'.

REG: What?!

LORETTA: It's my right as a man.

JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?

LORETTA: I want to have babies.

REG: You want to have babies?!

LORETTA: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.

REG: But... you can't have babies.

LORETTA: Don't you oppress me.

REG: I'm not oppressing you, Stan. You haven't got a womb! Where's the foetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!

LORETTA: [crying]

JUDITH: Here! I-- I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to have babies.

FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.

REG: What's the point?


REG: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can't have babies?!

FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.
I tell you, one of the Best. Scenes. Ever.
I believe him.
Clint Eastwood threatened to kill Michael Moore should Moore ever show up at Eastwood's house with a camera.

I'm reminded of the 60 Minutes interview where Steve Kroft crossed the line:
STEVE KROFT: There's a sensitivity to him missing from the cold-blooded Harry Callaghan. No signs of the ruthless stranger that shaped his screen persona in the early spaghetti westerns. But he can, when required, still call up that cold, silent stare of intimidation, as we found out back in 1997 when we asked him a question about his personal life.

One of the things that I learned in doing the research for the story was the fact that you've got lots of kids

CLINT EASTWOOD: Yeah, I like kids, a lot.

STEVE KROFT: How many do you have?

CLINT EASTWOOD: I have a few. (Laughs)

STEVE KROFT: Seven kids with five women, right? Not all of whom you were married to.


STEVE KROFT: You would agree that this was somewhat unconventional?

CLINT EASTWOOD: Yes, it's unconventional, yeah.

STEVE KROFT: When asked the question about the family, I have to tell you, that is a pretty awesome expression you have right now. I don't think I've had anybody look at me like that before. It's a real Clint Eastwood look. It's intimidating.


STEVE KROFT: You let me know: "approach with caution".
I just learned something about Mahmoud Abbas
that I did not know before, thanks to Jay Nordlinger:
Abbas, remember, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation in Moscow, and this scholarly opus was later published as The Other Side: The Secret Relations Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. Among the charming features of this book is Holocaust denial. And, of course, the beauty part — one of them — is that Arab leaders had, not secret relations with the Nazis, but open, very warm, mutually supportive ones.

What a world we live in: A Holocaust denier can rise to power in a land, and we say . . . nothing. Even worse, Abbas may be the best we can do in the PA.
So the Daily Kos was paid by the Dean campaign
as shown over at LGF. They approached us, too, since we're the Most Important Blog Ever, but of course we turned them down. We're much too serious to be on anyone's pay roll.

UPDATE: We do, however, bribe each other. Just the other day, Joe gave me $20 to stop pointing out that he promised to stop reading Andrew Sullivan.
Yes, I think he is over-reacting.
Andrew Sullivan has been up in arms (see here, here, and here) over a recent Bush quote in the Washington Times:
"I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit. That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban. The greatest freedom we have or one of the greatest freedoms is the right to worship the way you see fit. On the other hand, I don't see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord."
It's pretty clear to me what the President means: He's a man of deep Christian faith who's been through a lot of really, really hard times and has had to make a lot of tough decisions. He knows how much he's relied on his faith to bring him through, and he can't see how someone can have been through what he's been through and not believe in Christ.

Sullivan sees his comment as some kind of religious test, that Bush believes that non-Christians should be excluded from the Presidency. I seriously believe Sullivan's running off the deep end or is so blinded by his dislike of Bush that he can't take anything he says at face value.
Lee is asking for touble
posting about science and creationism 'cause I'm sure a lot of readers find that a sensitive subject. However, he is correct in saying that, no matter what your religious beliefs, creationism (and intelligent design theory along with it) is not science. See one of the early comments one of his readers made on falsifiability for the reasons why.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I've meant to do this for a few days,
and am just now getting around to it. I just recently began reading The Diplomad. Truly amazing stuff. If anyone thinks the U.N. serves any useful function in the world, read this guy's posts and think again.
If he wins, will he finally leave boxing?
Chief Falling Rock
strikes again! Man, that is one big rock in an inconvenient spot.

Monday, January 10, 2005

With regards to Best of the Web's
commentary, or lack there of, on ARI's hatred for altruism, I blame Ayn Rand more than I blame Taranto or any who disagree with Obejctivism's moral philosophy. Rand used a particularly idiosyncratic definition of "altruism." When asked, I think most people would define altruism as concern about the care and well-being of others. Giving to charity, helping your elderly neighbors do yard work, reading to children at the local library, etc, would be their definition of altruistic behavior.

Rand, if I remember my VOS correctly, used the original definition of altruism, blended it with a Kantian enslavement to duty, and came up with a definition that almost no one I've ever met has even fathomed.

(David, you have a copy of The Ayn Rand Lexicon; what's the official Objectivist definition of altruism? Sorry, nevermind. ARI has a glossary of sorts. Here it is (ellipses in original):
"The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue, and value . . . which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good."
Yeah, I don't believe most people would subscribe to this definition. "Doing nice things for others" would likely be more common.)

Anyway, Objectivism uses a hyperbolic definition that falls outside the realm of common usage. Of course, Rand would likely argue that common usage is wrong, and that this is another way that intellectuals subvert moral thought. However, given the prominence that Rand gave to clarity of writing and to the accessibility of philosophy to the masses, one would think that needlessly confusing definitions (anachronistic meanings vs. common ones) would be anethema, and Objectivism would be more clear.

From this, one can hardly be critical, in my opinion, when an op-ed lambasts someone's attack on "altruism," when the definition of "altruism" being used is, well, extremely idiosyncratic at best and, at worst, a straw man.
Hat tip to today's
Best of the Web for this link to the Ayn Rand Institute's "clarification" of their ealier op-ed, "U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims."

Again, I agree with ARI's stance, generally, that the goverment is involved in far too much. However, I don't know that foreign disaster aid is necessarily a bad thing. A practical question: Are natural disasters, such as the tsunami, of such an extreme scope that private charity would be too ineffective? Once the disaster has reached a certain threshold, it may not be reasonable to expect purely private efforts to be as effective. An example: The U.S. Navy has been deployed to the area, bringing a carrier group, with all the benefits an aircraft carrier brings (water pruficiation, airstrip, a food service, hospitals, etc). Could a private charity do the same thing? The Salvation Navy, perhaps?

Anyway, ARI grudgingly gives its blessing to the U.S. military presence in the striken areas, saying:
Nevertheless, thousands of the government's actions are more damaging to our rights. Far worse, for instance, would have been to pour the aid money into government programs and agencies whose very purpose is to violate individual rights, such as into the antitrust division of the Justice Department, which persecutes successful businesses for out-competing other companies on a free market. If one wants to fight the government's growing encroachment on individual rights, such are the areas on which to focus, not emergency relief.
I am somewhat impressed that ARI admits their jackassery, as I called it before. One wonders why they issued this clarification. I know of no other such event in their history.

UPDATE: Well, I see David posted on this, as well. Hey, we're brothers. Apparently we've mind-melded at some point.
It's Beat Up Ayn Rand Day again,
at least at Best of the Web (see the "Idiotarian Tidal Wave--II" topic). Taranto doesn't really make any comments about ARI's latest statement on the tsunami, letting us judge his excerpts, which deal with altruism, on their own. I can only assume that he regards their criticism of altruism as silly and believes his readers will agree.
The first round of firings
have happened at CBS over the Memogate fiasco. Fox News is reporting that CBS has terminated: Betsy West, a CBS News Senior VP who supervised primetime shows; Josh Howard, Executive Producer; Mary Murphy, Senior Broadcast Producer and Howard's assistant; Mary Mapes, the producer of the Memogate piece who pursued the story for five years, thus turning a relatively unimportant sideline story into a personal obsession.

I wonder what others in the blogosphere, like those at RatherGate and RatherBiased, are going to say.
The premiere of 24 was last night.
Two shows, back to back and tonight another two shows. Awesome. And no Kim this time. Sweet.

I cannot adequately convey how much I love this show. Back when I was in college and I was dating the lovely woman who is now my wife, I was so into The Simpsons that she knew there was no point in calling me when the show was on. I might answer the phone, but I wouldn't hear anything she had to say. I know it sounds terrible, but it's true. Well, I'm worse about 24, particularly since there's so much going on that if you miss a few critical minutes you can be lost for a long time.

I've decided Jack Bauer is much like Roland of Gilead, the gunslinger from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Spoiler alert! You see, Roland must get to the Dark Tower, he must see what it holds and he sacrifices all that he has and all who he loves (sometimes willingly, sometimes not) for this quest. The big joke is, once he gets to the tower and climbs the steps to the last room believing his quest to be over, through some magical means the tower sends him back to the beginning of his quest and he starts the whole thing over again. Sound familiar?

  • This season is going to make a lot of people uneasy. Every season makes its viewers a bit squeamish, what with the torture and such, but last night they had a scene that looked all too much like what's been seen coming out of Iraq. You saw men with black hoods, holding large guns, standing in front of a banner covered in Arabic, with a man on his knees in front of them, bound and gagged. All too familiar.

  • Along the same lines, some viewers, particularly Muslim ones, will be upset. Some of the criminals are a Muslim family - father, mother and teenage son - that have been in the country for 5 years preparing for this operation. This show smacks you in the face with the "enemy within" theme. Michael Savage would be proud, CAIR not so much.

  • Bauer's new honey-pie is going to die. See my thing about Roland above.

  • They'll find a way to work ex-President Palmer into the story. His character was way too good to leave out. I miss him already.

  • Chloe will do something fantastically stupid and then redeem herself with something fantastically smart.

  • The new, fat, low-talking computer guy is a mole.

  • The Muslim kid will not kill his girlfriend. He'll have a "holy crap, what am I doing!?" moment and end up helping CTU. Heck, I'll even say that he'll kill his father.

  • Bauer will die. I think I've made this prediction every year, but come on, how many bad days can one guy have? There has to be a limit. Oh, never mind. I was just told by a coworker that Sutherland has a contract for two more seasons. Of course, he could come back in a disembodied Obi Wan Kenobi mentor role.

Glenn Beck is on the radio talking about 24 now. He had a party, like the super bowl. I should have done that. Next year.
Ah, the NFL playoffs have begun
and I'm partially pleased. I didn't give a hoot about Saturday's games at all. The Jets beat the Chargers and the Rams beat the Seahawks? Who cares? But the Colts won, and that's a good thing. I like Peyton Manning - he has class and he rocks (oh, if only the Chiefs had him!) - and high-powered offenses in general. I hope they beat the Patriots next weekend so Manning can get that 0-6-in-New-England monkey off his back.

Alas, the Vikings beat the Packers, which made us all quite sad last night. Is it just me, or is there no in-between for Brett Favre? Either he's spectacular or he's awful. Unfortunately, with four interceptions, yesterday he wasn't exactly spectacular. But what really bites me is that Randy Moss' team won. Now that guy has no class, evidenced by his virtual moon-the-crowd stunt after scoring a touchdown and his walking-off-the-field stupidity from last week. The good news is the Fox guys in the studio were not amused and were surprisingly blunt enough to say so. Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw were particularly harsh, and good for them. To paraphrase what they were saying: talent only excuses so much.
Right Wing News
scored an interview with VDH. Read the whole thing. Here's a highlight:
John Hawkins: I agree. Here's something you wrote in a column last year,

"Small armies, whether those of Caesar, Alexander, or Hernan Cortés can defeat enormous enemies and hold vast amounts of territory - but only if they are used audaciously and establish the immediate reputation that they are lethal and dangerous to confront. Deterrence, not numbers, creates tranquility and the two are not always synonymous."

Keeping that in mind, do you think that we have been lethal enough in fighting the war on terror or have we, in an effort to be compassionate, held back too much and paradoxically, caused more civilians and more of our own troops to be killed?

Victor Davis Hanson: I think we have. I think that Fallujah, the first encirclement of Fallujah and the withdrawal, is one of the worst military decisions since Mogadishu, perhaps since Vietnam, because when you start to do that, then you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. When soldiers are in junta force protection or they’re just into garrison duty, then there’s always a greater cry for more and more soldiers.

When they’re audacious and they’re on the offensive and they’re killing the enemy, then there’s going to be less of the enemy and they’re going to get a reputation for ferocity. As you know, we were no safer in Vietnam with 525,000 in 1967. We were no better off than we were with 25,000 in 1971 or 1972. So it’s not the number per se.

That’s why this whole inside the beltway acrimony is so disturbing. The real discussion should be not how many troops you have but what is exactly the mission of these troops? What are they going to do and what are they not going to do? I think they should have been from Day 1 going after --- in really an offensive mode --- the people in the Sunni Triangle as they did with this wonderful operation that we saw the last couple of months in Fallujah. That should have been done earlier.