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Friday, March 09, 2007
The Fighting Killions

Michael Fumento continues his gripping reporting from Iraq with a portrait of a military family:

Rob's brother, Douglas, also joined the military but went the National Guard route notwithstanding that he knew he'd end up in Iraq just like Rob would. Doug is 27, Rob 21. Having one child in the military is rare enough these days; two all the more so. But here's the kicker: their father, Rick.

Rick Killion had been a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol from 1972-1976, whereupon he then enlisted in the Air Force in 1976. That's where he met Cheryl Newcomb, who was also in the Air Force, and soon married. She gave him his two children. Rick was an avionics technician, which keeps you about as far from combat as you can get, until exiting the service in 1980 at the rank of sergeant (E-5).

Some thrilling action described as well:

In that same video clip a sniper nearly beans Rob, the round ricocheting off the top of the wall over which he'd been leaning. He utters a few unprintable epithets, then yells: "That hit right in front of me!" But seconds later he whoops "Whew! Yeah!" thus reflecting Winston Churchill's observation that "nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Then he fires at another jihadist and I get the shot I was waiting for, his SAW pounding away while the ejected cases bounced off my body armor chest plate.

After we left the building and scrambled through an ambush that had us looking like the soldiers at the end of "Black Hawk Down," I kept snapping photos and shooting video and darned if time and again Rob wasn't right there in the thick of it – perhaps in half my photos of the fight.

Highly recommended.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007
Nice Real World Poll for McCain

Although the media have been trying to sell the idea of a McCain collapse, this poll suggests strongly otherwise:

The candidates can be grouped as follows:

I. Very well-liked candidates with high favorable to unfavorable ratios of more than two to one:

* Rudy Giuliani
* Barack Obama
* John McCain

In fact McCain has a huge net positive rating compared to (say) Hillary Clinton. I happen to be one of those folks who think that Giuliani and Obama's high positives represent a ceiling, while McCain's represent a floor.

The better news for McCain lies in the other ratings. Mitt Romney barely comes out a positive (23-19) among those who are familiar with him, while Newt Gingrich gets a horrific -20 (29-49). If you want to know why he's not in the race, that's your answer.

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"Some" Scientists Say Traveling Back In Time Impossible?

This shoots a big hole in my plan to go back to 2000 and invest in Google.

The urge to hug a departed loved one again or prevent atrocities are among the compelling reasons that keep the notion of time travel alive in the minds of many.

While the idea makes for great fiction, some scientists now say traveling to the past is impossible.

Of course, we all know from comic books that even if you could travel back in the past you could not change events.


Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

Baptists and other evangelicals may have a tough time supporting him due to the circumstances of his second divorce/third marriage.

“I mean, this is divorce on steroids,” Land said. “To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That's rough. I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control.”

The New York Times tackles the "New York factor":

Americans like New York City, as officials in both parties are quick to say. Most find it vibrant, entertaining and an object of sympathy and pride since the terrorist attacks five and a half years ago that made Mr. Giuliani the national contender he is today.

But the city, with all its tumult and rough edges, is not for everyone. And few people embody all the complicated facets of New York City as much as Mr. Giuliani.

He is swaggering, brash and opinionated and loves to stick his thumb in the eye of conventional political norms. Those traits won him some acclaim in New York, not to mention a lot of tabloid headlines. But he can also be temperamental, controlling, capricious, volatile and, in the words of Edward I. Koch, a former Democratic mayor who supported Mr. Giuliani in his successful bid for a second term, “mean-spirited.”

In an article on the supposed troubles of John McCain, the Wall Street Journal notes hints that Rudy's support may ebb:

The senator's top political strategist, John Weaver, calls himself "quite serene" about the campaign's predicament, reflecting the McCain team's judgment that the Giuliani boomlet will fade. The Journal/NBC poll itself suggests that may well happen, as voters learn more about the New Yorker.

Here's a winceable campaign ad from Rudy's first run for Mayor of New York.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Here's to Captain America

RIP, 1941-2007.

The venerable superhero is killed in the issue of his namesake comic that hit stands Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported. On the new edition's pages, a sniper shoots down the shield-wielding hero as he leaves a courthouse.

As the article notes, "resurrections" are not unknown in comics, and Cap's been resurrected more than most. He disappeared at the end of the Golden Age of Comics, the returned in the 1960s after being discovered frozen in a block of ice. They killed him off briefly in 1969:

Captain America began during World War II, prior to America's entry into the war. Steve Rogers was one of the weakest men in the Army, but was chosen to try a special serum that would turn him into a "supersoldier".

Cap actually entered the war before the country he represented, with his first appearance coming in March 1941:

His creators were the legendary Simon and Kirby. Cap (along with his sidekick Bucky Barnes) battled the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II, then gangsters and crooks after 1945. Along with many other superheroes, he was "retired" in the early 1950s as those features came under pressure from the horror comics fad. He was briefly resurrected in 1954 for three issues by Atlas (forerunner to today's Marvel Comics), but the series didn't take.

Skip forward to 1964. Atlas had begun a tremendous resurgence as Marvel Comics with a new style of superhero--ones with problems and bickering between characters. Their sales soared with the Fantastic Four, Amazing Spiderman, Thor, Iron Man and others seemingly popping up monthly. Marvel had resurrected two of its famed GA characters, the Human Torch, and the Submariner. In Avengers #4 (March 1964), they brought back Cap. He had been frozen in a block of ice. When the ice melted, Cap returned to life, but now was a man tormented by the death of his former partner, Bucky.

Marvel gave him a spot in Tales of Suspense with Iron Man. There were many classic stories during that run, including the Sleeper Saga, which I blogged about at Silver Age Comics. With issue #100, the title was changed to Captain America.

Captain America has not always been a patriot. In the mid-1970s he changed his name to Nomad for awhile in disgust at the Watergate revelations. And in recent years the comics he has appeared in have often been suffused with anti-American sentiment as Michael Medved noted:

The indictment of the United States becomes even more explicit in issue #6 (December, 2002) in which Captain America listens to yet another sympathetic rant from a terrorist mastermind. “Guerillas gunned my father down while he was at work in the fields — With American bullets,” the militant helpfully explains. “You know your history, Captain America...You played that game in too many places... The sun never set on your political chessboard- your empire of blood.”

To this verbal assault, The Sentinel of Liberty responds meekly, “We’ve changed. We’ve learned...My people never knew. We know now. And those days are over.

To those who remember when Captain America bled red white and blue, that's a shocking change. So perhaps we should not mourn for Cap, but for ourselves.

Similar takes at Hot Air and Ace of Spades HQ. If you've taken your blood pressure medication today, check out the wankers at Wonkette:

But his last comment was left on, after the wretched conditions at the Walter Reed Army hospital were revealed last week:

I can’t take it any longer. This country … it’s … it’s all just SH*T. I thought we DEFEATED the Nazis.

He was immediately banned, and hours later he was dead. Cops say a “sniper” fired the gun, but everybody knows Captain America shot himself, in the bathroom, with his blood and brains sprayed all over his Declaration of Independence bath towel.


Where Feminism Went Off the Rails

Pamela Bone, an enthusiastic supporter, wonders if it was 9-11:

These were exhilarating times. But between Beijing in 1995 and New York in September 2001 the unity was lost. Somewhere along the line it happened that only one part of that curious Beijing alliance could be seen as the enemy. While a US administration that refused to fund programs against AIDS unless they taught about chastity instead of condoms could rightly be criticised, the mullahs whose abuses of women's rights were very many degrees worse could not.

Was it before or after September 11 that thinkers of the Left - for feminism was a movement of the Left - decided that racism was a far more serious crime than sexism? When did cultural sensitivity trump women's rights? Was it about the time that Australian feminist Germaine Greer defended the practice of female genital mutilation because, as she pointed out, Western women put studs through their nipples and labia?

Actually, it was when feminism allied itself too closely with the Left. Among the Left there is always competition among grievance groups, and, quite reasonably, the grievances of "Western" women are not seen as quite grievous as those who are "suffering" from Western imperialism.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Impeachment Watch

If I told you that a Republican Senator has brought it up, you'd probably be able to guess which one, right?

"The president says, 'I don't care.' He's not accountable anymore," Hagel says, measuring his words by the syllable and his syllables almost by the letter. "He's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don't know. It depends how this goes."

The conversation beaches itself for a moment on that word -- impeachment -- spoken by a conservative Republican from a safe Senate seat in a reddish state. It's barely even whispered among the serious set in Washington, and it rings like a gong in the middle of the sentence, even though it flowed quite naturally out of the conversation he was having about how everybody had abandoned their responsibility to the country, and now there was a war going bad because of it.

"Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility," he says. "The press abdicated its responsibility, and the American people abdicated their responsibilities. Terror was on the minds of everyone, and nobody questioned anything, quite frankly."


More Risible Analysis

If I didn't know better, I'd swear this piece was put together by John McCain's staff:

John McCain's Obama- esque remarks about our "wasted" resources in Iraq weren't the only comments that landed him in hot water after a recent appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Many of his staff were blindsided by his campaign announcement. And several aides were so outraged that they've quit, say Republican insiders.

"They're imploding—he had a game plan that had him announcing much later in the year," one top Republican aide tells Radar, adding that the campaign is "in serious trouble ... Romney's plan and Rudy's jump in the polls caused him to scrap his plans completely. When you do that, and you're not prepared for it, the staff goes crazy. Some of his coordinators in different states were pulling their hair out!"

Romney's "plan"? Is that the plan to get about 8-10% in polling?

Another insider, a guru to the conservative movement, says that McCain himself is growing increasingly desperate in the wake of his downward slide in the polls—a slip hastened by his steadfast support of the very man who savaged him and his family during the 2000 election, George W. Bush, and the president's unpopular plan for troop surge in Iraq. "One of the top aides to the Republican leadership told me that McCain has lost so much support, he's simply beside himself. He's wringing his hands. Things are sinking fast—in two or three weeks, we'll know if there is any recovery."

Snicker, chortle. A "guru" to the conservative movement thinks that McCain's support of the president is hurting him in the polls? Certainly not in the primaries, which are the only polls that will matter prior to the middle of next year.

And the idea that McCain's announcement on Letterman was unscripted is naive. It was not a formal announcement; rather it was an announcement of an intent to announce. But it was widely speculated that McCain would announce on the show.

Kevin Drum buys into the story, albeit with some reservations:

Very juicy. I love it. But is it true? Did McCain really make the Letterman announcement on the fly? Would McCain's aides really have gone bananas over this? (It's not like everyone in the world didn't already know he was running, after all.) Did "several aides" really quit recently? And who is the "top Republican aide" who was Radar's source for this? Somebody close to McCain or somebody close to another candidate?

Just asking. But it sure sounds true. Though that's more because it tickles me to think so than because there's any real evidence for it.

Donklephant should know better, but doesn't.

In any event, what this should tell us is McCain is unfocused. That’s a BIG problem. It’s okay if he goes off the script every now and again, but to not tell your staff that you’re going to announce something on national television…that’s crazy. So yeah, McCain deserves to sweat a little bit.

I wonder what, if anything, can put him back on track…

Oh, you know, little things like social conservatives suddenly realizing they have more in common with John McCain than with Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney?

Hat Tip: Memeorandum.

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Around the Horn

Aaron asks, what movies make men cry? Speaking for myself only, I'm more likely to cry not at sad parts but at happy ones, at moments of triumph and redemption; when Ralphie gets his BB gun, when Scrooge becomes a good man, when Rudy is accepted to Notre Dame.

Kitty points out that the correct term for Edwards is prissy. Yes, I think Ann mistook metrosexual for homosexual.

Andrea Shea-King checks out Rudy Giuliani's record of appointments to the courts in Manhattan and finds he nominated Democrats over Republicans by a factor of 8-1. In fairness to Rudy, you ever try to find a Republican lawyer in New York? But I certainly agree that social conservatives will have to think long and hard before casting a primary ballot for Rudy G.

Third Wave Dave has an interesting post up about Fred Thompson's possible run. Andrea suggested he'd make a good candidate on yesterday's show. I like Thompson, but doubt he'll get very far; InTrade has him at 0.2 to 0.5 cents (to win a dollar if he's the nominee). McCain's in the high 20s and Rudy's in the low 30s. If you really like Thompson, a $20 wager could net $4,000.

Hillary Needs a Vacation has coverage of PIAPS' ire at Eliot Spitzer for not endorsing her (yet).


Monday, March 05, 2007
A Well-Deserved Honor for Bill Maher

Yes, those are words that I thought would never escape my lips.
Does Coulter Think Every Democrat is Secretly Gay?

I thought I'd check around the liberal blogosphere for some "Man Coulter" posts to show the liberals' hypocrisy on her most recent outburst. They're certainly out there, but what I found more interesting was that one of the posts about "Man Coulter" notes that Ann had previously asserted that Bill Clinton was secretly gay.

Ann Coulter repeated on Hardball her insinuation that Bill Clinton is gay, then went on to joke that "may not be gay, but Al Gore: total fag".

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but jeez, Bill Clinton is pretty transparently not gay. And Al Gore? Hey, he did have that unfortunate lisp after getting some dental work done before the convention in 2000, but I'm confident that's what happened--the dental work confused his tongue (which, by the way, spent an ungodly amount of time down his wife's throat when the speech was over).

So now we've got Ann calling men who were on the last four tickets the Democratic party came up with "fags" or "faggots" or "gay". Very curious, to say the least, and I am sure that Hillary will not be spared if her turn comes.

What will she do if Barney Franks gets nominated? Insinuate that he must be a straight?

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McCain's Moment Coming?

Ramesh Ponnuru writes in the current National Review that the stars are starting to align for John McCain, basically making the case I did last week, that if the race boils down to McCain versus Giuliani, as it appears to be, that McCain will be the conservative in the race. As McCain's problem is that he's not perceived as conservative enough, this is a very good sign. The article itself is apparently not available online, but the link will take you to an interview with Senator McCain:

Ponnuru (reading headline): “McCain firm on Iraq war. . .” (McCain flips the paper over.) “Despite cost to candidacy”: even better. . .

Sen. McCain: (Laughs) Yep. They’ve got a poll that says 33 percent are much less likely, and 11 percent somewhat less likely to [vote for me]

Ponnuru: So do you think that’s already been costing you? That that’s behind some of the slides in the polls?

Sen. McCain: First of all, I don’t know. But second of all, I can’t worry about it. You just can’t, with something like this you just can’t let it concern you. The issue is too important. The sacrifice that so many young Americans have made already pales in significance to any cost that it may mean to me. You’ve seen these wounded kids, you know how much they’ve given.

Despite the claims of Dick Morris, McCain is in excellent shape.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007
The Amazing Race: The Gloves Come Off

Rob & Ambuh leave first. Drive to the church of San Pedro de Atacama. This is just a clue stop. Next task is to fly to Puerto Montt, and find something called the Metri. The Old Gays get in a little dustup with the Frat Boy and his girlfriend. They're upset that the latter pulled ahead of them when they stopped for directions, so they block their vehicle while they read the clue. Kinda petty IMHO, and making enemies is never a good idea in TAR.

Rob & Ambuh find an all-night travel agency and book their tickets first. The other teams go directly to the airport, where, of course, they must sleep in a line. Uchenna and Joyce think of going to a hotel where they will book tickets for several teams. But in a crucial mistake, only the Old Gays have given them the security code for their credit cards, so only two teams get their tickets early. There is a one-hour difference between the first and second flight, with only four teams on the former. There's a big row between Teri & Ian and One and a Half Women. Tempers are really flaring on this episode!

On the way to the Metri, somebody makes the comment that Rob is not Jesus. Right on cue, Rob makes the wrong turn. The next clue is a Roadblock. One member must pull something like 80 flat and ugly fish out of a tank into a box, then carry the fish to another tank. Lots of "I hate fish" at this point, including, surprisingly, Dave. Country boys don't fish?

This task seems ill suited for Smyrna, and Myrna ain't enjoying it either, so they fall behind as she wails about how many fish there are and how hard it is. Uchenna and Joyce take the lead at this point. Next task: Find a place called La Maquina on the way to a town called Petrohue. Rob & Ambuh get there first. Detour: Either rock climb 40 feet (sheesh, TAR always has a rock climb) or go whitewater rafting. Every single team opts for the rafting adventure.

Along in here, Dave & Mary miss the turn off for Petrohue. Rob says something about "Wait a minute, did that sign say Petro--?" but Mary says, "Keep going". The BQs miss the cluebox, but somehow still come upon the whitewater rafting, so they take the ride on the assumption that the clue will be along the river. Will this save Team Coal Miner?

Meanwhile, One and a Half Women have teamed up with the Old Gays. But this turns out to be something of a mistake for the former, as the Old Gays missed half the clue and would have been completely hosed without Myrna and Smyrna.

Teams are starting to arrive at the Pit Stop. Rob & Ambuh win yet again, getting a pair of home gyms. At some point the Frat Boy & his girlfriend arrive, treating us to a view of the former's chest. Has he got his nipples pierced or what? I only got a quick glimpse, but it was a definite gross-out moment.

The BQs arrive fourth, but they must go back and find their clue. As it happens, it doesn't cost them any position, just a little time. David and Mary are looking doomed, especially when we see the other two teams jockeying for position on the water, but no sign of Team Coal Miner. Myrna has lost the keys and must run back to the tent to get them. Smyrna gripes that the Old Gays don't wait for them, but at that point they're all racing to avoid finishing last. In an oddball moment, the guy with Phil at the mat is a dwarf, like Smyrna, and we get the inevitable shot of them hugging.

In the end, David and Mary arrive last. Will they be saved for the third time in their TAR career by a non-elimination leg? Nope, they are Phil-Liminated at the mat.

Note: I had assumed that Eric at Viking Pundit was skipping All-Stars, but he's got his recap up.
Another Turn Around the Sun

Hit the big 5-2 today. Thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday, especially Kitty, who put the word around. I don't deserve such great friends, but I ain't complaining!

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Steyn in Rare Form

He takes on the Goron's massive energy bill and delivers a romp:

Two hundred twenty-one thousand kilowatt-hours? What's he doing in there? Clamping Tipper to the electrodes and zapping her across the rec room every night? No, no, don't worry. Al's massive energy consumption is due entirely to his concern about the way we're depleting the Earth's resources. When I say "we," I don't mean Al, of course. I mean you -- yes, you, Earl Schlub, in the basement apartment at 29 Elm St. You're irresponsibly depleting the Earth's resources by using that electric washer when you could be down by the river with the native women beating your loin cloth dry on the rock while singing traditional village work chants all morning long. But up at the Gore mansion -- the Nashville Electric Service's own personal gold mine, the shining Cathedral of St. Al, Tennessee's very own Palace of Versal -- the Reverend Al is being far more environmentally responsible. As his spokesperson attempted to argue, his high energy usage derives from his brave calls for low energy usage. He's burning up all that electricity by sending out faxes every couple of minutes urging you to use less electricity.

One to savor!

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