Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is offering a bill to encourage amature astronomers to discover Earth approaching objects which might threaten us by offering givernment financed prizes. Splendid idea, in my opinion. It is similer to an idea I had which would have involved awarding ownership of such celestrial bodies to their discoverers. I also suggested heavily limiting liability for those owners whose property actually hit the Earth, but left lawyers alive.
I'm not sure it is really necessary, but Showtime is planning to produce a new version of The Lion in Winter, staring Patrick Stewert as Henry II and Glenn Close as Katherine of Aragon. The Lion in Winter, which started as a stage play, was done as a film in the sixties starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. The original movie also launched the film careers of Anthony Hopkins, who played Richard the Lion Heart, and Timothy Dalton, who played King Philip of France.
The Washington Times has the following about government and taxes:
James Carter, former senior economist with the Joint Economic Committee, has his work cut out for him at the White House, where he now serves on the National Economic Council.
From his stack of incoming mail and memorandums, Mr. Carter came across these "Rare Moments of Fiscal Candor Throughout History," which he thought Inside the Beltway readers would enjoy:
1407: "You have gold and I want gold; where is it?" — King Henry IV of England
18th Century: "Let them eat cake!" — Attributed to Marie Antoinette, Queen of France
1938: "We will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect." — Harry Hopkins, director, Public Works Administration.
1954: "It's a terribly hard job to spend a billion dollars and get your money's worth." — Treasury Secretary George Humphrey.
1963: "There is one difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist — the taxidermist leaves the hide." — Mortimer Caplin, commissioner, U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
1984: "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did." — Vice President Walter Mondale.
1995: "Probably people in this room are still mad at me, at that budget, because you think I raised your taxes too much. Well, it may surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too." — President Clinton
April 2002: "We will also never bring up the permanent tax cut the president is advocating." — Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.

Monday, April 29, 2002

The latest bad idea from the Liberal Democrats in Washington is what amounts to a Federal takeover of local zoning.
And what is the vision that animates the "Growing Smart" guidelines that served as a basis for the Senate bill? The Sierra Club last year conducted an exercise in which it attempted to define the optimum density for American cities. It came up with a figure of 500 families per acre. As economist Randal O'Toole of the Thoreau Institute has pointed out, this is roughly twice the density of the densest parts of Manhattan--on a par with the densest cities of Asia.

Fortunately the liberals backed off on that one.

I do have a question. How will this affect my town of Houston, which does not have zoning and relies on deed restrictions enforced by homeowners' associations. Homeowners' associations are often the closest thing to fascism, but at least one knows where they live. Get the feds involved in property use restrictions and there will be no end of mischief.
In a development which must have Khomaini spinning in his grave, an Iranian Ayhatollah, from the floor of the Iranian Parliement, issues a fatwa against Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers. Meanwhile Democratic revolution stirs inside Iran.

Naturally the US State Department seems clueless.
Another Democrat rallying cry for the fall. "Gore was cheated!" It's a silly political tactic, considering that even (especially!) some of Gore's cloest friends are thanking God that Bush and not their guy is running things after 9/11.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Democrats think that they can demonize President Bush's plan to partially privitize Social Security and make political hay in the fall. But polling data suggests that hopemight be an empty one.
While Palestinian politicians and their fellow travelers in the West repeat lies about fictional Israeli massacres in Jenin, other Palestinians carry out actual massacres, including the cold blooded murder of a five year old girl in her bed. A Palestinian Authority Cabinent Minister exaulted in this example of "Palestinian resistance."
More proof that Sean O'Keefe's NASA is seriously laying the groundwork for human exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

There's a story circulating which states that representatives of Crown Prince Abdullah demanded that female air traffic controllers not be permitted to guide the Prince's plane while it was in Texas air space. Apparently the Waco Tower was the only one which complied, replacing a scheduled female controller with a male one. The story, as can be imagined, has the entire state of Texas in an uproar.

If the story if true (and so far Saudi officials are denying it), then the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia owes the United States and American air traffic controllers an apology for the arrogant, sexist demand. And the American government needs to take steps that no such demand is ever made again.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Governor Gray Davis has come out for reperations for slavery, a nutty idea dreamed up by Jesse Jackson and other race hustlers as a means to seperate tens of millions of people from their money. Yet, it is his election opponent, Bill Simon, who is being pilloried as the "extremist."

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Professor Reynolds believes that Robert Park has gone senile. Strange. I've been following the man for several years and can tell no difference.
CNN's Crossfire had a ten minute debate about space tourism and the issue was handled in the usual superfical manner. Hosting were Tucker Carlsen and James Carville (aka Passive and Aggressive.) The guests were Lori Garver, would be space going soccer mom, and Robert Park, ongoing anti-space crusader.

It went rather predictably. Park called space tourism "high tech bungee jumping", as if that were a bad thing. Carville was angry that rich people were getting to buy tickets to fly into space. If such things are allowed, who knows what it might lead to?
If we need money for pharmaceutical research -- so a guy is sick. He says, I'll tell you what, I'll give you $20 million, but I want first crack at this drug when it goes to trial. They have drug trials.

Should you be able to buy your way into that, because clearly we're going to need money for prescription health care benefit for our seniors. Should you be able to say, elk season starts on November the 15th. If you're rich enough, should you be able to pay and start hunting on November the 12th?

Lori actually came out pretty well, all things considered. She didn't have a chance to spin her usual tale about representing all soccer moms or that sort of thing.
The first people who got to cross the Atlantic were the richest people in their -- when we had cruise ships. There are now seven new cruise ships being developed for rich people who want to go on vacation. This will help the economy.

Score one for Lori, though she had to wrangle with Carville over the fact that the shuttle is government run, unlike cruise ships.

No program with Robert Park on it could be complete without the robots vrs humans arguement.
GARVER: Well, they're learning all about how to live and work in space. That is going to allow us to go further. We as a...

CARVILLE: Why not send robots up there?

PARK: I'll tell you, we're not going further. And we're not going further because -- by the time we could get to where we could send a human being to Mars, our robots will have done the job. There won't be anything left to learn.

CARLSON: What robots?

GARVER: Would we have sent -- would Jefferson have sent robots to explore the west. We need to go as a people. We're part of exploring...


CARVILLE: Well, he couldn't send a robot.

CARLSON: No, but if Lewis and Clark were robotic, it would have been an entirely different trip. You must admit.

CARVILLE: The point is that if you don't money -- who can work longer and harder, a robot or a human being?

PARK: Robots don't stop for lunch. They don't complain about the cold at night.

CARLSON: And they're not as charming, though. Unfortunately, we are going have to leave it there. And you two are both very charming. Lori Garver, thank you very much. Robert Park, thank you for joining us.

Nor are robots quite as capable. And they tend to break easier than humans. But then Park, who knows little about computer science or robotics, has never known those facts.

Glenn Reynolds and others have been pushing the idea of Condi Rice for Vice President in 2004, followed perhaps by Condi for President in 2008. Bill Whelan suggests Condi for Senate, the better to save us from six more years of Barbara Boxer.
The bipartisan firestorm against Campaign Fiance Reform continues. Both the Republican and Democrat Party in California have filed suit against CFR. I find that interesting, since both California Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, and the vast majority of California's Democrat Congressional delegation, voted for CFR.
According to the Washington Times, here's how Paul Begala, Clintonista uberpartisan and cohost of CNN's Crossfire, gently encourages GOP guests to come on his show:
"Well, I have a message for the nameless, gutless whimperers out there. Quit whining," Mr. Begala said on the program.
"Unlike some other shows, we here at 'Crossfire' actually present both sides of the issue. Every single night, we welcome the leading lights of the Republican right on to battle against their ideological foes. Carville and I make no apologies for being tough, nor do Tucker and Bob [Novak]. That's what makes this show different."

Of course the real reason someone may not wish to appear on Crossfire may not be a fear of being roughed up by Begala and his Martian-like partner, James Carville. While their WWF style of political combat is odious to watch, their main purpose for being on Crossfire may be less a desire to "present both sides of the issue" than to advance a liberal agenda.

No thanks. We've seen the Begala-Carville vision in practice and don't like it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

A congressional candidate has an interesting idea for funding NASA..
A congressional candidate has come up with an idea for funding NASA programs. Michael Williams, Republican candidate for the 5th district, proposed a 1% ''NASA Tax'' on such items as sci-fi comic books and space science books. If elected, Williams would represent an area that includes NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

It's an interesting idea, but I think unneccesary.

If one really wishes to raise money for space related R&D and exploration, here's how you do it without raising taxes. Auction off ninety nine year land grants on the Moon. The grants can be made permenent once the owner makes appropriate improvements on their land.

Once we run out of lunar acreage, start on Mars.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Of course, Campaign Finance Reform hasn't stopped the Democrats from finding ways to rake in campaign boodle.
According to the Washington Times, the list of enemies of McCain's Campaign Finance Reform keeps growing:

The list of plaintiffs against the new campaign-finance law continues to grow.
Yesterday, Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, and others ranging from Gun Owners of America to a Libertarian candidate for the Senate announced their own challenge to the law, joining the big guns in business and labor — the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — who filed suit Monday.
President Bush signed the law last month, and it takes effect after November's elections. It prohibits interest groups from using their treasury funds to run ads mentioning a candidate within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election for a federal office. It also requires the Federal Election Commission to write stricter rules prohibiting coordination between interest groups and campaigns.
Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO officials say the advertising restrictions trample First Amendment speech rights, and they say the coordination standards could criminalize basic conversations about public policy between business or union officials and officeholders.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, who led the fight against the bill in the Senate, filed a lawsuit and expects to be the lead plaintiff when the case is heard by a special panel of judges in the District. He has been joined by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and National Right to Life Committee.
Those watching the various lawsuits expect that all of them will be combined with Mr. McConnell's suit, but groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO filed separate lawsuits to draw attention to how the law particularly damages their interests.

A Palestinian mob lynched three Palestinians accused of cooperating with Israel. The news media, with it's artful misuse of the English language, are calling them "collaborators." If the media were accurate and consistant, they would instead call these victems of Palestinian mob violence "moderates" or "dissidents" or even "martyrs."

But they aren't so they don't.
Roger Clinton, the Fredo Corleone of the Clinton Family, has been hanging with some real gangsters.
Victor Hanson believes that Sharon is a modern Ajax, the bluff, unsophesticated warrior who is little appreciated and even hated, even while he saves the lives and liberties of the people who disdain him. My comment is, thank God we have men like Sharon when the barbarians are at the gates.
Looks like the folks at Los Alamos are making progress toward creating and then holding antimatter in a "bottle." This would not only open up interesting research possibilities, but will provide a propulsion fuel that could really open up the Solar System to exploration and settlement.
If this story in the Independent is any example, Fleet Street is having far too much fun with Monsieur Le Pen making the runoffs for President of the French Republic. Now, I like to bash the Frogs as well as the next man, but it seems to me that Le Pen's unexpected turn of fortune is more of an entertainment than a threat to world peace. When Chirac trounces Le Pen 4 to 1, as he is expected to do, then we can return to grousing about the medicocracy of French politics and not worrying about the rise of fascism in the Fifth Republic.
The latest in Robert Caro's fantastic series on the life of Lyndon Johnson,
Master of the Senate is now out. Caro, unlike many other LBJ biographers (Doris Kerns Goodwin,whose school girl crush on Lyndon is often embaressing to watch, comes to mind), Caro has offered a balanced view of Johnson, the evil as well as the good.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Glenn Reynolds sees the President's opposition to cloning as a Constitutional problem. I hate to disagree with the esteemed Professor, but it isn't. Congress and the Courts blew past any restriction the Constitution had in the enumerated powers clause about the time FDR was passing the New Deal, in my humble opinion. If we were to go back to adhering to such restrictions, then American government and society would be forced to undergo all sorts of changes which I'm not sure either are prepared to face.

(As a side note, I would like to see America try it. The government, with its intrusiveness, would shrink dramatically, along with taxes and regulation. That, on the balance, would be a good thing.)

The real problem is philosophical, or even religious. The President, like most people who describe themselves as pro life, view every embryo from the moment of conception as a human being, with the full civil rights of any other human being. The fact that human is not yet born, or even viable, is not relevent. One can no more take an embryo and extract stem cells than one can take a born human being and extract body parts without his/her permission, according to the pro life arguement.

Only when one engages the anti cloning forces on that basis can one get to the crux of the arguement. One has to argue (and I think one can successfully) that one only becomes fully human sometime after conception.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Julianna Malveaux, one of the ranting heads on CNN's Late Edition, illustrated Glenn Reynold's definition of when criticizing Israel becomes antisemitism when she said:

No, Sharon is as much of a terrorist as Arafat is. And you've got to be clear about that. You cannot take -- you cannot take tanks and run through people's communities and then say "Have a nice day." It doesn't work that way.

Later on, Rich Lowry tried to engage her when he said:

Do you think that Rumsfeld is a terrorist because the U.S. killed innocent people in Afghanistan?

Here's where Malveaux crossed the line into antisemitism. She replied that, no, Rumsfeld is not a terrorist, but Sharon is. Lowery tried to call her on that inconsistency, which made Malveaux upset; she accused Lowery of putting words in her mouth.

But he didn't, of course. He just showed that Malveaux is content when US bombing raids in Afghanistan accidently kill civilians, but not when Israeli ground operations accidently kill civilians. And that, using Professor Reynolds' definition, is antisemtism because she criticizes Israeli for things she is unwilling to criticize others for doing.

The competition to see who gets to be the next tourist in space after Mark Shuttleworth is heating up. Lori Garver, former Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans at NASA, former Executive Director of the National Space Society, and self described soccer mom has a unique perspective as to why she should be the one to go.

What we offer different from that is I'm your mother, your daughter, your sister, your friend.

No, sorry, Lori, but you are none of these things. Mind you, I have no brief one way or another whether Garver should be the one to go, except that Lance Bass is part of my nephews' favorite boy band and they would be really excited if he were the one to go. But Garver's constant attempts to circumvent the fact that the only reason she's in the running is that she's a former highly place government bureuacrat is beginning to descend into self parody. Let's have a little honesty Lori. You don't want to go because you have some desire to represent American femalehood or because you're a soccer mom or that you're everybody's best friend. You want to fly in space because flying in space is pretty cool. And that would be perfectly alright, if only you could bring yourself to admit it.
George Will describes how the burning desire of a number of Senate Democrats to be President is making an energy crisis more likely.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Proving the axiom that conservatives tend to be liberals who have been mugged, American Jews are moving to the right.
An article about how the next Moon race might be led by developing countries, like China or India. There's also an interesting discussion on how existing treaties, especially the Outer Space Treaty, might affect private property rights in space.
Alan Wasser has some interesting ideas on how to further the commercial development of space on his Space Settlement Initiative site. Check it out.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Rand Simberg has given a kind plug for Children of Apollo.
Robert Blake was busted on a murder rap tonight. Instantly the cable news networks dropped all the unimportant news stories they have been covering, like the Middle East and the War on Terror, and plunged happily into OJ Land.
Senate liberals voted today to continue forbidding the drilling of oil in ANWR. They also voted to-whether they wish to admit it or not-continue importing oil from dangerous regions of the world, like the Middle East, and to put at risk young American lives to protect that oil.

And all to appease the environmental extremist lobby. Too bad.
A lot of people have asked me why I wrote Children of Apollo to begin with. Aside from a desire to make money on royalties, my desire was to answer two of the most haunting questions of the last century. Why didn’t the Apollo Program lead to a space faring civilization, with people living on other worlds, and space craft voyaging further and further out to the planets and hence the stars? The second question stems from the first. Could things have turned out different?

The answer to the first question is that the Apollo Program, born of the Cold War politics of the early 1960s, perished of the Vietnam era politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Neil Armstrong had barely lifted his foot from the surface of the Moon when people began to decide that we now needed to spend more money on social programs and less on space adventures. We had beaten the Soviets, now it was time to help the poor, clean the environment, and so on. Liberal politicians and the media encouraged the attitude. Some did that because they believed the proposition that every dollar spent on space was food taken from the mouths of the hungry. Others, with more sinister motives, saw an irresistible issue. Then Senator Walter Mondale expressed the latter very well, in the wake of the Apollo Fire, when he said, “I don’t give a hoot in hell for the program or your future. I intend to ride this thing for all the political advantage I can get.”

So what about then President Nixon? What was his attitude? Most people blame him for the truncation of the Apollo program and the deferment of things like lunar bases and Mars expeditions. I think the truth was a little more complicated than that. I think Nixon might well have supported a more vigorous space program had the political situation permitted it. As it was he hit upon what at the time seemed a good plan. The plan was to build a space shuttle, lower the cost of space travel drastically, and then proceed with lunar bases, Mars expeditions, and so on. Just because that plan didn’t work is no reason to conclude it wasn’t a good one. Many people still are trying to think of ways to execute that plan.

Given the political situation, could Nixon have made any other decision than he had made? I write a scenario in Children of Apollo in which he does. I give him the motive of finding out that the space race had caused strains in the Soviet economy and military. I give him the means by proposing joint space missions with the Russians, the better to advance peace and d├ętente. Nixon proposes huge spending increases for NASA as a “bargaining chip” and at the same time takes measures to make certain that agreement is actually never reached.

Two things occur. First, the opposition on the left to the space program virtually collapses. We saw an example of this in real history. In 1993, President Clinton brought in the Russians as partners on the International Space Station. Attempts to cut off funding for the space station, which that year came within one vote of succeeding, subsequently fizzled. The one thing the left loves far more even that social programs, is anything that is perceived as furthering the cause of world peace. In the book, this collapse is not universal and that fact is crucial to the plot.

The second thing that happens is that the Soviets redouble their efforts to catch and then surpass the United States. The Soviets also begin active measures to try to slow the United States down. That too is a crucial part of the plot for Children of Apollo.

So what would the world be like had we proceeded with plans to settle the Moon and explore the planets? I suspect it would have been a better world, slightly more technologically advanced, filled with high adventure and purpose, It would be a world with a frontier, which hasn’t been the case since the American West was settled over a century ago.

Still, one other question remains. If Nixon had made a different decision, and the Congress and the nation had followed him, would it have been enough? Or would all that have been accomplished have been the buying of time? Programs, like Apollo, which are born in politics, are always in danger of dying by politics. If we had settled the Moon in the 1970s, gone to Mars in the 1980s, would the politicians have still found a reason to defund, pull back, and turn inward at some future date? Or would we have found a permanent rationale for exploring and settling the high frontier of space, perhaps based on commerce?

I don’t know the answer to that question. All I can suggest is, buy the book, read it, and decide for yourself.
Chris Mathews is having the vapors over the Middle East. He doesn't want us to liberate Iraq because-well-the Arabs might not like us.

Of course they don't like us now. But as Machiavelli suggested, that's academic. It is better to be feared, the author of The Prince suggested, than to be loved.

To illustrate this principle, Israel's campaign in the West Bank has won her few friends. The "Arab street" is incandescent in its rage. But you will notice a serious drop off in suicide bombings in the past few weeks. Machiavelli, I think, would have approved of Sharon.

Mathews is also making a fool of himself by trying to explain why the Arabs hate us. He suggests that had we supported the Arab side in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc, the Israelis just might be peeved at us. Well, wrong Chris, because had the United States done such a thing, there would be no Israel and America would have been complicant in facilitating a second Holocaust. We would have also commited a blunder by supporting volitile, tyrannical despots against a democratic people.

Chris should really get over his Vietnam syndrome and start making sense again, like when he was one of the few liberals who saw Clinton for what he was.
It's not too late to think about 2008. My money is on Condi Rice, who by that time ought to have finished a successful four years as Bush's second Vice President. She'll beat the Democrat nominee, who will be Hillary Clinton, in a landslide.

You read it here first.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Congressman Tom Delay is clearly annoyed at NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. The question arises: What does Delay intend to do about it?

Visit the Children of Apollo Store for products bearing the front cover image of Mark Whittington's epic novel; an Apollo-Saturn rocket blasting off for the Moon

John McCain as a Democrat? Even more amusing, as their candidate for President in 2004?

There are many problems with this. The primary one is that Bush beat McCain the first time and would likely do so again. But the idea that McCain's name is being floated at all illustrates the desperation which has now seized the Democrat Party.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I'm proud and pleased to announce the publication of Children of Apollo.

Children of Apollo is an alternate history novel set in a world in which the Apollo program was not cancelled in 1972, but continued into the mid 1970s. It is a story of high adventure and low intrigue with, I think, enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most discriminating reader.

Monday, April 15, 2002

The American street shows its disgust for Palestinian terrorism. As usual, the media doesn't get it.
Go read the Devil's Dictionary for our times.
George W. Bush as James T.Kirk. Now it is all clear to me.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Chris Caldwell writes about the Elian coverup first broken by Rand Simberg and reported later in the Miami Herald.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe has presented his "vision of the future." One statement stands out:

We have sought life's abodes: NASA missions have mapped continents on dozens of planets circling nearby stars, some of which show signs of life-supporting atmospheres. Evidence continues to mount for other origins of life on planets within our own Solar System, as revealed by advanced generations of robotic explorers. Humans and their robotic partners assembled complex science facilities in space to unveil even more challenging cosmic questions.

We understand our home: NASA's missions revealed the complex interactions among the Earth's major systems, vastly improving weather, climate, earthquake, and volcanic eruption forecasting — and the impact that our Sun has on our living world.

We have connected the world's citizens: NASA's technologies have resulted in dramatic improvements in air transportation via "green" aircraft, higher-speed international travel, and innovative measures to reduce aircraft accidents and delays.

We have enabled new commerce: Low Earth Orbit has become a rapid-growth economic zone, with commercial industries taking advantage of low-gravity, abundant solar energy, lower-cost access from the Earth's surface, and a vista that encompasses the entire planet.

We share the vision and the experience: Throughout the world, students in earthbound classrooms are learning the fundamentals of physics, math, and technology as they actively participate with space travelers via "telepresence technology."

And we continue to prepare the way for humanity's greatest adventures.

It's a very interesting vision and a great improvement over that previously contemplated. It implies a lot of things which space adocates have been pushing for for some time. It does, however, lack specifics and could use some fleshing out. For instance, it suggests robust, commercial activity in Low Earth Orbit. But most visions of that sort of thing include access to resources on the Moon and/or asteroids. Yet there's no mention of commercial development beyond LEO, just science facilities. And there are no specifics about human exploration/settlement beyond LEO and very little of the same within.

Still, a good B + effort, in my opinion, which should be fleshed out over time.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Senator Patrick Leahy has killed a bill which would have bestowed the Medal of Valor on public safety workers who perished during 9/11. The New York Post is not pleased.
Indeed, it's happening even in California.
Meanwhile the pogrom against Jews in France continues is a daily spectacle not seen since the 1930s.
The madcap Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is pretty sure that the Bush Administration knew about 9/11 before it happened. Seriously.
Speaking of having brass, the International Criminal Court has come into existence. The ICC is essentially a permenent war crimes tribunal. It is also, apparently, a vehicle for politically correct mischief. Some people in the Arab world and Europe are proposing that Jewish leaders be dragged before this court to punish them for fighting Palestinian terror.

President Bill Clinton signed the treaty which brought the ICC into existence. The US Senate never ratified the treaty, foreseeing just the sort of nonsense happening which is now happening. President Bush is considering wuthdrawing that signature. He should do so immediately and, furthermore, call for the ICC's abolishment.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Arafat shows that he still has brass, accusing the Israelis are attacking Christian Churches. Who, after all, are hiding behind priests and nuns in the Church of the Holy Nativity?
Fox News is reporting that the PLO is being booted from its offices in Washington DC for non payment of rent. The PLO Representative is blaming it all on pro Israel bias.

Nice try. If the PLO were to spend more money meeting its obligations and less on teaching kids to blow themselves up, these sort of things wouldn't happen.
Marcus Lindroos claims that Daschle is actually right:

The answer is: twice. Clementine and Lunar Surveyor.

Well, nice try, but no. Clementine and (I think he meant Lunar Prospector) were robots. No one, after all (except maybe Robert Park) claims that "We have been to Mars." because robots have landed there. "We" refers to human beings.
The Washington Times is reporting the following about Tom Daschle:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, searching for the right words to express his disappointment that Congress hasn't raised fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles sold in the United States in the last 15 years, stumbled into the wrong words.
"It's unacceptable that we haven't changed fleet mileage averages in 15 years in this country. How many times have we gone to the moon in the last 15 years?" Mr. Daschle wondered to reporters at a briefing yesterday.
Unfortunately for the senator, the last time humans were on the moon was Dec. 14, 1972, when two Apollo 17 astronauts returned to the orbiting command module.
Maybe news just travels slower in Mr. Daschle's home state of South Dakota.
"Hopefully, Sen. Daschle will work with President Nixon to beat those darn Soviet cosmonauts, who continue to hold that '17 days in space' record, and we must get out of Vietnam," said one Republican Senate leadership aide.
Mr. Daschle's knowledge of history didn't get any better as he continued with his "15 years of inaction" theme.
"You know, we've developed the computer and the Internet in the last 15 years," he said.
But the earliest machines with all the characteristics of computers were designed and tested in the 1940s and the first home computers appeared in 1977 with Radio Shack's TRS-80, the Apple II and the Commodore PET.
As for the Internet, Mr. Daschle's claim may have some merit, since Al Gore never told us exactly when he invented it. But purists would point out that the concept of the Internet is based on ARPANET, a 1970s-era project designed to create a computer infrastructure that could connect diverse computers.

Words fail me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Meanwhile, support for terrorism and even virulent antisemitism has oozed up in those cess pools of political correctness, American college campuses.
Sixty years after Europe, then under the rule of one Adolf Hitler, tried to put an end to the Jewish people, the European Parliement votes to side with the people who want to finish the job. In my humble opinion, Europeans should lower their heads in shame.
The Franklin Society is posting an online petition to oppose a ban on therapeutic cloning. This is, alas, one issue upon which President Bush is mistaken.
Rand Simberg is posting the news that it is about to be revealed that Juan Gonzales, Elian's dad, requested asylum in the United States when he was over here to get his son and was denied by Janet Reno. If this is true, I hope that there is some way that woman can be indicted. At the very least, the Gonzales family should sue for civil rights violations.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

An appreciation of George Mason, the founding father who opposed the Constitution and was the moving force behind the Bill of Rights. He's getting a monument in Washington, remarkable in these PC days for a Dead White Male.

Mason is also the direct ancestor of the Curmudegon's lovely and talented wife.
Shocking news. It seems that the rich in America are paying a higher and higher percentage of taxes. Meanwhile the poor are increasingly not paying any taxes.

Heavens, and to think Daschele and Gephardt keeptelling us that Bush favors the rich.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Terry Eastland asks the question: can a people so inlove with death that they worship martyrdom and approve of suicide bombing actually run a functioning state?

Sadly, I think the answer is no. But the West Bank is too large to turn into one, big insane asylum.
The superb Jonah Goldberg imagines the War on Terror as a big budget, action movie. Along the way he manages to zing all of the Eurotrash fellow traverlers and useful idiots for Palestinian terrorism.
Looks like Sharon is about to throw Dubya a bone by pulling out troops from a couple of West Bank towns where they've completed their operation. I suspect Sharon will not get any credit for this either from the Palestinians, or their Arab supporters, or the fellow travelers and useful idiots for terror in Europe and the US State Department. But maybe Bush will see this as a face saving way to allow himself to stop leaning on the Israelis to "give peace" with psychotic murderers "a chance."
I just had a conversation the implications of which should disturb.

Q. How is it that we can bomb the Hell out of terrorists, but the Israelis have to stop and withdraw just because the Great White Father in Washington says so?

A. Surely you don't think the Administration is serious? They can't be that stupid. No, this is a show to appease the Arabs and their fellow travelers in Europe?

Q. Isn't that the sort of game Clinton used to play?

A. Yeah, but Clinton lied and dissembled to save his own butt. This Administration is doing that for reasons of statecraft.

Q. But that still doesn't look very good. After all, given that scenario, how are we supposed to know when they're being serious and when they're not?

Unfortunately the Curmudgeon had no answer for that. It's a horrible place the Administration has placed its supporters. We either have to believe that they are hypocrits and appeasers or liars and dissemblers. Damn.

Friday, April 05, 2002

Even though certain members of the Nobel committee don't seem to think so, many ordinary people are signing an online petition to revoke Yassir Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize.
John Podhoretz agrees with me that part of Powell's job in the Middle East will be to manage Arafat's surrender and his replacement with "responsible" Palestinian leaders.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Here's the text of Bush's announcement of his intent to send Secretary of State Powell to the Middle East, along with my piffy commentary:

Good morning.

During the course of one week, the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated dramatically. Last Wednesday, my special envoy, Anthony Zinni, reported to me that we were on the verge of a cease-fire agreement that would have spared Palestinian and Israeli lives. That hope fell away when a terrorist attacked a group of innocent people at a Netanya hotel, killing many men and women in what is a mounting toll of terror.

In the days since, the world has watched with growing concern the horror of bombings and burials and the stark picture of tanks in the street. Across the world, people are grieving for Israelis and Palestinians who have lost their lives.

When an 18-year-old Palestinian girl is induced to blow herself up, and in the process kills a 17-year-old Israeli girl, the future itself is dying, the future of the Palestinian people and the future of the Israeli people.

We mourn the dead, and we mourn the damage done to the hope of peace, the hope of Israelis and the Israelis' desire for a Jewish state at peace with its neighbors. The hope of the Palestinian people to build their own independence state.

Terror must be stopped. No nation can negotiate with terrorists, for there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death.

Good so far.

This could be a hopeful moment in the Middle East. The proposal of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, supported by the Arab League, has put a number of countries in the Arab world closer than ever to recognizing Israel's right to exist.

Closer and actually being there is a rather wide gap.

The United States is on record supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a Palestinian state. Israel has recognized the goal of a Palestinian state.

The outlines of a just settlement are clear: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. This can be a time for hope, but it calls for leadership, not for terror.

Since Sept. 11 I've delivered this message: Everyone must choose. You're either with the civilized world or you're with the terrorists. All in the Middle East also must choose and must move decisively in word and deed against terrorist acts.

The chairman of the Palestinian Authority has not consistently opposed or confronted terrorists.

That's putting it mildly. Arafat has conducted the terrorism. He's a terrorist. Israel has documented proof from Arafat's own financial records.

At Oslo and elsewhere, Chairman Arafat renounced terror as an instrument of his cause, and he agreed to control it. He's not done so.

The situation in which he finds himself today is largely of his own making. He's missed his opportunities and thereby betrayed the hopes of the people he's supposed to lead.

Given his failure, the Israel government feels it must strike at terrorist networks that are killing its citizens. Yet, Israel must understand that its response to these recent attacks is only a temporary measure. All parties have their own responsibilities, and all parties owe it to their own people to act.

We all know today's situation runs the risk of aggravating long-term bitterness and undermining relationships that are critical to any hope of peace.

I call on the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority and our friends in the Arab world to join us in delivering a clear message to terrorists: Blowing yourself up does not help the Palestinian cause. To the contrary, suicide-bombing missions could well blow up the best and only hope for a Palestinian state.

All states must keep their promise, made in a vote in the United Nations, to actively oppose terror in all its forms. No nation can pick and choose its terrorist friends.

I call on the Palestinian Authority and all governments in the region to do everything in their power to stop terrorist activities, to disrupt terrorist financing, and to stop inciting violence by glorifying terror in state-owned media or telling suicide bombers they are martyrs.

They're not martyrs. They're murderers. And they undermine the cause of the Palestinian people.

Those governments, like Iraq, that reward parents for the sacrifice of their children are guilty of soliciting murder of the worst kind.

All who care about the Palestinian people should join in condemning and acting against groups like Al-Aqsa, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all groups which oppose the peace process and seek the destruction of Israel.

Or else what? We'll continue to admonish them severely?

The recent Arab League support of Crown Prince Abdullah's initiative for peace is promising, is hopeful because it acknowledges Israel's right to exist. And it raises the hope of sustained, constructive Arab involvement in the search for peace.

This builds on a tradition of visionary leadership begun by President Sadat and King Hussein and carried forward by President Mubarak and King Abdullah. Now other Arab states must rise to this occasion and accept Israel as a nation and as a neighbor.

So when is His Majesty the King of the House of Saud going to Jerusalem if he is the new Sadat?

Peace with Israel is the only avenue to prosperity and success for a new Palestinian state. The Palestinian people deserve peace and an opportunity to better their lives.

They need their closest neighbor, Israel, to be an economic partner, not a mortal enemy. They deserve a government that respects human rights and a government that focuses on their needs, education and health care, rather than feeding their resentments.

Rational people would recognize this already. But the Palestinians have never behaved rationally

It is not enough for Arab nations to defend the Palestinian cause. They must truly help the Palestinian people by seeking peace and fighting terror and promoting development.

You mean spend money to help build roads and sewers and what not instead of terrorists?

Israel faces hard choices of its own. Its government has supported the creation of a Palestinian state that is not a haven for terrorism. Yet, Israel also must recognize that such a state needs to be politically and economically viable.

Consistent with the Mitchell plan, Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop, and the occupation must end through withdrawal to secure and recognize boundaries consistent with United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338. Ultimately, this approach should be the basis of agreements between Israel and Syria and Israel and Lebanon.

That's not exactly consistant with King Abdallah's plan which calls for withdraw from all the territories, regardless of whether the borders are secure or not.

Israel should also show a respect--a respect for and concern about the dignity of the Palestinian people who are and will be their neighbors. It is crucial to distinguish between the terrorists and ordinary Palestinians seeking to provide for their own families. The Israeli government should be compassionate at checkpoints and border crossings, sparing innocent Palestinians daily humiliation.

Israel should take immediate action to ease closures and allow peaceful people to go back to work.

But how to distinquish between the peaceful Palestinian and the not so peaceful? I'm not sure there are that many of the latter.

Israel is facing a terrible and serious challenge. For seven days, it has acted to rout out terrorists' nests. America recognizes Israel's right to defend itself from terror.

Yet, to lay the foundations of future peace, I ask Israel to halt incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas and begin the withdrawal from those cities it has recently occupied.

This is going to stick in the craw of a lot of people. But notice, there's no timetable or deadline for doing this. This is a hint that Israel will have time to finish the job she has started before complying.

I speak as a committed friend of Israel. I speak out of a concern for its long-term security, the security that will come with a genuine peace.

As Israel steps back, responsible Palestinian leaders and Israel's Arab neighbors must step forward and show the world that they are truly on the side of peace. The choice and the burden will be theirs.

Hmm. Is that a hint that Arafat has not been "responsible" and needs to be replaced? Could be. I wonder what Zinni will be telling him later today.

The world expects an immediate cease-fire, immediate resumption of security cooperation with Israel against terrorism, and an immediate order to crack down on terrorist networks. I expect better leadership, and I expect results.

Or else what? Again the weak part of this announcement is that Bush hasn't laid out the consequences for failure on the part of the Palestinians and their Arab bretheran to comply.

These are the elements of peace in the Middle East, and now we must build the road to those goals. Decades of bitter experience teach a clear lesson: Progress is impossible when nations emphasize their grievances and ignore their opportunities. The storms of violence cannot go on. Enough is enough.

And to those who would try to use the current crisis as an opportunity to widen the conflict, stay out. Iran's arms shipments and support for terror fuel the fire of conflict in the Middle East, and it must stop. Syria has spoken out against al Qaeda. We expect it to act against Hamas and Hezbollah, as well.

It's time for Iran to focus on meeting its own people's aspirations for freedom and for Syria to decide which side of the war against terror it is on.

Again, or else what?

The world finds itself at a critical moment. This is a conflict that can widen or an opportunity we can seize.

And so, I've decided to send Secretary of State Powell to the region next week, to seek broad international support for the vision I've outlayed today.

As a step in this process, he will work to implement United Nations Resolution 1402--an immediate and meaningful cease-fire, an end to terror and violence and incitement; withdrawal of Israel troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah; implementation of the already-agreed-upon Tenet and Mitchell plans, which will lead to a political settlement.

Notice that Powell isn't going over there immediately.

I have no illusions--we have no illusions--about the difficulty of the issues that lay ahead. Yet our nation's resolve is strong. America is committed to ending this conflict and beginning an era of peace.

We know this is possible, because in our lifetimes, we have seen an end to conflicts that no one thought could end. We've seen fierce enemies let go of long histories of strife and anger. America itself counts former adversaries as trusted friends--Germany and Japan and now Russia.

Conflict is not inevitable. Distrust need not be permanent. Peace is possible when we break free of old patterns and habits of hatred.

The violence and grief that trouble the holy land have been among the great tragedies of our time. The Middle East has often been left behind in the political and economic advancement of the world. That is the history of the region, but it need not--and must not--be its fate.

The Middle East could write a new story of trade and development and democracy. And we stand ready to help.

Yet this progress can only come in an atmosphere of peace. And the United States will work for all the children of Abraham to know the benefits of peace.

Thank you very much.

Oh, I do pray Dubya knows what he's doing. A lot of people will think he's caving, but there's a lot more verbage admonishing the Palestinians than there is giving the Israelis their marching orders. My hope is that Powell's main task over there will be to manage Arafat's surrender and subsequent departure.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

One of the big lies in the media is that in the end we have to deal with Yassir Arafat because there's no one else. But actually there are a lot of candidates waiting in the wings to replace him as Supreme Leader of the Palestinians. And most of them seem more reasonable and willing to deal.
George Will, as usual, cuts through the BS and provides a neat historic contex for the current mess in the Middle East.

I particularly love his suggestion of exiling Arafat to France. If we decide not to send Arafat up the tall ladder and down the short rope, then France is just the place for him. In my opinion he and the Froggies deserve each other.
Looks like the Israelis have gotten documented proof that Arafat is behind the terrorism.

I say, the hell with exiling him. Israel should capture Arafat and place him on trial for crimes against humanity.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

More proof, as if any were needed, that Bill Clinton is the American most responsible for the attack on 9/11.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Here's some news for April 1, 2002.

Jerusalem. The stand off in Ramallah came to a bizzare end today when, in the early morning hours, Yassir Arafat suddenly burst from his hiding place and started running toward Israeli positions with a bomb strapped to his waist. Yelling, "Hello, Allah, here I come!" He got about twenty yards before he tripped and fell, detonating the bomb before the shocked Israeli soldiers. Twelve people were killed and about twenty wounded, including a number of European peace activists who were attempting to form a human shield around the Palestinian leader as he charged Israeli positions. There were no Israeli casulaties.

Washington. Senator John McCain has announced plans to push for "Campaign Finance Reform Phase Two." Under the provisions of his proposed bill, it would become illegal to spend money, hard, soft, or in between to criticize a United States Senator within 365 days of an election or primary. "Now is the time to get both money and controversy out of politics," Senator McCain said as he played with a handfull of steel balls.

Bakersfield. The latest Osama Bin Laden sighting was reported at a convenience store just outside of Bakersfield, California. FBI sources refuse to comment.

Des Moines. Senator Tom Daschele, speaking before a Demcratic audience, continued his quest for an issue to attack President George W. Bush on. He criticized the President's preference for "expense, silk ties" which "obviously represents a bias toward the rich." Daschele also suggested that the President was against public health, as he probibly opposed federal sin taxes on barbeque and TexMex food.

Hollywood. The film rights to Children of Apollo by Mark Whittington has been sold for an undisclosed sum. Ron Howard is slated to direct after he finishes his Alamo project. Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Julia Roberts will star. Budget is set at nearly three hundred million dollars.
A California State Senator wants to slap a tax on bullets to pay for hospital trauma centers. This idea is not quite as evil as it sounds. If passed, such a tax would be an incentive to lift bans on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The more rounds a gun owner is allow to expend while shooting a deer or an intruder. the more tax the State collects.
Mayor Curtis Milteer of Suffolk, Virginia is the great grandson of slaves. Yet he believes so much in embracing and understanding history, that he has signed a proclamation to declare April Confederate History Month.

Naturally the NAACP is very annoyed.