"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Gloomy Outlook at Year's End - Part 1

A number of disturbing trends, domestic and geo-political, portend a very difficult year ahead for the U.S. and the West. While it is difficult to discern which problem is the most intractable, here is a list of some of the most challenging ones, not necessarily in order of importance:
  • Iraq - President Bush, to his credit, has remained steadfast in his promise that the mission in Iraq will be completed. Whatever success he may hope to achieve is now increasingly dependent on the machinations and perfidy of Democrats, who when fully in power will have the ability fo severely undercut the President's plans and dampen the nation's will to confront the terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. One possible sign of Democrat reasonableness is the denial of crucial committee posts to Murtha and Hastings. This leads into:
  • Iran - An article by Arnaud de Borchgrave in Washington Times 11/29 reports Iranian gloating over America's lack of will and how it presents Iran with an unprecendented opportunity for regional domination:(quotes)
Iran can either facilitate or humiliate a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Key mullahs now say Iran should assist a U.S. exit that would enhance Iran's regional power. The argument, put forward by Moshen Rezai, secretary of the government's "Expediency Council," states that "America's arrival in the region presented Iran with an historic opportunity." and.... "The kind of service that the Americans, with all their hatred, have done us," said Mr. Rezai, "no superpower has ever done anything similar. America destroyed all our enemies in the region. It destroyed the Taliban. It destroyed Saddam Hussein. ... It did all this in order to confront us face to face, and in order to place us under siege. But the American teeth got so stuck in the soil of Iraq and Afghanistan that if they manage to drag themselves back to Washington in one piece, they should thank Allah."
  • Russia - Russia cannot be trusted or considered a friend. It is becoming clearer that Putin & Co. are embarked on a return to totalitarianism. The various poison and asassination incidents against journalists and dissidents is disturbing. Russia's supplying of missiles to Iran is dangerous and provocative. (To be continued)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Scottish Highland Cattle from Footsteps Farm (see below)

Questions about Meat Production: Some History and News About Humane Farming and Slaughter

In another forum in which I participate, a lively discussion occurred concerning vegetarianism vs. meat consumption and the ethical, moral, and health implications involved. My contribution which follows dealt only with the historical and ethical issues:

Because humans are the most advanced and intelligent life form on this planet it has become our singular responsibility to exercise dominion over other life forms. Of especial importance is our relationship with those other mammals whose husbandry we have undertaken for the benefit of humans and domesticated animals alike . I speak here of the symbiotic relationship between man and beast that has evolved over millenia. It has been suggested that the ancestors of modern cattle gradually became used to a closer relationship to humans which allowed for the slaughter of some of their numbers while the main population thrived under humankind's protection thus perpetuating the species.

The ideal solution of course would be that we personally kill what we plan to eat. As much as we might applaud Ted Nugent we cannot all be like him. Thus there must be intermediaries between us, as consumers (the eaters), and our provender (the eaten). It is upon these middlemen, the farmers and meat packers, that our attention must be focused if we are to achieve respectful treatment of animals while assuring our food supplies.

Within the last 10 years we have seen a huge growth in the "organic" and "natural" foods industry. At first this was primarily focused on the fruit and vegetable segments but is now changing the way meat and poultry are slaughtered and marketed. There have been significant changes in seafood where farmed fish, i.e salmon, tilapia, catfish, have become mainstream commodities. Once exotic meats such as bison, venison, ostrich can be easily found today in our larger food stores. Poultry, beef, and pork are touted as "free range", "hormone and anti-biotic free"etc.

An interesting offshoot of the above mentioned trends is the emergence of small farms dedicated to the preservation of "heritage" breeds; that is those animals that were once common here (in the U.S.) because of their particular suitability to our geography and climate. These breeds have been largely supplanted by ones more suited to factory farming. These small scale farmers are particularly concerned with respectful treatment of their animals and their humane slaughter.

I recently heard of a farm here in Connecticut that adheres to the above principles. I urge you to visit their web site: http://www.footstepsfarm.com/index.html

I also recommend Stephen Budiansky's "The Covenant of the Wild-Why Animals Chose Domestication"

Whole Foods Markets standards for meat and poultry.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Here are excerpts from an interesting article by Robert James Bidinotto in "The New Individualist", a publication of The Atlas Society and The Objectivist Center.

TRUST NO ONE: The paranoids are out to get you!

Or so it seems in this era of conspiracy theories. To conspiratorialist wingnuts, the world isn’t ruled by ideas and physical laws. No—powerful plotters operating At The Highest Levels are running things.

The fifth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity has come and gone. Many of us took time to remember the fallen, and to reflect upon the wider meaning of the ideological threats to our way of life.

Regrettably, these somber remembrances and thoughtful reflections were marred by the loud, incendiary claims of conspiracy theorists.

Robet James Bidinotto, Editor
The New Invidualist

Surely, you have heard the 9/11 conspiracy theories by now. The U.S. government—not Osama bin Laden and radical Muslims—brought down the World Trade Center. Attacked the Pentagon. Tried to hit Congress, even. Or at least allowed these things to happen—then covered it all up.

Why? To justify launching the War on Terror.

And why launch a War on Terror?

If you are a Muslim conspiratorialist, it’s because the Great Satan wishes to destroy the Muslim world.

If you are a libertarian conspiratorialist, it’s because a War on Terror would allow excuses for the diabolical neocons to violate our liberties, vastly increase government spending, and consolidate power.

If you are a leftist conspiratorialist, it’s because that gives the imperialistic U.S. a rationale to colonize the Middle East.

If you are a conservative conspiratorialist, it’s because it gives the communist Insiders and international bankers a greater stranglehold on our economy.

The wonderful thing about the 9/11 conspiracy theory is that it can be cited to explain damned near anything, for damned near anyone. Like the Blob from the 1950s horror movie, an ambitious conspiracy theory like this one can expand amorphously in any direction, allowing it to encompass—and account for—any conceivable fact, thus allowing its proponent to imagine himself unassailable to any challenge.

Of course, the “theory” (if we dignify it with that label) is complete nonsense. Recently, Popular Mechanics editor Jim Meigs and his staff took on and meticulously refuted the various 9/11 conspiracy theories in several long articles, a dedicated blog, and a book, Debunking 9/11 Myths. Naturally, none of this matters one whit to the conspiratorialists: clearly, Popular Mechanics has been co-opted or duped by The Conspiracy, you see.

This prompts me to address a wider issue: the general susceptibility of many people to conspiracy theories of all sorts.

(There is much more; click here for the entire November 2006 article.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Hartford Tornado: Willie Pep Dead at 84

Willie Pep: 1922-2006

See Hartford Courant 11/24/06 for lengthy article and vintage photographs.

How to be a Good Liberal

This came in over the transom this morning!



1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Iran or Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artficial, but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but PETA activists do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

17. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag queens and transvestites should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.


Oops - can't do that, either!!!!!

A somehwat longer and comprehensive list of essential liberal beliefs can be found Here

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Murder in Beirut: Update


Pierre Gemayel Murdered by:

Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad

Is there any doubt the Syrians have brought Lebanon to the brink of destruction. An editorial today in the Wall Street Journal discussed the 2005 asassination of Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and a U.N. tribunal's attempt to affix blame for the deed. All signs point to Syria and Bashar Assad in that case.

.....events in Lebanon are so important. Syria's Lebanese allies are trying to undermine the Hariri investigation from within, and are expected to escalate their efforts very soon, maybe even this week. It makes no sense for the U.S. to hand them more ammunition by prematurely transacting with Mr. Assad before the U.N. completes its task and assigns responsibility for the assassination.

Yes, Syria's agents did escalate their efforts and today murdered the anti-Syrian Industry Minister, 34 year old Pierre Gemayel, son of a former Lebanese president.

....Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon’s Industry Minister and son of a former President, was shot dead yesterday http://beta.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifin his car in a Beirut suburb. It was the first assassination of a leading anti-Syrian figure in almost a year.

Update: Wall Street Journal 11/22/06 - Former Secretary of State James Baker has been saying that, when it comes to diplomacy, you don't "restrict your conversations to your friends"--shorthand for the view that the U.S. should engage Syria and Iran to find solutions in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. But yesterday's murder of Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel might remind even Mr. Baker and his Iraq Study Group what some of those non-friends are all about.

"The hand of Syria is all over" Gemayel's assassination, said Saad Hariri, the leader of the parliamentary bloc that helped evict the Syrian army in the spring of 2005. Mr. Hariri knows whereof he speaks: His father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was blown up with 22 others in February 2005, and the preliminary U.N. investigation offered a trail of evidence pointing to Damascus as the culprit.

A who's who of anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians and journalists have also since been targeted for assassination.....Which brings us back to Mr. Baker and the rest of the U.S. foreign-policy establishment now urging a new entente with Damascus. It's true that every Administration must deal with the world as it is. But when it comes to Syria, do the sages of the Iraq Study Group really want the Bush Administration to seek the benediction of a country that stirs such mayhem in Beirut?

Monday, November 20, 2006

OJ Simpson: No IF About It!

Thankfully, Rupert Murdoch and Co. have come to their senses and cancelled this abomination. This Christopher Hitchens piece, written before the cancellation, spells out the tawdriness of the whole affair.

Hat tip to The Stranger for top photo.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

$17 Oil: Good News if Israeli Plan Works!

Israel Presses for Oil From Shale

"With the help of homegrown technology, an Israeli company's proposed energy plant could help the country vastly reduce oil imports.

With oil prices hovering around $70 a barrel, Israel is looking for ways to reduce its near-total dependence on energy imports. It's pondering the use of the nation's huge reserves of oil shale—a dark, crumbly rock loaded with hydrocarbons—located in the central and southern parts of the country. Thanks to a technical breakthrough, it should be possible to extract fuel oil from the shale for less than $20 a barrel. That could allow Israel eventually to cut its crude imports by up to one-third...."The cost of producing a barrel of oil using the process would be around $17 a barrel," estimates Amit Mor, managing director of Eco-Energy."
From "Business Week" Jul 06

Meanwhile, here in the U.S. we need to be doing more to exploit our own gas and oil reserves. New drilling in Grand County, UT has brought gas and oil wells on line.Our oil shale deposits are a huge resource made more important in light of the new Israeli process. (photo)

US oil reserves are at least three times the size of Saudi Arabian reserves beneath federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

And even more Good News! LOL!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman Dead: A Giant is Gone


Word reached us this morning that Milton Friedman has died. Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in Ecnomics in 1976, was a giant in free-market economics--and freedom more generally--and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal. Just last month he penned an op-ed lamenting Hong Kong's departure from laissez-faire economics. Back in July Tunku Varadarajan published a charming interview with Friedman and his wife, Rose. Milton Friedman was 94.
Thanks to James Taranto, WSJ "Best of the Web Today"
Here is audio (MP3) by Edward Crane of the Cato Institute honoring Milton Friedman.
Google video from Dec. 2005 on Charlie Rose (56:40). This requires a $.99 purchase from Google and is worth every penny!
Also see Capitalism and Friedman fron WSJ 11/17/06.
Another free Google video on Limited Government.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What Joe Does Not Rule Out!

Lieberman appearing on "Meet the Press" with Russert yesterday had this to say about his plans:

Lieberman told Russert that he wants to "bring the [Democratic] party back to its historic traditions of strength on national security, foreign policy and innovation and progress in domestic policy like Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy Democrats that I was raised to be. But I'm going to be an independent because that is how and why I return to the Senate. I was elected as and independent, I was elected because I said to my constituents in Connecticut, 'I'm as fed up with the partisanship in Washington as you are, I promise you I will put progress and patriotism ahead of partisan ship and polarization,' so I am now an independent Democrat, capital I capital D."....

Russert pointed out that Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont crossed over and joined the Democrats and they gave him his committee chairmanship, saying, "You're not ruling that out in some future time." Lieberman admitted, "I'm not ruling it out but I hope I don't get to that point."

Article from NewsMax 11/13/06


A Connecticut blogger whose articles we enjoy has this to say about liberal inanities:

When I sit and listen to the tripe served-up by Olbermann, I can’t help but to wonder what the Constitution would read like had our Founding Fathers been replaced by Olbermann et al.

In keeping with a lack of depth and a 30 second attention span:

We the self-styled elitists of the United States, in order to form a more perfect playground, establish unaccountability, insure domestic chaos, provide for the common mediocrity, promote the general welfare state, and secure the blessings of liberty exclusively to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Diverse States of America.

Read the complete article by Dan Sargis here

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Nuremburg Style Trials in Germany for Rumsfeld et al!

Get this: It didn't take the Left long. The German's high prosecutor plans to bring war crimes charges against Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Gerge Tenent and others. Germans claim they have "universal jurisdiction"; and, even more troubling, a former U.S. Army Brig. General is in Germany and will testify for the prosecution. Plus, Harry Reid when asked today if investigations were on the agenda in the new Congress he replied that "congressional oversight" was the first order of business! That means YES and the supeanas will be flying. So the storm clouds are thickening; the international Left combined with our Dems are going to see to it that this nation will never again be able to defend itself against foreign enemies who attack us.

Time Mag via Drudge

Facing The Next Two Years

Peggy Noonan has some wise and encouraging words to take us through the wilderness of the next two years:

What can you do in two years? The common wisdom says not much. But here's a governing attitude: First things first.
Do all you can to keep America as safe as possible as long as possible. Make sure she's able to take a bad blow, a bad series of them......Make America in the world as safe as possible by tending to and building our friendships in the world, by causing no unnecessary friction, by adding whatever possible and necessary emollients. In your approach to foreign affairs, rewrite Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly, walk softly, and carry a big stick.....Much flows from this, including Iraq. This involves a huge and so far unanswered question: How to leave and not make it all infinitely worse. America will never accept a long war whose successful end even its most passionate proponents cannot convincingly envision or articulate. And America will never allow a repeat of the pictures of 1975, with desperate people who'd thrown their lot with us clinging to the skids of helicopters fleeing the U.S. Embassy. We will never get over Vietnam. And it's to our credit that we won't.

McGovern Redux

We note with sadness the re-emergence of George McGovern on the political stage. He has been invited as a consultant to "the Congressional Progressive Caucus , a 62-member group led by Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee." Rep. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against authorizing military action against al Qaeda in 2001."McGovern, returning from distinguished service as a bomber pilot in WW II, became attracted to leftist politics and joined the pro Soviet Progressive Party of Henry Wallace. Despite carrying only one state, MA, plus DC, in the 1972 presidential election McGovern is nevertheless called upon for sage advice by a quarter of the new Democrats in Congress!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Way to Go Joe!

The Election Aftermath and Lieberman's Role

Even though Joe Lieberman ran as an independent he has said he will caucus with the Democrats and so be it. But he will provide a desperately needed voice in the 110th Congress to avoid the abandonment of our troops and dilution of the war on terror. Following are comments from James Taranto's column (11/8) on WSJ's "Best of the Web Today"

This is not to say every Republican who lost deserved it. We were especially sad to see Rick Santorum and Michael Steele go down to defeat. But as a party, the Republicans needed to lose sometime. And better this year than in 2004, when it would have meant President Kerry--a prospect that even the most diehard Bush-hater knows in his heart would have been catastrophic.

It was not a referendum on Iraq. One of the most pro-Iraq lawmakers in Congress, Sen. Joe Lieberman, ran as an independent and trounced anti-Iraq Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Meanwhile, of the five remaining Republican members of Congress who voted against Iraq's liberation, three lost: Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Rep. John Hostettler (Ind.) and Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa). Only two anti-Iraq Republicans will return to the 110th Congress: Reps. Jimmy Duncan (Tenn.) and Ron Paul (Texas).

The Associated Press reports that while "three-fourths of voters said corruption and scandal were important to their votes, . . . Iraq was important for just two-thirds."

It was not a victory for the left. Lieberman's victory over Lamont should be sufficient to establish this, but also, as we noted last week, the Democrats nominated many moderates for Congress, including Heath Shuler in North Carolina and Bob Casey and Chris Carney in Pennsylvania. (Carney, who beat Rep. Don Sherwood, got an endorsement from Richard Perle at a cocktail party we attended last month.)

In 1994 Republicans won Congress by nominating strong conservative candidates in districts long held by the other party. In 2006 Democrats did the same. It will be interesting to watch how Speaker Pelosi mediates between her ultraliberal committee chairman and the moderate freshmen to whom they owe their jobs.

It seems clear America is a center-right country, rather than a center-left one--though the Northeast is an exception. In fact, with Reps. Jeb Bradley and Charles Bass of New Hampshire and Nancy Johnson of Connecticut going down to defeat, and the Nutmeg State's Rob Simmons, Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut may soon be the only GOP House member in all of New England.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hot Air introduces…the Absolute Moral Authority card

Find yourself in a jam? Are your anti-war lies catching up with you? Then use the Absolute Moral Authority card and get right out of trouble free. Once you play the Absolute Moral Authority card, no one can ever question you again, no matter what you say or do!

HatTip to Hot Air, see more cards here.
Below is the lead from a long, but important, analysis of what is at stake in tomorrow's election. The link is to the entire article.

Election About Stopping The Next 9/11

Ronald Kessler
Monday, Nov. 6, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Contrary to what many pundits would have you believe, this election is not about side shows like the meaning of Macaca or Senator John Kerry's assessment of American soldiers' I.Q. Instead, voters face choices about the most fundamental issue: our national security and whether we can foil a devastating attack that could kill millions of Americans and wipe out our economy.

From NewsMax

YouTube has 3 videos depicting what Democratic anti-war campaign ads would have looked like in 1941, 1861, and 1775! Click links below to watch.

Friday, November 03, 2006

How determined to kill you is radical Islam?

This weekend, FOX News Channel examines the full scope of the threat to the United States, with the help of documentarian Wayne Kopping. This hour-long program exposes the stunning and explicit threats made against the West made by Islamic leaders. It features interviews with former terrorists, shocking Islamic news video never before broadcast in America, and undercover footage taken inside suicide bomber initiations and secret jihadist meetings.

The special will air Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, and will be repeated Sunday at 1 a.m. ET, 5 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET.

She Voted, Will You?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Seymour Hersh: Bashing Our Military Again!

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If any one person has caused more damage to our national will and the morale of our military than John Kerry it has to be Seymour Hersh. His latest rant about our military was delivered, on foreign soil naturally, at McGill University. Some quotes and excerpts:

"If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans," Hersh said.
“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”

During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called Media@McGill – Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.

From: McGill Daily 10/30/06

She Voted, Will You?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006