Tuesday, December 30, 2003


I haven't read all of Sheila Astray's Uzbekistan Essays, just the last, but it was so good I'm going to read the rest.

How To Protect Us From Terrorists At The Airport


Headline: Forum: The fish that threatened national security

Via The Smallest Minority. Warning! If you go to The Smallest Minority, do not scroll down. Photoshop can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

We Are Responsible For Our Own Bodies

Two--Four explains why those who love freedom must embrace responsibility.

Can The Guard Innovate, Too?

We know that the innovative Special Forces have been a fantastic asset in the war against terror. But can National Guard units innovate too? Please? Pretty please?

It seems a Jefferson City guard unit got a couple of local businesses to make armor for its Humvees and five ton trucks. (Scroll down to Two Businesses Donate Armor Plating To Reserve Unit if the link is bloggered again.) Or go straight to The Kansas City Star. Rascally registration required - use blog1729@hotmail.com, password blog1729. Now the Army is keeping them from using the armor because it hasn't been tested. But it isn't all bad. The Army has agreed to ship the armor plating to Iraq. And Representative Ike Skelton and Senator Kit Bond are pressing Army brass to complete the tests in double time. Given the way these troops think 'out of the box', I wouldn't be surprised if the armor somehow ended up installed when they get to Iraq. "How did you get that done, Sergeant?" "You don't want to ask that question, Colonel."

Update: Winds of Change has much more, including a similar kit developed by a Reservist in Iraq. Thanks for the link, guys!

And here's an Alabama example.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

My Vote In The New Weblog Showcase - Week Ending Dec 28

Self-composed complains about the utterly disgusting habit of discriminating against smokers in Banning Smokers. I think its far worse than smoking, myself.

My Word points out that Tolkien would have seen the War against Islamic Fascism as a clash of civilizations, where we must fight to save our way of life. He also point out, via John Rhys-Davies, that our own civilization is being degraded by crime and immorality, and if we don't start fighting that, Islam will deserve to win.

Dan at Pragmatic Conservatism opines on the capture of Saddam and gets a nice little war in the comments for his trouble.

Defensive Gun Use

Headline: Clerk Fires Shots at Robbers

Time: 6 AM, Christmas Day.

I'm afraid this isn't deadly enough to be a Kim du Toit righteous shooting, but Clayton Cramer might like it.

According to the Kansas City Star (rascally registration required) the same liquor store was robbed at 1 AM on Christmas. Their follow up story ran the next day. The Star did not mention a robbery at 6 AM, nor did they mention the clerk doing any shooting. They did mention that the three robbers stole three guns. Hmm. I wonder if these are the same incident, and if so, which reporter messed up.

This Makes Me Cringe

Headline: Woman Impaled While Trying To Hop Fence

Ewww. Be sure to look at the picture of the fence. Just the fence. No blood. No gore. Now my imagination is running wild. Ewwww. Man, do I feel sorry for the woman who was hurt, even though she may be a burglar. Pray for her.

The Right To Eat Leads To Starvation

David Horowitz discusses how socialist dictators and starvation go together. Now Zimbabwe has succumbed and six million are on the verge of starvation. It's odd that governments which emphasize the human right to own property have so much less hunger than those which emphasize the right to eat.

Via Mad Mikey and Nathan.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Spell Check II

Today I noticed the little 'ABC' icon with a checkmark in Blogger. I am awarding myself a We're All Clueless About Some Issues pass for all my past posts.

Christmas Forever

Michael Williams, Master of None, tells the story of Christmas in the context of eternity. I like it.

Crichton on Consensus Science

In this article Crichton debunks SETI, Nuclear Winter, second-hand smoke and global warming. Money quote 1:
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.
Money quote 2:
Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead. Now we're asked to
believe a prediction that goes out 100 years into the future? And make financial investments based on that prediction? Has everybody lost their minds?
He gives lots of historical examples where science is polluted by established interests resulting in disastrous consensus. Read it. Via Jerry Pournelle.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Listen to the dwarf

John Rhys-Davies is sensible on terror. Via the Geek with a .45 and many others.

Good News

My wife took a gun safety course on Monday which came with a range membership. No range fees on Ladies night! Thanks, honey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

McNamara and Jerry Pournelle On Vietnam

Vietnam was a war we were winning, (and in one very important sense, did win) then Nixon threw away his political victory through rampant paranoia and dishonesty. With Nixon gone, the Republicans were too weak to protect the Vietnamese from the Democratic Congress who threw away the victory.

If you consider Vietnam as a campaign against the Soviet Union in the Cold War (Jerry Pournelle calls it the Seventy Years War below), it was a strategic victory. We destroyed incredible amounts of Soviet material, which they could ill afford.

As regards the Vietnam War itself: The Viet Cong were destroyed. The North could not mount a successful campaign against the South without massive losses leading to defeat. If we had supplied the South and provided air support as we had previously agreed the North would have lost the final campaign as well. I get my ideas on how we lost (and won) Vietnam from Jerry Pournelle, who helped Reagan win the Cold War. I'm sorry, but I trust a successful strategist more than all the liberal (non-military) historians or McNamara. McNamara was not doing a good job in Vietnam. Nixon did much better.

I skimmed McNamara's list of what went wrong in Vietnam. I regard these points as useful, worth contemplation and discussion, and entirely inadequate to invalidate Mr. Pournelle's analysis. (Search on Viet Nam to find the reference. Jerry does not use a blogging tool.) He was quite familiar with Mr. McNamara.

A quote from his analysis:
Well, I don't disagree except that we did not lose the war in Viet Nam. We accomplished what we needed, which was a long campaign of materiel attrition as part of the Seventy Years War. In 1973 we demonstrated that at small cost we could hold South Viet Nam forever, and bleed the North and their Russian allies white as we did.

The Democrats threw away a victory. We weren't defeated, we simply came home when the Democrats decided that having won it wasn't worth defending the Gooks with American blood and treasure. If that sounds harsh, I am sorry, but it's what happened. We had won. The border was stabilized in the sense that it took a large army to cross it and ARVN with U.S. supplies and air support could destroy any such large army. Every time and to the last man.
This post was cannibalized from the comments to this Dowingba post. But the comments continued so I will add the following (which has some repetition and refers to other comments).

If you dismiss Dr. Pournelle as a fantasy/sci-writer you dramatically underestimate his qualifications. When I said he helped Reagan win the Cold War, I wasn't kidding. He advised Reagan about the Cold War and Quayle about space policy, and is an honest-to-God heavyweight. You might as well call Churchill a journalist (which he was during the Boer War), or dismiss Roosevelt as a big game hunter. Your AWC professor is a worthy card, but I doubt either you or I can tell whether he can actually trump Pournelle or not.

I grant you the North had the will. Americans had the will, too, and would have kept it if our leaders had not failed us. First Johnson, McNamara and the defense department failed by running the war poorly from 65 to 68. Then Nixon failed by blowing up his own Presidency and his own party. Then the Democrats failed in 1975, when all they had to do was provide supplies and air power. At that point we had successfully Vietnamized the war, but they required American style material, air power and logistical support, which we abruptly and cravenly cut off. I cannot forgive the Congressional Democrats for dishonoring our commitment in this fashion. From whence do you think our reputation for having no staying power came?

If you consider the Vietnam War as a campaign in the seventy year war against the Soviets it was indeed a success. As you said, we did not defeat the Soviets by killing more of them. We did it first by containing them in Europe, Korea and Southeast Asia. Ask the Thais whether we contained the Communists in Southeast Asia. They'll tell you how thankful they were for what we did in Vietnam. Second, we won the war by out-producing the Soviets militarily. Vietnam helped by destroying fantastic amounts of Soviet material. Here's what Dr. Pournelle has to say:
For that matter, the Viet Nam war was not a guerrilla war after Tet, and treating it like one was a drastic mistake.

Viet Nam ended when we stabilized the area, and in 1973 an army of 150,000 marched south. That army had more armor than the Wehrmacht in the biggest battles of WW II. That army was defeated by ARVN, aided by US Air power, with fewer than 500 US casualties. That is a great victory. A great victory that no one pays any attention to. But note that it was the defeat of an invading army, armed with armor and artillery, fighting a relatively "conventional war".
Also look at what he says here:
Viet Nam, on the other hand, was part of the Seventy Years War, and may have been the critical campaign. It was a highly successful campaign of attrition, decisively won by the United States. I know that is not the usual view, but the effort to build not one but three major armored armies for North Vietnam, two of which were destroyed (one during the 60’s over time, the other in 1972 when the North sent down more armor than the Wehrmacht ever had in WW II, only to lose every last bit) and the third finally won when the Congress refused to help South Viet Nam in 1975 – the effort to build those armored armies, and in general to support North Viet Nam in that war was a major factor in the bankruptcy of the USSR. Without that campaign, the Cold War would probably still be going.

The cream of the jest was that the USSR decided they had won, and now knew how to project power, and thus could go into AfghanistanÂ…

I would argue that we had to be in Viet Nam as part of the Seventy Years War.
And here is what he said in a third reference:
About 10 years ago I did a lecture to the Air War College at Maxwell where I said that Viet Nam was a successful campaign of attrition in the Seventy Years War, and was in fact one of the decisive campaigns of that war -- and a mighty US Victory. The cream of the jest was that the USSR believed the US Left and convinced itself that Viet Nam was a Soviet victory. This encouraged them to believe they could project national power in our despite, and to go into Afghanistan, where they managed to be on the wrong end of yet another war of attrition.

Viet Nam was a US success because a great part of Soviet transport production including trucks and such was built in the USSR, transported at great expense to Viet Nam and destroyed by USAF. When North Viet Nam invaded the South in 1975 they had more armor than the Wehrmacht had at Kursk, and more trucks than Patton ever had in the Red Ball Express. This was all replacements for similar amounts of materiel destroyed in 1973 when the US at a cost of 663 US casualties aided ARVN in repulsing a 150,000 troop invasion -- fewer than 40,000 ever got back home -- bringing with it more tanks than the Wehrmacht had at Kursk and more trucks than Patton ever had -- none of which ever got home.

Viet Nam helped convert the USSR into Bulgaria with missiles. They neglected their own infrastructure to send materiel to Viet Nam for us to destroy.

In the 60's I had a 3-way TV debate with Allard Lowenstein and McGeorge Bundy. Allard finally looked at me and said "Jerry, you want to win it and get out." I nodded. "I just want to get out. But your friends there " -- he pointed to Bundy -- "want to lose it and stay in."

I was I think for the only time in my life in a nationally televised debate -- or indeed any debate -- silenced, because he was right.

Of course that was the right strategy: to appear to be losing and stay in. I doubt Bundy or Johnson or any of the generals understood that. I think Possony did. At the time I did not; it was only later that I realized that a war of attrition was precisely what would bring the USSR low, after which the threat to negate the missiles and turn them into just another 3rd world country brought them down.
The result of Vietnam was that we defeated the Soviet Union at a time when it and its allies ruled a third of the world and it possessed a utterly devastating nuclear power with many fewer casualties than WWII. A truly great victory that saved a lot of people from tyranny and death.

Do not underestimate Dr. Pournelle. Go to his blog and read his stuff. He (and his amazing readers) will broaden your horizons.

Sweet Sarcasm

Read this gratuitous note from Big Arm Woman at Tightly Wound.
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True Honor...

...according to Francis W. Porretto, demands both "honesty and constancy".

Sex, Abortion and A Surprise Topic

When Francis W. Porretto analyzes a difficult topic, it knows it has been analyzed.

Virtual Bubblewrap

Virtual Bubblewrap via Rocket Jones.

Are You Sure CNN Isn't Biased?

Isn't a Pundit proves that CNN didn't cover the big anti-terrorist/pro-American demonstration in Baghdad but did cover the smaller pro-Saddam demonstration in Tikrit.

The Last Word

I've discovered that if I'm patient I can have the last word in any comment thread.

Zero Tolerance = Always Stupid

The headline, "Teen suspended for taking Motrin", says it all.

Call Clay-Chalkville High School at (205) 379-3050 and ask for the principle. (I missed him, but I'll try again tomorrow and let you know what he says.)

Via the WSJ Opinion Journal.

Political Compass

Here is my favorite political quiz.

And here are the results. If you take the quiz, you can use my email address (winceandnod@yahoo.com) to compare our results.

My political map

Here is another good one.

My political compass
Economic Left/Right: 5.88
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.15

Here is a graph of my results.

I show up as a neo-liberal between Tony Blair and Milton Friedman.

Here is where the candidates are. My result sits on the horizontal line almost directly below George Bush.

As you can see, different questions produce different results.

Select Your Candidate

I hate the way these questions are worded, but here are my presidential results:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Bush, President George W. - Republican (77%)
3. Libertarian Candidate (53%)
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (44%)
5. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (42%)
6. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (39%)
7. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (39%)
8. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (35%)
9. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (33%)
10. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO - Democrat (30%)
11. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (29%)
12. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (13%)
13. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL - Democrat (2%)

Actually, Bush is my candidate. Joe Lieberman is the only Democrat who hasn't disqualified himself on the subject of the war on terror.

Pope Pleased By Passion

Peggy Noonan reports that the Pope John Paul II is impressed by the authenticity of Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion". I am looking forward to seeing it.

Some Democrats Are Unpatriotic

Democrat Orson Scott Card explains how "this year's pathetic crop of Democratic candidates" could improve dramatically. His article also explains very well how disgusted I am with the same candidates.

Via Dean's World, Hell In A Handbasket and Tao of Dowbinga.

Useless Stereotypes...

It's time to stop criticizing politicians for their pronunciation and slips of the tongue. Sure Bush can't pronounce nuclear and Howard Dean said Soviet Union when he meant Russia. Let's judge them By The Content of Their Ideas. If you think your political opponents are stupid because of these kinds of mistakes, you are placing yourself in the same class of people who listened to Abe Lincoln's accent and called him a buffoon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Strom Thurmond...

... appears to be as thoroughly corrupt as either Clinton or Nixon. I guess there was more to the story than I thought.

UPDATE: Dean Esmay has an explanation of Mr. Thurmond's behavior which is more charitable.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Concealed Carry License not Poetic License

In the comments section of this Open Letter to Hawthorne Police Chief Stephen Port, Barry poetically noted that if he carried a concealed weapon "it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation". Wow. Subsequently he got jumped on by a bunch of my fellow gun nuts who concluded he was nuts. I hearby issue Barry a license permitting him to carry poetic hyperbole either openly or concealed.

I don't think you are nuts, Barry, although you do appear irrationally afraid of firearms. I'm irrationally afraid of power tools, myself, but repeated exposure has enabled me to conquer that fear. Don't ask me about heights, though. Ladders make me shudder. I am also afraid of guns and roller coasters. Even so, I enjoy both. If you get the chance, try a firearm safety course sometime. At the very least you will learn how to unload a gun (it isn't as easy as you might think). And you might find out that target shooting is fun, so you won't think we're nuts when we wax poetic. Since that isn't likely to happen soon read "Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun:
What Bearing Weapons Teaches About the Good Life
" by Eric S. Raymond. It will show you a strong ethical basis for firearm use.

Via this post from Hell In A Handbasket.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

NPR and Gephardt Sound A Sour Note

My wife, who is still registered as a Democrat, turned off Dick Gephardt on KCUR 89.3 (NPR in Kansas City) and went to some local talk station (980 AM, actually). Neither Mr. Gephardt nor Liane Hansen, the NPR host sounded happy about Saddam's capture. When asked for his reaction Mr. Gephardt spent two sentences or less on the capture, then launched into a long spiel about how we could internationalize the conflict and how we should have internationalized it from the start. I want Mr. Gephardt to be an American first, a Democrat second and a candidate third. I will remember this. The chances of me voting for any Democrat this fall decrease almost every time I hear a Democratic official speak. Until 2000 I had voted for only one Democrat the previous twenty years. I just left a very unhappy message on someone's voice mail at this number:

Gephardt for President - National Office: 202-448-9300

His Congressional office (202-225-2671) didn't answer.

I think Ms. Hansen's style is generally subdued, but I have heard warmth in her voice before. Now I am listening to her braodcast to try to be fair to her. She just had some reporter from Bagdhad who just spent a lot of time talking about how unhappy the residents of Bagdhad are. Next there was some 'this is interresting' talk, and now there is some positive commentary. So this was a reasonably successful attempt by Liane to be balanced and I can hardly blame her for that. Even so I can hardly listen to NPR news anymore. Up through the end of 2001 I listened to NPR news every weekday morning and most weekend nights. I gave money to KANU 91.5 (NPR in Lawrence) this year because I still like a couple of their weekend shows, but I think that's going to stop.

NPR Main Number: 202-513-2000
NPR Audience Services: 202-513-3232

David Post has more about NPR on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Thank God for Fox.


U.S. Forces captured Saddam!
U.S. Forces captured Saddam!
U.S. Forces captured Saddam!

Reportedly he will go on public trial. As a practical matter, I hope he is executed. Dead dictators don't come back to Waterloo.

Via ABC: Got Him.
Via CBS: Saddam Captured
Via CNN: U.S.: 'We got him'
Via Fox: Saddam Captured in Raid Near Tikrit
Via MSNBC: Saddam Hussein has been captured in Iraq

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The First Amendment...

takes it on the chin. Neither the President, not the Congress, not the courts are devoted to the highest law of the land anymore.

A Canadian Offers A Practical Perspective...

... on Iraq Contracts and Canada.

When You Wildly Criticise the US Military...

...this gentleman may show you to be utterly clueless. He also can recognize a sane and helpful voice on the left.

My Vote In The New Weblog Showcase - Week Ending Dec 14

HipperCritical has this post about an Arab Sammy Davis, Jr. in Israel.
Anti anti-war explains that the Iraqi campaign will succeed.

To Preserve A Right Takes Exercise

The right to bear arms derives from three more basic rights.

The first is the right to hunt. If you don't choose to hunt I'm cool with that. I've never hunted. But human beings have been hunting for thousands, if not millions of years. Animal products have been used for food, clothing and shelter. I have just as much right to hunt as any Bushman. He may use a poisoned dart. I'll use a rifle.

The second right is self defense. If you don't choose to defend yourself, I'm cool with that. Firearms are excellent tools for self defense. In nineteen out of twenty cases, simply brandishing the firearm is sufficient to defend oneself against a crime. If a bear has the right to kill to protect its cubs, I have the right to protect my children with deadly force.

The third right is the right to revolt when your government is too oppressive. If you don't choose to revolt, I'm cool with that. Firearms are quite useful for this. African-Americans have successfully defended themselves against the local sheriff (the government) and his Klu-Klux-Klan buddies many times this way. If you read the Second Amendment and its history you will see that this is the only reason the Founding Fathers gave for it. As successful revolutionaries against an oppressive government, they wanted to protect their successors right to do so when needed.

As I've said, you don't have to exercise these three basic rights if you don't want to. So far I have not needed to do so. But I want to keep and bear a firearm in case I ever do need to exercise them. I doubt I will have such a need, but I also exercise the right to preserve it for future generations. A right which is not protected will often perish. As a free man, not a slave, this is my duty.

(This was a comment I posted to this post. Congratualations, I just voted for you in the Showcase.)

The KC Star Gets Its Revenge

I don't know how the gods of journalism arranged this, but after all those negative posts, the KC Star got its revenge. We just had about four inches of snow, followed by another six today. I fired up the snow blower (thanks, Dad, for the starting tips and the three-quarters inch deep socket wrench) and was merrily clearing the driveway when it suddenly stopped. Every time I restarted it and engaged the auger it would die. I looked in the snow chute. It was clogged by something wrapped in orange plastic. Today's KC Star! I laughed out loud. Many times. I was able to rescue the paper from the jaws of snow-blower death with only a little wrinkling. Now I have both the news and a cleered driveway. Ha!

Paragraphs Plagarised...

... at The Kansas City Star. But nobody got fired...

A Garden Variety Protestor...

... gets garden variety jail time. It seems Bill Douglas couldn't follow a police officers's instructions. Consider the sign he was holding: "What Is Bush Hiding About 9-11? Stop the 9-11 Coverup!" I do not want to have a political discussion with Mr Douglas. We'd both get frustrated.

Heros Run Into Burning Buildings

The Peoria Pundit's old grade school principle helps put out a fire.

Comments About Wince And Nod

Leave general comments about Wince and Nod below.

An Example of Balanced Reporting?

The Pitch, a Kansas City Weekly, will challenge your ideas about slumlords. Is Charlie Willard a scofflaw slumlord, responsible for blighted neighborhoods, or is he a fiercely independent business man providing inexpensive housing whose personal messiness has carried over to his properties? Are city officials working diligently to make the city a better place to live, or are they aggressive busybodies with a penchant for persecution?

Two Businesses Donate Armor Plating To Reserve Unit

Two businesses in the Jefferson City (Missouri) area made sure some of our boys were well protected. Houser Millard Funeral Directors donated the money for the steel and Industrial Enterprises Inc. donated the labor, working overtime to make sure they were on time. By upgrading the doors and undercarriage on the Humvees of the 428th Transportation Company from one sixteenth inch to quarter inch steel plating, these fine companies protected our soldiers from the roadside bombs typically used against our troops in Iraq. And it only took three days!

Via The Kansas City Star. Rascally registration required.

I Will Keep Storing Body Parts At My House

But they'll remain attached, unlike this guy.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

My Vote In The New Weblog Showcase - Week Ending Dec 7

Michael Froomkin properly castigates the Administration for unconstitutional detention. The erosion of our liberty continues....