June 25, 2006

Fluff in the News

Every now and then, a news story comes along that gives you an incredible craving for the delights of your childhood. Apparently some legislator with nothing better to do with his time and the authority of the state Massachusetts tried to pass legislation limiting the availability of the Fluffernutter in school lunch menus.

Leaving aside all the obvious arguments about the overreaching nanny state and the fact that a serving of Marshmallow Fluff has zero fat and a scant 60 calories, it just makes me want one.

The Fluffernutter was a mainstay of childhood. Until I reached the 7th grade, I think it might have been the only sandwich I would eat. A thick layer of peanut butter on one slice of white bread and a thick layer of fluff on the other. One aspect of the sandwich was never in question. The bread. A Fluffernutter can only be made with white bread.

The debate came to how to eat it. For me, it was always with the peanut butter side on top. Not only did it taste better, but when you pulled the sandwich back from your mouth you got the visual treat of streaks of peanut butter running across the fluff.

It went best with a glass of cold milk. A few Ruffles potato chips on the side didn't hurt either.

Anybody hungry?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:47 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

June 24, 2006

And For an Encore

When you have just published details on a secret program designed to catch terrorists by tracking their finances, what do you do for an encore?

If you are the New York Times, you publish details of a classified Pentagon briefing from the commander of our troops in Iraq. If you are the New York Times you certainly don't stop to consider the impact of publishing details of future troop level plans either.

There is probably no much that can be done to the treasonous slime of the Times, but the anonymous scum that leaked this can and should be dealt with. They should be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

They can still shoot traitors, can't they?

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters Notes that the briefing and the report did not reveal anything we didn't already know and offers this caution:

I would caution my friends on the Right from getting too far ahead on comparisons between this story and the Lichtblau/Rosen series. No intel methods got blown in this story, and apart from the fact of the briefing itself, Michael Gordon's reporting does little but confirm the strategy that the White House and DoD have stated from the time Saddam Hussein got chased out of Baghdad. It doesn't even note specific dates or deadlines, apart from an educated guess that the provinces will turn over in time for the four-brigade drop by the end of this year, and the halving of the force by the end of next year. It looks like the kind of leak that serves to build confidence in the effort rather than undermine it.
I think the problem is that such subtleties wouldn't have entered into the Times' thinking. It could have been a classified briefing on an upcoming operation and the Times would have published dates, times and names.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:17 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

June 23, 2006

Anti-Kelo Executive Order Issued

President Bush today signed an Executive Order largely aimed at limiting federal use of eminent domain powers based on the Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v New London.

Executive Order: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to strengthen the rights of the American people against the taking of their private property, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.(emphasis added)
My own efforts to combat the Kelo decision have fallen far short o f what I had hoped. The Open Source Amendment and the petition that arose form it did not quite take off as I had hoped. Since the petition was launched nearly a year ago it has garnered only 389 signatures. Thousands of emails to bloggers and journalists never got the petition the exposure it needed.

The amendment produced with input from many sources read:

The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.
Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.
Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.
But I am not disheartened. The fight against this horrendous ruling continues on many fronts. The President's executive order is a strong victory in that fight.

HT Instapundit

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:38 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Privacy Absolutists


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Letter to the Times

I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times to express my displeasure at their recent efforts to increase the odds that I get blown up. I suspect they will not be publishing it any time soon so I thought I should do it here.

To the Editor;
How far are you willing to go to increase the odds that innocent civilians will be killed in a terrorist attack?
Is there an effort to track down and stop terrorism that you would not expose?
Do you not understand that intelligence efforts to stop terrorism to be effective must be secret? Does it occur to you that if the terrorists know how we are tracking them down that they will change the ways they operate and make it that much harder to stop them?
You claim that your actions were in the public interest, but in truth the only interests that have been served are yours and terrorists. As a member of the public who expect the government protect me by stopping terrorists, I assumed they would be trying to track terrorist funding. I would have irate to learn that they were not. Now that anger is reserved for you and your organization for making that effort much more difficult and much less effective.
Are you OK with the idea of innocent civilians being killed because we didn't have the intelligence we needed to stop them? Will you be able to sleep at night knowing your efforts to expose our intelligence operations may have helped make those deaths possible?
Terrorists will strike again. And when they do, wherever they do, some of blood of the dead will spill on your hands.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:07 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

June 19, 2006

Is There Anybody Out There?

This post started as a comment I left on this post at Intellectual Conservative. The post is about conservative dissatisfaction with the Bush presidency on a number of issues, and the desire of conservatives to distance themselves from Bush.

Conservatives should probably spend a little time reminiscing about we wound up with eight years of the not so conservative son.

In the 2000 GOP primaries it was Bush or McCain. Bush was hands down the better choice. That made it a general election choice of Bush or Gore. I doubt many conservatives would have rather had Al Gore as president. Likewise in 2004 is was Bush or John Kerry. Enough said?

Bush may not be the ideal conservative president but given the choices we had to make he's the best conservatives could hope for.

Unfortunately the early indications are that 2008 doesn't hold out much promise for conservatives. The acknowledged not officially running front runners for the Republican nomination are John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Both candidates who would surely be an equal disappointment.

Maybe it’s time to spend a little less time tearing apart the party and a little more time finding a real conservative to run for the White House.

Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Tuning Spork left three suggestions in the comments:

Tom Kean
Generally OK. Anti- Senate amnesty bill, low spending and de-regulation. Loses points for supporting Medicare Part D and having his picture with John McCain in his ad. A huge unknown without a snowball's chance in hell of getting nominated.

Lindsay Graham
Lindsay "Gang of 14" Graham? I don't think many conservatives would be overjoyed with Graham for President in '08. Here is what he said about the Senate illegal immigration bill

The program is not amnesty. Amnesty is what President Carter gave to Vietnam draft dodgers who fled to Canada.
No mention of the other amnesty we already gave to illegal aliens and how well that worked out.

John Warner
Has the conservative chops but by the time of the 2008 election he will be 81 years old. While not a disqualifying factor in my opinion, it may limit his electability.

Anyone else?

UPDATE: Apparently Tuning Spork was referring to Tom Kean Sr. not his son who is currently running for the Senate.

He would probably be a candidate conservatives could support though I haven't found much to indicate that he is interested in running.

Terry added another name to the list.

George Allen
I think George Allen qualifies as a strong Reagan conservative. I think if he runs as a conservative and conservatives get behind hin, he has a good shot at the nomination and a good chance to break the senatorial candidate jinx.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:22 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment

June 17, 2006

Beam Me Up

I don't get Trekies.

I watched the original Star Trek series as a kid and I loved it. They are still fun to watch today in a look at the cheesy effects and amazing overacting kind of way.

I watched The Next Generation and liked that too until they started making movies that sucked. And I could have done without Whoopie Goldberg.

I watched a little of the Deep Space Nine series but never got into that one.

I don't think I saw more than a couple episodes of the Voyager series.

I completely missed the last one. All though the Quantum Leap guy going warp 3 was a fun idea.

But there are people who have wrapped way too much of their lives up into this story. There's a great piece in the New York Times about Star Trek fans creating their own series to fill the void left when the last spinoff was cancelled. Whether the people making these things are so obsessed that their lives are not complete with Star Trek or they are just trying to cash in on that group of pathetic souls, they need to just let it go.

It's a television show. If a television show plays that big a role in your life I suggest extensive therapy and heavy medication.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

I'd Rather Be Sailing

225 days after the start of the event The Volvo Ocean Race has ended. Along the way there was excitement, breakdowns of all types, the loss of one boat and most tragically, the death of one sailor.

At the start of the last leg there were two positions left in contention. If Brasil 1 could finish more than four boats ahead of Pirates of the Caribbean they could take second place from Pirates. At the start ABN AMRO Two had a half point lead on Ericsson for fourth place.

At one point in the leg Brasil 1 had their four boat lead on Pirates, but it was not to last. ABN AMRO Two lead for the last third of leg until just before the finish when they sailed into a hole that left them without wind for about an hour. They could do nothing but watch Pirates of the Caribbean sail by with the new wind to take line honors. ABN ANRO Two's second place finish secured fourth place overall.

ABN AMRO One finished a very unfamiliar last for the leg. I cannot help but wonder if when their teammates took the lead they held back just a little. They certainly didn't need any more points.

Congratulations to all of the crews for sailing a tremendously challenging and dangerous race. And Congratulations to ABN AMRO One for the overall win, to Pirates of the Caribbean for second and Brasil 1 for third.

The next race starts in 2008. If anyone decides to put together a team of slightly overweight, out of shape, middle aged guys, I am so there.

updated: Added link to video of Pirates sailing by the stalled ABN AMRO two.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:01 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Old Sayings

There are a lot of old sayings that I like, there are a lot that I don't. There is one that I actually hate.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
It's more than just the smarmy sweetness trying to be optimism that bothers me. It's the surrender.

It's the defeated attitude of just taking what life hands you and making the best of it.

I'm sorry. That's just not good enough.

Life should be more than dealing with what happens to you.

I want to rewrite that old saying, which I guess would make it a new saying. As long as it replaces the old one, I don't much care what it's called. And let me be perfectly clear that I have nothing whatsoever against lemonade. It is actually one of my favorite drinks, and lemon is one of my favorite flavors. But the old saying has to go and in its place:

When life gives you lemons, cut one in half and squirt life in the eye.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:54 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

June 16, 2006

Civilization is Coming

There is actual text at Eject. Eject. Eject. Not a full blown Bill Whittle essay, but a promise of what is to come.

So, here is the plan: within 24 hours I will post the introductory chapter to a new book called AN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION. Then, over the next several weeks, I will post a series of chapters, looking at the various building blocks of such a civilization. Then, when those have been written, I will write that final chapter – Civilization – that ties it all together, and in doing so I cut the Gordian knot that has kept me flummoxed al these long months.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 15, 2006

John Kerry is an Idiot

It was bad enough when Kerry tried to filibuster a Supreme Court nomination while skiing in the Swiss Alps. It was bad enough when he said with a straight face "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." It was bad enough when he stood in the Senate and said that his Christmas mission to Cambodia was seared in his memory," and now says that it really happened in February so I guess it wasn't seared all that well. It was bad enough when he repeated false stories about Vietnam atrocities committed by American soldiers in "a manner reminiscent of Ghengis Khan." But the man just never learns.

Has he never heard of John Murtha?

Did he not watch what happened when Murtha started talking about his somewhere over the rainbow troop withdrawal?

Apparently not.

Kerry started proposing the same over the rainbow scenario as Murtha.

And what did the Republicans do, AGAIN?

They took Kerry at his word. The decided that such an important matter should be left as an amendment to other legislation, so they proposed it as a piece of legislation. There was a brief impassioned debate and then a vote in which the measure went down to defeat 93-6.

The Democrats are complaining that the whole thing was a political stunt on the part of the Republicans, and they're probably right. But don't forget the whole over the rainbow withdrawal was put forward by the man they nominated to be president.

You didn't learn your lesson the last time so don't complain that the other party made you look stupid. Again. You brought it on yourselves.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:56 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

June 11, 2006

Boy Would I Rather Be Sailing

Leg Eight of the Volvo Ocean Race is complete. It took considerably longer than anticipated due to a complete lack of wind. Several boats wound up rationing food. The race committee shortened the course. They were forced to postpone the in-poprt race for a day because there was no one there to sail.

The major news of the leg is that the yacht Brunel was forced to retire from the race after finishing. Due to a navigational error, they missed a required mark of the course.

Here are the standings going into the final leg.

Pirates of the Caribbean - 66.0
Brasil 1 - 62.0
Ericsson Racing Team - 52.0
movistar - 48.0
Brunel - 11.5
ABN AMRO One has won the race handily and has dominated virtually every leg. Congratulations to them on a fantastic boat, and an incredible crew.

Pirates of the Caribbean will finish second, although there is a mathematical chance that they can be overtaken by Brasil 1. With only six boats racing Brasil 1 would need to win the leg with Pirates finishing no better than fifth. However, since there is no chance for Pirates to take first place they will likely keep a fairly tight cover on Brasil 1.

The real contest for the last leg is the race for fourth place. With a half point separating ABN AMRO Two and Ericsson, whichever of them crosses the finish line first, takes fourth place.

It has been 211+ days since this adventure started. It has been exhilarating, terrifying and tragic - and I'm just following it on the internet. In truth it's far from the next best thing to being there.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:20 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

A Muslim Voice in the Darkness

Salim Mansur is a voice that should be heard. No doubt there are may who will try to silence him.

Many of our intellectuals in public life and our religious leaders in mosques remain adept in double-speak, saying contrary things in English or French and then in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu.
We have made hypocrisy an art, and have spun for ourselves a web of lies that blinds us to the real world around us.
We seethe with grievances and resentment against the West, even as we have prospered in the freedom and security of Western democracies.
We have inculcated into our children false pride, and given them a sense of history that crumbles under critical scrutiny. We have burdened them with conflicting loyalties -- and now some of them have become our nightmare.
We preach tolerance yet we are intolerant. We demand inclusion, yet we practise exclusion of gender, of minorities, of those with whom we disagree.
We repeat endlessly that Islam is a religion of peace, yet too many of us display conduct contrary to what we profess.
We keep assuring ourselves and others that Muslims who violate Islam are a minuscule minority, yet we fail to hold this minority accountable in public.
HT: Delftsman

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:10 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

June 08, 2006

DDOS Attack fallout

The mu.nu servers have been under a fairly steady Denial of Service Attack for a week or so. We continue to function thanks to the efforts of Pixy Misa. If you can read this at all - it is only because of him.

There have been some outages and strange things happening. As I type this, my blog is currently blank. Just a white screen. Trackbacks got shut down but that's been taken care of.

If you can read this - thank and priase Pixy and wish him pie. I know I do.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:05 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Sending Messages

I like when a message is sent on a grand scale. Messages like the warships being built with steel from the World Trade Center. And messages like this one:

NORFOLK, Virginia — The USS Cole left port Thursday for its first Middle East deployment since a 2000 terrorist attack blew a hole in its side and killed 17 sailors.
If I were the captain of the Cole, my first stop in the Middle East would be get fuel in Yemen.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Best Zarqawi Snark of the Day

I have read countless posts and comments about the killing of Zarqawi. And comments about the comments. And comments about those comments. And... you get the point.

In my humble opinion, Attila Girl wins the prize for the best Zarqawi Snark of the Day.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:19 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Another Dead Terrorist

It's a good thing.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:57 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

June 07, 2006

I never get tagged for

I never get tagged for meme's. I'm OK with that. If I got tagged I might blow it off - just because. It's an an inner 14-year-old kind of thing. But when Ted offers an open invitation, I'll play along.

5 things in my fridge:
* leftover birthday cake
* grilled chicken breasts
* a variety of sauces from sweet to need a skin graft for the roof of your mouth
* butter - actual real butter
* American cheese without which my son would surely starve

5 things in my closet:
* shirts
* pants
* dead vhs camera
* hats
* long-unused sailing gear

5 things in my backpack:
* 17" Powerbook (actually not in it at the moment cause I'm using it)
* Wacom graphics tablet
* Handspring Treo 90
* iPod
* 3 folders of work I'm not doing.

5 things in my car:
* assorted Happy Meal toys
* cell phone
* jumper cables
* empty coffee cup
* Yugi-Oh cards (for when the boy and I have to wait somewhere)

5 people I want to torture with this meme:
* I figure it's been torture enough for the five who read it

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:44 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

June 03, 2006

I'd Really Much Rather Be Sailing

Leg 8 of the race is underway Portsmouth to Rotterdam - taking the long way around the islands.

Here's a quick wrap up of what happened after leg 7.

ABN AMRO One won leg seven from New York to Portsmouth, England. They also won the Portsmouth in-port race. The points from those wins have secured them first place overall with two legs and one in-port race left to sail. Pirates of the Caribbean are currently in second overall with Brazil 1 in third. Neither of those places is secure so these last three starts still matter.

Despite several flights over the likely area the crew has been unable to locate the yacht Movistar that they were forced to abandon during leg seven.

In honor of their lost teammate, Hans Horrevoets, the crew of ABN AMRO Two have unanimously elected to continue sailing. They are well within range of knocking off either Brazil 1 or Pirates.

There were a couple of special awards given in Portsmouth. ABN AMRO Two received an award for outstanding seamanship for not only their tremendous effort to rescue Hans Horrevoets, but also for their rescue of the crew of Movistar.

Movistar won a special media award for the video they captured as they abandoned ship in the north Atlantic. Movistar skipper, Bouwe Bekking, immediately handed the $1000 prize to the skipper of ABN AMRO Two for the family of Hans Horrevoets.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:49 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Environmentalist Horse Shit

Environmental activists and lawyers are seek gain political leverage and cash from farmers by attempting to have animal manure declared hazardous material under the Superfund law.

It should come as no surprise that congress is largely responsible for this pile of environmentalist crap by not protecting farmers with a specific exemption from a law that was designed to deal with hazardous industrial chemical waste.

So now we have a definitive answer to the question what do you get when you combine an environmentalist and a lawyer.

HT: Greenie Watch

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:20 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

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