April 30, 2007

Three Sentences

I found these three sentences at Rocket Jones. Ted found them somewhere else, but I think they bear repeating.

Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all. -- Nikita Khrushchev
All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person. -- Vladimir Lenin
We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society. -- Hillary Clinton
Is there anything more you need to know about the Democrat's presumptive nominee?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:30 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 27, 2007

The Giuliani Paradox

Conservatives often decry the lefts reliance in the "absolute moral authority" of victims. Perhaps the prominent example of this would be the testimony of the widows of 9/11 before the Senate. Recently, Rudy Giuliani angered Democrats with comments that if a Democrat were elected President the country would suffer another massive terrorist attack.

In the reporting and commenting on this, I read a number of people who pointed to Giuliani's experiences of 9/11 as giving him some special knowledge of terrorists and terrorism. I disagree with this granting of "absolute moral authority" on "America's Mayor."

I don't wish to detract or to in any way lessen what Giuliani did for New York and for the nation in the aftermath of 9/11. His leadership was heroic. When it seemed the world was literally crashing down around us, Rudy stood as rock of strength and provided a source of spiritual and emotional hope and comfort to millions.

But in all of that, what did Rudy do that had to do with terrorism and terrorists? Rudy was at best the highest ranking local First Responder. I don't believe this gives him any special insight into terrorists and how to deal with them.

But this you say is not really a paradox - it is if anything an example of conservative hypocrisy. And you're right. But there is more to Rudy's remarks that upset the Democrats. He said that the Democrats wanted to return to a 9/10 posture of defense when it comes to terrorism. That they want to do away with or weaken the Patriot Act, electronic and bank surveillance of suspected terrorists. Giuliani's disproves his own statement with his assertion that the Democrats want to eliminate or weaken our defense against terrorists.

And in this he is correct. The Democrats don't want to defend the nation against terrorism. They don't want to address the problem of terrorism at all. They want to deal with individual terrorist acts as unique and unrelated crimes, and terrorists as individual and unrelated criminals. They want to deal with terrorism after the fact. And that is Rudy's record.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:00 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment


April 25, 2007

Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud

I had the radio on on the way home tuned to WABC. It's a short tide and bout 10 - 15 minutes is usually all of Sean Hannity I can take in a day so it works out well. I also happened to catch the 5:00 News break. It's a rather jarring transition going from the fervently conservative Hannity to the completely liberal ABC News.

So the report came on that the stock market, specifically the Dow Jones Industrial Average, had closed above 13,000 for the first time in history. In the second sentence they introduced an economist who said that the record really meant nothing in terms of the strength of the economy. Because economic growth has really been chugging along rather slowly (he failed to mention that it has done so for about 6 straight years). No mention was made about high employment numbers a less than 25% of the population directly own stock so what the Dow does is really meaningless for the average American. (No mention of the tens of millions of average Americans who indirectly own stock through IRAs, 401Ks, pensions and mutual funds.) And really if what the Dow does means so little - why is it reported in the news EVERY DAY.

No the average American is suffering under a housing slump and high gas prices. The market results are just driven by corporate profits - which are up. And we all know that when corporations make money, average Americans suffer. Because corporations that are making money would never take some that money and invest it in doing more of the things that are making them money. They would never increase payroll to ramp up production and distribution in hope to make even more money. They would take that money, pool it together with all of the money from all of their corporate pals and finance their schemes to keep the little guy down.

Damn the man. And ABC News.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


April 23, 2007

Randomness

What does it mean when your iPod randomly selects Freewill by Rush?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:59 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 21, 2007

Point - Counterpoint

I went over to Fox News to read the transcript of the President's weekly radio address, and the Democratic response. The President spoke about the killings at Virginia Tech. He spoke about the sorrow and the pain of loss. He spoke about heroism. He spoke about strength and community. It was essentially a continuation of his words at the memorial service.

The response was given by Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. Klobuchar also spoke about the VT killings, the suffering, the heroism, and the strength. But she used those things as window dressing. As a pre-amble to chiding the President about his unwillingness to surrender in Iraq.

Knowing that the victims could have been anyone's children, it reminds us that ours is a country built on the simple idea that we wrap our arms around those who suffer and sacrifice in times of need — and through even the worst of tragedies, we join together — because what unites us is always stronger than what divides us.
This spirit of cooperation inspires the very best in each one of us — and it inspires the very best in our nation.
It is with this same spirit that Democrats in Congress continue to reach out to the President for a change of course in the war in Iraq.
If Klobuchar wanted to use her time given for the Democratic response to argue Iraq Policy - and for the most part she did - fine. It's her time at the mic she can use it as she wishes. But to use the suffering of the victims and families of Virginia Tech as mere rhetorical device shows a complete lack of class, taste and humanity.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


April 20, 2007

Self-defense is a Human Right

Ever since the mythological safety of a "gun free zone" was shattered at Virginia Tech there has been a lot of debate and speculation about how different things could have been if students and teachers with concealed carry permits had been allowed to carry their weapons on campus. It is entirely possible to speculate that the death toll would have stopped at the first two students killed in the dorm. It is possible to speculate that that in an ensuing gun battle the death toll would have been higher. What could have happened that day is just that - meaningless speculation.


There are, however some facts coming out of the debate that cannot be denied. One of them is that we don't really know much about how often guns are used effectively in self defense. It is perhaps the only story that is more unreported than the strength of the US economy resulting from the tax cuts.


If you want to get a better understanding of the role of guns in self defense, I suggest you make TFS Magnum a part of your regular reading. Zendo Deb does an excellent job of finding the stories about individuals who used their firearms to protect themselves and others. They are often small stories of individual heroism that today seem more important than ever.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:18 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


April 18, 2007

iMood

My iPod hates me today.

I got in the car car to drive to work and hooked up my iPod and pushed play.

The first random song iPod chose was some light pop thing from the 80's. I don't remember the name, and there are a number of songs on iPod that would fit that description. They are on there because I like them. When I'm in the right mood they are a fun reminder of the lost days of youth. I was not in that mood this morning so I hit the button for the next song.

Something by Jimmy Buffett. I was not in the mood for that either. Next.

Dave Matthews. Next.

Some light pop thing from the 80's. Next.

Phil Collins. Next.

I should be clear that if asked I could not have described my mood, or what music I was in the mood for. I was tired, which maybe gave me a bit of an edge. I didn't know what I wanted to hear, but I would have known it when I heard it.

Steve Miller band. Definitely not. Next.

And so it went, all the way to the stoplight just before work. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. Plaintive. Sorrowful. I know all the words. It was less than half over by the time I parked. So I sat in the car and sang along. Then I unplugged iPod from the car and put in the ear buds. Guitar and Pen from the album "Who Are You" by The Who. Since I was out of the car and in public I didn't sing along. My normal singing is bad enough, I wouldn't subject the world to the horrific caterwauling of headphone singing.

The song after that, as I was connecting the laptop to the network, was some light pop thing from the 80's. I was cool with that. It was a fun reminder of the lost days of youth.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:07 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


April 15, 2007

Hillary Clinton Lies

I started this blog on August 30 of 2003, it was on Blogspot at the time. One of my first posts written just a few days later was titled John Kerry Lies. By a wide margin it holds the record for the most comments on any post I've ever written, and it still holds the number one spot on Google.

The subject of that post was John Kerry's announcement of his candidacy for President. Kerry said in his announcement, with the USS Yorktown as a backdrop, that when he voted on the Iraq War resolution he was voting to threaten to use force against Iraq. As if the President would need Congressional approval to threaten Iraq. Bill Clinton certainly didn't ask congressional permission before bombing them. Kerry was lying through his teeth to avoid being held accountable for his vote in favor of going to war in Iraq.

Well it's presidential primary season again. They've started even earlier this time around, and because it's such a long campaign, and the Iraq war is still the big issue, the lies have gotten bigger.

ABC News Political Radar recounts an exchange between Hillary Clinton and a member of the audience at Town Hall Meeting in Hampton, NH.

A woman who had traveled from New York asked Sen. Clinton if she had read the report given to her in 2002 on intelligence and the Iraq war.
Clinton said she had been briefed on the report, and the woman screamed back, "Did you read it?!" Notably uncomfortable, the Senator repeated that she had been briefed. This exchange went back and forth about three times.
The woman sat down and Clinton explained, "If I had known then what I know now, I never would have voted to give this President the authority." Clinton also said she believed she was giving the President the authority to send U.N. inspectors to Iraq.
There is not much point in talking about Clinton's pathetic "If I had known then what I know now." Which is technically truthful because if she had known then how much voting for the war would hurt her politically now she might have voted differently. Actually, all Hillary needed to know about Iraq she learned from her husband and Sandy Berger. The team that made regime change national policy and spoke repeatedly about the threat posed by Baathist Iraq.

Hillalry's big lie, the one where she pulls out all the stops to out-do Kerry is her claim that she thought she was voting to give the President authority to send U.N. inspectors into Iraq. Exactly how stupid does Hillary think people are? Is there anyone who believes that having gotten Congressional Authority the President of the United States can call the United Nations and tell them to send inspectors anywhere? I mean even if the UN's anti-Americanism wasn't second only to Al Qaeda, that just isn't going to happen. Are there people stupid, or willfully ignorant enough to believe this crap? Apparently.

When Clinton finished the answer, the woman continued to scream but was drowned out by applause for the Senator. The woman was escorted out of the building.
People applauded this stupid crap. I find that so hard to understand. Are there people so enchanted with the idea of another Clinton Presidency that they will swallow anything Clinton puts out there? And do you want to bet that this is not the last time that someone is escorted out of the building for challenging Hillary? Of course the official line will be that she was creating a disturbance.

That stupidity aside, try this whopper on for size. The legislation is called "AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ RESOLUTION OF 2002." I can see how someone could confuse this with, "AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF UNITED NATIONS INSPECTORS IN IRAQ RESOLUTION OF 2002." And if the title of the bill wasn't confusing enough, the legislation contains language as ambiguous and confusing as "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate..." I mean if they expect Senators to understand what they are voting on don't you think they could use more straight-forward language?

And people applauded these lies. People who will vote in the next election. Applauded.

Hillary Clinton voted for the use of force in Iraq. She may have done it because she truly believed it was the right thing do, or she may have done it because it was the politically expedient thing to do at the time. But she did it. Now she is lying through her teeth to try make that vote not count.

There are 150,000+ men and women in Iraq today standing up behind Hillary's vote. It is a shame that she lacks the courage and the honesty to do so as well.

HT: Libertarian Leanings

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:34 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 14, 2007

Who's On First

When I was young I played a lot of baseball. I played Little League and even drove in the winning run in the Championship game. I used to watch a lot of baseball too. Growing up we had only one TV in the house and if there was a Red Sox game on, that is what we watched. Not that I'm complaining. Those were the days when Yastremski was in left field, Fisk was behind the plate and unfortunately Billy Buckner was on first base.

As I've gotten older I've sort of lost interest. Though it was thrilling when the the Sox finally won the world series.

I was listening to the radio the other day and the sports guy was doing his banter with the morning hosts discussing rumored changes to the batting line-up for one of the New York teams. I don't remember which team or any of the names involved. The problem they all had was that according to the rumor they were going to put this guy who was a power hitter second in the batting order. They were in universal agreement that this was all wrong.

I just can't help but wonder if it really matters.

I understand the theory. You want a lead off batter who is good at getting on base - and if you're lucky fast enough to steal a base. Batters 2 and 3 are mostly geared to moving that base-runner forward so that the clean up man can bring him home. It's a great plan on paper. The problem I have understanding it is that after the first inning it doesn't matter. If the first three batters make an out, your lead off hitter in the second inning is your power hitting guy.

I know baseball lives on stats. So maybe someone out there can tell me how many times in a season does the lead off batter score a run in the first inning? If this strategy works 50% of the time I guess you'd have to do it because it would work half the time for the other team too. But if it's much less than 50% it seems rather pointless to base your entire batting lineup on the fist inning.

I would think alternating power hitters with high on-bace percentage hitters would be a better run producing strategy over the course of the game.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:48 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 12, 2007

Imus in Mourning

I listened to Imus on the radio once. Only once.

I didn't find him particularly entertaining. It felt to me like his grumpy curmudgeon act was just that - an act. Maybe he is really like that as a person, I don't know, but to my ear is wasn't believable as a radio schtick.

Now the man is unemployed - for about the week it take to negotiate his satellite radio deal - because of some stupid tasteless thing he said. Now like I said I lack great familiarity with his broadcast, but I was under the impression that saying stupid and tasteless things was part of the act. What got him this time was that his stupid and tasteless comment got the attention of racial publicity whores Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Like moths to a flame these racist hype mongers pounced on the situation before Imus could offer his thirteenth apology. And before the TV lights had cooled and the good reverends' spittle had dried on the microphones major corporations were canceling advertising contracts. So effective are Jackson and Sharpton at racial intimidation that I'm not sure they even had to speak the word "boycott."

A number of people have been saying that this is a problem that should be left to the market to solve. And they're right. And it did. Corporations faced with the prospect of losing sales and damaging their brands pulled their advertising. A perfectly sound market based decision. MSNBC and CBS faced with the prospect of losing significant advertising revenue dumped Imus. Again a perfectly sound market based decision.

People will no doubt be hyperventilating about the damage being done to free speech. But I think that's a load of crap. Imus can still speak - just not on CBS and NBC. You can still speak. I can still speak. You, me, and Imus are still free to say whatever stupid offensive crap we want.

The race mongers, the thought police and the publicity whores will always be there. And when Al and Jessie finally retire and spend their days hook baiting instead of race baiting, someone will be there to take their place. Speech, however offensive, is not a crime. And those of us who are fond of our liberty and chafe and the bonds of politic correctness will need to work to make sure that it never becomes one.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:51 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Shiney Happy People

I am surrounded by the happiest bunch of people you could imagine.

Why do I know this?

more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:45 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


April 10, 2007

Blockbuster Marketing idea

I really have a problem with companies that don't know how to market themselves well. It particularly bothers me when they could do some simple, relatively inexpensive things to convince me that they are not idiots. Take Blockbuster for instance.

I have an account at my local blockbuster - we rent things there for the kids from time to time. They have this nifty computer system that keeps track of the balance of my account, what I have rented, when it's due and how much I owe them in late fees. (We are almost always late returning movies.)

Included in my account is my email address. I know they have it because I gave it to them when I signed up. They've sent me a few promotional things and even a coupon for a free movie every now and then. What I don't understand is why, if I have a movie due back on Tuesday, I don't get an email on Monday to remind me to look for it under the couch. It's not like one of the pimply faced kids at the store would have to sit down and type an email and send it to me. All of the information is right there in the database. The computer could do it all by itself.

That they don't do it, makes me think they would rather have me paying them late fees than bringing movies back on time. This is not a healthy business model. When I have to pay late fees I get annoyed. I get annoyed with the kids for misplacing the movie in the first place. I get annoyed with myself for forgetting to look for it sooner. I get annoyed with them for charging me late fees. When that annoyance level reaches a certain point, I stop renting movies for a while.

Given our track record, there's a pretty good chance that even with a email reminder we'll be late at least a third of the time. But if I didn't have the feeling that they were hoping we'd be late because their quarterly earnings report hinges on late fees, then I would probably be a lot less annoyed.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:13 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 07, 2007

The British are Coming

A number of people have been highly critical of the British soldiers recently captured and freed by the Iranian government. Particular criticism has been levied at the statement made my the soldiers in a press conference that "Fighting back was not an option."

In one sense, I think the soldier making that statement was correct. Fighting back was not an option. It was an obligation. It was a necessity. It was a duty. But it was not an option.

What would have happened if the British inspecting a boat for contraband had simply told the Iranians to sod off and get out of Iraqi waters? What would have happened if the British had taken up defensive positions and pointed their weapons at the Iranians? Did the operators of the Iranian boats know that they were in Iraqi waters? If they believed they were in Iranian waters would the have started a fire-fight, particularly with a British Navy ship very near by? How much fighting back would it have taken to convince the Iranians to turn around and leave?

The answer of course depends on what the Iranians were doing there in the first place.

If the local Iranian commanders were mistaken about their position, (A mistake the Iranian government tried, very badly, to cover up) an armed standoff would have been resolved fairly quickly when they were proven wrong, and additional British Naval and air support arrived on the scene. End of situation and the Iranians learn a lesson in being more careful about where they are and who they approach.

If they were ordered to the area by superiors, the likely intent was to test the British and see how they responded. I would bet officials in the Iranian government were just as surprised as the rest of the world at how easily the British gave up. There must have been a bit of panic when the Iranians realized they had prisoners they weren't expecting. They were probing for information - and they got plenty along with a major propaganda victory. They held the British long enough to get some good use out of them - which didn't take long. Then they released them before the British or their superpower ally the United States did any serious saber rattling.

They now know the British will give up without resistance. They will be most cooperative prisoners. And the West - at least the European West, will do little or nothing. Then they released prisoners before anything really bad happened and get to appear reasonable to the West and Western media in particular.

This is what the British sailors handed to the Iranians when they decided that resistance was futile.

Fighting back was not an option. It was their duty.

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:10 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


April 05, 2007

Twenty-Eight Questions

Found this list of questions at Pole Dancing In The Dark. So here's some more useless trivia about me/


1. What time is it? 8:23 PM

2. What is your full name? Stephen Macklin

3. What are you most afraid of? Missing an opportunity

4. Ever seen a ghost? Don't believe in ghosts

5. Where were you born? Brunswick, ME

6. Ever been to Alaska? No but I grew up in Maine, does that count?

7. Ever been toilet papering? Never.

8. Loved someone so much it made you cry? Yes

9. Been in a car accident? Yes.

10. Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons. Unless it's real bacon not that crap in a jar.

11. Favorite day of the week? Saturday

12. Favorite Restaurant? East

14. Favorite Drink? Mount Gay Rum and Tonic

15. Favorite ice cream? Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia

16. Favorite fast food restaurant? La Salsa

17. What color is your bedroom carpet? Wood colored

18. How many times have you failed your driver's test? Once. Because the tester was a dick

19. What do you do most often when you are bored? Pretty much what I'm doing now

20. Bedtime? 11:00 - Midnight

21. Ford or Chevy? neither

22. What are you listening to right now? Gettin' In Tune from the album "Who's Next" by The Who

23. What are your favorite colors? Blue and Green

24. How many tattoos do you have? None.

25. How many pets do you have? four

26. Which came first the chicken or the egg? First you take the chicken and dredge it in the flour. Then you put it in the egg wash, then the bread crumbs. The Chicken comes first.

27. What would you like to accomplish before you die? Sail across an ocean.

28. How many cups of coffee did you drink today? 5 or 6 - about average.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:38 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


April 04, 2007

Waiting To Exhale

Take a deep breath.

Hold it in for 20 seconds.

Exhale.

According to the Supreme Court of the United States you have just polluted the atmosphere. Even if you didn't have tuna and onion for lunch.

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April 01, 2007

Hello. My Name is John Doe

The words are from Michele Malkin. The sentiment is shared my many.

Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,

You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.

I am John Doe.

I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.

I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.

I am John Doe.

I will never forget the example of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to “report suspicious activity.”

I will embrace my local police department’s admonition: “If you see something, say something.”

I am John Doe.

I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing “scholars.”

I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.

I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.

I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.

I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.

I am John Doe.

I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives, cut off your funding, and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.

I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.

I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.

I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.

I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderate clothing. I will not cringe when you shriek about “profiling” or “Islamophobia.”

I will put my family’s safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism.

I will not submit to your will. I will not be intimidated.

I am John Doe.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:31 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


After Careful Consideration

I thought about for a long time and I have finally decided that I am not going to do an April Fools Day post.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:51 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


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