Saturday, September 11, 2004

A few thoughts about the War on Terror

and then I think I'll shut up for the day.

Here's my take on the War on Terror.

This is a war, but it isn't like any sort of war we've ever fought. The enemy has no country, no defined "home". We can't go invade somewhere, as we did in Europe in World War II, fight our way to their capital, and force a surrender.

What they do have is an ideology. I've heard it called many things, but Islamo-fascism seems to be the as accurate a name as any, so I'm going to use it.

These creatures (sorry, but they aren't people, and I won't dignify them with the name) take cover behind religion. It's an old religion, one of the fire, sword and forced conversions--like many religions. But it had become more peaceful in the last few hundred years--like many religions.

But their primary goal isn't religious--it's to force their view of what civilization should be on all of us. If they can't do that, they're content to kill us, especially if they can die in the process. Religion is a cover, not a goal, for them.

Their view of civilization frightens and angers me. They want to drag us back to the 11th Century. They want my daughter to wear a certain manner of dress, assume certain place--several steps behind her husband, head down, subservient. My wife should assume the same position. So should your daughters, your wives.

Our sons should be ready to martyr themselves for Allah, for which they will receive sexual rewards in heaven.

No.

I will fight these creatures, as best as I am able.

I will die if necessary, to protect my family and my fellows.

I will not surrender.

Memos, memos

I note, with some embarrassment, that while I was looking at "the memos" and trying to figure them out, others were far ahead of me, and reached the same conclusions many hours earlier than I did. I guess I ought to read more before I post, huh?

But it's nice to know I'm not alone. Good going, guys.

It looks like the new media is keeping to old media honest. I bet the old media isn't happy about that.

Past and Future

Today is the third anniversary of 9/11.

There's a lot packed into those 7 words. Like most people, I can remember that day with crystal clarity. I suppose most people can do that, just as our parents can remember where they were when JFK was shot, or when they heard Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Like most people on the East Coast, I was at work. I work in IT (Information Technology), running a small IT shop. The day was beautiful--sunny and temperate. No one particularly felt like working, and all of us were sort of cutting up and goofing off. The phone rang.

"Do you suppose we should put out an announcement over the network?" It was the boss's boss's administrative assistant.

I asked her "An announcement about what?" She sounded upset, and I went on guard. I don't deal well with upset women.

"A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. It's on fire, and they say a lot of people are dead."

I told her that I didn't think that was necessary, but if her boss thought I should do it, I'd be happy to do so. She told me that I was probably right, and hung up.

I had no idea that I'd just received notice that the world had just irrevocably changed.

I told the people in the office with me what was going on. One woman rushed upstairs to our marketing department, where there was always a TV. I started looking on the Internet for news or New York City webcams. I found news on several sites, but it was sketchy. Web cams were mostly unreachable. I did find one in New Jersey that looked at Manhattan. It showed a plume of smoke rising over the lower part of the island.

I finally found a stream from WABC-TV, and kept it on. By the time I found it, another plane had hit the WTC, and rumors of other crashes was rampant.

I remember that when I heard of the first crash, I wondered how any idiot of a pilot could hit a building on a clear day. When I heard about the second, I knew that this wasn't an accident. I called my wife at her work, and we decided that neither the kids or ourselves were in any immediate danger.

The woman who had went upstairs came back to the office, in tears. "One of the buildings collapsed" was all we could understand.

Bullshit. These things are built to withstand planes crashing into them. The Empire State Building was hit by a B-25 and survived. I went upstairs to marketing, and was greeted by the instant replay. I couldn't deny the evidence my eyes gave me. By the time I got back to my desk, WABC was playing it on the stream.

Then the second tower went down. Reports of the Pentagon attack were showing up. Rumors of others kept flying. The Air Force was in the air, with orders to shoot down any plane that looked like it was going to crash into a building.

Word was spreading rapidly through work. I don't remember who had the idea, but we scrounged a TV, got our big LCD projector unit, and threw the local FOXNews affiliate up on a screen in our largest meeting room. All but the most essential work stopped as people gathered.

By the end of that day, we were all emotionally exhausted and in shock. All air travel had been stopped, and we had people stuck in a couple of places around the country, trying desperately to get back to their families.

It continued. The TV in the meeting room ran all day, every day. People ate their lunches there. We kept hoping for survivors in the wreckage of the towers, but none were found. We wanted hard news--who did this to us? Suspicions of Al Queida were voiced, but we didn't know. And we wanted to know.

My employers draw employees from all over the country. We found out that one of us had a niece in one of the towers. She was safe. Another had a brother-in-law in one of the towers. He was missing.

We all speculated. Many of us wanted blood. A few misguided souls tried to say that we had brought this on ourselves, that it was our fault. Those of us who were angriest decided that free speech wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and told them exactly what we thought of them and their ideas.

Friendships were broken in those days, and new ones formed. I suspect one of my employees left shortly thereafter because I crawled down his throat when he voiced one of those opinions. Sorry, but I simply can't stomach those who won't open their eyes. I wasn't that sorry to see him go.

The brother-in-law was found, in a hospital, 3 days later. He had head injuries and no ID. (He has totally recovered since then. Another 9/11 miracle, I guess.)

Our lives continued. In October, a long-planned trip to the beach went on as planned. Some people thought we were crazy. I told them that if we stayed at home, the SOBs won.

Emerald Isle, NC is near Jacksonville, home of Camp Lejeune. The day after we arrived, one of the MEUs returned home from deployment. We watched it from the beach. The planes and choppers flew overhead. I had a big flag where they could see it--I hoped.

My kids complained about the noise. I used the old line "That's the sound of your freedom." I had been in the Army, and had heard these noises before. But they meant a lot more to me now. The howl of a jet engine sounded comforting. I prayed for all these men passing overhead. I suspected what was coming soon. I tried to explain to my kids that these men were why we could come to the beach in safety, even with what had just happened. I hope they understood--understand.

Three years later, I still fly my flag on my house. I've went through 2 of the magnetic ones on each vehicle. I still pray for those men and women overseas who fight over there so we don't have to fight over here. I work, in my small way, to see President Bush reelected so we can win this war.

I've made other preparations, just in case. I've always believed in being prepared, I'm far more so now.

Normal means something different now.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Even more on the memo thing

I've been looking at those .pdfs some more. I'm no document expert, but I'd stake money on them not being done in the 70s. Like to guess why? They're done in proportional fonts!

Bear with me here. A proportional font is one in which the letter "o" takes up more horizontal space than the letter "i". With the coming of computerized typesetting, we've all become so used to seeing it that we take it for granted.

But old-fashioned typewriters can't do proportional fonts. Modern ones can (yes, Virginia, they still make typewriters) but the old ones couldn't--not even the vaunted IBM Selectric of that era could handle proportional fonts. Until sometime in the 90s, all typewriters used monospaced fonts--one where every letter took up the same amount of horizontal space.

So if I'm right on this, then someone is hoaxing. The question becomes who and why? This is going to get interesting, and the November election could wind up turning on the answers.

.pdfs of the memos

FOXNews has .pdfs of the "60 Minutes" memos here. Two memos have superscripts in them unlike anything I've ever saw done by a real typewriter in the 70s. But the most interesting thing to me is that none of them are on letterhead of any sort. I was Army (in the 80s) and I remember we had letterhead that was used for official memos. Curiouser and curiouser.

Kerry on the AWB

Add guns to the list of things Kerry is Klueless about:

Kerry Ties Weapons Sales, Terror Worries

John Kerry linked U.S. assault weapon sales to worries about terrorism Friday and said President Bush was bowing to the National Rifle Association by not pushing to keep alive an expiring ban.

If Bush is serious about fighting terrorism, the Democratic presidential candidate said, he world extend the 10-year ban on sales of 19 kinds of semiautomatic assault weapons, due to expire on Monday.

"In the al-Qaida manual on terror, they were telling people to go out and buy assault weapons, to come to America and buy assault weapons,'' Kerry said.

"Every law enforcement officer in America doesn't want us selling assault weapons in the streets of America,'' Kerry said

Jeez, where do I start? Do I launch into an explanation of the history of the Second Amendment? How about the fact that criminals are smart enough to buy guns without going to licensed gun dealers? Or should I begin with the idea that it is far easier (and likely cheaper) to get a real AK in Mexico than it is to buy the semi-auto version in the US?

I think I'll just be an ignorant redneck instead. It's easier, quicker and saves me going over what so many others have written before me.

"Kerry, you're an f'ing pissant. If you had a brain, the thing would rattle inside that thick skull of yours. Go back to your liberal Boston Brahmin buddies and leave the rest of us alone. Jerk."

Well, I guess I'm an idiot

Heinz Kerry: 'Only An Idiot' Wouldn't Like Kerry Health Care Plan

When I first heard this one, especially given that my original source was a GOP newsletter, I figured my side was overplaying this one a bit. But a quick Google News search reveals:

Heinz Kerry: 'Only an Idiot' Would Oppose Husband's Health Care Plan from FOXNews

Teresa Heinz Kerry Calls Opponents of Health Care Plan Idiots from the Washington Dispatch

and quite a few others in the same vein.

OK, so now I'm thinking "Who let the Wicked Witch out from under the house?"

I can picture it now...let's suppose that somehow, the US electorate loses its collective mind and elects Kerry in November. Sometime in early February, good ol' Ketchup Boy and Mrs. Ketchup Boy invite the French and German brass to the White House to get their blessings and get them on board with the Kerry Plan. (OK, I'm asking a lot of your imagination to believe he could have a plan, but work with me here.) The French and Germans find out what we already know--they guy is a clueless loser of the first order, and refuse to have anything to do with him, his plans etc.

And then Mrs. Ketchup Boy opens that big mouth...

Democrat dirty tricks?

Could the Dems be so scared of losing (or so intent on winning) that they will do whatever it takes--even fabricating evidence?

Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines (search) said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software, which wasn't available when the documents were supposedly written in 1972 and 1973.

Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (search), pointed to a superscript — a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" — as evidence indicating forgery. Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by CBS, she said.

"I'm virtually certain these were computer-generated," Lines said after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.

(Read the entire story at FOXNews)

I may not be a document specialist, but in the early 70's, there were very few typewriters capable of creating "a smaller, raised "th"" of the sort noted--only the IBM Selectric comes to mind. Any early 70s veterans out there remember seeing Selectrics on a clerk's desk? Awfully expensive typewriters at the time--it's hard to imagine an ANG unit would have one.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Clinton's bypass

I wasn't going to be petty (yeah right!), but since no one else I've been reading seems to have picked up on this, I thought I'd comment on it.

We all know by now that former President Bill Clinton (*hawk* *spit*) had a quadruple bypass earlier this week. But no one has commented that America's First Black President (Hey, Toni Morrison said so in a 1998 piece in The New Yorker) didn't have the work done in a Harlem hospital, or in a publicly-funded hospital? Instead, he chose NewYork-Presbyterian, who describe themselves as

...one the most comprehensive university hospitals in the world, with leading specialists in every field of medicine. We are composed of two renowned medical centers, Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork Weill Cornell Medical Center, and affiliated with two Ivy League medical institutions, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

So I guess that when it comes to walking the walk, the former Prez doesn't believe in government-funded medical care any more than us evil Conservatives do. How surprising.

Chalk this one up as another instance of Liberal hypocrisy.

Zing!

(Before getting to the topic at hand, I'd like to note an unimportant and artificial milestone: This is the 200th post to The Freeholder blog. Whoopee!)

I've been ranting about and chronicling media bias from time to time. Doing a sweep through my occasional reads, I stumbled on the absolute jewel from The Smallest Minority, in which he takes one particularly noxious author of biased reporting to the wood shed. Worth your time to read.

If each of us would use this as an example and did it just once a month for a year, how much effect on the biased reporting we see from the major media do you think we'd see?

The AWB is coughing up blood

After 10 long years of "The Evil Black Guns That Scare Us Ban" (also known as the 1994 Assualt Weapons Ban), the end is near. Monday, September 13 will mark the date that this silly piece of feel-good legislation will pass into history. Let's all wish it a "good riddance to bad rubbish".

Of course, the gun grabbers are going to try to make the most of it to further their agenda of stealing our liberties. A few choice quotes for you to do a slow burn over...

Police said on Wednesday that assault weapons would flood the streets if the ban was allowed to expire. This from the Sidney (Australia) Morning Herald. Yes, Australia, land of the complete gun ban and climbing crime rates. I don't suppose there could be a connection between gun ownership and crime, could there?

That rat-tat-tat-tat you hear is the sound of the lethal weapons President George W. Bush is about to hand over to drug dealers, street gangs - even terrorists. This piece of wisdom from Marie Cocco, a Newsday.com commentator. Spare me, lady. If the crooks want a gun, they can get whatever they want and for cheaper prices than those of us who buy legally.

Despite the continued push by top law-enforcement officials this week, it's become clear the federal assault weapons ban will expire on its 10th anniversary Monday. This is reported by the Fresno (CA) Bee. Looks to me like our top cops aren't all that protective of our civil rights. What a surprise...

Be vigilant for last minute moves to attach a renewal to some piece of "must pass" legislation. Be even more vigilant for a "Son of AWB", which I suspect will be coming after the November election.

You can't reason with hurricane season

You have to feel for the people of the Caribbean and Florida. It seems they've joined the "Hurricane of the Week" club. I don't recall a period where this area has ever been hit so hard so rapidly in succession.

If you can spare the funds, here's a few places (among many) that can put them to good use helping these people out. I'm going to name a few of the lesser known charities; I suspect most of us already know the big names, such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.

Volunteer Florida
The Humane Society of the United States' Disaster Relief Fund
The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
America's Second Harvest
Catholic Charities

Remember, one day it might be you who needs the helping hand.

Implosion?

You can tell that Kerry the Ketchup Boy is behind in the polls--the Dems have started dragging out every old crappy charge (and a few new favorites) they can find to throw at George W. Bush. A brief perusal of web news sites shows that they're whining about:

Bush's Air National guard service (via WorldNet Daily)
Special treatment during Air National Guard service
Bush's religious faith is akin to fundamentalist Islam (via WorldNet Daily)
Drug use (via Drudge)
War on Terrorism, mismanagement of
The economy

along with a number of other issues.

I also note the increasing Clintonization of the Kerry campaign apparatus, demonstrated by the addition of Clintonistas Joel P. Johnson and Joe Lockhart (former senior communications aides to Bill Clinton), Howard Wolfson (mouthpiece for Sen. Hillary Clinton) and Doug Sosnik (former Clinton political director). These are the biggies being reported, who knows how many smaller ones are employed at Kamp Kerry.

All of this tells me that the Dems, who for the last 20 years have been driven by polls, are being driven mad by the polls. They just can't seem to understand why all us little people don't acknowledge their intellectual superiority and allow them to run our lives.

They're on the run, boys! Keep up the pressure. It's time for all of us who oppose Kerry to step up to the plate and campaign for President Bush in whatever way we can. Put that bumper sticker on your car. Get a yard sign. Volunteer for your local Republican Party office. Contribute if you can. Talk to your friends, your neighbors, the people you work with.

Let's go for a big win, so that the President's coattails are long enough to give us big majorities in both houses of the Congress. This election is quite possibly the most important one of the last 50 years, and we can't stop until it's won, and won big.

Stuck at home

Well, The Freeholder has had to avail himself of modern medicine--they took out my gall bladder yesterday. I'll spare you the gory details--let's say that it is a far less painful procedure than in years gone by. 4 small incisions, in and out of the hospital in less than 8 hours. No pain really, just uncomfortable. (Gee, I wonder if the excellent painkillers have anything to do with that?)

So for a few days, I'll be stuck at home, mostly doing nothing strenuous, as per the doc's orders. Look for something of a blogathon today and tomorrow, plus some updates to the website if I get to feeling really froggy.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Another Wictory Wednesday

Once again, The Freeholder is happy to note Wictory Wednesday. Other Wictory Wednesday bloggers are




We're entering the home stretch. The polls are looking good, but we have to work hard and make sure it isn't a transient bounce. If you have friends of the "undecided" variety, it's time to start a conversation with them, and point out the differences between a Bush and a Kerry presidency. Needs some talking points to help you out? Check here.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The obligatory political post

I can't seem to have a blogging session without a political post. So let's get it over with.

As a North Carolinian, I detest one of my Senators. (I don't really care for either of them, but that's another story entirely.) John Edwards is the closest to no Senator as we could have elected, and proof positive that good looks must count for something.

So I was elated to see the following bumper sticker as I was driving:

I'm from North Carolina, and I'm NOT voting for John Edwards.

He-he-he!

Cold fusion redux

(Via Jerry Pournelle)

WARNING: GEEK ALERT

Those of you with long memories for scientific esoterica may remember Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann and their palladium electrodes immersed in a bath heavy water--it was called "cold fusion". When scientists were unable to reproduce the experiment, Pons and Fleischmann were labeled a number of things; none complimentary.

But according to the IEEE, there may be something to it after all. The research has been kept alive by the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center. (Not too surprising if you consider that sea water, which the Navy has access to in some abundance, is an excellent source of "heavy water". (Heavy water is water with the usual hydrogen atom replaced by deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen.))

I guess we'll have to wait for further developments. Maybe we can tell China and the sheikhs to take a hike.

Wouldn't it be something...

(Via Jerry Pournelle)

If the country that may be our next great enemy could also be the country that gave us a safe route to energy self-sufficiency?

Clean nuclear power, made fool-proof via the laws of physics, with the handy by-product of hydrogen?

Physicists and engineers at Beijing's Tsinghua University have made the first great leap forward in a quarter century, building a new nuclear power facility that promises to be a better way to harness the atom: a pebble-bed reactor. A reactor small enough to be assembled from mass-produced parts and cheap enough for customers without billion-dollar bank accounts. A reactor whose safety is a matter of physics, not operator skill or reinforced concrete. And, for a bona fide fairy-tale ending, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is labeled hydrogen.

My, but wouldn't the eco-freaks be in a quandary. This would have the potential to be more fun that the proverbial mule and two bales of hay.

Not to say being able to tell OPEC to go drink their oil.

The latest law enforcement transgression

You knew that Oshkosh, Wisconsin wouldn't be the end of it, didn't you? Now a California Sheriff has taken advantage of a registration database to locate and question the owners of a certain unspecified sort of gun, which was used recently in a murder.

Bruce, who asked that only his first name be used, wouldn't divulge the make or caliber of the weapons, saying detectives asked him not to reveal that information.

He said he cooperated with investigators because he wants the killings of Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall to be solved. But he also believes that he was unfairly questioned simply for being listed in government records on gun owners.

"If this is going to help them, great," he said. "But while they're in here, they're asking, 'Hey, you got anything illegal we need to know about? No, except for the meth lab in my bathroom.' C'mon guys. This is a fishing expedition."

Another reason not to live in the People's Republic of California--if you really need another.

Media bias? Say it aint so!

(Via Usenet)

Media Bias Against Guns
John R. Lott, Jr Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute


An impressive (if informal) piece of research on the role of guns used in self defense, and the media's underreporting of same. Read it quickly, as I expect the link to die at some point in the future.

Top quote:

It is a kind of media archetype story to report on "naturally curious" children shooting themselves or other children - though in the five years from 1997 to 2001 the entire United States averaged only ten cases a year where a child under ten accidentally shot himself or another child.

In contrast, in 2001 bicycles were much more likely to result in accidental deaths than guns. Fully 93 children under the age of ten drowned accidentally in bathtubs. Thirty-six children under five drowned in buckets in 1998. Yet few reporters crusade against buckets or bathtubs.