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Saturday, May 13, 2006

United 93 (2006)
So, last night some members of the Delaware Conservative Bloggers Alliance got together to view United 93. Joining me were Hube and Mrs. Hube, Mark Levin Fan and Mrs. Mark Levin fan, Miss Anonymous Opinion (which sounds more and more like a beauty queen title the more I say it), Ryan of Jokers to the Right, and Anna Venger. (after the movie we headed back to Chez Venger where we met her children and Mr. Venger.)

I thought the movie was excellent. It didn't overdramtize the action and really made you understand how to everyone but the terrorists it was just another day. It showed how much of the inaction by authorities was understandable, if regrettable. After all, hijackings had always comparatively non-violent; what ended up happening was unthinkable. When I first heard that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, I assumed bad piloting. It wasn't until I saw the video of the second plane that I realized we were at war. This is the point one of the controllers made during the movie: he grounded all planes because it was clear "we're at war with somebody" and he refused to let planes fly until they knew what was going on.

It's common to laud the courage of the passengers of Flight 93 for their valor and courage, and rightly so. I hope it doesn't come at the expense of the memory of the passengers who died on the other flights, though. They were working under the assumptions I discussed above; those on Flight 93 had the advantage of greater knowledge. They knew the Rules had changed. I think that most people in that situation would have done what those on Flight 93 did.

I had read a complaint that the terrorists were portrayed as religious fanatics, but I didn't find that to be the case. It seemed to me that they believed they had a job that their God wished them to do and they did it. That's not fanaticism; that's faith.

I ahve to admit it teared me up a bit at times, knowing the ending would not be a good one. At the end you could hear sniffles throughout the audience, although I don't think anyone outright cried.

Afterwards, much discussion occurred about could we have done the same thing. I hope we would, and I think more people would than think they would. I think once you accept death, courage is no longer an issue. If the best case scenario is that your life is over, what have you got to lose? Last year, I read "D-Day: The Invasion of Europe" from the American Heritage Junior Library, and they quote on Naval officer who landed at Omaha Beach as saying "As I had one good look at the smoke and the flashes from the guns and the bodies drifting in the surf, I was quite sure I was going to die right there. As soon as I knew this, I felt fairly free and capable, so I got to work doing everything I could." When you know you're going to lose, all you can do is make sure that the other guy doesn't win either. And that's what the passengers did. They changed the rules on the terrorists.

And that may be the most important thing that happened on September 11th. Our enemies thought we were weak and would roll over under attack. They attacked our weakest: innocent, unsupecting civilians. And we beat them in the battle where the rules were clear. When we know how we're fighting we can win, even when the odds are against us. People who had no warning and no training beat those who had trained and prepared for months, if not years. Americans will not be beaten when given the chance. That's the message of Flight 93 and the movie shows that well.

Other DCBA reviews:
Anonymous Opinion
Jokers to the Right
Anna Venger

Great Quote
Sledge Hammer: You've never played target practice?
Soviet Scientist: In Russia, we practice by shooting dissidents.
Sledge Hammer: Here we call them liberals.
"Sledge hammer" was a great show.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Catch
Video of Arron Roawnd's catch in the first inning of last night's game is available here.

Americans should be happy that oil companies are making money
This is a few days late, but ebtween Blogger being down and my schedule having been nuts recently, I'm just getting to it.
Let us take a minute, then, to stick up for the big guys and ask, what's wrong with large profits for large oil companies? If a healthy profit margin--about 10% for the oil giants--is a problem, it comes with a built-in solution. Large profits create large incentives to increase supplies, build more refining capacity, and create new technology to meet energy needs. Exxon Mobil's profits alone in the first quarter of this year are four times as large as the $2 billion exploration tax credits stuffed into last year's energy bill. It's not a coincidence that more than 70% of the money spent researching new fuels comes from oil companies, not to mention the cost of drilling new wells, exploring new fields and developing technology and techniques to extract crude from fields previously considered exhausted.
Fat profits also allow American companies to keep and even expand their workforce inside the U.S. The problem isn't oil company profit, but rather the price of a gallon of gasoline and the negative effect that has on family budgets and the political crisis that creates. But that too will create political pressure that could be used to finally make the hard choices for a more rational energy policy: One that involves more drilling (Artic National Wildlife Reserve, here we come) as well as more efficient uses of energy.
High gas prices aren't easy on consumers. Most households could find a much better way to spend $1,000 than on filling up the tank. But if there's a better way to restructure the energy market, expand supplies, and create a long-term source of stable and affording fuel, we haven't found it yet. We've tried ethanol subsidies, "windfall profit" taxes and other market manipulation tricks. None of them have primed the gas pump for lower prices. Now it's past time to drill. With a barrel of crude selling for more than $70, Congress could let the market work. There's now plenty of incentive to give ANWR's caribou a few derricks to look at.
High profits tell a company that their services are in demand, so they look for ways to expand their offerings. This can lead to (in this case) greater oil exploration, increased refinery capacity, research into alternative energy sources, and other things I'm not thinking of. High profits now will lead to lower prices later due to increased supply later, if we don't allow politicians to screw it up while acting "on our behalf."

The Chris Wheeler Glossary
From a link on the Cole Hamels Facts page:
As You Said... - You took the words right out of my mouth, but I'm going to say the same thing anway

Back for the play-by-play, here's Harry! - I apologize ahead of time for an awkward 7th, 8th and 9th

He (Just) Dropped The Bat Head On It (or That One) - He got a hit

He Just Reached Out/Went Down There And Got That - The way I verbally reward any player for swinging at a terrible pitch that he manages to turn into a basehit, despite substantial odds against him

He Got All Of It - The proximate cause of any home run that clears the outfield fence by a substantial distance

He Has Fun Out There - He's awful; He's Tomas Perez

Scrappy - Player who does all the little things, but sucks at most everything else (see also Pest)

Space Cadet - A pitcher of Latin descent

There's Our Old Friend (insert former Phillies anything) - He never liked me

Was That A Split? - I have no idea what pitch that was (see also Does He Throw A Split?)

Cole Hamels Facts
A ripoff of the Chuck Norris facts, but still funny. Highlights:
Hamels is a sure thing. Only some sort of freak injury or something could keep him from saving the franchise. And we know that will never happen.

Cole Hamels outpitched Steve Carlton before he was even born.

Pedro Martinez keeps a picture of Cole Hamels under his hat for inspiration.

Jack Bauer calls Cole Hamels for advice.

When kids go to bed they wear Superman pajama; when Superman goes to bed he wears a Cole Hamels jersey.

The chief export of Cole Hamels is K's.

Cole Hamels punches people so hard he breaks his own hand.

Cole Hamels walked into Chickie's and Pete's wearing a Terrell Owens Cowboys jersey and people bought him drinks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." —James Madison

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." —Adam Smith

"[T]here is not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility." —Theodore Roosevelt

"No crisis is beyond the capacity of our people to solve; no challenge too great." —Ronald Reagan

"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty." —Calvin Coolidge

"Some people say it is 'name-calling' if you refer to someone as a liberal. There is nothing inherently negative about the word 'liberal.' If it has acquired negative overtones, that is because of what liberals have done and the consequences that followed." —Thomas Sowell

"[President Bush's] compassionate conservatism [involves] a core faith that not only can the government love you, but it should spend money to prove its love. Beyond that, there seems to be no core set of principles that define Bush's approach." —Jonah Goldberg

"Life is hard and sometimes terrible, and that is a tragedy. It explains much, but it is not a free pass." —Peggy Noonan

"There is no such thing as 'price gouging' by private businesses. The term 'price gouging' implies that gas stations have an ability to forcibly inflict harm on us—but they do not. Any price we pay for a gallon of gasoline—whether $1 or $3—we pay voluntarily, based on the value of the gasoline to us." —Alex Epstein

"If we want to knock down the price of $70+ crude oil, the best place to start would be by expanding our own production, not by running to regulators and government lawyers to investigate spurious charges of price gouging." —Max Schultz

"One of the things that always made me feel good in the morning was waking up and realizing I did not belong to the same political party as Chuck Schumer. It made me feel clean—even before I took a shower." —Tony Blankley

DailyBulletin.com - U.S. tipping Mexico to Minuteman patrols
While Minuteman civilian patrols are keeping an eye out for illegal border crossers, the U.S. Border Patrol is keeping an eye out for Minutemen -- and telling the Mexican government where they are.
This is crazy. First, the US government refuses to protect our wide-open border at a time when we know we have terrorists trying to sneak into the country in order to do us harm. Then when a few citizens band together to provide for the common defense (a duty assigned to the national government in the Constitution), the government works to undermine their efforts. This is borderline treasonous.
Border Patrol agents interviewed by the Daily Bulletin said they have been asked to report to sector headquarters the location of all civilian volunteer groups, but to not file the groups' names in reports if they spot illegal immigrants.

"Last year an internal memo notified all agents not to give credit to Minuteman volunteers or others who call in sightings of illegal aliens," said one agent, who spoke on the condition he not be identified. "We were told to list it as a citizen call and leave it at that. Many times, we were told not to go out to Minuteman calls."
So in other words, we'll let agents of foreign governments know how to evade our laws, and then deliberately not enforce them is we do manage to catch someone breaking them anyway.

I think John Derbyshire has it right.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Whacking Day
May 10th is Whacking Day.

Founded by Jebediah Springfield in 1775, every May 10th, the citizens of Springfield drive the snakes into the town square, then club them to death. Past participants include Richard Nixon. Barry White has also served as Grand marshall.

Whacking snakes is even Biblically approved: Reverend Lovejoy quotes "...and the Lord said, whack ye all the serpents which crawl on their bellies and thy town shall be a beacon unto others."

Some, including noted rabblerouser Bob Woodward in his book The Truth about Whacking Day, have claimed that it was started merely as an excuse to beat up the Irish. Others know better.

So, take some time today, whack a few snakes and sing the Whacking Day theme:
Oh whacking day, oh whacking day,
our hallowed snakes skull-cracking day,
we'll break their backs, gouge out their eyes,
their evil hearts, we'll pulverize,
oh whacking day, oh whacking day,
may God bestow his grace on thee.
In the words of Miss Springfield, "Gentlemen, start your whacking!"

Stupid Quote of the Day
"It started the very first time I was there," he said with a grin. "Stepped on the mound, hadn't thrown a pitch, hadn't given anyone any reason to not like me. Right out of the gate. 'We wish we had [Jose] Mesa.'
What the hell is he talking about? I was both of the first games at the new ballpark, which were also his first games. (The first exhibition game at CBP and Opening Day.) The place went nuts for him. He was given a hero's welcome.

This is just sour grapes.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Catholic Diocese of Wilmington - davinci decoded
The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington will be running a series of regional talks about the many errors contained in the DaVinci Code. Here's the schedule:
May 8th - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Social Hall, 345 Bear-Christiana Rd., Bear, DE
May 16th - Ss. Peter & Paul School Cafeteria, 900 High St., Easton, MD
May 17th - St. Elizabeth High School Auditorium, 1500 Cedar St., Wilmington, DE
May 22nd - Delaney Hall at St. Ann Church, Route 26, Bethany Beach, DE
May 25th - Holy Cross Early Learning Center, South State St., Dover, DE
May 30th - St. John the Beloved Church, 907 Milltown Rd., Wilmington, DE
June 1st - Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Shipley & Weldin Rds., Wilmington, DE
All sessions run from 7 PM to 9 PM. All are welcome. Come and learn the truth, rather than the lies taught first in the book and now in the movie.

Democrats may not be able to win the House, but Republicans could lose it.
Ken Mehlman is the unflappable efficiency expert who chairs the Republican National Committee. Because he's not known for histrionics, his warning last week to GOP congressional staffers about this November's elections caused many on Capitol Hill to bolt upright.

Mr. Mehlman traveled to Capitol Hill to warn the staffers that they risked a disaster at the polls if they didn't pass meaningful legislation the conservative base cares about. Other GOP strategists go even further. "If the election were held today, I'd say the odds are 90% that we'd lose the House," says GOP consultant Mike Murphy.

Other Republicans aren't as gloomy, but they warn the GOP Congress has to act on a range of issues soon. "If we want to ensure voter turnout among conservatives doesn't drop, we've got to perform," says Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who dropped by The Wall Street Journal's offices on Friday. He adds it is imperative that the bloated "emergency" spending bill passed by the Senate this week not become law and that some immigration bill clears Congress.
"[What's] happening is a breakdown of the coalition that elected and re-elected the president," says pollster John Zogby. He told the Washington Times that in his surveys he found Mr. Bush pulling in less than 45% support among people invested in the stock market, Nascar fans and gun owners. His standing among born-again Christians was just over 50%.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll offered respondents a menu of legislative action Congress could address before it goes home this year. Asked to choose which should be its top priority, a stunning 39% selected "prohibiting Members of Congress from directing federal funds to specific projects benefiting only certain constituents"--i.e., the pork-barrel spending at the heart of the Congressional earmark process. Immigration reform was in second place with 32%. It would be ironic if the big-spending strategy Tom DeLay thought was a key to shoring up incumbents and keeping GOP control of Congress winds up ending that control.

V-E Day
Today is the 61st anniversary of the defeat of Nazism. What was left of the German government ratified the surrender in Berlin on this date in 1945.

Thank a veteran of that war if you get the chance, and let what we did to Germany serve as a reminder to those who seek to destroy us today.

"More than two hundred years ago, James Madison wrote...that 'the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction and not by force or violence.' In this statement, Madison acknowledged our duty to our God. In our day, some have sought to alienate what Madison thought was unalienable. The attempt to drive religious free speech—and those who would speak it—from the public square must be resisted. We owe it to the martyrs of twenty centuries. We owe it to our fellow Americans. And we owe it to God Himself. Let us honor Him." —Tony Perkins

"Before we point the finger at Hollywood, the government, or the business community for what is happening to America's youth, we must look at ourselves. I've worked on family public policy issues for 20 years, and I know the solutions to these problems do not rest in Washington, DC. Most of the solutions can be found in active, loving parenting. It doesn't take an act of Congress to take back your home... [A] 13-year-old boy [doesn't] have 60 bucks to buy a video game unless his daddy gave it to him. Eleven-year-old girls can't drive themselves to the mall, nor do they have the cash to buy trashy clothes that make them look like street walkers. And who pays for the cable television, orders the Internet connection and buys CDs for Christmas presents? Well-meaning moms and dads who are too busy or too absorbed with their own lives to see that their kids need them to push back against the toxic culture, not invite and pay for it to invade their homes. Many parents are more concerned about being their children's friend than they are about parenting. But kids don't need more drifting friends; they need their moms and dads. Our children are feeling around for boundaries, for a firm foundation on which they can build their lives, for love and nurture." —Rebecca Hagelin

"We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success—only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period, contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development." —Ronald Reagan

"Sitting in the middle of what used to be pasture in Fairmont, West Virginia, stands a brand-new office building that you helped pay for. Knowing that you would insist on the best, its builders made sure to get all the options: a swimming pool, sauna, and spa. The price: $103 million. Oh yes, it's nearly empty and likely to stay that way for some time. If you don't recall ordering a state-of-the-art office building in a cow pasture, you're not alone. Nobody does. But that's how the congressional process known as 'earmarking' works... [S]imply put, [earmarking] is expenditures slipped into the budget by powerful congressmen that bypass the budgeting process and are authorized without debate. While congressmen defend these expenditures with high-sounding rhetoric, their real purpose is to help themselves get re-elected. When you hear people talk about a politician 'bringing home the bacon' to his district, chances are he is talking about earmarking. New roads and 'glistening glass-and-steel' office buildings are campaign ads in concrete." —Chuck Colson

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