Saturday, August 26, 2006


Top of fold headline in today's NYT: "Weary Iraqis Face New Foe: Higher Prices"


I was really upset when I saw the noise about "The Battle For Baghdad" which would decide the war! I was upset because when--not if--we shut down the sectarian violence in Baghdad, we would not be told we'd won the war--instead we'd be hit with a different flavor of bad news.

Here it is: inflation.

One of the many problems with the NYT is it is aware of its low circulation and prestige, and it doesn't bother trying to rise above preaching to the choir. Only somebody dead set against spending another fifteen minutes in Iraq--the kind of guy who thinks Rep. Murtha is a reactionary--loses the critical thinking reflex that kicks in with "Hey, last week Iraq was a terrible place because umpteen dozen kids got blown up; now they're supposedly sweating inflation?" But that sort of person isn't the Times' target audience; now they're just giving another talking point to the Illuminati. "Y'know what else Bush didn't plan for? Inflation!"

Why a paper, printed in New York City, and sold at Starbucks, thinks rising prices are both newsworthy and traumatic, I can't really figure out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Explaining Reagan

On the job I prefer surfing forums to blogging, because I can drop it much quicker when a customer walks in.

On one of the foriegn games forums I was explaining why Ronald Reagan is so well-regarded in the United States. In part:

America was not just a random place we happened to be born on, it was a great achievement of the human race in which we were called to take part. It was a deliberate attempt to make the best government on earth. If we held true to that vision then nothing could stop us. None of our real problems were tough enough to defeat a country built on the greatest freedoms and attracting the best strivers on the planet. And we must not be embarrassed to say so, or stand off those who seek to destroy it. Our pledge to improve ourselves would be rewarding in itself, and rewarded by others. And Reagan made it work.
It's sad, but where do you hear that kind of patriotic zeal today? I doubt anybody on the short list for the GOP nomination would repeat it, because it hasn't been something they've articulated prior to getting on the short list. Reagan was proclaiming the unique mission of America to the world when he was just after-dinner entertainment for executives.

It's sad.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to the Blog

Finally get some down time in which to roam the blogosphere and catch up on some news. Right now I'm enjoying a natural mellow drowsiness which I hesitate to interrupt with coffee, as I've got errands to run tomorrow.

Every now and then I realize how cooped up I become, working graveyard. If the heat and humidity aren't too bad, I will spend tomorrow enjoying the area. And the day after that, too.

I will find time to blog a bit too, if the equipment permits.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Israel's Fudge

I've been a vehement supporter of Israel's right to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon. I'm not so sure I can support how they're exercising that right.

Israel seems to be fighting for a tie: they will bomb southern Lebanon into stateless anarchy, at which point somebody else, preferrably European, will send in the troops to govern the place and fight Hezbollah.

Shouldn't this have been done as a formal war against Lebanon? But that would compel Israeli participation in a postwar settlement, occupation, handover.

Israel's reliance on the Western powers to win this war for Israel is not only a cheap violation of the obligations of a combatant power, but stupid and self-defeating. Lebanon does not want to fight Hezbollah. France and Pakistan do not want to fight Hezbollah. The United States might not mind fighting Hezbollah, but we have use for our troops in Iraq unless we have to send them elsewhere, and with Israel barely mobilized we don't have to.

From what I can see, if Israel were given everything it calls for today, it would be right back where it started within a year. That is no way to run a "war"--whether you make it a formal war, or just bomb cities and roll back a national government as a "police action".

Wartime Priorities

AP headline as I turn on my computer today:
"Increased Security Causes Delays, Long Lines"
I think we forget what sort of disruption comes from decreased security, and sore feet is the tip of the iceberg.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Finals Week

So I will be even busier.

Perhaps by then I will see something coherent come from Israel as to their war aims. If all they're doing is shoving Hezbollah back for now so that an international coalition can do counter-terrorist ops in Southern Lebanon for forty years so the IDF doesn't have to, then this is the biggest goof since Suez.

If the USA signs onto that, we're even dumber.