Peace through victory - the American way.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

America's New Lepers.

Here's the Surgeon General's advice for how non-smokers should relate to smokers: "Stay away from smokers." (Here.) What's next? Smoker colonies?


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You Are Not Jack Bauer.

According to Timothy Carney writing at National Review Online (here), Jack Bauer is Everyman. Carney comes close when he puts Bauer in a line of heroes that stretches back to the Old West:
The American hero is the cowboy: He is Maverick, he is Han Solo, he is Batman (though, when Batman is in trouble, he turns on the Jack Bauer signal), he is the rag-tag minuteman fighting the well-trained Lobsterbacks.

So Jack Bauer is not Big Brother, and he is not the establishment. Jack Bauer was expelled from CTU and he disobeys orders. He does what needs to be done and he does it in his own way. (Jack Bauer once played Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, and won.) He is the fitting heir to Rambo and Maverick.

And like Rambo and Maverick, Bauer’s inhuman excellence (Jack Bauer, for example, could strangle you with a cordless phone) still doesn’t keep us from identifying with him. “Jack Bauer is an everyman,” Writer and Executive Producer Howard Gordon said on Friday, “he is the guy who stands for that American, can-do thing.”
Let's leave Rambo out of it, shall we? That dude is just messed up.

Jack Bauer is a contemporary version of an Old West hero but not the ordinary cowboy hero who fights to defend himself and what's his as best he can. No, Bauer is too expert a killer to be a modern version of the cowboy, an Everyman.

Instead Bauer is the gunslinger who fights for the good guys. Like the gunslinger before him Bauer is a professional who fights with expert skills to protect other people who are less able to protect themselves.

We mortals may admire Bauer and be inspired by him to fight as well, but we can never be him. He's too professional, and he's too much an outsider for the ordinary person to be like him.

As we put it before, Jack Bauer is Shane. (Here.) Like Shane Bauer is a professional killer who operates outside the law to protect civilization because sometimes that's what civilization needs to protect itself. The problem for heroes like that is they have no place in civilization when the fighting stops. That's why Shane has to ride away at the end of his movie, and that's why Jack Bauer's personal life is always in such turmoil. In fact, some say that Shane is dying from his wounds as he rides away. Bauer probably has a bullet waiting for him in his future too.

Sorry, Audrey. When all this is over, Jack won't be hanging up his guns and settling down to a lifetime of domestic bliss. No, he'll be getting the hell out of Dodge. Maybe not because he wants to, but because he has to.


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Monday, June 26, 2006

San Diego Prays For Global Warming.

The weekend games between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners saw a record number of homeruns hit at Petco Park in a three-game series: 14. Petco is notorious for being a pitcher's park where it is nearly impossible to hit the ball out. Padres fans wonder why opposing players don't seem to have a problem going yard there but that would be another story.

Here's the reason given for all the baseballs flying out of the park in San Diego this weekend:
"The ball's really carrying well right now," right fielder Brian Giles said yesterday after the Padres' 40th home game. "It's warm and humid. Hopefully it stays warm and humid the rest of the year."
Reliever Scott Linebrink, who sits in the home bullpen beyond center field, said "the atmospheric conditions are what causes (the ball) either to jump or fall short. The weather being hot like it is, and watching the ball jump out of the yard in batting practice, I think everybody wasn't surprised."(Here.)
The news story gave other possible reasons including changed air flow due to new construction and some other flat earth theories that prevent San Diegans from facing Al Gore's inconvenient truth. The Earth's warming will cause more homeruns to get hit out of Petco Park. Maybe the future doesn't look so bad after all.


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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mount Soledad Cross Closer To Fate Of Bamiyan Buddhas.

The City of San Diego suffered another legal defeat in its fight to keep a cross displayed on top of Mount Soledad. (Here.) Unless the cross is removed by August 1, 2006, the city will have to pay a fine of $5,000 for each day the cross remains. San Diego will lose an historical landmark once the cross is removed. There has been a cross on top of Mount Soledad since 1913; not quite as long as the Sixth Century Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001. (Here.) But once the cross is removed the result will be the same.


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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Duel Between Make Believe And Sport.

Mister Americano will be witnessing a duel this evening. There will be veggie burgers after the duel. It's a meatless event. How far the honor code has fallen in America.

It won't be a duel to the death or even to injury. It's a sword fight between a participant in the Society of Creative Anachronisms and a competitive fencer. Apparently the SCA guy challenged the fencer to a duel to prove that SCA rules are better than fencing rules or more realistic or something. My money is with the fencer.


Epilog: The competitive fencer won. The SCAer acquitted himself well. The veggie burgers were very good. Tofu dogs, not so much.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's Christmas In June!

Karl Rove committed no crime. (Here.) Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha. HA! Take that you whiny leftie shmucks!



Sunday, June 11, 2006

Making Sacrifices In The War On Terror.

Liberal opponents of the war like to slam President Bush for not asking Americans to sacrifice in the War on Terror. It's an insincere charge, of course, because the sacrifices they want Americans to make just happen to coincide with liberal policy preferences that predate 9/11. You know, tax the rich, regulate the SUVs, save the Arctic wasteland. is rallying their troops to fight the latest Congressional effort to reduce funding to public broadcasting. (Here.) If we're going to have to make sacrifices, public broadcasting is as good a place to start as any.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ban Grimsley From Baseball.

While baseball's attention has been focused on the steroids rumors surrounding Barry Bonds, it turns out that the Justice Department has been quietly investigating a journeyman Arizona pitcher who has used performance enhancing drugs, including steroids, for years. (Here.) Worse yet, Jason Grimsley is using Human Growth Hormone, which is not detectable with a urine test.

Grimsley supposedly names other players who have been cheating. It's past time for baseball to clean house. Last year's Congressional hearings proved that baseball won't do anything unless Congress forces it to. Maybe it's time for some more show hearings in D.C.

The first action baseball should take is to ban Jason Grimsley from baseball. Grimsley is no Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose but he's put himself in their class with his actions.


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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Our Constitution En Espanol Courtesy of Lou Dobbs

Anti-immigrationists made a big fuss a few weeks ago about a Spanish-language interpretation of our national anthem. They have also argued in favor of making English America's national language so that all government business would be done in English only.

So imagine Mister Americano's shock at discovering the official website of the anti-immigrationists' demagogue in chief has a link to a Spanish translation of the Constitution. (Here.) That's right, the website of Lou Dobbs links to a site that translates America's most hallowed document into the language of the invaders flooding our country from the south. The site translates the Constitution into the language of another enemy, French. It also translates the document into Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Russian, and simplified Chinese. (Here.)

How odd that Dobbs would allow a link on his website to foreign language translations of the Constitution, especially since he put the link in a special box that lists required reading for Americans. Here's his personal message introducing the link.
"Required Reading

'I believe there are two historical documents that should provide a frame of reference for every American. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are too often ignored or poorly understood by our elected officials from City Hall to the White House. We're providing these two documents on our Web site for your convenience, and I hope you will join me by reading them often and regularly.

All the best,'
Lou Dobbs"
It's wrong to do a Spanish riff on the national anthem but it's okay to translate the Constitution so that Americans can read it in other languages? Isn't multilingualism a threat to America's unity as a nation? Maybe Dobbs is a multiculturalist at heart.


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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gotta Love Deborah Norville.

Back when Ted Turner started the 24 hours cable news industry they said it would never succeed because there isn't enough news to fill 24 hours. They were half-right. Cable news is successful but there isn't enough news to fill 24 hours of programming. So instead we have national news shows increasingly covering local news events like crime and missing persons or fluff.

Deborah Norville sums up the problem with 24 hour news coverage bluntly in an interview with Melanie McFarland from the New York Times News Service.* Talking about her experience at MSNBC she said,
"And increasingly they wanted to do the show live. They wanted it live because Lacey Peterson's mother might cry at the trial. You know, the show they have on now has a lot in common. And I'm sure Rita Cosby is a very hardworking woman, but you will never see Deborah Norville anchoring a show from a whorehouse. I don't think that's the definition of news in this country."
Unfortunately, she's wrong about that.


* This post quotes from the interview as it was published today on dead trees in The San Diego Union Tribune's TV Week insert.

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Canada Has Terrorists, Mexico Has Peasants: Where O Where Should We Build That Wall Now?

Probably the stupidest argument used by anti-immigrationists in favor of building a wall on our southern border is the need to protect the US against terrorist infiltration. While anti-immigrationists are going nuts over a so-called security threat represented by the unwalled border with Mexico, Canada has just arrested 17 terrorists who were planning to blow up Canadian landmarks. (Here.) The New York Times story doesn't say much to identify the terrorists. All the story says is the terrorists have no known links to Al Qaeda and they are of South Asian descent. Somehow I doubt that they are Hindu or Buddhist.

The AP has a more useful report on the arrests. (Here.)
"Luc Portelance, assistant director of operations with Canada's spy agency, CSIS, said the suspects 'appeared to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida' but that investigators have yet to prove a link to the terror network.

Five of the suspects were led in handcuffs Saturday to the Ontario Court of Justice, which was surrounded by snipers and bomb-sniffing dogs. A judge told the men not to communicate with one another and set their first bail hearing for Tuesday.

Alvin Chand, a brother of suspect Steven Vikash Chand, said outside the courthouse that his brother was innocent and authorities 'just want to show they're doing something.'

'He's not a terrorist, come on. He's a Canadian citizen,' Chand said. 'The people that were arrested are good people, they go to the mosque, they go to school, go to college.'

FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said in Washington there may have been a connection between the Canadian suspects and a Georgia Tech student and another American who had traveled to Canada to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss locations for a terrorist strike.

Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, U.S. citizens who grew up in the Atlanta area, were arrested in March."
The threat represented by the men appears to be real and substantial. The New York Times reports:
"The men accused in Canada operated what the police called training camps for its members. At their news conference, the police displayed at least one pistol, electronics components, military fatigues, army-style boots and two-way radios they said were used at the camps, although they would not disclose their locations.

The Toronto Star reported that in 2004 the intelligence agency began monitoring Internet exchanges, some of which were encrypted. According to the newspaper, the training in camps took place north of Toronto. Members of the group, according to that account, often visited a popular Canadian chain of doughnut shops to wash up following their training sessions.

Counterterrorism officials said that interviews with suspects would provide greater clarity about the nature of the plot, but they said that the men had taken a significant step, moving beyond the planning stage, toward acquiring a large quantity of potentially explosive fertilizer."
So, while Mexico has millions of poor peasants who come to America to work and provide a better life for themselves and their families, Canada has Islamist terrorists and terrorist training camps. Yet anti-immigrationists want to build a wall to keep out Mexicans. Between the two countries Canada is probably more of a risk for terrorist infiltration than Mexico. Let's not forget that the Y2K terrorist was caught trying to enter the US from Canada not from Mexico.

It'll be interesting to see if the anti-immigrationists who use security as an excuse to attack Mexico will turn their attention to the risk of terrorist infiltration from Canada.


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Thursday, June 01, 2006

SUV Scapegoats In War On Terror.

Lots of Americans own SUVs because of their convenience. Their size seats a family comfortably. Their design permits them to carry cargo as well as passengers. They are the station wagon of our times.

But for every American who owns an SUV there are others who hate the car as a moral outrage and an environmental monster. Since SUVs are bigger than most other cars they block the views of other drivers. Their large size makes them a danger to other cars in an accident. They are designed for traveling off-road but most owners use them only on roads, which anti-SUV moralists love to point out. But worst of all, SUVs use more gas than cars. SUV fuel consumption and the War on Terror have given the anti-SUV moralists a new club to attack the evil urban assault vehicle.

The new attack claims that SUV ownership helps to fund terrorism. The theory goes that SUVs waste gas and increase America's gas consumption, which in turn increases our dependence on foreign oil, and our dependence on foreign oil sends money overseas, which finds its way to financial supporters of Islamist terrorism.

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman's recent column is the latest attack on America's SUV ownership. He adopts the argument that SUV ownership helps support terrorism and he criticizes GM for offering to partially subsidize the gasoline bills of new buyers of GM SUVs. (Sorry, no link because The New York Times doesn't publish their columnists for free on the internet.)

Friedman has some credibility because he has been a vocal supporter of the War on Terror since 9/11. Yet his attack on SUVs is misplaced. The real gas guzzlers in America aren't SUVs. The real gas guzzlers are commercial big rig trucks.

The United States government publishes some pretty handy statistics on fuel consumpion in America in graphical form. The graphs are revealing. (Here.) Since 1966 SUV, truck and van, fuel consumption and miles travelled either declined or held steady. During the same period big-rig trucks increased their fuel consumption and miles travelled.

But it's the mileage rate comparison that is the most telling and the most troubling. The rate for SUVs, trucks and vans increased substantially from just under 10 miles per gallon to around 20 miles per gallon since 1966. Yet, the mileage rate for big-rig trucks has held steady at an abysmally low rate around 5 miles per gallon.

If anti-SUV moralists are truly concerned about America's dependence on foreign oil, they should stop scapegoating SUVs and start advocating improved fuel efficiency for big-rig trucks. Or maybe getting the cargo off the highways and back onto the rails where it belongs.


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