Peace through victory - the American way.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Look Out Satan, Here Comes Saddam!

According to Al Jazeera unconfirmed reports out of Iraq claim that Saddam Hussein has been executed. (Here.) Sweet! Congratulations to the Iraqi people on doing with their former dictator what a farcical UN tribunal was unable to do with Slobodan Milosevic: mete out swift and appropriate justice.

This has been a good week for America and our allies and a bad week for our enemies. Ethiopia routs the Islamists in Somalia and Iraq executes the Butcher of Baghdad. Maybe these are signs of hope for better times in 2007.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No Way For Padres To Pass LaRussa In 2007 Playoffs.

The San Diego Padres can't get past Tony LaRussa in the playoffs. At the recent season-ticket holder's rally, Padres management implored the fans to withhold judgment for now. Both Sandy Alderson and Kevin Towers pointed out that the core players who led the Padres to victory in 2006 didn't join the team in trades and free-agent signings until January.

With that in mind, Towers better have some blockbuster deals in the pipeline. Today's San Diego Union-Tribune has an article that floats a trial balloon about that has Termel Sledge starting in left field and batting leadoff. (Here.) So much for going after a power-hitting outfielder.

This is the lineup that's supposed to get the Padres past LaRussa and the first round of the playoffs:

1. Termel Sledge, LF
2. Marcus Giles, 2B
3. Brian Giles, RF
4. Adrian Gonzales, 1B
5. Mike Cameron, CF
6. Kevin Kouzmanoff or Russell Branyan, 3B
7. Josh Bard, C
8. Khalil Greene, SS

This trial balloon won't fly.

Sledge may have success in the minor leagues as a leadoff hitter but he hasn't duplicated that success against major league pitching. Moreover, what the Padres really need in the lineup is a right-handed power-hitting outfielder. Alderson admitted as much at the season-ticket holder rally last month.

Marcus Giles is fine batting second but his brother is no longer a number 3 hitter. He doesn't drive the ball the way he used to and he doesn't move people along on the bases. He takes lots of walks and is an OBP machine. He should be leading off.

Gonzalez does not have the homerun pop to bat fourth but on this team no player does. If the Padres did what is necessary and went out to get a true homerun hitter, Gonzalez would be batting third.

Cameron, Kouzmanoff/Branyan and Bard are fine where they are. Greene belongs batting eighth, if for no other reason than he can't be relied upon to play an entire season. No sense putting him up in the meat of the order and really missing his bat when he inevitably goes down for a month or so. Fortunately, we've still got Geoff Blum to step in and play major league shortstop.

This team is shaping up as a disappointment. There are some really good players on the team but there are still plenty of question marks. First among them is why isn't the team spending the money management said had been freed up to sign a star performer. Instead we get rumors of interest in yesterday's superstars like Randy Johnson and David Wells. Given the Padres track record, I'm predicting that Sammy Sosa will be starting in left field and batting cleanup when the season begins.


Republished once for editing.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How Far Should We Go In Fighting Islamism At Home?

Daniel Pipes recently blogged about a survey of the attitudes of some American Muslims who attended an Islamic conference. (Here.) The question below and its subparts elicited strong negative answers, as the numbers reveal.

It would be interesting to poll the Democratic Party's leadership for their answers.
15. Is it justifiable for the U.S. government to do any of the following in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks in America:

a. taking religion and ethnicity into account as one factor when deciding whom to interview and search at airports?
Yes 37
No 258
Undecided 12

b. monitoring activities at American mosques?
Yes 43
No 255
Undecided 9

c. listening to phone calls of people in America whom the government claims are connected in some way with Al Qaeda?
Yes 64
No 232
Undecided 11

d. having an informer pretend to support or encourage violence against America, to see if the targeted Muslims will decide to attack American targets?
Yes 35
No 258
Undecided 14

e. monitoring Muslim charities in America, in the hopes of preventing funding for possible terrorist attacks?
Yes 52
No 242
Undecided 13

f. focusing Immigration & Customs Enforcement resources on deporting Muslim illegal aliens, who have not been convicted of terrorism, in the hopes of disrupting possible Al Qaeda attacks?
Yes 29
No 263
Undecided 15

g. allowing Muslim illegal aliens to stay in America if they agree to work as informants, monitoring the Muslim community for the government?
Yes 21
No 277
Undecided 9

h. torturing suspected Al Qaeda members to get information about possible planned attacks?
Yes 14
No 278
Undecided 15
I would answer "yes" to each subpart, except "h."


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War? What War?

The Democratic Party has a survey at that asks voters how they feel about the Dims' plans when they officially take over the Congress. (Here.) The survey has to be seen to be believed.

There are 9 questions and 8 are about domestic concerns such as the minimum wage, health care, oil prices, spending, education, etc., etc., ect. There is one question about the war that asks voters whether they agree with the Dims' plan to enact all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Here's what that priceless question says: "Ensuring the safety and security of America requires that we implement the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission. We will move quickly to implement the Commission’s recommendations."

I feel safer already. And more secure.

The survey has a space at the end for personal comments. Here's mine:
"Hey, how about supporting pro-active measures in fighting the war on Islamist Jihad. This 9/11 commission stuff is all about being defensive. The only way we can beat these guys is by keeping them off balance by being on the attack. Support aggressive actions in surveillance, in disrupting financing, in undermining regimes that support terrorsts, like Syria's and Iran's and others, support the classification of captured foreign terrorists as illegal enemy combatants triable in special military commissions, stop the focus on getting the troops out of Iraq and change the focus to supporting the mission of the troops and demanding that the administration do whatever it takes to achieve victory. In other words, get serious about fighting our enemy. Do all that, and I could care less what you do on the less important domestic issues."
Not holding my breath.


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How Iraq Hurts The War On Islamist Jihad.

Opponents of the liberation of Iraq claim America's failure to catch Osama Bin Laden so far is proof that Iraq is a distraction. Not so.

The real problem with the unresolved conflict in Iraq is that it leaves the United States unable to combat Islamist insurgencies when they crop up elsewhere. Ethiopia shouldn't have to be leading the fight against the Islamists in Somalia. (Here.) We're fortunate that Ethiopia has the ability and the will to take on the fight for us.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holy Days And Merry Christmas

It's Christmas morning in San Diego and the temperature in my backyard is 82. Even better, it's a dry heat. The only semblance of a white Christmas is the occasional cloud in the light blue sky. This part of the country is paradise.

It was interesting to see another blogger using the greeting Happy Holy Days to mark this season. (Here.) I began using it last year as it recognizes the religious nature of December's holidays and is inclusive of the various faiths that populate this country. (Here.)

So Happy Holy Days everybody, Merry Christmas, and Peace on Earth to people of good will.


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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Apocalypto's Naked Prey.

The structure of Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto, bears a striking resemblance to Cornel Wilde's worthy old classic, The Naked Prey. (Here.) The plots of the two movies follow the same path: a small group of innocents in the jungle are captured by violent savages and taken to the enemy's home where they endure torture. One survivor escapes and leads his captors on a chase through the jungle.

Despite the similarity in action, the two movies have differences. Where Wilde's movie takes place in colonial Africa, Gibson's is set in pre-Columbian Central America. Where The Naked Prey never rises above the level of an action movie, Apocalypto uses the action genre to tell a story weighted with a powerful theme of damnation and salvation.

Some have criticized Apocalypto for historical inaccuracy. The Mayan Civilization died out in 900, you see, so Gibson must have made a mistake when he included a brief glimpse of Spaniards in his movie. Tell that to Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, the leader of the first successful Spanish landing on Yucatan in 1517. He was killed by Mayans, who were still around 600 years after the end of the so-called Classical period of their civilization. (Here and here.) Others have criticized the movie for more pedantic flaws: getting Mayan buildings wrong, showing Mayans afraid of an eclipse, and exaggerating the practice of human sacrifice.

These criticisms miss the point. Apocalypto is not a cultural or historical documentary. It is not even a work of historical fiction fleshing out a story ripped from yesterday's headlines, a la Elizabeth or Braveheart. Instead Apocalypto is a work of imagination that uses an historical setting to create an alien world and portray fictitious events in order to make a point about the human tendency towards sin.

Gibson's Christian faith clearly plays a part in his development of this theme. However, the movie is no Christian propaganda movie. That is made clear by the choice the main character makes at the very end of the film.

Apocalpyto is worth a trip to the theater. Gibson's direction and photography, and the film's total immersion into an alien culture, work very well on the big screen with surround sound. And as you're watching the action unfold on the screen, with all the running and jumping and fighting, you suddenly realize that the movie is also making you think.


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Republished once to fix Technorati tags.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Taking A Plunge.

Well, my Christmas shopping didn't end quite as planned today. The two pictures in this post show where my Subaru Forester ended up after being rear-ended by a Volvo on a freeway off-ramp at the top of an embankment.

What a wild ride. No rollover, fortunately. The other driver was able to start her car, even with its smashed front end. But rather than driving to side of the off-ramp to get out of the way, she drove away, thereby turning a mere accident into a crime. Too bad for her I was able to climb up the embankment and get her license plate number.

The Forester is a nice little car. It handled the slope really well and didn't roll over. If I have to buy a new car, it's gonna be another Forester. Or a Volvo, like the one driven by the other driver. That car took a beating but still was able to drive away and lose a witness that was following behind.

I'd like to take this moment to thank the guy, named Guy, by the way, who tried to follow the other driver and who then came back to help me out.

No serious injuries so far. Just sore muscles and lots of aches and pains. I'm self-medicating with some bourbon even now.


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