Sunday, July 31, 2005

Max's missionary farewell, and a heritage of sacrificial service

My nephew, Max Davis, my younger sister Mindy's oldest son, spoke in his ward's LDS sacrament meeting in Rexburg, Idaho today before departing Wednesday for the Missionary Training Center, and from there to the Anchorage, Alaska LDS Mission.

(We drove up yesterday afternoon for the family gathering and today's farewell, and drove back this afternoon).

It's noteworthy that my uncle (Max's great uncle), Robert Nicholls (my mom's brother) served in Alaska on his mission around the time I was born (1956). While he was serving, his father (my grandfather and namesake, Barnard Johnson Nicholls) died of cancer. Uncle Bob didn't come home for his father's funeral (knowing "Bapa" had cancer, they had agreed in advance that he would stay and serve). A heritage of sacrifice and service. ("Bapa" served his mission in Samoa -- the major reason for our upcoming trip).

Max spoke for 30 minutes, talking about his personal conversion experience and testimony gained from his participation in a testimony meeting in his Book of Mormon class at BYU-Idaho. His teacher began the class playing a recording of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Max was impressed to get up and bear his testimony, and did so. The expression of his testimony had special power for him, and strengthened his own conviction that the Gospel is true, God lives, Jesus is our Savior, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.

Unknown to Max, his home teacher had been asked to sing in today's sacrament meeting several months ago and picked "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" to sing -- turned out to be just before Max's talk. The home teacher, a fine looking young man, sang so tenderly, so guilelessly, so purely -- conveying the Spirit. His accompanist played a note and he began without accompaniment, quietly at first, completely comfortable in his own skin. Then she joined in. As the scripture says, out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Max has grown up. He will join two cousins (Jeremy and Richie, two sons of my older sister, Emily) in missionary service, as well as Cindy's parents who are also serving.

Speaking of a heritage of sacrifice, Jed and I dropped off Cindy's folks at the airport early on a Saturday for their flight to Houston, Texas where they are now serving. They've both had health problems -- specifically "Elder Big D" has had back problems (2 fusions and a laminectomy), and "Sister Grandmum" had a skiing accident, resulting surgery, and now one leg is an inch or so shorter than the other. We watched them literally limp off onto their mission, two years of selfless sacrifice and service. Recently, "Sister Grandmum" had a fall and hurt her shoulder and just underwent major reconstructive surgery (she hadn't just torn her rotator cuff -- it was completely detached). But they have decided to continue on in their service, working rehab into their busy schedule.

Dean turns right?

Howard Dean has made for an interesting leader of the National Democratic Party. He continues to say outrageous things that the mainstream media reports without challenge. For example, criticizing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision:
"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is ‘okay’ to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is,” Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean’s reference to the “right-wing” court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court’s liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.

“We think that eminent domain does not belong in the private sector. It is for public use only,” Dean said.
One blogger astutely noted:
So, at a time when the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice is one of the hottest stories in the news, the head of the Democrat party makes an impassioned speech that (though he doesn’t realize it) is an argument for more conservative Justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Politically correct screening won't catch terrorists

Charles Krauthammer on the London bombing aftermath and terrorist profiling. You should always read Krauthammer (you can link from our blogroll -- BTW, this piece is from Jewish World Review, not the usual Townhall link to the right).

Steve Young, NFL Hall of Famer

BYU's celebrating Steve Young's induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. Open house and fireside at the Smith Fieldhouse.

Interesting venue. At the banquet before they retired his jersey at LaVell Edwards stadium a year or so ago, Steve told about when he as a frightened BYU freshman, away from home for the very first time. He was invited to go water skiing with a family and asked them if they'd pick him up at the Smith Fieldhouse.

He was hiding in the bushes when they drove up, boat in tow. He hid more, until they left without him.

He told that story and said, "And tonight they're retiring my jersey at LaVell Edwards stadium." He said he had told that story to make the point that he was where he was because of the people in the banquet room that night who had become his family along the way and had helped him through his freshman fears and the tough times.

Steve's jersey number was 8. That's where he says he started out on the BYU depth chart. According to all of his teammates who spoke that night, he wasn't a great quarterback when he came to BYU. He was a poor passer. According to center Bart Oates, his Cougar and 49er teammate, the poorest passer of all the QBs when Steve joined the team.

He was discouraged and called his dad to tell him he was thinking of quitting the team and coming home. His dad (corporate lawyer, nicknamed "Grit") told Steve he could quit, but he couldn't come home because "we don't have any quitters here."

Steve stuck it out, worked amazingly hard to learn how to pass a football from watching starting QB Jim McMahon, became the starter himself and went on to have the highest completion percentage in NCAA history his senior season (70%), and to become Super Bowl MVP, throwing a record number of touchdowns in the Super Bowl (6) as well as leading the 49ers in rushing in the game. And he has the highest passing efficiency rating of any quarterback in NFL history. (See his Hall of Fame press packet here).

He faced his fears, worked incredibly hard, and achieved remarkable things on the field -- and off. And BYU will celebrate his NFL Hall of Fame induction where? Full circle back to his freshman year -- at the Smith Fieldhouse. And Steve's chosen his dad, "Grit" Young, to introduce him at the Canton, Ohio Hall of Fame induction next weekend.

Steve Young didn't quit. Hall of Fame quarterback. Husband. And father of two Young sons.

One more personal story: I know Steve because he's a friend of my parents. We went out to dinner together one evening, and Steve and I went to the restroom while my parents went to our table. As we were walking out, and on the way to our table, Steve was stopped four times by people who called him by his first name (as though he knew them), and asked for autographs and pictures. Several people also came to our table as we ate to talk with him. He graciously obliged them all. After a while, my dad asked Steve if he didn't ever get tired of so much attention wherever he went. Steve responded, "Truman, I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for these people."

One more: Steve had been in our home, and as he was leaving, I remembered that I'd promised a law clerk that I would get her (amazing female football fan) his autograph. I ran back to his car just as he was pulling away and asked him if he'd mind signing an autograph for a law clerk in my office. He asked me about her. I told him she had just passed the bar exam. He wrote, "To --, Congratulations for doing something I never have. Steve Young."

I don't know him well, but I know him well enough to know Steve Young is a gracious and good man. Congrats on coming out of the Fieldhouse bushes to make it to the Hall of Fame!

Gang rape AND solo sodomy?

Things are going downhill for former BYU football player B.J. Mathis. (Freshman, suspended before he ever played a down). Rape trial is pending 24 August in Provo. He's now under investigation for breaking and entering and forcible sodomy in his hometown of Garland, Texas on 24 March. According to the news story, a dogtag with his name and social security number (and semen -- now being tested for DNA) were found at the scene. I thought perhaps the alleged rape was consensual (after all, she met the group of players at the mall, asked for their address, went to their apartment, watched a porno movie with them and drank alcohol). But now...

His BYU roster number: 24. Trial 24 August. Forcible sodomy 24 March. Sentence: 24 years?

UPDATE: Mathis was acquitted in Provo of rape and cleared in the forcible sodomy case. As Yogi Berra used to say, it's not over until it's over.

USAFR annual tour

Just returned from a week at Hill AFB, Utah. Helping keep the world safe for democracy as a reserve Air Force JAG.

Samoa -- and Hawaii

My grandfather and namesake, Barnard J. Nicholls, served a mission in the early 20th century in Samoa. My parents have arranged a trip to the dedication of the Apia Samoa LDS Temple so we can retrace his steps using his mission journals. My parents, my uncle and his wife, my two sisters and their husbands, and my wife. We'll also spend some time in Hawaii. Cindy's been (as chaperone on our daughter's senior class trip). I've never been. Not that I'm bitter. Won't be able to say that any more. Excited for the trip, a step back in history.

BYU football: the offseason is the BEST season

Hope springs eternal. Everyone's undefeated. Anything's possible.

A good thing just got better: KSL announces enhanced Internet coverage of Cougar football: "Cougaradio", podcasts, daily updates from fall camp. 35 days, 16 hours or so from 3 September home opener kickoff against Boston College. (And I'll be in Samoa... arrgh).

Apple updates iBook and Mini

Juiced-up iBooks, and three Minis with more RAM and SuperDrive option. I've never been happier with my PowerBook 12".

And Steve Jobs hints about the future of iTunes and cell phones in Apple's plans. Teaser:
Why isn't it true that it's going to move into the cell phone?

Jobs: I thoroughly understand the question...


...and I'm going to leave the answer to our actions in the future.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Terrorist racial profiling quiz

The old standard that has made its way around the Net (and from some of the multiple choices, you can see it's dated):

In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
(a) Norwegians from Ballard;
(b) Elvis;
(c) A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy;
(b) Crazed feminists screeching that being able to throw a grenade
beyond its own burst radius was an unfair and sexist requirement
in basic training;
(c) Geraldo Rivera making up for a slow news day
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
(a) Luca Brazzi, for not being given a part in "Godfather 2;"
(b) The Tooth Fairy;
(c) Butch and Sundance who had a few sticks of dynamite left over
from the train thing
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
(a) Mr. Rogers;
(b) Hillary, to distract attention from Wee Willie's women problems;
(c) the WWF, to promote its next villain: "Mustapha the Merciless;"
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

October 12, 2000, 17 US sailors lost their lives on the USS Cole and this was done by:
a) That Purple Teletubbie
b) Gary Condit
c) LA Crips street gang
d) Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

December 2000 a person tries to light a shoe bomb on a commercial jetliner and this was done by:
a) Mother Theresa
b) an Italian guy from New York City named "Giacomo"
c) hard working Hispanic farm workers
d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked and destroyed by:
(a) Bugs Bunny,
(b) the Supreme Court of Florida trying to outdo their attempted
hijacking of the 2000 Presidential election;
(c) Mr. Bean
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

Let's update:

On 7/7/05, four bombs were detonated on London's tube and bus system by:
(a) Paris Hilton fans
(b) Brittany Spears fans
(c) Regis Philbin
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

On 7/21/05, four bombs that failed to fully detonate on London's tube and bus sytem were set off by:
(a) Wiley Coyote
(b) The ghost of Timothy McVeigh
(c) John Kerry
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

Anyone see a pattern here? Anyone?! Hmm?!

UPDATE: Brits (and authorities in Rome) arrest the 4 suspects in 7/21/05 bombing attempts. Surprise! Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40...

Is there will enough?

Money quote from a Dr. Mohammed T. Al-Rasheed opinion piece in the Arab News:
If you want to catch a fish, you do not go to the desert. And if you want to catch a terrorist you do not man tube stations. Once you are in the station trying to catch the perpetrator, you have already lost the game. The most effective way to combat vermin is to strike at their breeding grounds and not under your sink.
You must kill them when they are in your house, to be sure, but confront them in Iraq (and quietly, with Special Forces, elsewhere). And learn how teenage recruits are bred to kill themselves for a cause. We must kill and prevent the killers, and we must do battle in the war of ideas that nurture islamofascism's death cult.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Senate votes 98-0 in favor of BSA use of government property

A federal judge in Illinois (Clinton-appointed U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning) ruled 22 June 2005 in favor of the ACLU in a lawsuit to prevent the Boy Scouts of America from using federal property. The Senate voted 98-0 today to legislatively overrule the judge's ruling.


Senators Craig (R-ID) and Rockefeller (D-WV) missed the vote. That means Ted Kennedy, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Barak Obama, Joe Biden, et al., all voted Yea. Meaning: even the Senate's most liberal senators (including the two from Illinois) have voted in favor of the BSA and against the ACLU's position on this one. Score one for the good guys in the culture war.

Monday, July 25, 2005

4-H family camp trip

All of us but Jed (who's in Managua, Nicaragua on an internship for Cause for Hope) spent a wonderful few days at a 4-H camp near Alpine (in the Star Valley), Wyoming. After morning orientation, we had icebreaker games and activities with other families (around 100 folks total), and then spent the afternoon running the Snake River.
David, Caroline, and I manned oars while Cindy kept an eye on Caroline. We lost a young girl when we went over the Big Kahuna (biggest wave stretch on the river), but she was snatched right back into the raft. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing a couple of bald eagles, one in flight, and one perched on a tree out over the river.

Back at the camp, Cindy led the campfire, handing out a booklet of campfire songs she had created, got audience participation, and then recited Little Orphant Annie and The Jabberwocky. Kelly arrived with a friend late (the map and directions to get to the camp were, unfortunately, horrible -- we spent 45 minutes strictly following the multiple directions the organizers had provided when, it turned out, we were within 2 minutes of the camp... Kelly was within 45 minutes of the camp, and took 3 1/2 hours to find it...).

Next morning we had a hearty breakfast, took showers, and then drove through Jackson Hole to Grant Teton National Park (amazing!).

We took the ferry across Jenny Lake and hiked to Hidden Falls, and then to Inspiration Point. After an afternoon nap in our cabin, we returned outside Jackson Hole to the Bar J Chuckwagon to have western barbecue and to enjoy the Bar J Wranglers show.
Because of some miscommunication, we arrived a little late. We were met by a man with a mustache who helped us find our group, get our tickets, led us to the food line, and even served our baked potatoes. (He's the one on the right in the photo on the right). I asked him how many they served a night (it was a huge dining hall). He said 720. Baked potato, baked beans, beef barbecue, chunky apple sauce, spice cake, coffee/ice water/or lemonade. Served on aluminum sectional plates, and tin cups.

We were surprised when our host took the stage in his serving apron, answered some basic questions about whether the Bar J is an actual working cattle ranch (it is), how they came up with their menu (authentic, aside from not cooking the beans for 3 days... and applesauce instead of dried fruit -- also, rare for cowboys on the trial to eat beef -- the cattle meant money in their pocket, so they rarely slaughtered a steer for food). He also introduced the Bar J Wranglers. Turns out he was one of them. Scott Humphery. His father ("Babe" Humphery) built the ranch 30 years before. He's sung and played rhythm guitar with the group since 1986. His younger brother, Bryan, has played the bass and sung with them since 1989. Wonderful western show. And amazing to have been treated so kindly by the owner, emcee, and one of the stars of the show.
L-R: (Top row) Donnie Cook, Jerry Baxter; (middle row) Tim Hodgson, "Babe" Humphery; (bottom row) Scott Humphery, and Bryan Humphery.

Next morning, we completed activities at the 4-H camp, which included (overall) rifle shooting, service (painting fence posts), archery, environmental science. Wonderful family time. As Cindy reminded me, first family vacation in forever.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Rove roundup for 7/18/05

Over at Instapundit. Again.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Rove roundup

Over at Instapundit.

Four suicide bombers on their way to work...

L-R: Hasib Hussain (18), Germaine Lindsay (19), Mohammad Sidique Khan (30), and Shahzad Tanweer (22), pictured entering Luton Station, at 0720 BST, 7/7/05.

Friday, July 15, 2005

US Army medic survives sniper attack, captures wounded sniper, treats him

Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer of Mendon, NY:
Read about it here, and see the video here. (The cowardly thugs filmed themselves, one of them repeating "Allah akhbar" ("God is great") after dropping the soldier with a shot from the safety of their van). The medic was stunned, but his body armor saved him.

Just one more example of the moral equivalence between the actions of a soldier from a democratic state and an enemy combatant supporting islamofascism... Not.

National security: Sandy Berger v. Karl Rove

Notably absent from the MSM is any report on former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger's plea deal for swiping confidential government documents from the National Archives. His sentencing's been delayed pending his further cooperation. Meanwhile, Karl Rove has been convicted and sentenced by the press. Proportionality? Heck it's just politics again. The MSM loves Clinton, loathes Bush.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Suicide bombers: dead and alive

Per the AP over at Fox News: So, set off a car bomb near the Green Zone in Baghdad. Then have two of your suicide bomber buddies set themselves off when troops and emergency personnel arrive to treat the wounded. An old PLO tactic. Sweet.

Only problem: Iraqi policeman shot and killed one suicide bomber (his bomb pack detonated from the bullet). And the other suicide bomber was wounded by schrapnel from the initial car bomb attack, and couldn't set himself off. But he's recovering in a U.S. military hospital... (Irony alert).

One kills himself. We kill one. And we save one from going to Allah. How inhumane of us. Must be some form of religious discrimination. Where's the BBC to condemn the senseless killing, er, um, saving, er, American beastliness, harumph?

Maybe if the survivor recovers sufficiently, we can give him "a fair trial followed by a first class hanging".*

* Sheriff Cobb in "Silverado"

Infinite loop

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, they're pointing out that there's a new leak: someone is leaking Karl Rove's grand jury testimony (see my last post). Perhaps there should be a federal investigation of that leak... And so it goes. And where it stops, nobody knows. Scandals are D.C.'s sultry days of summer bloodsport.

A twist of the tale

According to a recent wire service report, Rove got the ID of Plame from media sources. Hall of mirrors.

Ring-around-the-rosie: the NYT and Karl Rove

Did Karl Rove reveal the identity of a CIA agent to a reporter? Is reporter Judith Miller in jail for contempt because she would not reveal the identity of Karl Rove as her source? With its reporter in jail for refusing to reveal her source, is the New York Times doing its best to reveal that Rove was that source? Hmm. Federal law v. journalistic ethics. Nothing's clean about this case.

Rove purportedly "outed" the agent to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson, an administration critic. (Wilson, once a darling of the Left, has since himself been discredited). Although its reporter is in jail for refusing to "out" Rove, the NYT now seems to be breathlessly connecting the dots to "out" Rove -- because the NYT is an administration critic. All's fair in love and politics? Depends on whose ox is being gored.

In the case of Rove, it may be a federal crime to disclose the ID of a CIA agent. In the case of the NYT, it may be a violation of journalistic ethics (having a bit of a rough ride these days -- I'm gratified that journalists are now less trusted than lawyers). Ironic that its reporter is in jail for trying to uphold that old-fashioned concept.

Time will tell if Rove actually ID'd the agent, or confirmed what someone else already knew, or had anything nefarious to do in the whole affair. And if he were Judith Miller's source, where does that put the Times? Below its own reporter on the ethics totem pole?

The Left has busied itself finding Rove's sinister hand in Democrats' defeats since W became President. They are breathless now to bring him down.

It is hugely ironic that the heart of the story is the concept (both legal and ethical) that it is wrong to reveal someone's identity because they might be harmed.


Let's see, 19 hijackers fly four passenger airliners into buildings (or into a field after a fight with passengers to keep them from their target) killing and injuring thousands and destroying multistory buildings and causing millions of dollars of property damage. Authorities capture the 20th hijacker, and demean him and make him wear girls underwear during interrogations. Hmm. Q Is this inhuman treatment? A Of course. The hijackers are fanatically violent killers. Oh, you mean the detainee -- the 20th hijacker. Nope. Turns out he provided key intelligence. Probably saved lives. And he wasn't even tortured.

Thousands dead and injured. Women's underwear.

The real outrage is not Gitmo, but that many in the West have taken up the cause of terrorist's rights. Losing a sense of proportionality here, are we? What's impressive in the aftermath of the carnage of 9/11 is that there have been no substantiated reports of real torture by American interrogators or guards of their captives. See my previous post below. (Update: a later report says 18 children were killed by a suicide bomber while American servicemen gave them candy, 17 of them under age 13). We cannot expect the same from our enemies.

In a clash between civilizations, free market democracy on one hand and the death cult of islamofascism on the other, who has the moral high ground? Hmm. No brainer.

Thus, is it morally wrong to proclaim: "Death to terrorists"? Isn't that the really democratic thing to say?

Appeasement then and now

Not a fan of the LA Times. (Irony's our theme today...) Ironic that this kind of op-ed piece would appear in the LAT. Max Boot writes about Then and now, evil always wants more. Money quote:
Orwell's words, written in October 1941, ring true today: 'The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. As I have said, it is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality.'
Hat tip to the blogfather, Glenn Reynolds, for the link.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

An enemy worthy of death

A suicide bomber drove up to a Humvee where 4 US soldiers were handing out candy to Iraqi children and detonated a bomb killing 24 children, and 1 US soldier.

What unspeakable evil.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

2/4 July 1776

People around these parts were a bit annoyed that the Stadium of Fire (at BYU) and the Freedom Blast (at UofU) celebrations were held on Saturday, the 2nd of July, and not Monday, the 4th of July. Hat tip to Major K for this interesting historical note:
July 2, 1776 is the day Congress resolved to separate from Great Britain. John Adams thought that this was the day that Americans would celebrate. As he wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.
Instead we celebrate July 4, the day the final version of the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted.

Democracy v. Terrorists

Will Saletan notes:
[I]f we don't like our governments, we can vote them out. We can't vote out terrorists. We can only kill them.
Eugene Volokh adds:
Can, should, and will. As they say, except for defeating the Nazis and the Japanese, killing the rapists or murderers who are attacking you, stopping North Korea from overrunning South Korea, and a few other things, violence never solved anything. (And, yes, I realize that violence alone rarely solves everything, and that some violence causes more problems than it solves -- but sometimes it's an important part of a well-balanced defense diet.)

British bombing backfires (so far)

The Daily Telegraph reports poll results two days after. Money quote:
Moreover, the bombings have failed - despite Mr George Galloway's best efforts - to undermine support for the British presence in Iraq. The proportion wanting British troops brought home quickly has fallen and the proportion who now want Britain to retain its close ties with the US has risen.

Friday, July 08, 2005

First Madsen Eagle

My grandfather Madsen served on the LDS Church's Young Men's General Board for decades -- but he himself was never an Eagle Scout. My father and his two brothers were outdoorsmen and Scouts -- but were never Eagle Scouts. Although (God has a sense of humor) I was a Scoutmaster, I was a First Class with four merit badges. My oldest son was a First Class with five merit badges. And my son, David, who just turned 18 this week, completed his Eagle Board of Review last Sunday. He will be the first Madsen Eagle Scout. His Eagle project was to collect clothing and hygiene kits for the Philippines for the nonprofit Vaccines for the Philippines. The deliveries are taking place as we speak. Proud of the young man.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Belmont Club on London Attacks

Wretchard's take:

Just a few comments in the aftermath of the attack on London. The first and most important hard fact to grasp is that this Al Qaeda strike, their first against an Anglosphere city since 9/11, has caused much less damage than that on New York. This despite the fact that Al Qaeda has had nearly four years to brood on its humiliations and losses and to plot its revenge. The reasons for this are simple: the enemy is now operating in a much more hostile environment. The accessible methods of mass destruction, such as wide body aircraft, have been secured; not perfectly, but for a defense to work it must only be sufficient to blunt the onslaught of the enemy. Increased surveillance, tighter controls on movement, etc have all played their part. The second reason the enemy is weaker is Iraq. It is widely accepted that thousands of Al Qaeda fighters, the cream of their rancid crop, is fighting to expel the American infidel from the Land Between the Rivers. A moment's reflection will show that if they are there they cannot be elsewhere -- in London, Paris, Rome or Boston -- sowing bombs on buses and trains. Furthermore, fear in formerly smug circles within Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya at sharing the fate of Saddam have left terrorists have fewer powerful confederates. Thirdly, allied forces are in contact with the enemy all over the world, buying intelligence with their blood, just as a SEAL team in Afghanistan did. Nothing yields as much information as the act of grappling with the enemy. Liberals often talk about the need to improve intelligence capability without admitting that you can't gather it without being in action against the enemy.

The Al Qaeda have characterized the attack on London as 'punishment' for Britain's temerity to resist the inevitability of Islam. It is the kind of punishment these self-ordained masters of the universe are accustomed to meting out against harem women and insolent slaves. A few administered licks, and no doubt the cowardly kuffar will crawl back to his place. The tragedy is that Al Qaeda's perception is perfectly correct when applied to the Left, for whom no position is too supine, no degradation too shameful to endure; but incorrect for the vast majority of humans, in whom the instinct for self-preservation has not yet been extinguished. It will result in history's greatest case of mistaken identity; the mismatch that should never have happened. The enemy is even now dying at our feet, where we should kick him and kick him again.

USA 9/11; UK 7/7

4 bombs (2 duds?) in London today: 50+ killed, 700+ injured, many seriously.

Raises a couple of questions: if Paris had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games yesterday, would the bombs have gone off there today? Will Brits react like the Spaniards?

In the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism), did the terrorists just galvanize an ally or create a fearful friend?

My take? Brits will rally: "Death to terrorists."

Monday, July 04, 2005

The price of freedom

Liberals like Ted Kennedy are calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But that begs the central question: whether defeating the insurgents and foreign fighters in Iraq and establishing a stable democracy there is worth it. The broader question is whether freedom and democracy themselves are worth it.

Dissent in the United States is a right of a free people. But we are too quick to forget the cost in blood for the freedom we celebrate today.

Selfish isolationism in the face of tyranny and poverty in the majority of the world is not worthy of a wealthy and free people.

I subscribe to the "flypaper" theory about the war in Iraq: we are attracting terrorists to fight and die there, rather than launch attacks elsewhere, including in the U.S. I also believe that a democratic Iraq will transform the Middle East. And I believe the price is worth it.

At the Patriotic Service held in connection with America's Freedom Festival at Provo last night, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, was honored as a recipient of one of the Festival's "Freedom Awards." His bank gives tiny loans ($10) to the world's poor (so far nearly 5,000,000 recipients) so they can buy a cow, or a rice harvester, and thus start a business to lift themselves out of poverty.

Dr. Yunus said that 4 billion of the world's 6 billion people are not considered creditworthy because they have no collateral. His bank fills the credit gap.

He said the first generation of his bank's loan recipients were illiterate. But their children are now educated, and are becoming doctors and educators themselves. They are also repaying their loans. And his bank is profitable.

Dr. Yunus believes that credit is the key to relieving the world's poverty.

My oldest son is currently serving an internship in Honduras for Cause for Hope. He's evaluating the effectiveness of microloans, as well as teaching business seminars to help people become self-reliant.

America and American institutions should continue to be generous in spreading democracy and financial freedom around the world. Goethe wrote that "what we have inherited from our fathers, we must earn to keep." Part of the price of freedom is the obligation to maintain and share it.

Provo, Utah - 4 July 2005

The Grand Parade of America's Freedom Festival at Provo just concluded. Featured KC-135 Stratotanker and F-16 Fighting Falcon flyovers out of Hill AFB south down University Avenue directly over the parade route:

At the conclusion of the National Anthem ("...and the home of the brave") during the "Stadium of Fire" show Saturday night, four F-16s flew low over LaVell Edwards Stadium. On the JumboTron screen, there was a live cockpit shot of the lead pilot wishing those at the stadium a happy 4th of July. Then the F-16s circled and returned north, turning on their afterburners right over the stadium: "the sound of freedom."
America's Air Force -- Nothing Comes Close.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Mr. Obama lauds his own greatness

My opinion of Barack Obama, the freshman Senator from Illinois, is sinking just a bit, and stories such as this one, related by Peggy Noonan, help to contribute to that sinking feeling.

Parenthetically, I happen to be an admirer of Billy Graham, who is also mentioned in the same Peggy Noonan column. He embodies the Christian virtues he has preached so effectively for the past 60 years, a fact which I suppose explains how he could so gracefully tolerate the rather transparent attempt by Ahab and Jezebel to upstage him during what appears almost certain to be Dr. Graham's last crusade.

4 July 2005

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. . . .

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Friday, July 01, 2005

MSM buries Bush post-speech poll

If you don't agree, don't report it. Proof positive at Captain's Quarters. Money quote:
Gallup announced yesterday that it had taken a snap poll after the speech given by George Bush on the war in Iraq from Fort Bragg. The poll showed some movement bolstering support for the war. In fact, it showed Bush picking up ten points on whether we are winning in Iraq (up to 54%), twelve points on keeping troops in Iraq until the situation improves as opposed to setting an exit date for their evacuation (now at 70%/25%), and seven points on whether Bush has a clear plan for handling the war in Iraq (up to 63%/35%).