Thursday, August 24, 2006

The bash goes on . . . and on . . . and on . . .

William Jefferson Clinton turned 60 a few days ago. He claims to hate having arrived at that milestone, but being the kind of guy he is, he appears to be taking full advantage of the opportunity it affords him to be in the spotlight once again. I didn't know until today that over at least the next couple of months, he will appear at birthday celebrations in his honor in various parts of the country; but he does sort of personify narcissism, so I wasn't at all surprised by the news. Read the story here.

As for being 60, I'm not there yet, so I can't presume to know for certain what it will be like. But I'm only seven years behind Mr. Clinton, and I'd have to admit that, laying aside the intractable and unrelenting family crises I have to deal with -- which in no way are the natural or inevitable consequence of aging -- there are quite a few things I enjoy about being in my fifties, so I have reason to think I might actually enjoy hitting the big six-oh as well. True, I don't have the physical strength or endurance I had, say, 20 years ago, and nowadays arthritis is cramping my style just a bit. However, on the other hand, an admitted lack of common sense has created a lot of unnecessary problems for me throughout my life, but now I've lived long enough and had enough life experience to enable me to claim at least a modicum of it. And to look back on it, the decade of my 20s now seems kind of strange, erratic, and dysfunctional to me. Who would ever want to go through such a time again? Perhaps Mr. Clinton would like to, which would help explain why he hates being 60.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why this man should scare us

Found in today's online edition of the Daily Mail: this editorial about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and why all of us should be having nightmares about him -- including the Iranians themselves. And perhaps especially the Iranians.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Apple 30th Anniversary: Part I

Google video presentation of the original rise and fall of Apple here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Terrorism's global reach: carry ons get carried off

Just returned from a business trip to San Francisco. We had an early flight out of Oakland. But the line to get in the terminal snaked all the way down the sidewalk. We couldn't get through that line (then check our bags) and make our flight. So we opted to carry on our luggage, toiletries and all, and take our chances at security.

I carry a small bottle of consecrated olive oil in my pocket for religious purposes -- giving priesthood blessings. The TSA screener asked me what it was. I explained. His supervisor said it had to be confiscated because it was liquid. He apologized.

My bag was identified by an x-ray technician as containing liquids or gels. All my toiletries were in a ziplock bag. The TSA screener opened it, and removed my shaving oil, shaving cream, toothpaste, contact lens solutions, deodorant, and aftershave. He apologized when I explained I couldn't check the bag through and catch my flight.

It angers me that 25 Pakastani-born Muslim Brits (by a count of those arrested in a foiled plot) can, by their actions, mean that an American on a domestic flight between Oakland and Reno can't carry liquids or toiletries onto a commercial airliner.

Mark Steyn makes the point:
Excellent investigative work by MI-5 and Scotland Yard foiled this plot, and may foil the next one, and the one after that, and the 10 after that, and the 100 after those. And in the meantime, a thousand incremental inconveniences fall upon the citizen. If you had told an Englishman on Sept. 10, 2001, that within five years all hand luggage would be banned on flights from Britain, he'd have thought you were a kook. If you'd told an Englishwoman that all liquids would be banned except milk for newborn babies that could only be taken on board if the adult accompanying the child drinks from the bottle in front of a security guard, she'd have scoffed and said no one would ever put up with such a ludicrous imposition. But now it's here. What other changes will the Islamists have wrought in another five years?

Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world.

Terrorists not only kills innocents, they make everyday life inconvenient in a hundred new ways.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mr. Ahmadinejad joins the bloggers

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has now become the world's first head of state to have his own blog, according to this article in the online edition of Newsweek. The site, which is also available in Arabic and English in addition to Persian, may be found at I spent a few minutes looking at it before creating this post, and I will be checking it regularly in an effort -- probably futile, I realize -- to try to understand what makes this man tick.

His first post consists of a lengthy autobiographical essay, which I will not bother to describe here, except to note that Mr. Ahmadinejad is hardly likely to join U. S. Grant, Winston Churchill, Julius Caesar, and Benjamin Franklin as the author of one of the great autobiographies of all time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mike Wallace's latest journalistic "coup"

The lead item on this past Sunday evening's edition of "60 Minutes" was the much-anticipated interview of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by veteran CBS correspondent Mike Wallace. Since I follow developments in Iran very closely, I watched the interview. My own impressions may be summed up thus: (1) the Iranian president exudes self-assurance and does have a certain charm about him -- much as Adolf Hitler apparently displayed during his conferences with Mr. Chamberlain at Bad Godesberg and Munich during that fateful month of September, 1938; (2) in his ability to evade questions, Mr. Ahmadinejad reminded me of a Brazilian fellow I knew when we lived in Ohio, who routinely took 10 or 15 minutes to answer a question which called for a simple "yes" or "no" answer; and (3) Mr. Ahmadinejad's inability to answer questions directly was apparently matched only by Mr. Wallace's corresponding inability to pose the kinds of questions the world really needs to have answered. (In fairness to Mike Wallace, however, I suppose he might have felt more comfortable doing another interview with Gordon B. Hinckley instead of this one.)

Dennis Prager weighs in with a concurring opinion in today's edition of Jewish World Review. Mr. Ahmadinejad, quite frankly, gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I, for one, believe his country and its people deserve something far better than what they now have. I have friends in Iran, and great respect for their culture and history. I hope someday to see Iran become free (on its own terms), then prosper and thrive and take its place as an honored member of the family of nations. But that will be nothing more than a pleasing fantasy as long as the current regime remains in power.

(Update: On a much more cheerful note, click here to see four very good reasons for wishing Iran a bright and prosperous future.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Advocates of "proportion" are just unbalanced

Mark Steyn chronicles a double standard of rhetoric on what is disproportionate and examines a bipolar world.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Civil war in Iraq?

Strategy Page gives a history lesson. Probable end result: mass expulsion or destruction of Iraqi Sunnis.

Hezbollah and Israel as proxies in an international conflict

Krauthammer on Israel's lost moment.

"Disproportionate: in what moral universe?"

Krauthammer weighs in.

Tony Blair on the schism in Islam as the threat of our age

Read the PM's speech here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Select outrage to advance the cause of Islamic fascism"

Bill O'Reilly's talking points nails it.

Targeting Hezbollah

Aerial photos of a section of Beirut before and after Israeli airstrikes.