Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have a Happy New Year

I would like to wish both of my faithful readers the happiest possible year 2010 Anno Domini. May you have great prosperity and health in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Incompetent (and Corrupt) Government - DOJ

From Andy McCarthy at NRO, We Interrupt this Socialization of Medicine to Bring You an Abdication of Our National Defense

As always, read the whole thing. It discusses the movement of prisoners out of Gitmo but both the Bush and Obama administrations and impropriety in the Department of Justice. The last paragraph;
And then there is the appearance of impropriety. As Tom Joscelyn explains, the Justice Department has taken the lead role in making release determinations — the military command at Gitmo has "zero input" and "zero influence," in its own words. DOJ is rife with attorneys who represented and advocated for the detainees, and, in particular, Attorney General Holder's firm, represented numerous Yemeni enemy combatants. Does Justice not appreciate not only how perilous but how unseemly it appears under the circumstances for it to be leading the charge to release the Yemeni detainees? And could anyone really believe that the supposedly noxious symbolism of Gitmo is more dangerous to Americans than is deporting terrorists to the places where terrorism thrives?

Our Incompetent Government - Congress

One of the great things about the way our government works is that if a law is passed that is later discovered to be flawed, it can be repealed. This applies even of the law is an amendment to the Constitution, e.g. Prohibition.

Found at The Weekly Standard, Reid Bill Says Future Congresses Cannot Repeal Parts of Reid Bill

On page 1020 of the bill we find,
16 SUBSECTION.—It shall not be in order in the
17 Senate or the House of Representatives to con
18 sider any bill, resolution, amendment, or con
19 ference report that would repeal or otherwise
20 change this subsection.
Read the post linked above at The Weekly Standard for Sen. Jim DeMint's comments.

Every graduate of a high school civics course (from back in the days when high schools had civics courses) would know how wrong headed and dangerous this is.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Obama Said What ?!?

Ok, I know that this is old news now (see previous post) but it is interesting news.

From the Great Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, Obama's Nobel Acceptance Speech.

Of course, Charles and I differ. My thoughts on Mr. Obama are well known. Still, when someone says the right things, it must be acknowledged. While I will not (yet) go so far as to say that Mr. Obama is a centrist president I will commend him for the speech that he gave in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. Here it is. Read it all.

Text of Barack Obama Nobel Prize acceptance lecture
Over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers, clerics, and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.

For most of history, this concept of just war was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. Wars between armies gave way to wars between nations – total wars in which the distinction between combatant and civilian became blurred.

In the span of thirty years, such carnage would twice engulf this continent. And while it is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.

In the wake of such destruction, and with the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear to victor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another World War. And so, a quarter century after the United States Senate rejected the League of Nations – an idea for which Woodrow Wilson received this Prize – America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, and restrict the most dangerous weapons.

In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.
And, it seems that he has stopped apologizing.
I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago – “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing na├»ve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.

But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter the cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.

Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.

The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another – that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.
I hope that he means what he says, for I am in complete agreement.

My Last Windows Machine

Once again I find myself apologizing to both of my faithful readers for the gap in my posting. My computer, a Hewlett Packard Laptop running Windows Vista. There is a motherboard failure of some kind. Without going into details, the Repair Service people told the NEX (Navy Exchange) people on thing about what the will do and how much they will charge, and then when I called for the telephone troubleshooting that I expected to do, they told me something entirely different. They had given an minimum estimate to the NEX. When I called them they gave me a minimum estimate $100 higher. In the course of my computer issues, by backups failed as well (I won't go into that now, but beware of Nero) so I have lost all of my data. The result of a perfect Windows data storm. The time is right for a switch.

So, that is the end of Windows machines for me. I know that this particular problem is (mostly) not a software problem, but I have had many of those as well. As for the hardware, it seems that manufacturers of Windows machines crank them out a a rate that does not allow for adequate quality control. Between my wife and I we have owned machines by (in chronological order) Flex, AST, Hewlett Packard, Fujitsu (the only one that never failed), Dell, Sony, Toshiba, and Hewlett Packard again (the laptop that is the subject of this post).

My wife has now owned a MacBook Pro for two years that has not so much as hiccuped.I work with engineers, two of whom own MacBooks and have had the same experience. Very nearly everyone I know that owns Windows machines tell me that the have problems at least once a year, and sometime more often than that. That is my experience as well.

So I'm through. When I have saved the money (approx 6 weeks - I pay cash for everything except houses and cars) I will buy the base MacBook. I don't need the Pro. The base one has all of the computing power that I need and a 7 hour battery. With a 13 inch screen (a little small, I admit) it will be truely portable - lasting long enough to be really useful on my long and now frequent flights to Japan. And, if I should be able to recover my data, Mac will process all of that as well. iWork handles all Microsoft Office file types.