Life Imitates South Park

Via Say Anything. At the risk of offending the trans-gender community, Ew.

“It was magnificent,” McBeth said afterward. “You saw democracy in action.”

McBeth, a retired sales executive who was married for 33 years and had three children, underwent gender reassignment surgery last year and re-applied for her job under her new name.

McBeth on Monday told the school board and the crowd that she loves teaching and children, and looks forward to returning to the classroom.

Rob observes: “I don’t have a problem with transsexuals (what they want to do with their bodies is fine by me, I guess) but I’m pretty sure I’d draw the line at having one teach my child. I mean, if a person can’t figure out what gender they are I’m not real keen on them being responsible for my kid’s education.”

I fully support the rights of people to look like they want and live as they see fit (consenting adults and all), but not every career is for everyone.

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  • Filed in: Misc at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    RINO Sightings

    The Raging RINOs have been spotted over at Gary’s Ex-Donkey blog. More stuff on the Dubai port deal- in the RINO tradition both pro and con- and everything else going on in the RINO-sphere this week. Click already.

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  • Filed in: Misc at 8:16 am on Monday, February 27, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    It Didn’t Work- Iraq as Failure

    According to William F. Buckley, that is. H/T: Enrevanche.

    Buckley:

    One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samarra and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “the bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

    Mommy, hold me! A b…bbb…bomb blew up in Iraq and the Iraqis are mad!

    Sorry, Bill, I’m not drinking the Paleo-con Kool-Aid. As Captain Ed says better and more voluminously:

    And here we have the essential Buckley, revealed. The traditional conservative position reached its most potent expression in the policies of Brent Scowcroft, the last bastion of realpolitik in government. Conservatives for decades fought against foreign entanglements and the liberation of people from tyranny for its own sake, only espousing military intervention when clear and short-term American economic or strategic interests came under threat. Buckley and Scowcroft would never have suggested that the US depose Saddam Hussein, mostly because they would not have thought that the oppression and genocide of Iraqis was worth the expense and headache of liberation. That thought kept the US from pushing through to Baghdad in 1991, when Scowcroft had Bush 41’s ear, and when Saddam could have easily been toppled.

    Bush 43 is not a conservative in foreign policy, at least since 9/11 taught him that genocidal tyrannies in Southwest Asia could produce immediate and existential threats to the American homeland. He has been much closer to Woodrow Wilson than his father or even Ronald Reagan in his reaction to the world.

    The choice we face is nothing less than to engage the world and spread the values and institutions that support our great freedom and prosperity or, failing that, withdrawing into a coccoon where we hope to hide until the crocodile eats us last.

    It is far too soon to abandon the Iraqis, much less give up the ambition of transforming the Middle East. If we do fail in our efforts, we can always withdraw into a coccoon later.

    But it’s often darkest just before the dawn. Iraq’s ongoing struggle to form a government (the obvious target of the Samarra mosque bombing) continues and our government will remain steadfast.

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  • Filed in: War on Terror at 2:07 pm on Saturday, February 25, 2006 TrackBack 2 Comments | view comments »

    Weekend Video Funny

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  • Filed in: Misc at 10:06 am on Saturday, February 25, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    Bush: Port Security- No Worries

    Chumming the water:

    President Bush on Thursday defended his administration’s decision to allow a company from an Arab country to operate six major U.S. ports, saying, “People don’t need to worry about security.”

    “This deal wouldn’t go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America,” Bush told reporters during a Cabinet meeting. He emphasized that “port security will be run by U.S. customs and the U.S. Coast Guard.”

    People don’t need to worry about security! Ah, W., you’re just chumming them, now!

    I wrote here there were two possibilities behind the failure to prepare people for the Dubai Ports story- incompetence and strategery:

    The other assumption with the Bush administration is strategery. Given Bush’s total win on the NSA issue, I’m inclined to think the administration wants a public debate…

    This is brilliant politics. Telling people not to worry about security is like telling them not to think of an elephant.

    Now the Dems will begin detailing our security short-comings and accusing the President of lying and putting the nation at risk.

    All this might just allow him to re-shape our port and border security without being the Bushitlerburton. Kudos to Rove, who’s been bringing his A-game since the NSA “spy” thing.

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  • Filed in: Politics, War on Terror at 2:39 pm on Thursday, February 23, 2006 TrackBack 4 Comments | view comments »

    Dubai Ports Part 2

    Jim Geraghty, of The Kerry Spot (ok, TKS, but geez) writes:

    The controversy over this port sale have been driven by a great deal of vague, ominous and sloppy language thrown around by lawmakers, the media and bloggers. Had this discussion been marked by precision and a focus on just what was at stake, this would not have turned into the brouhaha it did. One almost wonders if the misleading language was deliberate.

    Sad to say, some of my favorite bloggers used language that was vague, unclear, and helped foster misconceptions. For example, back on February 12, Instapundit observed the sale, and declared that it, “doesn’t sound like much of a Homeland Security triumph”…

    I’m generally a big fan of the New York Post, but the way this story arranges the facts appears to be some pretty blatant scaremongering.

    Declaring that the UAE “has financial links to the 9/11 hijackers” makes it sound like the country’s government itself backed the attacks instead of some of its citizens; if that were the case, we would have invaded them.

    Just what does it take for a country to have, as a New York Post editorial put it, “ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers?” The editorial observes that the country’s “banking system - considered the commercial center of the Arab world - provided most of the cash for the 9/11 hijackers.” Terrorists look to financing in Dubai for the same reason Billy the Kid robbed banks; that’s where the money is. I’m sure terror financing runs through Dubai; financing for just about every economic activity in the region runs through Dubai.

    “Much of the operational planning for the World Trade Center attacks took place inside the UAE.” Well, the Hamburg cell planned a lot in Germany. Are we to distrust German companies? Does this fact outweigh the fact that our military leaders credit the UAE for cooperation and help in the war on terror, and call them “very, very solid partners”? Do we suspect that Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace are lying, and putting American lives at risk because they really want to see this deal go through?

    Read the whole TKS bit. I don’t think Geraghty puts too fine a point on it. In crying foul about the Dubai Ports takeover, you basically have to assume President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, the rest of the administration, and the military are knowingly and intentionally placing national security subordinate to some kind of commercial interest.

    That’s a fever swamp position.

    Then we have Reynolds blaming the victim:

    I will admit that my knee jerked on hearing this story, and that I should have waited to learn more before offering an opinion. In my defense, I’ll note that I gathered more information and changed my mind. Still, mea culpa.

    Nicely played.

    But (and this is a separate point from the merits of the decision, or of my take thereon) it wasn’t just me — there were an awful lot of knees jerking on this decision, and the White House, or somebody, should have foreseen that. That doesn’t get me off the hook, of course, but it doesn’t reflect well on them, either.

    So the White House should have foreseen that its staunchest defenders in the War on Terror would stab it in the back because the defenders fail (deliberately?) to understand what is taking place?

    What’s more, this issue resonates so much because there is a huge amount of dissatisfaction out there regarding the Administration’s position on border control and homeland security. That’s certainly something they should know about, and that made this problem even more predictable.

    Ah, so the President’s poor policies on immigration open him to criticism on national security? Fine. But don’t expect any blossoming of openness from this administration.

    I’m sure W. is used to being damned for whatever he does by his critics. He’s getting the same from his “supporters”.

    Update: Too much sensemade here.

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  • Filed in: Politics, War on Terror at 8:45 am on Thursday, February 23, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    The Dubai Port Debate

    Lileks, this morning:

    As for the first, the assertion that American firms were the lower bidder is unpersuasive, rather like saying that we should have outsourced the flight crew for the Enola Gay to Japanese nationals because they knew the terrain better. As for the trust issue, well, wanting port control to remain in American hands is not a matter of Arabiaphobia, any more than selling Boeing to China means you harbor deep hatred of Asians. Some things ought to be left in local hands. It seems absurd to have to make that argument in the first place. The UAE is not exactly stuffed stem to stern with pro-American individuals; the idea that the emirs will stand foursquare against infiltration by those who have ulterior motives is the sort of wishful thinking that makes buildings fall and cities empty.

    This line of thinking is disappointing from such a perceptive and eloquent writer. No Middle Eastern country is composed of 100% pro-Americans and 0% jihadis. However, the UAE is one of the most pro-Western nations in the region. Dubai, enriched by the high price of oil, is engaged in feats of engineering and capitalism such as building an indoor ski resort, designed to weather 120 degree summers. Does that sound like the act of a culture of death and destruction?

    The trust issue is patently absurd on its face. As many have been at pains to point out, the ports are operated by a British company, recently taken over by Dubai Ports. The outrage of the British operating the port of Baltimore seems to have missed my ears. While it is true that it would be preferable for an American firm to operate American ports, I am unaware of a US company specializing in such matters.

    Lileks continues:

    We’re told we’re at war, and we reach back for the wartime memories we all saw in the movies and read in the novels: Yanks walking along fences with a dog, rifle on the shoulder, searchlight playing on the ground, stealthy foes ever at the perimeter. It was never that tight, of course; it was never that dramatic. But there were the constant imprecations to be vigilant, because peril lurked. That would have been undercut, perhaps, if the Roosevelt Administration had given port control to Franco.

    Well, not the best analogy, perhaps. But the specifics don’t matter; arguments about the specific nature of the Dubai Ports World organization’s global reach and responsible track records don’t matter. Because it feels immediately, instinctively wrong to nearly every American, and that isn’t something that can be argued away with charts or glossy brochures. It just doesn’t sit well. Period.

    It’s a terrible analogy. Fences are no option for the US in this War on Terror. Retreating behind walls and guards and searchlights is submitting to fear. We see the analogue in Iraq. Soldiers in heavily-defended forward operating bases (FOBs) are not defeating the insurgency as effectively as those who work directly with the people.

    I am not as convinced of defeat as AJ Strata:

    Surprisingly, we look to be adopting the European solution to this issue, make foreigners (sometimes known as immigrants) second class citizens, unfit for certain work. Because make no mistake about it, once the precedent is set those consumed by fear will use it to push Arabs and Muslims out of certain jobs in banking, transportation, engineering, medicine, security, law enforcement, etc. Radical muslims in all these areas pose a risk. And then we will find that those who oppose such acts will need to be segregated along with their Arab-Muslim friends, just to be extra cuatious. And then Bin Laden will be able to die a happy man.

    How’s that for fantasizing? Tragically, that scenario has run through mankind’s history many, many times. Europeans refined it early in the last century. Standing tall against these waves of panic has been the rare exception. And that used to be our role in the world.

    So it is sad to say I cannot support a party that throws out what it means to be America every time they get spooked or surprised (which, from all the excuses I have read sums them all up). The media says ‘boo!’ and we start reacting emotionally, without thought or control.

    Of the defenses of the UAE running the ports, Instapundit says “You’d think the White House would have been ready with stuff like this, wouldn’t you?” That’s the incompetence assumption. The other assumption with the Bush administration is strategery. Given Bush’s total win on the NSA issue, I’m inclined to think the administration wants a public debate, one that will hopefully avert AJ Strata’s forlorn vision.

    In the final analysis, I have no freaking idea whether DP running US ports is a good idea. But as good as the blogosphere is in shedding light on obscure topics, so far, it has generated only heat.

    Update 2: Jimbo at Blackfive nails it:

    We have already been told that Dubai has been very helpful in the financial dismantling of Al-Qaeda, and now we will repay them by saying “Yeah, but you’re still Arabs and Muslims, thanks for your support.” W has taken plenty of heat for diplomatic failings, slapping Dubai in the face for the crime of Operating While Arab would be a major mistake. We need Arab and Muslim partners who have a financial stake in ensuring the bad guys can’t use our ports, and we can either gain some good will or help bin Laden’s recruiters.

    Why is it that all the military folks, the ones with national security experience, are making calm, reflective posts, and most of us wannabe terrorist baggers are howling like enraged baboons? Must be because they know what the hell they’re talking about.

    Update: heat, but shiny at Dennis the Peasant- Warning: only partially Pajamas Media bashing. Read as directed.

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  • Filed in: Politics, War on Terror at 9:49 am on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 TrackBack 4 Comments | view comments »

    RINO Sightings

    At All Things Jen.

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    Click already click

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  • Filed in: Misc at 1:15 pm on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    Pentagon Propaganda

    In what should have been a call to action for the media, CNN at least is still asleep at the wheel:

    The Pentagon’s propaganda machine still operates mostly eight hours a day, five or six days a week while the challenges it faces occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rumsfeld called that a “dangerous deficiency.”

    He lamented that vast media attention about U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq outweighed that given to the discovery of “Saddam Hussein’s mass graves.”

    On satellite television and other media not under Arab state control, he said, “While al Qaeda and extremist movements have utilized this forum for many years … we in the government have barely even begun to compete in reaching their audiences.”

    Rumsfeld also cited the methodical U.S. response to a Newsweek magazine report that interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had placed the Koran, Islam’s holy book, on toilets and flushed one down.

    After riots around the world killed 16 people, Newsweek retracted the story.

    “It was posted on Web sites, sent in e-mails, repeated on satellite television, radio stations for days, before the facts could be discovered,” Rumsfeld said.

    Rumsfeld is right- the MSM spreads stories of dubious control, but somehow refrain to call their false reports propaganda…

    What would be nice is for the American media at least to refrain from calling governmental pronouncements ‘propaganda’ OR for them to term enemy media as propaganda. Critical thinkers can determine the truth for themselves, but let’s at least level the playing field…

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  • Filed in: Politics, War on Terror at 9:21 am on Monday, February 20, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    Al-Qaeda & Yemen

    Jane Novak, proprietor of the excellent Armies of Liberation blog, has a great article: Al-Qaeda escape in Yemen.

    Excerpt:

    These Al Qaeda loyalists are motivated by ideology, and are well organized and well indoctrinated, he says, with several officers of the Republican Guards responsible for coordinating and aiding the activities of jihadist groups in Yemen including transportation, security, documentation and financing. These regime officials engage in money laundering and remuneration, through large Yemeni companies and through real estate, business and stock transactions in the Gulf States and South Asia including South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

    Those jihadists still in prison are kept to be released on demand, al-Hasani notes, “When they need them to do anything against their political enemies, they will be released for this purpose. This also means they can be used by the authorities against U.S. interests and targets.” The escape of the 23 prisoners, he concludes, could not have happened without President Saleh’s “will and wish.”

    Read it all.

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  • Filed in: War on Terror at 10:55 am on Friday, February 17, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up
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