Main | April 2003 »

March 25, 2003

War Info Resources

As I've said before, I have no desire to make this a "warblog". I do seek out timely and reliable information on the war though, and have examined a number of sites, blogs and otherwise, during the last few days to identify resources that work for me.

The Internet doesn't always have the immediacy of TV, but what it does offer, (if the information is organized for you), is a "menu" of resources, both fact and opinion/analysis, that you can't get from TV, even if you are "channel-surfing".

A couple of blogs that aim to do that kind of synthesis and summary of war articles and information, and appear to be doing it well, are The Agonist by Sean-Paul Kelley, and Winds of Change by Joe Katzman. Check them out and see if you agree.

NRO has supplemented its blog, The Corner with another war-related blog by Jed Babbin. Combine that with the always readable David Frum's Diary, and throw in VDH and the other regulars at NRO and see why it is a daily "must read" for war facts and analysis, in my humble opinion, that is.

Instapundit, while not a warblog per se, does a nice job of keeping up with events as well, and I try not to let a day go by without reading what Andrew Sullivan has to say. OK, enough already! I've just suggested that you visit the #1 and the #2 weblogs on the planet. News Flash!

March 20, 2003

Timing is Everything

War starts tonight. I get on a plane tomorrow morning. Don't suppose there will be much security at the airport, right? I'm going to Tampa for a weekend of NCAA tournament basketball, with a round of golf thrown in. 40-plus guys from Akron area have been making a trip to some southeastern locale for the NCAA for 16 years now. It's only my second time around, and my timing has been better. Separation from wife, home and dog are not my first instincts right now, and, as excited as I have been about the trip, I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about it at this moment. My son Andy is in Vegas as of a few hours ago. Be smart, Andy. I'll catch up with a weekend's worth of stuff by Tuesday. Hang tough.

March 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Al Wismar

Dad, I'm thinking about you today. I still miss you. We all do.

A friend of mine related a story to me the other day that brought home to me once again what a remarkable man my father was. The friend belongs to a sportman's club owned by the grandson of the founder of the company where Dad worked. Aware of the connection, my friend mentioned Dad's name to this gentleman, who had, as the third generation, run the company that employed my father for his entire working life.

The company owner warmed at the mention of Al Wismar, and he told my friend the story of the hard-working man who started off at age 17 as a delivery truck "runner" and advanced to manage the Data Processing and Administrative departments for the entire company. He revealed to my friend how this man was revered by all in the organization, and what a positive influence he was for company morale, proving as he did that hard work and loyalty could pay off with success and advancement. Just the fact that this busy man took the time with my friend to relate the story says a lot about Dad's impact on the company and the people in it.

I had never given much thought before to the ways in which Dad's career was a source of pride to the owners of the company he served. Sure, his family and friends had always marveled that he worked for a company for 50 years in an era in which gold watches and fancy dinners are given for employees who serve for 25. We knew his co-workers loved him, right down to the hourly laborers in the warehouse, and that his relationship with the owners' families was something beyond your everyday employer-employee connection. But it was nice to be reminded of it by hearing of a chance encounter, and a warm remembrance.

What Will Saddam Do?

It looks as though Saddam will be quite willing to create a human catastrophe among his own citizens as part of his tactics in the coming conflict, as Amir Taheri details at NRO. An excerpt:

The third goal of the plan is to maximize civilian casualties in the hope of shocking world public opinion, especially in the United States, into even stiffer opposition to the war. This is why Saddam has positioned almost all of his best assets in densely populated areas. Antiaircraft guns, heavy artillery pieces, and tanks are stationed inside cities, including in mosque, hospital courtyards, and school playgrounds.

Saddam's address to his commanders Sunday included this ominous phrase: "We shall see how many Iraqis the aggressors are prepared to kill."

Iraqi Links to Terror

One thing we know about Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait twelve years ago is that Iraqi intelligence tampered with files of Kuwaiti citizens. Is it possible that one extended family of terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef, responsible for both WTC bombings and other terrorist attacks on the U.S., may be agents of Iraqi intelligence, operating using forged identities from Kuwaiti records? Laurie Mylroie connects some dots in an extremely interesting article in today's OpinionJournal.


I've obviously been away from the blog for a few days. Participated in a racquetball tournament over the weekend that beat up my body, and monopolized my time for three days, with mixed results (competitively, that is).

Not a whole lot to say on the onset of war this evening, other than the fact that I'm praying for a minimal loss of human life on both sides, and for wisdom for the people who will be putting a government back together in Iraq in the aftermath. Sounds like defections are ongoing. It would be a blessing if the leaflets, broadcasts and pre-invasion information encourage soldiers not to die for Saddam.

I think what Tom Daschle said today is despicable, that Bush had handled diplomacy "so miserably that he has brought us to war." (I missed his congratulations on Bush's stellar diplomacy when he got a 15-0 vote on 1441) Is nothing beneath the Democratic Party leadership when it comes to exploitation for partisan political purposes? I think not. Lieberman, on the other hand, showed class.

Two points to make in this regard. First, that Solomon himself could have been negotiating in the Security Council and would have been unable to pass a resolution that France had vowed to veto, no matter what the terms turned out to be!

Second, the end result would have been the same. We would be going to war one way or the other. Either with a resolution, or without one. Saddam wasn't going to budge either way. So, what's the practical difference? Nothing other than the self-perception of relevance for the U.N.

Now the U.N. can lie in the bed it has made, and live with the fact that they voted 15-0 for a resolution that they then refused to enforce. It joins the other 16 resolutions on Iraq in the scrap heap. Let's also remember, that of the 70 or so military conflicts contested in the half century of the U.N.'s existence, only TWO have gone forward with the "approval" of the Security Council.

The first Gulf War was one, and the other, (I was reminded by George Will), came about virtually by accident, when the Korean conflict in 1950 was approved only because the Soviets, who had walked out in protest of some other matter, weren't present for the vote, which they would surely have otherwise vetoed.

By my figuring, that leaves out France's recent "unilateral" military foray into the Ivory Coast. Chirac can't let this U.N. consultation thing get out of hand. As for Chirac and Saddam, I guess one man's mass murderer is another man's business partner. And besides, I'm betting there's a whole lot of business paperwork in Baghdad written in French. We'll see.

One might express the same sentiment for Chirac, that Gen. McNeill had for Saddam when he was interviewed today from his command in Afghanistan, on what will become of the dictator......."Whatever he reaps, he has sown"

So be it.

March 13, 2003

Pete and Joe

I love baseball, and I love to read anything by Thomas Sowell. Not until today had those two interests intersected. Mr. Sowell doesn't think that Pete Rose should be considered for the Hall of Fame until after Shoeless Joe Jackson gets in. And he thinks that should be never.

Exploitation of the Word

Oriana Fallaci, the transplanted (to NYC) Italian jounalist, talks of war, Blair, Saddam, WWII, and our "enemies" in Europe in this piece today. Old enough to remember the liberation of Europe by the Allies, she expresses her loathing for war, but refutes the "war is never the answer" crowd:

Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns. At the same time, however, I don't accept the principle, or should I say the slogan, that "All wars are unjust, illegitimate." The war against Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito was just, was legitimate. The Risorgimento wars that my ancestors fought against the invaders of Italy were just, were legitimate. And so was the war of independence that Americans fought against Britain. So are the wars (or revolutions) which happen to regain dignity, freedom. I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.

It is that "exploitation of the word" that we are seeing so much of now from what I will call the "anti-Bush" antiwar crowd. That is, the subset of the antiwar movement who oppose the liberation of Iraq but have no viable alternative to propose to enforce 1441 (or any other U.N. pronouncement). Their opposition to military action seems no deeper than their political partisanship, (or in the case of "Old Europe", their knee-jerk need to restrain American power, or undermine a projected American "success"). If it were, we would recall having heard from them during one or more of the various non-U.N. sanctioned military involvements by Bill Clinton during the 90's. Andrew Sullivan points out the similarities of the Bush and Clinton Iraq policies in this recent article. The differences are matters of circumstances and "follow through". Derided as having a disastrous diplomatic record, Bush has actually performed admirably on the international stage. An excerpt from the Sullivan piece (read it all):

But again, this schmooze comparison is also overblown. Bush has spent many hours cultivating world leaders. How do you explain, for example, his remarkable relationship with Tony Blair - an ideological and personal opposite? Or the hours and hours Bush spent bringing Vladimir Putin around on NATO expansion and the end of the ABM Treaty? Or the equally impressive relationship with Pakistan's Musharraf - a relationship that last week delivered the biggest victory against al Qaeda since the liberation of Afghanistan? As for diplomacy, few would argue that Madeleine Albright is a more credible figure than Colin Powell. And last December's 15-0 U.N. Resolution against Saddam was a huge diplomatic coup for the White House. It is hardly the Americans' fault if the French and Russians simply refuse to enforce the plain meaning of the resolution they previously signed.

The status quo in Iraq is not "peace". Opponents of the U.S. liberation of Iraq, from France to the Pope to Sheryl Crow, have hijacked the word, and try to associate it somehow with the policy that they favor. That policy, no matter how they dress it up, leaves Saddam in power and maintains a status quo of death, oppression, and torture.

March 12, 2003

"Walk Away, Mr. President"

Charles Krauthammer is a "plain dealer". I like that about him. Here, he says what he thinks Mr. Bush needs to hear this Wednesday morning. An excerpt:

The Gulf War ended in a cease-fire, whose terms everybody agrees Saddam has violated. You could very well have gone to war under the original Security Council resolutions of 1991 and been justified. I understand why you did not. There is a large segment of American opinion that swoons at the words ``United Nations'' and ``international community.'' That the international community is a fiction and the U.N. a farce hardly matters. People believe in them. It was for them that you went to the U.N. on Sept. 12, 2002.

If you must have a second resolution, it should consist of a single sentence: ``The Security Council finds Iraq in violation of Resolution 1441, which demanded `full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions.'''

The resolution should be a statement not of policy but of fact. The fact is undeniable. You invite the French to cast what will be seen around the world as the most cynical veto in the history of the council, which is saying a lot. They may cast it. They are French. But then they--not you--will have to do the explaining for perpetrating such an obvious lie.

March 11, 2003

More Triblogging has a nice feature article on Brandon Phillips, the Indians 21 year-old phenom infielder. I saw enough of him last fall to be convinced he's something special. The only question for the Tribe braintrust is to determine if the team is better with John McDonald at second every day, and Phillips polishing his skills in AAA ball for another year, or instead deciding that "the future is now".

Joe Table, Get Over It!

Jose Mesa wants to kill Omar Vizquel. Just because Omar says Mesa choked in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Hey Jose, just because we Indians fans had been waiting 43 years for a chance to sit atop the baseball world just once, doesn't mean we take it personally or anything, you BUM.

Ninth inning, one run lead, Game Seven, World Series. Our CLOSER on the mound. Millions of long-suffering Tribe fans with their hearts in their throats. You blow the save. You probably think nobody feels worse about it than you do. What would you know? You don't even "work" here anymore.

Now a future Hall of Famer who still wears the Wahoo writes a few honest words in a book about how you seemed totally out of it when he came to the mound to talk to you in that ninth inning situation, and you want to kill him. And the reporter who interviewed you said you weren't being sarcastic or joking, but that you seemed dead serious. Nice.

First of all, you're a big guy. Your left leg and half your ass weighs more than Omar. But you know something....I don't think you even want to fight Omar one-on-one. I think you want to stand out on the mound and throw a baseball at his head like you did last year. You drilled him between the shoulder blades with a 90-something fastball in a meaningless late-game situation. That took courage.

You have told people in the six intervening years that you were ashamed and humiliated by the experience of losing that lead in the Series. Hey, you're sorry, Omar's sorry, we're all freakin' sorry that the Indians lost the game and that we're still waiting for that World Series championship. But gosh, we're sorry that your fragile ego took a beating, and we understand that now you're looking to "shoot the messenger" to make yourself feel better.

You were a great closer for two or three years there. We would never have been in either the '95 or '97 Series without you. I'm sorry you've had to struggle through the last few years making a few million a year to play a boy's game, after all you've been through.

I see you've even involved your young son in your blood feud. I'm quoting you here, "Even my little boy told me to get him". Nice touch. He probably came up with that all by himself.

Omar's couldn't help taking note of the weight differential should there be a fight between them. "I'm a flyweight. He's a heavyweight."

But then he added, "if that's what he wants, he knows where to find me"

UPDATE: Seems Major League Baseball is going to do something of an investigation of Mesa's threats

March 10, 2003

U.N. Can Get Back to Work is always good for a grin

National Champ Alert

I have no intention of making this a warblog , nor is it to be "All Bush, All the Time".

Other weighty matters require our attention. Like what does the future look like for the Buckeyes at the Quarterback position. As you might imagine, provides an in-depth report that projects Buckeye QB's out to 2009 or so. Bordering on "too much information" even for the fanatic? Nah!

Go Bucks!

March 9, 2003

Nervous or Comforted?

Seems there's a lot of ink being spilled in recent days on the subject of George Bush's religious faith, and the question of if, and how much that faith informs his policy-making and how his expressions of his faith are perceived by people here and abroad. (Since I am an expert on nothing related to this topic, least of all the theology part, let me say that I simply wanted to summarize some of the stuff I've been seeing and get my own layman's observations in, in typical long-winded fashion)

Some of Bush's domestic detractors are afraid that his openness about his Christianity may tend to put some people off. The Europeans, in their post-religious sophistication are... well, put off. The Arab world would have the rest of mankind believe that George Bush is a great "danger" to the world not in spite of, but because of his particular brand of faith in God.

With all the talk of Bush being "simplistic" and stubbornly blind to the "nuances" of the situation that are so evident to sophisticated elites, Le Monde editorializes with their "nuanced" take on Bush's Christian faith (imperfectly translated, no doubt):

And God in all that? Well, God has a hot line to George W. Bush. Or rather the reverse. Bush has made God American and Christian . God saved Bush, the sinner, lost on the path of alcohol and vice. God made Bush Chair. Bush is thus the President of God on Earth.

I see.

Here at home, it seems that while many Americans are given comfort by the idea of a religious man in the White House, others are clearly unsettled by his expressions of his faith. Newsweek has an excellent cover story this week (March 10) entitled "Bush and God", by Howard Fineman, in which he quotes one observer:

“People appreciate his devotion to faith, but, in the context of war, there is a fine line, and he is starting to make people nervous,” says Steve Waldman, the editor and CEO of Beliefnet, a popular and authoritative Web site on religion and society. “They appreciate his moral clarity and decisiveness. But they wonder if he is ignoring nuances in what sounds like a messianic mission.”

In a sidebar piece in Newsweek, one Martin E. Marty, a Lutheran minister and divinity school professor defines "the problem" in a piece called "The Sin of Pride":

One hopes that the Bush people will keep in mind that claims of God’s always being on our side are alienating to many former or would-be allies.

Did I miss something? When did Bush say that God is always "on our side"? Marty continues:

He gives notice that our military power and moral choices will dominate the world. He follows and leads ever since he first, as he put it, “heard the call” to seek the presidency, and after Iraq he promises to transform the Middle East into utopia.

He does? Utopia? What I have heard him say is that the example of a government by the consent of the governed, somewhere in the Middle East could inspire others in the region to the realize that they are not "destined" to a life under tyrants, dictators, kings and other despots. If anything he has emphasized how difficult it will be, not only in Iraq, but elsewhere as well, to nurture self-government where it has no roots, traditions, or institutions. To encourage democracy and to observe that it can be "contagious", is to "promise utopia" according to Marty.

Not to obsess with the Marty article, but one more gem:

More dangerous is that Bush’s God talk will set the tinderbox that is the Muslim world on fire. Neither the president nor the American Christian majority have to yield their own faith in order to get along, but how they express it matters.

I guess Marty missed some of that "kill the infidels" talk when he blithely suggests that American Christians need not "yield their faith in order to get along" with those who fly airplanes into skyscrapers in the name of their own little "vision thing". I wonder if, instead of dying, simply choosing a life of submission to Sharia Islamic law would constitute "yielding" to Mr. Marty. But it is "Bush's God talk" that is "dangerous".

He ends on a more optimistic note, but the piece seems to do (more subtly than the European and Arab press of course) what Bush's critics have tended to lately. That is, taking his public pronouncements and demonstrations of his Christian faith, and then imputing to him certain policy goals, statements he hasn't made, even messianic visions, and the belief in his own divine inspiration to carry out his "crusade". Actual evidence of any such personality complex is nowhere in sight.

Fred Barnes critiques Marty somewhat in his newest article, "God and Man in the Oval Office".

But does the president think God is behind his foreign policy or any other policy? Yes, according to religion professor Martin E. Marty,..... "The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will." Evident? Marty offers no evidence--no Bush quote or comment and no disclosure by a Bush confidant. And he's never met with Bush or talked to him, according to the president's aides. I've searched for a Bush declaration, explicit or implicit, that his policies come from God. I haven't found one.....

No one has done a definitive word count, but Bush has probably talked a bit more about religious faith than other presidents. While he readily invokes God, he carefully avoids mention of Jesus Christ, and he calls for tolerance of all faiths. His comments have been confined to four specific areas: comforting people in grief, citing faith's ability to improve lives, commenting on the mysterious ways of providence, and mentioning God's concern for humanity.

The pot was stirred again at the Press conference the other night when Bush responded enthusiastically to a reporter's question about how he was guided by his faith in the preparation for possible war. Bush's response:

My faith sustains me. Because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength. If we were to commit our troops, if we were to commit our troops, I would pray for their safety. And I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives as well ... One thing that's really great about our country is there are thousands of people who pray for me - who I'll never see, be able to thank. But it's a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I'm grateful. That's, it's been, it's been a comforting feeling to know that is true.

I'm going to try to remember that quote next time I see a picture of a protestor with a "Bush = Hitler" sign.

Russ Douthat, in a stimulating new site called The American Scene, takes note of a few of the things that Bush didn't say that night:

So let's see -- Bush did not say that "God has told me to go to war," or "God will fight on our side," or "I know the Almighty's will in this matter," or anything that might be interpreted as even vaguely scary or unhinged. He said that he prayed daily -- for guidance, for the safety of our troops, and even for Iraqi lives -- and that he is grateful and humbled that many people pray for him. Now, if such innocuous statements of general piety smack of theocracy, or fascism, or what-have-you to Europe's bankrupt intellectual classes, then that, frankly, is their problem.

I have an appreciation for people who are wary of certain elements of the "Religious Right". I am grateful that the Republican Party, and the mainstream conservative movement in this country have distanced themselves from Falwell and Robertson and their ilk, recognizing them as the kooks and bigots they are. People who think those two are listened to by the Bush White House haven't been paying attention, (or have partisan reasons for wanting to maintain the appearance of a connection.)

That said, I just don't think we can paint Bush with the same broad brush. For the time being, count me among the comforted, not the nervous. Among those who see a humble and basically good man, not a dangerous one. Fred Barnes again, summing up with words I wish I'd said:

Bush said he prays to God for guidance, wisdom, and forgiveness, and he said the same when asked at his East Room press conference last week how his faith guides him on the eve of war with Iraq. He said nothing about praying for God's marching orders.....For anyone offended by Bush's reference to God as the source of human rights... a little history might be instructive. "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?" That question was asked by Thomas Jefferson, a deist, not a religious zealot. "The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the Hand of God," John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address. No one was offended by Kennedy's comment, which Bush echoed in his State of the Union address. And no one should be offended now.

UPDATE: David Brooks, in the Weekly Standard weighs in with his take on Bush's "certainty", making the point that his "intellectual" critics can afford to take note of, and analyze all the "nuances" of the situation. They have no decisions to make, no responsibilities to bear.

March 8, 2003

Vaclav Havel piece

I came across this somewhat long but satisfying article by David Remnick from The New Yorker, on a 20th Century hero. Just wanted to share it.


The President struck a lot of people as looking tired and haggard at the press conference the other night. Andrew Sullivan said "The spin is that he was trying to look calm and reassuring. I just thought he looked wiped."

I have to agree. Tired and sad. Weary of the diplomatic tapdancing. And ready to have it be over with. Also ready to make France sleep in the bed it has made for itself. Another Sullivan excerpt:

You have to admire his faith in the sincerity of his opponents. Alas, it's pretty clear by now that the French, Germans and Russians simply don't care if Saddam is flouting the U.N. They just don't want American military power exercized in the region - ever again. I doubt if they had videotape of Saddam making anthrax in his bathrobe that they'd agree to enforce their own resolution. I still think forcing a vote is the right thing to do, even if we lose badly. After these past few weeks, watching the extraordinary duplicity and blindness of several Security Council members, I've reluctantly come to the verge of hoping that this crisis helps destroy the United Nations as a credible international body.

Andrew's only "on the verge" of hoping that. Many others are long since convinced that the U.N. is already dead as a credible body. I'm not there just yet, but I do believe that our mission is no less necessary, moral or legitimate if we pursue it without the approval of countries whose interests oppose ours because they are simply doing too much business with the dictator, and perhaps fear potential blackmail.

Update: See also David Gelernter's take in the new Weekly Standard

March 7, 2003

I've Heard This Called Blegging

Official thanks and acknowledgements need be extended to my son Andy, who set up the technical end of this Wizblog project for me a couple of days ago, and is hosting it as well as providing an informal Movable Type 101 course on the phone...(well, once)

By day he's a mild mannered 24 year-old Computer Engineer working for IBM in Durham, NC, as part of their WebSphere product group doing application and sub-application development, sales force training, and customer support.

He has a blog, also in its relative infancy, called The Middle for some reason, where the very brave can learn some web content terminology and other twenty-something stuff, and come to wonder, as I do, where he got the tendency to be a wise ass.

As I am now in only my second day of participation in the blogosphere, hopelessly addicted already to the process, and yet still utterly clueless about the nuances of the software, I will continue to post nice things about Andy until he calls me and explains how to do all the things I don't yet know how to do. I will post paeans to his wonderfulness, sing his praises, and otherwise verbally kiss his butt, as I await a few moments of his sage telephone wisdom.

Enough for now, it's late, and I've got to go dust and polish the Andy Wismar Shrine, the old third-floor bedroom he once called home. (It's a striking replica, by the way, looking much like it might have looked the day he left for college five years ago.)

Is Triblog a New Word?

I was just realizing I felt an urge to blog about the Tribe and that question occurred to me. Surely someone will step forward who coined it moons ago, but till then, I'll claim credit for originating the term Triblog.

I'm getting a kick out of the start of Spring Training. The kids are hittitng and hitting some more, and the young pitching is so intriguing to watch as we project their futures out a couple of years.

I must admit though, that as much of an optimist as I am, I sure wish Dick Jacobs still owned this team. You've got to hand it to him for his business acumen, and his fortuitous timing in selling the team. But Dolan seems hapless by comparison, and although he's not alone in having had business "reversals" of late, the fact is he's not nearly as sound financially as was Jacobs, and often seems like he's in over his head.

You've got to like what you see from Eric Wedge early. I love the fact that his players are forbidden the use of the word "rebuilding". I can't wait to see AL umpires take the measure of his apparent rambunctiousness and energy. Something tells me we could see Wedgie (it has to happen eventually) take a few early showers if he's as much a "players manager" as I suspect he may be.

Update: As regards the origination of the term "Triblog", early Googling of the word produces many Spanish language hits, and several that seem to be for "three dudes with a blog" or for a meeting point for three different bloggers. Nothing yet connecting the term to the larger field of Tribology, thought by some to be associated with the study of friction, lubrication and wear, but known by the initiated as the study of the history, lore and culture of the Cleveland Indians.

What You Should Have Said

In today's Bleat, James Lileks has an "ideal" answer that Bush could have used for Terry Moran's question at last night's press conference. The question sounded like it was scripted by Noam Chomsky, and makes one wish a president could speak as Lileks imagines. My favorite line, on the Turkey problem:

We misunderestimated Turkish protestations of support - although, as you no doubt noted from my earlier comments supporting their EU membership and lauding their role in NATO, we’re certainly not going to kick them in the nads in public like some of our allies have done to us.

Is it proper protocol, (maybe just this once) to plug Instapundit when you say "Read the whole thing"?

I read Lileks occasionally but not regularly, and saw the above in the more indispensable Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan

VDH Rocks

Speaking of National Review Online , permit me a shameless plug for these people. For me it has become required reading, because I find the writing to be first rate, and the personalities of the contributors (like Jonah, Derb and Nordlinger) compel me to keep coming back. Their blog, The Corner, in which the editors and contributors mix fun with lively debate and off-the-wall intellectual exercise, has become a daily habit for me as well.

I'm not sure how they accomplish it (the Corner is part of it) but there is a sort of "family" feel to the group of writers that comes through to the regular reader. I just know I feel it's worth the time I spend to, as they say, "read it all"...

...especially Victor Davis Hanson, who is worth the price of admission all by himself...again today. An excerpt:

There is a Potemkin phoniness to this war to come. We live in a world of images broadcast immediately into our living rooms without commentary — or, indeed, any intellectual context at all. Thus, because a Tariq Aziz — a really murderous, awful man — can get on a plane to the Vatican without his holster, he looks to the ignorant as if he were a jet-setting, press-conference-convening statesman like Tony Blair. Dan Rather sits across from a mass murderer in a Western tie and suit and questions the tyrant as if he is interviewing the head of the local school board.

....Pass the Beer Nuts

This explains a lot.

(Unabashedly ripped off from NRO's "coolsite" feature.)

OK Butch, What's Up Your Sleeve?

I'm scratching my head a bit about what the great minds at Cleveland Browns headquarters in Berea are cooking on these days. Having just waived their best pass rusher, best cover corner, and leading tackler from last season's already disappointing defense, and having admitted their salary cap problems, one can only wonder if we are moving forward or backward defensively.

Now I trust Butch Davis to be the guy to eventually get us where we want to be, and I hear the company line on biting the bullet now so we won't continue to have these cap problems down the line, but in the meantime we're going to be awfully young on D, unless there are significant free agent signings (not a ripple to this point) coming up. That's not how playoff contenders are typically constructed.

I am not as concerned as many people are about the O-line. In Verba and Tucker we have two adequate tackles, and while we need to fill the funnel with young talent for the future, (yes, draft some OL's) we saw how fans (and writers) stopped complaining about the dreadful O-line when William Green started averaging 100 yds/game in the second half of the season.


As a follow up to GWB's press conference last night, Daniel Henninger speculates in today's piece at about the potential backlash to European (and other) anti-Americanism, as it may be reflected in the attitudes of American citizens toward our erstwhile allies and any dangerous situations they may face in the future. A couple of excerpts:

I believe most Americans couldn't care less how Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Mexico or anywhere else chooses to organize itself, were it not for the fact that U.S. citizens inevitably have to die or pay to clean up the mess their dysfunctional economics and politics so often create. Europeans elites don't like having World War II or the cemetery at Normandy thrown back in their faces, but why not? Hitler didn't rise to power on America's watch. The Serbs by now would have slaughtered every non-Serb in the Balkans if the Americans hadn't gone over. The men of France didn't volunteer to die so that South Korea could thrive free of the crazy North. And most of the billions of dollars that the IMF poured into helping Russia stagger through its post-Soviet corruption came out of the pockets of American taxpayers.

This has nothing to do with the prospect of a neo-isolationist backlash, because in an economically and electronically entangled world isolationism is no longer possible. But it is to catch a glimpse of the funk and resentment into which relentlessly mindless anti-Americanism may pitch public sentiment in the U.S.

It takes a special kind of obtuseness to reject the proven inventory of the Iraqi threat or to ask, as a columnist for Britain's Independent newspaper did last week, "When is the U.S. going to get over the events of 11 September?" War indeed has its costs, but so too does free-riding political rhetoric.

I agree with Bush's decision to force France, Russia, and China to go on record in the Security Council as to Saddam's failure to comply with Resolution 1441, rather than being threatened out of submitting any new resolution at all.

One good brag.....

...deserves another. Our daughter Susan is a junior Theater major at Ohio State who has multiple supporting roles in the production of Comic Potential this quarter and just got her first official mention in a real-live review in the Columbus Dispatch, which noted that "repeated laughter greeted several supporting actors especially...Susan Wismar (as a farmer's wife and sassy prostitute)"

As we've always told Susan, "if your going to be an "x", be the very best "x" you can possibly be." Now I admit, we never had that conversation where x = prostitute......

All kidding aside, I'm very proud of my baby girl....she's a good actress..on top of everything else.

March 6, 2003

Ignorance is Bliss

A quick phone call to my Computer Engineer son (more bragging later) has just reminded me how very little I understand about that which I have just started. Oh well, we soldier on.

I called with about three questions about the bare-bones basics of Movable Type posting and configuration, and had about ten more before we were five minutes into the conversation. It was at about this point that he sighed, and said something like "What made me think this was going to be easy?"

He had set up the whole blog for me, and left it to me only to pick a stylesheet and start posting. I kind of feel like a kid whose Dad has driven him to the lake, rowed him to the middle, baited his hook, cast the line into the water, and then handed him the pole, and convinced him he's fishing! Hey Andy, stand by with that net in case I reel in something I can't handle.

History is Made

All blogs must have a first post, and so, by default, this is mine.

I'm sure that as time goes by, my blog will decide what it wants to be when it grows up, so I'm not even going to formulate or broadcast any "mission" or purpose for this endeavor. I only hope that it might turn out to be of interest to a few people besides me. Hell, I hope it's of interest to ME!

In fact, convincing myself that it serves any other purpose than as a complete vanity may take some doing. I suppose that time will only arrive when another person is somehow helped by something they encounter here, if that's not too high-minded. For now it will have to serve mainly as an outlet for me to say things that I think about, or worry about, or wonder about, that would otherwise just rattle around in my head. Better they should rattle around here, I figure.

There may well be the occasional contradiction, as above when I decided not to get into a "mission", and then set about to do just that. In any case, this was really just to see if I could get the darned thing to post at all. I'm a blog virgin about to be deflowered by pressing the "publish" button. Hold on tight.