The Yellow Dog Blog

More meaningless ramblings from another guy you don't know

Monday, January 31, 2005

Oh, please...

No matter what you may think of Leonardo DiCaprio (and I'm not much of a fan - however, he was fantastic as the retarded younger brother in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?") how can any organization that takes itself seriously give a lifetime achievement award to someone who's 30 years old?

Tom Hanks received one with a televised dinner and testimonials a couple of years ago. I remember thinking then that
he was too young - he was only 46 at the time!

Can we all agree that no one under...let's say 60 years old...should ever receive a lifetime achievement award of any kind from any organization?

Thanks, I feel better now.

Curious behavior

Mickey Kaus attempts to decode the seemingly inexplicable behavior of the esteemed senior senator from Massachusetts. It looks eerily similar to Al Gore's apocalyptic rantings on the imminent dangers of global warming - which he chose to deliver in New York, just as the city was hit with the coldest weather in decades.

Kaus attributes Kennedy's poorly timed analysis of Iraq - he called Iraq a "catastrophic failure" and a "disaster" three days before the wildly successful election - to the pursuit of money in a changed fundraising landscape.

His theory is that, at a time when in the past the opposition could safely get away with jumping on the majority party's bandwagon to cheer on a popular success that they'd previously opposed, the advent of internet fundraising has changed all that. Howard Dean has revealed the cash cow that web-based fund raising can be and Kaus posits that it's now more important than traditional PAC money. As Kaus sees it, in order to capture the largest portion of web money, it's necessary to appeal to the wacko-left, Bush-bashing base that makes up the most frequent contributor group via the net.

I suppose it's possible that this was part of the calculus that went into Kennedy's speech. But I attribute it to an even more simple reason than greed - self-gratification. Gore could have easily postponed his speech, or relocated to a warmer venue. Kennedy could have scheduled his speech for this week, giving him the opportunity to alter it in light of the weekend's outcome. Neither did. Why? Hatred, pure and simple. Both men represent the worst of the Democrats' current make-up, preferring to slam the president at every opportunity, no matter how ridiculous they may look as a result. It feels good to stand in front of a like-minded crowd of Bush-haters and hear their cheers as you rail against the illegitimate moron who's taken over the oval office. It confirms their moral and intellectual superiority to those neo-con cretins.

Kaus's reasoning for the apparent idiocy of Kennedy's comments requires a certain amount of self-reflection and ability to examine what may appear to be most in the Democrats' immediate interest. I don't think you can give Gore, Kennedy or a significant minority of other liberals that much credit at the moment. The extent to which they're blinded by their hatred of Bush to other considerations, can't be underestimated. We saw the same thing on the part of Republicans toward Clinton in the '90s.

The Democrats forget the lessons of history at their own peril. What makes it much worse for the them, however, is that they don't have a reserve of policies that positively resonate with a growing majority of the electorate to fall back on.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A success by any measure

"Millions of Iraqis flocked to vote in a historic election Sunday, defying insurgents who killed 25 people in bloody attacks aimed at wrecking the poll.

Iraqis, some ululating with joy, others hiding their faces in fear, voted in much higher-than-expected numbers in their first multi-party election in half a century."

And this from Reuters. But most media outlets are predictably reluctant to call this the ringing success that it is. An NPR reporter insisted that it was too early to tell, and the real measure will be the turnout of Sunni voters, both in the Sunni triangle and in mixed neighborhoods. This is, of course, hogwash. As James Taranto posited in a thought experiment that he proposed,

Suppose that, when South Africa held its first postapartheid election in 1994, Afrikaner turnout had been depressed by similar measures. Would that have made the enfranchisement of a long-oppressed majority any less a cause for celebration

The very concept would have been laughable. No, the early reticence of the media to declare this the unqualified success that it is is directly attributable to their distaste for giving the president credit for a major win. The success of the Iraqi vote is a great victory, not just for Bush, but also for his foreign policy. While it certainly is still early, this would seem to be the worst nightmare of the other repressive regimes in the middle east.

No one in a position of power will be sleeping well in Syria or Saudi Arabia (among others) tonight.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Yellow snow

This guy must have been planning one hell of a vacation. Something new to add to your winter emergency kit.

Abundant hot air

Do you need any more evidence that the annual World Economic Form in Davos is nothing more than a huge international circle jerk masquerading as a serious endeavour?

Maybe the original intent was lofty, but it's hard to dispute that the tens of millions spent by government officials, posturing corporate muckety-mucks, self-styled intellectuals and other hangers-on could be put to much better use. How about splitting the money between cancer research and African AIDS drug distribution?

The face of the left

"There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn't a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone."

Instapundit on why the left loses and shows no evidence of understanding how to appeal to the majority of America.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The inscrutable east...

Makes you want to work for SAS, doesn't it?

If you haven't checked out yet, click on the link, above. For those of you willing to relocate, there appears to be a number of openings for English-speaking copy editors in Japan.

UN on democracy..."yawn"

It seems that the head of election assistance from the UN is disturbed that US troops in Iraq may be too "overenthusiastic" in their promotion of this weekend's election. Carina Perelli, chief of the UN's Electoral Assistance Division, is concerned because the troops have handed out voter registration information to Iraqis and had the temerity to (gasp!) encourage them to vote. You see, according to Miss Perelli, "this is an Iraqi process."

Never mind that this was done at the request of the Iraqi Electoral Commission.

It's amazing enough that the UN has anyone on the payroll whose job it is to assist the democratic process at all. I suppose we should be thankful for small favors. But if the goal of the UN is to promote peace among the nations of the world, shouldn't they be working to promote democracy everywhere they can? Wouldn't help in registering new voters in a former dictatorship be a good thing, even if those helping are those mean old Americans.

But no, democracy may be nice, but let's not go overboard here. As Miss Perelli later said, Iraqis will have to “decide by themselves whether they consider that this election is important enough, is valid enough, is legitimate enough in order to risk their lives to go and vote.�

With advocates like that, who needs insurgents?

MORE: Give Perelli her due. The level and breadth of the participation in the election on Sunday seems to have had a profound effect on her:

``I have participated in many elections in my life and I usually say that the day you lose your ability to be moved by people going to vote, you should change your career,'' said Perelli, who had insisted for months that U.N. advisers would leave pronouncements on the election to Iraq's electoral commission. ``This was probably one of the most moving elections I have ever seen.''

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sure cure for recidivism

Guns don't kill people, people do. And these (former) robbers have been retired. Two more innocent lives saved by law abiding citizens owning and knowing how to use guns. Think of all the savings in incarceration costs alone!


"No one who lived through that day is likely to forget the horror," said noted child therapist Dr. Eli Wasserbaum. "But it was especially hard on the children."

No, it isn't from the New York Times, although you'd be forgiven for that mistake. You gotta love the Onion. Oh, the horror and shame that is Nearly Naked Breast Disorder.

The Hersh article

The big news that made all of the headlines from the Seymour Hersh article in "The New Yorker" was that the US military has been (and likely still is) conducting covert missions in Iran to locate nuclear facilities and identify targets for potential future operations. As has been written elsewhere, I see no reason to be either surprised or upset about this. On the contrary, I'd be disappointed if they weren't doing it.

A nuclear Iran is in no one's interest. The radical Muslim dictiators who run the government see the acquisition of the bomb as their only insurance against invasion by America and our allies. The article states that the administration has already decided that Iran will be the next theatre of conflict. Given the Mullahs' sponsorship of terrorism, their support of the Iraqi insurgency and hatred of Israel, Iranian ownership of nuclear technology is not something that can't be allowed.

However, the main thrust of the article surrounded the Bush administration's shifting of responsibility for covert operations from CIA to the Defense Department. Hersh is clearly troubled by the concept, especially given the fact that Donald Rumsfeld will be calling the shots and, as the administration believes, is not obligated to obtain congressional approval.

But given the performance of the CIA and their dismal track record for accuracy, how can the administration be blamed for looking for a better source of intelligence? This line in the article says it all:

"The Administration believed that the C.I.A. was unable, or unwilling, to provide the military with the information it needed to effectively challenge stateless terrorism." (italics mine)

Unwilling? Given that since September of 2001, the war on stateless terrorism is the administration's single most important focus, wouldn't Bush have been profoundly negligent to have done otherwise? This clearly begs the question why Bush allow Tennant to remain as DCI for so long (let alone present him with the Medal of Freedom.) But that issue aside, the CIA has been demonstrated to be fairly consistently wrong in its predictions of potential threats. In addition, they've been accused by more than a few people who should know of coloring their output rather than providing clear, unbiased intelligence. Given this, the Hersh article, if true, makes me feel much better that the administration is finally taking control of the intelligence situation and is moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No Oscar for Moore

It's a darned shame, but the academy has seen fit to pass over Michael Moore's cogent, nuanced work in Fahrenheit 9/11. Brings tears to my eyes.

It seems, though, that
I'm virtually alone in being prostrate with grief over the slight. Not even Moore's admirers on the left are terribly upset by the turn of events. It wouldn't be because, deep down inside, they blame him more than a little for Kerry's defeat, would it? Nah.

Just because this kind of diatribe and the fawning adulation that was thrown its way by all of the usual suspects in Cannes and Malibu is exactly the kind of thing that motivates conservatives to get out and vote, surely they wouldn't blame Mikey. And even if they did, they'd never hold back the best picture nomination Moore has been so shamelessly lobbying for, would they?

Perish the thought.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Helprin's worried

"A hundred years ago, Republican presidential incumbent Theodore Roosevelt had just defeated the now obscure Judge Alton B. Parker, the army had long been fighting Muslim insurrectionists in the Philippines and was recasting itself to fight insurgencies, reformers were concerned with the environment and money politics, and the country's meat supply was viewed with suspicion."

Sound familiar? Mark Helprin has a dark view of America's readiness for the challenges that face us now and this century. He's one of the clearest thinkers regarding our response to terrorism and military preparedness in general.
Read the whole thing.

Carson's gone

Sad news with the loss of Johnny Carson. He's someone most of us grew up with and loved. He knew enough to let his guests shine and didn't inject his personal opinions in his work. He brought us a generation of great comedians and spawned a raft of mostly pale imitators. There's not one out there that can hold a candle to him.

Johnny made one of the great exits in the history of television and then knew how to retire (and stay retired) with grace and class. He has been and always will be missed.

MORE: Larry Miller is one of the funniest writers around. He's currently working on a book and a pilot, but came back to the Weekly Standard to post this rememberance. As Johnny himself might say, great stuff..

Actual yellow dog...

It starts...

Hello cyberspace. Just what we need, right? Another blog. Another exercise in vanity and bloviation. Why am I doing this? Because I can, of course.

I hope that one or two of you out there will find this moderately interesting, possibly even engaging. Who knows, maybe it will even make you think. Why shoud I care about that? Because if your experience is anything like mine, it's evident that most people out there don't do nearly enough of that. They rely far too much on what they feel that what they actually

At least at the beginning, blogging will be a hit and miss kind of thing. I'm pretty busy with my job, family and other interests, most of which will be subjects of future posts. But I'll post as often as time allows on as many topics that interest me as I can. Come back and see me again soon. Until then, thanks for stopping by.