October 19, 2002


: Mona Charen nails it. Andrew Sullivan hits the Times where it hurts--they hailed Clinton's deal way back in '94. Sulli also has a couple of nice posts on John McCain and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom saw through North Korea at the time and predicted that it would pocket Clinton's cash and develop nukes anyway. Sullivan notes, by the way, that both men are solidly for taking down Saddam today.

I see a couple of possible scenarios popping up as a result of Pyongyang's admission. First, its neighbors may want nukes now. South Korea, though it badly wants reunification with the North, may now see possessing nukes as the only way it can negotiate with its rival from a position of relative strength. And thought it seems unthinkable given its history, Japan may now begin to relax its anti-nuke posture. North Korea has been nearly as bellicose toward Tokyo as it has toward Seoul, mostly because Japan is America's strongest ally in the region. One of North Korea's missile tests actually flew over mainland Japan--call it a shot across Japan's bow. First, Japan will now probably slow down if not cancel its normalization talks with North Korea, and may pull out of its part in the 1994 deal to build two light water reactors. Japan will now probably begin to allow us to base nukes on its soil for the first time, thought it will do this very quietly and probably in the form of increased port calls by US nuclear armed ships. Japan has lived in denial regarding North Korea for years, but the reality of Kim Jong-Il sitting atop a nuclear stockpile may clear up its thinking very quickly.

And we shouldn't limit nuclear ambitions to North Korea's neighbors. We know Saddam wants them. Syria now says it wants to join the nuke club, too for peaceful purposes, of course. And Hamas is primarily a social services organization. Imagine if two Arab states get nukes.

The good news is that the Bush team, and especially Bush himself, was never fooled by North Korea. He put them in the "Axis of Evil" when most pundits thought North Korea was harmless. Before that, he made it clear that he would not deal with North Korea the way Clinton had. Bush and his whole team gets it. I just hope they have contingency plans in case the Far East goes up in flames.

(some links thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


have seized a white box truck in which a shell casing was found. The truck belongs to a car rental agency in Virginia. Ballistics test results will be available no earlier than Saturday morning.

Since the beginning of the sniper spree, Maryland GOP gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich has been forced to defend his support for the Second Amendment a few times, and now the Dems seem to be openly politicizing the murder rampage: Dem candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's campaign has begun to run an ad that all but equates private gun ownership with being a sniper. I've not seen the ad yet, but others have. Can't say I'm surprised.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2002


Not only did Jimmah Carter help work out the details of North Korea's path to nuclear statehood, according to a new book he cozied up to the Soviets in order to undermine President Reagan's determination to win the Cold War. And he wasn't alone: lots of Dems were right there with him.

I for one am glad to see this stuff coming to light. Years ago when I was a university student I did a term paper on Ollie North's Iranian gambit from a philosophical point of view. Sounds weird, but I got an A. Anyway, while researching terrorism, North and the murky Boland Amendment and a zillion other tidbits relating to Iran-Contra, I kept coming across stories about Sen. Ted Kennedy and other top Dems engaging in freelance diplomacy with Moscow. They were, it seems, trying to reassure the Soviets that, while Reagan was an amiable dunce-like madman (why does that sound so familiar?) with his finger on the button, the Dems would see to it to handcuff his foreign policy. It was in fact this effort to restrain Reagan's ambition to defeat communism that led directly to Iran-Contra. Reagan wanted the same free hand his predecessors had had, but the Dems passed and changed and altered laws at the drop of a hat to thwart the President's Constitutional responsibility. Reagan and his staff were simply too determined to beat the Soviets, and ended up screwing up largely because of the legal framework they had to deal with. Look it up if you don't believe me.

If anyone wants to know where my loathing of the liberals at the top of the Democrat party comes from, look no further: They tried to lose the Cold War, or at least tried to keep the US from winning it. And they've never forvgiven Ronald Reagan for winning it anyway.
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I'm taking the family to see Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. Most parents are probably already familiar with Veggie Tales, but for those of you who aren't, a brief primer. Veggie Tales is the brainchild of animator Phil Vischer, and features animated vegetables delivering Bible stories and moral lessons via quirky half-hour shows. It's one of the few children's programs that is actually watchable by adults, since Vischer is an avid Monty Python fan and sneaks that type of humor into the shows when he can. Better yet, though Veggie Tales looks simple--animated vegetables means essentially textured spheres with eyes, no limbs, and easily lip-synched dialogue--the company behind it, Big Idea, is actually an innovator of sorts. I attended a talk a couple of years ago delivered by a couple of Big Idea's animators, who detailed a new animation script gizmo they'd written for Maya (Maya is the top 3D animation package on the market these days, used in most Hollywood features and lots of computer games). Until unveiling their little code invention, most of the audience--top special effects creators from around the world--wasn't taking the Big Idea guys very seriously, but the script was elegantly written and looked to be a real time-saver for complicated animations. The audience gasped, then applauded, and began to take Big Idea very seriously. Then the Veggie Tales guys simply gave the code away to all their competitors in the audience.

But back to the movie, Jonah is currently #11 at the box office and seems to be doing well. We're going because our young 'un wants to see it, and because we want to encourage more movies like Jonah to be produced in the future. If it's anything like the many Veggie Tales videos currently out, it'll stay true to our beliefs and entertain us at the same time. Few Hollywood features seems too tolerant of Christians nowadays, and those that do are seldom worth seeing. Jonah should be a good time for all us.

It's actually getting decent reviews, but this one in, wait for it, the New York Times is priceless:

The animation is competent, and some of the gags are quite funny, but "Jonah," which opens today nationwide, never shakes the oppressive, morally superior good-for-you quality that almost automatically accompanies didactic entertainment. Despite the bright candy colors that have been applied to the surface, this "Veggie Tale" is still spinach at heart.

The bit about the "oppressive, morally-superior quality" could also be said of the Times itself. I guess it takes one to know one.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


, I wanted to post some lighter fare but the world is getting in the way. First up, according to a terrorist being held in Belgium, al Qaeda has trained some of its operatives in sniper techniques. This doesn't by itself prove that the DC area shooter is on a mission from Usama, but it is noteworthy. The linked article also speculates that the shooter likely lives in the area since he seems to know his escape routes so well. While on my trip I had some thoughts about this. Our group didn't rent a car, opting to walk most of the time. To get from the airport to the hotel, I took a van service. When I called the operator spoke with a Middle Eastern accent, but being the tolerant guy I am I didn't think anything of it. The van arrived a few minutes later, driven by a very friendly guy that seemed to also be from the Middle East. Again, I really didn't think much of it. One night toward the end of the trip we went out to dinner (goooood barbeque, since we were in North Carolina), and called up the same van service. Our driver was Egyptian, and knew the streets of town extremely well. I later dealt with the same van service when I needed to get back to the airport, and noticed on the phone that their operator was again Middle Eastern, as was the driver. Then I got to thinking, if you're Usama and you want to place people around the country for operations that require mobility, a thorough knowledge of the environs and be able to operate under less regulation than taxi services, a van service would be ideal. I'm not saying anything other than that--if the sniper is a foreign terrorist, he may have cut his teeth driving people back and forth from area airports.

Then again, as I stepped out of my car in my driveway after returning from the airport, a white van drove right past me. I eyed it until I saw it pass my house and then something flew from the passenger side window: a newspaper. Paper deliverer would also make an ideal occupation for the wannabe terrorist, as would a few dozen other occupations that require a van and thorough knowledge of area streets.

On the Iraq front, the Bush team seems to be gravitating toward the two-resolution approach favored by France, China and Russia. Colin Powell gave a masterful speech last night at the Alfred E. Smith dinner last night, leaving no doubt that he's on board with President Bush's plans for Saddam. He said again today that whatever the Security Council decides to do--one resolution, which the US favors, or the two-step approach of the feckless three--it must include force as a consequence for Iraqi intransigence. I think that we're chasing the wind here, as China will be nearly impossible to persuade. Iraq is practically a Chinese client state after all.

Speaking of China, what do you suppose its role has been in North Korea's nuke admission? I suspect China played a significant behind the scenes role. China and North Korea have been allies for decades. In fact, the main reason our troops didn't crush the north during the Korean War was the hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops fighting right along side North Korea's. These troops were poorly armed and amounted to little more than trumpet-wielding bullet catchers, but their sheer numbers made a real victory nearly impossible. Soviet-made aircraft didn't hurt the communist cause either. Though Russia is no longer Soviet, China and North Korea are still very close militarily and, as two of the last remaining communist states, ideologically. China has thus far played the war on terrorism very well as a way to pursue its overarching purpose in the world, which is undermining American power while asserting its own. It has used the war to crack down on dissent within its borders while increasing the sabre-rattling across the Taiwan Strait, and is mouthing support for the US cause while undermining everything we try to do via the UN. And now, with one of its allies under threat from imminent US invasion, another of its allies admits to having nukes and thereby complicates US strategy immensely. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:32 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


crashed into Jupiter in 1994. One of a couple dozen chunks of the comet left a bruise in Jupiter's cloud decks the size of our entire earth when it crashed, and the other chunks did enough damage to pretty much wipe out our dear planet. So comets and asteroids can and do still hit planets in our solar system, and have the potential to cause unimaginable damage.

To counter this threat, NASA scientists are looking at using lasers to divert incoming space rocks by blasting away enough of their surfaces to alter their trajectories and keep them from hitting us. They're also talking about putting telescopes on the moon to keep a constant look out for earth-endangering stuff.

Big lasers to shoot space rocks. Moon-based telescopes. Well it's about time.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


According to Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state, quite a bit. According to Hastings, Congress has received classified briefings about Iraq's bio-chemical weapons programs and its links to al Qaeda, as well as the fact that Iraq is working on nukes.

Which brings a question to mind--If the briefings were so strong, how could fully half of the Democrats in the House and Senate still vote against the use of force? Especially when many of them voted for the use of force in 1998?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:11 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 17, 2002


is a signatory to the 1985 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That treaty requires that signatories such as North Korea not develop nuclear weapons via their supposedly peaceful-use nuclear power facilities, and calls for signatory states to submit to inspections of those facilities to prove their compliance. In 1992, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors uncovered evidence that North Korea was cheating—developing nuclear weapons on the sly—but when the Clinton Administration pressed Pyongyang to allow further inspections, it threatened to back out of the NPT altogether. The Clinton team’s answer should have been “So what—you’re not complying with it anyway,” followed by a series of escalating threats should North Korea remain in violation, but instead Clinton sought to appease NK.

Clinton offered Pyongyang a deal: Don’t pull out of the treaty that you’re already violating, and we’ll modernize your nuclear power plants and give you a supply of oil. We also agreed not to attack North Korea, and not to interfere in its internal affairs. If this had been a carrot-and-stick approach it might have been successful, but there was no stick applied since Clinton had already pledged not to use force. The only negative consequences Clinton attached to non-compliance seems to have been ”isolation from the international community”, which surely had the Stalinist regime trembling in its boots. The North Koreans only had to promise to eventually abide by the NPT, without specificity as to when. The Clinton Administration offered North Korea two light water nuclear reactors, with the idea that such reactors can’t be used to create nuclear weapons. That’s how they sold the deal to the American people and the world, but it was a bum sale—according to The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, light water reactors can be used to create weapons-grade plutonium by reducing fuel burn up. That would require dropping the power output of the reactor and therefore limiting the power its customers would be able to use, but we’re talking about North Korea here. Which is Kim Jong-Il likely to choose—the welfare of his people or the chance to build a nuke or two?

Those light water reactors haven’t been built (thought concrete was poured at the first plant this past August) because Pyongyang never lived up to its side of the bargain, but it never stopped producing weapons, as we now know. And North Korea has accomplished this feat while facing severe famine and the widespread starvation of its people. North Korea also tested and deployed several new medium and long range missiles during this period, including one that could reach US troops in mainland Japan and Okinawa. Rumors abound, thanks in part to North Korean propaganda, that it has a missile capable of reaching the US West Coast.

Here’s a comprehensive timeline of North Korea’s efforts to thwart the US and build its nuclear weapons capability. In 1994, the CIA estimated that North Korea probably had 2 nuclear bombs. Today’s announcement confirms that Pyongyang has at least that many, hinting that it has hydrogen bombs as well. North Korea stands today where Iraq would be standing had the UN sanctions against it not been enforced—it can threaten the US with nuclear retaliation for any action we decide to take. It can threaten its neighbors, some of whom are our closest allies in the region, with a nuclear strike if they cooperate with us. And given the known intelligence and military contacts between North Korea and Iraq, Saddam may also be just a phone call away from a nuke of his own.

So how should Clinton have handled North Korea way back in 1994? For starters, he shouldn’t have sent Jimmy Carter in to get the deal. Carter has a dismal record of coddling dictators, and for appeasing them. He isn’t the man to get tough with despots, but he was Clinton’s man on the Korean Peninsula. Clinton also should’ve negotiated with Pyongyang from a position of strength instead of weakness as the world’s sole superpower, but in offering North Korea such a sweet deal with no negative consequences he only encouraged them by putting them essentially in the driver’s seat. And, the Clinton team should have known better than to trust North Korea in the first place. Pyongyang has been one of the most belligerent regimes on earth, regularly threatening South Korea, Japan and the United States' troops protecting both with chemical and biological, and terrorist, attacks. North Korea is a Stalinist state based on a cult of personality centered on its Dear Leader, and should never have been offered anything other than sanctions and force for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:51 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


now admits it has a nuclear weapons program, hinting that it can make a hydrogen bomb. Nice. Well, given the way the Commie regime has behaved over the past half century, who didn't see this coming?

Bill Clinton, that's who. His 1994 deal with Pyongyang allowed NK's nuke program to go forward.

Clinton was either the most naive president we've ever had leading to his incompentence in foreign affairs, or he was so poll-driven that issues like hostile regimes and their weapons programs just couldn't penetrate his prime focus, or he had an agenda to make the world a more dangerous place. None paint a particularly flattering picture of the man from Hot Springs.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


and trying to get back into the bad but useful habit of blogging. Since my last post, the witness evidence in Monday's sniper shooting has fallen apart. The one witness who gave the most detail turned out to be unreliable, and Montogomery County Police Chief Charles Moose said that witness intentionally misled police. Therefore, no composite sketch of the killer will be forthcoming any time soon. As the case stands now, and has stood since Monday, 9 have been killed, 11 total shot. Nine and eleven. Interesting.

Several witnesses have described the shooter as "olive-skinned," possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern, and there's some speculation that the Feds are suppressing such descriptions to avoid public panic. The thinking goes that if we actually have some idea who's behind this and why they're doing it, we little sheeple can't be trusted to behave ourselves. That's ridiculous. I can buy the police suppressing a description if they think the media will run with it and harm the case, but public panic would seem less likely to me if this turns out to be international terrorism. We'd get angry, and we'd become more determined, and we might look a little more closely at a few folks, but we'd also know more about what we're dealing with, which would no longer be an incomprehensible but skilled lone nut. The shootings would take on a political dimension, and become another front in the war, and we'd deal with it.

I and other like-minded folks just might run out a buy a gun and get some refresher training. Maybe that's what the local authorities are actually trying to avoid. Maryland police are, for now, still in charge of the investigation though the crimes stretch across three major and a slew of minor jurisdictions. Maryland is also gun-grabber nirvana. Most people around here have never seen a gun law they didn't like, though the area remains atop several crime stat lists. Oh yeah, the governor here is apparently going to ban hunting to keep the killer from getting Bambi. That'll show 'em, Parris. UPDATE: He's just issued an executive order banning hunting for the duration of this season. Lest you think that this ban is a good idea born entirely of present circumstances, think again: it's been on the gov's agenda since 1996.

Back to the terrorism angle for a moment, consider the following: The attacks have killed a handful, but have dented the area's economy fairly significantly. People are avoiding wide-open shopping center parking lots, meaning that they're also avoiding the shopping centers themselves. People are avoiding gas stations near large intersections, which means avoiding lots of gas stations. Some people are asking for telecommuting privileges, while outdoor activites such as school sports are being cancelled outright. Having come back to the area after being away for a few days, I don't sense panic here but I do sense dread. Everyone's talking about the sniper, debating how he'll be caught, what he's really up to and why the thousand or so cops on the case can't catch him. As a terror operation, this one has been very effective at hitting us economically and psychologically without necessarily killing hundreds of people. And unlike the usual one-shot blast, the terror operation (if that's what it turns out to be) is stretching on for weeks.

Now the Pentagon's involved, supplying a spy plane to help law enforcement watch the area hoping to catch a muzzle flash in the next killing. I don't see a posse comitatus problem here since no military personnel will be involved in anything other than maintaining and maybe flying the plane, but I don't see the plane being terribly effective either. It is interesting that the Pentagon is involved in a garden-variety serial killer case for the first time in our history, though, if that's what this turns out to be. Along those lines, the FBI is now dispatching agents to Gitmo to question al Qaeda detainees there. About the sniper.

Nine dead, eleven total shot.

UPDATE: Suman Palit calls it right. This whole business of "ballistic fingerprinting" is backdoor gun registration, and won't get the sniper even if it isn't. Does anyone really think that the killer would voluntarily bring his gun in for testing? If you do, email me immediately--I have some beautiful, beachfront property up for sale outside Tuscon that I think you'd be interested in.

As for the car vs gun registration argument, I have one simple fact that should implode it: You don't have a Constitutional right to own a car. You can therefore be required to register your car by the state in which you live. You do, however, have a Constitutional right to own a gun. Apples and oranges, when it comes to the ownership rights vis a vis cars and guns.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 15, 2002


says that the attempted hijacking of a Saudi jet in Sudan and the same-day "accident" involving a man ramming his car into the US Consulate gate in Jeddah, put together with the spate of attacks elsewhere in the world in the past couple of weeks, points to an al Qaeda offensive in Saudi Arabia.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


seem to be edging closer to open civil war.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


that three witnesses are now describing the DC area killer as an olive-skinned man. The same linked story notes that a composite sketch based on their observations may be finished up soon. I'm also hearing (from all the way down here in North Carolina) that the sketch may be released to the public.

Here's what the witnesses claim to have seen:

Of the eyewitness accounts to Friday's shooting, some reported seeing a white male and others said they saw a dark-skinned man, definitely of the "Hispanic or Mid-Eastern type," but not African-American.


Eyewitnesses testified to law enforcement that last Friday:

-- 1 individual thinks he/she saw 1 white male

-- 1 individual thinks he/she saw 2 dark-skinned males

-- 2 individuals think they saw 1 dark-skinned male

Eyewitnesses testified to law enforcement that last night:

-- 2 witnesses think they saw a dark-skinned male
Posted by B. Preston at 10:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 13, 2002


: I'm sure you already know the story: Rev. Jerry Falwell said that he thinks Mohammed was a terrorist. This caused much uproar, including riots as far away as India. While I do think Falwell tends to speak before thinking and does tend to lean toward the Idiotarian Party, I'm having a hard time blaming him for a riot that's occurred several thousands of miles away on the other side of the world. I mean, are these rioters thin-skinned or is it just me? Don't these people know that old saying about sticks and stones?

Anyway, Falwell has apoligized. Fine.

But he's getting condemned by Iranians--for saying intemperate things. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't these the same people who fairly regularly call us "The Great Satan?" Aren't these the same people who blame Jews for every bad thing that's ever happened? Aren't these the same people who think some Jewish ritual demands that the actual blood of children be cooked into sacramental bread? Don't they preach death to the Jews, call us infidels and lend aid to all manner of terrorists on a regular basis?

And they're all in a wad because Jerry Falwell said something dumb?

Spare me.
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