November 28, 2002


I probably won't be blogging much in the next day or so, as I'll be enjoying some turkey and watching a little football with friends. Have a great turkey-day. The following is Abraham Lincoln's proclamation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863
Posted by B. Preston at 10:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 27, 2002


Forrest Gore has declared war on the media. Well, on certain parts of it anyway...Fox, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh. The guy's a crank, and not even an original crank.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


InstaPundit has an interesting back-and-forth on academic lefties and their attempts to limit free speech on campuses around the nation. One of his readers thinks they do it to maintain civility. Having spent the last few years among a group that includes many academic lefties, I disagree. It's not about civility at all; if the speech police I've run into represent the norm, civility is the last thing on their minds. They tend to be very uncivil, even hateful, toward those who disagree with them, and engage in name-calling and back-stabbing whenever it suits them. And if you ever find yourself in a debate with them, they tend to resort to all sorts of dirty tricks to attack you, rather than refuting you on the merits. No, their attacks on free speech aren't an effort to get people to be nice--it's an attempt to shut down discussion that they don't like or that they feel is somehow a threat to them.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


National Review has my take on Disney's latest animated adventure. The nugget: I liked it.

UPDATE: Dang it! I erroneously stated in the piece that Treasure Planet is a Disney Pixar film. It isn't--it's just a Disney flick.
UPDATE II: The crack squad at NRO has removed my blunder.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 26, 2002


Well, we don't get stacks and stacks of letters, but we do get interesting and, occassasionally, printable letters. I also get stuff that's best left in the inbox or deleted quickly, but that's another discussion.

Here's a good one:

The fact that Europe hates Bush has been the subject
of much conservative commentary. But today I watched
him receive medals from leaders, and sincere adulation
from crowds, in places like Lithuania and Romania.
I realized the "fact" is only partly true. Bush is only
hated in the socialist parts of Europe.

It's true--the people that lived under the USSR;s bootheel for half a century are how our best friends, while the people we defended from the USSR are among our most bitter critics. It's the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and so forth, and not France and Germany, that really get what America is all about. They see us as the best example of a free people, and want to be like us. France and Germany are just jealous that they have been eclipsed and will remain second-class powers for the foreseeable future.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Lately I've posted a note or two about North Korea. At work, I've also been working on an animation of the aurora borealis, and I've been using combined textures from a NASA web site to make an earth that has lit up cities on the night side and a normal, cloudy atmosphere on the day side (if you'd like to see test renders from this project, click here or here). The earth textures are made from real satellite data, so using them in animation is a natural choice if you want your piece to look as real as it can.

While working on the thing, I couldn't help but notice where the lights on the night side were--as you'd expect, North America, Japan and Europe are well lit, while Australia, South America and Africa aren't. One place really stood out to me, though--the Korean Peninsula. Take a look:

The light of industrial progress, and freedom, literally stops at the DMZ separating the capitalist South from the Stalinist North. If this doesn't demonstrate how utterly futile and unworkable Communism is, I don't know what does.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:28 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


Relevant has posted my take on the issue. A feisty discussion is now underway in their comments section.

UPDATE: Whatever you think Jesus may or may not drive, surely we all can agree He wouldn't approve of vandalizing SUVs.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - More than 30 gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles has been vandalized in the Richmond area over the past few months, many with an acid-like chemical, and authorities are investigating whether a radical environmental group is responsible.
Police and the FBI want to know whether the attacks are the work of the shadowy Earth Liberation Front, an international underground organization that uses economic sabotage.

While the culprits left behind notes saying the vandalism was the work of the ELF, Sgt. Tom Shumate, spokesman for the Henrico County police, said authorities have not definitively linked the group to the vandalism.

The ELF "press office" did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the vandalism.

Twenty-five SUVs were damaged at a car dealership in late September. "Vandals put some type of glass-etching spray on the windows, an acid-type chemical that tints the glass where you can't see through it," Shumate said.

They used the same type of chemical to etch "ELF" into the plate-glass windows at three fast-food restaurants.

Just for the record, I've mentioned the dangerous ELF before.

(thanks to Chris for the update link)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:26 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 25, 2002


Immigration stats indicate that slightly fewer folks from overseas decided to move here this year as opposed to last year. But, an awful lot are still getting here from the Middle East, though INS has marginally increased scrutiny of potential immigrants. The new (still inadequate) security measures are apparently making life a little more difficult for some foreign students:

Some of those wanting to get into US schools nowadays face greater difficulties. For instance, Middle Eastern males seeking student visas sometimes face new security checks that can take five weeks to six months, notes Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, director of the international students office at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

These delays can be inconvenient, lasting beyond the start of school. A few MIT students from Russia, Canada, France, and elsewhere also faced security checks. Yet MIT has about 2,800 international students this year, perhaps 100 more than last year.

Now why do you suppose Middle Eastern males who seek visas might face a bit more scrutiny? I'd think they would be grateful we haven't just shut the gates altogether, given the recent history of Middle Eastern (especially Saudi) males staying here on student visas.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Top heavy al Qaeda has apparently lost another middle manager. Emad Abdelwahid Ahmed Alwan, al Qaeda's North African services rep, was dusted in Algeria on September 12, but was just recently identified after an investigation. One more murderer off the streets.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Dave Shiflett drop-kicks professional Texan Molly Ivins. As an amateur Texan (displaced north) myself, I love it when she takes one on the chin. She's an overrated windbag without a fact to hide behind, and sorely in need of Ann Richard's giant white fright-do to nest in.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Wanna mess with the Dems over at our favorite lefty hate site, Well, they're currently conducting a straw poll to see who the Dem faithful think will be their best choice to get slaughtered by Bush in 2004. You can find that poll here, and you have to register to take part. I think you'll figure out what to do from there.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Lots of folks still think there's no way to prove Saddam supports terrorism. Those folks would be wrong, as 60 Minutes demonstrated a few weeks back and Insight demonstrates here. Saddam, it seems, even pays off the families of murder bombers on a sliding scale of damage done:

The Iraqis maintained a hierarchy of mayhem when handing out financial rewards to the families of dead terrorists. Until the Passover bombing in March, the families of suicide bombers were paid $15,000, whereas "ordinary" martyrs got $10,000. Realizing that more money meant more attacks, the Iraqis later upped the price for a "quality" suicide operation to $25,000, the equivalent of several years' wages for an average worker there. The documents show the Iraqis also distinguished between suicide bombers who successfully carried out their missions and those who blew themselves up without killing Jews. In the warped economy of terror, failure has a price greater than death.

This data is based on the documents that the Israelis seized during its first occupation of Arafat's HQ earlier this year. Chilling stuff, and full of proverbial smoking guns.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Historians say that President Abraham Lincoln had this uncanny ability to sort of step outside himself and look on any situation as though he were an outside observer. When his rancorous cabinet fought him and among themselves, Lincoln could use that ability to see where the real problem was, and how to bend and manipulate his headstrong subordinates to his way of thinking without their ever knowing what was going on. That would surely be a nice ability to have, wouldn't it. It helped him get re-elected in the midst of a brutal civil war, which some blamed him for starting.

Well, I don't have that Lincoln-esque gift for looking at my own life from the outside, but got a tiny taste of what it might be like when reading this WorldNetDaily article. It's about China's possible mischief should we get bogged down in Iraq, and quotes a certain China-watching blogger:

Military analysts say China could be waiting for the United States to commit much of its remaining military forces to an attack against Iraq before launching an invasion against Taiwan.

"Should the Iraqi war turn sour – if, for instance, Saddam pulls his most loyal troops into Iraq's cities to force a drawn-out, street-to-street fight – the U.S. might be forced to pour additional troops into the battle," said Bryan Preston, a writer and television producer, in the Aug. 20 issue of The National Review Online.

"For China, our difficulty would be a golden opportunity to take on Taiwan, provided it could be sure the Bush administration's nuclear threat was a bluff," he said. "What would China do?"

Seeing that quote and the others the author pulled from my August piece just about struck me dumb (or in my case, dumber). And there's more--it's actually a good and well-researched article, better sourced than the one I wrote and which it quotes. And though it paints what I think is a fairly realistic scenario of Chinese opportunism, I don't think that possibility should dissuade us from taking down Saddam. He still needs to go, whether China behaves itself or not.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 24, 2002


No, I'm not talking about our potential invasion of Iraq, but its invasion of us. According to Michelle Malkin, thousands of possible Iraqi sleeper agents may already be here. Her article is extremely well-sourced--and chilling.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Priceless lefty bashing from Mark Steyn:

"...Here's the thing: Ted Rall, Barbra Streisand and [Dr. Michael] Niman [a Rall-esque conspiracy monger] reckon there's something fishy about the Wellstone crash for no other reason than that a left-wing man is dead and a right-wing government's in power. Say what you like about us right-wing nuts, but we know how to run a decent conspiracy theory: Vince Foster was at least dead in the park from a gunshot wound before we began dialing the talk shows with a riot of bizarre details.

"But Ted and Barbra and the prof have no details: no black boxes, no autopsy inconsistencies, nothing but their own ideological animus. This, too, is revealing of the difference between left and right these days: Conservatism deals with specifics, liberalism subordinates everything to ideological generalities. It's enough that Wellstone is progressive and Bush is an oil stooge. QED. The trouble is the generalities don't fit the real world, whether in that plane crash or in the sniper case.

'Chris Patten, when he was chairman of Britain's Tory Party, liked to say, ''The facts of life are conservative.'' Whether one agrees with that, what's clear since Sept. 11 is that the facts of life are not liberal. Which is why the left has less and less interest in anything so humdrum as facts."

Maybe that's why they keep engaging in the politics of personal destruction they so famously decry--the facts keep getting in the way of their political agenda.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Shortly after 9-11, Bill Clinton blasted himself all over the airwaves claiming to have been this close to knocking off Osama bin Laden. Then the facts came out--he'd never been all that serious about the terrorist threat, had been on the whole happy to launch a few Tomahawks and call it a day, and even refused a sincere offer from Sudan to hand Osama over to us. On the whole, a losing round for the man from Hot Springs.

Well, now that we know North Korea basically played Billy Jeff for a fool, the former pres is back, claiming that he'd threatened war against Pyongyang if it didn't do what he said. He even says that he got into war planning mode.

Question--Do you believe him? Does it seem plausible that Clinton threatened a tiny, famine-weakened and mad as a hatter rogue state with war, only to have that rogue state basically laugh in his face and proceed according to its original plan? Keep in mind, around that same time or just a year or two later, Clinton actually did dispatch a good chunk of the US Seventh Fleet to the waters off Taiwan to keep China in check. And we'd been active in places like Haiti and the Balkans, and were continually knocking off Iraqi radar sites. With all that going on, would Clinton's war threat have seemed as empty as his words after the fact do now?

I don't believe him for a second. A few weeks back there were all these stories that Clinton had planned a serious raid, on the ground with actual troops and hardware, to roust Osama from his sleep in Afghanistan and make him see the light on terrorism. It eventually came out that Clinton's "serious raid" planning amounted to fantasizing about a bunch of ninjas in black pajamas dropping in on Osama and scaring him half to death. If there was a plan for North Korea other than the appeasement route he eventually took, it was probably just as "serious" as the Ninja Attack.

Though I have always had a pretty low opinion of Mr. Clinton, with every passing day it seems he finds a novel way to drive it further down.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack