October 17, 2003


...the Saudi entity's days are numbered. And the number should be quite low:

Saudi Arabia has funded the indoctrination of U.S. soldiers and inmates to an ideology adopted by Al Qaida.

Research conducted by the Washington-based Institute of World Politics has asserted that Saudi Arabia poured tens of millions of dollars into spreading Al Qaida-related ideology among American soldiers and inmates. The report said the Saudi aim was to form insurgency cells throughout the United States that support a Wahabi agenda.


The report said the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. military, Middle East Newsline reported. At least nine of the 14 chaplains in the U.S. military received their religious training from the Saudi-funded Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Va..

Our friends, the Saudis, sure don't act like friends when they think we're not looking. They fund extremist Islamic clerics all across Africa, the Middle East, Asia--and inside our own military (our prisons, too). If this turns out to be true (and it does fit with other known facts about the way the Pentagon chooses its Muslim chaplains), their aim seems clear: global jihad until they have destroyed every non-Muslim society on earth. Since they cannot confront us openly and hope to win, they will stab us in the back while they smile to our faces.

Riyadh delenda est.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


At the risk of saying something incredibly crass and politically incorrect, and possibly getting lots of people very angry with me, I'm going to say something to the crowd now after Gregg Easterbrook with torches and pitchforks:

Get over yourselves.

Easterbrook is no anti-Semite. The man attends an ecumenical church where Jews and Christians worship side by side, for goodness' sake. Look over the totality of his writing, and you won't find a whiff of anti-Semitism. Not a whiff. What you'll find is one ill-advised paragraph about a movie he hated and a movie studio that disappoints him, amid some fine writing about an amazing variety of subjects. Nothing more. Easterbrook is one of the good guys, folks.

But it seems that in the present world, you can't be construed or even misunderstood to say a single solitary bad thing about Muslims or Jews without getting yourself into a career-threatening snare (though bashing Christians has never been more fashionable). This kind of thin-skinned witch hunting has got to stop, or we'll run out of good writers pretty soon. We'll also lose the ability to say anything at all, anytime, anywhere.

Easterbrook didn't burn down a synagogue. He didn't paint a swastika on a sidewalk, or incite a riot in a Jewish neighborhood, or hoist the Nazi flag at a Klan rally. He wrote a weak paragraph that was so poorly worded that it was easily mistaken for anti-Semitic animus. That's his crime. He has apologized; let it go.

Have none of you ever said or written anything that you regret? Have you never written or said a single solitary thing that could be misunderstood, or taken to mean something that it didn't? Of course you have. I certainly have. So let's get over ourselves already.

In the mean time, his case is instructive. If you want to keep yourself out of trouble, the path is clear: Get your own ADL.

Just look at Mel Gibson. He makes a movie about the last moments of Christ's life on earth, and the Anti-Defamation League sets out on a campaign to defame him. A US general gives a speech that lines up quite well with mainstream evangelical Christian thought, and gets lambasted by both the LA Times smear machine and MSNBC. And of course the ADL is all over Gregg Easterbrook. If these guys had their own ADL they could at least defend themselves in the public arena. But they don't, so they'll suffer the slings and arrows of outraged blowhards.

So we Christians need ot set up our own ADL to fight off the other ADL, and the atheists, etc etc. It'll be one busy organization, but the down side is it will just be one more bunch of screaming zealots looking to poke their fingers in other peoples' eyes over trivialities (and yes, I think the ADL has crossed the line from legitimate defense organization to nitpicking zealotry in the past year or so--this case is seriously beneath them).

So instead of all that strife, why don't we just all get over ourselves. Now. The real anti-Semites rule big Islamic countries and say idiot things like "the Jews rule the world," while every single other leader of an Islamic country gives him a big standing O. Oh, and they kill Jews, burn down their synagogues and promise an endless jihad until Israel is pushed into the sea (see Arafat, Yasser). They also kill Christians and even non-medieval Muslims, by the way. Easterbrook wrote poorly for once in his life, and has said he's sorry--what more do you folks want from him? His head on a platter? A promise to never be human again? What?

MORE: Jeff Jarvis is as worried as I am about what we're doing to the concept of free speech when we witch hunt people like has been done to Gregg Easterbrook.

Two things: I cannot express strongly enough my outrage at ESPN for firing him, and pushing his great TMQ columns down the memory hole. Bastards. They've lost this viewer for good. Due probably to Disney's totalitarian ways, ESPN has become a bastion of thought police. I am also plenty annoyed with lots of bloggers right now. The bandwagon mentality, the hunt 'em till we bleed 'em ethos that permeates much of the blogosphere, has cost a decent man his job. I hope you're happy. I'm sure not.

Oh, and one more thing. If you folks want to play this game, fine. I demand an apology from Andrew Sullivan and anyone else who has ever used the term theocrat or any other perjorative to describe evangelical Christians as a group. You folks who talk about us as though were some form of American Taliban may not realize it, but you sound far more bigoted than Gregg Easterbrook ever did. Really. So fess up, or I might just start chronicling your offenses. How would you like that?

Posted by B. Preston at 10:58 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


What do you do with your desktop during the average day? Check email, surf the web, write reports and real work, post to your blog?

Yeah, me too. Trying to get away from that last thing...

But for the next couple of months, I'll also be working on the opening sequence for an IMAX film.

You've probably seen an IMAX film at your local science center or, increasingly these days, at your local mall. The screens for these things are huge, usually around 5 stories tall. Each frame of an IMAX film is several thousand pixels across, by several thousand pixels down (TV is 720 pixels across by 540 pixels down, maximum--by the time you get the broadcast signal at home it's down to around 400 lines or less for standard NTSC).

As you might imagine, to make a single frame of IMAX is several orders of magnitude more of a digit-crunch than making a single frame of standard TV. Standard TV frames, uncompressed, are around 1 meg apiece, so each second is 30 megs (1 meg x 30 frames per second), and an uncompressed minute is roughly 1.8 gigs. Most systems don't use uncompressed video, though, and today's DV camcorders don't even shoot uncompressed video. Digital video, the kind that can skip across a FireWire cable from your camcorder to your hard drive for editing, playback, whatever, is compressed 5:1. Good compression is your friend.

Well, I did a test render today. Each IMAX frame is 25 megs, compressed (67 megs uncompressed). Twenty-four of them play each second.

My sequence is currently 25 seconds long. Hmm....25 megs per frame x 24 frames per second x 25 seconds equals about 15 gigs.

Pardon my French, but @%$!

I mean, @%$ @%$! 15 gigs for 25 seconds of film! And in all likelihood, the sequence will get longer.

Thank God for FireWire hard drives.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The birth of China's manned space program this week must have made Clinton as proud as a beaming new father. Get out the cigars, "It's a spy!"

China's first manned spacecraft did more than simply showcase Beijing's efforts for civilian space flight. The Shenzhou 5, or Divine Vessel 5, spacecraft also conducted intelligence-gathering work for China's military.

Included on the top of the Long March 2F rocket, which boosted Shenzhou into orbit Tuesday, was a new Chinese military intelligence-gathering satellite.

...China's "space assets will play a major role in any use of force against Taiwan and in preventing foreign intervention," Col. Stokes said. It is working to develop networks of satellites that will be used for spying and communications for the military, he said.

China also has shown "significant indications" of developing space weapons, such as satellite-killing missiles and satellites and lasers that can disable U.S. military and intelligence satellites, he said.

The Long March rocket booster also benefited from illegal U.S.-technology transfers in the 1990s, when U.S. satellite companies helped China fix electrical problems with the boosters. The booster improvements also benefited Chinese strategic missiles, which are made by the same Chinese manufacturers of the Long March rocket.

Posted by Chris Regan at 05:07 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


Gen Boykin has now supposedly: "compared radical Muslims to Satan" according to ABC's top-of-the-hour radio news report. Of course it's not true, but it is the exact same tactic and word used to distort and inflame Santorum's Christian views. Coincidence?

By the way, even without the distortion, the media blowing this thing out of proportion is only going to spread the offending words to a billion more Muslims than would have otherwise heard them. It's now international news. So although Boykin's words weren't a big deal in a church setting, now the irresponsible media has given them a distorted life of their own.

Again, the liberal media is actually taking sides against a key U.S. military leader and using their power to fuel the Muslim's holy war. And they have the gall to accuse Gen Boykin of not being aware how his speech might be distorted and lead to consequences?!? The media is doing the distortion and creating the consequences in real time for us all.

These reporters are fools. Isn't the success of the war against the axis of evil and evil terrorists more important than outing Christians officials who might dare to identify the spirit behind evil? Well, Boykin did more though. He committed the greatest sin in the world, according to liberals, by daring to thank God for the timely election and leadership of George Bush. "And how dare he point out that Allah is an idol and not the same god as the Judeo-Christian God," the reporters must have said to themselves. "Let's disrupt the U.S. war leadership and sound an alarm to get all Muslims around the world fired up!"

For what it's worth, the thing that stuck with me most in this war was a comment by Charles Krauthammer after the quick victory in Afghanistan. He made a Boykin-like comment that, as we have more victories, it will begin to dawn on the radicals and the fickle "Arab street" that Allah is not all-powerful against those who worship the Judeo-Christian God.

I saw immediately that each loss will sap their will to fight mostly because they're fighting as a religious act for the same Allah that would be repeatedly failing them. That's an objective fact than a professional athiest General should conclude. We should use it in our psyops. If we have generals who can't think in strategic religious terms like that then they should be fired. Just because we don't want to fight a holy war doesn't mean we aren't in one.

This spiritual aspect of the war is primarily why it's so dangerous to allow Afghanistan and Iraq to flare up again. It's not just about those two countries. The dangerous message the radicals worldwide will take from any comeback is a revival of "Allahu Akbar" -- leading to a rebound in recruiting on the streets. All hell would break loose if Allah comes through and the momentum appears to be swinging back in their favor.

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


Make that an anti-American Islamic terrorist support state with billions in oil reserves. That means it's worse than our previous brilliant idea to create a Palestinian terrorist state. Why would we even allow the possibility of this outcome?

Drawing largely upon the advice and counsel of State Department officials—who comprise the bulk of Bremer’s support staff—the civilian administrator placed a number of avowed Islamists on the IGC. When Powell ventured to Iraq last month, the only member of the IGC he met with individually (aside from the Secretary of State’s counterpart) was Islamist Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, former spokesman in the 1990’s for the Dawa Party, which is responsible for the 1983 bombing of the embassy in Kuwait that killed six and injured dozens.

Pressed several weeks ago by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) at a hearing about whether or not the U.S. would insist that Iraq become a secular democracy, Bremer responded, “the Iraqis are writing this constitution, not me.” Which prompted one frustrated administration official to ask, “Who is Bremer referring to, the Islamists he stacked the council with?”

First, we failed to use psyops to keep a formerly subdued populace subdued for a few months while we finished cleaning up Iraq. We allowed them raw freedom from day one -- to their own detriment and ours. Now we're going to allow them the freedom to install a hostile government right off the bat? Brilliant. Why the hell did we fight this war again?

This crazy policy is only possible because we're not allowed to officially recognize that the battle has been joined in a holy war not of our choice. We're not fighting random terrorists using our military. The only ones that threaten civilization right now are well-organized and funded Islamist terrorists. They're evil people who live and die to kill Jews, Christians and Hindus for sacrificial worship of Allah, and they want nukes so bad they glow when talking about them. As it is now, even moderate Muslim leaders wink at and defend the bloodletting militant arm of Islam. They know it brings them power. We need to those types of Muslim leaders accountable or just quit fighting. No way should Iraq be allowed to become an Islamic Republic in the current atmosphere. And if we allow it before we topple the Islamic government in Iran we need to have our warplan examined.

The Iraqi terrorists are attacking now in a military version of the Democrats' political strategy. They're betting we get scared, cave in and give "moderates" some control and power with the slim hope that it will make them more rational and thankful. It never works. It's seen as weakness, the power is abused and the attacks get worse. Ted Kennedy and the Dems pulled off the backstabbing scam with both Bush 41 and 43 in the domestic political arena.

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 16, 2003


When I was 15, growing up in the suburbs south of Dallas, there was one Christian music store in town. Appropriately called His Place, it was the only place to pick up the latest from Petra or Rez Band, Daniel Band or David Meece. There was no internet, no chain of Lifeway stores, nothing else around to supply me with music. My visits to His Place were infrequent--it was in a rough part of town, and I didn't have a car or the legal means to drive one yet, so I had to depend on my older brother or friends to get there. But when I went I'd stay for hours, checking out all the latest titles until someone had to drag me out.

One day, one record caught my eye. It was an LP (remember those?), with a black and white photo cover of a blurry human figure with his arms wrapped around his head, superimposed over a gloomy night beach scene. It was eery and arresting, and utterly unlike the shiny happy stuff that most Christian bands (with the notable exception of Rez and a couple others) tended to put out. It was a highly polished piece of art, coupled with a very weird title--Fearful Symmetry. The band was simply called DA.

I'd heard of them in passing. They had a certain reputation for being out there, edgy, more than slightly weird. Some people even suggested they were satanic. It was never hard to find someone who'd argue that any Christian musician or band was sanatic--it sort of goes with the territory I guess. But that cover art really got a hold on me. I didn't buy it that day, but a couple months later, on another visit to His Place, I ponied up for a cassette.

I got home, eagerly ripped off the annoying cellophane wrapper, and popped the tape into my monophonic player. That poor player just couldn't reproduce what DA had put on that tape. They had taken the Wall of Sound concept to disturbing lengths, layering on towering vocals and sometimes crushing synths, ethereal guitars, distant and haunting percussion, and basslines that sounded more like heartbeats. It was the spookiest thing I'd ever heard.

I hated it. For about three weeks, I regretted buying that cassette. But I kept listening to it, eventually growing to love it so much that DA, or Daniel Amos, became the one band that I will probably still listen to when I'm old and toothless and watching my grandkids bounce around the yard.

The brains behind the band is Terry Taylor. He is also the brains behind a bunch of other equally influential but sadly obscure bands--the Lost Dogs being one of them. If you happen to remember the Earthworm Jim or Neverhood video games, he had a hand in them too. He wrote the soundtracks. He also put the first Christian rap act together, though he wouldn't claim credit (or blame) for that for several years, and he created a series of children's tapes that are, well, you just have to hear them. Imagine Frank Zappa riffing Dr. Seuss and Douglas Adams, and you begin to edge near the picture. He pops up in weird places.

Tonight, two of the Lost Dogs--Taylor and Mike Roe of 77s non-fame--played Baltimore. Or more accurately, they played a church basement near Baltimore. Terry was among the handful of youths who first pioneered Christian rock back in the very early 70s. He's an unknown legend in this niche world, a man who has paved the way for countless bands and solo acts that came after him but, while piling up wealth that he'll never see by selling scads of discs and tapes, they never quite reached his artistic integrity or creativity. And here he is, playing a church basement, and apparently having a grand time of it. And through the chatter of kids running around, and rude adults who can't find it within themselves to respect performers or the audience present to hear them, Terry and Mike put on a great show, funny and serious, oddball and dead on at the same time. After the show, I got to meet Terry Taylor, shake his hand, chat with him for a minute or two. Student, meet mentor.

It was Taylor's music that introduced me to the poetry and art of William Blake. Taylor introduced me to the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and G. K. Chesterton and Frederick Buechner and T. S. Eliot and John Donne and Malcolm Muggeridge, immense talents who happened to be fervent Christians and who have influenced the way I approach faith in a world that is hostile to it. He weaved their thoughts into his music, and into the liner notes on his records, and into a sci-fi story that he built four consecutive albums around. More than anyone I actually knew when I was growing up, Terry Taylor led me to the literary figures that I still read and that still linger with me like silent fellow travelers. If I ever succeed as a writer, Terry Taylor deserves much of the credit. Besides the literary figures, Taylor's writing counters the liberation theology, the name-it-claim-it garbage that has infected the church for the past few decades. He has sliced up televangelists and assorted "Christian" entertainers, smacked around politicians and reminded anyone who would listen that life may be full of pain and disappointment but there can be joy at its end. In fact, there can be joy in the here and now, whether you're living with constant pain or constant prosperity.

At a distance through the years, Taylor has been like most heroes would be--untarnished, above human, more an entity than a real flesh and bones person. Meeting him changed that. I know that he's a little bit shorter than me, that his long, stringy hair is graying a bit, that he's starting to show his age. I also know he's an amiable, friendly sort and that he's as human and flawed as I am, and that he can really play a guitar. It's good to know these things. It's good to meet your heroes, even if it knocks them down a peg and puts them on a knowable level.

Terry Taylor and Mike Roe put on a great, memorable show tonight. They joked about singing all their greatest hit (yes the singular is intentional), about how their new record is exploding off the chart (which may or may not be true, since it was never on any chart), and occassionally dipping into the profound possibility that the Creator of the universe could present Himself in something as mundane as a chord progression and a whimsical lyric. In the most important ways, perhaps it's better that Taylor is playing small venues instead of the stadiums he deserves. He's right there within reach, ready to extend a bit of the talent and spirit God has given him to anyone willing to listen.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Pacifists, "peace" protestors, others who still think the Iraq war was unjust, owe it to themselves and the rest of us to read this. It's the story of a pacifist Assyrian Christian's trip to Iraq prior to the war. He went there to be a human shield:

Sitting next to me was an older man who carefully began to sound me out. Apparently feeling the freedom to talk in the midst of the mingling crowd he suddenly turned to me and said `There is something you should know.` `What` I asked surprised at the sudden comment. `We didn’t want to be here tonight`. he continued. `When the Priest asked us to gather for a Peace Service we said we didn’t want to come`. He said. `What do you mean` I inquired, confused. `We didn’t want to come because we don’t want peace` he replied. `What in the world do you mean?` I asked. `How could you not want peace?` `We don’t want peace. We want the war to come` he continued. What in the world are you talking about? I blurted back. That was the beginning of a strange odyssey that deeply shattered my convictions and moral base but at the same time gave me hope for my people and in fact hope for the world.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:39 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack


After stuffing the "do not call "list down the throat of elitist judges, Americans now need a do not kill list that judges must review before ruling that we be starved to death when we're not even terminally ill.

I found it interesting that the mainstream media was all over the Terri Schiavo case only after her "murder by judge" was underway. Some facts the media still avoids:

There was a medical malpractice suit after the initial emergency. The jury awarded $1.3 million with nearly $800,000 to be used for Terri's rehabilitation and care.

Her husband, who testified then he would work to protect her life, has spent virtually all her money to get the courts to pull the feeding tube.

It seems Michael Schiavo wants his wife dead. In court, a nurse testified he frequently asked, "Is that b---- dead yet?" Terri got no physical therapy, despite expert medical testimony that she could learn to swallow and therefore eat and drink normally. Terri never even got routine teeth cleaning all those years.

While Terri languished, Michael went on with his life with a live-in girlfriend, had a baby with her and now awaits the birth of their second child. He's still legally married to Terri and will not divorce.

So much for compassionate liberalism. I've seen a similar CYA pattern in the media before where they want to say later on that they adequately covered a story without really covering the facts. They keep the story off the front pages until it's a done deal, then they toss out the bones of the story, leaving the meat to others. The only place I saw it adequately covered over the last few months was on WorldNetDaily.

They've presented plenty of evidence to show that she was refused conventional therapy and isn't really comatose, but she's essentially the victim of a husband and a judge on a power trip.

They had a nice editorial piece just the other day called The Martyrdom of Terry Schiavo

Whether Terri Schiavo is saved at the last hour or turned over to the clutching hands of those who so hungrily desire her death, she will still be a witness. As should be clear from the Christian faith of her parents, those who are fighting to keep her alive believe most passionately that life is sacred. Those who desire her death (such as her own husband, Michael Schiavo) just as passionately believe that life is not worth living if it is less than perfect – especially not worth living if it places a burden on others.

In order to understand what is really at stake in the Schiavo case, we need to understand the scope of the real struggle. This is not merely a local disagreement about a single moral issue, but rather, part of a far larger war presently tearing apart much of the social fabric of the West. We are witnessing, in the life-and-death struggle of Terri Schiavo, the life-and-death struggle of a civilization that was historically defined by the moral understanding of Christianity.

Was? Yes. Christian civilization is being replaced, slowly but surely, by a rival civilization based on entirely different principles, a civilization that can only live if Christian civilization dies. The two cannot coincide, except in conflict, and since a civilization (let alone a mere house) divided against itself cannot stand, one side shall win and the other side shall be extinguished. Whether or not Terri Schiavo will be a casualty in this war, she is certainly a witness to it.

Posted by Chris Regan at 03:29 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Not a defense of his actions per se, but a defense against the pathetic liberal attack dogs led by little Evan Thomas.

When a conservative can be the biggest thing in talk radio, earning $30 million a year and attracting 20 million devoted listeners every week – all while addicted to drugs – I'll admit liberals have reason to believe that conservatives are some sort of super-race, incorruptible by original sin. But the only perfect man hasn't walked the Earth for 2,000 years. In liberals' worldview, any conservative who is not Jesus Christ is ipso facto a "hypocrite" for not publicly embracing dissolute behavior the way liberals do.

In fact, Rush's behavior was not all that dissolute. There is a fundamental difference between taking any drug – legal, illegal, prescription, protected by the 21st Amendment or banned by Michael Bloomberg – for kicks and taking a painkiller for pain.

There is a difference morally and a difference legally.

...the guy I really feel sorry for is Evan Thomas. How would little Evan fare in any competitive media? Any followers? Any fans? Any readers at all? And he's not even addicted to painkillers! This week, Rush proved his motto: He really can beat liberals with half his brain tied behind his back.

The whole thing is great, and she really puts the drug scandal in perspective. She's another one that can shred liberals with ease. She's so brainy it bores her to argue down at their level. She ends up just playing with them and having fun -- sort of like a bored kid with ADD that's too smart for public school. I'm sure liberals would put her on Ritalin to tie up half her brain if they could.

Posted by Chris Regan at 02:01 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack


NBC and the LA Times have entered the holy war. Apparently believing that their father (of lies) needs to be defended, they've launched an attack on U.S. Army Lt. Gen Boykin, who says privately that the real enemy in the war is not individual terrorists themselves, but the evil spirit that drives them to kill and destroy. Since when is it controversial to out Satan as the father of evil? How about this no brainer?

Why are terrorists out to destroy the United States? Boykin said: “They’re after us because we’re a Christian nation.”

I thought these were known and settled facts. If we think they hate us for our money or our TV programs we miss the point entirely. If we focus on jailing individual terrorists, then we have several hundred million more suicidal radicals we must fight. Better to recognize that they're being deceived by evil theology, identify who is really behind the deception, and fight the war on all fronts.

General Boykin is simply looking at the strategic reality of the enemy's declared holy war -- as is Bush. They know we're fighting against pure evil in radical Islam -- and they now know what side of the holy war the mainstream media is on. Bush must be more careful with his words of course. But let me echo Boykin's thoughts: The anti-Christian media isn't the real enemy. We're really fighting the evil that drives them to hate patriotic Christians, to lie to all Americans day in and day out, and to (along with the ACLU) constantly defend their spiritual brothers, the terrorists.

The anti-Christian liberals in media, government and courtrooms want to excise Christians (and religious Jews) from public life so that their more militant brethren, the radical Muslim terrorists, have the freedom to do the killing for them. That way they avoid getting blood on their nicely manicured hands. Using lions is so passé.

It's all part of How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity. I haven't read Persecution yet, but I plan to.

UPDATE: Here's more on the holy war that Judeo-Christian cultures are supposed to pretend we're not fighting back against.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad today told a summit of Islamic leaders that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and the world's 1.3 billion Muslims should unite and use nonviolent means for a "final victory."

"The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," Mahathir said. "They get others to fight and die for them."
[Not being able to kill them all is very frustrating it seems.]

...The prime minister, who has turned his country into the world's 17th-ranked trading nation during his 22 years in power, said Jews "invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy" to avoid persecution and gain control of the most powerful countries.

Mahathir said that "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews," but he suggested using political and economic tactics instead of violence.

Ah, of course...a gentle genocide. How forward thinking these "moderate" Muslims are.

Posted by Chris Regan at 01:22 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


Lately a peck of idiots has been going around spamming various comments sections on various blogs. Sadly, this blog has not been immune. When I find such comments, I delete them and ban the originating IP.

That's effective, but unsatisfying.

The last spammer to hit us (this morning), came from IP I deleted the comment, banned the IP, and then looked them up:

CAIS Internet
6861 Elm Street, Third Floor
City: McLean
StateProv: VA
PostalCode: 22101
Country: US

TechName: Network Operations Center
TechPhone: +1-703-448-4470
TechEmail: domreg@cais.net

CAIS is most likely just the spammer's ISP, but do you think it's possible they'll take action against someone using their services to spam others? If enough people pester their tech email or phone line?

Posted by B. Preston at 08:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 15, 2003


Hm...who said that there was something odd about the way Clueless Joe Wilson was handling the way his CIA wife was outed? Who, looking at all the available data (which isn't much)--the former ambassador's skin-deep survey of Niger's uranium industry, the nearly giddy way he's been out and about turning his wife into a martyr, the odd story that he divulged to MoDo in which Ms. Plame outed herself to him on or near their first date, the fact that the only CIA agent on record about Plame's NOC status has been retired for years--concluded that it's nearly impossible that some White House operative actually outed a real live secret agent to Bob Novak? And who was apparently proven right by a Nick Kristof column?

Um, that would be me. Hold your applause; I've got more.

We learned last week that Ms. Plame was apparently outed in 1994 by none other than Aldrich Ames. He gave her name, along with many others, to Soviet and Russian agents, thus wrecking Plame's NOC status. She met Wilson some time in 1996 or 1997, and by that time was already on her way out of NOC. By the time whoever outed her to Bob Novak this spring, Plame hadn't apparently been under cover for something like 9 years (the Kristof column says she was taken off NOC this year before being outed, but that makes little sense--why would the CIA leave a compromised agent under cover for so long?) So for you Dem types who are hot to make this issue into a crime, you're out of luck.

So who outed her? My gut feeling is it's about 65% that Wilson himself outed her to Novak. It fits with the known facts, and with the logic of the case.

Wilson got sent by someone in the CIA on a mission apparently designed to discredit one rationale for war, namely that the Iraqis had tried to obtain uranium to build a nuclear weapon. He was not sent on a serious mission of inquiry, just a junket to provide the CIA with some cover once the question rose to the forefront. Wilson was singularly unqualified for this mission, as he demonstrated in the way he conducted it, the way he reported it to the CIA, and the way he wrote about it after the fact. His sole qualification was that he had connections in the region, which isn't much of a qualification, and secondarily that his wife was a WMD expert for the CIA. The one card he had to play to make his mission look more legitimate was to bring his wife--the WMD expert--into play. She had the very expertise that he lacked. So he spilled to Bob Novak, a reliably anti-war conservative columnist, telling him about her as a way to lend credibility to himself. He outed her, and has been running around charging the Bush administration with some kind of crime ever since. He knows the truth; Plame hasn't been a bona fide secret agent for years.

How would the White House benefit from this disclosure? I don't see a benefit for them in outing Plame, as it makes Wilson's credibility on WMD rise slightly. Further, this White House seems to understand how, when and why to keep a secret, unlike the previous security sieve of an administration. That doesn't discount the possibility that some White House dunderhead outed Plame on the mistaken impression that it would help their cause, but it just doesn't make logical sense. Wilson's outing her does.

I'm 65% sure of this, which leaves lots of weasel room to be wrong. And we'll probably never know, because for Wilson to come forward now would destroy him, his wife, and whoever within the CIA decided to send him on a sensitive mission of the highest importance for which he was wholly unqualified and which he obviously did not take seriously for some reason. Novak should talk, either on his own or under oath if necessary.

And that's the real crime here, to the extent that there is a crime at all. Someone in the CIA apparently ran a rogue operation designed to discredit the President they are supposed to serve. In a time of war. If you're looking for a mole, look no further than whoever sent Joe Wilson to Niger. And in outing his wife as I suspect, Wilson may have unintentionally forced the CIA to shut down some of her operations that even he knew nothing about. That fits what we know about how Wilson operated in Niger, oblivious and less than skilled, but ultimately full of himself.

Another question--why is the CIA just now getting around to assessing the damage from this episode? Plame was outed months ago; is the CIA in the habit of waiting until something makes headlines before looking into it?

Oh, and I'm still not back from haitus. Really. And Rush was apparently right all along about Donovan McNabb being overrated. He stunk up Texas Stadium on Sunday, which is obviously fine with me.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 14, 2003


I'm not really back from my little hiatus, and Chris has been doing a bang-up job while I'm away, but a couple of stories have popped up today that I feel compelled to comment about. The first is the President's surge in the polls, and the second is that Michael Moore is still an idiot.

A recent Gallup poll shows that President Bush's approval rating is on the rebound--up to 55% approval. That's remarkable when you consider the steady drumbeat of negative news he has had to endure in recent months, from war to economics. Our troops won the Iraq war spectacularly, but the post-war phase has been messy. That's not shocking at all--prior to the war Iraq had been under the thumb of a madman, and is now hosting the last stand of both that old regime and some of its terrorist allies. They promised us a mess, and they're delivering. But the press has covered the ongoing violence without much context, such as the fact that Iraq has more functional hospitals today than at any point during Saddam's reign, or that the country's power grid is back to around pre-war levels, or the fact that two-thirds of Iraqis living in Baghdad want US troops to stick around for a while. The press continually focuses on the negative, and the Democrats play up the negative as a way to criticize Bush and gain ground against him, over time knocking his poll numbers down if he doesn't respond in some way. On the economic front, while all signs point to a rebound there is also talk of a jobless recovery, meaning that all those jobs that allegedly disappeared at the end of the Clinton term and the beginning of Bush's may not come back in time to boost Bush's standing on that front.

But against that backdrop, where Bush's approval rating was sliding a month ago it is surging today. Why?

Say what you want about public relations, that it's based on demographic studies or social psychology or what have you, but at the end of the day it isn't rocket science. Bush may have the right message or may be delivering it in some new way that could potentially attract support, but that is not why he is surging. He is surging because he is visible.

It really is that simple. Over the summer, he all but disappeared from the scene. In fact, during August he literally disappeared from the scene, vacationing at his remote ranch in Crawford, TX. But even when he was in Washington, he seemed to have become more an observer to the political process than the center of it, which as President he is. But in late September and early October, when the Gallup survey was taken, he became more visibly in charge. He and his team members delivered more speeches countering the negativity in the press and among his critics; he reshuffled the Iraq command structure elevating Condi Rice to oversee it and report to him. He has been more visibly in charge in the past three weeks or so than he had in the prior several months, and as the average American finds him trustworthy, his mere presence translates into a slight surge in the polls. He could at this point--and probably until primary season in a few months--be a Woody Allen president, just keeping his approval rating afloat by showing up. With a war on he will do more than just show up, because he has to, but he could get by on his mere visibility if that was what he wanted to do. When the majority of people are already inclined to like you, all you really have to do to maintain a workable level of affection is to be present.

Now, on to the second story--that Michael Moore is still an idiot. Context: Moore is on CNN's Crossfire, talking about himself and his book and generally making a fool of himself as he often does. People are not generally inclined to like Moore, so it's a fair bet that any appearance he makes in public hurts him at least as much as it may help him. But getting back to his remarks, here is what he said about 9-11:

MOORE: I'd like to ask the question whether September 11 was a terrorist attack, or was it a military attack? We call it a terrorist attack. We keep calling it a terrorist attack.

But it sure has the markings of a military attack. And I'd like to know whose military was involved in this precision, perfectly planned operation. I'm sorry, but my common sense has never allowed me to believe since that day that you can learn how to fly a plane at 500 miles per hour. And you know, when you go up 500 miles an hour, if you're off by this much, you're in the Potomac. You don't hit a five-store building like that.

You don't learn how to do that at some rinky-dink flight training school in Florida on a little video game with PacMan buttons. I'm sorry. I just don't buy that.

Coming from a guy who is as anti-war as Moore, this is an especially rich line to take. If 9-11 was strictly a military attack, wouldn't that necessitate an even stronger military response from us than those we have taken? If you stand on principle, yes, but Moore has never been one to do that. He just wants to take another cheap shot at Bush, and this time his angle happens to be defining 9-11 as either a terrorist or military attack. His fellow lefties wanted to call it merely a "crime" and treat it as such long before the fires died down, but we won't go there.

Instead we'll go into his bit about flight simulators. On that, he's just simply wrong. Flight schools have very good simulators, not video games as he describes them. They have to; they can't all own 777s or 747s or whatever craft their students are interested in flying, and you can't just put a student pilot into one of those aircraft without extensive work in simulators. And the simulators themselves are quite realistic. I actually spent a little tourist time in one last week. I'm not training to be a pilot or anything, but had the opportunity to sit in one and look around, so I did. And it was amazing. The first scenario was a daytime flight over Manhattan, and from our vantage off the coast I could clearly make out the skyline, rendered in 3D space, and even pick out which building was supposed to be which. All of the highways and coastline were perfectly proportioned, and even the fog that the operator later introduced looked real. Then we moved to a nighttime sim of a landing in Salt Lake City. As good as the daytime sim looked, the night flight looked much better. I could see cars making their way up and down the highways, their headlights mixing with the street lights looking almost photographically real. At one point I noticed a glowing blue building beneath me, and asked what it was. The operator said it was a warehouse with a fibreglass roof, and the glow was caused by the light from inside leaking through the roof. As we landed, I could see the plane's headlights illuminate the runway's grainy surface, and glimpsed another aircraft hurrying to taxi off the runway as we touched down. As we pulled around to the terminal, I could see people walking back and forth behind the plateglass windows inside. The level of detail was amazing, and the sim operator told me that their particular sim had the entire world built into it. If I had asked to fly into London or Kuala Lumpur or buzz Washington DC, he could have made it happen. Flight schools may not have quite the same level of realism in their sims for a variety of reasons (the one I saw was a manufacturer's demo, for instance), but today's flight sims are quite good and very detailed, because they have to be as real as possible or they're not terribly useful. Several of the 9-11 hijackers took flight training from reputable schools that use flight simulators, so it's no stretch at all to believe that they became profficient enough to crash large planes into large buildings in or near large cities. The World Trade Towers were at one time the tallest buildings on earth; the Pentagon, which Moore describes as a "five story building," is in fact of the largest buildings in the world if you take its footprint into account. It doesn't take pinpoint accuracy to hit either target with something as big as an airliner.

Michael Moore has, once again, shown us just how little he knows about anything, and how little time he puts into researching anything. I can't think of anything more damning to say about someone who passes himself off as a documentarian.

(links thanks to Hanks)

Posted by B. Preston at 01:12 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack