Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Interviews with interesting people

Today I've read a few interviews of 60's pop-culture radicals who've turned conservative in their old age. While I don't agree with all their opinions (or their language) they do have a certain charm. Ted Nugent is a 60's rocker who's bluntly and sometimes vulgarly conservative. Oriana Fallaci is an Italian reporter who has aggressively interviewed several of "the world’s most powerful figures: Yasir Arafat, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Haile Selassie, Deng Xiaoping. Henry Kissinger." Though theexcerptss below don't show it, the thing these two have in common is their recognition of the danger of Militant Islam. If you don't have time to read both, definitely go for Fallaci.

CAUTION: Language!

Ted Nugent:
"What do these deer think when they see you coming?" I ask him. "Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there's the man that shot my brother?"
"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, [edited]. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."
"You wrote a song called 'Dog Eat Dog'. You see the world like that. But we're not dogs - that's the trouble."
"Remember the movie Old Yeller? Everybody loved him. He brought us our slippers. We gave him cookies. But when Old Yeller gets rabies, you shoot him in the [edited] head. It's that simple."

Oriana Fallaci:
Equally absorbing, in a different way, was the section of her 1969 book, "Nothing, and So Be It," in which she describes the events of October, 1968, in Mexico City, when soldiers shot and bayonetted hundreds of anti-government protesters. Fallaci was detained with a group of students, and was ultimately shot three times. "In war, you've really got a chance sometimes, but here we had none," she writes. "The wall they'd put us up against was a place of execution; if you moved the police would execute you, if you didn't move the soldiers would kill you, and for many nights afterward I was to have this nightmare, the nightmare of a scorpion surrounded by fire, unable even to try to jump through the fire because if it did so it would be pierced through." Dragged down the stairs by her hair and left for dead, Fallaci was ultimately taken to a hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove the bullets. One of the doctors who cared for her came close and murmured, "Write all you've seen. Write it!"She did, becoming a crucial witness to a massacre that the Mexican government denied for years.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What are these odd, curiously spiraled finger foods?

Here's one more reason you don't want Nancy Pelosi to serve as House Majority Leader-- She doesn't know what curly fries are:

"I had a hamburger last night and it was my breakfast, lunch and dinner," she said last week. "And I had these strange things. I realized they were French fries." She made quick spiraling gestures with her fingers to show what they looked like.
It was apparent that she was not familiar with curly fries.

This remark reminded me of how some people, whether it be from fame, politics, or wealth can often become detached from the rest of society. One of my law professors told me that when he clerked for a well-known federal court judge he mentioned to the judge that he had a "burrito" for lunch and the judge had never heard of one before. It was kind of scary to think that in a real sense, this judge on a daily basis has to make judgment calls on facts and law, and yet, had no clue what a burrito was.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remember the Fallen

I just wanted to point out a nice article commemorating Memorial Day. I think its an important holiday and one that is too easily overlooked in all the fun activities that happen this time of year.

Christopher Hitchens is an eloquent supporter of the War on Terror. He writes in today's Wall Street Journal (OpinionJournal link here) about memorials, and the problem with conscripting the dead for any particular cause.

Neil Young Song

Neil Young has come out with a new anti-Bush album with the song, "Let's Impeach the President."
Let’s impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war
Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones
What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?
Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected
Thank god he’s cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean

IMAO has an alternate set of lyrics, that are really well done:
Let's make fun of the idiots who're lying
Trying to make our country lose the war
Abusing all the freedom of speech they have
And shipping the truth right out the door
They're the men who cheer on the terrorists
The murderers plotting behind closed doors
Leaving out facts to fit their agendas
Forgetting who struck first to start the war
Let's make fun of the idiots who say it's spying
To listen to terrorists because they're calling from home
To other terrorists outside the country
I guess it's their right to plan killings over the phone
They think that George Bush blew up the levees
Poor construction wouldn't make them fail that way
Don't point fingers at Ray Nagin's government
Because he couldn't find any bus drivers that day
Let's make fun of the idiots
For smearing Bush just to try to get elected
Campaigning on the politics of color
Yet still leaving black people neglected
It's sad to see these people stuck on stupid
In this war they're rooting for the enemy's team
The New York Times prints state secrets on the front page
But they say their consciences are still clean

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Latin News on the SPOTD

Check out the Spanish Phrase of the Day blog for some interesting info on the possible decline of leftism in Latin America.

Can/Should We Secure the Border?

I realize that here at RWP, like other blogs, we can't agree on every topic. I think immigration might be one of them. Lowdogg has Cuban ancestry and is from Florida, Bear has lived in Mexico, and I myself am a native of Southern California. In reality, I couldn't think of a better combination of people to discuss the issue.

My beliefs on the matter are fairly straightforward. My first belief is that we are a nation of immigrants in the truest sense of the word. Part of the reason why America is great, is because it has been a land where the oppressed, abused and neglected could come for a better life. In large part, our current immigration policy on paper reflects this and we as a nation admit thousands of legal immigrants onto our soil each year from hundreds of countries. This is a just goal and policy.

My second belief is that our current immigration enforcement policies must be drastically altered. An open porous border simply poses two many negatives. In addition to the obvious security risks, allowing thousands of illegal immigrants from central and south America to enter the country unfairly cause detriment to the millions of other foreigners who wish to enter the country, but don't have the convenience of a shared border with us. I fail to see why Mexico and other central and south american countries should be given a de facto privilege, simply because of their geography. In addition, admitting so many from a single country makes assimilation to America that much more difficult.

My third belief is that the border must be secured, before any other guest-worker/amnesty plans are considered. In reality, if the border is not secured, no guest-worker policy, no matter how many hoops exist, will stem the tide of illegal immigration. I think that the conservatives who are so upset about the guest-worker plan, as suggested are not so bothered because it is anything but deportation, but are upset because they fear that it will be amnesty now, enforecement later. If we fail to secure the border NOW, we will be in this exact same predicament years to come, but instead of 12 million illegals, it will be 20 million. I am not demanding that a wall be built, only that the border be secured. If it requires a wall, so be it. We should feel no shame in building a wall. Whatever is necessary, we cannot even discuss or consider what we do with the people in this country illegally until we have enforcement.

Finally, the hardest question in my opinion is what about the 12 million illegals already in the country. I personally don't think we should try to deport all 12 million of them, and rip them from their families and jobs and strong ties they have in this country. However, we can, through proper enforcement create a climate that makes it more difficult for recently emmigrated illegals to find employment. specifically, we need to go after the employers. If employers stop hiring illegals, then the demand for illegals will dry up.

To me, if this nation really is so dependent on cheap labor, then all we would have to do is open the border and allow more legal immigrants into the country to fill those spots. I fail to see why these jobs can only be filled by Mexican workers. If they can only be filled by Mexican workers, then we can simply grant more visas to Mexicans.

I agree that conservatives shouldn't balk at any type of guest worker program, but I also believe that one shouldn't balk at the legitimate question of enforcement before anything else. It is not rascist or xenophobic to demand that our borders be secured. I am not against immigration, only illegal immigration.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Approval Ratings

I prize Michael Barone's writing because he applies historical context to current events like few other commentators. One of his latest pieces addresses the President's low approval ratings. He concludes that the transformational leaders like Reagan, Thatcher and Bush often receive low approval ratings in their time, whereas cushy leaders like Clinton and early Blair are easier for the public to accept. I like how he ends the piece:

Even so, we continue to live in the world of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, as we once lived in the world of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That is the real measure of a leader, and I think that Bush, despite his troubles, will be shown to be like them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Otra vez con la imigracion

The more I think about this issue, the more I think that the main problem may be the intractability of many conservatives. John Podhoretz makes an excellent comment on this point in The National Review's blog The Corner:

Suddenly, immigration restriction has become one of those issues about which one is not permitted to disagree, because to disagree is to join with the forces of Evil. Those who favor a less restrictive policy are said to be bought and paid for by Big Business, to want to oppress poor American minorities who can't earn a decent wage, and to seek the cultural destruction of America. Chief among these villains, it appears, is the president of the United States, whose efforts on behalf of conservative causes — from faith-based policies to stem-cell research to a strict-constructionist judiciary to entitlement reform and massive tax cuts — have all fallen down the memory hole. He is not a conservative, my e-mailers tell me. He is Jorge Arbusto, an agent of the Mexican government.

I like that last part. Conservatives have to remember to temper their ideal case with what may be achieved in the here and now. Podhoretz continues:

We are moving into very dangerous territory here — territory in which it has been declared that there is to be no debate, no discussion, and no heterodoxy any longer. This is how political-intellectual movements become diseased and sclerotic. This is how they die.

We have to make this work in a way that is consistent with our ideals and respects the law. Many conservatives seem unable to see the real possibility that both can be satisfied.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush and Immigration

The blogosphere has been newly emboldened by its successes with porkbusting and pushing the immigration issue. Unfortunately, I think that it has also imbued bloggers with a little bit of self-importance, on immigration in particular. Any pundit that calls the President's speech a failure doesn't grasp how difficult this situation is, or how the required solution must be multifaceted. Blogger The Anchoress concurs:

Attention, my conservative friends - please pull back from the edge. Please take a moment to consider what has become of you: When you have reached the point that you will not even allow a man to make his speech and put his ideas out there - if you have already decided that nothing he says can be of value (or if you fear that too many might actually listen to the man and be persuaded) then you have become part of the problem.

John Hinderaker at Powerline is an example of that prejudgement. Unlike he and Michelle Malkin, who I normally agree with on most issues, I think the president made some good proposals that could mean real progress on the issue, namely greater enforcement at the border and a means of meeting labor demands while respecting the law.

Most pundits seem to think that the choices are either to deport all the illegals or provide amnesty. I disagree. I think that you can provide people that are here in the US illegally with a legal alternative that does not lead to citizenship. The guest worker program is one way to accomplish that.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Check out the SPOTD

On my other blog, Spanish Phrase of the Day, I wrote about North Korean refugees and the personal price of freedom. The article I cite is worth a look.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I'm sure you all remember KTTV's Fox 11 reporter Tony "The Aztlan Avenger" Valdez sticking up for the Reconquistas by saying the following idiotic comment on television :

"And here in California there's a monument to the Mormon Battalion, the great heroes who killed a lot of Mexicans, enough Mexicans so that this part of the world could be taken by force, by force by the United States." ...Tony Valdez, KTTV Newsman, 5-1-06 Simulcast on KFI radio and KTTV

After this and other statements, KTTV was deluged with calls and emails demanding an apology. After realizing the error, KTTV sent out emails stating that Tony would be apologizing for his comments.

Well, turns out that instead of apologizing, he just invited a few people who opposed his comments onto the show. At no point in time was an apology issued. He didn't even issue one of those weak "I'm sorry that you got offended" apologies.

I just found out that up until the apology was suppossed to take place, latino activists were sending out emails trying to get callers to support Tony. The email contained the following laughable statement:

He made a historical point about Mexicans being killed by racists and in mentioning a memorial to a Mormon Battalion of soldiers, some feel he gave the impression the Mormons killed the Mexicans. I didn't get that impression, but the racist talk show hosts are having their listeners bombard KTTV 11 with demands to fire Tony.

Sorry pal, he flat out said that the Mormon Battalion killed a lot of Mexicans.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Presidential Approval Ratings

The issue of approval ratings is one that has bothered me for some time. Governing by approval ratings is a terrible idea. We are witnessing its effects in the miserable way that Congress has tackled immigration, energy prices, and other issues.

Apparently President Bush's approval rating is at an all-time low of 31%, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll. What most of these stories don't mention is that Congress' approval rating is often even lower. The President's low approval ratings are important when it comes to the 2006 Congressional elections, but only to a point. What those approval ratings say to me, particularly when coupled with the Congressional ratings, is that Americans are generally unsatisfied with politics, regardless of the party.

Additionally, Congressional elections have a local focus, and poll respondents may be unsatisfied with Congress in general, but satisfied with their local representative. The power of incumbents is significant, particularly in the House.

Anyway, I hate approval polls. Beyond the vagaries of statistics and how the questions are posed, I think they are harmful to our poltical process.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

NYTimes defends Zarqawi

Sticking up for America's enemies:
An effort by the American military to discredit the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by showing video outtakes of him fumbling with a machine gun — suggesting that he lacks real fighting skill — was questioned yesterday by retired and active American military officers.
The video clips, released on Thursday to news organizations in Baghdad, show the terrorist leader confused about how to handle an M-249 squad automatic weapon, known as an S.A.W., which is part of the American inventory of infantry weapons.
The American military, which said it captured the videotapes in a recent raid, released selected outtakes in an effort to undermine Mr. Zarqawi’s image as leader of the Council of Holy Warriors, formerly Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and suggested that his fighting talents and experience were less than his propaganda portrays. But
several veterans of wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, as well as active-duty officers, said in telephone interviews yesterday that the clips of Mr. Zarqawi’s supposed martial incompetence were unconvincing.
The weapon in question is complicated to master, and American soldiers and marines undergo many days of training to achieve the most basic competence with it. Moreover, the weapon in Mr. Zarqawi’s hands was an older variant, which makes its malfunctioning unsurprising. The veterans said Mr. Zarqawi, who had spent his years as a terrorist surrounded by simpler weapons of Soviet design, could hardly have been expected to know how to handle it.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Al-Zarqawi Blooper Video

Well, it turns out the U.S. special forces found an unedited version of Zarqawi's terrorist propoganda film he released a few days ago. Of course the Zarqman didn't want the world to see these clips because they made him and his associates look like bumbling idiots.

Turns out Mr. Jihad doesn't know how to properly operate is weapon. When it inevitably jams on him because of poor firing procedures he stands there completely helpless, until one of his goons shows him how to clear the stoppage. (it doesn't help his image that right before he starts firing he squints his face)

In addition, it shows him walking around in his black uniform, complete with his new balance tennis shoes and one of his other goons grabs the weapon, while the barrel is still hot and burns himself.

Will Al-jazeera show this to the entire world, who knows?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

White Guilt and Minimalism in War

Shelby Steele wrote an excellent article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal entitled "White Guilt and the Western Past" (link is to free Opinion Journal site). His purpose is to explain why we are fighting "minimalist" wars. I think he is right on target:

For one thing, it is now unimaginable that we would use anything approaching the full measure of our military power (the nuclear option aside) in the wars we fight. And this seems only reasonable given the relative weakness of our Third World enemies in Vietnam and in the Middle East. But the fact is that we lost in Vietnam, and today, despite our vast power, we are only slogging along--if admirably--in Iraq against a hit-and-run insurgency that cannot stop us even as we seem unable to stop it.

This also:

They struggle, above all else, to dissociate themselves from the past sins they are stigmatized with... It's just that today the United States cannot go to war in the Third World simply to defeat a dangerous enemy.

And finally:

Today words like "power" and "victory" are so stigmatized with Western sin that, in many quarters, it is politically incorrect even to utter them. For the West, "might" can never be right. And victory, when won by the West against a Third World enemy, is always oppression. But, in reality, military victory is also the victory of one idea and the defeat of another. Only American victory in Iraq defeats the idea of Islamic extremism. But in today's atmosphere of Western contrition, it is impolitic to say so.

You really should read the whole thing, and I think he has something important to say about why we are having so much trouble winning these wars. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't, so let's do it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tim Russert, Economics Wiz

Blatant bias aside, I always thought that Tim Russert was a pretty bright guy. This week's Meet the Press wasn't his best moment as he was struggling to understand the basics of supply and demand and why oil prices are expensive. Keep in mind his guest is trying his best to talk him through it.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, if, if demand is up but supply is down, why are the profits so high?
MR. BODMAN: For that reason.
MR. RUSSERT: No, think about that.
MR. BODMAN: You know?
MR. RUSSERT: Play it out.
MR. BODMAN: Demand is up.
MR. RUSSERT: Correct.
MR. BODMAN: Right?
MR. BODMAN: So you've got more demand, you're going to force price up.
You've got, you've got limited supply, and you're going to have...
MR. RUSSERT: But that's a decision by the oil companies.
MR. BODMAN: No, it is not. That is a decision--those are--oil is traded every minute of every day, and it's traded basically 24-by-seven. And it's, it is determined in marketplaces in New York and London and Tokyo, all over the world. That's the, the--the oil companies do not determine the price of oil; the producers determine the price of oil

Read the rest here and so how Durbin, believe it or not, makes Tim look like Milton Freidman.

Oy Ve!

Los Angeles local radio hosts, John and Ken were on the radio with a current KTTV television reporter, who not only subscribes to "Reconquista" ideas, but actually stated that the monument to the Mormon Battalion in San Diego is a monument "to the great heroes who killed alot of Mexicans."

Listen here.

Immigration Round-up

Instapundit has some info on the rallies. The largest, in LA, had crowds estimated at about 60,000.

Pajamas Media has some photos.

Michelle Malkin zings some less flattering photos around.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Father of the Bush Doctrine?

George Shultz was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State during the majority of his time in office. He continues to have a distinguished career, and at 85 his views remain relevant. Witness this statement, made in a speech in 1984 following the attacks on the Marine barracks in Beirut:

We must reach a consensus in this country that our responses [to terrorism] should go beyond passive defense to consider means of active prevention, pre-emption and retaliation.

Wow- in 1984, revolutionary. His interview with the WSJ's Daniel Henninger also provides further insights:
  • I'm in favor of vision. Ronald Reagan had vision. But gardening is something you have to do if you're going to be effective in foreign affairs . . . come around reasonably frequently and get rid of the weeds before they get too big. You show me a union that will never strike, and I'll show you a union that isn't going to get anywhere. You show me a management that will never take a strike, and I'll show you a management that's going to get pushed around.
  • Our basic problem is that the Iranians are convinced that they can do anything and there are no consequences."
  • The law-enforcement mentality is not going to do the job for us. You have to have a war mentality. You have to have an offense and defense; you have to be active about it.

And on the recent criticism of Donald Rumsfeld by some career officers:

I always had a good experience dealing with the career people in government, but I have to say it's almost as if there is an insurrection taking place. Particularly what is going on in the military is astonishing and fundamentally intolerable. There has to be a sense of discipline. This is something new, and for everybody's good it has to be dealt with.