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Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Friday, May 28, 2004
All I'm looking for is just a little perspective. The left has become devoid of the concept, comparing a pile of naked Iraqi gunmen to a pile of dead Iraqi civilians. George W. Bush is Hitler and Donald Rumsfeld is Pinochet. We live a police state, man. We need a revolution and I'll throw a brick at that Starbuck's as soon as I fix my hair.

For the most part, the right is on track these days. Politicians and pundits make a few errors now and again (see Hastert, Denny), but all in all we've seen far worse days. Kate O'Bierne tells us tales of true heroes, men who fall on grenades to save their units or use a turban to climb up a prison wall. These are brave men, real life Aragorns and Theodens. Not perfect, but less flawed than their contemporaries, the talking heads who ramble on and on about "nuance" and "cooperation." Pat Tillman was an honorable man, a true citizen-soldier who understood duty, a Spartan if our modern world could ever produce one. His heroism is bold and stands alone in memory.

Eli Manning is not Pat Tillman, yet he is no coward. The sports talk rumor mill from Oxford to Starkville, south to New Orleans or east to Tuscaloosa or north to Memphis might tell you that Eli is a rich kid or a mama's boy. Maybe so. I'm not really worried about that. Perhaps he is but it is absolutely meaningless to discuss. Pat Tillman's death was a separate issue that in no way relates to Eli Manning's draft decision. Pundits, like NRO's Curtis Edmonds, seem to think that a talented college player should essentially bend over. I guess having talent means having no choice in how it is utilized. For all the right's criticism of John Kerry's nuance, I want to see a little more in this case. Edmonds mentions a great San Diego running back. Yes, and was Eli Manning to believe that somehow this running back would cure the club's ailing? No, of course not. San Diego has been the NFL's whipping boy for years, and it was unlikely that the talented offspring of Archie and Olivia Manning would change the team's fortunes. Archie himself was the best quarterback in the country in the early 1970s. He accepted his fate when his hometown New Orleans Saints drafted him, and he spent the next decade getting sacked by angry linebackers, never once making the playoffs. His talents were wasted. I can't blame his concern for his son, nor can I blame Eli himself for trying to avoid his father's fate.

The right is constantly battling the left's slander of our President or his Secretary of Defense or Rush Limbaugh or on and on and on. Eli Manning isn't being slandered, and I'll quickly concede that his family's handling of the situation could have been much better. Yet this mischaracterization is unfair and unwarranted. Again. We'd like just a little perspective.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Tuscaloosa is on its way to becoming a really weak college town. (Registration required.)

I'm torn on this sort of thing. I believe in the free market, and people can shop and eat and drink where they want. And I don't want to see the Strip area become skid row. That said, I'm bothered that the city and the University seem so intent on controlling the area. I'm not sure why they want the Strip to be a family friendly area. There are no families in the area! It's absurd. Tuscaloosa wants to have it both ways. They want the University's recognition and prestige, as well as the money brought in by students and fans of the UA athletic department. They don't seem to realize that this is still a college town. People like having a unique atmosphere to a college town. Making the Strip crowded with chain stores doesn't help.

The article also mentions UA President Robert Witt's plan to increase enrollment. I don't get it. The University already accepts anyone with a pulse who applies. Increasing enrollment in an area where housing is already becoming scarce. Why not increase the requirements, perhaps just for out of state students?

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Thursday, May 20, 2004
The Belmont Club is talking sense on the "wedding party" bombing.
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Amazing story of courage in Iraq.

I hope a photographer managed to get a picture of that.
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Monday, May 17, 2004
Hugh Hewitt brought a few articles to my attention over the weekend:

John Podhoretz throws down hard against Ted Kennedy and the New York Times.

Victor Davis Hanson is talking some sense.

Get into it.
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Drudge had a story up last night about a joint U.S.-British move to speed along the withdrawal from Iraq.

Could be a good thing, could be a bad thing.

The bad, obviously, is the danger in getting out too soon. If security forces aren't ready, then the whole thing could, literally, blow up in our face.

The good thing is that while there are desperate terrorist elements within the country, much of the country is moving towards stability. Discontent in Najaf notwithstanding, southern Iraq is becoming more and more stable. Last week saw marches of protest against al-Sadr, and there's an anti-al Sadr militia knocking off his troops. As Kagan and Kristol's essay said last week (scroll down), the country is more ready than we realize to move ahead with elections and security.
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Thursday, May 13, 2004
Spencer Bacchus, Republican Representative for Alabama's Sixth Congressional district, informed listeners of the Paul Finebaum show that a hearing into the NCAA abuses has been granted within the last three hours. A date has not yet been set.

Audio of Finebaum's interview of Congressman Bacchus, along with an interview of Bacchus's opponent in the upcoming Republican election, should be up on that site soon.

Both interviews are a very surreal experience.
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Tim Noah comprises a list of right-wing comments on the Abu Ghraib scandal. To Noah's mind, apparently these are all bad excuses, and I'll grant that some of them are rather suspect. Perhaps I'll go back and examine each quote on its own. Yet he apparently thinks that it's A-OK to blame Donald Rumsfeld.

Nope, no agenda at work here.
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Monday, May 10, 2004
Crucial, crucial editorial by Robert Kagan and William Kristol. I agree with practically all they have to say. One thing of particular note is the view that this conflict is not going well. It's been said that perception killed Vietnam, and I think it could happen here, as well.

Liberal bias is one thing. Still, there's a growing disconnect between the work the Bush administration is attempting to do, and the Vietnam-era hopelessnes that so many in Congress, the media and the general public seem bound and determined to embrace.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan remarks that the Bush administration has "failed us profoundly." No, they have not. They have made mistakes, as should be expected when fighting what is, primarily, an offensive war (as a means of defense) that also serves as a war of liberation. We're having problems. They need to be fixed. Had things gone differently twelve months ago, then we might not be in this situation. Had the President done something early in his term to deal with the historic disconnect between the State Department and the Department of Defense, then maybe...

Yet we are where we are. I believe it's obvious that there have been mistakes, but I do not believe that the administration is a purveyor of "profound failure." I just don't buy it. The wrongdoers in the current crisis are being dealt with, and I have full confidence that President Bush will work to ensure that justice is done. Yet until the left-wing of Congress stops calling for withdrawal (see Kennedy, Ted.) and ceases to rant about "systemic" abuses (see Hugh Hewitt's post about Carl Levin), I can't fault the administration's public handling of the matter. I watched Jeff Sessions, my junior Senator, express his own annoyance with this trend during Friday's hearing. Standing in line at a deli in downtown Tuscaloosa, I nodded in agreement.

Until the Democrats call off the attack dogs, I can't blame the administration for circling the wagons. There was a time in this country where we fought wars and won them, then sorted out the who's, why's, when's and where's. I'm starting to miss the good ol' days.
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Friday, May 07, 2004
Memphis attorney Phillip Shanks has been mugged in his own office. Missing in the attack are files pertaining to former University of Alabama football coach Ronnie Cottrell. Cottrell, of course, is the plaintiff in a suit against the NCAA and University of Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer.

Now, I can't possibly imagine why in the world someone would want to steal those files...

Paul Finebaum will keep you posted. He did a brief interview with Montgomery lawyer Tommy Gallion this afternoon Gallion of course being the lead attorney in the case. That interview should be posted on the site later this evening.

I'm about to head home for the Mother's Day weekend, more information as it becomes available...
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Thursday, May 06, 2004
Over at the Dallas Morning News editorial blog, Rod Dreher wonders if we aren't in line to lose this war. I can't say I disagree with him. If we're going to call for Donald Rumsfeld's head just one week after the prison abuse story breaks, with an internal military investigation not yet complete, we are in serious trouble. Scroll through the link and you'll find more than one voice arguing that Rummy has to go.

If this attitude becomes widespread, then the war is finished. We can prepare ourselves to walk through Atlanta and worry if there's a suicide bomber in that Starbucks. Will my flight from Phoenix to Birmingham be safe? Do I really want to take the Subway? Is attending the Sugar Bowl worth the security risk? We'll sit around at high school reunions and say, "Yeah, I had a girlfriend in college who caught that nerve gas in Boston..." "Didn't your uncle die in that bus bombing in D.C.?"

We must remain steady or else it is lost. There can be no wavering. If our men have done wrong, punish them. Donald Rumsfeld should not shoulder the blame of these errors unless it is proven beyond all doubt that he turned a blind eye to abuse. If needs be, we should ignore world opinion and win this battle. Our civilization depends on it.
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Rush Limbaugh's show on Tuesday is proving to be a bit controversial. Wonkette got the ball rolling with a selected quote and a rather saucy reply. Ramesh Ponurru chimed in over at the Corner, and the quote even saw Rush awarded with one of Andrew Sullivan's coveted Derbyshire Award nominations.

The problem is, as a reader pointed out in one of Ramesh's later Corner posts, is that the quote is taken out of context. Rush was not condoning torture or abuse. Today finds Andrew posting a letter from a soldier claiming to have been stationed in the prison in question. The letter drives home the same point that Rush has been making for three days.

Perhaps Andrew should post a correction.

I wouldn't hold my breath.
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This story about President Bush should not need any commentary.
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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
The University of Iowa takes a daring stand against racial insensitivity.

One can't help but wonder if Iowa would cancel a bowl game against, say Florida State? But that would involve too much money to stand on any principle, of course.

Then again, when the principle involved is pathetic politically-correct pandering, it doesn't hold up too long.
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Mickey Kaus notes the anger of Tom Daschle in the Iraqi-prisoner abuse flap. Daschle isn't the only one, as Kaus notes. Even hawkish senators like John McCain and John Warner are upset that they weren't briefed. Rush Limbaugh hit on this yesterday on his radio show. Congress is going to get in such a self-righteous fit over this that it will likely hamper any investigations.

I saw two of the wives of the accused Army men on Good Morning America this morning. I don't yet believe, as these women do, that their husbands have been scapegoated. But if Congress insists on poking and prodding around in this matter, in a petty desire to look important, it's quite likely that someone will be take a serious fall, whether they deserve to or not.

Another tidbit from Rush's show yesterday. While the abuse is inexcusable, it seems like most of the country is more upset over the abuse than the Fallujah incident. While the prisoner abuse should be dealt with justly and severely, some of this anger is, quite frankly, misplaced.
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Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Ted Rall is a disgusting human being.

His columns often run in the local alternative weekly here in Tuscaloosa. There's no website for the paper, but I'll keep a close eye out to see if this cartoon runs.
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Sunday, May 02, 2004
E-mail me .
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Jeffrey Overstreet offers his take on the new Denzel Washington movie. I have yet to see the movie, and probably won't see until it's out on DVD. I won't comment on the movie, but Overstreet's review irks me.

Money quote:

"...Newspaper headlines give us a hint as to why these brutal revenge fantasies are so appealing to audiences right now. Here's an American hero, burdened by grief and moral confusion, entering a foreign environment, warned that there is corruption and devastating power lurking unseen in the shadows. He's angry that someone he loves has been violated, and he's determined to find the hiding places of the "terrorists" (in this case, kidnappers), root them out, and destroy them, even if he has to upset the typical rules of law and order in the process. Viewers seem ready to cheer for American heroes who decide to mete out justice on their own terms, outside the view of news cameras, while paying lip service to Christian faith."


Overstreet is making a blatant comparison between the movie and our current war on terrorism. It's a shame his comparison is so simple-minded. He doesn't come right out and say that the current administration is upsetting the "typical rules of law and order in the process" of rooting out terrorists. Yet if he didn't think so, why would he even bring this up? Vigilante movies, whether right or wrong, are no more popular now than prior to September 11. If Overstreet wants to suggest that the President's motives in Iraq or the broader War on Terror are suspect, he needs to say so. Making subtle hints in a movie review aren't necessary.

Is President Bush "paying lip service to Christian faith?" I would hardly say so. Whether one agrees with it or not, there is a large body of evidence that suggest the President's evangelical faith, held by millions of Americans, is genuine. I would be curious to learn of Overstreet's objections to America's current position in the world, and how he feels it is out of step with true Christian faith. This isn't the first time he has made such suggestions, as seen in his 2003 year-end review of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

I don't attack Overstreet's entire body of work. I very much enjoy his movie criticism, and it is a rare voice of discernment of film in the Christian world. Yet I can't ignore the above comments. Perhaps he made them innocently enough, and he is certainly free to state his opinion. But if Jeffrey Overstreet isn't questioning the President's motives in regard to the Christian mandate, why even make the comparison?
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Paul Finebaum wants to know why the University of Alabama, my alma mater, isn't standing up for itself.

Good question.
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Saturday, May 01, 2004
Lileks sees the future getting ugly. I'm pretty sure he's right. There's nothing wrong with youthful enthusiasm, even if that enthusiasm is put towards a wrong-headed view of the economy. Today something is different, though. It only takes a spark, and one of these days, a few bitter punk kids are going to put a brick through a window. Or a Molotov cocktail. Or something along those lines. I'd keep an eye on this summer's political conventions. The Republican Convention in New York could see a lot of protest; after all, BUSH IS THE DEVIL. Or so they say. Yet it's the Democrats who are seen as sellouts, as slaves to the corporate braintrust. I wouldn't be shocked to see a repeat of the 1968 Chicago convention.

Perhaps I've spent one too many nights listening to angry punk kids preach on about the Palestinian cause. But maybe the older pundits, though still culturally in tune, are underestimating the radical left. Rush Limbaugh likes to refer to it as a fringe, but I'm not so sure. What's to stop the traveling IMF/World Bank protest circus from becoming more adamant, more virulent?

Yes, 2005 will be a rough year, should George W. Bush be reelected. A common thought about the radical left is "if Bush is this bad now, what will he do with four years and no concern of reelection?" Well, personally, I reckon he could make sure that Syria and Iran are dealt with, lower some taxes, put someone with another warm body on the Supreme Court, and try to settle problems with North Korea. That doesn't sound bad to me, but then again, we're talking about people who find it admirable to firebomb an Audi dealership or toss a chair through the window of a Starbucks. So the question for those us on the right, or at the least, those of us who aren't crazy, should not be "what will Bush do with four more years?" It should be legitimate concern about what the radical left will do with four more years of Bush.
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