Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just a Quick Note...

This is going to be a very short post. I started reading a new book tonight, Why We Fight, Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism by William J. Bennett. The dedication to the book hit my like a hammer so I thought I would share it with everyone. From the dedication to Why We Fight:

This book is dedicated to the heroes of

Flight 93. When duty called, they rose to the

task and fought for control of an airplane,

saving countless people in Washington, D.C. –

including, perhaps, me. They said, “Let’s roll,”

and they made concrete the meaning

of courage and citizenship.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Next Step with Ahmadinejad

Over the last few days Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has continued his dance with the United Nations and the West. His goal is quite simple: a nuclear Iran. He has successfully stalled and bullied the United Nations, all the while racing to get nuclear capability. Every time the United Nations has given Ahmadinejad a deadline, he has given the United Nations the finger, and continued to do what he wishes.

The United States and Israel have both said they will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. France has now gone on the record saying that war may be necessary to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. French President Sarkozy said if the United Nations allows, “Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, we would incur an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world.” Germany, one of the countries that have stalled sanctions against Iran, is calling for a tougher stance against Iran. The German government has even said they don’t believe sanctions are going to work.

Where does that leave the world? If the world truly believes Iran can’t be allowed to get a nuclear weapon, it is time to make some very difficult decisions. Those decisions may include military action in Iran. The United States and Israel have probably (and hopefully) drawn up a point of no return scenario. This would be a list of criteria that would require an immediate military response. We may not have hit that time yet, but it is fast approaching.

For those who argue against a military action, it is time to get deadly serious with Iran. Former Governor Mitt Romney released his plan for Iran this week. His plan is tough, and works to so isolate Iran that if Ahmadinejad were to continue to press for nuclear technology, the world would have reason to respond militarily. Governor Romney’s plan includes:

1) Putting Iran in a diplomatic isolation.

2) Tougher economic sanctions against Iran.

3) Call on Arab states to join this effort. This would require the Arab states to support the government of Iraq, stop all financial support of Hamas and Hezbollah, and thaw relations with Israel.

4) Communicate to the people of Iran. There are those within Iran that do not share the views of Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs. Governor Romney believes we should do everything in our power to help those people.

5) Create a Partnership with the “entire world of Islam”. Romney argues that, “[o]nly Muslims will be able to permanently defeat the radical jihadist threat. We should help them any way we can.”

The full text of his outline can be found at the National Review Online. Ahmadinejad has made it crystal clear to anyone who is listening that he is going to acquire nuclear technology. He has also made it crystal clear that he intends to destroy both Israel and the United States. If the leader of a nation tells me he wishes to commit genocide and destroy my country, I tend to take him at his word. The current process is failing. The United Nations and the IAEA continue to demand and ask Iran for cooperation when Iran has no intention of giving it. Really isolating Iran may be the only way to avoid a military strike. Once Ahmadinejad has acquired a nuclear weapon is too late.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I resist the urge to review works of fiction on this site. I read many historical and political books, and between those, I will insert the occasional thriller, suspense novel, or fantasy story. I don’t review these books because they don’t really have anything to do with this site. However, every rule has an exception, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is my exception to the rule.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist does contain some political commentary so it isn’t too much of a stretch for me. The entire book is set in one evening and is told through a narrative by the main character, Changez. The book begins with a chance encounter of an unnamed American in the Pakistan village of Lahore with Changez. Over the next few hours, Changez shares tea and a dinner with this American, and retells his own story of living in America.

It seems a younger Changez attended school in America, fell in love with a beautiful woman named Erica, and gets a job at a very prestigious firm in New York. This has the formula for a great success story. September 11, 2001 changes Changez’s world. He is out of the country on business when he learns of the World Trade Center attacks. His reaction is one that may or may not surprise the reader. After 9/11, Changez finds everything about him changing. His relationship with Erica and her ghosts, as well as his coworkers, changes.

What makes this book so powerful is the way the story is told. The entire book is a narrative from Changez. The information we get regarding his previous acquaintances, as well as the unknown American, are all gathered from the narrative. It is a form of storytelling I haven’t read before, and is worth reading simply for the uniqueness of it. The narrative kept my attention from the first page until the dramatic ending.

The politics of the book are not cut and dry. While Changez, and the author, become critical of American policies in the Middle East, Changez also points out the unique opportunities he got in America. While I disagree with some of the assessments in the book, I thought they were very interesting. From a political perspective, it was interesting to read the statements of a fictional Pakistani character from a very real Pakistani author.

I would encourage others to read this book. It is a very quick read because of the size and the way it is written. Mr. Hamid told that he had 1,000 pages of manuscript that he stripped down to 180 in order to reach the essence of the book. The book is a very good read, and will definitely leave you wanting to discuss it with others.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ahmadinejad's 2007 U.S. Tour

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran will be speaking at the United Nations next week. I am not comfortable with the thought of our government allowing him to travel to the United States. However, as part of our treaty to host the U.N., we have agreed to allow those who the U.N. calls to speak into our country. What I am more outraged about is Ahmadinejad’s current plans to speak at Columbia University and to visit Ground Zero.

Columbia University was contacted by an Iranian Ambassador and asked to allow the President of Iran to deliver a speech at the University. The President of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, will introduce the man who has denied the holocaust and who has threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the planet. The University describes this as an, “…opportunity for faculty and students to engage the President of Iran.” Mr. Bollinger said he told the Iranians that Ahmadinejad would be introduced with, “…a series of sharp challenges…” on the issues facing Iran. I am sure the thought of facing the President of Columbia University has frightened the man who has given the proverbial finger to the world while he seeks a nuclear program for Iran. Mr. Bollinger also says, “It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.” Mr. Bollinger has extended this courtesy to a man who is responsible for killing Americans. At the same time, Mr. Bollinger has refused to extend the same courtesy to the ROTC program. While he will allow someone such as Mr. Ahmadinejad the “freedom of speech,” at Columbia University, in 2005 Mr. Bollinger helped defeat an effort to bring the ROTC program back to Columbia. Terrorist and tyrants are apparently welcomed at Columbia University, but not those who would defend against them.

If this doesn’t sound like a PR coup for Iran, then the President’s next stop on his agenda will. The President of the country that helps fund and organize Hezbollah will visit Ground Zero. Think of how these two events will play on Arab television. President Ahmadinejad will be shown addressing a group of America’s Youth. This image will fade to scenes of Ahmadinejad touring the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

So that this doesn’t sound like a simple partisan issue, I thought I would close with statements from a Republican Presidential candidate and a Democratic Presidential candidate. Both quotes come from WABC in New York by way of Matt Drudge:

“Under no circumstances should the NYPD or any other American authority assist President Ahmadinejad in visiting Ground Zero. This is a man who has made threats against America and Israel, is harboring bin Laden’s son and other al-Queda leaders, is shipping arms to Iraqi insurgents and is pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero – hallowed ground for all Americans – is outrageous.”

-- Mayor Rudy Giuliani

“It is unacceptable for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who refuses to renounce and end his own country’s support for terrorism, to visit the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our nation’s history.”

-- Senator Hillary Clinton

We have agreement on an issue that truly should be offensive to all Americans.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movie Review: An Inconvenient Truth (Part II)

An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006 and shows Vice President Al Gore giving a slide show to an audience. The slide show is about global warming. Mr. Gore argues that global warming is the most important challenge we face today. The movie is split between Mr. Gore’s presentation and scenes of Mr. Gore working on his slide show on a Mac computer (displayed prominently many times) with a voice over of Mr. Gore.

Mr. Gore opens his presentation with the joke, “I use to be the next President of the United States.” While this line probably works great in a live presentation, it is a little confusing as an opening for his movie. This line, among other things, contributes to a bit of identity crisis for An Inconvenient Truth. The movie is part documentary, part biography of Mr. Gore, and part political commentary on President George Bush’s administration. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really pull off any of these plots.

There are numerous examples of a kind of “split personality” within the movie. For example, there is a “Simpsons” type cartoon early in the movie that tries to explain man-made global warming. While it is entertaining, and I enjoy Bart Simpson et al, the cartoon feels a little odd as part of a documentary. The constant breaks that stop talking about global warming and start recapping Mr. Gore’s life are also a little out of place in the overall context of the movie. There are a few shots at President Bush and his administration beginning very early in the movie. Since these shots seem to be attacks for the sake of attack, I don’t understand why a movie maker would include them in a documentary that claims to be scientific in nature.

During the “biography” portions of the movie, Mr. Gore’s career as a college student and senator are discussed, and his active role combating global warming since he left politics is covered. However, his actions as a Vice President for eight years are covered in one sentence about Kyoto. And that one sentence doesn’t discuss why Clinton and Gore didn’t get Kyoto ratified by the United States. I have always wondered why Mr. Gore didn’t do more about global warming as Vice President, and his movie doesn’t answer that question. About three quarters of the way through the movie, there is a quiet montage of events surrounding the 2000 Presidential race. Since Mr. Gore’s time as Vice President is barely discussed, why is this montage even in the movie?

While An Inconvenient Truth heavily covers the belief in man-made global warming, it only refers to the other side of the debate as the “So-called Deniers”. It fails as a documentary because it fails to spend any real time covering the other side of the debate. Much of the “science” in this movie has been questioned elsewhere. The only comment I will add to that is that many of the evidence presented in the movie is anecdotal at best. Showing a photo of a location and then another of the location years later doesn’t prove anything or disprove anything.

Overall An Inconvenient Truth is quite painful to watch. I was eager to see why this movie deserved the accolades it got and simply couldn’t discover a legitimate reason for them. I would rate this movie as a “D” at best. I would recommend this movie to someone who was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was man-made global warming and that it was the biggest threat of our time. Then I would only recommend the movie if that individual had two hours with nothing better to do.

There are many, many positive reviews of An Inconvenient Truth available on the net and the print news. Feel free to read them, but if you want my opinion, stay away from this movie; it just isn’t worth your time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Movie Review: An Inconvenient Truth (Part I)

I was challenged a few months ago by a reader on here. At the time, I was discussing some of the articles that had come out critical of An Inconvenient Truth. Familyman, one of the regular readers on here, challenged me to see the movie and make my own decisions. I took him up on his challenge.

I want to lay out my thought process before I review Mr. Gore’s movie. It was very important for me to be as fair to this movie as I could be. If I saw An Inconvenient Truth, and thought it was a good movie, I wanted to say that here. If I saw it and didn’t like it, I wanted to be able to explain why. Because I want to take some time and explain my thoughts before I saw the movie and how I hoped to be as impartial as I could be in reviewing it.

For a full discussion of my thoughts on man-made global warming, refer to my article under the same name from a few days ago. In a nut-shell, I don’t believe man-made global warming is the greatest catastrophe facing us. I also question whether it is even an issue. I think much more research still needs to be done before this is placed in the hands of policy makers. I also question Al Gore’s motives in pushing this issue. If man-made global warming is such a crisis, why didn’t Mr. Gore do more about it while he was Vice President? Why didn’t the United States ratify Kyoto under Clinton / Gore? I hoped the movie would address this.

Based on what I had heard about An Inconvenient Truth I was expecting a documentary explaining the science and theory of global warming. I expected the movie to explain both sides of the global warming argument, but to be tilted towards one side. My understanding going into the movie is that it was suppose to make us more concerned about global warming.

In order to keep as much bias as possible out of my review, I watched it the first time without taking any notes, and simply watched the movie. I gave the movie a few days to settle in my mind, and then watched it again. The second time through, I paused the movie and made notes as I went.

When I finally got a copy of An Inconvenient Truth, I also happened to be reading the Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. There is a chapter in that book that discusses the movie. I waited to read that chapter until I had seen the movie. I didn’t want it coloring my opinion any more than it already was.

Because I have done a lot of discussion on here about the science and “consensus” with global warming, I wanted to keep my criticism of the science behind the movie to a minimum. For an in depth discussion of some of the science, and the comments that has lead too, click on my global warming tag.

I will post the review itself next, but I wanted my regular readers to know how the review was developed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 and New York Times Reach New Low

On Monday, ran an ad in the New York Times titled "General Petraeus or General Betray Us". The ad was a full page ad, and ended with the comment that "...General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us." This was in preparation for the General's testimony before Congress. Since that time, many in the blogosphere and in the conservative news have attacked for the ad. A group of 31 Senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking him to denounce the add.

I had not originally intended to write about this. However, the more I think about this particular ad, the more it bothers me. I believe has a right to present a view in a political debate. And as the General himself said, has a first amendment right to buy ad space and present their opinion. I think that is the General showing he has more character than the collective group over at

We are constantly told by those who “support the troops, but not the war” that it is the lowest of lows for us to question their patriotism. How many articles have been written accusing the President of attacking one Democrat or another’s patriotism? Many times, it has seemed to me that the only thing Democratic law makers hate more than President Bush is to have their patriotism questioned.

And yet, here we have a Democratic political action group who has accused a Four Star General in the United States Military of treason and traitorous behavior.’s add is despicable and should be condemned by members of both parties. The add attempts to disparage the character of General Piraeus without offering any evidence, and with the sole objective of trying to discredit the President’s strategy.

The New York Times also shares some of the blame in this. I am sure there is someone working at the Times who reviews every add before it goes to print. For whatever reason, that individual or group of individuals saw nothing wrong with their paper printing a character attack on a Four Star General in a time of war. has shown its true colors, and the New York Times has shown how much of a “news” paper it is.

I would also challenge the Democrats in Congress to denounce this add. There are 31 signatures on the letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid. I feel confident that at least one of those is a Democrat. Surely the House Democrats can summon up enough courage to get 31 Democrats to send a similar letter to Speaker Pelosi.

Maybe it is time we really examine the “Patriotism” of those who won’t denounce this add.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Ramblings, Part two

There has been some pretty hot debate on here about global warming, so I thought I would change things up with another "ramblings" post. I got the ramblings idea from another site, and really enjoyed my first attempt. I might make this a semi-regular part of the blog. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts tonight…

I think Senator Craig shouldn't resign. I don't condone what he is accused of doing in the Minneapolis airport. However, if you break down exactly what happened, I don't think he did anything that warranted his leaving the Senate. He plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He isn't accused of having sex in the bathroom, gay or otherwise. The Democrats have said because he is a member of a party that claims to have morals, he should leave because of his actions. This is a slippery slope for the Democrats. Does this mean the Democrats are a party without morals? What would they do if they had a party member who did something scandalous?

For example, Ted Kennedy plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crime at Chappaquiddick. Should he resign? Nancy Pelosi is accused of using her position on a committee to steer contracts to her husbands company. She removed herself from the committee after the scandal came out, and the husbands company stopped bidding on those contracts. Harry Reid is accused of numerous unethical land deals in Nevada. He has attempted to get federal road projects in Nevada that would improve the price of property he owned. Sen. Robert Byrd is a member of the KKK, and was elected Cyclops.

I think the Republicans should have let the people of Idaho make their own decisions with regards to Sen. Craig. If they decided they didn't want him in office anymore, that is their decision. Both Republicans and Democrats have bigger issues to worry about in Washington than a misdemeanor.

"A McDonald's worker…was arrested and jailed Thursday night for putting too much salt and pepper on a police officer's hamburger," reports Fox News. As the story plays out, the worker claims some salt fell into the bowl she was mixing hamburger meat in. The worker ate one of the burgers later. However, when a police officer bought one of the burgers and got sick, the worker was arrested and charged with reckless conduct. The worker says the camera recording her work station will prove it was an accident. I am sure she will have her day in court, but I can't believe those police officers really felt the need to arrest her. And I can't believe McDonalds actually makes the patties on site.

Fred Thompson announced he is running for President. After flirting with it, and the Republican base for some time, he is now officially in the race. Personally, I think he has waited to late. I think he has made mistakes by not attending some of the debates, including the one that was held the night he announced. Next year will tell us if he is a genius, or if he misplayed the entire thing.

That's all the ramblings for now. My next post will be about Al Gore's movie, and then I am going on a global warming hiatus for a few days. There has been a lot of discussion on global warming on here. If you are looking for the latest, check out this, or this.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism

I just finished The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)and wished to share my thoughts on this book. I also thought this would serve as a good counter to my movie review of Mr. Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I bought this book from the Conservative Book Club, and I continue to be pleased with the books I have bought from them.

This is the second book in the P.I.G. series I have read and have thoroughly enjoyed both books. This book is very well written and very easy to read. The author, Mr. Christopher C. Horner, is a Senior Fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He has testified in front of the U.S. Senate regarding man-made global warming. He has given numerous addresses to various European governments and agencies. He has appeared on numerous TV news shows and has been a guest on an assortment of talk radio shows. Mr. Horner is a lawyer. However, don’t let that scare you away, and don't let that make you think any less of his arguments. His scientific discussions are clearly footnoted to an assortment of scientific works that the reader can easily find.

I really liked the way the book is laid out. There is a discussion on the political nature of the “man-made global warming movement”. There is also a scientific discussion against man-made global warming. There is an entire chapter devoted to An Inconvenient Truth as well as one devoted to the Kyoto Protocols. The book has numerous footnotes for each chapter, and a good index. This book can serve as a reference for many of the topics brought up in the typical global warming discussion.

I thought the chapters on An Inconvenient Truth and on the Kyoto Protocols were the most interesting. I waited to read the chapter on Mr. Gore’s movie until I had watched it for myself. I felt that watching the movie and then reading this chapter was a very good point-counterpoint and served to highlight both sides of the argument. The chapter on the Kyoto Protocols provided some very useful information I hadn’t seen before. For example, the chapter discusses how the United States is doing in relation to Kyoto and how the European signatories are doing. Mr. Horner also discusses the actual cost to implement Kyoto in the United States, and what the most adamant supporters of Kyoto say it will do for us. One question I have always had about Kyoto is this: If the treaty is so important to us, why didn’t the United States ratify it when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were in office? Mr. Horner covers that as well as Senate Resolution 98 which was introduced by Senators Robert Byrd (D) and Chuck Hagel (R). This senate resolution forbids the United States from being a signatory to any protocol or agreement that,”…would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.”

I would encourage anyone who is interested in the man-made global warming debate to read this book. If you enjoyed Al Gore’s movie, you should spend some time simply reading Mr. Horner’s chapter on An Inconvenient Truth. Most importantly, anyone who believes that there is a scientific consensus about man-made global warming should read this book. Regardless of your position on the debate, after reading this book you will be left with a feeling that there are a lot of unsettled questions.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It really is amazing where you might find inspiration for a new topic. Having written on other sites about the placement of Al Gore's book at a local bookseller, I am now always on the look out for unexpected inspiration.

The State Fair in Minnesota this weekend provided a few examples of just such inspiration. The gentleman above was kind enough to pose for a picture next to one of the rides. As you can see from his t-shirt, he and I wouldn't agree on politics. And while I would agure that getting elected to the Presidency suggested a certian amount of knowledge, I decided not to debate the issue with this Fair go-er. He was kind enough to pose for this picture, and I was afriad he might ask me about the Preisdent that my home state produced. If he had called me on that point, I might have lost the arguement.

However, another source of inspiration hit me at the Democraitc Party's both. There, along one wall, they had a board where people could leave post it notes on why Norm Coleman shouldn't be re-elected. Here is the board:

As I looked over the reasons Democrats were upset with Norm Coleman, I noticed something: None of the notes really had anything to do with Mr. Coleman. Most of the notes said things like, "Becuase", "Ditto", or "Bush is an Idiot". None of them were really complaints about Norma Coleman. Many were complaints about Bush, and some were notes accusing Mr. Coleman of being a Bush "lap dog". I found it interesting anyway. And before I left, I placed my own note on the board that promptly got attention:

I did leave the tent inspired to watch Mr. Gore's movie An Inconvienient Truth. I was surprised a few times during the movie, dissappointed at other times. I am going to watch it again this weekend with a notepad in hand to prepare for my review.

Have a good weekend! And leave me a comment if you have run into a political statement in a surprising place.