Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Leaving things unfinished

Ten years ago, on April 18, 1996 Israel attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon. The 16-day operation called "Grapes of Wrath" drew international criticism. As other nations of the world condemned Israel for defending itself against an enemy which exists for the stated purpose of destroying Israel, President Clinton did nothing to support Israel. Instead, he said "I think that it is important that we do everything we can to bring an end to the violence." Clinton proceeded to force a cease-fire on Israel before it had fully eradicated Hezbollah. Israel is fighting this war today because Clinton didn't let them fight it ten years ago.

President Bush, on the other hand, recognizes that it is in the interest of Israeli security, American national interest, and the security of the world for Israel to proceed until the terrorist group is neutralized. This is a perfect opportunity to clean out terror cells before a terrorist state can be established on Israel's northern border. A cease-fire only delays the necessity of dealing with this threat and allows Hezbollah to amass more weapons of terror, making the threat more dire.

The distinction between Clinton and Bush highlights their differing definition of peace. To the left, peace is a cessation of fighting. But the only real and lasting definition is that peace is the prominence of justice. We could end the fighting by forcing Israel into another cease-fire. We could end the fighting in Iraq by pulling out. We could wait until Iran has the nuclear ability to carry out their threats against Israel and America. But if we are to learn from history, we must recognize that ignoring a threat will not make it go away, and putting off a conflict until a latter day only makes it worse.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I worked on the algorithm design of the weapons delivery system for the F-16, which last month was used to cut short a meeting of the top-ranking leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq, including Zarqawi and Sheikh Abd-Al-Rahman. We are proud of the work that we do and of the fact that our product helped an Air Force pilot place a thousand pounds of high explosives on one of the most evil men in the world with pinpoint accuracy.

State of the art software using sensor fusion to integrate all of the systems on an advanced fighter into one lethal weapon is something we understand very well. Arab names, on the other hand, we have difficulty with. We never have figured out how to pronounce the name of Zarqawi's successor, so we have given him a nickname.

We just refer to him as "Next".

Friday, July 21, 2006

Straight from the DNC talking points

Imprisoned former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein joined the insurgents in siding with Congressional Democrats by calling for America to withdraw from Iraq.

I suppose he wants us to let him go, too.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stem Cell Pseudo-Science

Today President Bush pulled out his veto pen for the first time to reject a bill to provide Federal tax money to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

This is a good thing, not only because embryonic stem cell harvesting involves the destruction of human life, but also because the research is bogus science.

Adult stem cells, harvested from living adults without requiring that they be killed in the process, are currently used to cure 80 different diseases. There are 1175 clinical trials on humans currently underway, leading to additional uses of adult stem cells. By comparison, embryonic stem cells have zero, zilch, nada. Not one disease has ever been cured using embryonic stem cells. They haven't even gotten as far as clinical trials on humans. Why not? Two main reasons: embryonic cells tend to be rejected by the immune system, and they tend to cause malignancies called teratomas, meaning "monster tumors."

The only advantage that embryonic stem cells claimed over adult stem cells was their ability to transform into any type of cell. However, as of 2002, researchers have been able to achieve the same thing with adult stem cells, converting adult stem cells into all three kinds of cells that the body produces during early embryonic development. There is no evidence that embryonic stem cells could ever have helped Michael J Fox, Christopher Reeve, or Ronald Reagan, but last year a South Korean woman who had been paralyzed for nineteen years due to a spinal cord injury began to walk again with the help of a walker. It was not embryonic stem cells which brought about this cure, but an injection of umbilical cord stem cells into the injured part of her spine. Before that, two women paralyzed by spinal cord injuries were treated with adult stem cells in Portugal. Both regained feeling and movement, and one began to walk with braces.

One third of the members of the House of Representatives cast votes for using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research AND voted against a different bill to fund other stem cell research which does not require the death of the cell donor. It seems that there are certain people who only want this research if it involves killing human embryos. And thus the real agenda of embryonic stem cell research advocates is revealed.

Adult stem cell research has produced numerous cures which are in use today, and they did it without large amounts of government money. There is plenty of private sector money being invested in such research. You see, private investors demand results and put their money where it is most likely to provide a positive return. Thus, adult stem cell research is well funded by the private sector, leaving the hapless embryonic stem cell researchers rooting at the public trough. While the privately funded adult stem cell researchers were busy curing diseases, embryonic stem cell research advocates were whipping up a huge PR campaign, making extravagant promises of miraculous cures. But if there was anything behind these promises, private investors would be clamoring to fund the research.

In the end, there is no scientifically sound reason to think that embryonic stem cells will ever cure any disease which could not more easily be cured by other stem cells which are not harvested at the cost of a human life. The only reason that Democrats advocate using tax dollars to fund this pseudo-scientific research is that it is their last fleeting hope of creating the illusion that killing babies has some benefit to society. Of course, by that logic, the Holocaust was justified: the Nazis experimented on their victims too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Cost of Government Day

Today is the day that we stop working as slaves of Uncle Sam and begin to work for ourselves.

July 12 is Cost of Government Day in 2006, falling one day later than it did in 2005. On this day, the average American family has earned enough to pay for their share of the cost of government. The 192.7 days that it takes to pay for our government is broken down like this:

Federal spending 86.5 days
State/Local spending 44.6 days
Federal regulations 39.6 days
State/local regulations 22.0 days

In spite of the growing economy, the Cost of Government Day has been moving later for the past few years. When George Bush became President in 2001, Cost of Government Day was the first day of July. Because of the failure of President Bush and the Republican Congress to control spending, it has been pushed back 12 days. By contrast, when Ronald Reagan was President, Cost of Government Day moved from July 22 to July 3, and when Bill Clinton was President it moved from July 20 to July 1. The contribution of Federal spending to these trends can be seen here:

Both Bush (Jr) and Reagan inherited a rapidly growing cost of government. Reagan reversed the trend and brought the cost down during his eight years in office. Bush has continued the trend.

The federal budget deficit we have today is attributable entirely to the rapid growth of domestic spending under the Bush administration. Domestic spending has increased by 40% in five years, which is more than it grew during all eight year of Clinton, that flaming liberal. Low taxes and controlled spending are the two essential components of a conservative fiscal policy. Bush has done well on reducing taxes, but he needs to do a lot better on the spending side.

You all know that I support Bush and consider him to be a great president. Not quite up there with Ronald Reagan, but getting pretty close. But this is one area where he has fallen flat, and with a Republican Congress, there is no excuse for this. No family or business could operate with this kind of financial irresponsibility, and the government should not be allowed to either.

Politically, cutting spending is a difficult thing to do. It is guaranteed to make someone mad, and the benefits are seen only indirectly. It is a natural response for each individual to vie for the biggest piece of the pie that he can get. People have been conditioned to view “their” share of the Federal largesse as sacrosanct. Government dependence is still alive and well, and it is encouraged by politicians eager to buy votes with your tax dollars. As long as elections are won by the one promising the largest increase in entitlement dollars, politicians have no incentive to reign in spending.

The vicious cycle of co-dependency between politicians and the recipients of government programs must be broken by the taxpayers clearly telling their elected officials “enough”.

I am not sure how to communicate this message to the Republicans in Congress. Electing Democrats would be seen as a call for MORE spending, not less. As poorly as Republicans have done in the past five years, Democrats are much worse. The only reason that Bill Clinton didn’t spend a lot more is that all of his spending proposals were mired down in a gridlocked Congress. Gridlock really is a wonderful thing. When Congress can’t accomplish anything, we all benefit. Congress can only do two things relating to domestic policy: tax us and spend our money. The less they do of either of these, the better I like it. It has occurred to me that we could benefit from more gridlock if the Democrats got control of the Senate. The biggest thing keeping me from campaigning for the Democrats running for Senate is the revolting thought of being forced to utter the words “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid”. I would rather have a root canal, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I detest going to the dentist.

The best ways to let your Congresscritters know that you want them to start being fiscally responsible are to support fiscal conservatives in the primary elections, to write to your delegation in Congress, and to express your views in public forums. Write a blog, or write to your local newspaper, or just tell a friend. But do something! It is your money they are madly spending.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Product Placement

The Duck (TM) Duct-Tape Company recently announced their new product placement advertising contract with NASA. Company spokeman Alec Baldwin, speaking for the entire world, said "We saw this as an opportunity to promote the image that duct tape can fix anything. NASA promised that they could arrange for something to break so that it could be fixed in orbit, with a clearly visible strip of Duck (TM) brand Duct Tape."

NASA astronauts expressed relief that no tiles on the Shuttle's heat shield appeared to be damaged.


CNN reports that "Storied former CBS News anchor" Dan Rather has a new job on a premium high-definition TV channel.

According to my dictionary, storied means "recorded or celebrated in history or story".

Alternatively, "story" refers to "a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel." For instance, passing off forged memos in an attempt to smear the President just before an election.

In this context, "storied" must be a past-tense use of the second definition: a has-been fabricator of fiction.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

North Korea attacks Sea of Japan

(2006-07-05) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il today acknowledged that he had ordered yesterday’s missile strikes against the Sea of Japan in response to what he called “threatening and provocative movements” that the body of water had made against his nation’s coastline.

U.S. sources said that as many seven missiles, including one long-range, short-flight Taepodong 2, penetrated the surface of the sea in a terrifying display of North Korean ballistic technology prowess.

“This clearly demonstrates our status as a global superpower,” said Mr. Kim, “The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is quite capable of raining fire from the sky upon any body of water that approaches our shores, or even thinks about it, with only forty-two seconds notice. Surely now Iran will not be the only nation to be paid handsomely for not becoming a nuclear power.”

The North Korean leader said the attack should “put other seas on notice that our precision-guided munitions can strike you at any time. We have many more missiles just like those we demonstrated today.”