Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


Old comments migrated to Disqus, currently working outtechnical issues

Monday, June 28, 2004

What Do Michael Moore And George W. Bush Have In Common?

NewsMax reports that both have connections to the Carlyle Group:

In his film "Fahrenheit 9/11," Democratic Party propaganda-meister Michael Moore accuses President Bush of being too cozy with Osama bin Laden's relatives, claiming Bush once accepted money from an international investment consortium known as the Carlyle Group, on whose board bin Laden family members used to sit.

But it turns out that Moore, not Bush, may have the more active financial relationship with Carlyle.

Reports Sunday's New York Post: "The Carlyle Group - which [Moore] bashes in the movie as some sort of shadowy war profiteering company - has become part owner of Loews Cinemas, which is currently showing his film."


Fire station catches on fire:

Firefighters in a Dallas [Texas] suburb returned to their station to find a fire started by potatoes they left cooking on a stove, officials said Friday.

The fire caused about $125,000 in damages to the station in Lancaster, a southern suburb of Dallas, said Fire Marshal Ladis Barr.

More Bad News For Democrats

Gas prices are falling.

The government survey said the average price nationwide of regular-grade gasoline dropped an additional 1.6 cents a gallon last week, the fifth week of price decline at the pump. Prices peaked at $2.06 a gallon during the week ending May 22.

There is yet one ray of optimism for Terry McAuliffe:

But motorists are still paying on average 43 cents a gallon more than at the same time a year ago.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Today's Movie Quote

"First thing it's two minutes, then four, then six, then the next thing you know, we're the U.S. mail."

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), Cast Away

Been Away

Drove down to Corpus Christi for a few days to visit relatives. We had rain every day while I was down there (including the drive to and from.) On Friday afternoon it flooded - water came halfway up the driveway (of a house that sits on one of the higher elevations in the city). This would have come in handy.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

FrontPage Magazine Goodies

David Brock recently wrote a book on the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Unfortunately, he chose to misrepresent numerous well-documented facts about David Horowitz, who proceeds to deliver a full frontal fisking here.

Jamie Glazov moderated a highly informative symposium: The Koran and Anti-Semitism.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Why Cheney Should Stay On The Ticket

On his radio show today, Sean Hannity compared the "dump Cheney" movement to those middle-aged men who dump their wives for younger women. Hannity sees the disloyalty aspect. Bush should find a new running mate only if Cheney were facing a) formal charges for ethics violations, or b) failing health. Neither is happening. (And Cheney isn't the one who's falling off of Segways and bicycles.)

That's all fine and good, but there's a more important issue at stake. People who want Cheney off the ticket want Bush to draft someone who can successfully challenge Hillary Clinton in 2008. They essentially want the sitting President to choose his successor.

I see two problems with this. First of all, post-Truman incumbent veeps tend to lose presidential elections (Nixon in 1960, Ford, Gore), and the only sitting veep to win election (GHW Bush) had a disastrous presidency. Second, it demonstrates a lack of faith in the voters and potential presidential candidates of 2008. It takes time for presidential talent to develop and make itself known. It's too early to make any decisions about 2008. And do we really want the slogan "Selected, not elected" to make a comeback?

The last race between nonincumbents was 1968. Nixon won, in large part due to the failure of the incumbent Johnson administration. GOP success ultimately rests not in whether the 2008 presidential candidate is the sitting veep, but in whether a second Bush term is a successful one.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Reprint of an old post on outrage against the Church of England for daring to discipline clergy who refuse to follow its rules. Inspired by a recent article on the Inquisition, which fellow Sasha contributor Steven Saporito blogged on here. Catholic blogger Amy Welborn also addresses the story here.

What is the link between these two stories? I explain in an introductory paragraph at Sasha's:

[S]ome people go to the opposite extreme and object to churches exerting any kind of corrective discipline whatsoever over their members. In any private organization those who break the club rules can be stripped of office, certain member privileges, or membership itself. It's no different in churches. But some people fail to distinguish between this sort of thing and the Inquisition's levying of criminal penalties for ecclesiastical offenses.

Slippery Slope

In his WorldNetDaily column, Walter Williams ponders where John F. Banzhaf's campaign to end "ladies' night" discounts at bars could lead:

Here's my question to you: Once Banzhaf ends up getting ladies' night outlawed in the other 40 states, do you think he'll be finished? I wouldn't bet the rent money on it. The reasoning Banzhaf uses in attacking nightclub practice of charging ladies cheaper prices is also applicable to: airlines charging children and tourists cheaper prices than adults and businessmen, businesses and other entities charging seniors cheaper prices than younger people, and theaters charging cheaper matinee prices than evening prices.

In case anyone is so naive to wonder why guys haven't complained about this price discrimination before, it's because guys generally want the bar to be amply stocked with female customers. Ladies' night has always been the big night for guys to go out on the town.)

I have my doubts about this :

If Banzhaf succeeds in outlawing price discrimination in these areas, I wouldn't be surprised if he moved on to bring a class-action suit on behalf of fat, old, ugly [wealthy] men against beautiful women.

Will plain-looking non-affluent women be filing a class-action against Anna Nicole Smith?

You're Tax Dollars At Work

If you live in San Francisco, that is. Mike Antonucci has the details in his latest EIA Communiqué:

"Tear Down This Wall!" San Francisco school superintendent Arlene Ackerman wanted a wall built on her floor of district headquarters because people coming off the elevators had direct access to her office. But once the city and school district bureaucracies got hold of her simple request, the wall grew into a castle.

The city's public works department designed a glass partition that reportedly required a new bathroom, a new conference room door, and other refurbishments. The design alone cost $21,200 – and an estimated $100,000 to construct. The district sent the designers back to the drawing board, where, for an additional $9,000, they came up with a wood partition with a door framed by glass windows. School district carpenters built it for another $8,000.

So, Ms. Ackerman now has her wall, which cost $30,200 to design and $8,000 to build. "When you look at the wall, you think this is just a wall," Frank Czyzewski, the district project manager for the wall, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're always working in the best interests of the public. This is just one of those times when it fell through the cracks, and it's unfortunate."

Monday, June 14, 2004

"We Will Bury You"

If Nikita Khrushchev were still alive, I'd ask him this: which flag still flies today?

United States of America (1776-)

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922-1991)

Happy Flag Day!


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Where There's Little Overlap Between Pop Culture And Me

Josh Claybourn links to VH1's The Greatest 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons. I'll comment on those that especially interest me, which is to say a minority of them.

  1. Elvis Like the later music better than the earlier. Interesting life.
  2. Beatles Like the later music better than the earlier. John Lennon is both the most interesting and the most infuriating of the four. If he were blogging today his hippie peacenik utopianism would get a lot of fiskings. (I do recall seeing a fisking of "Imagine" once.) Paul recorded what was my least favorite James Bond theme prior to Madonna's contribution, and before I'd ever heard the brassy and over-emoted theme to Goldfinger. (My fav is Tina Turner's "Goldeneye."). Paul did a really good music video; I forget the song title, but he played dual roles as British and German infantrymen who meet during one of those weird "timeouts" during WWI when the opposing forces would socialize with each other for a while and then go back to their corners when "recess" is over.
  3. Muhammad Ali An interesting life. Too bad about the Parkinson's.
  4. The Simpsons Haven't really watched it much, but satire is usually good.
  5. Johnny Carson The best talk show host ever.
  6. Fred Flintstone Starred in the best animated series ever.
  7. Harrison Ford Great actor. I long imagined a Lord of the Rings film with him and Mel Gibson in the cast. But who gets cast as whom?
  8. Tiger Woods Great golfer, nice guy. The commercial with the parody of those scenes with Mr. Gopher in Caddyshack was hilarious. I want a tape.
  9. Elton John One of my fav musicians while growing up. Didn't care much for his post-"Captain Fantastic" career. Appeared in one of the worst movies ever made: Tommy.
  10. Carroll O'Connor (as Archie Bunker) Starred in the best TV sitcom ever. He gradually adapted to the changing world around him, shedding little flakes of his bigotry here and there. Mike was a joyless leftie who never grew.
  11. Kermit & Miss Piggy "The Muppet Show" was the best variety show ever.
  12. Mel Gibson Great actor. See #46.
  13. Carol Burnett Second-greatest variety show ever.
  14. Bugs Bunny Wascawy wabbit wocks!
  15. Arnold Schwarzenegger Great actor. Interesting governor. Probably not LOTR material.
  16. Robin Williams One of the great standup comics. "Mork and Mindy" was funny up until final season. Does pretty good drama once in a while.
  17. Bill Gates Capitalism rocks!
  18. Katharine Hepburn One of the great actresses.
  19. Johnny Cash Great singer, all around great guy.
  20. Clint Eastwood Do ya feel lucky?
  21. Charlie Brown Loved the old "Peanuts" strip and TV specials.
  22. Albert Einstein Our Germans were better than their Germans - and he was our best. Made bad hair days fashionable.
  23. Bette Davis Another great actress.
  24. Alfred Hitchcock One of the greatest directors. A few days ago, a bird brushed against my Ford Ranger in mid-flight while I was driving. I'm staying away from coastal California villages.
  25. William Shatner For better or worse, Star Trek influenced my decision to study computers in college, because they were the future.
  26. Bob Denver (as Gilligan) One of my childhood fav sitcoms. I can do a decent imitation of his "Skip-er-r-r!"
  27. Jane Fonda Famous for her confusion over the definitions of good and evil.
  28. Sigmund Freud A mixed bag. Pioneered the concept of psychoanalysis, had lots of weird theories about human nature.
  29. Charlie Chaplin Never saw much of his work, only part of Modern Times on PBS once. Curious to see more of his films.
  30. Led Zeppelin One of the great mentally imbalanced rock bands. Plant's voice is better when he's not screeching. Fav song: "Kashmir." Ther is no hidden meaning (forward or backward) in "Stairway to Heaven" - it's all a bunch of fancy-sounding but meaningless drug-induced gibberish.
  31. Hugh Hefner Made his career reinforcing the juvenile male instinct to treat women as toys.
  32. Bruce Lee Interesting life.
  33. Neil Armstrong The first continuing TV news coverage I can remember is Apollo 11. Space rocks! Now if we can get a cross between Armstrong and Gates...
  34. Mister Rogers Didn't watch him much. I posted on his political incorrectness here.
  35. Bob Hope His jokes were cornball; he was a living monument to vaudeville. The real attraction was Hope's love for the audience and for bringing entertainment to the troops.
  36. Harry Potter Interesting movies. Never read the books. I think he looks like a dark-haired Bill Gates. Maybe Voldemort is really Janet Reno?
  37. Leonard Nimoy (as Spock) Saw him at a convention at Dallas once. See #117.
  38. The Three Stooges Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
  39. Scooby-Doo My fav cartoon while growing up.
  40. Jackie Gleason The Great One. His Ralph Cramden inspired the creation of Fred Flintstone.
  41. Larry Hagman (as J.R. Ewing) Best TV villain ever.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Warning: spoiler alert. (But I'm not saying what "Klaatu barada nikto" means. Klaatu warned that Gort would laser down my Ford Ranger if I do.)

This is one of the earliest films (if not the first) that portrays a United States military that behaves with hair-trigger paranoia in the face of the unknown. (And in true idiotarian fashion, director Robert Wise, as quoted in the liner notes of the Twentieth Century Fox Studio Classics DVD, says, "They [the War Department] didn't approve of our message of peace, I guess.") Considering the times, it would be easy for people to perceive the film as a parable of the Red Scare - and for all I know that may have been Wise's intention. The problem with such a comparison is that the Soviets were a real threat, and a known threat, to Earth.

If anything, The Day the Earth Stood Still should serve as a lesson on how not to conduct foreign relations. Only one of the diplomatic blunders can be chalked up to the Earthlings. The first known extraterrestrial comes to Earth, and the heads of state make uncompromising demands over where the meeting should be held. If I were the Secretary of State, I'd be on the phone with my Moscow counterpart and say, "Look here, Comrade, this thing is bigger than any of us. We've got to find out what this alien wants as soon as possible, and he won't say until he meets all of us at once. Let's talk to our bosses ad see if we can't find a neutral spot for the meeting. Maybe we could have it at the Brandenburg Gate, with delegates seated on both sides. Maybe someplace else. I don't care where. The alien certainly doesn't. We've got to come up with a compromise solution, fast. Need I remind you what his robot did to one of our tanks?"

Klaatu (Michael Rennie) never considered that organizing a meeting of all heads of state would be a time-consuming process on a Balkanized planet. He was also extraordinarily impatient. If he was in such a hurry, he could have simply sent a communications device to each world leader and have one big conference call. But why the rush? Since his mission was to warn the Earthlings not to make war on his world and its allies, it should have been obvious that we were, ahem, light years behind in the technology to do so. It's a huge step from atomic bombs to rapid atomic-powered flight.

Early in the film, Klaatu makes an incredibly boneheaded error. He wants to give the President some sort of scientific gadget as a goodwill gesture. So how does he deliver it? Does he exit the saucer holding a tray with the artifact lying on it and announcing that he has a gift? No. Klaatu reaches into his shirt and pulls out this strange device, and parts of the artifact make a sudden movement - and Klaatu says nothing in advance to tell the scared Earthlings what this thing is. His superiors from 250 million miles away (maybe a Jovian moon or a rogue asteroid?) failed to collect sufficient intelligence to warn him that reaching into your pockets in the presence of armed keepers of the peace is a bad idea.

Klaatu makes two other gaffes: his escape from Walter Reed Hospital, and the power blackout. Imagine the Earthlings' perspective: this alien comes to Earth, he won't say why he's here, he's in hiding, and without warning all the power across the world (except at hospitals and airplanes in flight) shuts down for a half hour without explanation. (If the blackouts had come with an ultimatum, "Meet with me and you get your electricity back," that would have been different. He'd have to restore power to the phone companies so the world leaders can organize.)

Klaatu simply doesn't have the common sense to build trust. Until the end of the film, he succeeds with only two people: Professor Jacob Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe) and Helen Benson (Patricia Neal). (The kid doesn't count; Bobby, played by Billy Gray, trusts Klaatu only when the latter's identity is hidden.) The film features that modern prejudice that the scientific community represents the most enlightened minds of humanity. Barnhardt is trusting because he knows more than his fellow Earthlings. Oh, does he really? The only thing he knows that Uncle Sam doesn't is that Klaatu knows a lot about "celestial mechanics." He trusts Klaatu because he is an idealist. But does he really have anything to base his idealism upon? No.

It is the scene in the elevator that reveals the answer to Klaatu predicament. He gained Benson's trust because he revealed to her the full details of his mission. She must still make a leap of faith that Klaatu is telling the truth. He could be looking to try new recipes for all she knows. But at least she had an explanation to go on, unlike Klaatu's captors.

One has to wonder what Robert Wise thought of the aliens' literal "scorched Earth" policy. Simply destroying the attackers and implementing regime change on Earth isn't good enough for the enlightened extraterrestrials. No, they'd simply wipe out all of humanity if the Earthlings ever declared war on them. Not just a city or two. All of Earth.

The aliens' robotic police state, like all utopian wishful thiking, looks good on paper. Robots have all policing powers and none of the desires that corrupts sentient beings. (Whether citizens are unarmed or simply outgunned by the robots is not known.) The problem here is the fantasy of computerized machines that are 100% reliable, a delusion that Stanley Kubrick, John Badham, and James Cameron have - hopefully - cured us of.

Homicide/Suicide In Dallas

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports a bizarre crime:

Police tried Friday to piece together events that led to a homicide-suicide early Thursday evening, when a Dallas man threw his girlfriend from a busy highway overpass, then leaped after her.

Sgt. Kevin Perlich, a Richardson police spokesman, said investigators don't know what led to the deadly action on the President George Bush Turnpike overpass, spanning southbound U.S. 75.

Paul Lamar Stephens, 30, and Lorena Godoy Osorio, 21, had been in an "altercation" at an apartment complex 15 miles from the scene of the crime. Witnesses also report seeing Osorio in a Mercedes coupe and Stephens breaking the window, entering the car, and driving off with Osorio still in the care. From there:

According to reports, witnesses saw the couple arguing on the shoulder of the turnpike at 5:25 p.m.

Stephens reportedly pulled Osorio from the car, struggled with her, then pushed her off the overpass. She landed on the hood of a car, which also ran her over, then another car struck her.

Stephens then leaped from the overpass.

Osorio died at the scene. Stephens was taken to Richardson Regional Medical Center and died shortly afterward.

The Champagne Is Flowing

At FrontPage Magazine, Tammy Bruce excerpts portions of her book The Death of Right and Wrong that, among other things, reveals an interesting fact about certain Reagan opponents:

[I]n certain gay and feminist circles, bottles of champagne wait in refrigerators to be opened when Reagan dies.

She tells of hearing from one such friend after watching a Mike Wallace interview with Nancy Reagan on 60 Minutes II:

The Reagans, like so many other people, had probably approached their Golden Years trusting, assuming, that memories would be shared, and laughed and cried about. For Nancy Reagan that doesn't exist. She hasn't said goodbye to her husband because "he's still here," but the welling of tears in her eyes revealed a wounded, sad woman. I found it heartbreaking to see, as would any decent person of any political persuasion.

Part of my life, however, is still reflective of what I call my "old" life – my years of leadership in the feminist establishment and involvement in the gay-rights movement. This night, those two lives collided. As I cried after the interview because of the sadness of it and my own guilt and shame, I checked my phone messages. There was one from a gay male friend, whom I see infrequently these days but with whom I share some fun and important activist memories.

He had been watching the same interview, but he was cheering. "Woo hoo! It looks like we might be opening up that champagne sooner than later! I hope you were watching the Dragon Lady on "60 Minutes" tonight. I suppose with Alzheimer's, he's not suffering anymore, but it sure looks like she is! There is a God after all."

In the comments to this post at Right Thinking From The Left Coast, Steve (who blogs here) writes of two such people:

Some years back, I severed all ties to a couple of people I knew. They were proud of the fact that they kept a champagne bottle in their refrigerator, waiting for the moment Reagan died. I thought then that they were cruel, subhuman, soulless demons because of it, and I simply cut them out of my life. To have so much hatred for someone simply because of politics is beyond comprehension.

Another NewsMax Story

Doris Kearns Goodwin is miffed because Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton weren't invited to speak at Reagan's funeral.

"It would have been a good thing to have them speak, especially for Carter," she told radio host Don Imus. "I feel bad for him. It's been a bad week when you think about how many people have said, 'After the horrible Carter years, here came Reagan.'"

"Carter has so thoroughly re-established himself in his post-presidency," she added, that "having him have a chance to speak would have been nice, yes."

What in the heck does Carter's post-presidential career have to do with Ronald Reagan?

Neither Clinton nor Carter - nor even Gerald Ford - deserve a speaking spot at the funeral. Eulogies should be delivered only by close family and friends, the sitting president, and close working associates (such as GHW Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachev).

Friday, June 11, 2004

There Won't Be A Kerry/McCain Ticket

NewsMax reports that the Arizona senator does not want to be Kerry's running mate.

Memo to McCain: go for the frontrunner spot. I need the T-shirt sales.

Politicians Gone Wild

Two stories from NewsMax. First, Nader is trying to garner support from conservatives. He regards as selling points his opposition to such things as "fantastic deficits as far as the eye can see," NAFTA, WTO, the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind act, normalized trade with China, corporate welfare, and "corporate pornography and violence directed at children." (What "corporate pornography" is he talking about? American Pie?)

Nader is dreaming. He will be hard-pressed to find conservatives who are more repulsed at this collection issues than they are at the Green Party platform, which calls for such things as:

  • "Living wage" legislation
  • Government-engineered diversity
  • Statehood for the District of Columbia
  • Support for taxpayer financing of entertainment venues (National Endowment for the Arts)
  • Federally-funded childcare
  • Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • The continuance of Social Security
  • A treaty to abolish nuclear weapons (which our totalitarian enemies would not honor)
  • US obeisance to the World Court
  • Continued reliance on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to combat the very Third World poverty they have been unable to correct - and have often exacerbated - for decades
  • Vastly expanding public education
  • The continuance of bilingual education
  • Universal health care
  • Support for legalized abortion
  • Expanding the welfare state (except for corporate welfare)
  • Consideration of implementing environmental taxes and a a value-added tax
  • Opposition to the flat tax
  • Raising corporate taxes (which will trickle down to consumers)
  • Hate crimes legislation
  • Rejection of nuclear energy
  • "Gas guzzler" taxes and "gas sipper" rebates to provide incentive for consumers to stop buying low-gas-mileage vehicles
  • Expanding government spending on mass transit
  • Support for "phasing out the use of man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers"
  • Federal funding for technological research
  • Thinks that he can do all this and be able to pay off the national debt and make small businesses, including family farms, economically sustainable

Meanwhile, Bill Frist wants to name the Pentagon after Reagan. You're loony, Bill. The Pentagon is a time-honored name - dont' mess with it. And there's already one DC office building named after Reagan.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ray Charles (1930-2004)

Last Monday, Fort Worth/Dallas radio station WBAP started playing a redording of Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful" with inserted snippets of Reagan speeches. That recording means a lot more now that the legendary singer has passed away.

Thanks for all the music.

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Pondering why the Evil Empire fell.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Donald Duck is 70 years old.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


In Melbourne, England, a dog recently received laser cataract surgery.

I think it's safe to assume that this procedure wasn't covered by the National Health Service.

InstaPundit Blogs One For The Gipper

Glenn Reynolds goes on vacation one day, and all of a sudden the entire blogosphere scoops him on the biggest pre-election news story of the year. Glenn links to a few sites with ongoing coverage, and says "the blogosphere seems to be doing just fine without me."

Monday, June 07, 2004

It's A Small World

Years ago I listened to one of Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" tales. This one was about Ronald Reagan's radio broadcasting days, when he would do the play-by-play announcing on college football games. On one such occasion a Michigan Wolverines player - nose guard, I think - was injured, and "Dutch" Reagan announced the name of the replacement: Gerald Ford.

Bright College Days

The Age of Faith, the fourth installment of Will Durant's eleven-volume world history opus, explores life in medieval European universities.

If William Bennett thinks education is being dumbed down now:

William of Conches , in the twelfth century, complained that teachers gave easy courses to gain popularity, students, and fees; and that the elective system by which each student had a wide choice among teachers and subjects was lowering the standard of education. [p. 921]

Multiculturalism had a different flavor back then - or maybe not so different:

Jaques [de Vitry] goes on to tell how each national group among the students had favorite adjectives for the other groups: the English were heavy drinkers and had tails, the French were proud and effeminate, the Germans were furibundi (blusterers) and "obscene in their cups," the Flemish were fat and greedy and "soft as butter"; and "all of them, through such backbiting, often passed from words to blows." [p. 927]

No, campus violence was not invented in the 1960s:

One riot in Oxford (1298) cost £ 3000 ($150,000) [the book was published in 1950 - plug in 54 years of inflation for that amount in 2004 dollars] in damage to property. A Paris official (1269) issued a proclamation against scholars who "by day and night atrociously wound and slay many, carry off women, ravish virgins, break into houses," and commit "over and over again robberies and many other enormities." Oxford boys may have been less given to lechery than the pupils of Paris, but homicides were frequent there, and executions were rare. [p. 928]

As for letting the punishment fit the crime:

[A]n Oxford man considered it sufficient punishment for an Oxford murderer to be compelled to go to Cambridge. [p. 928]

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Personal thoughts on Ronald Reagan's legacy.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Blogroll Update

Merde in France has a new name - ¡No Pasarán! Note the URL change.

Update: When I tweaked the blogroll, Blogger saved only part of the template. Fortunately, I had a two-month-old copy of the template, and every blogroll addition is always saved in Favorites. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I made any recent changes to the other linkage categories other than to add Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia. I added a few sites here and there and created a new category, "The Truth Is Out There," with links to satellite photos of David Duchovny's house and Snopes.

From now on I'm saving changes to the template in a file before saving them online. Would it be too much for Blogger to have a "reinstall previous template" button?

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

(Links to the following and other Reagan speeches can be found here. His Alzheimer's announcement is here.)

Remarks at the U.S. Ranger Monument, Pointe du Hoc, France, June 6, 1984

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers--the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.''

I think I know what you may be thinking right now--thinking, "We were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.'' Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him--Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late,'' as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet'' and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They thought--or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to the Atlantic alliance--a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, Allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose--to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.''

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Remarks at the Normandy Invasion Ceremony, Omaha Beach Memorial at Omaha Beach, France, June 6, 1984

Mr. President, distinguished guests, we stand today at a place of battle, one that 40 years ago saw and felt the worst of war. Men bled and died here for a few feet of--or inches of sand, as bullets and shellfire cut through their ranks. About them, General Omar Bradley later said, "Every man who set foot on Omaha Beach that day was a hero."

No speech can adequately portray their suffering, their sacrifice, their heroism. President Lincoln once reminded us that through their deeds, the dead of battle have spoken more eloquently for themselves than any of the living ever could. But we can only honor them by rededicating ourselves to the cause for which they gave a last full measure of devotion.

Today we do rededicate ourselves to that cause. And at this place of honor, we're humbled by the realization of how much so many gave to the cause of freedom and to their fellow man.

Some who survived the battle of June 6, 1944, are here today. Others who hoped to return never did.

"Someday, Lis, I'll go back," said Private First Class Peter Robert Zanatta, of the 37th Engineer Combat Battalion, and first assault wave to hit Omaha Beach. "I'll go back, and I'll see it all again. I'll see the beach, the barricades, and the graves."

Those words of Private Zanatta come to us from his daughter, Lisa Zanatta Henn, in a heartrending story about the event her father spoke of so often. "In his words, the Normandy invasion would change his life forever," she said. She tells some of his stories of World War II but says of her father, "the story to end all stories was D-Day."

"He made me feel the fear of being on that boat waiting to land. I can smell the ocean and feel the seasickness. I can see the looks on his fellow soldiers' faces--the fear, the anguish, the uncertainty of what lay ahead. And when they landed, I can feel the strength and courage of the men who took those first steps through the tide to what must have surely looked like instant death."

Private Zanatta's daughter wrote to me: "I don't know how or why I can feel this emptiness, this fear, or this determination, but I do. Maybe it's the bond I had with my father. All I know is that it brings tears to my eyes to think about my father as a 20-year-old boy having to face that beach."

The anniversary of D-Day was always special for her family. And like all the families of those who went to war, she describes how she came to realize her own father's survival was a miracle: "So many men died. I know that my father watched many of his friends be killed. I know that he must have died inside a little each time. But his explanation to me was, 'You did what you had to do, and you kept on going.'"

When men like Private Zanatta and all our Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy 40 years ago they came not as conquerors, but as liberators. When these troops swept across the French countryside and into the forests of Belgium and Luxembourg they came not to take, but to return what had been wrongly seized. When our forces marched into Germany they came not to prey on a brave and defeated people, but to nurture the seeds of democracy among those who yearned to be free again.

We salute them today. But, Mr. President, we also salute those who, like yourself, were already engaging the enemy inside your beloved country--the French Resistance. Your valiant struggle for France did so much to cripple the enemy and spur the advance of the armies of liberation. The French Forces of the Interior will forever personify courage and national spirit. They will be a timeless inspiration to all who are free and to all who would be free.

Today, in their memory, and for all who fought here, we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic peoples who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished in a firm resolve to keep the peace.

From a terrible war we learned that unity made us invincible; now, in peace, that same unity makes us secure. We sought to bring all freedom-loving nations together in a community dedicated to the defense and preservation of our sacred values. Our alliance, forged in the crucible of war, tempered and shaped by the realities of the postwar world, has succeeded. In Europe, the threat has been contained, the peace has been kept.

Today the living here assembled--officials, veterans, citizens--are a tribute to what was achieved here 40 years ago. This land is secure. We are free. These things are worth fighting and dying for.

Lisa Zanatta Henn began her story by quoting her father, who promised that he would return to Normandy. She ended with a promise to her father, who died eight years ago of cancer: "I'm going there, Dad, and I'll see the beaches and the barricades and the monuments. I'll see the graves, and I'll put flowers there just like you wanted to do. I'll feel all the things you made me feel through your stories and your eyes. I'll never forget what you went through, Dad, nor will I let anyone else forget. And, Dad, I'll always be proud."

Through the words of his loving daughter, who is here with us today, a D-Day veteran has shown us the meaning of this day far better than any President can. It is enough for us to say about Private Zanatta and all the men of honor and courage who fought beside him four decades ago: We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.

Thank you.

Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, Germany, June 12, 1987

Thank you very much.

Chancellor Kohl, Governing Mayor Diepgen, ladies and gentlemen: Twenty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin, speaking to the people of this city and the world at the City Hall. Well, since then two other presidents have come, each in his turn, to Berlin. And today I, myself, make my second visit to your city.

We come to Berlin, we American presidents, because it's our duty to speak, in this place, of freedom. But I must confess, we're drawn here by other things as well: by the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation; by the beauty of the Grunewald and the Tiergarten; most of all, by your courage and determination. Perhaps the composer Paul Lincke understood something about American presidents. You see, like so many presidents before me, I come here today because wherever I go, whatever I do: Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin. [I still have a suitcase in Berlin.]

Our gathering today is being broadcast throughout Western Europe and North America. I understand that it is being seen and heard as well in the East. To those listening throughout Eastern Europe, a special word: Although I cannot be with you, I address my remarks to you just as surely as to those standing here before me. For I join you, as I join your fellow countrymen in the West, in this firm, this unalterable belief: Es gibt nur ein Berlin. [There is only one Berlin.]

Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic, south, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same--still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state. Yet it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.

President von Weizsacker has said, "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed." Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph.

In this season of spring in 1945, the people of Berlin emerged from their air-raid shelters to find devastation. Thousands of miles away, the people of the United States reached out to help. And in 1947 Secretary of State--as you've been told--George Marshall announced the creation of what would become known as the Marshall Plan. Speaking precisely 40 years ago this month, he said: "Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos."

In the Reichstag a few moments ago, I saw a display commemorating this 40th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. I was struck by the sign on a burnt-out, gutted structure that was being rebuilt. I understand that Berliners of my own generation can remember seeing signs like it dotted throughout the western sectors of the city. The sign read simply: "The Marshall Plan is helping here to strengthen the free world." A strong, free world in the West, that dream became real. Japan rose from ruin to become an economic giant. Italy, France, Belgium--virtually every nation in Western Europe saw political and economic rebirth; the European Community was founded.

In West Germany and here in Berlin, there took place an economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder. Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty--that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes. From 1950 to 1960 alone, the standard of living in West Germany and Berlin doubled.

Where four decades ago there was rubble, today in West Berlin there is the greatest industrial output of any city in Germany--busy office blocks, fine homes and apartments, proud avenues, and the spreading lawns of parkland. Where a city's culture seemed to have been destroyed, today there are two great universities, orchestras and an opera, countless theaters, and museums. Where there was want, today there's abundance--food, clothing, automobiles--the wonderful goods of the Ku'damm. From devastation, from utter ruin, you Berliners have, in freedom, rebuilt a city that once again ranks as one of the greatest on earth. The Soviets may have had other plans. But my friends, there were a few things the Soviets didn't count on--Berliner Herz, Berliner Humor, ja, und Berliner Schnauze. [Berliner heart, Berliner humor, yes, and a Berliner Schnauze.]

In the 1950s, Khrushchev predicted: "We will bury you." But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind--too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! [emphasis mine - AKH]

I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict this continent-- and I pledge to you my country's efforts to help overcome these burdens. To be sure, we in the West must resist Soviet expansion. So we must maintain defenses of unassailable strength. Yet we seek peace; so we must strive to reduce arms on both sides.

Beginning 10 years ago, the Soviets challenged the Western alliance with a grave new threat, hundreds of new and more deadly SS-20 nuclear missiles, capable of striking every capital in Europe. The Western alliance responded by committing itself to a counter-deployment unless the Soviets agreed to negotiate a better solution; namely, the elimination of such weapons on both sides. For many months, the Soviets refused to bargain in earnestness. As the alliance, in turn, prepared to go forward with its counter-deployment, there were difficult days--days of protests like those during my 1982 visit to this city--and the Soviets later walked away from the table.

But through it all, the alliance held firm. And I invite those who protested then-- I invite those who protest today--to mark this fact: Because we remained strong, the Soviets came back to the table. And because we remained strong, today we have within reach the possibility, not merely of limiting the growth of arms, but of eliminating, for the first time, an entire class of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.

As I speak, NATO ministers are meeting in Iceland to review the progress of our proposals for eliminating these weapons. At the talks in Geneva, we have also proposed deep cuts in strategic offensive weapons. And the Western allies have likewise made far-reaching proposals to reduce the danger of conventional war and to place a total ban on chemical weapons.

While we pursue these arms reductions, I pledge to you that we will maintain the capacity to deter Soviet aggression at any level at which it might occur. And in cooperation with many of our allies, the United States is pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative--research to base deterrence not on the threat of offensive retaliation, but on defenses that truly defend; on systems, in short, that will not target populations, but shield them. By these means we seek to increase the safety of Europe and all the world. But we must remember a crucial fact: East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other. And our differences are not about weapons but about liberty. When President Kennedy spoke at the City Hall those 24 years ago, freedom was encircled, Berlin was under siege. And today, despite all the pressures upon this city, Berlin stands secure in its liberty. And freedom itself is transforming the globe.

In the Philippines, in South and Central America, democracy has been given a rebirth. Throughout the Pacific, free markets are working miracle after miracle of economic growth. In the industrialized nations, a technological revolution is taking place--a revolution marked by rapid, dramatic advances in computers and telecommunications.

In Europe, only one nation and those it controls refuse to join the community of freedom. Yet in this age of redoubled economic growth, of information and innovation, the Soviet Union faces a choice: It must make fundamental changes, or it will become obsolete.

Today thus represents a moment of hope. We in the West stand ready to cooperate with the East to promote true openness, to break down barriers that separate people, to create a safe, freer world. And surely there is no better place than Berlin, the meeting place of East and West, to make a start. Free people of Berlin: Today, as in the past, the United States stands for the strict observance and full implementation of all parts of the Four Power Agreement of 1971. Let us use this occasion, the 750th anniversary of this city, to usher in a new era, to seek a still fuller, richer life for the Berlin of the future. Together, let us maintain and develop the ties between the Federal Republic and the Western sectors of Berlin, which is permitted by the 1971 agreement.

And I invite Mr. Gorbachev: Let us work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together, so that all the inhabitants of all Berlin can enjoy the benefits that come with life in one of the great cities of the world.

To open Berlin still further to all Europe, East and West, let us expand the vital air access to this city, finding ways of making commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, more comfortable, and more economical. We look to the day when West Berlin can become one of the chief aviation hubs in all central Europe.

With our French and British partners, the United States is prepared to help bring international meetings to Berlin. It would be only fitting for Berlin to serve as the site of United Nations meetings, or world conferences on human rights and arms control or other issues that call for international cooperation.

There is no better way to establish hope for the future than to enlighten young minds, and we would be honored to sponsor summer youth exchanges, cultural events, and other programs for young Berliners from the East. Our French and British friends, I'm certain, will do the same. And it's my hope that an authority can be found in East Berlin to sponsor visits from young people of the Western sectors.

One final proposal, one close to my heart: Sport represents a source of enjoyment and ennoblement, and you may have noted that the Republic of Korea--South Korea--has offered to permit certain events of the 1988 Olympics to take place in the North. International sports competitions of all kinds could take place in both parts of this city. And what better way to demonstrate to the world the openness of this city than to offer in some future year to hold the Olympic games here in Berlin, East and West? In these four decades, as I have said, you Berliners have built a great city. You've done so in spite of threats--the Soviet attempts to impose the East-mark, the blockade. Today the city thrives in spite of the challenges implicit in the very presence of this wall. What keeps you here? Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage. But I believe there's something deeper, something that involves Berlin's whole look and feel and way of life--not mere sentiment. No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions. Something instead, that has seen the difficulties of life in Berlin but chose to accept them, that continues to build this good and proud city in contrast to a surrounding totalitarian presence that refuses to release human energies or aspirations. Something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says yes to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom. In a word, I would submit that what keeps you in Berlin is love--love both profound and abiding.

Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexander Platz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw, treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere--that sphere that towers over all Berlin--the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.

As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.

And I would like, before I close, to say one word. I have read, and I have been questioned since I've been here about certain demonstrations against my coming. And I would like to say just one thing, and to those who demonstrate so. I wonder if they have ever asked themselves that if they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again.

Thank you and God bless you all.

It's My Blogiversary

I would have posted this several hours ago if my ISP and/or the phone lines hadn't been flaking out. I still can't get better than 14.4 Kbps. Grrrr.

Here's a few June 5 anniversaries. Dates taken from Scope Systems' Any day In History and Wikipedia:Selected anniversaries/June. Most embedded links lead to Wikipedia entries. Also included are IMDB links for Nolan and Reagan and biography on Reagan.


1723 Adam Smith, economist
1819 John Couch Adams, co-discover of Neptune
1883 John Maynard Keynes, economist
1887 Pancho Villa, revolutionary
1934 Bill Moyers, journalist, White House official (JFK, LBJ administrations)
1937 Waylon Jennings, country musician
1939 Ken Follett, author
1941 Spalding Gray, actor, screenwriter, and monologue artist


1316 King Louis X of France
1910 O. Henry, author
1916 Horatio Kitchener, Lord Kitchener, Field Marshal
1993 Conway Twitty, country musician
1998 Jeanette Nolan, actress
1999 Mel Tormé, singer, composer, actor
2002 Dee Dee Ramone, musician
2004 Ronald W. Reagan, actor, 40th President of the United States


1783 Montgolfier brothers demonstrate their hot air balloon
1833 Ada Lovelace meets Charles Babbage
1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy
1933 US abandons gold standard
1945 USA, UK, USSR, France declare supreme authority over Germany
1947 Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlines Marshall Plan
1967 Start of Arab-Israeli Six-Day War
1968 Sirhan Sirhan shot Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles; Kennedy died June 6
1977 1st personal computer, the Apple II, goes on sale
1981 First recognized cases of AIDS
1995 Discovery of a new phase of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate
2002 Mozilla 1.0 is released

Thursday, June 03, 2004

PC Bible

Sasha Castel has a post on the latest politically-correct Bible translations. In comments I've taken liberties with the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).

Don't Know Much About History

EIA Communiqué has an interesting story:

Memorial Day: You Can’t Remember What You Never Knew. If Jay Mathews of the Washington Post had deliberately set out to make me angry and sad last Friday, he could not have done a better job than by leading his column with these two paragraphs:

"Tiffany Charles got a B in history last year at her Montgomery County high school, but she is not sure what year World War II ended. She cannot name a single general or battle, or the man who was president during the most dramatic hours of the 20th century.

"Yet the 16-year-old does remember in some detail that many Japanese American families on the West Coast were sent to internment camps. 'We talked a lot about those concentration camps,' she said."

Yes, the internment camps are an important part of our history and should be taught and studied in high school. Yes, dates and details can be overemphasized in history. But without Midway, Anzio, Normandy and Iwo Jima, and the men who fought there, a lot more people all over the world would have ended up in internment camps, or worse.

I'll bet that most Japanese students can name at least one single American general. And maybe even a battle or two.

Someone I'd Like To See Replace Tenet

Now that George Tenet has resigned, who should replace him? I'd like to make a recommendation: Notra Trulock. What's so special about this NewsMax columnist? Chreck out his bio:

Notra Trulock is the Associate Editor of the Accuracy in Media Report, the Director of Media Relations at Free Congress Foundation, the former Director of the Office of Intelligence for the U.S. Department of Energy and Chief of Counter Intelligence from 1994 to 1998.

Trulock came to public notice in 1999 in a NY Times article headlined: "Breach at Los Alamos: A Special Report; China Stole Nuclear Secrets For Bombs, U.S. Aides Say." The article mentioned a "Chinese American" working at the lab. Two days later, the Taiwan-born Lee, a U.S. citizen, was fired. The source of this claim, according to the Times, was Trulock, who was the key witness before a secret congressional committee headed by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach). Trulock was instrumental in alerting Congress to potential espionage at the nuclear labs.

The Federation of American Scientists website has a full transcript of his October 3, 2000 statement before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. This testimony shows why Trulock is qualified to serve as CIA director. First, he can identify talent - and lack thereof:

For technical advice and guidance, I relied heavily on the expertise and experience of the scientists of our nuclear laboratories. We regularly conducted peer reviews and competitive analyses on different topics; simply put, we did not publish our conclusions or key judgments before their time. It is now said that I was inexperienced in counterintelligence and that caused all the later "problems." When the DOE Office of Counterintelligence came under my management in 1995, I found the office to be riddled with personnel problems and ineptitude. The senior managers of the office routinely engaged in petty bickering; it was a bureaucratic nightmare. With a few notable exceptions, the professional capabilities of the office were extremely low. One example will suffice. One of the most highly touted CI [counterintelligence] analysts in that shop was asked to produce an assessment of the CI threat in Georgia, the former Soviet Republic. The analyst demurred, saying that Atlanta is a safe city and why should we be worried about the CI threat there.

So, I relied on an experienced CIA counterintelligence expert already on site. When he left for retirement, we found another expert fresh from an assignment on the Aldrich Ames damage assessment team. He was experienced, able, and held in high esteem within the counterintelligence community and proved to be an excellent CI manager. This individual helped shape our efforts to retool CI within DOE and, until encountering fierce resistance from DOE management, had put our CI program on the right track. For his efforts, the Director of Central Intelligence awarded him the highest intelligence medal for his distinguished service.

Second, he can identify obvious security threats:

It is now fashionable in the media to express doubts that Chinese espionage even occurred. I would remind the Committee that the unclassified Intelligence Community Damage Assessment, published in May 1999, concluded that the Chinese had indeed obtained through espionage nuclear weapons design information, including on the W88 Trident D5 warhead. Further, that information probably accelerated China's efforts to develop modern nuclear weapons. That conclusion mirrors very accurately the conclusion arrived at by a prestigious group of laboratory nuclear weapons scientists in 1995. The CIA reiterated their judgments about Chinese espionage later in 1999 in an estimate on ballistic missile developments. I am not aware that CIA or Intelligence Community representatives have refuted these judgments or revised them.

Third, he understands and respects the separation of jurisdictions between government agencies:

We conferred with the FBI from June 1995 throughout the summer study effort to its conclusion in September 1995. In the fall 1995, we sought to refer this case to the FBI. But the FBI refused to accept it, claiming that it was too old and that the trail was too cold. Instead, the FBI requested that we initiate an "Administrative Inquiry". Much has been written about this inquiry, most of it overblown and wrong.

The facts are these: the DOE Administrative Inquiry was nothing more than a "records check", such as is done routinely in security reviews every day. By law, only the FBI may conduct espionage investigations within the U.S.; DOE counterintelligence officials are proscribed from conducting any such investigations and conducting any interrogations, etc.

Fourth, he knows how not to conduct an investigation, following the example of the FBI. His details on FBI mismanagement of the investigation are extensive; I won't excerpt them here.

And fifth, under Trulock's leadership the CIA would, at the very least, not lose any keys to sensitive areas - as has happened recently at the nuclear labs; see Trulock's NewsMax columns here and here on the subject.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

News from the Czech Republic: Czechs are complaining about the name of their country, and European weaselcrats are complaining about low Czech tax rates.

Site Meter