Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2009

Pentagon Worried About Afghanistan

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 9:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, has filed a report assessing progress in Afghanistan that he described as “serious” but in which “success is achievable.”

Meanwhile, a McClatchy report says this is the 5th assessment Obama has ordered since he was inaugurated. It also notes McChrystal is expected to request that 21,000 to 45,000 more troops be sent to Afghanistan. Pentagon officials are said to be worried that President Obama won’t authorize those additional troops … in part, because of the polls:

“However, administration officials said that amid rising violence and casualties, polls that show a majority of Americans now think the war in Afghanistan isn’t worth fighting. With tough battles ahead on health care, the budget and other issues, Vice President Joe Biden and other officials are increasingly anxious about how the American public would respond to sending additional troops.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can’t make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al Qaida. Biden’s office declined to comment.

“I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier,” a senior Pentagon official said. “We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war.”

Is politics playing a role? McChrystal’s current assessment was to have included troop recommendations but political concerns intervened:

Monday’s assessment initially was to include troop recommendations, but political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree that those recommendations would come later, advisers to McChrystal said. Although the White House took a hands-off approach toward Afghanistan earlier this summer, Pentagon officials said they’re now getting more questions about how many troops might be needed and for how long.”

One of the polls the Obama Administration may be worried about is this Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows 70% of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan while 70% of Democrats oppose it. However, as this 8/19/09 Hot Air post notes, Democrats opposed the war in July 2008, too.

– DRJ

California Wildfires

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 6:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Station wildfire in California has burned over 100,000 acres, threatens 12,000 homes and vital commercial interests, has caused two firefighter deaths and the evacuation of many California residents, and is described as out-of-control:

“A voracious five-day-old wildfire that has churned through more than 105,000 acres of mountainous brush across northern Los Angeles County showed little sign of slowing down this afternoon as it threatened 12,000 homes in suburban tracts and desert communities, along with a historic observatory and major array of television and radio transmission towers.”

Smoke from the fire has drifted all the way to Denver:

“The smoke over Colorado — which has made the mountains west of Denver invisible from downtown Denver — has come directly from the massive 85,000-acre wildfire in Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.

Although Denverites could barely see the gray outlines of the foothills immediately west of Golden and Lakewood this afternoon, the higher mountains had disappeared in a dirty white haze.”

I assume California isn’t counting on help from the White House:

“Q As a natural disaster, the fires north of Los Angeles are reaching kind of staggering proportions. Is there any need for the President to get involved in a federal effort? Does he get any kind of updates on those fires?

MR. GIBBS: I can check. I assume that he gets a regular — we all get regular updates on these types of news events and these types of disasters. I assume as part of his daily briefing this morning he was briefed on the situation and local, state, and federal response.”

Obama’s Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano swore in Kelvin Cochran, FEMA’s Fire Administrator, on Thursday, August 27, 2009. I hope he’s the kind of guy who can hit the ground running.

– DRJ

Another Technical Bleg

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:49 pm

I’m off work today and trying to set up my computer situation at home. I just bought a monstrous 24″ monitor on sale at Fry’s. I hooked it up via a VGA cable to my little $350 Gateway laptop (it doesn’t have an HDMI port) and the picture does not look good. There is significant fluctuation in the image, which is more noticeable when you are looking at colors. I also tried getting a KVMP switch so I could hook my work laptop and home laptops to the larger monitor, and it looks even worse when running through the KVMP switch.

Many of you recommended HDMI. Is the VGA connection the problem? Should I trade in my new laptop for one with an HDMI connection? Or is there another possible culprit? I really like this monitor but I can’t live with it like this.

Advice is appreciated.

UPDATE: When I say the picture looks bad, I mean there are waves going through the picture.

Maybe I just need a better quality cable?

UPDATE x2: I have isolated the problem. After obtaining a higher quality VGA cable, it is clear that the waves appear only when the laptop is plugged in. Unplugged, no waves; plugged, waves. Trust me, this happens no matter whether they are plugged into the same wall outlet or different ones; the same power strip or two plugs from the same outlet; power cord lying across the VGA cable or carefully kept apart from it; laptop physically separated from the monitor or not. The ONLY factor is: is the laptop plugged in? If it is, I get the waves.

So now what?

UPDATE x3: In a chat, Scott Jacobs seems to have fixed the issue, which was indeed an issue of refresh rate. Kudos to whoever mentioned that as the problem — I know someone did — but since I didn’t understand what you meant or how to fix it, the real kudos belongs to Scott.

The unspoken legacy of Ted Kennedy

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:46 am

[Posted by Karl]

This weekend, another member of the Kennedy clan was buried with a liberal application of liberal myth-making. Jacqueline Kennedy begged historian-journo Theodore M. White to rescue JFK’s legacy. White obliged by regurgitating her Camelot myth, knowing it to be a misreading of history.

The death of Ted Kennedy unavoidably exposed a new generation to Kennedy’s many sins — including, but not limited to Chappaquiddick — which tend to get glossed over or unmentioned in public education and the establishment media. Accordingly, those who have spent decades enabling the Kennedys rolled out yet another myth: that Ted Kennedy “redeemed” himself after leaving Mary Jo Kopechne to drown (perhaps to slowly asphyxiate), failing to report it to authorities for ten hours, and by most accounts lying to the authorities about the event.

We can never know whether he privately confessed his sins. Nor can those peddling the redemption myth over the weekend. We do know that Ted Kennedy never showed any contrition or publicly admitted guilt. We know that he privately found Chappaquiddick a source of humor. We know that for decades afterward, Kennedy still engaged in grossly inappropriate, occasionally criminal behavior with younger women while binge drinking.

Of course, the better Kennedy myth-makers do not stretch so far as to claim personal redemption. Instead, they claim Ted Kennedy redeemed himself through his public career. This defense can extend only as far as the appeal of his politics, but it too is a myth. Consider the case made by Joyce Carol Oates:

Yet, ironically, following [Chappaquiddick], Ted Kennedy seemed to have genuinely refashioned himself as a serious, idealistic, tirelessly energetic liberal Democrat in the mold of 1960s/1970s American liberalism, arguably the greatest Democratic senator of the 20th century. His tireless advocacy of civil rights, rights for disabled Americans, health care, voting reform, his courageous vote against the Iraq war (when numerous Democrats including Hillary Clinton voted for it) suggest that there are not only “second acts” in American lives, but that the Renaissance concept of the “fortunate fall” may be relevant here: one “falls” as Adam and Eve “fell”; one sins and repents and is forgiven, provided that one remakes one’s life.

This is a myth because Ted Kennedy did precious little refashioning after Chappaquiddick. According to Americans for Democratic Action, the only times Ted Kennedy’s “Liberal Quotient” slipped below 90% before Chappaquiddick related to absences from the Senate. Indeed, in 1969, Kennedy racked up a perfect 100% Liberal Quotient from the ADA before driving off that bridge. By that time, Sen. Kennedy had been responsible for creating Head Start, radically reforming immigration law, and pioneering bilingual education. And he was already looking for an exit from Vietnam. The notion that Ted Kennedy was not already a tireless advocate for liberal causes in 1969 strains credulity.

It would be fair to say that Chappaquiddick did nothing to alter Ted Kennedy’s leftward trajectory. He flip-flopped on the issue of abortion, becoming a 100% NARAL voter. He became the kind of Democrat who offered to help Soviet Union fight Pres. Ronald Reagan. And his grotesquely unfair attacks on Robert Bork (whose first amendment jurisprudence bothered me) were a milestone — and perhaps a pioneering effort — in what Democrats would later call the “politics of personal destruction.”

The post-Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy alienated the socially conservative and hawkish members of the Democratic Party, driving many of them into what ultimately became the Reagan coalition. He preserved Massachusetts liberalism as a Democratic ideal that failed every time it ran for the presidency. And that is a legacy Democrats want to discuss even less than Chappaquiddick.

Media morons like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews may have rushed to cast Pres. Obama as the last Kennedy brother. Pres. Obama was smart enough to call Ted Kennedy’s death the closing of a chapter in our history. The last thing Barack Obama needs is to be cast as Curly Joe Besser in the Kennedy family drama, for there is no political advantage in it for him.

–Karl

8/30/2009

Nauseating Ted Kennedy Tribute of the Day

Filed under: Buffoons,Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:44 pm

Courtesy of the L.A. Times. Who else?

In assessing the legacy of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, most eulogies have begun by celebrating his legislative achievements, which have touched virtually every American. He is routinely — and rightly — placed among the greatest senators who ever lived. Others have pointed to his less tangible contributions to the nation — that as his brothers’ heir, he kept the Kennedys’ progressive flame lit and continued to carry the torch for the least powerful among us.

. . . .

What we loved and admired in him, what we hope for ourselves and our country, is his sense of moral largeness, his unbounded capacity to care, not because he was a saint but because he wasn’t. By challenging us as he challenged himself, and reminding us where we fall short, Kennedy shames us, a gift that, one suspects, will linger in the national soul.

Oh yeah he said that. A guy who got liquored up, drunkenly drove a car off a bridge, left his female companion to die, and told authorities about all this . . . oh, about ten fucking hours later — you know, once his blood alcohol level was safely back around zero — what a morally large fellow he was!

Excuse me while I puke.

P.S. You do know that Harry Reid said today of Ted Kennedy’s death: “it’s going to help us” on ObamaCare.

You do know that, don’t you?

Satellite Photo of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:55 pm

Hell, I already have a Photo of the Day and Image of the Day. But you have to admit this is pretty cool. It’s the Station Fire from space — with numerous other prominent Southern California landmarks, like the Channel Islands and the Salton Sea:

Station Fire from Space

BONUS: Amazing photos of the Station Fire here.

Image of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:54 pm

A picture is worth a whole buncha words:

obama_index_august_30_2009

Rasmussen’s poll also says that 52% of Americans — that’s a majority! — disapprove of The One’s job performance, and 57% would throw out the entire Congress if given a chance.

A savvy friend thinks 2010 will be a repeat of 1994. It’s obviously too early to say that, but these numbers can’t be encouraging for the Administration.

Glenn Beck Rails Against Oligarhy

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 3:04 pm

Damn oligarhs:

UPDATE: He meant to do that!

Ted Kennedy Thanked Aznar for Showing Solidarity with U.S. on Iraq

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:01 pm

Nice find by Jose Guardia in a Spanish-language article. Jose translates the critical passage for us:

Shortly after the Iraq war started I saw Senator Kennedy in a public session of the U.S. Supreme Court. As we were taking our seats he briefly took my arm and told me he greatly appreciated the attitude of the Spanish government regarding the decision taken by the White House because, he said, “although you know my position ” — he was one of the few senators to oppose the authorization for the war — “I appreciate the solidarity with my country in times like this.” “I would appreciate if you relay this to President Aznar,” he added.

Jose says:

Let me see if I get this straight: if it’s good to show solidarity with the US “in times like this”, why did this only apply to foreigners? Why didn’t he start with himself? I understand the “politics ends at the water edge” principle, but it’s one thing not to criticize, and another to send a clear, precise message like this.

I read the article as saying that Kennedy thought that, once we were in the war, we needed to stay in and win. And so, with that in mind, let us pray:

For the successful conclusion of the Iraq war, as Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, would have wished, we beseech thee: Lord, hear our prayer.

Amen.

Another Isolated Incident

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:17 pm

Eastern China:

Six farmers were killed in eastern China Sunday when the hut they were sheltering in during a storm was struck by lightning, state media reported.

Another farmer in the hut was injured and taken to hospital, the Xinhua news agency quoted local officials in Anhui province as saying.

Six from one lightning strike. And they were indoors. Just when you think you have taken enough precautions, you learn you haven’t. Time to be even more careful.

Because, you know, we’re looking at an accumulating pile of bodies here.

This post is part of an ongoing series. Explanation here.

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