Patterico's Pontifications


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.


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.


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.


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