Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Why We Fight. Here's a Film Idea

I watched the "Why We Fight" episode 9 of the HBO Band of Brothers series. A soldier reading S&S tells another, "It says the Germans are bad people."

Why hasn't someone put together film/video footage juxtaposing the Nazi's/Japs and the Islamists...
Think of the story board...
Hitler > Bin Ladin or Zawahiri ranting about the Joos
Pearl Harbor > 9/11
Nazi > Jihadi executions
The Blitz> 7/7
Prisoners in stripes > Women in blue

(I would try myself, but I've never watched a Jihadi snuff film, and don't intend to start)

The sad part is that there's even a need for this....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Poem

A Sight In Camp

A SIGHT in camp in the day-break grey and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early, sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air, the path near by the hospital
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there, untended
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woollen blanket,
Grey and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious, I halt, and silent stand;
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest, the first,
just lift the blanket:
Who are you, elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-grey'd hair,
and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you, my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step--And who are you, my child and darling?
Who are you, sweet boy, with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third--a face nor child, nor old, very calm, as of
beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man, I think I know you--I think this face of yours is the face
of the Christ himself;
Dead and divine, and brother of all, and here again he lies.

Walt Whitman
No Google Memorial Day Logo. That's the Point Isn't It?

NRO's Jonah Goldberg notices that Google didn't change their logo for Memorial Day.

In fact there is no logo today. It's gone. Missing.

However subtle, I think the absence is more of a message than any cutesy cartoon they could put up.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Will the WSJ Cover the SHOCK Launch Malfunction?

In an article last week, Wall Street Journal Reporter Sarah Ellison wrote a story about the impending launch of Shock magazine. Now you may have seen the discussion here and here about the premier issue using Michael Yon's award winning photo on their cover, without his permission.

Well I sent an email this afternoon to both Ms Ellison and the WSJ news editors. I personally think that it's a big deal when a big-time publisher, who "...usually turns out tamer titles such as Elle and Car & Driver...", steals from a well known war correspondent.

Will they agree and follow the story?

Updates: It's curious that the image of the cover doesn't appear on the SHOCK magazine subscription page, but it's still on their home page.

Update: I also dropped a note to Media Life Magazine, who also did a story on the launch too. Blackfive has a good discussion thread going involving people who are contacting Shock magazine to complain and others saying let Mr Yon deal with it, no dog in this fight. I agree that were I simply a "reader" or a fan of Mr. Yon, that there wouldn't be much cause to do more than be interested. But I, and many like me, are not simply readers and fans. We've answered Michael's call and clicked that Paypal button on his website. We've helped fund his reporting. Not indirectly by paying some publisher, but directly - with paypal cash to his account. We've gotten personal notes back from him thanking us for the support. This is new media. There is a connection more personal than the conventional one of a great writer pulling his reader's heart string. So what's my dog in this fight? Mr. Yon has been a voice of truth - telling stories that big media won't tell. So when big media, through willful negligence, arrogance, or simple incompetence exploits him, and takes his stuff, stuff his readers supported his efforts to get, his readers understandably get upset. It feels like it touches us personally.

Now, to rise above the fray for a second...I haven't contacted Shock magazine, but like I said above, I contacted some other media outlets. I think this is a great story. Conflict mainstream media with new media and a publication that trying to bridge the gap... how will SHOCK magazine, who seems to solicit and pull images from the anonymous internet, protect copyright? How do they know that the person who submits the image owns it?

A last word. Don't think for a moment that I've forgotten about the real people, sorrow, tragedy, and pain captured in the image.

Update: 6/1/2006 Cool. Media life magazine did run with the story. Well written at that. Wonder if it was my tip that started them on it? Don't know, they didn't respond to my email. On the other hand, I did get a note from the WSJ reporter wanting to know if I had tipped anyone else. I told her I had. Haven't seen a story from them yet. I did see CNN's Jeane Moos do a story about SHOCK over the weekend. She mentioned the cover photo kerfluffle. My word. Not hers.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Whose Tax Burden Hurts More?

Some interesting discussion at instapundit and Mudville about the "are you a liberal quiz."

I thought I'd take on one item. "Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code"... I'd certainly agree with simplifying it, but increasing the progressivity? Ouch. How much more can we hammer people who make more money? Hopefully, one day I'll be making some heavy duty earnings - and I think I'd like to keep them. Maybe hire a few more people and make more money.

Anyway according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, we are already highly progressive. I think they could have illustrated their data a little better. Here's my take on it, using data from the Congressional Report

.1%... that's zero point one percent of all taxpayers pay 19% of all federal income tax. Those are the rich people making over $1 million a year. It's 181,000 tax returns. Think about that, 181,000 families - pay 19% of ALL Federal Income tax. Now I don't make a million dollars a year, probably never will. But it get's worse... 29.4% of filers pay 93% of all federal income taxes. How much do you have to make before you join these ranks? $50,000 a year. That's right, 29.4% of American families make over $50,000 a year. And they pay 93% of all Federal taxes. How much more progressive can we get?

Now you'll notice that on the lower side of the scale, that "taxes paid" goes above 100%. That's because the system takes in more taxes than it keeps. People at the low end of the scale get back more than is paid in. Again... how could this be any more progressive? I don't know, but I'm sure it would be ugly.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Put this into context with the recent news reports about tax cuts "benefitting the rich." The class warfare numbers I remember tossed out were that the top 2% of taxpayers would benefit the most. Sounds bad, until you realize that the top 2% of taxpayers pay 44% of the taxes. Hmmm.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

AP Does It Again - Politically Correct Molotov Cocktails

On National Public Radio on Saturday here was a brief news report on the loss of the British helo in Basra. The report was unremarkable except for one thing... they referred to the mobs (okay maybe they said 'crowds') throwing "gasoline bombs." They said "gasoline bombs" twice in the report.

A quick search found an early AP report using the same language. "...The crowd set three British armored vehicles on fire, apparently with gasoline bombs and a rocket-propelled grenade, but the soldiers inside escaped unhurt, witnesses said...". It was probably the source for the NPR copy.

I'm assuming that a gasoline bomb is the same as a good ol' Molotov cocktail. So why not say Molotov cocktail? There's a great history behind the term, and educated listeners should know what it is. So why not say it?

Is this some politically correct crap, "let's not offend the old Soviet rulers." Or am I missing something totally innocuous?

Wouldn't you hate to think that someone is trying to reconstruct the guy who worked out the treaty with Hitler on how to split up an unsuspecting Western country between them. Hmm... who else is saying good things about Hitler nowadays....and what do they have to do with Russia?

Go to my main site or Head on back to Mudville's open post...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Republicans Can Get My Vote if...

Will the GOP have it's ass handed to it this November? It's looking more and more like it. Apart from the war against fascism (and I mean Islamists, not Bush), I don't see a reason to vote the federal representatives back to Washington. Why not? They and their pundits don't even get it. According to Robert Novak "Republican National Chairman Kenneth Mehlman went to Capitol Hill last Tuesday to warn the party's House and Senate campaign staffers of dire consequences unless Republicans break the current legislative deadlock. Mehlman stressed the necessity to pass a budget resolution and an immigration reform bill, dealing with two issues that seriously concern the Republican base."

Legislative deadlock? A budget resolution? Get outside the beltway. I don't care.

Immigration reform? Come on. It's a fake issue, made for media. It doesn't concern me. This is a manufactured issue. If the existing laws "aren't working," it's not because there aren't enough of them, it's because Congress hasn't provided the resources to enforce them. All the immigrants I see, and there are many in Atlanta, whether legal or illegal, are busy working. They are contributing to a booming economy and providing for their families.

My solution to the "immigration problem." Close the borders, put up a wall, barbed wire, minefields (whoops - can't do that - thanks Bill), machine guns. Then let in everyone who wants to come to work. Read their passports. Then let them in. I don't mind immigrants, I do mind not knowing who's here.

An AP story at MSNBC outlines a few more issues "Conservative voters blame the White House and Congress for runaway government spending, illegal immigration and lack of action on social issues such as a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. Those concerns come on top of public worries about Iraq, the economy and gasoline prices."

Government spending? Yep, I'm pissed. More pork here than a Carolina cook out.

Gay Marriage? Sigh. Give me a break. It's not a federal issue. Let the states decide. If I want to marry my gay lover, I'll move to New England. But I know it ain't happening here in Georgia.

And please, true conservatives don't criticize the federal government for "lack of action." To the contrary, our questions should be "why does this require federal action?" and "Is there constitutional authority for federal action?" Two questions that don't seem to be asked enough by Republicans.

No. I’m think there is only one thing that could get me to mark a Republican ballot this fall...

Go back to the principle that we have too much government. The government shouldn’t be a regulatory and financial burden on it’s citizens. That means…

Tax reform.


And I don’t mean some half-assed tinkering with capital gains, or this or that deduction. Some of the namby-pamby recommendations by the President’s task force. The gutless wonders who looked at a “…progressive consumption tax plan that would be administered using the infrastructure of our familiar tax system, but was unable to reach a consensus to include it as a recommendation. The Panel also considered ideas for a value-added tax and a national retail sales tax, and decided not to recommend either approach.”

I mean eliminate the IRS, eliminate income taxes, eliminate corporate taxes, and implement exactly that massive overhaul; with a VAT or national retail tax; that the task force lacked the courage to even recommend.

That’s what will get me interested in the GOP again. Courage and principle.

Oh and by the way… this solves one angle of the immigration “problem” by bringing in federal taxes on that under the table money that the 11 million illegals are earning and spending.

Will they do it? Not on your life. So the Republicans will have their asses handed to them in November.

As well they should. They’ve earned it.

Update: Alas... I wish that's how it could be. But the sad fact is that the GOP has us over a barrel. As I said at the beginning of the post, "...Apart from the war against fascism..." The crux of the matter is that there can be no "...apart from the war.." until the enemy is no longer a threat. Be it the total destruction of WWII, or the ideological victory of the Cold War. The Democrats haven't figured this out... they're beholden to the Peace Now losers and Dhimmis. The GOP has put before us the choice of betraying our economic and constitutional principles or letting the Democrats take over and surrendering to the enemy. Hmm. Freedom or survival? You bastards.