~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On conservation

What's the conservative position on environmental protection? I don't think there is one, really. Environmentalism is the Creationism of the Left. It's more a religion than science. Ever since Man emerged from his cave and began building cities, practical innovations like sewers and parks and hunting restrictions used to be considered "environmentalism." We didn't need Earth Day awareness campaigns, we had civil engineering and Uncle Teddy's National Park system.

But all that changed the moment we stopped thinking of humans as being at the top of the food-chain. We stopped being self-interested stewards of the land, and instead became Gaia's servants. We came to think of ourselves as no better than the common mouse. Both mammals, equally important. (Well, not really equal. Carbon Neutral High Priest Al Goracle still gets to jet around the globe preaching the gospel, it's just the rest of us schmucks who need to learn our place in the fragile eco-system. I guess some mammals are more equal than others.)

But the question remains, "What's the conservative position on environmental protection"? Jonathan Adler struggles with that very question:

Articulating a truly conservative environmental agenda is much easier said than done, however, particularly for those holding elective office. Most conservatives who engage environmental issues are either knee-jerk reactionaries or half-hearted mimics of the environmental Left. Either is a mistake...

A list of specific policy proposals a conservative could endorse in good conscience would include the following: End government policies that subsidize inefficient energy and resource use; End government programs that encourage excess energy use and subsidize vulnerable development; Encourage innovation by removing barriers to technological development and deployment; Replace market-distorting subsidies with prizes for specific types of major innovations; Create international institutions that can facilitate technology proliferation to encourage less carbon-intensive economic development in poorer nations.

While I agree with all of Adler's proposals, it still sounds suspiciously like practical civil engineering. You know, that thing we've had going since cities were invented? But maybe I'm one of those knee-jerk reactionaries. In any case, the hard task at hand is, how do we convince our fellow humans that the Gore-volution isn't necessary? That self-interest is environmentalism?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The girl's got some pipes on her

I may not approve of her every artistic turn, but there's no denying that Christina's got both talent and moxy. She's not just skating by on her looks.

(Via: Craig)

UPDATE: Well that show got cancelled in a hurry! But if you do ever hear it, trust me. You'll buy it.

(Vid available here for maybe the next thirty seconds.)

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

End of IRR obligations party

So I'm asking my glass of bourbon last night, I'm all like, bourbon? Does this outfit make me look twee?

10 year old Laphroaig Scotch: Now that you mention it, it is a bit precious.

Me: Shut up, Laphroaig! I wasn't asking you!

Bourbon: Nahh, bro. You're like, totally butch and stuff.

Thanks to all for my low-impact surprise party last night. I really appreciate it. Especially the bottle of Laphroaig, though its impertinence is practically begging for a quiet spell facing the corner.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Well intentioned...

... yet doomed to obscurity.

No matter the fanfare.

(Via: Hot Air)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our looming constitutional crisis

It's even worse than I thought, according to Mike, Rich, Bryan, and Allah. (Links presented in chronological order over the past 48 hours.)

They see Jack Murtha's "slow bleed solution" as driving us over the brink. What's the ancient Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times? Well, we're cursed.

UPDATE: Hope? The Washington Post reports that Democrat centrists are tacking towards... well, the center, and away from Murtha's looming constitutional confrontation.

House Democrats have pulled back from efforts to link additional funding for the war to strict troop-readiness standards after the proposal came under withering fire from Republicans and from their party's own moderates. That strategy was championed by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"If you strictly limit a commander's ability to rotate troops in and out of Iraq, that kind of inflexibility could put some missions and some troops at risk," said Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.), who personally lodged his concerns with Murtha.

Chet's my new favorite "Real Democrat." The last Dem to hold that position was Max Baucus when he pissed of the WaPo. Though I gotta say it's been slim pickin's ever since Zell Miller retired.

And note: They're only tacking to center, not rushing, says Allah. And I think he's right. We're not out of the constitutional woods just yet. (Let's see... can I work any more corny metaphors into this update? Nope. I'm done.)

UPDATE: I miss Zell.

"That was a metaphor. Do you know what a metaphor is? I wish we lived in the day when you could challenge a person to a duel!"

Good times.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

7 minutes of your time, please

It's time well spent. I promise.

(Via: the corner, RedState)

UPDATE: Muhammed at Iraq the Model says he's already seeing positive results from Operation Spiffy-Up Baghdad (my new name for the "surge." It's less vague, more to the point, and can't be coopted by the Murtha/Pelosi crowd.)

And Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette has been rounding up news from/about Iraq at a furious pace lately... just to show our Congress what actual work looks like, I guess.

These are the bloggers to watch for the straight dope as Operation Spiffy-Up Baghdad unfolds. I'd suggest bookmarking them. Or you can find them under "Kadnine Recommends" to your left.

MORE: Proactive, baby! Pat Dollard has what he's calling the Official 11 Point Plan for Victory in Iraq - straight from the desk of Gen. Patraeus. If Dollard's somehow mistaken, and this isn't the official plan, it damn well ought to be. It looks solid. Very solid. It doesn't mention my old hobby horse of a ramped up corps of American advisors, but points 3, 4, 7, and 8, taken collectively, would have the same desired result: A less corrupt, higher quality Iraqi leadership (both civ and mil.) Please let this be the real deal!

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Nerdcore rap

I can't deny anything this profound.

"It's like, you know, even in D&D. You don't play as yourself, you make a character. You invent a character, ya know and like, roll the dice to decide what your MC'ing level is, you know, you might roll a 3 and you can't rap, or you might have an 18, and be a great rapper.

Hello, my name is Kadnine. And I'm a nerd.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Goldberg's onto something here

Jonah writes this today, which strikes me as more or less accurate. I just didn't want to be the first to say it:

... that’s the problem: Only a handful of people on the Left — and far too few liberals — see radical Islamists as a bigger threat than George W. Bush. Which is why if you really think that we are in an existential conflict with a deadly enemy, there’s a good case for the Democrats to take the reins. Not because Democrats are better, wiser or more responsible about foreign policy. That’s a case for Democrats to make about themselves and certainly not one many on the right believe. No, the argument, felt in places we don’t talk about at cocktail parties (vide A Few Good Men), is that the Democrats have been such irresponsible backseat drivers that they have to be forced to take the wheel to grasp how treacherous the road ahead is.

The current spectacle in Congress has made it clear that the Democrats don’t believe that the war in Iraq is America’s war. They think it’s Bush’s vanity project turned albatross, but they won’t take responsibility for their convictions. They fawned on Gen. David Petraeus like schoolgirls, confirming him as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq almost instantly, but they denounce the escalation he helped design and is tasked with implementing. And on the floor of the House this week, they bared their teeth to Bush while bragging about how their resolution is toothless.

It pains me to put it like this, but here goes anyway. It's way past time that the Bush hatin' half of America as well as the newly liberated Iraqis stepped up to the plate. Because not to put too fine a point on it, I've done my bit for the future of Western Civ and now my back muscles are beginning to hurt from carrying them. Let's just say it's enough to make a neocon like me feel a bit... cranky.

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If Pat Buchanan or Jerry Falwell came up to me and tried to "impose his value system" on me, I'd simply bop him on the nose and walk away, saying over my shoulder, "Good day, Sir!"

For anyone wishing to take away the nut of my core political belief system, here ya go: 1) I am sympathetic to the aims of the Christian Right, 2) I am not a part of the Christian Right, 3) I am unafraid of the Christian Right, and 4) I really don't understand why anyone would be afraid of the Christian Right.

I've tried hard to get away from the words "frankly baffled" but they're appropriate here.

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A. McCarthy on R. Giuliani

I hate playing Hobson's choice, but McCarthy makes a pursuasive case, and I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge it.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another late night rumination on whiskey connoiseurship, house building edition

If ever there was a booze that could build a house, it would most certainly be Early Times. Because who 'nuther people whould jkhs, kjhf, at such a forsaken time of the morning? In winter? Pishhaw!

I mean really!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Slacker journalism

I feel a bit sorry for Joel Stein. Were there no openings at the painters union when he graduated High School? Here's his inside account of the goings-on at The Hoover Institution.

I was a Reaganite think-tanker
The cushy life and Gipper worship at Stanford's conservative Hoover Institution.

It always seemed like a dream job to me. I was never sure exactly what people did in a think tank, but it clearly required the least labor possible.

I can't bring myself to quote any more, as it just gets even more self deprecating and embarassing after the first sentence. It depresses me that he's not learned anything from his "I don't support the troops" fiasco.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

"Pat Dollard, interesting guy"

So writes Allah.

What an understatement.

I lived in Los Angeles for a few months many years ago, and I can attest that living there is one wild ride. And I don't mean just the earthquakes. Everything there is surreal to a mid-western boy of 18. The pace, the neon, the dying palm trees, the sheer concentration of so many beautiful, well-spoken people in a single location. Even the skyline is alien (one tall spike of skyscrapers in a sea of two-stories.) I'm half-convinced that the smog is actually industial strength, hallucinatory crazy agent pumped in as part of a massive social experiment.

To a guy like me, Steve Martin's L.A. Story is a documentary.

But Dollard! He breathes deep the insanity, and just calls it "Monday." What does he do for kicks when living in L.A. no longer stimulates his interest? He embeds with Marines fighting in Iraq, of course. To make a documentary of his own.

If I consider life in L.A. to be "on the edge" crazy (and I do,) then Pat Dollard has thrown himself bodily over that edge.

UPDATE: How crazy is Pat, you ask? Mark Ebner investigates:

Were Dollard and his cameraman raped by Marines?

In jest, Dollard responds, "No, but we massacred countless civilians."

And one of Ebner's commenters compares Pat to Hunter S. Thompson. I ran across Dollard's website about a year ago. Seems I have lots to catch up on.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

What's the best thing about being a former member of an active duty Marine battalion comprised entirely of security clearance holders?

Knowing who killed Kennedy.

UPDATE: Eat yer heart out, Oliver Stone.

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Quick notes

Because I'm sure you're just dying to know what I'm reading!

- Goldstein on Kerry's "transnational moment" at Davos:

And politically, to be an internationalist, one must be committed to the cause of transnational progressivism, something that Kerry (he of the "global test" and worries over "pariah"-hood) most certainly is.

Too, though, one must (if he happens to be an American, as well) likewise be committed to disguising his anti-liberal attitudes in the garb of liberalism, often using the rationale that doing so is unproblematic precisely because, when all is said and done, such short-term compromises of integrity will ultimately put the right people in power to bring about the utopian idea of a disinterested world government sitting in judgment of nation states and “managing” international affairs as a shepherd might his flock.

The ends, that is, justify the means.

It still astounds me that John Kerry even managed to carry his own home state in his (thankfully unsuccessful) bid for the presidency. How many fine citizens of that great Commonwealth pulled the lever for John while thinking, "Oooh! Oooh! Sacrifice me first!"? Nuh uh. Most Americans vote for the candidate they believe will best protect their interests, not the "greater world good." Kerry didn't win the Dem nomination by being up front and honest with his constituency, IMO.

Most Americans don't want to be "herded."

- A World Without America

Ad proposals. I'm humbled. It happens from time to time. (Via Iain Murray at NRO)

- Also from Iain, How to Contribute to Anti-Americanism

I'm going to reserve judgment until I can review all the evidence, which is just too new to support any definitive conclusion... but as for Iain's assertion that the "Anglo-American alliance is currently hanging by a thread" well, I have to ask... where does the UK plan to go to find allies that share their values? For that matter, where do we go? France? China? We're inextricably linked, England and America.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who started the so-called "Culture Wars"?

To me? The answer is obvious. But I'll get to why it's obvious to me in a moment.

First off, any reader not already familiar with the phrase "culture war" see this Wiki entry first. It's not perfect, but it's a decent overview:

The culture war (or culture wars) in American usage is a political conflict based on different idealized cultural values. The culture war began in the 1960s and has taken various forms since then.


[Author James Davison Hunter, in 1991] ... argued that on an increasing number of "hot-button" defining issues — abortion, gun politics, separation of church and state, privacy, homosexuality, censorship issues — there had come to be two definable polarities. Furthermore, it was not just that there were a number of divisive issues, but that society had divided along essentially the same lines on each of these issues, so as to constitute two warring groups, defined primarily not by nominal religion, ethnicity, social class, or even political affiliation, but rather by ideological world views.

[Emphases mine]

The Wiki author then goes on to paint Pat Buchanan as the spear-head leader of the "culture war" movement, which, while not entirely inaccurate, kinda misses the underlying point (I'm big on underlying points these days, and, again, regular readers will remember that I consider Pat to be a ... oh? what's the word? *cluck* ... oh yeah! moron.)

No. To get to the root causes of the so-called "culture war" one can't do any better than John Fonte's excellent essay reproduced at the Hoover Institution:

Why There is a Culture War
Gramsci and Tocqueville in America


Far from being content with a mere uprising, therefore, Gramsci believed that it was necessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a "counter-hegemony" (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups) before the marginalized could be empowered. Moreover, because hegemonic values permeate all spheres of civil society -- schools, churches, the media, voluntary associations -- civil society itself, he argued, is the great battleground in the struggle for hegemony, the "war of position." From this point, too, followed a corollary for which Gramsci should be known (and which is echoed in the feminist slogan) — that all life is "political." Thus, private life, the work place, religion, philosophy, art, and literature, and civil society, in general, are contested battlegrounds in the struggle to achieve societal transformation.


The Tocquevillian counterattack

The primary resistance to the advance of Gramscian ideas comes from an opposing quarter that I will call contemporary Tocquevillianism. Its representatives take Alexis de Tocqueville’s essentially empirical description of American exceptionalism and celebrate the traits of this exceptionalism as normative values to be embraced. As Tocqueville noted in the 1830s (and as the World Values Survey, a scholarly comparative assessment, reaffirmed in the 1990s), Americans are different from Europeans in several crucial respects. Two recent books — Seymour Martin Lipset’s American Exceptionalism (1997) and Michael Ledeen’s Tocqueville on American Character (2000) — have made much the same point: that Americans today, just as in Tocqueville’s time, are much more individualistic, religious, and patriotic than the people of any other comparably advanced nation.

What was particularly exceptional for Tocqueville (and contemporary Tocquevillians) is the singular American path to modernity. Unlike other modernists, Americans combined strong religious and patriotic beliefs with dynamic, restless entrepreneurial energy that emphasized equality of individual opportunity and eschewed hierarchical and ascriptive group affiliations. The trinity of American exceptionalism could be described as (1) dynamism (support for equality of individual opportunity, entrepreneurship, and economic progress); (2) religiosity (emphasis on character development, mores, and voluntary cultural associations) that works to contain the excessive individual egoism that dynamism sometimes fosters; and (3) patriotism (love of country, self-government, and support for constitutional limits).

[Italics original; bold text is mine]

Why is it obvious to me who started the culure wars? Simple. Which group self-identifies as the "revolutionaries"?

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On paranoia

As one who has worked more than eight years in the surveillance field (three years in private security, five years as a federal employee) I understand the concerns of civil libertarians about overly intrusive technologies and related abuses.

I do. Really, I do. But there's one fine distinction that always seems to get swept under the rug whenever privacy advocates complain about surveillance technologies: There is a world of legal difference between intelligence gathering, deterrence of crime, and admissible evidence.

Intel operatives are not looking to secure airtight, procedurally bulletproof evidence to be used in a court of law. Neither are those citizens desiring cameras for the purpose of deterring criminal activity. (If they were, why would there even be a market for fake cameras?)

It irks me when privacy advocates (and the reporters who publish their fears) conflate the aims of law enforcement, intelligence gathering for the purpose of counter terrorism, and crime deterrence. They are not all the same thing. Cameras are a part of our modern American life. Get your nose out of that Philip K. Dick novel and frickin' deal.

Note: I'm not saying Americans ought to roll over for AUTHORITY and trade their privacy rights in exchange for increased security. The truth is, we could have both, if only we demanded that our leadership think outside the box a bit.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The way forward in Iraq

Debated by Max Boot and VDH.

Good stuff.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Watch as the one time "paper of record" slides down the hill into complete irrelevance

What editor signed off on this drivel?

Then, too, there was the unfortunate homonym at the heart of a commercial from Prudential Financial, titled “What Can a Rock Do?”

The problem with the spot, created internally at Prudential, was that whenever the announcer said, “a rock” — invoking the Prudential logo, the rock of Gibraltar — it sounded as if he were saying, yes, “Iraq.”

To be sure, sometimes “a rock” is just “a rock,” and someone who has watched the Super Bowl XIX years in a row only for the commercials may be inferring things that Madison Avenue never meant to imply.

Gee! Ya think?

I know that covering the advertising beat, even for a large newspaper like the NYT, can be like plumbing shallow waters, but come on! When the reporter has to reference his own anti-war bias to come up with some deadline copy? Better to have not even filed the story in the first place.

I googled around looking for an example of "good" coverage of the Super Bowl commercials, but couldn't find one. Here's this from the Miami Herald:

Otherwise, the ads were mostly forgettable. [...] A razor somehow causing a woman to fall off a treadmill in a gym, an ad I first thought must be for the Jackson Memorial Hospital emergency room but turned out to be for Schick.

Is this reporter unaware that the Schick ad has been in rotation for six months already? Maybe not in his zip-code, but if he's going to comment about it... wouldn't that be a handy thing to know?

I don't ask much from my ad beat reporters, just stop phoning it in, guys.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

On the value of name dropping

Long-time commenter Angel tips me to this interesting column in The Catholic Exchange:

Would the late Russell Kirk think of Ann Coulter as a positive force in the conservative cause? It is not an easy question to answer...

Kirk? I suspect that few younger conservatives will even know his name, despite the fact that he is generally credited with being one of the founders of the conservative movement...

But the fact remains that there is a different brand of conservatism, exemplified by Coulter, coming to the fore in recent years, one less rooted in the great thinkers associated with the conservative movement...

Has conservatism lost its intellectual vigor, its soul? Yes and no. No question, there are many people who call themselves "conservatives" these days who have no idea what that term implies. That becomes obvious when you listen to the callers to the conservative talk shows...

It's true: Many callers to conservative talk radio (to which I happen to be addicted) are bag-of-hammers ignorant, and call in not so much in an attempt to contribute intellectually, but to belong to a social group. But then one could say the same thing about "liberal" protest rally ignoramuses. Fact: Half of all children are below average intelligence. We can't all be intellectuals. And bemoaning this hard fact won't change it.

Regular readers of the Kadnine blog will note that I rarely reference an O'Reilly column, a Coulter opinion, a Hannity episode and never a Limbaugh spot (well, I did once, but only to quote an astute caller.)

I don't hold anything against any of these smart, entertaining, emensely popular conservative commentators, or their fans, in as much as they're working for a common interest with me. I applaud them even. Just as I'm sure many a socialist intellectual would feel the same about pop-authors like Michael Moore or Al Franken.

And I should note for the record that I don't consider myself an intellectual. I'm merely looking forward to the day when I can spout off my opinions with full confidence that my authority will prevail through the brute force of elderhood! But that day has not yet arrived (too slow in coming, in fact) so until then I will consider myself a student of the Greats.

I have read Kirk, and Hayek, and Adams, and Buckely, and many other of the "godfathers" but I haven't yet read them all. Not by a longshot. So I agree with the author that familiarity with the godfathers of conservatism is a good way to differentiate between the intellectually serious and the unserious. But I also agree with his conclusion:

It is true: conservative ideas are more mainstream these days. Which means they will get garbled and distorted at times. But, if you ask me, it is better to have to tone down and quibble a bit about what Ann Coulter is saying than to have to endure the liberal monopoly that faced William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk back in the 1960s.

What he said.

The one thing Socialism, Libertarianism, and Conservativism share in common is their roots in the Western tradition of Classical Liberalism. Which explains my fondness for the writings of Hitchens, Reynolds, and Buckley even though I disagree with them quite frequently. And the hard fact that half of America (including myself) will never be intellectuals kinda cements the inherrent value that populists like Coulter, Limbaugh, Moore and Franken have.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Anyone seen my dog?

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Best "Jihad Watch" video so far

They're all good, but this one is a home run.

[click to watch]

Note: The conservative, blame-America-first "new book" Robert Spencer refers to, but doesn't name, is Dinesh D'Souza's new book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. And like Robert, I think Dinesh is all wet.

It's true, Dinesh does come off as more reasonable in interview format than he does in his own writing, (much like Pat Buchanon) but at the end of the day, one can't deny that (like Pat) he's blaming us for our current situation, and by extension, excusing our external enemies.

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