29 August 2007

The Peace Racket

City Journal has an interesting article by Bruce Bawer entitled "The Peace Racket." Truth be told, I saw it last week and didn't have time to read it then and don't have time now. From what I gather in my perusal, Bowen's contention is that many "peace" programs are doomed to fail. His introduction:

If you want peace, prepare for war.” Thus counseled Roman general Flavius Vegetius Renatus over 1,600 years ago. Nine centuries before that, Sun Tzu offered essentially the same advice, and it’s to him that Vegetius’s line is attributed at the beginning of a film that I saw recently at Oslo’s Nobel Peace Center. Yet the film cites this ancient wisdom only to reject it. After serving up a perverse potted history of the cold war, the thrust of which is that the peace movement brought down the Berlin Wall, the movie ends with words that turn Vegetius’s insight on its head: “If you want peace, prepare for peace.”
This purports to be wise counsel, a motto for the millennium. In reality, it’s wishful thinking that doesn’t follow logically from the history of the cold war, or of any war. For the cold war’s real lesson is the same one that Sun Tzu and Vegetius taught: conflict happens; power matters. It’s better to be strong than to be weak; you’re safer if others know that you’re ready to stand up for yourself than if you’re proudly outspoken about your defenselessness or your unwillingness to fight. There’s nothing mysterious about this truth. Yet it’s denied not only by the Peace Center film but also by the fast-growing, troubling movement that the center symbolizes and promotes.
Call it the Peace Racket.

I should mention that I am a proud Rotarian. Rotary International has programs that are focused on peaceful conflict resolution. Rotary is funded primarily by the efforts of business people. I don't think that there has to be a conflict between strength and peace. The problem is that some entities have crossed the line into an unrealistic and dangerous territory, espousing the idea that peace at all costs is a virtue. As Bawer mentions, history tells us that it is not.

28 August 2007


I generally don't like to do these, but Maret asked, so here goes (not a comprehensive list)-

Jobs I’ve had: (in chronological order)
1. Financial Advisor
2. Administrative Do-boy
3. Missionary

Movies I can watch over and over:
1. Braveheart
2. Indiana Jones
3. Star Wars films

Places I’ve lived:
1. Miami, FL
2. Gainesville, FL
3. Provo, UT
4. San Diego, CA
5. El Cajon, CA
6. El Centro, CA

Favorite T.V. Shows:
1. Lost
2. 24
3. The Office
4. The Unit
5. Battlestar Galactica
6. 30 Rock

Places I’ve been on Holiday:
1. Europe (various)
2. Hawaii
3. Marco Island/Sanibel Island
4. St. Thomas
5. Canadian Rockies
6. Alaska

Favorite Dishes:
1. Filet Mignon (well-seasoned)
2. Meatball Ricotta White Pizza
3. Lasagna
4. Caesar Salad
5. Fettucine Alfredo
6. Orange Chicken
7. Mozzarella Sticks (the good kind)

Websites I visit:
1. Wall Street Journal
2. Drudge
3. Various Blogs
4. Michael Yon
5. Hollywood Stock Exchange
6. Instapundit
7. YouTube

Places I’d rather be:
1. Kauai, Hawaii
2. Marco Island
3. On a cruise

People I’m tagging:
1. Palmer's
2. Gladys
3. Nielson's

25 August 2007

Awesome Trailer Saturday (AweVidSat XIV)

Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are two of my favorite actors. This is the trailer for the remake of 3:10 to Yuma.

This is American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. You can also spot the actor Chewetel Ejiofor, who has become a regular and welcome presence in movies like Inside Man and Serenity.

This is a clever fake trailer for a Titanic sequel.

20 August 2007

A Reagan Aide Dies.

Michael Deaver passed away last week. He was an aide to Ronald Reagan and was credited with fashioning many of that President's most iconic moments. These include the Evil Empire and Normandy speeches. He also wrote a great book about his time with the Reagans called A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan. I heartily recommend it.

For more read John Fund's retrospective.

18 August 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XIII

Merv Griffin died last week. Most of us were influenced by his major game show successes, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. This is a clip from one of his 1970's tv shows. This would be an appropriate performance during the Festivus Feats of Strength. The action starts around 3:10.

14 August 2007

Lo Político

This item is about the imperiled Free Trade Agreement with Colombia. I've blogged about it before and it remains a sore spot for those that would like to encourage democracy and economic stability in Latin America. This is actually about an article in last week's Wall Street Journal by Mary Anastasia O'Grady. Her emphasis is on The Americas, and in the the article cited above she talks about how Democrats are using Colombia's problems against it while ignoring Cuba's more glaring flaws. An excerpt:

...homicides of unionists are down by two-thirds since Mr. Uribe took office and the government is bending over backward to protect union members. A special protection program for vulnerable individuals, which allows anyone who feels threatened to appeal for special help, now covers more than 5,000 individuals. According to the government, 1,500 of them are unionists. Last year it spent $24 million protecting union leaders and their families, it says. The attorney general's office has established a special program to investigate human-rights violations against union members. As to unsolved murders, the AG sat down with union leaders and agreed on a list of 200 cases that now have high priority for investigation and prosecution.

Mr. Uribe's government has demobilized 43,000 illegal armed combatants. Some 33,000 were paramilitary members and 10,000 were guerrillas. But the president notes that the country started with some 60,000 "terrorists," so there is still work to be done.

Even if none of this progress had occurred, it would make little sense to reject the FTA. Colombia needs the free trade agreement, Mr. Uribe said in New York, because it's how "we can generate more employment of a higher quality, send more of our products to the U.S. market and in this way we will have less illicit drugs, less terrorism, more peace, more security, more well-being for the Colombian people." If only the government in Havana cared as much about the Cuban population.

Abandoning Colombia as an ally in trade and security would be a huge mistake. It sends all the wrong signals to an area that is essentially in political flux.

11 August 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XII

This first video is from the same forum as last Saturday's AweVidSat. It is a talk by Will Wright, the man who created The Sims and Sim City. He has a very new and interesting concept that should be worth exploring once it becomes available.

This second video is of a talk by a man named Bjorn Lomborg. He is an economist who has gained notoreity for his ideas on how governments and other groups should prioritize dealing with the world's problems. His concern is allocating resources to where the need is greatest AND the potential for success is significant. Not surprisingly, Global Warming doesn't make the top cut. This talk is a few years old, but the debate remains pertinent.

10 August 2007

SPOTD #129

I wanted to cover some things quickly in today's SPOTD. Fantasy Football is due to start soon. We may have a slot or two open and I will send an e-mail if that is the case.

Today's phrase:
From Aristotle.

En las adversidades sale a la luz la virtud.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Enn lahs add-ver-see-dah-days sah-lay ah lah loose lah veer-tude.

In adversity virtue comes to life.

From the Blog
It's been a slow few weeks.
-It was my birthday and Lacy made me a very nice video. I'm a lucky guy.
-We can win the war.

Close Call
My friend and old roommate Dave Carlson didn't realize that a quick trip to his neighborhood Supercuts would lead to him being forced to the floor and locked in a room in the course of a burglary. Read the article for more.

Peggy Noonan has a nice feature on General David Petraeus, the very effective U.S. Commander in the Middle East.

Hold the Cheese
If you don't, I'll sue you for $10 million! So says a man who supposedly had a severe allegic reaction to the cheese on his burgers. This story is ridiculous.

Iran & Terror
Only the terror they are inflicting this time is on their own citizens.

17...and counting!
There is a couple in Arkansas that just had their 17th (17TH!) child. And they may have more.

'Look, you didn't kill me. You'll never win.'
This is a great story about a young man from Gainesville who was badly injured while deployed in Afghanistan. What he has done since then is an example of determination trumping adversity.
Link of the Day
Shane Lewis is an artist with a video game developer. He shares some of his art on his blog along with various thoughts. I like the art.

05 August 2007

Happy Birthday Joe! (from Lacy)

This is Joe's wife Lacy. I broke into his blog to be a little conspicuous and praise him "publicly". Today is Joe's 28th birthday and I wanted to share that he is such a wonderful husband and father. Most of you know he is very bright. I have always been amazed at his ability to read about politics or current events and put it in context of our lives. You all know he is very funny and eloquent and good with his words. You all know he has a very high standard for what is loyal and he lives up to this standard. He makes very good friends with people and maintains his friendships very well. A few things you might not know...

You probably don't know that he gets up every night with our 2 year old son so that I can get my rest to take care of our three month old baby. He is tender and caring despite his natural ability to be the disciplinarian in the family. His tenderness, interest and involvement with the kids increases daily. When he is home he splits the tasks of parenting evenly with me. I am embarrassed to admit that he cooks more than I do lately and his meals are just as tasty as mine! He deals with my natural ability for correcting him(!) very well and continues to love and support me despite my weaknesses, which are not few. He treats me like I am the neatest person he has ever known. He works so hard to keep our little family happy and humming along. He makes it a priority to take me to California to visit my family at least twice a year and never makes me feel like it is a burden. He loves my family almost as much as I do. I love him so much!

With the help of my sister Lillie I have created a little slideshow of our lives together. If you are in the mood, have a look. I apologize to those of you who prefer a post that is less personal. I'm not really good at impersonal.

As usual, click play twice.

04 August 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XI

I linked to this in the last SPOTD, but this video is worthy of its very own AweVidSat.