1. Richard Brookhiser looks at Presidential timber from New York.
...four New Yorkers managed to win eight presidential elections: Martin Van Buren (1836), Grover Cleveland (1884, 1892), Theodore Roosevelt (1904) and Franklin Roosevelt (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944).
Batting .500 ain't bad. Two of my favorite Presidents are from New York. I'll leave it to the reader to guess which two.
2. From Instapundit:
A TROUBLING OBSERVATION: "'There is enormous pride among young officers in their units and in each other,' says Lt. Col. Peter Kilner, who recently returned from two months in Iraq interviewing young Army officers for a research project. 'But I see strong evidence that they are rapidly losing faith in the Army and the country's political leadership.'"
Col. Paul Yingling blames our failure in Iraq on our generals. The blame goes higher than them to the Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, and it goes even higher to Bush's commanding officers, the philosophy faculties of America's elite universities.
If our young officers are "rapidly losing faith in the Army and the country's political leadership," it is with good reason. Our government has decided our military personnel are expendable. Our government has decided they are lambs to be sacrificed to the gods of altruism and world opinion. For instance, instead of carpet bombing Fallujah as we should have done, inflicting collateral damage, angering the rest of the world and inflaming the left, we went in house by house. We sent our men into a meat grinder to die because we didn't want the bad PR. We didn't want the rest of the world to think we're mean.
You can't fight a war and at the same time tremble in fear that you might hurt someone's feelings.
3. I have written the last two posts (and this one) on Windows Live Writer. It is terrific! I compose in a space that looks like the blog. I don't have to fiddle around with the quotes now to get rid of short lines and fix the spacing. I hit publish from this program and it publishes a post on my blog.
The only bad thing is that I can't search through browsed web pages to get links, as I can in Microsoft Word. I have to go to a web page, copy the link and then come back to Windows Live Writer and click Insert Hyperlink. If they could add a browsed web pages function, this thing would be about perfect.
4. Witch Doctor Repellent discusses one of those stories that just makes you shake your head. Cameron Diaz, one of the great minds of Western Civilization, wears a t-shirt decorated with Maoist propaganda in Peru. She is criticized not for proudly supporting the most murderous regime in history but for being insensitive to another culture, specifically Peruvians who were blown up by Maoists. She would have been better off wearing a Gestapo uniform to Jerusalem; at least there only the Jews would be offended. The Palestinians would give her a medal, if in their current state of civilization they can afford medals.
5. Politics and Pigskins looks at a statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon blaming the Darfur conflict on global warming. Fred Thompson's response make some excellent points:
Blaming the Islamic government and groups that have manipulated events in Sudan will get him nothing but enemies. Blaming global warming, however, is basically the same thing as blaming America. America is by no means the only major source of greenhouse gases, but we've taken the most political heat. The reason is that congress rightfully balked at ratifying the Kyoto international climate treaties during the Clinton presidency.
There is simply no downside to blaming America, because Americans don't punish their ideological foes. From the UN, we don't even require sanity sometimes. And there might even be an upside to blaming us, since there are Americans who suffer from such ingrained feelings of guilt, they’ll support increased aid to both the UN and Sudan.
Unfortunately, Thompson also says this:
Now hopefully we can work toward international cooperation with regard to environmental policies that make sense.
No environmental policies make sense, nor does being in the UN, allowing the UN to remain headquartered in America or seeking international cooperation with a bunch of America-hating socialist hell-holes.
Fred Thompson strikes me as a typical conservative: he has moments of lucidity in an otherwise pragmatic welfare statist worldview. I wouldn't expect anything big and wonderful from his presidency, but a mix of more of the same with some small moments of good news and some ghastly concessions to the religious right.
6. Americans are hiring consultants to help them name their babies. Now, this is good news, isn't it? It means the economy is still good. If times were rough, I don't think people would be paying $350 for help in naming a baby. Instead, they would say, "David. Let's go with David." And the problem would be solved for free.