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Friday, April 30, 2004

Fun at Cornell
This is great stuff. A bunch of Cornell students caused quite a ruckus with a counter-demonstration against the doofuses that protested the Guantanamo Bay detainees. Apparently locking up terrorists is a bad idea, and pointing out that they shouldn't be walking free among us is wrong.

Go Cornell!

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Re: All-Time Jerk
I agree that Rene (get a man's name!) Gonzalez is a world-class jerk. But the #1 jerk of all time? What about Hitler? What about Caligula? Stalin? Idi Amin? What about MICHAEL MOORE? But aside from all those, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, Satan. He gets my vote for all-time jerk, and I don't think he'll ever be seriously challenged.

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The Greatest Jerk of All Time
We've handed out "Jerk of the Week" around here. Usually, it goes to modestly jerky behavior: guys or gals who commit routine, average jerkish acts.

But this guy, Rene Gonzalez, has simply redefined the act of being a jerk. He has taken it to a whole new level. He went zooming by the Barry Bonds level. He left Michael Jordan in the dust. Gretzky? A pedestrian in terms of skill when it comes to Rene's skill level at being a total jerk. Rene has moved past mere mortality into a realm that we cannot really conceive of. It's like he flew in with his jerkiness from the exploding planet of Krypton, the sun energizing the very molecules in his body, causing him to be some sort of indescribable SuperJerk.

I really don't know how to handle this -- Jerk of the Week? He deserves so much more. The year? The Decade? The Century? Even those don't get it. Jerk of the Millenium doesn't even cover it.

Rene can only be described as the biggest jerk in the history of the Universe, Krypton include.

Congratulations, Rene.

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Friday, April 23, 2004

NBA By the Numbers
I love stuff like this. If I were to choose another career, I'd love to get involved with this kind of analysis. The guy over at does this sort of thing as well.

Here's a summary and look at the study. Note that Garnet is amongst the league leaders, and the other 'elite' players are way down.

Here is last year's results. Note Garnett again, particularly when the defensive number are broken out. He's head and shoulders above the pack looking at things this way.

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Pat Tillman, Soldier, Hero.
As you probably already know, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.

I get positively choked up when I think about Tillman. I can't imagine a more brave, courageous man. Giving up millions for the deprevations of combat service in Afghanistan. Greater love hath no man, if you ask me.

I am eternally grateful to Tillman for his service and his ultimate sacrifice, made protecting my children from murderous thugs. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family. We owe him and all those like him a debt we can never repay. RIP.

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Catching up
It seems like I am always trying to catch up around here. Sorry about that. As you can imagine, it's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks -- above average, anyway -- and a particularly crazy week and last couple of days.

Okay, here are some comments:

I am utterly, completely, and totally green with envy that you met Rick Lowry. He's a huge hero of mine, having taken over the editorship of the National Review in his twenties if I am not mistaken. Sounds like it was a great time. I'd have loved to have been there and would have loved to go to pizza afterwards. I suppose we'll have another chance some day. There are enough colleges around here.

I've always liked Andre Agassi. Isn't he a Christian, or Christian sympathizer, or something like that? I love what he has done with that school -- reminiscent of what the inestimable, terrific, great David Robinson did in San Antonio. Can you think of a better thing to do with the millions that you make than start and endow a school that really educates kids? I mean really does it? Our public schools are such a morass of mediocrity that it does my heart quite good to read of people like Robinson and Agassi who spend their own money to do this great thing. Contrasts with the lefties who fight so hard to spend other people's money and end up doing such a crappy job. I applaud Agassi and what he has done. I shall add him to the small but growing list of famous athletes for whom I have true respect and admiration.

And thanks to Jay Nordlinger as always for bringing this sort of thing to our attention. That man needs his own blog.

Re: Sports Guy and Dick Bavetta -- it was the learned research of the Sports Guy that led me to the truth about Dick Bavetta in the first place.

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Andre Agassi
Three cheers for Andre Agassi who has started a charter school in his home town, Las Vagas.
Through private donations and benefit events like the annual Grand Slam for Children concert, he has raised more than $23 million to build a campus in a neglected neighborhood in west Las Vegas neighborhood, which now includes a modern elementary school, a middle school and an arts and music building. Construction of a high school and a gymnasium is expected to begin next spring.
Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy currently has 250 students and will eventually have 650 K-12 students. Agassi donates $1 million per year to a foundation that supports the school,
"The good news is that I've created an endowment fund that will pay for the school forever, so we'll never be going back to anybody just to keep the lights on," he said. "But I do understand that the longer I play, the better off I know that the school will be."
The school is well-received in the city, there's a waiting list to get in, and students' test scores are improving dramatically. Well done, Andre.

Thanks to Jay Nordlinger for linking to this story. The Nord says,
Way to go, Andre, studly off the court as well (and I refer to more than his long and gaudily successful amorous history).
"Gaudily successful amorous history" - I love that.

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Hilarious stuff can be found at Scrappleface, for instance:
Kerry Gets Permission to Drive 'Family' SUV
(2004-04-22) -- Just hours after telling reporters that he doesn't own an SUV but his family does, Sen. John Forbes Kerry announced today that he had gained permission from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, to drive the family's Chevy Suburban on brief trips to the grocery store or dry cleaner.

"I didn't ask to take it on the campaign trail because it gets lousy gas mileage which is bad for the environment," said Mr. Kerry. "But I was excited when Teresa told me that I could run out to the Piggly-Wiggly in the big rig."

Mr. Kerry's spokesman later explained that, "the family calls the SUV 'the big rig', not Senator Kerry, because it's not his vehicle, so he doesn't need a nickname for it. The SUV belongs to someone else in the family--in this case, his wife, but not the Senator."

President Bush could not be reached for comment because, according to his spokesman, "he's out hauling some lumber in his Ford F-250 Super Duty, four-door pickup truck."
And this one - not funny but sadly true:
38 Million Not Expected at DC Abortion Rights Rally
(2004-04-21) -- Although several hundred thousand abortion rights supporters are expected to march in Washington D.C. this coming Sunday, a spokesman for a major special interest group said its members would not attend the rally.

The American Association of Aborted People (AAAP), a political inaction committee, said none of its 38 million members would participate in the protest march.

"Since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, our ranks have swelled by about 1.4 million per year," said the unnamed AAAP spokesman. "So, we should be at the center of any debate about abortion. Unfortunately, none of our members could tear themselves away to attend the rally. But we'll be there in spirit, if not in body."

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More Lowry v. Corn
I should say something about the debate itself. Dave Nimmer (former WCCO TV guy) was the moderator and did a capable job. He let the guys talk freely and did very little talking himself. Corn and Lowry really only covered 2 topics, the war in Iraq and the economy. Rich started and gave a persuasive defense for going to war. David Corn said Bush lied about the reasons to go, and that other options should have been explored. On the economy, Corn hit on the "not enough jobs" and "tax cuts for the rich" mantras, while Rich pointed out this is the best economy in 20 years.

The audience (more conservative than liberal, I'd say) brought up a few different topics in the their questions. The guys (Rich and David) were funny, well informed, and persuasive. Rich was dressed better. Overall, I'd say Rich won, but I'm probably not quite a neutral observer.

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Lowry v. Corn
Powerline contributor Scott Johnson writes about the debate last night:
Rich was absolutely brilliant in the debate, personally winning and utterly compelling.

It was Rich's idea to invite anyone who wanted to pursue the discussion afterwards for beer, pizza and conservative fellowship at the Green Mill Brewery near St. Thomas. Twenty folks showed up, all fans who wanted nothing more than to draw Rich out further on the topics he had touched on in the debate.

Rich stayed until midnight, answering every question and indulging every whim. Suffice it to say that he is a fine person in addition to the other outstanding attributes we can deduce he possesses from his journalism. He has to get up in a few hours to catch the first plane back to New York. It has been our experience that successful conservative movers and shakers like Rich are among the nicest people in the world.
I completely agree with Scott's assessment. My wife and I shook Rich's hand and spoke with him for a few minutes after the debate. I found him to be very gracious and easy to talk to. We didn't join the group for pizza afterwards, but the debate itself was an evening well spent.

I should also say that Scott Johnson is a very nice man as well. We cornered him and introduced ourselves and he couldn't have been more friendly. Thanks, Scott.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

We Must Attend

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Monday, April 19, 2004

John Kerry
Best of the Web Today points out this exchange between Kerry and Russert from Meet The Press yesterday:
Russert also asks Kerry if he will pledge not to seek re-election in 2008 should he become president and fail to meet his goals of creating 10 million new jobs and halving the deficit. His answer:

"Well, it would depend on the circumstances. If I don't [succeed] because there's a war or something terrible happens, of course I'm not going to make that pledge."
He's right, of course, something like a war or a significant terrorist attack would negatively impact the economy. You can't hold him responsible for that. Just like he wouldn't blame the current administration for ... heeeyyy, wait a minute!

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Rich Lowry
I wrote Rich a note yesterday on the "Iraq as Vietnam" issue:
From everything I've read about Vietnam, we could have, and should have, won. We retreated and gave up because of the public outcry. The public was against it because the media was against it and a large segment of the political leadership was against it. All of this is true of our current situation in Iraq, except for the retreating and giving up part. That will happen with a Kerry presidency (God forbid).
Today he comes out with a column echoing my thoughts.
So let's speak a language that liberals can understand: Iraq is another Vietnam. Fallujah is another Tet. And that's exactly why our cause is just, necessary, and can succeed, so long as the Left doesn't create a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat -- just like it Vietnam.

... The relentlessly downbeat coverage matters, because national will is important, and as in Vietnam, the consequences of failure in Iraq would be catastrophic.

... The humiliation in Vietnam also led to a broad retreat of American power.
Coincidental? I don't think so. I'm not going to demand credit, I'm happy to help out my esteemed collegue. He sums:
So in these ways, at least, Iraq is indeed another Vietnam. All the more reason for sufferers from the Vietnam Syndrome to be more responsible in their rhetoric and in their history. Unfortunately, they are very skilled at disparaging a U.S. war effort. They learned to do it during Vietnam.
You're wlecome, Rich.

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Dick Bavetta
Nick, it looks like The Sports Guy shares your opinion of Dick Bavetta (see question #12).

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Take a look at the stunt-driving tugboat in these pictures.

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White House spokesman Scott McClellan read this statement from President Bush this morning:
"I have made mistakes during my time in the White House. I frittered away months trying to convince the United Nations that it should free the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator who never fulfilled the terms of surrender from the Gulf War and who continued to fire upon Coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone.

It was an error in judgment to think that the U.N. Security Council would ever do anything more than talk in moralistic platitudes. My desire to build an international coalition from nations like France and Germany only served to delay the inevitable liberation of Iraq. I apologize to the people of Iraq and others in the Arab world, yearning to breathe free, who have placed their hopes in the only superpower that has the will and the way to set them free.

This confession is good for the soul, so I would also like to admit that it was a mistake for me to keep Bill Clinton's counter-terrorism chief on my staff. I know now that Richard Clarke's presence in the White House was a knife hovering behind the shoulder blades of not only my staff, but of the American people who would later be betrayed by Mr. Clarke's desire for self-aggrandizement. I'm sorry for that.

I'd also like to admit that it was a mistake to think that I could make friends with the Democrats by pouring funding into their top political agency, the National Education Association, or by creating a huge new medicare prescription drug entitlement. I can see now that no matter how often and how much you feed an alligator, he's always looking past the food in your hand and hankering for your arm, your heart, your head. My mistake...and I'm truly sorry.

One last thing: In hindsight, it appears that I was premature in declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq. I thought we had toppled the dictator. But as long as vermin like al-Sadr seek to glorify themselves, using false religion to oppress the people, the dictator lives on. He lives on in the hearts of the radical clerics who killed and then mutilated the bodies of Americans as surely as if their own hands were stained black from the charred flesh. I'm sorry that my statement caused some to believe that the war in Iraq had ended. It has continued for more than a decade and will not end until evil men like al-Sadr are purged and the cowl of fear is lifted from the face of the Iraqi people."
Thanks to KJLopez for the heads up.

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First to 400!
Amidst all the excitement over Mickelson's Masters victory on Sunday, Brian Lara's phenomenal performance was overlooked.
West Indies captain Brian Lara became the first man to score 400 in a Test innings as the home side took a stranglehold on the third day of the fourth and final match against England in Antigua.

Lara, who had earlier passed Matthew Hayden's world record individual Test score of 380, swept English off spinner Gareth Batty for a single to backward square leg to reach 400, then declared at the end of the over on 5 for 751.

A tired-looking England side then stumbled to 5 for 171 at the close of play, still 381 runs short of the follow-on target.
Lara had resumed "on 313 not out on day three of the fourth and final Test against England," having become "only the second man (after Sir Donald Bradman) to score two Test triple centuries." Celebration over his stunning feat was dimmed by England's victory in the series.

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Iraq as Viet Nam
I think Iraq could become Viet Nam if the American public loses its nerve. The Democrats are doing everything they can to make that happen. The 9/11 commission is indicative of the problem. The underlying mindset behind the commission - or at least the coverage of it - is risk aversion. The attitude is, "we shouldn't have to suffer losses like this, we demand a world where things like this don't happen." Well, sorry folks, bad things sometimes happen. Sometimes it's just bad luck, sometimes it's because there are bad people out there trying to do us harm, but pain is a part of life. However, there are many people in this country who think somebody (that usually means the government) should protect them from all harm. The media are the front line purveyors of this theory.

The same attitude could be our undoing in Iraq. Many folks expect our success in Iraq to be painless and bloodless. And the more blood and pain that occurs, the greater the outcry. If we're not careful, and the public's disquiet continues to grow, then defeat will be snatched from the jaws of victory. The result will be a Kerry presidency and chaos in the Middle East. Let's hope the American people are smarter than that.

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I agree that the Wolves should be favored tonight in Memphis. The Grizzlies have nothing to play for (they're locked in at #6), some of their players are banged up, and Minnesota has a chance to capture the #1 seed. The Wolves know what's at stake and, if recent games are any indication, they should be 'ready to play.'

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Catching Up....
Yes, I have been remiss from this blog for quite a while. I've been out of town, and haven't taken the time to comment. Here's a catchup post:

Wolves -- I think we should be very proud of our Wolves. I predict a win tonight to take the division and the #1 seed in the Western Conference, which is really the #1 seed in the NBA, as Indiana would be lucky to make the playoffs in the West. I think that the Wolves are very capable of beating anyone in the league in a 7-game series, which means I think it is very possible that they could win it all.

Korea -- I don't care if we leave the DMZ. Frankly, I wish we'd pull out of Korea altogether, and leave those ungrateful South Korean college students to figure out how to avoid being overrun by the North. They want us out? Okay, we'll leave.

Disgusting Ad in Florida -- I saw that ad about Rumsfeld. What a pathetic, gross display. Isn't it a crime to threaten a government official like that? If not, it should be. The Left has no shame. The interesting thing about Rumsfeld is that if you were to ask the typical "man on the street" what qualities he'd like to see in a Secretary of Defense, he'd probably describe Rumsfeld to a 'T'. Rumsfeld is tough, honest, forthright, smart, dedicated, and totally above politics. He's all about fighting the war and killing terrorists. He's already super-wealthy, so he has no political axe to grind for making money and writing a book. He's as fine a man as you could ever want to be a high-ranking government official, and yet he's reviled for those very qualities. (The same is true for our great Attorney General, John Ashcroft) This just reveals to me the true character of the Left: They are totally uninterested in things like integrity, honesty, and love of America

"Iraq as Vietnam" -- This is really repulsive to me. Ted Kennedy ought to be drawn and quartered. These Lefties are actually hoping that things go bad in Iraq. They are hoping and praying that things turn out bad just so they can win the election. Politicizing the war against terror is disgusting. Kennedy ought to be tried for treason; his words demoralize our troops and give aid and comfort to the enemy. I hate that guy.

Tiger at Fort Bragg -- I think what he's doing (did?) is great. Tiger is a fine man with a very healthy respect for the things that the US Army does. Not only does his visit pay respect to the Green Berets, it is an homage to his father. I have nothing but respect for Tiger for the way he respects and honors his parents. (Is there a finer man in sports today, really, than Tiger?)

Marines -- I don't have even the slightest doubt the the Marine Corps will show their mettle in Fallujah. We should thank God everyday for the United States Marine Corps.

That ought to get me caught up.

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Ouch! That's Gotta Hurt
Dorothy Rabinowitz has a scathing article in the Wall Street Journal today, letting the 9/11 widows have it. Apparently there has been a collection of them, the "Jersey Girls" who have shamelessly been exploiting their status as wives of 9/11 victims. Rabinowitz's article does a great job of cutting them down to size, and exposing them as the small, bitter people that they appear to be. For instance, one of them says:

"We simply wanted to know why our husbands were killed. Why they went to work one day and didn't come back."

Well, the answer to that is quite simple, and blatanly obvious to all: Your husband didn't come back from work because 19 crazed lunatics murdered them. Turning on the Bush Administration and claiming that some vaguely written, classified memo would have saved his life is, in my view, shameful.

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Kerry's Purple Hearts
More proof that Kerry's stint in Vietnam is tainted by weasle-ness and a strong desire to duck out early.

I am telling you, this guy is a scumbag. I no longer buy the "war hero" baloney, either. They guy was there for one reason and one reason only: to do the absolute minimum to allow him to brag incessantly about being there when he ran for President someday.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

South Korea
Nick, news from your old stomping grounds, "U.S. to pull out most forces from Korean DMZ this year."
The U.S. military will withdraw most if its forces from the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea this year, an official announced today.

The withdrawal means the United States will no longer have combat troops anywhere on the DMZ except at Panmunjom, where a U.S.-Korean battalion, commanded by a U.S. army lieutenant colonel, remains on guard in what is known as the Joint Security Area.

Therefore South Korea, which has a 600,000-member military, will face North Korea's armed forces, the world's fifth largest with 1.1 million soldiers, most of whom are concentrated near the DMZ.
Your thoughts?

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Florida Democrats buy a fundraising ad in a local newspaper - about Sec. Rumsfeld:
"We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger," the ad reads.
The group that placed the ad says it "is in direct contact with John Kerry campaign."

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Well, the Wolves have one more game to wrap it up. If they win in Memphis tomorrow, they'll be the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Memphis plays at Dallas tonight, those 2 teams are tied for 5th in the West. Memphis has a 2-1 series lead. Key players Pau Gasol and Bonzi Wells have missed the last 4 games due to injuries, but both are expected to play tonight. The Grizzlies have lost 4 of 5.

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Nick, your favorite T'Wolf is funny too.
Cassell howled in pain during an early timeout after bending one of his fingernails. Teammate Ervin Johnson grinned at him and said, "Man, you need a pedicure or something."

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The Passion
I finally saw the movie The Passion of The Christ the day before Easter. (Many others had the same idea, it was the #1 movie of the weekend.) It was excellent. Gibson did a great job tying in the gospel message - that Christ died for our sins to save us - to the retelling of the crucifixion story. The movie made the suffering of Jesus more real to me, and I came away so much more thankful (although, I know I'll never be thankful enough). This movie is an amazing story, its box office success is unparalleled for a movie of its type. But, more than that, its effect on people will reverberate for years to come. Chuck Colson writes about the film's unbelievable reception in the Muslim world. The hand of the Lord is mighty and he works in mysterious ways.

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Iraq as "Viet Nam"
Ollie North contributes to the "Iraq = Viet Nam" discussion. My opinion of Democrats gets lower and lower (if that's possible) as the days go by. There is nothing they will not do or say to regain power - without regard to its effect on the country.
And while some of the Marine Corps' finest were taking gunfire and dying, back at home, Sen. Teddy Kennedy wandered from his palatial Senate office on Capitol Hill to the plush and friendly surroundings of the Brookings Institute, a liberal Washington think tank, to unleash a verbal carpet bombing on the president of the United States.

... What is truly unfortunate is that those who hear the "echoes" of such pessimistic Pooh Bahs are the terrorists who are emboldened by it. It is also heard by young Americans who toppled a brutal dictator and liberated the people in "that unfortunate, miserable country" from an evil regime.
I had heard that the 4 ambushed defense contractors were led into that trap by Iraqis (whom they evidently trusted), what I hadn't heard was that Iraqi media had prior notification.
The murder of those four defense contractors was planned and phoned in to the Arab media beforehand so that the pictures broadcast around the world might have the same effect that the train bombing in Madrid had on the Spanish elections -- to instill fear and generate calls for retreat. Thus terrorists in Iraq who use bullets and bombs have now added a public relations component as another asset in their quiver. And their latest offensive, which combined murder and its broadcast on television, has apparently worked on people like Ted Kennedy and Bob Byrd.
And people like Bob and Ted don't care that they're being used, as long as they get their power back.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Woods at Fort Bragg
Tiger Woods left the cushy surroundings of top-tier professional golf and arrived today (on a private jet) at Fort Bragg to get in touch with his father's life as an Army Green Beret. Nick, you're a veteran of our armed forces, what's your take on this? What will he be doing - besides giving golf clinics?

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The Masters
Did you see the final round of the Masters yesterday? A great finish to the greatest tournament in golf. Phil Mickelson birdied 5 of the last 7 holes, including the 18th, to overtake Ernie Els for the victory. Great drama.

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The Corner
... is always great reading but this post by Rod Dreher is pretty cool. Read the whole thing, but here's the last part.
Isn't it strange that on a weekend in which I'd thought about this man and his widow for the first time in a long time, and even felt moved to pray for her, that she wrote me out of the blue for the first time since the fall of 2001? Makes one wonder what goes on around us and between us, unseen.
I guess Rod was understating that last sentence out of respect for the non-believing Corner readers out there but, come on Rod, say it plainly - God caused that "coincidence."

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Jonah Goldberg
Nick, your buddy Jonah gives a fairly serious critique of Ted Kennedy's oral flatulence last week. Of course, all of Jonah's work is serious because it is substantive, but he often interjects humor - to our great delight. Well, this one's no laughing matter, and rightly so. Let me use Jonah's words.
The Arab street doesn't know that Kennedy's a partisan hatchet man. All it knows is what it is told — which in this case is that one of America's most revered senators and the brother of JFK has declared that Iraq is the equivalent of Vietnam and that the violence in Iraq means Bush should go. If that's not a signal to our enemies that America is losing its resolve and that continued violence is worthwhile, I'm not sure what is.

... the best way to guarantee that Iraq turns out to be a failure is to act as if it's a failure.

The North Vietnamese "won" the Tet offensive and ultimately Vietnam because they forced America to lose its nerve. That's what al-Sadr and bin Laden have been counting on from the beginning as they try to persuade Muslims to kill Americans. And I'll bet they think Ted Kennedy's whistling their tune.
Ted Kennedy's not alone, either. Most of the leaders of the Demcratic party are whistling the tune - Kerry, Gore, McAuliffe, Dean, Pelosi. The only ones who aren't are Daschle - because he's got a tough race for reelection going in conservative South Dakota - and Bill Clinton - I guess because if Bush has blood on his hands, Bill is swimming in it.

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Taking Care of Business
The T'Wolves continue to win big games. Tonight, they took care of Golden State, 92-74. San Antonio also won, they remain 1.5 games back.

Sacramento is having a little trouble with Phoenix. By the way, who is Leandro Barbosa? He just scored the Suns' last 5 points to put them up by 8 with 2:25 remaining! Now it's only 3 with 1:22 left. 51 seconds. 38. Barbosa just turned the ball over with 23 seconds left. Phoenix up by 1 with 7 seconds left. By 3. 1 Second, Phoenix going to the line. The Kings just lost their 2nd straight game!

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Friday, April 09, 2004

The inimitable Ralph Peters gives a wonderful account of life in Kurdistan (they even have their own website).
AS violence in Iraq dominates the news, imagine a Middle Eastern country in which the government works in simple offices and spends its money on education, a state in which the prime minister still lives in his parents' home and builds libraries instead of palaces.

How about a Middle East in which young men and women study together at a university where no political party rules the campus, freedom of speech is encouraged and internet access is unrestricted.

Try, if you can, to imagine a Middle Eastern population that regards America with respect and gratitude.

It isn't a dream. It's a reality.

Welcome to free Kurdistan.
I like the sound of this. May it spread south - quickly.

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The Marines
From the post below: "The Marine Corps will either reaffirm its place in history as one of the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying." I'm confident they they will reaffirm their place in history but, sadly, some will die trying.

(Thanks to the Derb for the pointing out this photo.)

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God Be With the Marines
Andrew Sullivan posts a letter home from a Marine in Iraq:
Things have been busy here. You know I can't say much about it. However, I do know two things. One, POTUS has given us the green light to do whatever we needed to do to win this thing so we have that going for us. Two, and my opinion only, this battle is going to have far reaching effects on not only the war here in Iraq but in the overall war on terrorism. We have to be very precise in our application of combat power. We cannot kill a lot of innocent folks (though they are few and far between in Fallujah). There will be no shock and awe. There will be plenty of bloodshed at the lowest levels. This battle is the Marine Corps' Belleau Wood for this war. 2/1 and 1/5 will be leading the way. We have to find a way to kill the bad guys only. The Fallujahans are fired up and ready for a fight (or so they think). A lot of terrorists and foreign fighters are holed up in Fallujah. It has been a sanctuary for them. If they have not left town they are going to die. I'm hoping they stay and fight.

This way we won't have to track them down one by one.

This battle is going to be talked about for a long time. The Marine Corps will either reaffirm its place in history as one of the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying. The Marines are fired up. I'm nervous for them though because I know how much is riding on this fight (the war in Iraq, the view of the war at home, the length of the war on terror and the reputation of the Marine Corps to name a few). However, every time I've been nervous during my career about the outcome of events when young Marines were involved they have ALWAYS exceeded my expectations. I'm praying this is one of those times.
God love these guys. There is hope for our country with men like this.

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Who's That?
Is that you, Nick? Welcome back. You're right (of course), last night's win was very large - if they can win out. I don't think they have the luxury of another loss. There are two teams on their heels, Sacramento and San Antonio. If either of them win out, and the Wolves lose one, we'll be out of first. Sacramento, a half game back, has 4 games remaining (@Pho, LAL, @Den, @GS). They're tied with Minnesota in losses, so if they both win the rest, Minnesota has the tiebreaker (3-1 head-to-head). San Antonio is a game and a half back, but if the Wolves lose one and the Spurs win the rest they finish tied and San Antonio wins the tiebreaker (2-2 head-to-head, better conference record). San Antonio has an easier schedule (Por, @LAC, @Por, Den) than Sacto.

And I don't even want to think what two losses might mean .... "It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison. That's what it means. One of us is going to jail, well it's not gonna be me."

KG, I'm sure, is doing his best Maggie Thatcher, "Look guys, this is no time to go wobbly." Tonight (@GS - did you know they're 1-2 against Golden State?) will be difficult because of last night's game, but they had 4 days off prior to last night. Hopefully the bench can contribute more tonight.

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The win tonight by the Timberwolves was HUGE. I was watching, and they were being beaten. I then flipped away, watched Letterman for a while, and when I come back, Bibby misses a wide open layup, Sam gets the steal, Wally misses, and (who else?) my main man Erv Johnson gets the Play of the Night -- a tip in to take the lead by six, and for good. It always seems like Erv is making the unheralded, but utterly key, play to make the difference. I love Erv.

Anyway, the Wolves are the best in the West, which makes them the best team in the league. (No serious person thinks Indiana would crack the top six seeds in the West.) They can run the table and win the number one seed. Shoot, they could probably even drop one and win it, as they hold the tie-breaker over Sacramento -- another reason that tonights win is just huge.

And you know what? All they need to do is win the first round, and the season is a great success. Anything past that is gravy. And by winning in Sacramento tonight, they proved that can beat anyone anywhere. And if you can do that.....

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Only one team in the NBA has more wins than Minnesota, Indiana (56). The Wolves control their playoff destiny now. If they win their last 4 games (@Sac, @GS, Utah, @Mem), they'll clinch the #1 spot in the West. Admittedly, 3 of their last 4 games are on the road, but the prize is entirely within reach (nobody in the West has a better road record). First stop, Thursday in Sacramento.
Team, GB, Record
1. x-Sacramento, - , 53-23
2. x-Minnesota, - , 54-24
3. x-L.A. Lakers, ½, 53-24
4. x-San Antonio, 1½, 52-25
5. x-Memphis, 4, 49-27
6. x-Dallas, 5, 48-28
7. Houston, 11, 42-34
8. Denver, 13½, 40-37

9. Utah, 13½, 40-37
10. Portland, 14, 39-37

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Friday, April 02, 2004

Insightful Post of the Week
Michael Novak on The Corner has the Insightful Post of the Week. I agree with him -- Condi Rice is going to blow them out of the water. She's smart, she's honest, she's dedictated, and she's right.

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Things got a little more interesting last night in the Western Conference. The Kings lost in Dallas and the surging Lakers (10 straight) beat Houston at home. Thus, Sacramento and L.A. are tied for 1st in their division and in the Western Conference with the Wolves just a half game back.
Team, GB, Record
1. x-Sacramento, -, 52-23
2. x-Minnesota, ½, 52-24
3. x-L.A. Lakers, -, 52-23
4. x-San Antonio, 2, 50-25
5. x-Memphis, 3½, 48-26
6. x-Dallas, 5, 47-28
7. Houston, 9½, 42-32
8. Utah, 13, 39-36

9. Portland, 13, 39-36
10. Denver, 13½, 39-37
Wash @ Minnesota
Phoenix @ Memphis
San Antonio @ Utah
LA @ Seattle
And Sunday is a big day,
Sacramento @ Houston
San Antonio @ LA
Memphis @ Minnesota

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

The Wolves are 2-1 against Sacramento with one game remaining between them (in Sac.). They are 2-2 versus San Antonio. They're 1-1 versus Memphis with 2 games left (home & away). They're 3-1 against the Lakers.
Team, GB, Record
1. x-Sacramento, -, 52-22
2. x-Minnesota, 1, 52-24
3. x-L.A. Lakers, 1, 51-23
4. x-San Antonio, 2½, 50-25
5. x-Memphis, 4, 48-26
6. x-Dallas, 6, 46-28
7. Houston, 9½, 42-31
8. Utah, 13½, 39-36

9. Portland, 14, 38-36
10. Denver, 14, 39-37

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