Sunday, July 17, 2005

As Jack Bows Out

With Jack Nicklaus having departed both the Open Championship at St. Andrews and Scotland itself aboard Air Bear One all headlines focus on Tiger Woods. The headline you won’t read, but all golf fans are thinking is:

Monty Well Positioned for Collapse

Colin Montgomerie is in contention for the one major championship in golf that means more to him than any other. The revered Scot whose pedigree runs through Royal Troon Golf Club in well positioned to make a run at this year’s Open Championship and become the Champion Golfer for the year. Unfortunately for Monty, every serious golf fan is all too aware of his inability to yet win his national championship.

Colin Montgomerie is the sort of tragic figure that all true golf fans hope will finally summit the elusive peak that has so vexed him. As much as we Americans would love to see Tiger Woods crowned champion yet again, the hope that Monty will reach his goal is alive because we all know that there is a mountain that vexes us all, whatever the course or hole is for each of us.

St. Andrews, known to all as the birth place of golf, is indeed hallowed ground. No one need think beyond the Valley of Sin in front of the 18th green, a former burial ground. With Jack crossing the Swilcan Burn and cresting the Swilcan Bridge for the last time in his storied career it would seem appropriate for his heir apparent, Tiger Woods, to hoist the Claret Jug high on Sunday, but the thought of Monty overcoming his past and capturing this year’s Open Championship would be the perfect exclamation point on a career that saw him lead the Order of Merit for nearly a decade.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Novak told Rove

I got a great laugh this morning when I read this. I cannot wait to start to see the Democrat reaction to the revelation that it was Bob Novak who told Karl Rove about Valerie Plame. It must really be a letdown to Democrats that Rove is not the evil mastermind who revealed what Andrea Mitchell termed “an open secret”

So where will the goalposts be moved to now? I suspect that we will rapidly enter the denial phase (‘It doesn’t matter who told Rove’) and eventually land squarely on, very imaginatively, on the “Republicans are evil” square with a side dish of “Bush is dumb” for putting Rove in such a sensitive position (that journalists could feed him information he could use politically).

Monday, July 11, 2005

NY Times and Assad

The cover story for this weekend's NY Times Magazine was a wonderfully fluffy and flattering portrait of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. I think there was only one noteworthy tidbit of information in the entire article.

Then Asma al-Assad climbed into the passenger's seat, Bashar al-Assad slipped behind the wheel, and they drove off alone into the jostling traffic and the balmy Damascus night.

If Bashar Al Assad regularly dirves himslef and his wife around Damascus I would say that it is fairly easy to answer the questin of whether Assad is actually in control of the country or if he is under threat from other Baathists. It looks like Assad is in charge of Syria and running it as he sees fit.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ag Subsidies

Dean Esmay has an interesting thread (as usual) running about a comment that President Bush made regarding agricultural subsidies before the recent G-8 Summit.

I join the prevailing sentiment among commenters on the thread that this would be a great thing, but we’ll remain skeptical of it actually happening. The wrappings of “save Africa” are not going to get the job done, though. Sure, everyone in the US and EU is more than happy to pay lips service to this and even increase monetary aid, and those who take the time to think about it can usually end up supporting some form of debt forgiveness. However, when presented with a choice between US/EU farmers and African farmers the vast majority of citizens and nearly all politicians are going to choose their own population over a foreign population.

The thing is, there may never have been a better time for US and EU politicians to take on this issue. The reason that now is such a good time to end government subsidies and artificial price controls in “first world” nations is simple. OIL. The price of crude is certainly not headed southward any time in the near future. As such, oil is going to remain an inflationary force on the world economy and puts future economic growth in doubt. By allowing agricultural prices to fall across the board the harm high oil process can do to the economy is lessened. If the argument is framed in terms of lower food prices in response to higher oil prices US/EU politicians present their constituents with a proposal that they can support.

I’m not holding my breath, but I’d like to see someone make a serious stab at removing this terribly misguided policy.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Art of War

Today was another day of the new reality, a day when that segment of the Islamic population that wishes to reign down death and mayhem upon the West were successful in launching an attack upon us. I’ve had a feeling about our terrorist foes for a while now, a feeling that was affirmed today with their attacks on the residents of London. At the very heart of the matter, they do not understand their enemy. It is why they chose to do what they did today.

What do I mean by this? Well, London is a horrible target. Just as the World Trade Center Towers were horrible targets.

If their stated goal of defeating the US and other Western powers like they believe they is accurate they couldn’t be doing a worse job of it today. While it is possible that their goals are otherwise, they are consist with their rhetoric transmission released to Islamic media outlets. Furthermore, deception would hardly serve them well as it regards their recruits. Recruits who signup for a mission to “defeat the infidels” only to find out that the real objectives are otherwise would be more than a little disillusioned with those they believed to be brothers in arms. It would also be significantly dangerous for the leaders of such movements like bin Laden.

So why is London such a horrible target for a terrorist bombing? Well aside from the fact that Adolph Hitler dropped so many more tons of bombs on the city than al Qaeda could ever hope to drop. If Osama bin Laden and his compatriots raised funds and hid out for 10 years, they could never hope to create the terror that Hitler managed to foist upon the British population all while fighting on a second front in Russia. More recently the IRA made a go of terrorizing London into buckling to their demands. Ultimately, both failed to defeat Londoners of two different generations. Both of these generations remain alive and active in many aspects of private and public service today. It is inconceivable to think that this one attack will do anything but steel their resolve in today’s challenges.

While victory over al Qaeda and their copy cat groups will likely never occur in the fashion that one associates with traditional warfare all Americans and Europeans should take comfort in their poor choice of targets. As long as their choice in targets demonstrates a failure to understand their enemy al Qaeda will remain an outclassed foe capable only of striking at the edges. There will certainly be more bloody days like today, but we are definitely in the drivers seat in this battle.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

..and now for something completely different

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

As we celebrate the 218th anniversary of our Declaration of 1776 let us keep in mind all of those people fighting to establish their own independence today. People create and define their own independence and we should always stand with those taking their first uneasy steps into the world of democratic self rule.