Quick Roundup 289

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Iran 1, USA 0

No. That's not a disappointing soccer result. It's one small episode that speaks volumes about our nation's lack of resolve during a time of war:

As three of our warships passed through the Straits of Hormuz, five small Iranian patrol craft rushed them. As the Revolutionary Guard boats neared our vessels, an Iranian officer broadcast a threat to our ships, claiming they'd soon explode.

The Iranians tossed boxes into the water. Mines? Just in case, our ships took evasive action.

The Iranians kept on coming, closing to a distance of 200 meters - about two football fields. Supposedly, our Navy was ready to open fire but didn't shoot because the Iranians turned away at the moment the order was given.

We should've sunk every one of them.
I agree with that last sentence and with Ralph Peters' similar analysis of our recently revised "intelligence" estimate regarding Iran's effort to develop and use nuclear weapons.

I am not that familiar with Peters' other work and suspect that I'd disagree with lots of it, but his analysis of the message we're sending to Iran is spot-on.

Dennis Prager on "Unity"

Commenting on all the blathering about "unity" in this election cycle, Dennis Prager makes the following excellent point:
If those who call for unity told the whole truth, this is what they would say: "I want everyone to unite -- behind my values. I want everyone who disagrees with me to change the way they think so that we can all be united. I myself have no plans to change my positions on any important issues in order to achieve this unity. So in order to achieve it, I assume that all of you who differ with me will change your views and values and embrace mine."
I see such calls for unity as a variant on what Ayn Rand called the "argument from intimidation" on one level and as a variant of what I call the "dictator fantasy" on another. In other words, those who call for "unity" are both manipulative and naive.

Thomas Sowell on the Primaries

Thomas Sowell's latest column is full of very interesting commentary. His take on Iowa is of particular interest, as is his take on handicapping the races:
... Perhaps the biggest story out of Iowa is that 71 percent of Democrats voted against Hillary.

The next biggest story is that no one in either party won a majority. It is still a wide-open race in both parties. As for the Republicans, Mike Huckabee won by 8 percentage points in a state where 60 percent of the Republican voters were evangelicals.

However surprising his victory, it was not massive by any means and the large evangelical factor will not be there in most other states, even among Republican voters -- much less in the general election in November.


The question of what kind of President each candidate would make is infinitely more important than all the "horse race" handicapping that dominates the media.

By far the best presentation as a candidate, among all the candidates in both parties, is that of Barack Obama. But if he actually believes even half of the irresponsible nonsense he talks, he would be an utter disaster in the White House. [bold added]
To the extent that Iowa means anything beyond a morale boost for its winners, Sowell's big picture analysis is part of the way to figure it out. The other part of the way is to consider what the races say about American cultural trends and how the various possible outcomes could affect same.

Improving Rice

Martin Lindeskog has pointed to a recipe for rice that perhaps I'll try while my wife is travelling: rice cooked in Guiness.
About twenty minutes later: Guinness rice -- slightly nutty, malty-tasting and soothingly delicious. Apparently the dish comes from somewhere in the Caribbean, but in my rudimentary research I haven't yet found anything on it.
As I have mentioned before, I cook things that I like but Mrs. Van Horn doesn't care much for when I'm away, and since I have found an Irish woman who doesn't like Guiness, this looks like a new one for the stable!

She does like other stouts, though. Perhaps I'll try out a variant of this recipe -- Old Rasputin Imperial Rice -- on her some time!

-- CAV


: Corrected a typo.


The Gregor said...

Have you ever tried a Boddingtons? It's like a blonde Guinness. Soooo good.

Gus Van Horn said...

I like those and in fact was going to order one Sunday at a place I hadn't visited in a few years, only to find that they'd stopped carrying it.

It's on the list for my next beer run.

jc said...

seems like sowell is pushing for romney as the national review and limbaugh also are. i don't think i could ever vote for him even if his opponent is hillary

Gus Van Horn said...

If it's true that Sowell supports Romney, it's disappointing, but not exactly a surprise.

Just on the basis of the fact that he signed socialized medicine into law, he would deserve to lose to Hillary Clinton, but Romney is worse in a more important way: He is a religious conservative.

Burgess Laughlin said...


A few months ago I started reading Vince Flynn novels, in chronological order. (I like seeing a favorite author develop.)

Here is a quote from his second novel (1999), Transfer of Power, the one I am reading now. The CIA special-forces hero, Mitch Rapp, has long been working to assassinate a certain Islamo-fascist who murdered Americans in the Middle East.

"Six months earlier, on a rainy Paris night, Rapp had had his chance and blown it. A moment of hesitation, of stupid indecision, had allowed Rafique Aziz to escape by the narrowest of margins. Never again, Rapp had sworn a thousand times. Next time he would pull the trigger--innocent bystander in the way or not."

The ruthless attitude expressed in that quote (three years before 9/11/01!) stands on objective principles of self-defense, principles which our current leaders reject because the principles are not faith-based.

So, rather than read the news as much as I used to, I read novels--about life and war as it could and should be.

(Caveat: Flynn is a conservative. I disagree with many of his stated values. However, his heroes are focused on the pursuit of their values, some of which I support. I admire ruthlessness.)

Gus Van Horn said...

"[R]ather than read the news as much as I used to, I read novels--about life and war as it could and should be."

That is certainly an understandable reaction, and a good way to maintain one's sanity besides.