Saturday, August 30, 2008

Go Dawgs!!!

Fire of Liberty

It's football season again and the Dawgs at UGA hit the ground running with their 45-21 victory over the Eagles of GA Southern. Aside from the great win, UGA also unveiled its new mascot UGA VII and donned him with the red collar that his late father UGA VI held close to nine years. I just hope he lives as long if not longer than his dad and has more wins and possibly a national championship to boot before he's done. Here's a good video from the Athens Banner-Herald of today's "changing of the collar" ceremony:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin Power

Fire of Liberty
I've been a little iffy about the McCain campaign when the rumors about the "Maverick" mulling over Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge for his VP, but I have to say that he hit a home run with conservatives(especially with me) by picking Gov. Sarah Palin. I like her biography, stances on weeding out corruption, excessive spending, guns, pro-life, free-market economics, national defense, and on energy. Now while the political mandarins and the Beltway press might scoff that the Governor is a light-weight who will be chewed up on the campaign trail and mopped up by Joe Biden in the debates, but after seeing this clip from a recent interview(recorded before her selection as McCain's VP) of the Governor on CNBC's Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo I believe "Fightin"Joe Biden will have some competition.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russian Expansion?

Fire of Liberty

After looking through the various news reports from around the world, I have to say that the Russians are playing a good PR game of placing the blame of their massive land and sea onslaught on republic of Georgia(Russia been at this a long time whether issuing Russian passports to South Ossetia (part of Georgia), aggressive talk, as well as a slowly but surely testing the Georgian military to seek out its areas of weakness) as the fault of the aggression of the military and leadership of the tiny state. To me, this is much like the Nazis invading France during WWII and then blaming the French for provoking Hitler's powerful troops to invade in the first place. In fact, the Russians are going through with this invasion because they-much like Nazi Germany-are a military juggernaut looking to exert their dominance and know that the West is pretty shy on challenging the economic, political and military wrath of the nuclear armed Russian bear. While I'll try to write an argument on the reasoning behind this well planned and timed military action(Russia been at this a long time and slowly but surely tested the Georgian military to seek out its areas of weakness) on Georgia by the Russians, I figured I'd refer to the experts. Thankfully, the always perceptive Robert Kagan, author and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has come to the rescue in his most recent commentary in today's Washington Post. Though I recommend you read the whole piece by Kagan, I believe he hits the nail on the head when he noted the following at the end of the piece:

But the reality is that on most of these issues it is Russia, not the West or little Georgia, that is doing the pushing. It was Russia that raised a challenge in Kosovo, a place where Moscow had no discernible interests beyond the expressed pan-Slavic solidarity. It was Russia that decided to turn a minor deployment of a few defensive interceptors in Poland, which could not possibly be used against Russia's vast missile arsenal, into a major geopolitical confrontation. And it is Russia that has precipitated a war against Georgia by encouraging South Ossetian rebels to raise the pressure on Tbilisi and make demands that no Georgian leader could accept. If Saakashvili had not fallen into Putin's trap this time, something else would have eventually sparked the conflict.

Diplomats in Europe and Washington believe Saakashvili made a mistake by sending troops to South Ossetia last week. Perhaps. But his truly monumental mistake was to be president of a small, mostly democratic and adamantly pro-Western nation on the border of Putin's Russia.

Historians will come to view Aug. 8, 2008, as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Russia's attack on sovereign Georgian territory marked the official return of history, indeed to an almost 19th-century style of great-power competition, complete with virulent nationalisms, battles for resources, struggles over spheres of influence and territory, and even -- though it shocks our 21st-century sensibilities -- the use of military power to obtain geopolitical objectives. Yes, we will continue to have globalization, economic interdependence, the European Union and other efforts to build a more perfect international order. But these will compete with and at times be overwhelmed by the harsh realities of international life that have endured since time immemorial. The next president had better be ready.

If for one hope that the White House will get out of its Olympic euphoria and take a more forceful stand in defending the rights and sovereignty of a fledgling democratic nation against the thuggish and barbarous nature of Putin's Russia. If the freest nation of the world fails to stand behind the small democracies of the world one can only think what greater threats start thinking or doing.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fueling America

Fire of Liberty

Now while I'm not ecstatic about McCain's stance on Global Warming, I've got to say that "the Maverick" is firing on all cylinders on his energy policy when he notes that the nation has got to start drilling for more oil, building greater nuclear power plants while also advocating free-market approaches to alternative fuels, hybrids, as well as his $300 million prize to anyone who can develop a battery that can power a car some 100 miles or further. Anything beats the top down government knows best energy policies being proposed by the junior Senator of Illinois. I believe that the WSJ sums up the lofty yet unattainable(At least in his ten year window) rhetoric on energy in its August 6, 2008 editorial "The Green Hornet." Here's a look:
Mr. Obama also says he wants to mandate that all new cars and trucks are "flexible fuel" vehicles, meaning that they can run on higher concentrations of corn ethanol mixed with gasoline, or second-generation biofuels if those ever come onto the market. Like wind and solar, this would present major land use problems: According to credible estimates, land areas larger than the size of Texas would need to be planted with fuel feedstocks to displace just half the oil America imports every day. Meanwhile, the economic distortions caused by corn ethanol -- such as higher food prices -- have been bad enough.

And yet there's more miracle work to do. Mr. Obama promises to put at least one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. That's fine if consumers want to buy them. But even if technical battery problems are overcome, this would only lead to "fuel switching" -- if cars don't use gasoline, the energy still has to come from somewhere. And the cap-and-trade program also favored by Mr. Obama would effectively bar new coal plants, while new nuclear plants are only now being planned after a 30-year hiatus thanks to punishing regulations and lawsuits.

Problems like these are the reality of "alternative" energy, and they explain why every "energy independence" plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama's plan is wildly unrealistic doesn't mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn't be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.

Consumption isn't rising because of wastefulness. The U.S. produces more than twice as much GDP today per unit of energy as it did in the 1950s, yet energy use has risen threefold. That's because energy use is tethered to growth, and the economy continues to innovate and expand. Mr. Obama seems to have other ideas.

I for one hope that Senator McCain continues to promote his pro growth and greater domestic energy production ideas during this period of $4 gas.

Hamdan Madness

Fire of Liberty

It's really funny when you look over the various reports in the MSM on the trial and subsequent conviction of Salim Hamdan, personal driver of Osama bin Laden, and discover that these reporters are presenting this dangerous man as a loosely connected, simple minded, family guy who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time". Now while this presentation is something one should expect from a media who is centered on being sensational as well as a cheerleader for the critics of the administration's effort to exert justice to these deadly individuals captured on the battlefield, it's always refreshing to find members of the media who take a sober look at the proceedings at Gitmo and realize the seriousness of the events. One media outlet that has taken this sober approach on the Hamdan trial and presents the recent events as a lesson is the editorial board of the NY Sun which presented such ideas in today's paper. I think they put it best when they noted the following:

The fact that providing minor assistance to our enemies does not excuse the crime was underscored the first time the Supreme Court actually sustained a conviction of treason, we are reminded by the exegesis in the Corwin edition of the Constitution. The case involved a German immigrant named Hans Haupt, who was brought up on a charge of treason for giving shelter and lending a car to his son Herbert, a German spy. Though Haupt's was a minor part, the court, in an opinion by Justice Jackson, gave him no quarter. It may be that Hamdan came to realize the ghastly implications of his minor deeds; it was reported that as the verdict was brought in, he wept.

Our own eyes are dry. What happens now to Hamdan — where and in what prison he is held — will be of little importance. What is important is where our leadership stands. Senators McCain and Obama are already reported to be differing in their reactions, with the Republican backing up our military in its handling of Hamdan and the Democrat praising the members of the military commission while carping about how the fact that the Hamdan trial "took several years of legal challenges ... underscores the dangerous flaws in the Administration's legal framework."

Mr. Obama, a constitutional scholar, was among the 35 Democrats who voted against the Military Commissions Act that set up the framework that the Supreme Court had asked the Congress to set up to try the detainees in the current conflict. And the Supreme Court did turn around declare the Congress's first effort unsatisfactory. But we, for one, find it odd that Mr. Obama chides the current administration for having failed to apprehend Mr. bin Laden, while siding against it in its claim to authority in meting out justice to those we are currently holding. This is going to put him in a pickle if he manages to become president himself.

I just hope that this nation continues to stick to these military commissions and shy away from allowing these individuals to enter our domestic court system. Only time will tell.