novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

From an AP report:

Obama recently chided Karzai and his government, saying it had “not gotten out of the bunker” and helped to organize the country or its political and security institutions.

Also on his itinerary later in the trip is a meeting with Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader. On the campaign trail, Obama has said one benefit of withdrawing U.S. troops is that it would pressure al-Maliki to shore up his government as well.

Nonetheless, he said he did not plan to reiterate those messages in person.

I don’t buy his “I’m going over there as a US Senator” cop-out.  He’s willing to publicly put down foreign leaders to get a crowd of liberal supporters going (and get primary votes), but refuses to personally confront those same leaders when given the chance.  He shouldn’t have said those things to begin with.


Nature and music. First the music -

the clarks

The Clarks

My wife and I are fortunate in so many ways it is impossible to quantify, but one is our respective cultural inheritances, which are inarguably excellent. Just like I’ve got the great musician, Paul Cebar, who attended my obscure college while I was there, Linda has The Clarks, who attended her equally obscure school while she was there. We make it a point to go see both of them every convenient opportunity.

This week our trek was to Dewey Beach, Delaware to see The Clarks at the Bottle and Cork – which is, incidentally, a really, really good bar: large, open-air, friendly and cheap.

I can’t classify The Clarks because I am not a rock critic and am frankly an old man, but I will just say they are an original rock act (did a cover of Springsteen’s The River on Thursday, but that’s the only cover I’ve seen them do) with an exuberant quality, an outrageously good lead singer, and just a very fun sound …. which explains the fantasticly loyal fan base this Pittsburgh band has throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

To get the sense of their style, go here and watch “Shimmy Low” under the “Video” section.

The Clarks did a kick-ass show opening for Sister Hazel who I never heard of before on account of my boutique (read “old man”) musical repetoire. By far the majority of the audience were there for The Clarks, I can say. Hopefully the Bottle and Cork will have them back as the lead act and give them a little more time in the future. Sister Hazel was quite good, though, rock in a similar vein.

Definitely check out The Clarks if you get the chance. I guarantee you will like them.

Here are the rock and roll photos for my wife’s photo album:

Scott Blasey

Greg Joseph Dewey Beach
Greg Joseph

Dave Minarik Dewey Beach
Dave Minarik

Rob James Dewey Beach
Rob James


My sleeping habits being what they are, I woke up well before dawn and could not get back to sleep, so I went driving around to check out the fishing scene.

Delaware sunrise

This is sunrise at the Indian River inlet. Note the seagull over the rising sun, Digital Camel dudes. ART, my friends.

Delaware fishermen

Here are the fishermen heading off down the jetty. Wish I was going with them, but that is a trip for another day.

I’m not sure.

It’s been almost 3 years since he last was here, so it’s not one of his regular priorities.  He seems to have already finalized his position on the situation, so I don’t think it’s an information gathering mission.  The only reason I can think of to explain his visit is to silence his critics.  He wants to be able to say, “I’ve been there,” when they challenge his position.  In short, a publicity stunt.

He won the Democratic Party’s primary on a campaign promise of withdrawal.  I will be surprised if he visits with an open mind.  If he gets here, sees how things have improved, and changes his position, I won’t think less of him.  That’s what “change” is all about, right?

P.S.  It doesn’t bother me that the network news is paying Obama so much attention on this trip.  The man has charisma.  Senator McCain is boring.  Who would you put on YOUR news program?

For quite some time now, we have been told that man made global warming (MMGW) is settled science, supported by a consensus of scientists from various disciplines. Many are also beginning to question the validity of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conclusions.

Recent news :

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming “incontrovertible.”

Read More at APS

WASHINGTON (7-15-08) – Mathematical proof that there is no “climate crisis” appears today in a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 10,000-strong American Physical Society, SPPI reports.

Christopher Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, demonstrates via 30 equations that computer models used by the UN’s climate panel (IPCC) were pre-programmed with overstated values for the three variables whose product is “climate sensitivity” (temperature increase in response to greenhouse-gas increase), resulting in a 500-2000% overstatement of CO2’s effect on temperature in the IPCC’s latest climate assessment report, published in 2007.

Read More at SPPI

My prediction, at some time in the not too distant future, we will hear an announcement from the MMGW crowd that we are no longer threatened, due to the decrease in the number of SUVs on the road caused by the recent record gas prices.

Can Brett Favre be seduced by Dan Snyder’s siren song ? Seems Favre has become less than enamored with Green Bay after their tepid reaction to his return to football. Do the Skins want him, and could they get him ?

Read More

I can easily see Favre-Moss supplanting Manning-Burris as the preeminent pitch-and-catch duo in the NFC East. Given the season Favre had last year, he will not be playing backup in Green Bay, he will be moving on. Why not Washington ?

During my first deployment, my platoon occasionally had to execute a joint mission with the Afghan National Army.  I say “had to” because we didn’t want to.  They were terribly unproffesional and incapable of accomplishing anything by themselves.  Being hooked on opium, most of them were there for the pay.  The police weren’t much better.  Slightly more proffesional in appearance, they were far more corrupt.  I remember thinking at the time that if nothing changed, they would never be able to hold off the Taliban on their own.  I haven’t been back since then, but it doesn’t sound like things have improved.

I am pleased to see that this is not the case in Iraq.

In the small section of Baghdad I see regularly, the Iraqi forces are all over the place.   The Iraqi Army, Iraqi police, and third party groups like Sons of Iraq have really stepped up to the plate.  Carrying American weapons and driving American trucks, I always see them standin’ tall and lookin’ good.  Planning and conducting their own patrols, security stations, and traffic checkpoints, it’s only a matter of time before they are completely running this area on their own.  I’ve yet to work with them directly, but on the few occasions I’ve gotten to talk with one of them, I’ve always perceived through the language barrier an impressive sense of pride and duty. I’ve yet to hear one of them complain.

I cannot overstate the positive impact these forces are having.  Aside from the obvious benefit of having their forces share the burden, there is a huge psychological impact on the public’s view of the new government and the American presence here.  There is a certain amount of racial, religious, and nationalistic prejudice that American forces will never be able to fully overcome in this part of the world.  The Iraqi forces do not have this problem so much.  I’ve been told the Iraqi Army was cheered by crowds lining the streets of Basra when they took back that city.  Also, it’s pretty hard for someone like Muqtada al Sadr to keep complaining about us “foreign occupiers”, when it was the Army loyal to the Shia-led government of this country that kicked his militia out of the Baghdad district named after his father.  Sorry there, Mr. Sadr…you won’t be coming back to Sadr City.

That’s not to say these forces are perfect.  Their capabilities don’t come close to ours, but it is improving.  There is a certain level of corruption and enemy infilitration in these groups.  However, it hasn’t been enough to overshadow the overall positive impact that they are having.

We are winning here, and their efforts are helping.  I wish I could thank them each personally, soldier to soldier.

What a dope:

In his first substantive talk about the magazine’s inflammatory cartoon depicting him and his wife as fist-bumping terrorists, Obama told CNN’s Larry King the image fueled misconceptions and insulted Muslim Americans…

“I’ve seen and heard worse,” Obama said. “[Still], in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead.”

What he should have said is, “Heh, it’s funny, they do this all the time, right? I’m a public figure.” The best thing he can say without answering “no comment.”

By attempting to defend himself, Obama keeps the issue alive. Like I said, playing defense means he has something to defend against.

This whole issue of Barack Obama’s Muslim, anti-American, pro-terrorist alleged affiliations is blossoming.

It’s only July, folks.

I am guessing by the time September rolls around the Obama campaign will be holding out for nothing more than a single podcast debate with John McCain aired solely over an IRC channel. Barack has, as they say, some “issues.”

John McCain should be chomping at the bit to get this guy in a public forum.