Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Few Doses Of Iraq Reality

The story that won't go away is the real story of Iraq. Amid the spectacle of terrorist attacks is the reality of hunting down the terrorists and killing them, and also the reality of continuing US success in rebuilding Iraq. Of course we have the spectacle of foreign policy "realists" who refuse to get it that winning is the realistic policy, not quitting masked as "redeployment." Foreign policy "realists" need a dose of reality themselves.

Also in need of a dose of reality is Nancy Pelosi, displaying a preposterously weak grasp on the reality of the Islamo-Arab enemy. A look at the history of Islamo-Arab imperialism is something in order as well.

Then there is the MSM, so desperate for the US to lose that it is becoming more and more audacious in its bogus reporting, as shown by a Washington Post story on an alleged classified report claiming the US has lost in Ramadi.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Some Clarity On Iraq

With the elections mercifully over, the compulsively readable Victor Davis Hanson offers some big-picture clarity on Iraq. He also notes that for all their stupid rhetoric, the Democrats' lack of a credible alternative to Bush policies may mean they'll show lots of bark and little bite.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Homestead: One Hand Clapping

Homestead kicked off NASCAR's season finale with the Miami 200 for Craftsman Trucks, and a Truck season that can best be described as anticlimatic ended in fitting fashion, with another ho-hum triumph by Mark Martin and the inevitable driving title by Toyota's top dog, Todd Bodine. Not that the race itself was anticlimatic; it turned out to be downright exciting as Brendan Gaughn made a gallant effort not only to win anything for the first time since 2003, but also to salvage something out of a Truck Series lacking in compelling competition and increasingly facing a future as a one-marque series monopolized by the Toyota invasion.

Toyota's enormous edge in technology, money, and everything else a manufacturer can muster to win racing championships is as bad as many feared when the company first entered the Trucks in 2004. Mark Martin's win in a Jack Roush Ford is sympomatic of the lost cause that is the possibility of victory for a non-Toyota marque; it took Winston Cup Truckwacking for other brands to have any chance at winning in the Trucks. Terry Cook and Rick Crawford salvaged something for Ford and Ron Hornaday salvaged a pair of wins for Chevrolet, but other than this every other non-Toyota win was by a Winston Cup interloper.

The Truck Series saw 14 drivers win races, certainly a strong number, but with almost no non-Toyota winners among series regulars, the stat has a misleading quality to it. And for the interminable future it won't change, because Toyota will get almost nothing in the way of opposition next year, as GM is cutting back its less-than-credible effort in the Trucks via ending direct team sponsorships, while Ford's piddling effort shows no sign of improving and Dodge's enemic one-team campaign went winless in 2006 and likewise shows no future.

Forgive me for one hand clapping for the Trucks, but the series that held so much promise ten years ago can't be said to be on any upswing right now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rumsfeld, Phony Generals, And Idiot Intel

Two looks at the crucifixion of Donald Rumsfeld warrant attention. This look at the military's responsibility for things that have gone wrong in Iraq shows the absurdity of claims that Rumsfeld somehow ignored his generals in assessing progress in Iraq, while this more general look what are derisively called quitter generals raises some good questions about just how much effort some military leaders put into actually trying to win in Iraq.

It must be emphasized again that yes, there are serious problems in Iraq, but there still has been too much real progress there to quit, and still too much potential to succeed to quit. That we have irresponsible politicians willing to cut and run is bad enough; why we have generals willing to cut and run is beyond me, but a reminder of the generals' revolt is in order to see where Rumsfeld got stabbed in the back, as it were, as also seen here.

Speaking of stabbing in the back, it appears the Cover Your Ass CIA got help from the New York Times, and the release of intelligence documents from the Saddam Hussein era of Iraq has stopped. This is wrong, because those documents show the assumptions the CIA usually made with regard to Iraq and how wrong those assumptions always were.

Adding to idiot intel is Congressional interference. The irresponsibility of leftist politicians shows in their recent jockeying following the elections and with liberal editorials that continue to get Iraq wrong. Interestingly, the stock market rose sharply immediately after the elections on the belief that a Congressional stalemate will mean less interference in the market - not necessarily a faulty analysis. One should hope that a Congressional stalemate will mean they don't interfere with defeating the enemy in the Middle East, as much as some powerful people on Congress clearly wish to do. We have to prove we have staying power because that's what wins.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Ground Fraud

James Bowman has a brilliant skewering of the "documentary" genre in movies nowadays, noting the crass propaganda purposes alleged "documentaries" are intended to serve. The genre's decline can be traced to Bert Schneider's awful and inaccurate Vietnam War film Hearts And Minds from 1974, and it's only gotten worse with Michael Moore and his ilk.

Bowman skewers two such propaganda "documentaries," This Film Is Not Yet R-ated and The Ground Truth. The latter is yet another antiwar film centered on Iraq featuring alleged "veterans" so traumitized as to turn against their country's cause. One unnoticed lesson from Vietnam is that there is no such thing as an antiwar veteran, best shown in the book Stolen Valor and also the book Why We Were In Vietnam. This being the case, it is impossible to take the testimony of the men offered in The Ground Truth seriously, especially given their supposed naivete about what to expect in a war and also given the richly documented good the US is doing in Iraq, notably in the varied writings of Karl Zinsmeister in such works as Boots On The Ground.

The most offensive line in the film is one alleged "veteran" who, discussing the deaths of his buddies, says, "I tried to tell myself they died for a reason, but I couldn't think of one, I couldn't justify it to myself." Yeah, sure. If he was in Iraq, he saw the savagery of the Islamo-Arab enemy, he saw how we are striving to rebuild a dysfunctional culture into one of true peace; he saw the good we are doing there. Moreover, not one soldier in Iraq is anything remotely resembling an involuntary participant. And with regard to Vietnam, the above is exactly true there as well, with only one caveat - there were draftees there, but they constituted less than half the number of those who served there.

Is it too much to ask Hollywood to for a change do a pro-US movie, or a pro-Iraq War movie, or a pro-Vietnam War movie?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reality Check For Brian France

Leave it to someone from well outside NASCAR's mainstream to give a much-needed reality check to Brian France. The consistent decline in ratings and attendence gets a hard look here and the reality check thus comes up. The sport won't bounce back because of a new TV deal with a network - ABC/ESPN - that long ago lost ability to cover sports well, nor will it bounce back because of Toyota, though the presence of another manufacturer can never be a negative.

If Brian France has any sense, he needs to ask some hard questions - why did the sport need to go after the pinkhat crowd? Why can't hard-fought races be entertainment enough; why the contrivances of The Chase For The Championship etc.? And where is the hard-fought competition, anyway? Where are the lead changes? Why the marketing overkill? Why not cooperate with other racing series for the benefit of racing in general? Why the Drive For Diversity, when such campaigns elsewhere never work? The inevitable result of the Drive For Diversity is beginning to show.

Brian France is in dire need of such a reality check.

But then right now Brian France has something more immediate to worry about.

If They Change Strategy........

If, in the wake of Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, they change strategy in Iraq, they should give serious consideration to this sharp, if overly pessimistic, analysis by Armed Liberal, who notes some areas that should have been noticed by others earlier, notably a surprising lack of interaction between American soldiers and Iraqis. He also makes a good point about relying too much on the fact of elections rather than what happens beyond them, though one shouldn't underestimate how the fact of elections, even in the face of a determined enemy effort to stop them, struck a major blow to the enemy's ability to terrorize - after all, elections in Central America during Soviet Russia's guerrilla war by proxy there in the 1980s struck a blow that helped with their evenutal defeat by the end of that decade.

BTW, aren't the antiwar types protesting Iraq some of the same ones protesting US resistance to Communist incursion in Central America back then?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pre-Phoenix Miscellenia

With the Phoenix 500k beckoning, some miscellenia -


Matt Borland will not be with Ryan Newman's #12 team the rest of this season. While his departure is reported to be for "personal reasons," it doesn't take much effort to suspect that it's more than that, since the Borland-Newman effort in 2006 has been spotty to say the least.

Borland has been Newman's crew chief throughout his Winston Cup career, and when Roger Penske elevated rookie Newman to the WC level in late 2001 the signs of greatness became clear with a runner-up finish at Kansas. A win at New Hampshire in 2002 followed, and Newman was ready for the next level.

That came when Dodge brought Penske Racing into the fold, in the process sabotaging the One Team approach they'd had from their Truck debut in 1996. Newman and Borland erupted to eight wins in 2003, but the seeds of their downfall were planted by the jealousy of their teammate, Rusty Wallace, who stopped cooperating with the Newman-Borland effort and furiously lobbied NASCAR for a reduction in downforce on the cars and softening of tires - Newman periodically won races by not pitting for fresh tires and thus stretching his fuel, an option made possible by the larger downforce and harder tire package the sport had in place in 2003.

When NASCAR reduced downforce and went with softer tires in 2004, it was advertised as making the racing better. That it did not achieve this result was clear from the start, but for Ryan Newman the results were worse than that, as he slipped to just two wins in 2004 and only one in 2005. He became one of the most prolific pole-winners the sport had ever seen but it never mattered as his races week after week became exercises in frustration. Entering the final races of 2006 Newman is winless, and one cannot feel much confidence in him breaking this skid.

If Borland does not come back to the Penske team, a new chapter in Newman's career will have opened, but one will have to wonder, regardless of who is crew chief is, whether Newman really has the capability of recovering from the downfall from his one season of dominance.


One should also ask questions about Mark Martin. At the National 500 he plowed into J.J. Yeley as Yeley ducked off of Turn Four to pit. Blame was laid on Yeley, who'd earned the ire of many drivers over the season in general and at Richmond in particular based on scanner quotes. But at Texas during practice Tony Raines began to pit and Martin plowed into him.

What has happened to Mark Martin to get involved in two such incidents within a month of each other?

In a related development, Roush's game of musical crew chiefs continues with the #26 and #99 efforts swapping over chief wrenches - Bob Osborne goes to Edwards and Wally Brown to McMurray. Musical crew chiefs is a game that rarely goes well and tends to be a sign of desperation. The comparative fall of the Roush effort from 2005 can of course be traced to the hiring of Jamie McMurray, the talented but underachieving racer from Joplin, MO to replace Kurt Busch in the 2004-title-winning Ford. It became clear by May that McMurray was not fitting well with the Roush effort, and getting all five cars to run on the same page was disrupted enough that, even though the organization is among the biggest in racing, it's become less of a sure thing to see a Roush Ford win.

So the question becomes - does McMurray need a new crew chief, or does he have to adjust his driving style to what works for the Roush oragnization?


There's been more talk from Greg Pollex about Buschwacking and how an eventual conversion to "IROC" body styles - Mustangs, Camaros, etc. - may help alleviate the practice. I'm amazed it has not been pointed out that those body styles in NASCAR trim won't handle that differently from what is run at the Winston Cup level; one should look at tracks like Stafford Speddway in CT where Late Model drivers jump into SK Modifieds and vice versa - Todd Owen is the best individual example - and get a performance edge because they ran the previous feature that night and gained that extra realtime track knowledge.


Kyle Petty had been sleepwalking for some time as a racer. Critics have often put the mouth to him that he was never serious nor talented enough to race Winston Cup, and that isn't fair. What is fair is to say he had not pushed the pedal hard enough the last few years, especially when Robbie Loomis took control of the racing arm of Petty Enterprises and Bobby Labonte, a driver whose style and personality get along with Kyle's close enough to make mutal feedback work, joined the #43.

When the playoff period of the Winston Cup season began, they made a crew chief change, slotting Paul Andrews with the #43 and bringing Bill Wilburn to the #45. To say that it's worked well is an understatement, especially for Labonte and Andrews, whose competitive spark has been rather astounding. More importantly, what Wilburn has brought to Kyle's effort has been not just changing chassis geometries and other hardware aspects - he's brought a take-charge approach as a crew chief. And the improvement in Kyle Petty's driving has become tangible, to where entering Phoenix Kyle can put some distance back into the top-35 lock-in area of owner points. From where Kyle had fallen this season, this is improvement upon which to keep building for 2007.


The story goes that NASCAR dyno-tested Truck engines after Texas and Toyota outpulled everyone else in power. The question thus becomes - given how thoroughly Toyota has crushed everyone else in Trucks, will there be a change like the cylinder-width reduction that hurt Dodge's effort after 2002?

And so it is with Phoenix around the corner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Liability That Is Liveshot

Two good pieces examine the bizarre junior Senator from Massachusetts after his slam on American servicemen who are serving in Iraq.

Of course "bizarre" is something of a relative term given the tenured senior Senator who's survived cheating at Harvard to slandering American servicemen himself during the battle of Hamburger Hill (which earned a brilliant skewering by Dylan McDermott in the 1987 movie about that battle) to his infamous car crash where he left Mary Jo Kopekne to die to his endless leftism in general. Even so, John Forbes Kerry is a piece of work, the heart and soul of the Democratic party while at the same time being one of its more graphic liabilities.

Of course Liveshot Kerry gets his comeuppance.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A More Optimistic Epistle On Iraq

With mid-term elections coming we're hearing a lot of paincky talk about how Iraq is lost, that the US has failed, and so forth. A more optimistic epistle is needed, because Iraq has come too far from Saddamite tyranny to collapse or be allowed to collapse.

"Iraq has slipped into civil war," reads one of the standard assertions. Even today the MSM and the Democrats don't know what a real civil war looks like and even the most pessimistic accounts of Iraq don't come close to a real civil war. And virtually no one has noticed that escalation of violence by guerrillas and anti-democratic militias is aimed almost exclusively at US TV cameras. Given the abysmal quality of the MSM's coverage of the war it's pretty obvious that the enemy wants to make it look worse than it is, and is succeeding with the MSM.

There is also the cheapshot coverage of Donald Rumsfeld and the rote that he must be fired as Defense Secretary, that he no longer has the respect of the services, etc. That a great deal of resentment comes not from ineptitude on his part but from a military establishment that is generally resistant to change (remember the campaign for the Crusader artillery gun that Rumsfeld vetoed, for one) is of course never considered; his big "blunder" in Iraq likewise has less to it than the critics think.

We of course also hear the rote that "we didn't send enough troops." That we're building a national Iraqi army, that it has been involved in taking charge of fighting the enemy, and that we've generally been on the offensive against guerrilla and militia holdouts, is of course glossed over.

The reality is things are very tough in Iraq, that the task of finishing off the enemy is very daunting. But the fact is we ARE succeeding, even though so many don't wish to notice. We are succeeding because we have finally taken the initiative against Islamo-Arab imperialism and the enemy knows we are succeeding. General Wesley Clark has put out commericials repeating the rote that the war in Iraq has increased terrorism, ignorant as always about the difference between offense and defense and ignorant that the enemy is now on the strategic defensive. Osama Bin Laden hasn't been captured - so what? His organization is in ruins, his two largest base nations (Iraq and Afghanistan) are no longer bases or sanctuaries for him, and the only "attacks" he's able to launch are small-scale acts of violence with little strategic value or effect.

The Democrats want us to lose because they don't take the threat seriously, not now and not before. They fear US success; they don't have genuine concern for American lives - they speak unctuously about slain American servicement only to score propaganda points, as shown by John Kerry's insult to American servicement presently fighting in Iraq.

The reality is we are in Iraq because we have to be, and we need to stay the course, because doing so will achieve success. The Islamo-Arab enemy knows this, and this is reason enough to support winning in Iraq.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Borges Gets Burned

Incredibly, someone has published a piece on Broadsheet Bully Ron Borges trying to take his side of his controversial career, though few can take it seriously, especially when Borges tries to defend his infamous January 2006 intimation about Bill Belichick by claiming he was referring to golf trips by Belichick during Superbowl 39 week. Problem is that defense doesn't wash with the truth of the matter with Borges, and one gets the impression Borgie's lame excuse is because his intimation (unspoken but all too obvious to those who heard and read the transcript of the conversation in question) of a love affair by Belichick with a married woman blew up in Borgie's face with a recent divorce lawsuit by the estranged husband of the NY Giants' former secretary, a lawsuit that has swept up Belichick.

Borges is a regular guest host on Michael Felger's ESPN Radio afternoon show in Boston and his growling description of Bill Belichick as "a putz" on the November 1, 2006 broadcast (this in connection to Belichick not issusing a fawning praise of former PK Adam Vinitiari) is in keeping with the lack of credibility of Borges.

It's why, contrary to the puff piece on Borges, he's not needed for Boston sports - or anyone else's.

Texas At Ten Seasons

Texas Motor Speedway hosts its twelfth Winston Cup race as it completes its tenth season. The track's still-short history has been checkered to say the least, and ultimately leaves a less-than-delicious taste in the mouth.

The track's arrival in Winston Cup remains a bitter chapter in the sport's history; when Bruton Smith bought half of North Wilkesboro Speedway it was to close it for Texas, a track he'd begun building in early 1995. Bruton claimed that NASCAR's Billy France promised him a Winston Cup date, a claim France long denied and for which Bruton never produced any proof. Shuttering North Wilkesboro gave him a Texas date, but Bruton wanted two dates, and a lawsuit by a track shareholder (who most believe was merely a front for Bruton) eventually blackmailed NASCAR into cutting the Southern 500 and limiting Darlington to one race while also cutting Rockingham to one race and finally shutting the track down after February 2004. No doubt Kentucky Speedway would never have filed a lawsuit of its own had Texas not effectively bullied NASCAR into granting their wish.

Texas' genesis in the sport thus is a stain on the sport's history.

The treacherous transitions to and from the turns became an issue in preseason testing in 1997 and erupted in a crash-strewn Texas 500 in 1997. Some alterations were made after 1997 but broken drainage hampered 1998 qualifying and more melees in the ensuing race fed rumors that it would cost the track its Winston Cup date - though even then most could see that Mike Helton of NASCAR lacked the spine to carry out anything close to such a threat.

The turns were banked higher at their transitions after 1998 and the treacherous nature of its first two seasons was over, but the track even after that has never been a good racetrack for stock cars. Competitive stock car races at Texas have been almost nonexistent; the 40-lead-change barrier has yet to be approached, never mind broken, at Texas.

But Texas' Jekyll & Hyde personality turns on a dime when the IRL races there. A scoring breakdown in 1997 led to the embarassing spectacle of the wrong car winning the race, but in 1998 a vivid multilap battle for the lead ended in victory by A.J. Foyt's team driven by Billy Boat, and in June 2000 the IRL's Alamo 300 exploded into a nearly-unprecedented epic of sidedrafting for the lead, ultimately won by Scott Sharp over Robby McGehee.

Panther Racing, formed by John Barnes with help from former football quarterback Jim Harbaugh, arrived in force at Texas in 1999, winning with Scott Goodyear; Goodyear then won at Texas in October 2000 after a hot battle at the finish with Eddie Cheever. But it was Sam Hornish who put Panther Racing's stamp on racing history with an even greater epic war for the win ending in a photo-finish in October 2001, then did it again in October 2002 in yet another photo-finish win, this one over future Penske Racing teammate Helio Castroneves.

As the draft has weakened for IRL cars the last few years the intensity of racing at Texas has dropped dramatically, and Texas cut its second IRL date after 2004; even so the IRL at Texas remains must-see racing.

NASCAR, though, remains the track's bread-and-butter, and the 2006 Chase may come close to clinching in November 2006. Kasey Kahne is the early favorite but Jimmie Johnson has begun coming on strong, and the wildcard of non-Chasers has intensified with Tony Stewart's wins and strong efforts by Bobby Labonte.

Whatever the outcome, it will get a typically opulent Texas celebration as the speedway continues on from its troubled first ten seasons in the sport.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Resign, Senator Kerry

By now you've probably heard about John Kerry's insufferably insulting "joke" about American soldiers in Iraq. Of course Liveshot's "joke" reflects the bigoted hatred of the US that permeates a Democratic party willing to falsify heroism to disparage an important mission, a hatred that is spread far and wide by the Mainstream Media and which gets consistently sympathetic treatment in Hollywood, whether it be subtle or in the case of Michael Moore anything but subtle.

That liberalism does not want the US to win in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter is the hate that the MSM - or as it may be referred to encompass its Hollywood/entertainment industry allies, the Dominant Media Culture - will make sure dare not speaks its name. But for all the Dominant Media Culture's spin, they cannot change that it is a hate crime the same as that inflicted on MSM-approved "victim" groups.

This explains the MSM's abysmal coverage of Iraq, a nadir of which is reached in Newsweek's deceptive "We Are Losing" cover story on Iraq. The hatred of the US is so vast that the MSM will never allow coverage of the war that even hints that the US was right to invade Iraq or right to stay there and win the war, never mind coverage that indicates that we are in fact winning. It is the reason for the rise of the blogosphere, as welcome a break on the Dominant Media Culture's stranglehold on information as any to come along in decades.

As for Seantor Kerry, he has forfeited any right to continue to serve in any governing capacity in this country. He has fought the "good" fight for the interests of America's enemies from Soviet Russia (of which the North Vietnamese/Vietcong were allies in aggression) through Islamo-Arab imperialism, and has expressed that basic contempt for legitimate powers through his insufferable insult to defenders of said legitimate powers.

Resign, Senator Kerry. Do the right thing for once in your life.

FOLLOW-UP: a very funny correspondance to Liveshot.