national security politics

On knowing when to get the job done

Jeff takes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s (“Intelligencer”? Granted, I know it’s a real word, but come one. Couldn’t you have just said “Reporter”?) Thomas Shapley–hereafter referred to as “Tom”–to task for the latter’s confusing of the Valerie Plame non-event and the recent leak on NSA surveillance:

How peculiar indeed that the President and his administration should respond differently to these two situations. How very odd that when something right out of the pages of a movie of the week crops up and administration opponents do their level best to capitalize on it in order to harm the President and obstruct his second-term agenda, that the administration should respond one way, but when a loose-lipped grudge-bearer calls up a reporter and blows the lid on an operation that saves American lives, the administration does something else entirely.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say the White House is doing its job, Tom.

liberty national security politics

On the cookie idiocy

From the level-headed responses I’ve read regarding the NSA’s web cookie whoopsie, Captain Ed has to have the best analysis:

In the great spectrum of Internet privacy dangers, “persistent cookies” sits on the weakest end. Spyware from free downloads cause more security problems than cookies, and even the ones used by the NSA can be blocked by any browser on the market. The AP uses the mistake to make cookies sound vaguely sinister when they’re almost as ubiquitous on the Internet as pop-up ads, if not more so. The Guardian gets even more hysterical, in all senses of the word, when it says that the “[e]xposure adds to pressure over White House powers”.

The silliest part of the story is that no one can understand why the cookies would present any danger to visitors to the NSA website. Both versions of the story call the risk to surfers “uncertain”, but a more accurate description would be “irrelevant”. Even if the NSA used it to track where casual visitors to its site surfed afterwards, it would discover nothing that any casual surfer wouldn’t already be able to access on their own with Google or a quick check on Free Republic. Now imagine who stops to check on the NSA website and try very hard to come up with any good reason to spend precious resources on scouring the web preferences of bloggers and privacy groups instead of focusing on real signal intelligence, which already comes in such volume that the agency has trouble keeping up with their primary task.
[Emphasis in the original.]


Kelly’s Dump Soup

My wife found this dump soup recipe somewhere online, and neither of us can remember where nor find the bookmark for it. As the name implies, it’s a soup made up of whatever you dump in the pot. Here’s what we had for lunch:
1 can, Campbell’s Healthy Request Minestrone
1 can, pinto beans (15 oz)
1 can, Ro-Tel Original diced tomatoes and green chilies (10 oz)
1 can, whole kernel corn (15 oz)
1 can, cut green beans, no salt added (14.5 oz)
In the past, we’ve also added a can of red beans, and a can of black beans to the mix, each of those a 15-ounce can like the pinto beans listed above. You’ll need a good-sized pot to heat it on the stovetop with, and some Tupperware™ or other storage of your choice for the leftovers. Because there will be plenty of leftovers. It’s very hearty, especially if you go with all three types of beans.Today’s fixing fed both of us for lunch, and will give us at least one more meal, possibly two, depending upon how many bowls each of us has.
If you’re on Weight Watchers™, this soup is extremely low in points; two to three per bowl.
Thanks to the Ro-Tel, I should have skipped taking some decongestant earlier. The green chilies cleared out my sinuses just fine.


Razor’s New Year’s words of wisdom

Daryl Reaugh:

The most common eye injury in France is damage done by flying champagne corks. (It’s true.) Apparently they don’t retreat fast enough when it comes to avoiding bubble propelled projectiles.

Razor says, ‘Let’s be careful out there, and wear a visor.’
And this is from a guy with French ancestry.


Thanks for nothing, Coach

Unlike the Tigers, the other SEC team that played yesterday apparently didn’t show up to play the whole game. South Carolina put up 21 unanswered points, then it was nearly all-Missouri the rest of the way. The Gamecocks managed to wake up in the fourth quarter, and tied the game at 31 aside before succumbing to Mizzou.
Steve Spurrier becomes the first SEC coach to lose at the Independence Bowl in thirteen straight appearances, ending the conference’s streak. As if we needed another reason to dislike Spurrier.



A new head coach. A devastating hurricane. Opening season games rescheduled. A heartbreaking overtime loss in what became the home opener, played on a Monday night rather than the traditional Saturday night due to another hurricane.
Then ten straight weeks of games. Ten straight wins. Then the eleventh game, in the eleventh week. For the conference championship. For a trip to the Sugar Bowl. For a chance to contend for the BCS National Championship crown, should one of the other favorites stumble.
But the hurricanes and the eleven weeks of practice, preparation, and playing take their toll, and the worst loss of the season is suffered. Adding injury to insult, the star quarterback is lost.
Cast down, sentenced to the next rung below the hallowed Bowl Championship Series.
Ranked number ten, facing number nine. The second-team quarterback is at the helm, in his first college career start. All of the pundits pick the number nine opponent. The fans pick the number nine opponent. On the same turf as the crushing loss three weeks before…
Oh, there were a few souls outside of Louisiana who picked the Tigers to beat Miami. Lou Holtz, God bless him, appears to be the only soul inside the USC-crazed ESPN crew without Trojan-emblazoned blinders on; he picks LSU as the winner of the 2005 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. By the end of the night, Lou is vindicated.
Things went great for the Miami Hurricanes.
For about five minutes.
On their first possession, they drove solidly down the field. The LSU defense, which collapsed against Georgia in the SEC Championship, held the Hurricanes to a field goal. It would be the only points Miami would score for the entire game.
It would be a game of few penalties, and fewer turnovers. Only one, an interception by the LSU defense against Miami’s freshman quarterback, put in the last four minutes of the game. It would be a game where many different words would be used to describe the play of the Fighting Tigers, of what happened to Miami, but it all keeps coming back to one word in particular.
LSU dominated the line of scrimmage, on both sides, from their first offensive series onward. The Tigers would score on eight straight possessions, beginning with the series that tied the game at three apiece.
Miami managed a mere 153 yards of total offense. Three of those yards was their total for the second half. The number-one pass defense in the country would give up 196 airborne yards and two touchdowns, without netting a single interception. The third-ranked overall Miami defense would give up a total of 468 yards, the most it has given up all season. The Miami offense would manage only six first downs. None of those were in the second half. The 37-point loss would be their worst bowl loss in school history.
This was the LSU team many expected to see this season. The team was disciplined, poised. The team was supportive of their new quarterback, and bent over backwards to take as much burden off of him as possible. The team was confident with Matt Flynn at the helm.
JaMarcus Russell is an incredible athlete. His play this year has been light-years better than last season. Yet Coach Les Miles may have to take a serious look at the position in the off-season. The better man for the job may have just led his team to a 40-3 victory over the last Hurricanes of the year.


Sign your politically-motivated movie is tanking

I find it amusing the producers of Syriana are touting the fact of their whopping two Golden Globe nominations. The movie cost $50 million, and has only made $33.6 million after being in theaters a month, a third of that made on its opening weekend. Then there are all of those marketing costs, such as commercials touting your two Golden Globe nominations.
[Figures courtesy of Box Office Mojo.]


When you have nothing to offer…

Mary Katharine Ham notes a Boston Globe piece on how, just under three years away from the next presidential election, the Democratic Party is already seeking dirt on a potential Republican contender.
This is yet further proof that the Democrats are out of ideas. Their only platform continues to be “We’re everything the Republicans aren’t.” That may work with the lunatic fringe of the Left, but in mainstream America, voters like to hear about plans and ideas for moving the country forward.


Bowls lock arms

Speaking of college football, I have the Music City Bowl on in the background, and I noticed a few moments ago a commercial on behalf of the Football Bowl Association. Clearly, this is an opening salvo to maintain the status quo and not allow a playoff system for NCAA Division I-A football, the only level of any major college sport to not have a playoff system.


It’s nice to know I’m not alone

Jonathan Chait weighs in on why USC is overrated, noting how ESPN is leading the sports media in a frothing charge to bestow on the Trojans their–ahem–“third-straight” national championship.
[Thanks to my sweet for the Slate link.]