"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Homnick Does Elder

Reform Club contributor, American Spectator regular, and Jewish World Review columnist Jay Homnick was the featured guest today on the nationally syndicated Larry Elder Show. (Elder happens to be my favorite talker and his flagship station is here in Los Angeles, so it was a great kick to hear Brother Jay as I was driving home.)

The topic was Jay's recent AmSpec piece, where he reveals his eyewitness testimony about how Senator Chuck Schumer got his start in the politics biz with his plan to drive blacks out of a section of Brooklyn. After a 30-year silence, Jay says he decided to speak out only after Sen. Schumer's recent attempt to connect Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito with racist sentiments.

If Alito's casual membership in a group in 1972, whose magazine said some untoward things calls into question his fitness for the court, what does that say about Chuck Schumer, the mastermind of a political plot against blacks in 1974, and his fitness for the U.S. Senate?

We may never know. Elder found it remarkable (but par for the course) that so far, there has been zero interest in Jay's testimony (aside from a feeler from a cable opinion show and Elder's people themselves) from the American press. That is perhaps the most interesting angle: when Bob Livingston went after Clinton on adultery, it wasn't his own dirty laundry, but really his hypocrisy that cost him not only the Speakership of the House, but his entire congressional career.

Now, that was fair, I think. Whither Chuck Schumer? Surely in this day and age, active racism is more egregious than merely diddling the help or doing blow. Where is Katie Couric?


Jay was great, of course, and got in a line that broke the host up (and a subsequent caller)---that now that she's so tough on Iran, the other senator from New York, one Hillary Clinton, shall henceforth be known as The Battleaxis of Evil.

29 comments:

Pastorius said...

Isn't it amazing how, on the very same day, Clinton and Chirac, all of the sudden, became the unilateralists of the world?

Tom Van Dyke said...

On the show, Larry Elder threatened to steal "Battleaxis of Evil," Pastorius. I think Jay won't mind if you do the same.

(Yes, I noticed Chirac very subtly/Frenchly threatened to nuke their crazy asses, too. Bush multi-lateralism ascendant, and triumphant. Kewl.)

Hunter Baker said...

Wish I could have heard it. I've had the pleasure of talking to the good Homnick on the phone before, but I'll bet he warmed up to the radio very nicely.

JC said...

That Chirac article is hillarious...

JC said...

Of course, so was this post. Good job, Mr. Homnick.

tbmbuzz said...

How dare Chirac pursue a reckless cowboy unilateralist strategy! He has no respect for international law! He should not be allowed to bypass the UN! International pariahs such as he endanger us all!


There, libs, I've saved you the trouble, you can focus your outrage du jour on some other important issue.

James Elliott said...

There, libs, I've saved you the trouble, you can focus your outrage du jour on some other important issue.

Buzz, did you start drinking before you troll the internet? The ad homs and straw men have been rather more vitriolic and prevalent of late. Do you ever bother to actually read liberal writings, or just the conservative critiques?

Besides, we all know those French are atomic-bomb-testing-to-make-their-sexual-organs-feel-big bastards. Kind of like a certain president I can think of.

tbmbuzz said...

What, James, you didn't recognize the statements taken from liberal writings and other assorted rants in my post? Maybe it's time you caught up! Maybe you'll even get it one day.

Please tell me which debate school techniques you have utilized in your last two posts to me, this one and your oh-so-knowledgeable rant on missile defense. I'd like to know. Really.

tbmbuzz said...

sexual-organs-feel-big bastards. Kind of like a certain president I can think of.


Ummmm, yes, we all know about presidents and sexual organs.

Thanks for the laugh!

JC said...

Come on, Mr. Elliott and Buzz, you're both taking cheap shots.

James Elliott said...

Yes. At least I acknowledge it. I don't pretend that the "argument" is substantive or even meaningful and then run away cackling in glee. Buzz is being flat out rude in a generally uncalled for fashion and making unsubstantiated assertions, and I'm calling him on it. Unlike you, JC, he's demonstrated an appalling lack of civility or the capacity to put his money where his keyboard is.

James Elliott said...

Please tell me which debate school techniques you have utilized in your last two posts to me, this one and your oh-so-knowledgeable rant on missile defense. I'd like to know. Really.

See, that's my point, Buzz. It's not a debate because you're tangentially fabricating assertions out of whole cloth, presenting straw men, or engaging in ad hominem attacks, and then crowing when people don't engage them since they have nothing substantive to do with the subject at hand. What you're engaged in is not debate, unless one happens to be Hugh Hewitt or Rush Limbaugh, and doesn't require "debate school" tactics. It requires someone calling you on it, which is what I'm doing.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Mercy.

I have found that if the word "you" is eschewed on the internet, things go smoother.

James Elliott said...

I fail to see how that would help in this situation, Tom. I'm not irked myself, so far as taking anything personally goes. I could care less what he, or anyone else, thinks of me. I just refuse to indulge that particular brand of sloppy thinking and sweeping generalization in a place that's been thoroughly stimulating, engaging, and relatively civil, such as the Reform Club.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

James,

Please tell me how I am supposed to respond to this:

But don't worry, because the Republicans will return a culture of personal responsibility and the mines will start being concerned for the safety of their employees.

If that ain't a "sweeping generalization", then I guess I don't know what one is.

Frankly, I took time away from this blog over Chrsitmas because the "background noise" was on the increase.

After returning, I see more of the same. I've also noticed more post deletions by the authors.

If you (and others) REALLY like the discussions here, then it is up to you to avoid trading barbs; it takes two to tango.

Again, I would like to thank the authors here for their time and effort, especially when (IMHO) things seem to be getting a little uncivil.

Tom Van Dyke said...

James, I think the bankruptcy of sloppy thinking and sweeping generalizations speaks for itself. Such comments tend to hang in the air like passed gas in a place of worship. To engage them elevates them to a seriousness they do not earn.

Besides, sloppy thinking and sweeping generalizations are cool if they contain a grain of truth and are entertaining. That's certainly my own credo in writing.

I resubmit that the use of "you" creates a need to respond to emissions that would otherwise be politely ignored. It does with me, anyway.

Cheers.

James Elliott said...

CLA,

Mea culpa. Thanks for reminding me that if I'm going to cast some stones I should also save a few for myself. All that's really left is the rather childlike, "But he started it!" Doesn't seem to fly too well, does it? I'd like to think that I only engage in such generalizations in response to them, but, well, what I think and what is sometimes so aren't always the same thing.

That said, how is one supposed to turn the other cheek to crap like, "There, libs, I've saved you the trouble, you can focus your outrage du jour on some other important issue." in every thread? If this were a debate table instead of an online forum, I'd have asked Buzz to step outside by now. Of course, that's assuming Tom hadn't shot Tlaloc or myself by then.

Besides, sloppy thinking and sweeping generalizations are cool if they contain a grain of truth and are entertaining.

That's great, Tom. I don't particularly agree, but more power to you - it's usually relatively harmless, a rhetorical way of playing to the stands, and fine for certain writers. The particular utterances to which I've taken umbrage have neither of your criteria, so...

Tom Van Dyke said...

Just trying to set minimum standards for ranting. If you can't make 'em think, make 'em laugh. If you can't do either, don't post.

Oooops--Substitute "one" for "you."

;-)

James Elliott said...

That got a laugh, so you filled your criteria, Tom.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Mea culpa. Ditto ...

That said, how is one supposed to turn the other cheek to crap like ...

Thats the $64,000 question.

If you figure it out, please share it with us.

I LIKE the discussions here, thus I will TRY to keep it civil. If I fail, I can only hope that I will be shown the mercy that I (hopefully) conveyed in my previous post.

Thanks for listening ...

Tom Van Dyke said...

How 'bout that Chuck Schumer?

tbmbuzz said...

Well, James, one man's "strawman" is another man's reductio ad absurdum. How personally one takes it is up to the person; kind of ridiculous to take things personally on a (semi)-anonymous message board, don't you think? I have already admitted to a crude and blunt - and at times juvenile - style of debate, for the simple reason that this is the state of American politics today. If the readily offended get offended, so be it. But let's get back to what for me really started this whole kerfuffle - the topic of missile defense. To summarize, here's how it went:

I made the initial assertion that Israel's tactical anti-missile defense systems - Patriot and Arrow - were pretty damn good, and the wild card that Iran does not possess in any potential war between the two.

James jumped in with the statement "Israel's anti-missile capability is nonsense. The Patriot can't hit crap.", followed by this statement which has my colleagues chortling (in Army-speak: "sillyvilian"): the SCUD is such a crappy missile it explodes when it passes through the wake of another engine. (How many surface to surface missiles "pass through the wake of another engine?" LOL!). Then James made another patently uninformed statement "The Patriot has 0 hits on target in real warfare."

I stated James doesn't know what he's talking about.

Tlaloc jumped in to demonstrate his ability to google.

I debunked the nonsense in Tlaloc's reference, and presented my credentials as a science-engineering professional for the past 19 years on all of the nation's missile defense systems.

James presented his credentials: he knows a physics professor and thus is the expert.

I conceded (even though I also have known physics professors with ties to Nobel Prize recipients), based on my experience with know-it-alls.

This could have been a learning experience for everyone, and I'm willing to discuss the topic of missile defense, but hey, no sweat off my back if some people live under their illusions. It's a free country.

Tlaloc said...

"I debunked the nonsense in Tlaloc's reference, and presented my credentials as a science-engineering professional for the past 19 years on all of the nation's missile defense systems."

I missed the debunking, I might have to go back to enjoy that fully. Still I see your "science-engineering professional for the past 19 years" and raise you the Congressional Research Service. You know the guys whose job it is to research stuff and present the findings to congress. Those guys. Here's what they said about the Patriot:

"The actual performance in war-time of one kinetic-energy system currently deployed by the United States (i.e., the Patriot PAC-3) is similarly ambiguous."

Hrrrm. "Ambiguous." Wow the best term to define the effectiveness of the Patriot is 'ambiguous?' Must be a hell of an effective tool to rate such a high ranking. Wait... doesn't 'ambiguous' mean 'Doubtful or uncertain?' Oh yeah it does.

Oh you can find the CRS report here:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL33240.pdf

tbmbuzz said...

Thanks, Tlaloc. It is an excellent summary. Now go back and read it more closely. Note the distinction between BMD (ballistic missile defense, i.e. strategic), and TMD (theater missile defense, i.e. tactical). Patriot is the latter. Note footnote #15. "...The Defense Dept concluded that the Patriot system successfully intercepted all nine missiles it targeted..."

The issue for the past decade has been not if TMD works successfully (it does) but how well the newer technology of kinetic hit-to-kill works. It appears to, at least as far as TMD is concerned. BMD, of course, is a far more complicated problem. Although the physics has been figured out (contrary to James' assertion), the engineering is still in developmental stage with more problems arising than anticipated. (And frankly, some shabby quality control by the principal contractors is also a problem, as well as large corporation inertia). But the know how is there, and there is no reason to think that some of America's best and brightest will not eventually be successful in producing quality engineering and science, as has always been done.

One additional footnote: if Patriot is so "bad", why do countries like Taiwan, S Korea, Japan, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, NATO in general, buy or lease the system or otherwise clamor for it?

tbmbuzz said...

Here's what they said about the Patriot:

"The actual performance in war-time of one kinetic-energy system currently deployed by the United States (i.e., the Patriot PAC-3) is similarly ambiguous."

Hrrrm. "Ambiguous." Wow the best term to define the effectiveness of the Patriot is 'ambiguous?' Must be a hell of an effective tool to rate such a high ranking. Wait... doesn't 'ambiguous' mean 'Doubtful or uncertain?' Oh yeah it does.


I also can't let you get away with this. This is the classic technique of selective cherry picking to denote the exact opposite of the authors' intent.

The fact is, as the authors write, PAC-3 performance is "ambiguous" because there is little empirical real-world data. There were only two PAC-3 engagements during the Iraq War, both successful, by the way. The "ambiguity" mentioned in no way applies to inherent performance.

Tlaloc said...

"Note the distinction between BMD (ballistic missile defense, i.e. strategic), and TMD (theater missile defense, i.e. tactical). Patriot is the latter."

No duh. That's why I quoted the part about the Patriot and not about the BMD rates which are even worse.



"Note footnote #15. "...The Defense Dept concluded that the Patriot system successfully intercepted all nine missiles it targeted...""

Yes indeed and if you read the entire report it becomes VERY clear that the DoD claims everything is a success even when the numbers show it fialed miserably. They cal NMD operational when it can't even reliably hit a target with a homing device installed. Obviously the DoD opinion should be conisdered unreliable. They have a vested interest in selling failing programs as successes.



"One additional footnote: if Patriot is so "bad", why do countries like Taiwan, S Korea, Japan, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, NATO in general, buy or lease the system or otherwise clamor for it?"

Gee, maybe because the DoD (as above) lies it's ass off about it's performance? I mean here you are someone who claims to work on the project and you don't even realie it's failing track record.

Tlaloc said...

"The fact is, as the authors write, PAC-3 performance is "ambiguous" because there is little empirical real-world data. There were only two PAC-3 engagements during the Iraq War, both successful, by the way. The "ambiguity" mentioned in no way applies to inherent performance."

It does indeed. It means after reviewing all the data there was no clear indication the patriot works. That's what ambiguous means. When you have a weapons system that has gone through the research, design, and production process and has made it to actual field deployment and you STILL can't prove it works then the system is a failure. No question at all.

My god how do you think these things work? My company makes semiconductors. You think we retool a fab to produce a product without reams of data that shows beyond any doubt that it works as intended? That's not to say that mistakes aren't ever made, they are, but when they are we have the data to prove it. You think we'd survive as a company if years after putting the product on the market nobody could definitively say if it WORKED?

tbmbuzz said...

No sense continuing this discussion, Tlaloc. I can't argue with your conclusions:

1. The DoD is a bunch of liars.
2. I interpret the CRS report based on my pre-conceptions, no matter what it says.
3. I'm smarter than the political and military brass of a dozen countries.


I'm not going to repeat myself. Luckily you posted the link so that everyone can read for themselves.

Tlaloc said...

"No sense continuing this discussion"

Then why are you still talking? Where I come from that is continuing a discussion...



"The DoD is a bunch of liars."

A fact for which we have ample evidence. Notice that just today a report commissioned by the pentagon says the army is in danger of breaking, a claim the DoD have repeatedly denied was even possibly true. Gasp, surprise, it turns out they were lying to save face. Or read the CRS report above and you find that in case after case the missile defense programs fail at least half of its objectives and the DoD turns around and calls it a success (again to save face). It's not my fault that they are bad liars.



"I interpret the CRS report based on my pre-conceptions, no matter what it says."

Funny, I gave you the quote and then a dictionary definition of the term they used, yet somehow you construe that that isn't what they mean.



"I'm smarter than the political and military brass of a dozen countries"

Not smarter, per se. Maybe just paying more attention. Or maybe they bought the system knowing it doesn't work but because of other benefits (like the perception that it provides a defense it actually doesn't).

Look I'm sorry you've apparently wasted a significant portion of your life on a system that isn't worth the price you'd get at a scrap yard for it. That sucks, I have a great deal of sympathy for you in that regard. But your obstinant refusal to see the hard data even when I give you a link to it is simply untenable.

The system doesn't work. We have ample evidence to that end. Remember the first confirmed hit by a Patriot in the recent Iraq war? What was it? Oh yeah... a british helicopter.

I'm sorry the facts make you frowny but they remain that: facts.