IF you know about the torture manual used by al-Qaida, then you did not learn about it by reading the Washington Post, the New York Times or sadly, this newspaper. Neither the Associated Press nor Reuters picked up on the story.
Fox News was the only major outlet with the story. Sir Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers in Australia republished the Fox report.
The handbook was posted at the Smoking Gun Web site. It showed — with drawings — how al-Qaida uses drills, irons, vises and other devices to mutilate their captives.
This is true torture, the same kind employed by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen at Abu Ghraib.
The handbook helped explain why a few days later, U.S. forces liberated 42 victims of al-Qaida torture from a location in Iraq.
But while they ignored the handbook story, the New York Times and Washington Post did not hesitate to publish a press handout from the United Nations condemning Guantanamo Bay. Why? Because the jihadis we captured are not given lawyers quickly enough.
Will someone tell me the name of Daniel Pearl’s lawyer?
Whatever the outcome of his doping trial, Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has shined a light on the murky anti-doping police. This excellent analysis from the LA Times is an eye opener.
Big Bad John Murtha, unindicted co-conspirator in Abscam and Nancy Pelosi’s first choice as her number two in the House, is also a major pork barrel spender.
Bob Schrum, Kerry’s campaign manager, wrote a book in which he describes Kerry’s decision to choose John Edwards as his running mate.
Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met.
Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he’d never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he’d do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade’s ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he’d never shared the memory with anyone else.
Kerry found that shocking? Why, he’d been peddling his “Christmas in Cambodia” yarn for years. Remember, it was “seared” in his memory until it wasn’t?
That said, using the memory of your dead son to score points is low even for politicians.
But then again Al Gore spun a weepy tale of sitting at his sister’s death bed watching her dying of lung cancer, and how it convinced him to tackle the evil tobacco companies.
Nice story, but some years after that “lifechanging” moment, Gore bragged to an audience of tobacco growers:
Throughout most of my life, I raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it.
We’ve already noted that ethanol is jacking up the cost of corn, hurting the poor who spend nearly 40% of their income on food.
Dairy market forecasters are warning that consumers can expect a sharp increase in dairy prices this summer. By June, the milk futures market predicts, the price paid to farmers will have increased 50percent this year – driven by higher costs of transporting milk to market and increased demand for corn to produce ethanol.
U.S. retail milk prices have increased about 3percent, or roughly a dime a gallon, this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But University of Illinois dairy specialist Michael Hutjens forecasts further increases of up to 40cents a gallon for milk during the next few months, and up to 60cents for a pound of cheese.
That would drive the cost of a gallon of whole milk around the country to an average of $3.78, based on the USDA’s monthly survey of milk prices in 30 metro areas.
That’s more than a gallon of gas! Where’s the price gouging law for milk?
The USDA doesn’t survey prices in California because the state sets minimum farm-level prices, skewing retail dairy prices. But those retail prices are near $4 a gallon in many cities there, too.
Say what? California sets a minimum price?
Yes, the state fixes the price of milk. If a store sells below that price, the state sends in the muscle.
As for the poor? Let ‘em drink water.
Michael Yon reports on progress in Iraq.
The air was blowing hot and dry through the city Tuesday morning 29 May, when I accompanied LTC Doug Crissman for another day of meetings with local leaders in Hit and surrounding towns in Anbar Province. Crissman and the soldiers of Task Force 2-7 Infantry under his command have been welcomed in the area of Hit for about the last one hundred days. Prior to February, Hit was one of the hottest little battlegrounds of the war, with almost daily gun battles crackling through the air, mortars exploding on the bases, and bombs cratering the roads.
But none of that noise punctuated a visit last Saturday, when LTC Crissman and I walked through the downtown portion of the city. Our several-mile stroll through the market—a veritable shopping mall for the area—was filled with men, women, and children of all ages, including one rotund boy furiously slurping an ice cream before it could drip away.
And a gripping account of the arrest of an Iraqi general for murder.
There’s always something.
Al Qaeda’s recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil transport system have been unable to inflict serious damage (although it was a close call last year). However, we can’t expect that to last. Since warfare is minds in conflict, we can safely bet that adaption will happen.
One potential avenue of innovation we can expect to occur is a focus Saudi Arabia’s electricity system. In contrast to the oil network, the electricity network is sparse, lightly defended, and operates near self-organizing criticality during the summer months
We link occasionally to a blog written by a doctor who uses Flea as his nom de blogger. Turns out Flea got nailed by some of his own posts in a malpractice trial.
It was a Perry Mason moment updated for the Internet age.
As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.
Was Lindeman Flea?
Flea, jurors in the case didn’t know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.
In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff’s case and the plaintiff’s lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.
With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.
The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston’s tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement — case closed.
The case is a startling illustration of how blogging, already implicated in destroying friendships and ruining job prospects, could interfere in other important arenas. Lawyers in Massachusetts and elsewhere, some of whom downloaded Flea’s observations and posted them on their websites, said the case has also prompted them to warn clients that blogs can come back to haunt them.
His blog is now unavailable.
…those on the political left are more articulate than their opponents. The words they choose for the things they are for or against make it easy to decide whether to be for or against those things.
Are you for or against “social justice”? A no-brainer. Who is going to be for injustice?
What about “a living wage”? Who wants people not to have enough money to live on?
Then there is “affordable housing” and “affordable health care.” Who would want people to be unable to afford to put a roof over their heads or unable to go to a doctor when they are sick?
In real life, the devil is in the details. But the whole point of political rhetoric is to make it unnecessary for you to have to go into the specifics before taking sides.
You don’t need to know any economics to be in favor of “a living wage” or “affordable housing.” In fact, the less economics you know, the more you can believe in such things.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have a gift for phrasing things in terms that are unlikely to arouse most people’s interest, much less their support.
Do words like “property rights,” “the market” or “judicial restraint” make your emotions surge and your heart beat faster?
If you have really bad teeth in Britain, good luck getting work done.
DENTISTS on the National Health Service are turning away people with bad teeth because they say they are only paid enough to treat patients with a good dental health record.
One surgery admitted that people who have not had a dental appointment for three years will be refused treatment. Others are employing more subtle methods to reject patients.
Dentists’ leaders say the NHS dental contract, introduced in April last year, has had a perverse effect because dentists earn the same for giving a patient one filling or 10.
The Oakwood Dental Centre in Derby, for instance, says on Derby City Primary Care Trust’s website that it “will only accept patients who have visited a dental surgery within the last three years”. Aneu Sood, who runs the practice, said it had no time to treat those who “need a tremendous amount of work”.
Of course, if Obama gets his way, our government system will work flawlessly. And if it doesn’t, hey, you can always write a nasty letter to your congressman.
First came this video:
So it was only a matter of time for this video:
This comes as no surprise:
Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties, he told USA Today.
Thompson, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, has been coy about his intentions with audiences, but made clear in an interview that he plans to run.
I can’t remember exactly the point that I said, ‘I’m going to do this,’ ” Thompson says, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame sprawled comfortably across a couch in a hotel suite. “But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: ‘I’m going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.’ “
His late start carries some problems but also “certain advantages,” he says. “Nobody has maxed out to me” in contributions, he notes, and using the Internet already “has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime.”
I wonder about all the $$$, most of which go into TV ads.
Living in California, we are largely ignored by presidential candidates. John Kerry knew he had California sown up and so did Bush. Thus we were spared the onslaught of campaign ads.
However, we visited relatives in Michigan, a contested state, in August 2004. TV seemed to be nonstop political ads. In just ten days, I grew to dislike all of the candidates. It’s hard to imagine that political ads make that much difference.
Fred Thompson is already familiar to most Americans who watch TV or movies. He doesn’t need to spend a fortune to introduce himself. On the other hand, candidates need an organization to get out the vote. In that regard,
Regardless of how charismatic or appealing a candidate is, he or she needs a team to get folks to the caucuses or polls. Thompson will be playing catch up in this regard.
Thompson already has drawn support from GOP officials in Washington, state capitals and beyond. But to capitalize on the people who will be with him from the get-go, Thompson needs to make clear that he is, to borrow another candidate’s favorite phrase, “in to win.” Exploiting all that New Media has to offer via blogging and posting videos is smart and effective. But it’s not good enough for people in places like Iowa and New Hampshire who demand a personal touch. The modest town of Le Mars, Iowa, for example, will draw two of the top three Republican candidates back to back this week. They’ll expect to see their party’s latest hopeful live and in person, not just on their computers or on their TV sets when “Law and Order” re-runs air.
As indicated by just how many donors were on his conference call yesterday — and I’m told that they were from all over the country — Thompson will have plenty of low-hanging fruit to swipe in his initial fundraising forays. But donors will expect the same level of commitment as early state activists. And just like those in the grassroots, they’ll expect a not insignificant degree of care and feeding. After Thompson picks up checks from his early backers, he’ll have to expend valuable hours on the phone securing commitments, pleading for cash and building up a warchest. In other words, what his rivals have been doing for months or years.
Adam Gadahn, aka “Azzam the American,” writes like a native jihadi. His latest missive begins:
All praise is due to Allah, creator of the heavens and the earth, and prayers and peace be upon the messenger of Allah and his companions, family, and followers until the Day of Judgment.
Do they assign hot-keys for that boilerplate? Is there a special jihadi keyboard with buttons assigned for that purpose?
This is not a call for negotiations. We don’t negotiate with baby-killers and war criminals like you. No, these are legitimate demands, which must be met, and your failure to heed our demands and the demands of reason means that you and your people will, Allah willing, experience things, which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11, Afghanistan and Iraq, and Virginia Tech. And let us be clear: A pull-out from Iraq alone, in the absence of compliance with the remainder of our legitimate demands, will get you nowhere, and will not save you from our strikes. So stop wasting your time and trying to save face with these futile farcical maneuvers on Capital Hill and start making some serious moves.
And, of course, a spittle guard for the monitor.
You may wonder, who is this chowderhead and where did he come from? The New Yorker ran a long profile on our homegrown jihadi last January, tracing his path from death metal (music) to death to infidel.
Adam Gadahn’s nom de guerre is Azzam al-Amriki (Azzam the American). He can fluently recite the Koran in classical Arabic, and, since the late nineteen-nineties, when he joined the jihad, his English has acquired a vaguely Middle Eastern accent.
At times, he speaks in what might be called Jihadlish—a peculiar fusion of American vernacular and militant Islamist theory. Gadahn may be the first Al Qaeda operative to lace a religious threat with a reference to Monopoly. (“If you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims, you’re going straight to hell, without passing Go.”) Or to adopt the bluster of a barroom pundit. (“Whoever takes over for Bush probably won’t have the guts to bring the troops home.”)
Once, referring to Abu Jahal, an early enemy of Islam known as the Father of Ignorance, Gadahn said, “I can’t forget the day, when, as I was praying a prescribed prayer with one of the brothers in a shopping-center parking lot in suburban America, a man sped by in his sports-utility vehicle shouting from his open window, ‘Worship Jesus, your Lord.’ The gas guzzler, cell phone, and college diploma notwithstanding, one couldn’t help but be reminded of Abu Jahal in the seventh century, abusing the Prophet while he prayed.”
This is really getting hysterical. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) tours Europe to discuss the imminent doom to the planet at the hands of the left’s recent bogeyman anthropogenic global warming, late-May snows are falling all around her.
Honestly, folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
As she set out on her journey, such late-season white stuff hit parts of America, Canada, and Great Britain as reported by NewsBusters Tuesday.
The six-part series on Jimmy Carter continues at IBD.
The 1970s will not be remembered as America’s greatest decade. Morale was low, inflation and unemployment were high, and the economy was ugly. When Carter took office, he had a chance to end the skid. He made it worse.
The 39th president’s response to our “crisis of confidence” was not a bold move forward. It did nothing to inspire the country. It was a surrender. He had no tax-cut plan but he did increase government spending, his leftist notions only making conditions worse.
Carter’s answer to his counterproductive solutions was to tell America that its best days were over. He nagged us to turn down our thermostats in the winter and turn them up in the summer, since the nation could not possibly overcome its energy problems.
“I think it’s inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated,” he told advisers in 1979. “The only trend is downward.”
In July of that year, Carter delivered what has become known as his malaise speech. It was more of an accusatory sermon. In endorsing John Anderson for president in 1980, the New Republic described the speech as “a lot of mystical mumbo jumbo.” Instead of rousing the American spirit, Carter wounded it. He blamed Americans for America’s problems.
“In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,” he fussed.
More news on the gap between rich and poor.
Imagine a line composed of every household with children in the United States, arranged from lowest to highest income. Now, divide the line into five equal parts. Which of the groups do you think enjoyed big increases in income since 1991? If you read the papers, you probably would assume that the bottom fifth did the worst. After all, income inequality in America is increasing, right?
Wrong. According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study released this month, the bottom fifth of families with children, whose average income in 2005 was $16,800, enjoyed a larger percentage increase in income from 1991 to 2005 than all other groups except the top fifth. Despite the recession of 2001, the bottom fifth had a 35 percent increase in income (adjusted for inflation), compared with around 20 percent for the second, third and fourth fifths. (The top fifth had about a 50 percent increase.)
Even more impressive, the CBO found that households in the bottom fifth increased their incomes so much because they worked longer and earned more money in 2005 than in 1991 — not because they received higher welfare payments. In fact, their earnings increased more in percentage terms than incomes of any of the other groups: The bottom fifth increased its earnings by 80 percent, compared with around 50 percent for the highest-income group and around 20 percent for each of the other three groups.
Seattle’s schools are teaching the race card again.
Seattle high school students have at public expense been sent to the annual White Privilege Conference, the stated aim of which is to provide “a yearly opportunity to examine and explore difficult issues related to white privilege, white supremacy and oppression.” Topics headlined for ‘exploration’ include “white man’s pornography”, “multiple systems of oppression” and “transforming whiteness in the classroom.” Given such tendentious subject matter, readers may be forgiven for questioning the extent to which realistic discussion will actually be encouraged, or indeed permitted, and for questioning whether the White Privilege Conference does in fact provide “a challenging, empowering and educational experience.”
Visitors are, however, assured that the WPC is “not about beating up on white folks,” but is instead about “working to dismantle systems of power, prejudice, privilege and oppression.” Whether those two statements prove compatible in practice is, alas, not entirely clear. Dr Peggy McIntosh, a “highly sought-after speaker” on multicultural teaching methods, describes white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets… like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” If that explanation isn’t sufficiently clear or convincing, Dr McIntosh also provides a White Privilege Checklist, which defines white privilege as the ability to “be in the company of people of my race most of the time” and to “avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.” The ability to go shopping without being followed or harassed is, Dr McIntosh asserts, another indicator of heinous racial advantage, as is the ability to find publishers for articles on the “invisible, weightless” phenomenon upon which she happens to opine.
The Anchoress has a must-read takedown of Joy Behar, one of ABC’s The View’s resident twits. In one long quote, Behar displays the rank ignorance combined with righteous indignation that characterizes so much of the left today.
Senator Hillary (“It takes a village”) Clinton reveals her true colors.
Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it’s time to replace an “on your own” society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
How’s this for sharing: I’ll be responsible for my prosperity, you be responsible for yours…and so on.
The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an “ownership society” really is an “on your own” society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.
“I prefer a ‘we’re all in it together’ society,” she said. “I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.”
I’d prefer you shut up and go live in Cuba, where they’re all in it together, like it or not.
And to think that Hillary likes to compare herself to Margaret Thatcher!
The head of the Hadith Department in Al-AzharUniversity [in Egypt], Dr. Izzat Atiyya, recently issued a controversial fatwa dealing with breastfeeding of adults. The fatwa stated that a woman who is required to work in private with a man not of her immediate family – a situation that is forbidden by Islamic law – can resolve the problem by breastfeeding the man, which, according to shari’a, turns him into a member of her immediate family.
Oh, Miss Haddad, I’m ready for my coffee break.
The 2007 World Health Assembly is wrapping up and people are commemorating the birthday of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson. Meanwhile, millions of Africans are commemorating still more deaths from a disease that the chemical she vilified could help control.
I just got out of the hospital, after another nasty case of malaria. I’ve had it dozens of times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. Fifty out of 500 children in our local school for orphans died from malaria in 2005.
Virtually every Ugandan family has buried babies, children, mothers and fathers because of this disease, which kills 100,000 of us every year. Even today, 50 years after it was eradicated in the United States, malaria is the biggest killer of African children, sending 3,000 to their graves every day.
In between convulsions and fever, I thought about the progress we’re making – and about those who would stop that progress. I ask myself, why do some people care more about minor, hypothetical risks to people or animals than about human life?
Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reversed 30 years of bad policy and reauthorized DDT to help combat malaria in Africa, by spraying it on the walls of houses to keep mosquitoes out. The World Health Organization (WHO) also came out strongly in support of DDT.
Both reviewed decades of scientific studies and concluded that using DDT this way is perfectly safe for people and the environment. So did Uganda’s Ministry of Health and National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). European Commission President Barroso said Europe supports the right of countries to use DDT, in accord with Stockholm Convention and WHO guidelines.
DDT has worked in South Africa and Swaziland. USAID is now using it in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia. Uganda and other African countries are preparing to add DDT to indoor-spraying programs.
We don’t see DDT as a “magic bullet” that can eradicate malaria by itself. We don’t advocate outdoor spraying with it. But we strongly support spraying tiny amounts on houses – as part of comprehensive strategies that also include other insecticides, larvacides and better sanitation to control mosquito populations, Artemisninin-based combination drugs to treat patients, and bednets, education, better hospitals and sound management practices.
No other chemical, at any price, does what DDT does. It keeps mosquitoes from entering homes, irritates the few that do enter, so they don’t bite, kills those that land, and reduces malaria rates by 75% – all with a single inexpensive spraying once or twice a year.
I have a friend from South Africa who nows lives nearby. He introduced me to a webcam that remains focused on a watering hole called Nkorho Stream. You can drop in at any time and see what wildlife happens to be happening by. At night, they switch to an infrared camera.
To get there, visit Africam and choose the Nkorho Stream. You’ll get a short commercial, but after that it’s just nature.
So, anyway, my buddy works at home and likes to leave the webcam site open on his browser for much of the day. With the great climate here in So Cal, he leaves his sliding glass door open onto his back yard.
One day he was outside and heard the distinct call of a Loerie, aka the Go-Away Bird.
He assumed that call was coming from his office, but, no, he’d shut his browser down. Loeries are not supposed to live in So Cal. Intrigued, he got his binoculars and began hunting the source of the Loerie call.
He quickly found a mockingbird sitting in his tree, rattling off the Loerie routine. Apparently, he’d been tuning in the webcam feed himself and picked up some new tunes off the internet.
As a rule, I could be described as a totally guiltless person. It isn’t simply that I make every attempt to lead a blameless life, but, on those terribly rare occasions when I do slip the tiniest bit, I tend to find truly excellent reasons why others are actually at fault. Or, as I once told my son when he attempted to use me–I being his alleged role model in this instance, although in no others–as his reason for having done something he shouldn’t have: “Your grandmother was a gold medal winner when it came to instilling guilt, but even she met her match when it came to me. So, don’t you even think about it.”
However, no matter how much I try to twist and turn, I fear that my days as the teflon man have come crashing to a halt. You see, I hold myself partially to blame for Phil Spector’s current problems. The question I can not avoid asking myself is whether he would he now be indicted for murder were it not for me and my good intentions.
As a classmate of Phil’s, I was in attendance the first time he performed in public. The occasion was a school assembly at L.A. ’s Fairfax High, back in the mid 50s. Although nearly half a century has passed, I remember it as if it had happened last week. But that’s how it is with major disasters. I’m sure that the people who witnessed the crash of the
Hindenburg will never forget it, either. And, as disasters go, the Hindenburg couldn’t hold a candle to Phil’s voice.
Five hundred of us sat stunned as he strummed his guitar and sang. At least we assumed it was singing. The idea that anyone with that nasally, Bronxish wheeze would dare to vocalize outside the confines of his shower redefined chutzpah for us. The end of his performance was greeted with absolute silence. After a few moments, moved solely by compassion for a fellow human being, my best friend and I started to applaud. Soon, the other students joined in. To our collective horror, this so buoyed Phil’s spirits that he did an encore!
A short time after graduating from Fairfax, Phil, who had seemed destined to be our class’s Least Likely to Succeed, began making his mark on the music world, albeit not as a vocalist. When we congregated at the Ambassador Hotel for our 10 th reunion, Phil was the one who showed up in a limo that he actually owned, along with three bodyguards whose sole function was to ensure that none of us got within ten yards of the man.
Is it any wonder that I’m so guilt-ridden? If only I hadn’t encouraged Phil that fateful day, I can’t help wondering if he might not have become a happy, well-adjusted, accountant, and been spared the drugs, the booze and now the murder.
At the very least, we’d have been spared that really awful encore!