wednesday november 30, 2005
tax cuts for everybody
Chart from Polipundit, who notes:
In addition to dramatically growing the economy, the “tax cuts for the wealthy” have also resulted in anuual federal revenues increasing by hundreds of billions of dollars, thereby reducing the federal budget deficit.
Unemployment is down to 5 percent - near the giddiest levels of the 1990s, and far better than the “full employment” levels of previous decades.
swiss snub science
...and enact five year ban on genetically modified food. HT: Instapundit.
leaky lips sink ships
So said the wartime poster warning civilians not to discuss possibly sensitive information. Lately we've heard Democrats complain they did not have the same access to prewar intelligence as President Bush.
Maybe, maybe not. We do know that Senator Kerry missed 76% of his Senate Intelligence Committee meetings, so his dimness was self inflicted.
Now comes news that Sen. Harry Reid may have blabbed a secret to the media: that Osama was killed in the recent earthquakes in Pakistan. (Ironic, if true, given that Osama saw every natural disaster to strike the US as evidence of God's wrath on us wicked infidels.)
Betsy Newmark has a nice roundup of Reid's leaky lips and those of other Democrat big mouths.
Now, let's think about this story that Reid leaked. He says that he has heard that Osama was killed in the earthquake. I imagine that there are two possibilities here. One possibility is that we have suspicions that Osama was killed - perhaps we've intercepted some "chatter" or just haven't heard anything about him since the earthquake. In that case, we don't really know that he's dead and, if he's not, he's probably happy for us to be guessing. And, as Fund says, we'd look stupid if it turns out that he is alive and our much vaunted CIA has made another intelligence error.
The other possibility is that we have solid information that he's dead. Might it not be possible that we would want to keep that information secret for a whole host of reasons? We could have sources or methods of gathering information that we're protecting. And now Senator Blabbermouth has blown it.
tuesday november 29, 2005
Here's one way to say thanks to our military.
bacteria = mucho megapixels
The “living camera” uses light to switch on genes in a genetically modified bacterium that then cause an image-recording chemical to darken. The bacteria are tiny, allowing the sensor to deliver a resolution of 100 megapixels per square inch.
sen. joe lieberman is a mensch
Why can't there be more Democrats like Joe Lieberman? He writes:
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.
Read it all.
la times on abortion
Today's Column One article focuses on an abortion doctor in Arkansas:
Harrison opened an obstetrics and gynecology practice, but after the Supreme Court established abortion as a constitutional right in 1973, he decided to take on an additional specialty. Now 70, Harrison estimates he's terminated at least 20,000 pregnancies.
If Roe vs. Wade were overturned, each state would determine the legality of abortion, so:
Harrison warns every patient he sees that abortion may be illegal one day. He wants to stir them to activism, but most women respond mildly.
"I can't imagine the country coming to that," says Kim, 35, in for her second abortion in two years.
Why not stir "Kim" into responsibility? Why not tell Kim about birth control?
I'm a moderate on abortion (I can't find a position I like, frankly) but the idea of sloppy people using abortion as birth control is offensive.
Against the fuzzy black-and-white screen, he sees the curve of a head, the bend of an elbow, the ball of a fist.
"You may feel some cramping while we suction everything out," Harrison tells the patient.
The "everything" had unique DNA and a unique destiny.
specter: please myob
Sen. Arlen Specter accused the National Football League and the Philadelphia Eagles of treating Terrell Owens unfairly and said he might refer the matter to the antitrust subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.
Specter said at a news conference Monday in Harrisburg it was "vindictive and inappropriate" for the league and the Eagles to forbid the all-pro wide receiver from playing and prevent other teams from talking to him.
"It's a restraint of trade for them to do that, and the thought crosses my mind, it might be a violation of antitrust laws," Specter said, though some other legal experts disagreed.
Restraint of trade? T.O. is still getting paid. He has no right to play, you RINO putz. Remember when petulant Al Davis used Marcus Allen as a third string back during his prime years? Should the Feds stick their nose in NFL rosters, too?
mao killed 77 million
Next time you see someone with a fashionable Mao item (poster, t-shirt, book) give them this news:
A noted expert in calculating the number of deaths caused by authoritarian regimes says the late Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-tung's policies and actions led to the deaths of nearly 77 million of his countrymen, surpassing those killed by Nazi Party founder Adolf Hitler and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin.
R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science and a Nobel Peace Prize finalist who has published dozens of books chronicling so-called "democide," or death by government, said the new Chinese figure – nearly double his previous estimate of about 38 million – was based on what he believes was Mao's duplicity in China's great famine of 1958 to 1961.
Eric Hoffer once observed:
The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.
plump rumps pose problem
Women may have to be given injections with longer needles - because their bottoms are getting too big.
Researchers say too much padding down below means jabs are not having the desired effect on the average female.
Too often the medicine is left stuck in the flab because the needles are unable to reach the muscle.
Growing obesity appears to be the problem - or put simply, plump rumps.
florists should cash in on this
A new nasal spray aphrodisiac for women that works in minutes may soon hit the market, according to a Local 6 News report.
Doctors said women who used the drug PT-141 in test studies felt a tingling or throbbing followed by a strong desire to have sex immediately after spraying their noses.
Just add a few squirts to a bouquet, and voila!
Charles Krauthammer writes a sensible column about torture:
For the purpose of torture and prisoner maltreatment, there are three kinds of war prisoners:
First, there is the ordinary soldier caught on the field of battle. There is no question that he is entitled to humane treatment. Indeed, we have no right to disturb a hair on his head. His detention has but a single purpose: to keep him hors de combat. The proof of that proposition is that if there were a better way
to keep him off the battlefield that did not require his detention, we would let him go. Indeed, during one year of the Civil War, the two sides did try an alternative. They mutually "paroled" captured enemy soldiers, i.e., released them to return home on the pledge that they would not take up arms again. (The experiment failed for a foreseeable reason: cheating. Grant found that some paroled Confederates had reenlisted.)
Because the only purpose of detention in these circumstances is to prevent the prisoner from becoming a combatant again, he is entitled to all the protections and dignity of an ordinary domestic prisoner--indeed, more privileges, because, unlike the domestic prisoner, he has committed no crime. He merely had the misfortune to enlist on the other side of a legitimate war. He is therefore entitled to many of the privileges enjoyed by an ordinary citizen--the right to send correspondence, to engage in athletic activity and intellectual pursuits, to receive allowances from relatives--except, of course, for the freedom to leave the prison.
Second, there is the captured terrorist. A terrorist is by profession, indeed by definition, an unlawful combatant: He lives outside the laws of war because he does not wear a uniform, he hides among civilians, and he deliberately targets innocents. He is entitled to no protections whatsoever. People seem to think that the postwar Geneva Conventions were written only to protect detainees. In fact, their deeper purpose was to provide a deterrent to the kind of barbaric treatment of civilians that had become so horribly apparent during the first half of the 20th century, and in particular, during the Second World War. The idea was to deter the abuse of civilians by promising combatants who treated noncombatants well that they themselves would be treated according to a code of dignity if captured--and, crucially, that they would be denied the protections of that code if they broke the laws of war and abused civilians themselves.
Breaking the laws of war and abusing civilians are what, to understate the matter vastly, terrorists do for a living. They are entitled, therefore, to nothing. Anyone who blows up a car bomb in a market deserves to spend the rest of his life roasting on a spit over an open fire. But we don't do that because we do not descend to the level of our enemy. We don't do that because, unlike him, we are civilized. Even though terrorists are entitled to no humane treatment, we give it to them because it is in our nature as a moral and humane people. And when on rare occasions we fail to do that, as has occurred in several of the fronts of the war on terror, we are duly disgraced.
monday november 28, 2005
democrats second bush
Two weeks ago, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid said this with a straight face: "Staying the course is not a strategy, it's a slogan." In truth his sound-bite was a slogan.
More than a year ago, President Bush laid out a simple strategy for Iraq: we will stay until the Iraqi government is strong enough to stand on its own, then we'll leave. Or in words that Jesse Jackson might like, "When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."
And despite all the doom saying, that strategy is working.
Now, after all this, says David Broder, the Democrats have unveiled their big idea:
Biden, the committee's senior Democrat, said in New York that it is time to scale back U.S. ambitions in Iraq and reduce troop commitment while shifting security responsibilities to the Iraqis. The next day, Obama, a freshman member of the committee, made many of the same points in Chicago.
Both said that an immediate or precipitous American withdrawal is out of the question, because, as Obama put it, "having waged a war that has unleashed daily carnage and uncertainty in Iraq, we have to manage our exit in a responsible way -- with the hope of leaving a stable foundation for the future, but at the very least taking care not to plunge the country into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis."
What must happen to make it possible, they agree, is a significant acceleration in the training of Iraqi security forces and in the civil reconstruction projects needed to give Iraqis a sense of hope -- both of which will require a change in priorities and an improvement in operations by U.S. forces.
Freshman Obama would benefit from reading Michael Yon (especially his Battle for Mosul, which covers a year of progress in detail) or StrategyPage, or any number of milblogs. What do they think the military has been doing all this time?
first 300 days
Jayson at Polipundit brings some perspective.
cindy's 15 minutes are over
A pathetic picture, but was it not ever thus?
UPDATE: "Jagged Little Pill"
can't fool all the people
Democrats fumed last week at Vice President Cheney's suggestion that criticism of the administration's war policies was itself becoming a hindrance to the war effort. But a new poll indicates most Americans are sympathetic to Cheney's point.
Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.
The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush's Iraq strategy. But the survey itself cannot be dismissed as a partisan attack. The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster.
Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."
what's right with this picture?
Ireland used to be an economic basket case. Now it's one of the hot economies across the pond, a place people move to for jobs.
What happened? Hint: it has something to do with low taxes, and why "tax cuts for the rich" have kept our economy grooving, too.
Read the full analysis from Brussels Journal here.
This post from Mohammed at Iraq the Model brought back memories:
The other battlefield of electoral campaigns can be seen in the posters war. Tearing posters of other parties has become so common that there are specialized contractors who get paid to do this! And they either tear the posters or paste their client’s poster over them.
One man who works in this field said to me “there are no more walls left in Baghdad and we had to buy a new set of tall ladders in order to reach the highest spots possible…” while a taxi driver felt sorry for the “money being wasted on these posters” and added “if they used this money to offer free clothes to the poor in this winter I’d give them my vote”.
In 1972, while living in Manhattan, I literally moonlighted as a poster boy. My crew leader got the gigs from somebody (probably disreputable) and we'd set out across town at 3 am with a van full of posters and buckets of wheat paste.
Any flat surface was fair game. Usually, we were advertising Broadway shows. Since most surfaces had already been postered, we were covering someone else's work, maybe even a job we'd done a few nights before for another customer. In places, posters accumulated like barnicles an inch thick. I'm surprised no pedestrian was ever injured in a freak poster peeling accident.
sunday november 27, 2005
german TV honors the Berlin airlift
germany winks at darfur genocide
The German media is very critical of any wrong doing by the US government, a few US soldiers and many US companies. Hedge funds were not just characterized as bloodsuckers, but as American bloodsuckers. German companies receive less criticism. Sometimes they even receive government support for doing business with rogue states.
The Sudanese government is complicit in the genocide in the western province of Darfur, but the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor sponsored a "German Pavilion" at a trade fair in the Sudanese capital in February 2005 and will do so again in February 2006 due to "the positive feedback from the German participants," according to one chamber of commerce.
Neokomplott has exposed another chamber of commerce, which calls the genocide "political disturbances," praises Sudan's dynamic oil industry and the improved business climate and mentions the German government's support of the fair.
al gore hypocrisy # 2308
Remember Al Gore? He once ran for president. He once campaigned against the policies of President George H.W. Bush for being too soft on Saddam.
But lately he's been a shrill critic of Bush the son, especially about Abu Ghraib, which he called a "gulag." Gore said:
He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.
But when he was VP, it was another story, as Tigerhawk found this passage in Richard Clarke's book:
Snatches, or more properly "extraordinary renditions," were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgement of the host government.... The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, "That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass." (pp. 143-144)
greed is not good
by Burt Prelutsky
As a rule, I get my back up when some people start accusing other people of being greedy. Generally, all that really means is that some people are jealous of everybody who has more money than they do. As a result, these fools spend an inordinate amount of time resenting and bad-mouthing folks like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch, and Sumner Redstone, for no other reason than they happen to be very rich.
For my part, I never begrudge what others have -- whether they’ve earned it by the sweat of their brow, through sheer brilliance, or simply because they were lucky enough to have wealthy ancestors. This isn’t to suggest I don’t recognize the existence of greed, but that it doesn’t make me angry or envious; rather, it saddens me.
Being a huge fan of Buster Keaton, for instance, how can I help but feel sorry that he didn’t set aside a few of his millions for a rainy day? I suppose that Keaton, when he was riding high and spending money like a fleet load of drunken sailors, simply assumed silent films would never give way to sound and that his own career would roll merrily along. He wasn’t the first person or the last to believe the gravy train would never pull into that final depot.
But poor judgment isn’t the same as greed. My idea of greed is best exemplified by two of the greatest humorists America has ever produced. The first of these was Mark Twain, the other was Preston Sturges.
Most people are aware of the former, but only a handful can identify the latter. Writer-director Sturges was a comet who blazed through the early 1940s, turning out such classic comedies as “The Great McGinty,” “Christmas in July,” “The Lady Eve,” “Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Palm Beach Story,” “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” and “Hail the Conquering Hero.” An amazing career made all the more amazing because it was accomplished in a mere five year span.
Whether it would have continued if he’d stayed at Paramount we’ll never know. Instead, he was lured away by Howard Hughes and the promise of untold wealth, to be a partner at a new studio called California Pictures. The ink on the contract had hardly time to dry before the bizarre partnership dissolved.
Sturges made only a few more unsuccessful pictures around town before moving to Europe, where he survived pretty much on pipe dreams and memories.
For me, it wasn’t his joining up with crazy Howard Hughes that I find greedy. After all, it probably wasn’t money alone that made him leave Paramount. Like most creative people, he dreamed about being the boss. Which, I’m convinced, is something that writers, even those who also direct, should never, ever be.
Sturges was already the highest-paid writer in Hollywood when he opened his own restaurant, The Players. So, obviously the man had a self-destructive streak a mile wide to begin with. Everybody knows, after all, that restaurants are very risky, very expensive, enterprises, unless you open one with the idea of torching it for the insurance, or you happen to be in the Mafia and are looking to launder a ton of cash.
But not satisfied to lose his shirt with The Players, Sturges blew his entire wardrobe financing his inventions -- the most expensive of which was a diesel engine that he planned to call the Silent Sturges. Before he finally stopped shoveling money into it, it turned him into the insolvent Sturges.
Two generations earlier, Mark Twain, not satisfied with being the richest writer in the world, decided that enough was not nearly enough. In an insane quest to be as wealthy as the robber barons, Twain, over a period of four years, sank most of his hard-earned royalties into developing a printing machine. That was such a bad idea that it forced him to venture forth on an exhausting lecture tour in his 50s simply to make enough to hang on to his home.
So, as I look at it, it’s greed when you foolishly risk your wealth and your family’s future in an attempt to turn a good-sized fortune into one that would make Midas drool.
When more than plenty still doesn’t suffice, you’re suffering from the fatal sickness known as greed. And, sadly, when such comic geniuses as Twain and Sturges are infected with the virus, the end result isn’t comedy, but tragedy.
saturday november 26, 2005
the confusion of joe biden
You may remember Joe Biden fretting during the early day of the Afghanistan war that "America might look like a high-tech bully" for bombing the Taliban. Captain's Quarters takes Biden to task for his weak grasp of the essentials of the war on terror.
Senator Joe Biden writes an op-ed for today's Washington Post that gets the entire war on terror fundamentally wrong -- and demonstrates why the Democrats have entirely failed to provide any leadership on Iraq and the wider war. Along the way, Biden slices off half-truths out of context to argue for the worst possible spin on Iraq, and ignores the tremendous progress that has been made by Coalition forces in developing Iraq into a democracy.
First, Biden postulates that the primary issue of a military deployment is when it will end:
The question most Americans want answered about Iraq is this: When will our troops come home?
We already know the likely answer. In 2006, they will begin to leave in large numbers. By the end of the year, we will have redeployed about 50,000. In 2007, a significant number of the remaining 100,000 will follow. A small force will stay behind -- in Iraq or across the border -- to strike at any concentration of terrorists.
That is because we cannot sustain 150,000 Americans in Iraq without extending deployment times, sending soldiers on fourth and fifth tours, or mobilizing the National Guard. Even if we could, our large military presence -- while still the only guarantor against a total breakdown -- is increasingly counterproductive. A liberation has become an occupation.
There is another critical question: As our soldiers redeploy, will our security interests in Iraq remain intact or will we have traded a dictator for chaos?
The third goal is to transfer authority to Iraqi security forces. In September, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. acknowledged that only one Iraqi battalion -- fewer than 1,000 troops -- can fight without U.S. help. An additional 40 can lead counterinsurgency operations with our support.
The president must set a schedule for getting Iraqi forces trained to the point that they can act on their own or take the lead with U.S. help. We should take up other countries on their offers to do more training, especially of officers. We should focus on getting the security ministries up to speed. Even well-trained troops need to be equipped, sustained and directed.
Well, by those standards, the liberation of Europe failed, too. As our intervention in the Balkans proved, the nations of Europe cannot do much about the defense of their own perimeter without US military aid, either.
France could not even transport her own army to the Balkans without hitching rides on American planes and ships. Does anyone think that Germany, Poland, Italy, or any of the NATO nations (or Japan, for that matter) could defend itself entirely without American logistical help -- and even for those who might, why would they? That's why we have NATO, for God's sake.
Why wouldn't we provide the same kind of long-term partnership for a rebuilt Iraq? It certainly suits our security interests more than keeping our forces in Germany and France.
john mccain as a new teddy roosevelt
A look at what's good and not-so-good about John McCain as a potential president.
building a better apc?
A group of e-military men decided to build a vehcile than can withstand IEDs (roadside bombs.) It's nicknamed the Rock.
oh, that brute!
Following intense US pressure, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday issued an unprecedented condemnation of Monday's Hizbullah attacks on northern Israel.
This condemnation - slamming Hizbullah by name for "acts of hatred" - marked the first time the Security Council has ever reprimanded Hizbullah for cross-border attacks on Israel. The condemnation followed by two days a failed attempt to get a condemnation issued on Monday, the day of the attack, when Algeria came out against any mention of Hizbullah in the statement.
When asked what changed from Monday to Wednesday, one diplomatic official replied: "John Bolton," a reference to the US ambassador to the UN. Bolton lobbied vigorously for the passage of the statement.
alibis for sale
Living a lie just got easier with these folks. Technology knows no limits.
friday november 25, 2005
research shows i never quarterbacked for the raiders
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former ambassador to the UN under Clinton, has long claimed to have been drafted by the Kansas City Athletics baseball team in 1966. Someone dug into the matter and proved Richardson lied. His answer:
"After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter ... I came to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A's," he said.
Researching the matter? How Clintonian.
It's tempting, watching Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid perform their outraged statesman act for the media, to laugh off their lame performances. But then you notice not everyone gets the joke, and a chill descends as you fear their schtick is actually playing in Peoria.
One expects a certain amount of cynicism in politics. But there's always hope that when it comes to the big issues--and what is bigger than national security?--that pettiness will bow to patriotism. Or as they used to say, "politics ends at the water's edge."
Alas, Democrat despair over loss of power has blinded them to their own depravity. In Nov. 2003, we got a peek at that desperation via a leaked memo written by a staffer for Sen. Jay Rockefeller laying out a scheme to politicize the debate about Iraq intelligence.
Now there's evidence the schemers have begun in earnest. Donald Sensing writes:
The attacks on the administration by the Democrats have consisted of two prongs. First the accusations that the president lied about the prewar intelligence in order to game the country into war. I wrote about that here.
The other prong is to demand that the troops be brought home immediately. Rep. John Murtha was not the first Democrat to demand it, but he has gotten the most attention.
Indeed. Despite having voiced the same position for over a year, Rep. Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq was treated as fresh by the media, like it was a tipping point.
Both factions [within the Democrat party] insist that “staying the course” is unacceptable. Murtha, incredibly for someone of his experience, insists we are actually losing in Iraq and that there is no recourse but to skedaddle.
But Murtha isn’t that stupid. He’s talked to too many senior military officers not to know what staying the course really means. More and more I see Murtha’s impassioned speech as less passion and more stage acting, part of a deliberate effort to promote his party in the coming year leading to the mid-term elections.
So, Murtha and the Democrat leadership know we are really winning in Iraq, and that's bad for them in the 2006 elections. They need Americans to believe in a failed Iraq.
Barring any major surprises in Iraq, the Pentagon tentatively plans to reduce the number of U.S. forces there early next year by as many as three combat brigades, from 18 now, but to keep at least one brigade “on call” in Kuwait in case more troops are needed quickly, several senior military officers said.
Pentagon authorities also have set a series of “decision points” during 2006 to consider further force cuts that, under a “moderately optimistic” scenario, would drop the total number of troops from more than 150,000 now to fewer than 100,000, including 10 combat brigades, by the end of the year, the officers said.
So, knowing that the plan was to redeploy troops beginning next year, the Democrats decided to get in front of the wave: Demand the troops be sent home NOW and then when the Pentagon announces the plan to redeploy, take credit for it.
The two prongs of the attack serve two purposes. The “Bush lied us into war” wing satisfies the huge numbers of the party’s base suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. The “declare victory and go home” attack preserves, however weakly, the party’s appeal to traditionally patriotic Democratic voters, of which there are also huge numbers. Doubtless the Dem leadership sees the attacks as a two-fer.
The appeals to both wings are intended to garner huge dividends in November 2006.
With any president but George W. Bush, they’d be wrong. But GWB is the easiest president to blind side that I have seen in my life. The fact is, the Dem plan is working like a dream for them. GWB has been simply flattened by this one-two punch. For someone whose allies say can play rope-a-dope politically better than M. Ali could in the ring, he and his advisors have been amazingly inept in meeting this strategy.
In fact, I wonder whether the “Bush lied” attacks were intended simply to be diversionary all along. While the White House was ducking and weaving that powerful left-hand punch, then trying to hit back, it got caught flat-footed by the roundhouse right, led by Murtha.
Read it all.
The Democrat shorthand on Bush has always been that he's a malleable dope with no sense of geopolitics, but with a great political operation (Rove). In fact, Bush has pursued ambitious, transformative policies in the mideast, but he's lousy at playing the political game at home.
Given a choice between bad actors-- those motivated by cynicism or those who trip over their own lines-- I'll take the latter every time.
tookie goes hollywood
by J.C. Phillips
Standing outside the walls of San Quentin prison, the rapper Snoop Dogg urged California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency to convicted murderer Stan “Tookie” Williams. Williams, the co founder of the notorious street gang the Crips, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1979 slayings of Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, his wife, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, and their daughter, Yu-Chin Yang Lin. Barring intervention by the governor, he will die by lethal injection on December 13. Speaking before a thousand young people and supporters, Snoop lectured the governor: "Stanley `Tookie' Williams is not just a regular old guy, he's an inspirator…His voice needs to be heard."
Snoop, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, Jamie Foxx and the other celebrity voices now raised in support of Williams offer a clear picture of the distorted moral vision of the Hollywood left. It is a vision that finds virtue contemptible and props up homicidal maniacs who write bad children's books as role models for the masses.
The argument for commutation of Tookie’s sentence centers on all the good work he has done since going to prison. The series of children's books he has written and his work to stop gang violence is proof of his redemption. His death, they say, will only serve to rob those youth currently in gangs or considering joining gangs, of hope. Witness that his supporters do not claim that Tookie is innocent of his crimes. They are not seeking that Williams be released, only that his sentence be commuted. Williams, however, has never admitted guilt. That little inconsistency suggests the great “inspirator” is not only an unrepentant murderer, but a liar as well.
The portrayal of Williams as some pied piper of peace for the gang community also holds very little water. A quick review of Book Scan shows the Tookie series of books have hardly been blockbusters. His top seller, “Gangs and Violence” has sold 330 books. Another book “Gangs and Wanting to Belong” sold exactly two copies. No one is reading his books, least of all his two sons, one of whom is serving time in San Quentin. The other was just arrested on charges of aggravated rape. Poor book sales are not reason to send someone to the execution chamber, but then Williams was not convicted of lackluster book sales. He was found guilty of shooting four innocent people in cold blood, a fact his supporters continue to forget.
Here again, wealthy celebrities are telling hard working, law-abiding citizens that the example offered by them is inadequate to save their communities; the models of competence, creativity and virtue that are alive in these neighborhoods is simply insufficient. No matter that hundreds of young people find the strength of character – the hope -- to resist the gang life. No matter that many of the stars have themselves found the strength to rise out of the tough streets. All that means nothing as compared to the words and example of Tookie Williams.
On Sunday November 13, one week before the “Save Tookie” rally at San Quentin, fourteen-year old William Cox and a friend were attending a neighborhood carnival when they were gunned down by a man who mistook them for rival gang members. Cox, who was not in a gang, was struck in the chest and died at the scene. That is the evil wrought by Stanley Williams!
Of course Snoop and Danny Glover did not hold a rally for William Cox. His death went unnoticed by the Hollywood commissars of compassion. They were too busy trying to save the life of a cold-blooded killer to notice one more young life snuffed out by gang violence. That tells you all you need to know about the corrupt vision the Hollywood left has for America.
an iraqi view
"With all transparency and clarity brother, first we ask the occupation forces to put a schedule for pulling out to their countries and next we ask for a timetable for the withdrawal of Iraqi army and police, government officials and members of parliament members to their homes and then we can come back to bring the good old days."
Mohammed at Iraq the Model:
I never had doubts in the hidden intentions of those in Iraq who keep saying that multinational troops must leave Iraq soon; they say their demands are essential for national sovereignty coming out of their patriotic feelings for Iraq while I see them as far as they could be from patriotism.
If those people put Iraq’s and Iraqis’ interests first, they wouldn’t have asked the US to leave Iraq while the troops missions are yet to be accomplished and the Iraqi national forces are still not capable of protecting the country and the citizens.
We all know why some insist that US must leave or keep calling the presence of these troops an occupation. The problem is that the ordinary citizen here cannot talk about this in public for fear of being labeled as an agent or collaborator with the occupation and what can an unarmed citizen do to face such an accusation coming from this or that militia.
What pushes these politicians and militias to take this attitude is their dream of regaining sovereignty but not national sovereignty; it is their sovereignty over Iraq.
thanksgiving november 24, 2005
putting my foot into the thanksgiving prayer
by J.C Phillips
The last thing I am concerned about is the meal. I can roast a turkey in my sleep. My stuffing is sublime. I will put my mac and cheese up against any in the world and my cranberry relish has received standing ovations! I am not worried about the meal. I am, however, having anxiety over the blessing.
The dinner blessing is the transformative element of the occasion. Through prayer, we transcend the narrow confines of ego and give the credit for our bounty where it is properly due. However, the Thanksgiving prayer is not solely an acknowledgment that the good things in life are gifts given through God’s grace. We are also beseeching God to give us more than we have. We offer the benediction in order to open our homes, and our hearts to the continued presence of the divine. It is the conduit through which the occasion moves from the purely sensual to the sacred. It puts the Holy in the Holi-day.
However, not everyone can prepare world-class mac and cheese and not everyone is skilled at delivering a good thanksgiving prayer.
There are those folks who power pray. Once these folks get going, there is no stopping them. They begin praying on Thursday and end sometime Friday afternoon. You may have a “Power Pray-er” in your family. Long after the peas have begun to shrivel and past the point that God is listening, Uncle Bubba is still offering praise.
There are those who offer comic prayers. A bit of humor is always nice, but too much levity robs the moment of the weight it should have and the prayer becomes insincere. Full bellies and a bounty of life and laughter to share with one’s neighbors is no trifle.
Then there are those who simply pray too briefly. If you clear your throat you are likely to have missed it. Like prayers that reach for humor, a prayer that is too brief seems a bit flippant for my tastes. Almost as though the moment is not worthy of much effort or attention.
My prayer to be “just right” must fall somewhere between long enough to give glory to the maker, but be short enough so the food is still hot when I finish. It must be light enough to maintain the festive mood, but also substantive enough to convey the true heartfelt thanks I will be offering for God’s divine intercession in my life and the lives of my family and friends.
If you are like me, on this day you are better able to express yourself through the mountains of food you prepare for your family and guests than you are through the words offered before the meal. However, it is worth remembering the secret ingredient that transforms an ordinary meal into something special is love. The greatest compliment a cook can receive is to be told: “You put your foot into it.” It acknowledges that the chef put everything he/she had into the dish. On Thanksgiving, it is equally important that we put our all into the prayer we offer, and like in every dish we prepare, love will be the secret ingredient.
Thursday afternoon, I will resist the urge to rely on a stand-by prayer that has grown stale over the years. I will keep it simple. My family and friends will gather round the feast. I will close my eyes, take a deep breath, unlock my heart, open my mouth and see what comes out. If I put my foot into it, the words will be beautiful and full. And like the rest of the meal, they will be perfect.
how to handle iraq debates with relatives
Hugh Hewitt has a practical guide.
UPDATE: James Lileks calls into Hugh's show and they role play the dinner table debate. Read the transcript here.
be thankful -- you're living large
Monty Python may seem like an odd choice for Thanksgiving inspiration, but this sketch has always amused me. The four Yorkshiremen top each other for most miserable childhood :
THIRD YORKSHIREMAN: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness, son".
FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN: Aye, 'e was right.
FIRST YORKSHIREMAN: Aye, 'e was.
FOURTH YORKSHIREMAN: I was happier then and I had nothin'. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.
SECOND YORKSHIREMAN: House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, 'alf the floor was missing, and we were all 'uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
wednesday november 23, 2005
the big lie
We've added a whole section devoted to the Bush Lied issue (use the Navigator at left).
You'll find original documents, video clips, quotes, commentary and lots of links. Heck, we even looked into whether Clinton hyped the intelligence in the Balkans to justisfy his war.
This section is a work in progress. If you have suggestions, links, gripes etc., please fire away.
playing the news
Yesterday the LA Daily News headline screamed that Iraq was demanding a timetable for withdrawal of American forces. It shocked at first, at least until I read the details.
Instead of a rejection of the US, the story seemed to be about political maturation in Iraq: majority Shiite and Kurds offering the minority Sunnis a concession. No firm deadlines were mentioned.
Omar at Iraq the Model believes the US was actually behind the concession:
That’s why I think that Iraqi officials wouldn’t have agreed to the opposition’s demands if not for pressure from the US administration and I have a strong feeling that the US will announce a timetable for withdrawing the troops soon.
I think the US administration kind of drove the Sunni insurgency leaders to ask for this in a way that allowed the Iraqi and US government the chance to win a good deal of time while they can reach a reasonable progress in building Iraq’s army and police forces.
Everyone wants to see an end for violence but this violence comes from more than one group of fighters; one (al-Qaeda) can be dealt with only by military means but what about the other two? The local Islamic extremists, tribal fighters and former Ba’athists are also tired of fighting and they do want the power they lost (at least some of it) back and they had realized that there’s no way to do that with violence but they kept carrying out attacks as a way to voice their demands and to pressurize the US and Iraqi government to respond positively.
the crying game
The president misled us." "Still no WMDs." "If I had only known then what I do now…"
This is the intellectual level of Democratic wartime criticism about the Bush administration as we near the third Iraqi election — the one that will finally give faces to the first truly elected parliamentary government in the Arab world.
So what is behind this crying game at home — when we are so close to achieving our goals abroad?
Bad polls and far-worse casualties. With over 2,000 American dead in Iraq, the politicians think their own brilliant three-week war was ruined by George Bush’s 32-month failed reconstruction.
...these wiser ones wait and hedge their wagers. They give full rein to the usefully idiotic and irresponsible in their midst, but make no move yet to undo what thousands of brave American soldiers have accomplished in Iraq.
What exactly is that? Despite acrimony at home, the politics of two national elections and a third on the horizon, and the slander of war crimes and incompetence, those on the battlefield of Iraq have almost pulled off the unthinkable — the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years.
And for now that is still a strong hand to bet against.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote:
...the unhinged right wing has now invented the myth that Democratic members of Congress have called President Bush "a liar" about Iraq. An extensive computer search by myself and a Post researcher can come up with no such accusation.
One need not use the word liar to call someone one. For example:
"I will be a commander-in-chief who will never mislead us into war." John Kerry.
"I can pledge you this: John Edwards and I would never think about sending young America's sons and daughters into harm's way anywhere in the world without telling the American people the truth."
"George W. Bush betrayed his country" -- Al Gore.
The Iraq war was a "fraud made up in Texas for political gain." Ted Kennedy
"...the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq..." Harry Reid
-- or --
The incessant demands for further investigations about prewar intelligence aimed at "getting at the truth" all assume a lie has been told.
I am not unhinged. And lacking the research tools of the WaPo, it took me only five minutes to shred Cohen's column. He ends with this:
[Bush] went out there and told the American people things that were not true. Does that mean he lied? Maybe not. Maybe he was just repeating the lies of others.
Or, Mr. Cohen, intelligence is never perfect. Yet life-and-death decisions must be decided on said intelligence. So consider for a moment that nobody lied. Not then, at least.
Those who insist today that Bush lied, in those or other words, are lying. So venomous is that untruth that we've created a whole section, The Big Lie, on this website as antidote.
tuesday november 22, 2005
politician reid cries politics
Sen. Harry Reid, fresh from his political stunt of forcing the Senate into a closed session to demand completion of the umpteenth review of pre-war intelligence, a report that was nearly complete, finds himself being skewered in a new GOP ad. Reid's response:
"These negative ads do nothing to get the job done in Iraq. Instead of giving our troops a plan for success or answering the serious questions of the American people, the Administration has decided to start up its political attack machine."
How does accusing the President of being a liar promote success in Iraq?
How does reviewing prewar intelligence over and over and over (see our Big Lie Library for the Robb-Silverman report) help win the war we are fighting?
Reid knows there's a plan for success in Iraq (kill all terrorists who show their faces, build up Iraqi security forces, hand over the country.) If he doesn't recognize the successes of that effort, he's willfully ignorant.
Much as we like to see our name in the paper, no attack machine was started up. Harry should be man enough to stomach hearing his own conflicting statements without crying like Blanche Dubois.
Senator Reid says he's disappointed in Republicans, but he won't stop working with them to find real solutions in Iraq.
Oh, how big of him. Fact is, Reid's biggest help would be to steer his "exit-strategy" party to the nearest corner, sit them down and shut up.
U2, bush and african aids
If you saw Sunday's 60 Minutes segment on the band U2, you heard singer/activist Bono say that 250,000 Africans are alive today because of drugs sent by the United States. This was Bush's doing. Clinton talked the talk. Bush walked the walk.
This is an excerpt from Bush's 2003 State of the Union address:
Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus -- including 3 million children under the age 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than 4 million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims -- only 50,000 -- are receiving the medicine they need.
Because the AIDS diagnosis is considered a death sentence, many do not seek treatment. Almost all who do are turned away. A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, "We have no medicines. Many hospitals tell people, you've got AIDS, we can't help you. Go home and die." In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words. (Applause.)
AIDS can be prevented. Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years. And the cost of those drugs has dropped from $12,000 a year to under $300 a year -- which places a tremendous possibility within our grasp. Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.
tough times for the head-hacker
On Friday, the allegedly explosive "Arab street" finally exploded, in the largest demonstration against al-Qa'eda or its affiliates seen in the Middle East. "Zarqawi," shouted 200,000 Jordanians, "from Amman we say to you, you are a coward!" Also "the enemy of Allah" - which, for a jihadist, isn't what they call on Broadway a money review.
The old head-hacker was sufficiently rattled by the critical pans of his Jordanian hotel bombings that he issued the first IRA-style apology in al-Qa'eda's history. "People of Jordan, we did not undertake to blow up any wedding parties," he said. "For those Muslims who were killed, we ask God to show them mercy, for they were not targets." Yeah, right. Tell it to the non-Marines. It was perfectly obvious to Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari and his missus what was going on when they strolled into the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel.
Still, Mr Zarqawi has now announced his intention to decapitate King Abdullah. "Your star is fading," he declared. "You will not escape your fate, you descendant of traitors. We will be able to reach your head and chop it off."
Read it all.
swift response to jfk lite
Senator Kerry, supposedly defending Rep. John Murtha, said, "I won't stand for the Swift-Boating of Jack Murtha!" As one of the 254 members of Mr. Kerry's unit in Vietnam who belonged to Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, I found Mr. Kerry's comments most ironic.
To us, Mr. Kerry's comments meant that no one should do to Mr. Murtha that which Mr. Kerry did to all of us and our fellow Vietnam veterans, living and dead. Mr. Kerry's disgraceful comments on many occasions in 1971 (while we were locked in combat), claiming falsely that we were "murdering" hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and committing rape and mayhem on a daily basis, are a part of the public record for which he has never apologized. This might be called "Kerrying" our soldiers.
In his own strange way, in his recent comments, Mr. Kerry was trying by implication to compare himself to Mr. Murtha - the gravest of insults to Mr. Murtha, who was given a standing ovation by the House of Representatives (which then properly buried his immediate pullout suggestion 403-3). Mr. Murtha's long military record stands in stark contrast with Mr. Kerry's continuous self-promotion of his short and controversial service in our unit. More importantly, Mr. Murtha has never compared our troops in the field - now or then - to the "Army of Genghis Khan" or claimed our adversaries, whether the bloody communists and Khmer Rouge or the butchers of Al Qaeda, were simply democratic reformers. Can anyone - even in the cocoon of Washington or the incestuous world of Mainstream Media - imagine either side of the aisle spontaneously rising to clap for anything that Mr. Kerry ever did or said?
michael yon photo essay
Nice photographs of sweet Iraqi school kids. If you haven't read his post about the Deuce Four bash in Spokane, check it out.
James Lileks on statements by author Kurt Vonnegut about suicide bombers:
"They are dying for their own self-respect," he [Vonnegut] said. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing."
Personally, I think it’s a worse thing to deprive someone of their own self-life. While I grant that people who go to a wedding party in a Jordon hotel are just asking for it (Insert obligatory come-back about the US mistakenly bombing a northern Iraqi wedding party here) you have to admit that it’s better to be alive, even if you have to deal with VOA satellite transmissions telling you your race is nothing – so worthless, in fact, that it deserves a democracy like Iowans and Britons and Japanese.
Oh, we could just nuke your cities and take your oil, but we hate you so much we’re going to stay here and bleed and force your warring factions to hold subcommittee meetings on the constitutional process. It's bored our people to tears; now it's your turn.
Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an "amazing high". He said: "You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high."
Mr. Vonnegut – again, a patriot whose dissent is being cruelly ground into the nurturing earth before your eyes – seems to think that suicide bombings literally happen in a vacuum, an unpopulated space where the bombers just pop like soap bubbles. It may be painless for them – alas – but it is not painless for the victims. You’d think such an obvious observation would go without saying, but we are dealing with an intellectual. What Vonnegut calls brave – blowing yourself up so you can fly up to the great Bunny Ranch in the sky and rut with fragrant houris blessed with self-regenerating hymens – does not exactly compare to the bravery required of the survivors.
Read it all.
monday November 21, 2005
nobel prize fyi
Crips founder Tookie Williams is scheduled to end his 24 year residence on California's death row on December 13. His advocates remind everyone that he's been nominated for a Nobel Prize five times. What's that worth? Eugene Volokh says:
Any social science, history, philosophy, law, and theology professor, judge, or legislator in any country (plus a few others) can nominate anyone for a Nobel Peace Prize (past nominees, just in 1901-1951, included Hitler, Stalin, and Molotov). Any literature or linguistics professor can nominate anyone for a Nobel Prize in Literature.
For further perspective, recall that Jimmy Carter actually won a Nobel prize.
chris matthews: evil is just another point of view
The broadcaster with a voice perfect for print sprinkled these pearls of wisdom:
Four years after 9/11 and the "crazy zeitgeist" that permeated the United States, most Americans have still not learned to know their enemies instead of just hating them, U.S. political journalist Chris Matthews says.
The zeitgeist was righteous anger and determination. Matthews apparently wanted kumbayah.
In a speech to political science students at the University of Toronto yesterday, the host of the CNBC current affairs show Hardball had plenty of harsh words for U.S. President George W. Bush, as well as the political climate that has characterized his country for the past few years.
"The period between 9/11 and Iraq was not a good time for America. There wasn't a robust discussion of what we were doing," Matthews said.
Huh? 18 months elapsed between 9-11 and the Iraq war. Op-eds debated all sides of the issue. Picketers marched in major cities. Bush personally went to the UN. Every trained monkey in Hollywood weighed in. Congress debated (and many Democrats today are trying to take back their words).
Besides, Matthews had a nightly yap show. Was he silent on the war?
"If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."
Beheading aid workers. Blowing up children in line to receive candy from soldiers. Using mentally retarded people as suicide bombers. Blowing up weddings. Etc. If that isn't evil, what is?
Lemme guess. Canceling Hardball, that Matthews would find evil.
how to lose: quit
QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.
Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.
Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.
Read it all.
bush in mongolia
Nice roundup with photos from Gatewaypundit.
"I always rely on the kindness of the Times when that brute (sniff, sniff) questions my patriotism."
Despite still being a subscriber, I've lost the habit of reading the LA Times. I was reminded why when picking up yesterday's "Current" section. Consider this:
LIKE AN ALBATROSS that castaways hope will not alight on their raft, the question of who misled America into the war in Iraq hovers above Washington, flapping its wings, but so far choosing not to land on either CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., or the White House.
If there is any question, it is "whether" not "who." Assuming that the nation was misled, by anyone, is patently dishonest. (This is what "begging a question" really means.)
The debate over prewar intelligence reemerged with last month's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is accused of lying about his role in the leak of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic. Democrats pounced on the indictment, saying the real issue it raised was the administration's manipulation of intelligence.
They can say I'm a millionaire, but it won't make me rich. Patrick Fitzgerald specifically said Libby's indictment was not about pre-war intelligence. The real misleaders are Democrat hacks and their media bootlicks.
So I stopped reading that column two grafs in. Next, Jonathan Chait, who distinguished himself two years back with a column that itemized all the things he hates about Bush. Sample:
I hate the way he walks--shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks--blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him.
Such intellectual bona fides came in handy for this:
An effective war leader could rally the country behind shared goals. Bush obviously thinks that his only chance is to rally his own base against a common domestic enemy. The speeches by Bush and Cheney were laced with unmistakable attacks on the patriotism of his Democratic critics.
Attacks on patriotism, eh? Having been called a liar for years by the Democrat fringe and for several weeks by the Democrat honchos (the two seemingly having undergone a mind-meld), the President finally struck back.
But Bush defended the cause, not himself.
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war -- but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people....
Some of our elected leaders have opposed this war all along. I disagree with them, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand. Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible.
It is irresponsible to play politics in full view of Al Jazeera. In a war for hearts and minds, what gets said here counts a lot. From Democrat lips to Zarqawi's ears.
This prompted the usual hissy fit, which brought to mind Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois. Blanche, the twisted, passive-aggressive sister-in-law, pecks and pecks and pecks away at Stanley until finally he explodes in rage. Then she shifts into victim mode.
But Bush didn't rage. He calmly spoke the truth.
The Democrats have been in an extended tantrum since 2000. Sore losers, they've resorted to ugly behavior and name calling. They peck and peck and peck, and when they hear one contradictory word, they pout about their patriotism.
I dunno about you, but the caveman in me wanted Stanley to shut Blanche's taunting mouth with a knuckle sandwich. Likewise my heart would swell if Bush ever did call Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy, et al unpatriotic.
Of course, the Times would rush to their defense against such a brute. Which explains my recent reading habits. Stella!!!
A Sun City couple died last week when the man shot himself and the bullet passed through his head and hit his wife in the forehead, Riverside County sheriff's deputies said Saturday.
The woman was standing about 8 feet away, authorities said. "It's strange," said Deputy Juan Zamora. "I have never seen something like that, and I've been a deputy for almost 10 years."
upside down xmas trees?
You'd expect these would come from down under:
New Yorkers are dreaming of a topsy-turvy Christmas. The latest craze to hit the city is to decorate homes with upside-down Christmas trees.
Shops and mail-order firms are finding that the plastic inverted spruces, which come fully wired with fairy lights and all the tinsel trimmings, are a sell-out in a city where floor space is always at a premium. "We have three on display and they are in enormous demand," said Cynthia Sayed, the manager of the Heart to Heart florist on Third Avenue, Brooklyn.
sunday November 20, 2005
bush attends church in china
It may seem like a small thing, but it carries big significance. Story with video.
troops vs. media
The news media reflect reality like a funhouse mirror:
Few of the troops understand that the news business is driven by dramatic events, not the tedious kind of process the troops go through every day to defeat the terrorists. To the troops, the war is being won. They see bad guys killed in large numbers, and few Americans getting hurt (it’s fairly common for their to be about twenty enemy dead for each American loss). The troops see tangible evidence, every day, of Iraqis having a better life. The troops cannot understand why that is not news, and why journalists always seem to be looking for a negative angle...
American troops are developing a hate-hate relation with journalists. The basic problem is that soldiers and marines in Iraq have access, usually via the Internet, to what the mass media is saying about what they think is happening in Iraq. These news reports, all too often, do not reflect what the troops experience. It gets uglier when the troops realize that reporters are spending most of their time in the Green Zone or some well guarded hotel, leaving it to local Iraqi stringers to collect information and photos for the reporters stories.
Mark Steyn unloads:
I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he's glad he's gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the "insurgents" are the Iraqi version of America's Minutemen. But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they've since done the math and figured that pandering to the moveon.org crowd is where the big bucks are?
If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defense was, "I was only obeying orders. I didn't really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff." And, before they huff, "How dare you question my patriotism?", well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism -- because you're failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire -- not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle. ...
The only difference between Bill Frist's mushy Republicans and Harry Reid's shameless Democrats is that the latter want to put a firm date on withdrawal, so that Zarqawi's insurgents can schedule an especially big car bomb to coincide with the formal handover of the Great Satan's cojones.
now zarqawi's tribe dumps him
The family of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, reiterated their strong allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah II in half-page advertisements in the kingdom's three main newspapers. Al-Zarqawi threatened to kill the king in an audiotape released Friday
"A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday."
The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.
"As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," the family members said.
Funy video of two Chinese students lipsynching Backstreet Boys. For all their emoting, I couldn't take my eyes off the third kid in the background busy playing a game on his computer.
murtha word games
...here is the lede of the NYT article by Eric Schmitt that appeared, according to a Google News search, about 12:30 PM Friday afternoon:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 - The partisan furor over the Iraq war ratcheted up sharply on Capitol Hill on Thursday, as an influential House Democrat on military matters called for the immediate withdrawal of American troops and Republicans escalated their attacks against the Bush administration's critics. [Emphasis added]
Here is the lede of the version of the Schmitt article that appeared about 7:30PM Friday night:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 - House Republicans are attempting to split the ranks of the Democrats tonight by offering a resolution to withdraw American troops from Iraq immediately. The Republican-controlled House is expected to defeat the measure in a vote that the Republicans hope will leave the Democrats in disarray.
So, you may well ask, what's the problem? The "newspaper of record" says, initially, that Rep. Murtha proposed "immediate withdrawal" and in a following version that the Republicans, albeit with the motive of splitting the ranks of the Democrats (how dare they!), offered a resolution "to withdraw American troops from Iraq immediately."
But an evening of Democrats howling foul changed the tone of Schmitt's next version, which according to Google news appeared about 10:30PM Friday night. Here is the description of the partisan conflict that appears there:
The battle on Friday came as Democrats accused Republicans of pulling a political stunt by moving toward a vote on a symbolic alternative to the resolution that Mr. Murtha offered on Thursday, calling for the swift withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Democrats said the ploy distorted the meaning of Mr. Murtha's measure and left little time for meaningful debate. [Emphasis added]
So, after an evening of Democrats accusing Republicans of "a cheap political stunt and a personal attack," the New York Times description of Murtha's proposal shifted from "immediate withdrawal" to "swift withdrawal."
the case against adultery
by Burt Prelutsky
Not being religious, I don’t feel comfortable discussing other people’s sins. Even where the Ten Commandments are concerned, I’m probably only batting about .650. However, one of the thou-shalt-nots I seem to take more seriously than a lot of other people, including those in the church-going crowd, is number seven on the hit parade, the one dealing with adultery.
Having been divorced twice, I recognize that all marriages are not made in heaven. Some, in fact, seem to have been cobbled together in Dr. Frankenstein’s basement. Speaking from experience, there are perfectly good reasons for certain unions to be dissolved. But, for the life of me, I can not come up with a single decent excuse for adultery. Frankly, I regard adulterers as lying, contemptible, sleazebags. I can’t begin to imagine how they live with themselves, let alone their mates. Even the terminology is distasteful, unless, unlike most of us, you don’t mind being a cheater.
I recall hearing that Chicago’s mayor, the late Richard Daley, who was one of the last of the big city bosses, when once asked why, with all the women available to him, he remained faithful to his wife, replied, “If I can’t keep my word to my wife, why should anybody else trust me?”
Now the story may be apocryphal, and, for all I know, Mayor Daley may have been a worse hound than Bill Clinton, but the point is still a good one. If before man and God, you pledge your troth, and, first chance you get, you hop into the sack with someone you’re not married to, you’re nothing but a four-flusher.
What truly confounds me are cheating couples who eventually wind up married to each other, and are then astonished that their partner is now cheating with somebody new. Anybody who believes they are so special, so beautiful, so fascinating, so charismatic, that they can trust their adulterous spouse to remain faithful is not only terminally narcissistic, but more gullible than the hayseed who pays good money for the deed to Brooklyn Bridge.
After giving it some thought, I am convinced that there are motives for adultery that have little or nothing to do with sex. I believe the first of these is based on resentment. Either the husband or the wife feels neglected because kids, work, hobbies or booze, seem to have supplanted them in importance. The adultery not only provides them with a temporary ego-boost, but it gives them the feeling that they’re extracting a measure of well-deserved revenge.
That is why after the initial excitement of the illicit affair wears off, the adulterer begins to resent the fact that his or her mate doesn’t even suspect anything. Their attitude often changes from one of “Oh, aren’t I the clever one to be pulling the wool over the fool’s eyes!” to “The damn fool doesn’t notice because he/she doesn’t think I’m sexy enough to attract anybody.” Ultimately, it’s vanity, rather than a guilty conscience, that leads them to confess all.
Another reason that people risk destroying their marriages, hurting their children and damaging their reputations, is because their lives are so darn boring, and I’m not even referring to their sex lives. The truth is that most people live lives, not necessarily of quiet desperation, but filled with tedious activities spent with boring, mind-numbing, dullards.
What makes it even worse is that every time they turn on the TV or pick up a magazine, they’re confronted by gorgeous celebrities, male and female, living the way they’d like to -- a mad whirl of parties and premieres, vacations in exotic locales, private jets, limousines, servants, and, yes, tacky affairs. Well, chum, with your income, your humdrum job and your ordinary looks, you can forget about everything on the list except that last item. But even you can meet George or Helen the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at the Bide-a-While Motel.
And aren’t you, for about an hour or so, every bit as sexy and glamorous as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Sure, if you say so.
But when you drive home afterwards, saddled down with a load of guilt and self-contempt, can you honestly say the lay was worth the lie?
one headline you never expected to see
"Japan radish in intensive care after murder attempt."
TOKYO (Reuters) - A giant white radish that won the hearts of a Japanese town by valiantly growing through the urban asphalt was in intensive care at a town hall in western Japan on Thursday after being slashed by an unknown assailant.
The "daikon" radish, shaped like a giant carrot, first made the news months ago when it was noticed poking up through asphalt along a roadside in the town of Aioi, population 33,289.
This week local residents, who had nicknamed the vegetable "Gutsy Radish", were shocked -- and in some cases moved to tears -- when they found it had been decapitated.
TV talk shows seized on the attempted murder of the popular vegetable and a day later, the top half of the radish was found near the site where it had been growing.
A town official said on Thursday the top of the severed radish had been placed in water to try to keep it alive and possibly get it to flower.
Asked why the radish -- more often found on Japanese dinner tables as a garnish, pickle or in "oden" stew -- had so many fans, town spokesman Jiro Matsuo said: "People discouraged by tough times were cheered by its tenacity and strong will to live."
Godzilla... Mothra...is Radisha next? The monster that made a whole city burp!
HT: Jonah Goldberg
saturday November 19, 2005
a pulitzer for obtuseness?
A special prize should be created for Tim Rutten, the LA Times media critic. He puts the news that Bob Woodward withheld information in the Plame/NadaGate affair into a twisted context:
"...the Bush administration's unprecedented — and largely successful — effort to bend Washington-based news coverage to its ends."
If you just spit up your coffee laughing, take a moment to recover. He's serious.
Far from being skillful at media management, the Bush administration has been inept. Any disinterested observer would agree that the news media has been uncommonly hostile to Bush.
For a perfect example, look no further than the coverage of the Plame affair.
Here's the story most Americans have been fed: a ruthless Bush administration, bent on covering it tracks over deceiving the nation into war, smears a brave and honest whistleblower (Joe Wilson) and in the process ruins his wife's career. That version of the story has been told and retold.
The truth is that Joe Wilson is a documented liar. And the likely--and far more intriguing story--is of a covert operation within the CIA to wreak political damage on a sitting president via leaks and lies. The news media that were "bent" (to use Rutten's word) were the New York Times/ Washington Post columnists and reporters who eagerly swallowed Wilson's leaked lies and gave them credence.
In that context, whoever outed Joe Wilson and his wife was the honest whistleblower.
Tim Rutten is personally invested in Joe Wilson the Great. Last year he wrote a glowing review of Wilson's polemic, "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir."
Today's column prompts the kind of exasperation that convinces me the Times is hopeless. If its media critic is this tone deaf, journalistic standards are no standards at all.
zarqawi losing his street cred
AMMAN, Jordan -- At least 200,000 persons demonstrated yesterday against the recent bombings of three luxury hotels, while a new online statement attributed to terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi defended the attacks and threatened to cut off the head of Jordan's King Abdullah II.
An anti-terrorist demonstration of such size is unprecedented in the Arab world, where Zarqawi, his mentor, Osama bin Laden, and their al Qaeda organization have attained folk-hero status among Muslim masses."Zarqawi, from Amman, we say to you: 'You are a coward,' " protesters chanted while brandishing banners with the names of their tribes from every part of Jordan.
dept. of unlikely art
Elements of Style done as an opera? Yes.
glowing pork chops
This can't be kosher.
The NSW Food Authority today moved to reassure consumers about the safety of their food following a number of media reports about "glowing pork chops".
NSW Food Authority Directory-General George Davey reassured consumers that the micro-organism responsible, Pseudomonas fluorescens was harmless.
“The Food Authority understands that many people would be alarmed to discover their food glowing in the fridge, but we can assure NSW consumers that the bacteria responsible is totally harmless if consumed,” Mr Davey said.
“Pseudomonas fluorescens is normally present on meat and seafood at low levels and proper cooking kills it.
why did the gnome cross the road?
Gnome pranks in Australia.
Germany's Der Spiegel mocks Bush's call for more freedom in China by saying:
He has very little credibility in Asia on issues such as human rights. Torture scandals in Iraq and elsewhere involving the US military, coupled with what is seen as blatant disregard by the Bush administration for the Geneva Conventions, are making it very difficult for Washington to lecture Beijing or backward countries like Myanmar.
Said "scandals" were largely ginned up by the likes of Der Spiegel and its media fellow travelers. To equate the humiliation (not torture) of prisoners at Abu Ghraib with the human rights abuses in China and Myamar demonstrates their inability to reason clearly.
I wonder if they even catch the irony of this admission:
Of course, the vast majority of Chinese weren't even aware of Bush's call for greater freedom. The government mentioned his speech in Japan in official state media, but left out the more controversial parts. One popular Beijing daily newspaper devoted an entire page to his visit to Kyoto, however, there was nothing about Bush mentioning Taiwan as a democratic and prosperous example for China.
Bush comes from a nation where news media are free to slander him, and yet he has no credibility from Chinese people, whose government filters what news they get?
This statement, from Rep. Jean Schmidt (R), enraged Democrats last night:
"He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said.
These statements by Democrats are apparently perfectly okay:
- Al Gore referring to Republican "digital brownshirts"
- Various Democrats claiming Bush lied about the threat posed by Saddam
- Democrats calling Bush a draft dodger
- Ted Kennedy calling the Iraq war a "fraud made up in Texas for political gain"
- Howard Dean, "This is one of the least truthful groups of people to run the country. These guys are just lying through their teeth."
- Howard Dean: "Bush administration likes burning books more than reading books"
- Dean: "..The most interesting theory that I've heard so far -- which is nothing more than a theory, it can't be proved -- is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?"
- Various Dems: Bush exploited fear of terrorism in order to turn the USA into a police state.
- Al Gore said Bush runs a "gulag" in Iraq
I define a pussy as someone who dishes it out but can't take it.
friday November 18, 2005
words from a weapons inspector
From Frontpage magazine, a meaty interview with Bill Tierney.
...Litigation depends on evidence, intelligence depends on indicators. Picture yourself as a German intelligence officer in Northern France in April 1944. When asked where will the Allies land, you reply “I would be happy to tell you when I have solid, legal proof, sir. We will have to wait until they actually land.” You won’t last very long. That officer would have to take in all the indicators, factor in deception, and make an assessment (this is a fancy intelligence word for an educated guess).
The Democrats understand the difference between the two concepts, but have no qualms about blurring the distinction for political gain. This is despicable. This has brought great harm to our nation’s credibility with our allies. A perfect example is Senator Levin waving deception by one single source, al-Libi, to try and convince us that this is evidence there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, as though the entire argument rested on this one source. Senator Levin, and his media servants, think the public can’t read through his duplicity. He is plunging a dagger into the heart of his own country.
Read the whole thing.
Watch news media manipulation at work:
As reported by the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker, the network evening news broadcasts tonight all lead with Congressman John Murtha’s (D-Penn.) call for the removal of American troops from Iraq.
Yet, they seemed disinterested in focusing much attention on Rep. Murtha's “denouncement” of the Iraq war more than a year ago. (Please see a May 10, 2004 CNN story stating, “Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, in a news conference with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the problems in Iraq are due to a ‘lack of planning’ by Pentagon chiefs and ‘the direction has got be changed or it is unwinnable.’") Maybe most important, the networks totally ignored the fact that Rep. Murtha has been expressing disgust with the Bush administration’s prosecution of this war since six months after it started.
picturing los angeles
on "le take"
One of France's most distinguished diplomats has confessed to an investigating judge that he accepted oil allocations from Saddam Hussein, it emerged yesterday. Jean-Bernard Mérimée is thought to be the first senior figure to admit his role in the oil-for-food scandal, a United Nations humanitarian aid scheme hijacked by Saddam to buy influence.
The Frenchman, who holds the title "ambassador for life", told authorities that he regretted taking payments amounting to $156,000 (then worth about £108,000) in 2002.
make the world go away
If you believe the findings of a new Pew Research poll, isolationism is growing in America.
Some 42 percent of Americans surveyed say the country should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own," according to the Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations survey, conducted every four years. That's up from 30 percent in 2002.
In a way, this is nothing new. The law authorizing the draft for World War II passed by only one vote. George Washington was preaching to the choir when he warned against "foreign entanglements."
But the global village is here. Try buying something in your local store that was 100% made in America. Viruses and ideologies respect no national borders. We're in each other's business, like it or not.
Democrats are promoting and exploiting war fatigue. Votes this week in Congress show wobbly politicans reaching for flags that are shades of white.
But what's the cause of the fatigue? For most Americans the Iraq war is a mere news item. Few have had their lives, their families or their jobs personally affected. We are not carrying ration cards. We're being asked to be patient, to hold our water. To shut up and let the serious people do the serious work. Because the freedom we enjoy is not free.
Last month, Alaa, who blogs as the Mesopotamian wrote:
Here we have the U.S.A. and Great Britain and their smaller friends, an alliance that has defeated Nazi Germany and the mighty Reich, and have had the stomach to obliterate Japanese cities with atomic bombs.
Here we have the Americans, the descendants of those who wrested a whole continent by shear obstinacy and fought for every inch of land with blood and sweat. Here we have nations that have waded through rivers of blood and mud and marched through entire continents to become symbols of human perseverance and enterprise.
Yes all this history and yet we have some who think that our miserable "Sunni Triangle" poses an insurmountable problem and that one should "cut and run" and "bring home troops immediately" etc. etc.
I salute President Bush who does not care much for this kind of defeatism and treats it with the contempt it deserves.
Alaa gets it. The putz Murtha does not. Captain's Quarters has a roundup:
I listened to Murtha extensively on CNN this afternoon as Wolf Blitzer interviewed him, and the AP left out some of Murtha's more idiotic commentary. He kept bringing up Abu Ghraib as if it were the most critical juncture in the Iraq War and kept insisting that it doubled the casualty rate. He repeatedly told Blitzer that the military could not beat the terrorists, a lovely message to send to the 150,000 men and women currently deployed to Iraq, as well as the Zarqawi network and their recruiters. In fact, for most of the interview Murtha could hardly complete a sentence, he became so hysterical.
After the White House disputed his assertions -- mostly rehashed arguments we've now heard for almost all three years of this effort, disregarding the actual fact that our military has allowed the Iraqis to develop a democracy and hold two successful and remarkably peaceful elections -- Murtha got viciously personal, pulling out the chickenhawk argument:
Underscoring the rising emotions of the war debate, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.
"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there," said Murtha, a former Marine. "I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
When will Democrats get through their head that our military comes under civilian control? This isn't Starship Troopers, where only veterans make decisions on war and peace, and most Americans wouldn't want to live in that kind of society. All due respect to Murtha's Viet Nam service, but being an enlisted man in Viet Nam doesn't make him the reincarnation of von Clausewitz, either. Dick Cheney has served as a Secretary of Defense and has his own expertise on military matters, even if Murtha doesn't want to admit it.
Cutting and running is surrender, no matter who proposes it. I don't care if Murtha has a chest full of medals -- telling the national media that American troops can't handle Islamofascist terrorists and must be withdrawn from their range of action is cowardice. As I recall, Marshal Petain managed to prostrate himself right quickly before the Nazis despite his status as a WWI hero, too. Besides, where exactly will Murtha draw that line -- New York City? Logan Airport?
thursday November 17, 2005
AIDING & ABETTING
By JOHN McCAIN
IRAQ is today in the throes of another critical moment in its post-Saddam history. There is both great hope and great difficulty, with a new constitution and an ongoing insurgency, with parliamentary elections in a month and violence plaguing many areas.
At home, the American people wish to see us succeed in helping bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people, but express increased uncertainty among the way forward. Now is the last time we should send a message that withdrawing troops is more important than achieving success.
Unfortunately, the Senate considered two amendments this week — one of which was approved with 79 votes — that did just that. In the version that passed, 2006 is designated as "a period of significant transition to full sovereignty . . . thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq."
These words are likely to be examined closely in Iraq, by both friends and enemies. They suggest that the Senate has its priorities upside down, and I voted to reject them.
Anyone reading the amendment gets the sense that the Senate's foremost objective is the draw-down of American troops. What it should have said is that America's first goal in Iraq is not to withdraw troops, but to win the war. All other policy decisions we make should support, and be subordinate to, the successful completion of our mission.
If that means we can draw down our troop levels and win in Iraq in 2006, that would be a wonderful outcome. But if success requires an increase in American troop levels in 2006, then we must increase our numbers there.
Morality, national security and the honor our fallen deserve all compel us to see our mission in Iraq through to victory.
But the amendment suggests a different priority. It signals that withdrawal, not victory, is foremost in Congress' mind, and suggests that we are more interested in exit than victory.
A date is not an exit strategy. To suggest that it is only encourages our enemies, by indicating that the end to American intervention is near. It alienates our friends, who fear an insurgent victory, and tempts undecideds to join the anti-government ranks.
And it suggests to the American people that, no matter what, 2006 is the date for withdrawal. As much as I hope 2006 is the landmark year that the amendment's supporters envision, should it not be so, messages like these will have unrealistically raised expectations once again. That can only cost domestic support for America's role in this conflict, a war we must win.
The sponsors may disagree with my interpretation of their words, saying that 2006 is merely a target, that their legislation is not binding and that it included caveats. But look at the initial response to the Senate's words: a front page Washington Post story titled "Senate Presses for Concrete Steps Toward Drawdown of Troops in Iraq."
Think about this for a moment. Imagine Iraqis, working for the new government, considering whether to join the police force, or debating whether or not to take up arms. What will they think when they read that the Senate is pressing for steps toward draw-down?
Are they more or less likely to side with a government whose No. 1 partner hints at leaving?
The Senate has responded to the millions who braved bombs and threats to vote, who put their faith and trust in America and their government, by suggesting that our No. 1 priority is to bring our people home.
We have told insurgents that their violence does grind us down, that their horrific acts might be successful. But these are precisely the wrong messages. Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.
Americans may not have been of one mind when it came to the decision to topple Saddam Hussein. But, though some disagreed, I believe that nearly all now wish us to prevail.
Because the stakes there are so high — higher even than those in Vietnam — our friends and our enemies need to hear one message: America is committed to success, and we will win this war.
it's a moot point now
...because the US held firm against attempts to cede control over the Internet to the UN. But for those with any doubt about the US position, consider that Zimbabwe's psycho-tyrant Robert Mugabe bellowed:
Our voice has been strangled and our quest to redeem a just and natural right has been criminalized. Today we are now very clear. Beneath the rhetoric of free press and transparency is the iniquity of hegemony. The quest for an information society should not be at the expense of our efforts towards building sovereign national societies.
His "efforts" included bulldozing shanties, burning huts (sometimes with residents inside), destroying community gardens that provided the only hedge against starvation, and overall, taking a once-prosperous nation to ruin.
The free wheeling Internet that America has bequeathed the world shines lights on cockroaches who much prefer the darkness, and they yearn to bring back the bad old days.
Once again, thank god Jimmy (Panama Canal) Carter isn't president right now.
fbi names top ten world art crimes
No, "Piss Christ" is not on the list. Not even Thomas Kincaid.
maybe nicotine's good for you
Drinking decaffeinated coffee may be bad for your heart - a finding that will come as a shock to those who think ridding the beverage of its powerful stimulant might make it better for them.
osama's christmas list
Osama bin Laden wants the United States to convert to Islam, ditch its constitution, abolish banks, jail homosexuals and sign the Kyoto climate change treaty.
The first complete collection of the Saudi's statements published today portrays a world in which Islam's enemies will take the first steps towards salvation by embracing the "religion of all the Prophets".
Give up my ATM card? Never!
ted kennedy had a backbone?
The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone - but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.
We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we're going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.
We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us.
They and their families can be certain: that this cause is right... and the performance of our military has been brave and honourable... and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.
lemons into lemonade
President Bush said yesterday that it was "a positive step" for the Senate to defeat a Democrat-led effort to establish a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
wednesday November 16, 2005
real? or another cold fusion?
An engine that generates its own hydrogen fuel.
russia's "generation nyet" gets nostalgic
If you're a Russian born between 1979-82 nostalgia calls.
publishing under the influence
Esquire magazine has designated Bill Clinton "The Most Influential Man in the World." He travels, hosts seminars and makes star f*ckers swoon. Clinton had eight full years in the White House and did what? Oh yeah, welfare reform and peace in Ireland. And kept his polls numbers up. Bravo.
bawling barbara boxer's bad fiction
Yes, yes. Senator Barbara Boxer, though dumb as a stump, has published a novel. Some tidbits:
Greg's naked body was long and elegant, his embrace enveloped her utterly, and they meshed with ease and grace. He smelled good too, faintly and astringently of aftershave. He was clinging to her as if he'd never let her go, it was all so easy and right.
Gawd, I'd love attend a reading with Barbara saying this stuff aloud.
The bed was huge and soft with a blue and white comforter. He didn't notice Jane taking her clothes off but suddenly she was naked: long legged, lithe, and bronzed. The sheets were cool, her body warm, her limbs strong and supple, and they meshed with his just as he remembered. "Oh Greg, dearheart," she whispered in his ear, "I've missed you so. Welcome home."
Quite a mesh.
Her skirt was very short, and Josh found himself mesmerized by her perfectly shaped, silken legs with kneecaps that reminded him of golden apples — he couldn't remember having been captivated by knees before — and her lustrous thighs. He tore his eyes away from Bianca's legs with the utmost difficulty.
Kneecaps like golden apples? Wow.
Yesterday all but 13 Republicans in the Senate went wobbly on the Iraq war, voting for a largely symbolic measure that puts the President on notice that they are concerned, yes, very concerned about progress in Iraq.
But since the war of terror is fought in both newsroom and battlefield, symbols matter.
On what bad news is this concern based?
- The news that 11 million Iraqis voted for a constitution and are busy campaigning for next month's elections?
- That more Iraqi troops and police are taking on more responsibility for the country's security?
- That Baghdad is experiencing a real estate boom? (Instead of converting wealth to diamonds and rubies that can be sewn into their garments, Iraqis are sinking their savings into real estate--a vote of confidence in their nation's future.)
No, the concern is about Bush's low approval ratings. Since mid-summer, Bush has been beset by bad luck and media bashing. It began with the press reporting Cindy Sheehan's antics without any context.
Then came an AP/Ipsos opinion poll, rigged by oversampling Democrats, that showed public support for the war had fallen steeply. This "fact" was then woven into news story after news story, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Next came Katrina, and suddenly Bush was presented as a huge incompetent and uncaring racist.
The Plame story was rightfully tagged NadaGate by John McTierney because it was about nothing. Yet the mainstream media gladly harmonized with Democrats as they sang "culture of corruption" in all available venues.
Bush is also victim of his own inarticulation. Watching the excellent GOP video yesterday (see below), I couldn't help notice how smoothly Clinton spoke about Saddam. Clinton has a gift for seeming resolute and bold, when he's actually indecisive and cowardly. Bush is he's clear-eyed and determined, but can't even read his script without stuttering.
One would hope the wobbly Senate Republicans would have more guts to withstand a little heat. But no, they don't. Shame on them and too bad for the country.
la's $350 million high school
Built atop a gaseous old oil field, the Belmont Learning Center's latest price tag has climbed to $350 million, believed to be the most expensive in the nation.
First they found the explosive methane gas. Then it was the earthquake fault line under the half-built high school. Twice they have tried to finish Belmont Learning Complex. Twice it has been abandoned.
Now, eight years and about $175 million after construction first started, the deeply troubled downtown campus is again on the verge of resurrection.
Today, Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer will ask the Board of Education to approve a $132-million construction contract to complete a scaled-back version of the school. Using outdated estimates that did not fully account for the dramatic rise in the price of building materials, district officials had expected construction costs to be about $40 million less.
All told, including new design, inspection and equipment costs, the final cost is expected to approach $350 million. It is believed to be the nation's most expensive public school.
With 1900 students, that $184,210 a head.
tuesday November 15, 2005
"Bush Lied" they cried. Again and again and again. Now the GOP has put together a sly, devastating video that hangs them by their own words.
You gotta love the subtle use of "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" playing under.
I'd donate money to play this during the Super Bowl.
rockefeller's big mouth
I was so astonished by Sen. Jay Rockefeller's statement to Chris Wallace that he was not responsible for his vote authorizing the Iraq war, I overlooked a more astonishing admission.
Fortunately Bill Bennett caught it:
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: .... I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq — that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.
While Democrats in Washington are berating the White House for having prewar intelligence wrong, a high-profile U.S. senator, member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, who has a name more internationally recognizable than Richard Cheney's, tells two putative allies (Saudi Arabia and Jordan) and an enemy who is allied with Saddam Hussein (Syria) that the United States was going to war with Iraq. This is not a prewar intelligence mistake, it is a prewar intelligence giveaway.
Syria is not only on the list of state sponsors of terrorism and the country many speculate is where Hussein has secreted weapons, it is also the country from which terrorists are flowing into Iraq to fight our troops and allies. Jordan and Saudi Arabia have had, over the years, conflicted loyalties. What was Senator Rockefeller doing? What was he thinking? And all this before President Bush even made a public speech about Iraq — to the U.N. or anyone else.
How about an investigation, now, into what exactly Senator Jay Rockefeller told Syria and just what Syria might have done with the information made available to them presumably before it was made available to the U.N., the Senate, or the American people.
Senators and congressmen don't have to agree with their president's policies, and they should make the president robustly defend his policies — but they should not be acting as if they are the president or secretary of state; they should not be tipping off sometimes friends and definitive enemies about war plans that not even the president has yet made as policy. This is the true mockery of prewar intelligence, and Senator Rockefeller should fully explain his actions.
If Syria — or elements in Saudi Arabia — began acting on this information before we even went to war in Iraq (more than a year later), then Senator Rockefeller may have seriously harmed, impeded, and hindered our war efforts, our troops, and the entire operation in the Middle East. This should be investigated immediately; and perhaps Senator Rockefeller should step down from the Intelligence Committee until an investigation is complete.
Jordanians are shocked that Islamic terrorists would blow up families, including families celebrating a wedding. They are so shocked that for the first time in history, Muslims have taken to publicly demonstrating against Islamic terror.
And why are they shocked? Because the terrorists blew up Jordanians. As long as Islamic terrorists blew up men, women and children who are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, American, Australian and black Sudanese, the Arab and larger Muslim worlds were not particularly disturbed.
In fact, Palestinians, who comprise the majority of Jordan's population, celebrated when Jews were blown up at Passover seders and at weddings. And they took to the streets and cheered in the Palestinian fashion, handing out candy, when Americans were incinerated in office buildings.
bush replies to the ankle biters
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war -- but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my Administration and members of Congress from both parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq -- and reached the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Let me give you quotes from three senior Democrats: First, quote, "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons." End quote. Here's another one, quote, "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as [Saddam Hussein] is in power." End quote. And here's the way another Democratic leader summed it up, quote, "Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the President's approaching this in the right fashion."
The truth is that investigations of the intelligence on Iraq have concluded that only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world -- and that person was Saddam Hussein. In early 2004, when weapons inspector David Kay testified that he had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he also testified that, quote, "Iraq was in clear material violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing that was illegal." Eight months later, weapons inspector Charles Duelfer issued a report that found, quote, "Saddam Hussein so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted."
Some of our elected leaders have opposed this war all along. I disagree with them, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand. Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible.
As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.
Via Truth Laid Bair
monday November 14, 2005
god's gift to the left: pat robertson
If Pat Robertson didn't exist, the Left would have to invent him. After voters in Dover, Pennsylvania elected a school board that will move "Intelligent Design" from biology class to an elective course on world religions, Robertson warned Doverians:
"If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God — you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. ... Don't ask for his help, because he might not be there."
Does this mean:
- Disasters are god's way of punishing sinners? If so, Katrina was a very blunt instrument, smiting both sinners and saints alike.
- Majorities can run god out of town? Isn't god tougher than that?
- God nurses grudges?
- God tells Robertson his positions on school board curricula?
Someone, please stuff a sock in that mideval knucklehead's mouth.
putting iraq in perspective
by Burt Prelutsky
Even though that icon of the Democratic party Bill Clinton argues that our troops belong in Iraq until that country is able to take care of its own security matters, most of the loudest voices on the left continue to clamor that we’re involved in a quagmire. By definition, by the way, a quagmire is any armed conflict either begun or prolonged by a Republican administration.
I happen to believe that we were right to invade Iraq and to rid the place of Saddam Hussein and his vile progeny. At the time we went in, I didn’t know if Hussein possessed WMD, but along with Kennedy, Kerry and the Clintons, I was pretty confident he did. However, I didn’t need that as an excuse to do the right thing. If Hussein didn’t possess the weaponry, so much the better, because it would mean he couldn’t unleash them on our soldiers.
To me, it was enough that he was a brutal tyrant; a menace to the entire Middle East; a man who sent $25,000 in blood money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers; and someone who, unlike the despots in Iran and North Korea, had lost a war, signed a peace treaty and then, thanks to the corrupt and gutless member states of the U.N., ignored its provisions with impunity.
As I say, I was in favor of invading Iraq whether or not Hussein was funding research on a nuclear bomb for many of the same reasons I would have been predisposed to invading Nazi Germany in the 1930s and getting rid of Adolf Hitler, even if I’d been unaware that Werner von Braun and his band of elves were working on the V-2 rocket.
For all the faults that people find with President Bush, a few of which even I acknowledge, his determination to bring democracy to a part of the world where it’s almost as rare as a ham sandwich convinces me that history -- at least history written by the politically unbiased -- will judge him favorably.
None of this should be taken to mean that I don’t take the deaths of our men and women as seriously as do those on the left. No decent person can read the statistics and be unmoved. A roll call of the names of those decent human beings, young people for the most part, their innocent lives cut tragically short, is enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the staunchest conservative.
Knowing that recently, in a single month, nearly 40 Americans were killed in just one city, 400 in a single year, is reason enough for me to join with my fellow Americans in a heart-felt plea: “For God’s sake, Mr. President, please bring home the troops….from Detroit.”
"don't blame me. i just vote here."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who along with Ted Kennedy constitute a two man argument for confiscatory inheritance taxes, has been leading the "Bush Lied" smear.
In an interview with Chris Wallace he said:
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.
WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No.
WALLACE: You're not?
This came at the end of an interview in which Wallace busted Rockefeller for having made stronger statements about Saddam than Bush, yet now claims Bush exaggerated the case.
WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, the President says that Democratic critics, like you, looked at pre-war intelligence and came to the same conclusion that he did. In fact, looking back at the speech that you gave in October of 2002 in which you authorized the use of force, you went further than the President ever did. Let's watch.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11th, that question is increasingly outdated."
WALLACE: Now, the President never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times.
Which means he's miffed about being cornered. So he starts blowing smoke:
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11. Now, the intelligence that they had and the intelligence that we had were probably different. We didn't get the Presidential Daily Briefs. We got only a finished product, a finished product, a consensual view of the intelligence community, which does not allow for agencies like in the case of the aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy said these aren't thick enough to handle nuclear power. They left that out and went ahead with they have aluminum tubes and they're going to develop nuclear power.
WALLACE: Senator, you're quite right. You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat.
WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, I want to play another clip from your 2002 speech authorizing the use of force, this time specifically on the question of Saddam's nuclear program. Here it is.
Cue the video of Rockefeller the Belligerant.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons. And will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years and he could have it earlier."
WALLACE: Now, by that point, Senator, you had read the National Intelligence Estimate, correct?
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: In fact, there were only six people in the Senate who did, and I was one of them. I'm sure Pat was another.
Important point. The White House arranged a secure room with all the intelligence made available to Congress. Only six bothered to show up and have a look. Now they have the gall to complain they were bamboozled.
WALLACE: Okay, but you had read that, and now we've read a declassified…
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: But Chris, let's a...
WALLACE: Can I just ask my question sir, and then you can answer as you choose. That report indicated there was an agreement – a disagreement among analysts about the nuclear program. The State Department had a lot more doubts than the CIA did about whether he was pursuing a nuclear program. You never mentioned those doubts. You came to the same conclusion the President did.
Read Powerline's post.
sunday November 13, 2005
hippo adopted by tortoise
NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said. An old story, but news to me.
get your dna upgrades
Someone's having fun here. Warning, some images might offend some people.
good news, bad news
A French Islamic group quells riots with a fatma. Good. By doing so, they establish themselves as new rule of law. Bad. Very bad. Read Amir Taheri here.
According to the left, notably the unreformed Socialist Party, the trouble stems from cut-backs in government subsidies that have curtailed social services in the affected areas.
The Socialists are specially sore about Sarkozy's decision to scarp the so-called "proximity police" that the previous Socialist administration had created. The "proximity police" had been a fig-leaf to hide the fact that the real police, along with doctors, firemen, school inspectors, and other representatives of the republic had been excluded from dozens of suburbs for years.
The "proximity police" had no authority to detect crime, arrest criminals or even report on criminal activities. But it could play football with teen-agers, organise seaside holidays for them, and supervise "artistic tagging" competitions.
French Asian immigrant communities pose no perceived threat because:
The indigenous French do not consider the Asian community as a threat to the very idea of Frenchness if only because it has no universal pretensions.
The Muslim immigrant minority, however, is perceived as a threat because Islam regards itself as a universal faith and an alternative to Western civilisation. Most indigenous Frenchmen are persuaded that their own culture and civilisation is the best that mankind has ever produced and that Islam's pretensions are misplaced, to say the least.
It is hard to establish which came first but there is no doubt that militant Islamism and equally militant Islamophobia have formed a deadly couple that is leading France into uncharted waters.
the latest on syria
Today, the Syrian President Assad spoke. We were all waiting for his speech; yes we, the Lebanese. But what he said alas truely hurt....and was disrespectful. First, he was saying "Hariri" when referring to the late Rafiq Hariri without saying "May he rest in peace" or the "martyr" Hariri (perhaps he's not a martyr in his view), or even simply the word, the "late" Hariri, or at least his full name.
Second, he deduced (through a convoluted way) that the Future Movement has made the late Hariri a traitor and has also insulted him by not blaming Israel for the attack. He even called them, "Buyers and Sellers of Blood" (ie. killers).
still awaiting clinton's bosnia exit strategy
Remember Bill Clinton's one year commitment of American troops?
coke in the rhine
Germans are snorting more of Colombia's finest, and its showing up in the river.
will europe allow "frankenteria"
Europe, a continent of heavy cigarette smokers, has an fearful aversion to genetically modified food, which some call frankenfood. Named no doubt after Al Franken. Now comes this:
Scientists have genetically modified bacteria living in the human body to produce chemicals that block HIV infection.
Although the research is still at an early stage, they hope it could eventually lead to a practical and cost effective new way to combat the virus.
omar has words for the quagmire chorus
Part of a longer post on that maturation of politics in Iraq:
...I’d like to remind those who persist to say that Iraq is a failed case that next month we will have witnessed three democratic carnivals within only one year, on January, October and one yet to come on December and I believe this alone is a striking proof on the accomplishments of a nation that has just emerged from the horrors of 35 years of tyranny and suppression and what adds to the value of the proofs of this success is that more of the community factions have joined the march and I want to remind you also that we’re human and we do err, one elections is not enough to state whether we’re successful or not and it is dead wrong to judge a country this way; we’re moving forward and nothing can stop the progress, this something I’m damn sure of.
knight-ridder channels emily litella
Emily was the Saturday Night Live character who'd rant about something, realize she was off base and then say sweetly "never mind." So it iswith the infamous rope of death in New Orleans:
A week after Katrina hit, Knight Ridder and other media outlets reported on Sept. 5 that 22 bodies had been found tied to a single rope near Violet, La., in devastated St. Bernard Parish. The parish, or county, is east of New Orleans.
The story was sent around the world. Knight Ridder moved two stories on Sept. 5 that quoted Sheriff Jack Stephens saying rescuers had found the bodies tied with rope and wrapped around a pole.
"It's a hurricane urban myth. It's fictitious. It never happened. Thank God," he said.
Fellas, a lot of what you publish is urban myth.
saturday November 12, 2005
a profile in humanity
An American chaplain in Iraq, a rabbi, tells a moving story:
I held his tiny hand and watched as the monitors told the story: His heart was in trouble owing to the brain trauma. I watched as he fought for his life, fighting to breathe. But I knew he was dying and there was nothing I could do. This innocent Muslim child, who had been observing Ramadan the way a child does, was now dying despite the fact that my blood was moving though his veins, despite the fact that I pleaded with G-d to do what I thought was right, to keep him alive. But G-d had other plans.
I didn’t want this boy to die hearing the strange sounds of a hospital and a foreign language. I wanted him to be comforted by the last sounds he heard, by words that were close to his heart, words that spoke of home and faith. I started to recite the Holy Koran to him.
My close friend, a fellow clergyman, Imam Burgos, the imam for the United States Military Academy, had helped me learn Surahs of the Holy Koran, and I chanted these out to the boy in Arabic. As I chanted, I heard the monitor go flat-line. I held his little hand, as my blood moved through his tiny pure heart that could no longer bear the evil of this world.
I held his hand and cried — cried for a boy whose name I didn’t know, for an innocent Muslim child who gave his life for his G-d, Allah, for his country. He was the true face of Muslim martyrdom. With tears streaming down my face, I looked down and noticed blood on my uniform. His blood, my blood, our blood had dripped from his open head wound onto my uniform.
An hour or so later I walked away into the waiting area as they prepared his body for transport. There I met Chaplain Mark Greschel, a Catholic priest. He looked at me and knew that I was in trouble. He sat with me, somehow knowing that the pain we felt was best not mixed with words. He quietly put his arms around me, and we both sat there in silence. I thought to myself, isn’t this the kind of world we are fighting for — a world where an Imam teaches a Rabbi words from the Holy Koran to comfort a young Muslim boy, and that rabbi himself is comforted by a Christian, a Catholic priest.
Read it all.
profiles in naked cynicism
Consider these statements from yesterday:
Kerry later fired back. "This administration misled a nation into war by cherry-picking intelligence and stretching the truth beyond recognition," he said. "That's why Scooter Libby has been indicted."
Kerry is flat-out lying about Libby. He was indicted for perjury, and the prosecutor specifically said the charges had no bearing on the war debate.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Bush had "resorted to his old playbook of discredited rhetoric" and was "attacking those patriotic Americans who have raised serious questions about the case the Bush administration made to take our country to war."
1) the phrase "old playbook of discredited rhetoric" is, in fact, rhetoric. 2) Harry Reid has been lying for two weeks, cynically using the Libby indictment to confuse voters, tar Bush and score political points. His own website still contains tough talk about Saddam from 2002.
Reid seems oblivious to the fact that the war on terror is, in great part, a media war. In this context, his selfish antics to score political points are indeed unpatriotic.
And Kennedy, who voted against the war resolution, said: "It is deeply regrettable that the president is using Veterans Day as a campaign-like attempt to rebuild his own credibility by tearing down those who seek the truth about the clear manipulation of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war."
Kennedy demonstrates "begging the question" by assuming the answer ("clear manipulation of intelligence" -- clear to whom?). He's not just a liar, but an artless liar.
If you missed it, click here to watch video of the Democrats talking tough about Iraq before the war. We call them the Switchin' Hawks.
do you want to be a millionaire?
Take this personality profile to see if you have what it takes to join the club. For what it's worth, I scored high and am nowhere close to being wealthy.
if you score low...
and still want $1,000,000 Bruce Willis is offering a reward in that amount for Osama or Zarqawi.
What has elements of West Side Story, Kismet, the Music Man and Hair? The hilarious new stage musical from the mind of Iowahawk. Never coming to a theater near you.
veteran's day November 11, 2005
to every veteran
You did a job no one wants to do, but you did it anyway. We owe you.
rove puts it well
From his speech to the Federalist Society:
While ordinary people may not be able to give each case number or explain in fine detail the legal principles being bent, they are clearly concerned about too many judges too ready to legislate from the bench. Why do average Americans have such an instinctive response to judicial activism? I suggest there's an easy explanation. It's called the fourth grade.
Someone asked Michael Yon how to support the troops. He referred them to this website. You can put your money or your time where your mouth is.
bill clinton: shades of gray
Weighing Bill Clinton's legacy at Hofstra.
Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright talked about how satisfying it was to work for a president who was so knowledgeable and so hardworking, and said she and her colleagues made foreign policy recommendations to him "through consensus, not cabals." Judging by applause and laughter, the audience caught the reference to a recent speech by a former Bush official complaining that Iraq policy is dictated by a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal."
Which is why Clinton bombed Baghdad for four days in 1998, pissed on a post like a posturing dog and left the mess for the next president. Bravo!
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin, in his phlegmatic style, joined in. Noting that sometimes people criticized Clinton for switching course and seeing too many shades of gray, Rubin said that was because Clinton understood complexity and risk, and did not believe in "absolutes that you stick with through thick and thin. . . . I was going to say that leads to some interesting comparisons, but I'm not going to."
We will. While 800,000 Rwandans were being macheted to death, that clever, non-absolutist Bill Clinton came up with "genocidal-like acts" as opposed to genocide. That subtle wordplay, lost on the slaughtered whose blood ran in the streets, excused Clinton from taking action. Thus he did not risk a single point in his approval ratings. Bravo!
When it was all over, he made a pit stop in Kigali to say how sorry he was that the world had not done more to help. Thus demonstrating Clinton's true strength: showing everyone what a sorry president he was.
your house is my house
Imagine you could afford to build yourself a large vacation home. Being generous, you allow your friends and their friend's friends to stay there when you're not using the place. The more the merrier, you say.
This goes on for a while and they come to rely on your house for their annual vacations. Eventually your guests begin to feel a sense of entitlement. When you decide to remodel, they balk and demand to be consulted. They start talking about your house as "our house."
Such is the story about the Internet, which was invented, bought and paid for by American dollars, and which we generously share with the world. (Which is not to slight the contribution of international technologists. After all, the web was invented by a Swiss national.) At next week's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia, the guests of the Internet are demanding we give up title to that house.
Delegates from nations like Iran, China, and Cuba have been clear in what they want: less control by the U.S. government. Instead, they've suggested creation of some sort of cyberbureaucracy---perhaps under the U.N. International Telecommunication Union.
Those arguments have met with a cold shoulder in Washington. The Bush administration said in no uncertain terms in June that it intended to that position. But that doesn't advocate relinquishing total control or creation of a U.N. bureaucracy.
No doubt some Americans believe we are being unilateralist or selfish for not acceding to the demands of tyrants. But these are the same fools who credit Fidel Castro with a workers' paradise.
The history of the Internet makes a strong case for keeping bureaucracies out. A small team of computer scientists working with a $1 million grant from the Department of Defense were largely left alone to do the project as they saw fit. The DoD functioned more like a venture capitalist than a smothering bureaucracy.
The commercial explosion of the Internet that began in the early 1990s is a textbook example of the free market at work. While President Clinton and Al Gore were blabbing about the information superhighway and planning to gather the best brains to see how it could be built, individuals went and built it.
It's easy to forget how much was created so quickly. In 1992, I was using the Internet via a clunky Unix command-line interface to locate Shakespeare texts for a multimedia project. Within two years, I was building websites. E-commerce was considered an iffy proposition for about...9 months.
Then bam! the goldrush was on. We all know the story of the dotbombs and the Internet bubble. But here we are ten years later (only 10 years!) with an Internet that changed the way we live. None of this happened with government guidance.
Without the brash, risk-taking, capitalists in America (many who came from foreign shores), there'd be no Internet to argue about. Can you picture France inventing it? China? Cuba?
blood for oil
No, Mr. Moore, it wasn't Bush and his cronies after Iraqi oil. But oil riches was on the mind of some "high-minded" European critics of our "unilateralist" cowboy foreign policy. David Kaspar writes:
Hans Sponeck was United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1998 to 2000 when he resigned in protest against the sanctions policies toward Iraq. One of his major responsibilites during his Iraq job was the distribution of goods under the Oil-for-Food programme and the verification of Iraqi complicance with that programme. He reported to the Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Savan.
Von Sponeck is frequently quoted in the German media (and sometimes in non-German media) as "expert" on the Iraq war. His criticism of President Bush and the U.S. Iraq policy is aggressive and polemic, and as such of course highly welcomed by his journalistic counterparts. In 2003 he received the Bremen Peace Award for the resignation from his UN post in protest "against the sanctions policy of the Security Council and in particular the USA, responsible for the death of several hundred thousand Iraqi children" (no mention of Saddam's responsibilities, of course).
As it now turns out, Hans von Sponeck also pursued other interests in Iraq after he left the UN:
"Mr. von Sponeck solicited financial contributions for his sanctions-related work from corporations seeking to do business with Iraq under the Programme (Oil for Food) ... (a business partner of Mr. von Sponeck) recalled that - after he enlisted Mr. von Sponeck's assistance - Iraq granted his request for additional oil under the Programme. ... Mr. von Sponeck's activities should have been subject to post-employment restrictions in order to safeguard against a possibility of an actual or apparent conflict of interest..."
Source: Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme: Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme by the Iraqi Regime, p. 508-509
corny, but wholesome
by J.C Phillips
If you have seen one Gene Autry film, you have seen them all. The films begin with Gene singing around the campfire or while riding the range. At some point, he is going to give some villain a punch in the nose, save a pretty girl from a runaway horse-drawn wagon, win her affection, save the hard working town folk and ride off into the sunset singing another song. Cue music. Fade to black.
Sure, the pictures are formulaic. Yes, they are corny. Still, I enjoy watching them in my spare time. In fact, I watch old westerns all the time. My wife, of course, can’t stand them. After being with me for 15 years, she will still shake her head and mutter, “I will never understand why you watch this stuff.” My answer is the same now as it was when we first began dating: I enjoy wholesome entertainment.
The stories in these films feature heroes that live by a moral code. Cowpokes like Autry respect women and children, honor the bonds of friendship, respect the law and believe in honesty and justice. Nobility and honor are not just words to these heroes, they are ideals that are worth fighting and dying for. I dig that!
Sadly, the times have given sway to a cynicism that has proclaimed these ideals anachronisms – cornball values from another era. Yet, it is these very principles that form the foundations of the character and strength we look for in our friends and associates and seek to instill in our children.
There was a time when Hollywood shared those ideals. As a boy, I watched many of these same films with my father and I love that so many years later I can still enjoy them with my children. I can’t say the same thing about very much of the more recent Hollywood fare.
My family was recently invited to attend the premiere of a new film that is being heavily marketed as family fare. What disturbed us most about the film was not the small bit of profanity in the film, but how the children in the film were depicted. The young heroes were rude and obnoxious; they talked back to their parents, and were nasty to their siblings. To be fair, the film is harmless. Not particularly entertaining, but nothing to burn down the theatre over. Still, I can’t imagine sitting down with my boys on a rainy Saturday afternoon to watch this film.
This film isn’t the only example. I can’t count the number of films I have taken my boys to only to sit in the theatre wondering what I had done to deserve such punishment. The same cynicism that finds values out of fashion mistakes sterility for innocence and confuses family fare with fare that is dull. The results are films with questionable language and subject matter or stories so sanitized as to be little more than 90 minutes of homogenized goo.
What Hollywood forgets and what my wife misses is that although Autry is not above kicking a little tail, and like most cowboys he is quick on the draw, his actions are underscored and motivated by a code of moral conduct. He defends the weak and the innocent. And he always ends with a song.
Perhaps I am out of step with the times. I could join the other cynics in the world and toss my corny, old-fashioned ideals into the trash. Unfortunately, I am one who prefers a world wherein the principles of family, faith and freedom are of value. I also believe our entertainment should reflect those values. So until Hollywood begins producing more wholesome entertainment, I will continue to watch old westerns and sing along with Gene Autry. Besides, a little cornball is good for the soul.
iowahawk's french shower of news
A hilarious roundup of news from the prairie wit. Samples:
Immigrant Parisian youths, enraged by lack of job opportunities and a growing shortage of flammable cars, tonight turned their wrath on another hated symbol of French cultural oppression - the accordion.
"You try listening to that shit 16 hours a day," explained 'Tariq,' a masked teenage activist holding aloft the smoldering carcass of a charred musette.
The riots engulfing France took a dangerous new turn today, as diners and shoppers along the Champs Elysees were accosted by enraged madcap American comedian Jerry Lewis.
In a daring daylight annoyance spree, the 75-year old film veteran was seen clumsily victimizing fruit pyramids, mimes, and bourgeois doyennes along the fabled Parisian boulevard. In one shocking encounter caught on security cameras, Lewis stumbled and spilled a large bag of white substance -- later identified as flour -- on a startled matron and her poodle. Compounding the damage, Lewis attempted to brush the flour from the shocked woman’s hair with a shopkeeper’s broom, while loudly declaring “woy goyvin, with the flour in the doggie, HEYYY LAAADY!”
Thursday November 10, 2005
can you spot a fake smile?
Take this test and find out how well you can read faces. You see 20 short video clips of people smiling and have to determine which are real and which were fake. I got 13 right.
demography trumps democracy
A must-read Mark Steyn column in the Spectator. Registration required, but worth it.
Just for the record, I don’t think everything’s about jihad. Rather, I think everything’s about demography. It wasn’t a subject I took much interest in pre-9/11. A decade ago, for example, I tended to accept the experts’ line that Japan’s rising sun had gone into eclipse because its economy was riddled with protectionism, cronyism and inefficient special-interest groups. But so what? You could have said the same 30 years ago, when the joint was booming. The only real difference is that Japan’s population was a lot younger back then. What happened in the 1990s was what Yamada Masahiro of Tokyo’s Gakugei University calls the first ‘low birth-rate recession’. It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the stupidity, economists — the stupidity of thinking you can buck demography.
Let’s take that evasive media characterisation of the rioters — ‘youths’ — at face value. What is the salient point about youths? They’re youthful. Very few octogenarians want to go torching Renaults every night. It’s not easy lobbing a Molotov cocktail into a police station and then hobbling back on your Zimmer frame across the street before the searing heat of the explosion melts your hip replacement. Civil disobedience is a young man’s game...
At the height of its power in the 8th century, the ‘Islamic world’ stretched from Spain to India, yet its population was only minority Muslim. Nonetheless, by 2010, more elderly white Catholic ethnic frogs will have croaked and more fit healthy Muslim youths will be hitting the streets. One day they’ll even be on the beach at St Trop, and if you and your infidel whore happen to be lying there wearing nothing but two coats of Ambre Solaire when they show up, you better hope that the BBC and CNN are right about there being no religio-ethno-cultural component to their ‘grievances’.
Read it all.
turning tots into pickets
...David Moore, 37, a creative director at Publicis Advertising, who likes to dress his 2-year-old son, Conrad, in a T-shirt stenciled with the classic image of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. “It seems like pretty much all parents in Brooklyn have something similar,” Mr. Moore said.
“If it’s not Che, it’s a Pixies T-shirt, which Conrad also has,” he added—along with one that reads “I Already Know More Than the President,” which has also been spotted on the young spawn of Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
Father doesn't always know best.
and the other half is smart
About 50 percent of Americans say the Bush administration is being treated fairly by the press, the lowest number since President Bush was elected, and an increasing percentage say the press is too critical of the president, according to the Pew Research Center.
I began to lose interest in Jay Leno's comedy soon after he took over the Tonight show. As his jokes came off the assembly line, they began to seem more like Cheese Wiz than cheese. Last night, NBC promo'd a gag where Jay held up a commemorative plate with Prince Charles on it, then a dog food bowl with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Ha ha, she's an ugly mutt.
I scoff at the notion of royalty, but I do honor decency. And the new princess has done nothing to deserve such personal derision. Likewise, Princess Diana did not deserve the media weepfest and glorification that attended her death just because she was pretty.
Leno has stooped low before. During the Monica years, Leno made fun of Linda Tripp's lack of beauty. His jokes at her expense were hurtful and mean.
Now, many liberals would say she deserved it for raining on Clinton's parade. But consider what Linda Tripp faced: she was being asked to cover up a lie--perjury--in a federal investigation on behalf of President Clinton.
Lewis Libby has been charged with lying to a federal investigator, and liberals consider this a grievous crime. Why, Al Franken showed up on David Letterman suggesting Libby and Karl Rove might be executed.
Linda Tripp was an honest whistleblower whose reward was to be demonized and called ugly on national TV. Joseph Wilson is a liar posturing as a whistleblower, and he gets lionized on TV.
As for Leno, Forrest Gump's mom might say, "Ugly is as ugly does."
french fried politics
by Burt Prelutsky
To me, the worst thing about Muslims, aside from their longing to be returned to the good old days of the eighth century, and to drag the rest of us, kicking and screaming, along with them, is the fact that far too many politically correct imbeciles feel compelled to accommodate them and to find rationales for their violence.
Two such enablers who come to mind, I’m sad to say, are George Bush and Condoleezza Rice. Both have promoted the lie that Islam is a religion of peace and good will. Perhaps in some parallel universe where day is night, up is down, and love is hate, it is so. But here on planet Earth, Islam is a religion whose mullahs preach sermons of death to the infidels. And just in case you haven’t noticed, that includes everybody who doesn’t spend several minutes every day bowing down to Mecca.
Yet we have the spectacle of American and European leftists arguing in the defense of people who regard suicide bombings of school buses as a legitimate form of guerrilla warfare; who speak up on behalf of men who treat their wives and daughters as chattel; and who refer to those butchers who hack the heads off innocent civilians as freedom fighters.
The French assumed that because they had built Iraq’s nuclear reactor, played a leading role in Hussein’s oil-for-food scam, and vigorously opposed U.S. intervention in Iraq, they were safely shielded from Islamic high jinks. As recent events have proven, nobody is safe from their insanity. And considering what has taken place in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Indonesia, Sudan, and other predominately Islamic countries, that definitely includes their fellow Muslims.
In a brilliant tongue-in-cheek essay, Joseph Farah wondered if the intifada currently taking place in France would cause Jacques Chirac and his political cronies to resolve their problem with Islamic fanatics in the same fashion they have long argued that Israel should solve hers; namely, by turning over large parcels of territory so that the blood-thirsty fanatics can have their own sovereign nation.
Knowing the French as we all do, I suspect that it is a solution they will enthusiastically support. However, the territory wouldn’t be carved out of Nice or Marseilles or -- mon dieu! -- certainly not Paris. Instead, in typically French style, it would be Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or perhaps, once again, Czechoslovakia.
wednesday November 9, 2005
la dolce peta
Those Europeans sure know how to show us. Rome just passed a 59-point animal rights law that, among other things:
- requires dogs to be walked by their owners once a day or else pony up a $625 fine
- says goldfish cannot be confined to fishbowls -- only a regular aquarium will suffice
- bans choke collars for dogs
- gives legal recognition to cat ladies
America's PETA was both pleased and jealous. One wonders if Rome plans to ban veal scallopini and meat sauce, too. And will dog trainers be dispatched to teach dogs how to file grievances?
For those despairing for evidence of Arab liberalism, Asharq Alawat, an Arab international paper published in London, often carries pungent criticism of extremism.
Hussein Shobokshi writes:
The Saudi minister of culture and information is currently being subjected to a furious campaign by men with knitted eyebrows, red eyes, and coarse voices -- a group of voices that Saudi society knows well. They usually follow the behavior of the herd: one person espouses a particular position and begins sending out letters and printing articles. He calls on "people and nations" to censure, condemn, and avoid a particular person.
Naturally, all this deceit, humbug, and heresy takes place in the name of defending the faith and its noble values. They use the most insolent terms and epithets against the person in question. At the present time, the herd I have just mentioned has selected the person of the minister of culture and information, who is trying to propose serious development programs to rescue some of the Saudi media from overall rigidity, extremism, and the caves of ignorance that have affected them and influenced them negatively...
Here we have the Saudi writer Abdullah bin Bajjad being subjected to a torrent of abuse, slander, and execration because he dared to write television scripts that reveal, explain, and criticize the methods of intimidation and contempt that these groups use to terrorize and kill people. Nasir al-Qasabi and Abdullah al-Sadhan did the same thing in their series, which was so successful this year in its episode entitled "Authority of the Masses." The episode stood out for its uncovering of the warped way used to achieve gains in the market of mass fatwas, which usually are offered in a style of "that's what the public wants," even if everything is stated in a form that is lacking and misleading.
The savage style of rejoinder exists everywhere in the world. That isn't the disaster. The real disaster is when this group has the audacity to believe that it is based on virtue, honor, and religion and when it finds people to believe it.
free the "stephen hayes ten"
ON SUNDAY, the New York Times and the Washington Post ran stories based on excerpts of a newly declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document provided by Senator Carl Levin, the number two Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The stories concerned the interrogation of Ibn Shaykh al Libi, a senior al Qaeda official who told U.S. officials that Iraq had trained al Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. The DIA was skeptical of his story; the CIA less so. Al Libi recanted in January 2004. Levin released the excerpts to demonstrate his assertions that the Bush administration exaggerated prewar intelligence on Iraq and al Qaeda.
The Bush administration and congressional Republicans should learn from Levin. There are dozens of documents and reports that, if declassified, might provide context to Levin's tendentious claims that there was no relationship at all between Iraq and al Qaeda. Some of them are U.S. analyses
of the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship; others are documents from the former Iraqi regime. They should all be declassified. Here are ten:
who said this?
"I think basically they decided immediately after 9/11 to go after Saddam. They began to--look there was plenty of evidence that Saddam had nuclear weapons, by the way. That is not in dispute. There is plenty of evidence of that."
So said Democrat Sen. Carl Levin, one of the twits complaining about twisted intelligence. Read his full comments and you have to wonder whether he's sprouted a second head and debating himself.
library of gloom and doom
Imagine if you will, a library that is stocked with books that relate to one thing, the Cassandra like predictions from the past that have failed to come true. A Library entirely dedicated to the published works of blowhards, pundits, college professors, and economists everywhere who like the sound of their voice and are certain that they have seen the end times just around the corner.
On the upside, if their predications did come true, you might not have to return the books.
history of the neocons
America Abroad, a radio show heard on many NPR stations, produces well-balanced programs. A few months back I heard their show on the neoconservative movement. Only yesterday did I find their website.
You can listen to the show in segments. Garrick Utley's history segment is quite informative, tracing the neocon movement back to 1948 and the divergent worldviews expressed by Henry Wallace and Harry Truman. Listen here.
Yesterday's show was about the influence of evangelical Christians in America. Shocking as it may seem, it was fair and balanced. Listen here.
a bare assed liar?
A man who sued Home Depot last month claiming a prank left him glued to a toilet seat made a similar allegation about another restroom more than a year ago, an official told a newspaper.
Bob Dougherty's lawsuit alleges employees at the store ignored his pleas for help on the day before Halloween 2003 because they thought he was kidding.
But Ron Trzepacz, former director of operations for the town of Nederland, where Dougherty lives, told the Rocky Mountain News in Tuesday's editions that Dougherty told him in the summer of 2004 he was glued to a toilet seat in the town's visitor center but pulled himself free.
He should've claimed there was a finger on the seat.
kabul's five star hotel
The first five-star hotel opened in the Afghan capital Tuesday, part of a construction boom that is changing the face of dusty Kabul nearly four years after the ouster of the Taliban.
President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the Serena Hotel in a ceremony attended by ambassadors, foreign aid workers and others. The luxury hotel joins a shiny office block and a glitzy shopping mall, two other new additions to a city nearly destroyed by a quarter-century of war.
hillary tops at 29 percent
(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Fewer adults in the United States are willing to back a presidential bid by Democratic New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 29 per cent of respondents say they would definitely vote for the former first lady in 2008, down three points since late October.
middle class enlisting to serve
Middle-class youths, not the poor, are providing the bulk of wartime recruits to the armed forces, according to a new study by a conservative think tank.
The Heritage Foundation research paper found that a higher percentage of middle-class and upper-middle-class families have been providing enlistees for the war on Islamic militants since the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Does Michael Moore know about this? Does he care?
tuesday November 8, 2005
who said this?
"What Is My Position on Iraq?
Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator who presents a serious threat to international peace and security. Under Saddam's rule, Iraq has engaged in far-reaching human rights abuses, been a state sponsor of terrorism, and has long sought to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction..."
Senator Harry Reid in 2002. Yes, the very same Harry Reid who threw a tantrum last week about a supposedly stalled investigation into "hyped prewar intelligence."
The same Harry Reid who is accusing Dick Cheney, George Bush and whoever else he thinks he can smear, with lying about Iraq.
flunking the smell test
Kurt Andersen writing about Intelligent Design:
I realize I’m a freak, entirely out of step with the mainstream. According to the polling data, about 5 percent of Americans say they don’t believe in God, and only another 5 percent—my 5 percent—aren’t sure. But almost the whole other 90 percent subscribe to some flavor of (Christian) faith—most of those say that the Bible is literally true, and a good 30 percent believe that it was dictated by God.
I'm not religious, but I've known many people who are. I don't know anyone who believes the Bible is literally true, or at least admits it publicly.
And whether they are strict scriptural literalists or not, a huge supermajority of Americans believe in—what else to call it?—magic: 61 percent think the world was created in six days, 70 to 78 percent say that hell and the Devil and angels exist, 81 to 85 percent believe in Heaven. If opinion polling had existed in the Middle Ages, it’s hard to imagine that the numbers would have been much higher.
Where do such numbers come from? They certainly serve to alarm people like Kurt (who does a great arts radio show called Studio 360).
In a way, such numbers are a devil subsitute for agnostics--a convenient focus for their fears. By reducing religious believers to nut jobs, it makes it easy to ignore their arguments. Thus a divide is drawn, sides are taken and nonbelievers get to feel righteous.
Which is a bit religious, no?
the geenie uncorked
Given the abysmal conditions in France's Muslim concentration-camps-without-walls, the government had only one chance of suppressing the uproar: An immediate, uncompromising crackdown on the Paris suburb where the trouble began. That would have bought the state a little time.
Instead, the Gallic cock behaved like a headless chicken, stunned by the ingratitude of 5 million brown and black residents who failed to appreciate discrimination, jobless rates of up to 50 percent, public humiliation, crime, bigotry and, of course, the glorious French culture that excluded them through an informal apartheid system.
Now the devil's been conjured. The government's vacillation revealed the power of the street. Teenage rioters control much of France by night — a situation more akin to an insurgency than to the strikes and demonstrations so beloved of French workers and students.
France's oppressed minorities have discovered their power, dominating the streets and the media. The country will never be the same. With thousands of cars torched, schools and shops burned, government buildings attacked and French policemen shot by snipers, this is an uprising — not some repeat of the white-kids' tantrum of 1968, when spoiled brats rebelled against their parents.
Media apologists for France's "more humane" system attempt to play down the importance of what's happening by comparing it to that romanticized tomfoolery in '68. But those theatrical disorders were white-on-white, a family argument, and a perfect fit for the French myth of themselves as born revolutionaries.
This time, it's different. And serious. Darker-skinned outsiders are pounding on the door of Monsieur Hulot's maison.
Read the whole thing.
In a certain kind of liberal universe, French Muslim rioters are victims who want nothing more than to enjoy the bourgeoise pleasures of secular France. Iraqi Muslims, by contrast, have little yearning for freedom, self-government, and prosperity, preferring civil war, a Saddam-style strong man, and/or a theocracy. They are victims of U.S. aggression, which denies them these things, at least temporarily. To me, however, it seems plausible that Iraqis Muslims will find satisfaction in their own democratic state before European Muslims find satisfaction in a western-style democracy.
monday November 7, 2005
moroccans seeing evil of jihad
Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed writes how the kidnapping and death sentences of two innocent Moroccan workers in Iraq is opening eyes to the lies (or as he puts it, "false messages") of some Arab media:
Many Moroccans did not believe that the Al-Zarqawi terrorist movement was responsible for the kidnapping of two Moroccan embassy employees. Had it not been for the statement issued by Al-Zarqawi's group announcing the crime and threatening the well-being of the Moroccan workers, the people of Morocco would not have believed such news. At first, people were surprised that Moroccan and Arab writers who would deliver false messages to their readers, calling the slaughtering of innocents on a daily basis resistance.
How can the truth get so lost in a world where mothers are wailing because they have buried their children due to so-called "resistance" and "heroic" bombings that fill our TV screens everyday? How does any rational human being forget how to differentiate between good and evil whilst every image portrayed from Iraq shows us that so-called resistance is merely an ugly form of terrorism? Let us highlight it targets: women, children, the elderly, religious people, students, shoppers, workers and professionals. None of the victims are associated with politics or the military. Most suicide bombers who use motor vehicles have targeted schools, markets or mosques. How could anyone be so hard-hearted to such an extent that he ignores the truth and brands the act of murder as resistance?
your lying eyes
silly string used by soldiers
True. It can show trip wires in booby-trapped buildings.
french riots spread to 300 towns
Rioting by French youths spread to 300 towns overnight, and a 61-year- old man hurt in the violence died of his wounds, the first fatality in 11 days of unrest that has shocked the country, police said Monday.
As urban unrest spread to neighboring Belgium and possibly Germany, the French government faced growing criticism for its inability to stop the violence, despite massive police deployment and continued calls for calm.
Meanwhile, governments worldwide urged their citizens to be careful in France.
It's those "youths" again. Click here for a map of the affected areas.
From Belgravia Dispatch:
Now, I am not one who believes that some pan-Eurabian intifada is in the offing, or that the implications of these riots rival 9/11, or that Shamil Basayev's guerilla tactics are being adopted off la Place de la Republique--as breathless, under-informed 'commentary' has it in some quarters of the blogosphere.
But we certainly have a pivot point here, one where the ruling elite's inefficacy and ineptness is being laid crudely bare for all the world to see. They have been tone-deaf and caught off guard by the depth of the alienation in their midst, and it has now caught them very much unawares and seemingly clueless on how next to respond.
the media weapon
From Iraqi blogger, the Mesopotamian:
As I have said before, the War on Terror should take into account that perhaps the main arena of the struggle is the Media and Information fields. This terrorist phenomenon combines primitive urges and ideologies with the use of the modern technologies of satellite T.V. the internet etc. In fact, the Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-like people design their operations with the prime objective of attracting maximum media attention.
Thus Media attention is a weapon in itself, and the main one from the view point of these terrorist groups, and this subject should be a matter of primary consideration to strategists and planners of the War.
Actually the most important event in the recent history of Arab journalism was the advent of satellite T.V. and the establishment of Al-Jazeera Network some years ago, financed and controlled by the Qatar Sheikdom government. That was the first time that the traditional style of direct soviet style crude propaganda customary in the whole of the Arab world was replaced with a western style that uses indirect and more subtle methods with a guise of objectivity and factual reporting.
We must give it to Al Jazeera that it was a pioneer in this respect in the Arab world. This started a kind of revolution with other media outlets of similar style rapidly springing up and also the conversion of many of the more traditional ones to this new way with varying degrees of consistency. The other most important development was the spread and the expanding availability of the Internet, a great innovation which brought beside great benefits also great dangers. Thus the internet is the perfect medium for clandestine groups enabling them to keep their anonymity while giving them the means of disseminating their ideas and communicating throughout the world.
In this way this communication revolution with was developed, originated and continues to be maintained and run by the West, has also provided lethal and effective weapons to its enemies.
a peek inside the msm mind
...began turning up in the press and on broadcasts last spring with stories about military atrocities. Massey's primary thrust has been that Marines from his battalion - some of whom, he told a Minneapolis audience, were "psychopathic killers" - recklessly shot and killed Iraqi civilians, sometimes, he said, upon orders from their commanders. During a hearing in Canada, Massey said, "We deliberately gunned down people who were civilians."
Turns out Massey is a liar and a head case. But for the time he was singing an anti-American tune, he was a golden boy for the mainstream media. To be fair, the story unmasking him is in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, a mainstream newspaper. But the MSM handed him a megaphone and his lies spread around the world.
the bds pandemic
BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome. It's symptom is irrational hatred of our president. I used to joke with my wife that if Bush singlehandedly managed to cure cancer overnight, his detractors would bitch, "Why'd you wait so long!"
Along those lines comes this letter to the LA Daily News:
President Bush's desire to spend $7.1 billion to "prepare" our country for a possible flu pandemic is not due to his love for his fellow Americans or even concern for their health. Bush's main motivation is to fatten the wallet of best buddy Donald Rumsfeld, who stands to rake in hundreds of millions of our hard-earned tax dollars if the deal goes through.
Annie Caroline Schuler
Presumably, Ms Schuler remembers that Rumsfeld was once the CEO of pharmaceutical company and connected some imaginary dots to conclude that public health is a scam.
Meanwhile, China fears the bird flu killed a school girl.
missed cinema: travelers and magicians
Here's one for you: a feature film directed by a Buddhist monk and high lama, the first
feature ever filmed in the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. About the size of Switzerland, Bhutan
was the inspiration for Shangri La in James Hilton's novel, Lost Horizon.
The film is by turns warm, funny, gorgeous and dreamy. The story concerns an officer
assigned to a small village. Convinced that America offers better pay and "cooler girls"
he schemes to get a visa and emigrate.
When he misses his bus, he falls in with a group of travelers all trying to hitch a ride on
whatever vehicles pass by. One is a monk who quickly sizes up the officer. He tells a
story about a man who gets lost in the forest and becomes part of a love triangle,
this story becoming a parallel narrative in the film.
Director Khyentse Norbu used a cast of non-actors who are perfect in their roles.
Deki Yangzom, shown above, is a civil servant in real life.
find the DVD via Netflix. The movie is unrated, but is suitable for all audiences.
My 13-year old daughter loved it. We all did.
early: eurabian civil war
The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule. As Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported in London: ''French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.''
''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
sunday November 6, 2005
It is clear that French police presence and knowledge in the riot areas was previously minimal. The fastest and cleanest way to end an ongoing riot is to apprehend its leaders and organizers. That this has gone on for ten nights shows that the French police have little idea who these leaders might be. Indeed, the police union has called the situation “a civil war” and has requested that the French army restore order to the neighborhoods.
For years the French have feared the very events that have unfolded this week in their immigrant neighborhoods. Along with their commercial interests, fear of upsetting their 10% Moslem minority has determined their foreign policy. Events have proven the French calculations wrong. And they have been remarkably unprepared for what they presumably knew was a great possibility.
What will become of France’s Moslem communities? In the medium term they are most likely on a course toward a status of autonomous enclaves, even less governed or connected to the French state. Why? Because Mr. Sarkozy is likely to decide to dampen the rioting by making concessions to the rioters, using imams and Moslem elders as intermediaries to the rioters.
This will avoid a messy crackdown and provide a euphoric sense of relief in the media’s newsrooms, but will ultimately be a disaster for French society. It will show the rioters that rioting gets results. It will increase the prestige and authority of the mosques and imams and reduce the prestige and authority of the state. Over time, the most powerful and intimidating gangsters and strongmen will dominate these enclaves. They eventually will become sanctuaries for Islamists.
Read the comments as well for other views.
What would upset you, if done in the name of your religion:
- hanging a young girl who's been raped to preserve the family's honor
- throwing homosexuals to their deaths off high walls
- stoning adulterers to death as soccer halftime entertainment
- seeing a cartoon of your prophet
The first three happen with little or no fuss in the Muslim world. But depict the prophet as part of a political satire? Oh, brother:
A Danish newspaper's decision to print cartoons of Muslim prophet Mohammed have caused a diplomatic crisis between Denmark and Egypt, national broadcaster DR reported on Thursday.
Egypt's ambassador in Libanon, Hussein Darrar, told news service AFP that Egypt had decided not to continue its dialogue with Denmark on human rights and discrimination.
The Egyptian ambassador in Denmark requested, along with ten other ambassadors of Muslim states, to meet with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten's decision to print twelve caricatures of the prophet, an act considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
Rasmussen refused to meet with the ambassdors, saying that if they thought he had any power to influence what a national newspaper did and printed, the essence of Danish democracy had been lost on them.
The same story reported in Islam online.
flashback: newsweek say europe is the future
[From AttackMachine May 24, 2005] One day after 8 million Iraqis went to the polls to elect their first democratic government, Newsweek International's Japanese edition told its readers why America stinks.
The article, Dream on America, was written by Princeton professor Andrew Moravcsik, a senior fellow with the liberal Brookings Institution. To sum up, Europe is the model for the future whereas America is a tainted nation with a delusional sense of moral certitude.
We bring this up by way of introducing an essay by Lexington Green:
Paris Burns, The Second Leftist Utopia Burns With It
The current intifada in France has stripped the American Left of its second Utopia in a generation.
The Left lost its earlier worldly utopia when the Soviet Union fell apart. 1989 was not only the year that the countries of Central Europe regained their independence, it was also the year that the Left began to lose its organizing principle, its focus, and to begin casting around for a new organizing principle. The Soviet Union had been the focus of ardent loyalty amongst many American Leftists in the 1930s and for some up to the 1950s....
With the Soviet Union gone, the Leftists shifted or intensified their focus on various “progressive” causes, such as anti-globalization, environmentalism, multiculturalism and radical feminism. However, there was no particular geographic locus for these causes, no place where “real existing” progressivism could be found. The enemy, however, remained clear: The West, especially the United States and its capitalist economic system.
What I have observed in the last few years, especially since the Iraq war began, is a strong revival of an older liberal vision, which saw Europe as being a model for a more socialistic society, which the USA should supposedly emulate. (Remember Mike Dukakis went on vacation with a book on Swedish land-use regulation for beach reading?) The idea has been promoted more and more that the European model of multiculturalism, socialist management of the economy, a relaxed attitude toward work, high taxes, lavish benefits, antipathy to Christianity, and pacifism is the one that the United States should emulate.
This “European social model” has been presented and accepted by many as a more humane alternative to the savage capitalism of the Anglo-Saxons. This model is based – supposedly -- not on competition and greed, but on solidarity, on protecting workers and citizens from the gales of creative destruction which make life for the grasping, vulgar Americans so insecure. Educated, well-to-do Americans envy their peers in Europe, who seem to get more respect just for having advanced degrees, and they don’t have to work as hard. This makes Europe seem like a worldly paradise to elite Americans.
Perhaps this explains the relatively light news coverage the French and Danish riots have received in the American media.
french film star le pew injured in paris cat riots
PARIS - Former French matinee idol Pepe Le Pew was among the hundreds injured last night amid violent feline rioting in the impoverished Parisian suburb of Dans-le-Crappeur. Le Pew, 58, a former Warner Brothers studio actor turned Chirac government spokes-skunk, sustained severe scratches and concussions in the melee before nose-pin equipped EMT rescue squads could drag him to safety. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Last night's rioting marked the eighth consecutive night of violence in the Paris suburbs, as thousands of immigrant feline youths continue to rampage to protest a lack of jobs and cuts in French government tuna programs. Dans-le-Crappeur, home to tens of thousands of unemployed first-hundred generation immigrant cats, has been particularly hard hit.
Violence erupted here last Wednesday night after French Interior Minister Nikolas Sarkozy announced a crackdown on crime and furniture-scratching in the sprawling Chateau des Chats public housing projects. Enraged feline youths went on a rampage, smashing windows of local fish shops and overturning hundreds of public pay-litter boxes. Violence intensified over the weekend as enraged cats began burning and looting sprees across the suburbs, sparked by Sarkozy's remarks that they were "easily enraged."
iraqi founding fathers?
Ali at Free Iraqi returns from his blogging hiatus with some thoughts:
What I thought at that time and what I still think now is that there are three factors and three men in Iraq now who can influence and change the fate of Iraq more than others depending on their attitude towards this election. With other factors considered, I believe these three men have the greater effect and most of our hopes for the short term depend on how they handle these elections. These are in order of their role's significance are Allawi, Chalabi and Mithal Al Alousi.
rampage spreads in france / kadhafi feels Chirac's pain
From the AP:
The urban unrest that triggered scores of arson attacks on vehicles, nursery schools and other targets from the Mediterranean to the German border reached Paris overnight, with police saying early Sunday that 13 cars were burned in the French capital.
By 1 a.m., at least 607 vehicles _ including those in Paris _ were burned during the 10th night of violence, said Patrick Hamon, spokesman for the national police. The overall figures were expected to climb by daybreak, he added.
The violence _ originally concentrated in neighborhoods northeast of Paris with large immigrant populations _ has spread across France, extending west to the rolling fields of Normandy and south to resort cities on the Mediterranean. Attacks were reported in Cannes and Nice.
In the Normandy town of Evreux, arsonists burned at least 50 vehicles, part of a shopping center, a post office and two schools, Hamon said.
Notice again, how the Muslim angle is not mentioned in the story of "urban unrest."
If you can read French, there's this report -- a laundry list of incidents -- here. English translation via No Pasaran, is here. They've burned down nursery schools, crashed cars in McDonalds [click here to see photo], fired shots at cops and torched hundreds of cars. Here's the gem:
Several peace marches took place in Parisian suburbs to call for an end to the violence.
French president Jacques Chirac, whose silence astonished certain deputies in his own party received an offer of "aide" from Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi, according to Jana, the official Libyan news agency.
the white man's burden
by Burt Prelutsky
I hate to be picky, but two areas in which God fell down on the job while inventing people is that He gave us appendixes for no good reason except to provide surgeons with a steady income, and He neglected to give liberals two mouths so that they wouldn’t be forced to speak out of both sides of the same one.
The latest example revolves around William Bennett’s comment that if we wanted to really do something about the crime problem in America, we’d force all the black women to have abortions. Naturally, liberals, as hungry for red meat as tigers on the Atkins diet, immediately pounced on Bennett. Neither the fact that Mr. Bennett is opposed to all abortions nor the fact that he acknowledged at the time that he was making the preposterous, morally reprehensible, remark simply to make a point had any effect on the leftwing zealots.
Is it possible that the liberals are unaware of their own hypocrisy? After all, it is they who, while refusing to acknowledge that the very things Bill Cosby addresses -- teenage pregnancies, a 70% illegitimacy rate, drug and alcohol addiction, a lack of emphasis on education -- are always ready and eager to throw money at these non-existent problems. What it comes down to is that they don’t want to say the words, and they’re morally outraged whenever somebody else does. So, on the one hand, they insist that blacks are as good as anybody, but then insist on patronizing blacks as if they can’t possibly compete in school or in the work place.
Most blacks living today, even those in the south, were born into a post-Jim Crow society that’s been ready and eager to leapfrog blacks over whites whenever possible. Still, liberals love to point out that more young black men go to jail than to college, pretending it’s the fault of a bigoted white society. In case they haven’t noticed, we live in a country where a political powerhouse like Trent Lott saw his career crash and burn because of a single intemperate remark at a friend’s birthday party, but black race hustlers like Jackson, Sharpton, Rangel and Waters, continue to thrive. Ours is a society that rebukes someone like Pat Robertson when he sticks his nose into the political arena, but doesn’t say boo when so-called reverends such as Jackson and Sharpton run for president. Speaking of which, do those two clowns even attend church, let alone conduct services?
Personally, I believe that black Americans constitute both the best and the worst in our society. The worst is pretty obvious -- murder, rape, drug trafficking and thievery, rates far in excess of their percentage of the population. In addition to which, they constitute the most racist group in the country -- notably biased towards Hispanics, Asians, and Jews.
What is too often over-looked is how decent so many millions of them are. When Martin Luther King, Jr., said we should be judging each other by our character, not our color, it’s that type of character he had in mind. Think how much fortitude it takes not to be tempted by the goodies brandished by conniving politicians and guilt-ridden whites. I mean, it’s one thing to say you’re opposed on principle to affirmative action, government-funded business loans based on nothing other than pigmentation, and phony reparation payments, and quite another to actually reject them. When jolly red-nosed Teddy Kennedy climbs into his Santa Claus costume and tries to come down your chimney with his bag brimming over with entitlements, it takes the right sort of person to light those yuletide logs. And there are countless black Americans standing by, their matches lit. What’s more, they know O.J. did it!
Who but a white liberal or a black con artist would suggest that people like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell or Condoleezza Rice, aren’t authentically black because they’re intelligent, well-read, success-motivated, and, unpardonable of all sins, speak clearly? No, instead the racists in our midst insist that to be labeled anything other than an Uncle Tom or an Aunt Jemima, a black has to look like a thug, behave like a bully, and speak as if he has a mouth filled with marbles.
Speaking of blacks, I’d like to go on record as being opposed to our government’s sending any additional money to Africa. Understand, I don’t object to people like Bono and Bob Geldof producing concerts to raise funds for that dysfunctional continent. I don’t even mind it if they win the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. But Africa is one huge cesspool that reeks with tribalism, political corruption, slavery, female mutilation, and, yes, of course, disease and poverty. Our money doesn’t do a darn thing except promote more of the same, thus making us an accessory.
For a long time, liberals could blame all of Africa’s problems on the white colonial powers. But that claim no longer holds water. Black Africa is no longer under the white thumbs of the English, the French or the Dutch. Not too surprisingly, things have only gotten worse under a series of black thumbs.
If good-hearted people want to feel better about themselves by tossing their money away, that is certainly their prerogative. To me, it seems as bizarre as elderly parents who continue to pay the freight for their middle-aged offspring, but it’s certainly people’s right to blow their own dough any silly way they like.
But when we in America are told that we lack the funds to put body armor on our soldiers or to protect our own borders, the last thing I want to hear is that Uncle Sam is sending Africa billions of dollars that, for all the good it will do, might as well fuel a large bonfire on the lawn of the White House or be flushed down the Potomac.
saturday November 5, 2005
happy day in iraq
Celebrating EID, the end of Ramadan in Iraq. Yes, people do enjoy life in Baghdad despite all.
Some great photos from Iraqi blogger Sooni.
more on the real leak that hurt america
the "other iraq"
The Kurds want to say thanks, and come invest here. Three ads. Kinda choppy streaming, but you'll get the idea. HT: Polipundit.
french riots: 900 cars burned on 9th night
Serious problems on the continent.
AUBERVILLIERS, France - Widespread riots across impoverished areas of France took a malevolent turn in a ninth night of violence, with youths torching an ambulance and stoning medical workers coming to the aid of a sick person. Authorities arrested more than 250 people, an unprecedented sweep since the beginning of the unrest.
Bands of youths also burned a nursery school, warehouses and nearly 900 cars overnight as the violence spread from the restive Paris suburbs to towns around France. The U.S. warned Americans against taking trains to the airport through the affected areas.
At the nursery school in Acheres, west of Paris, part of the roof was caved in, childrens’ photos stuck to blackened walls, and melted plastic toys littered the floor.
Read the whole MSNBC story, then ask yourself what's missing. Hint: these are Muslims rioting. Why won't they report the facts?
Now read Mark Steyn's interview on the Hugh Hewitt program about the "Eurabian civil war."
I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East. I mean, there is a real...this, I think, is the start of a long Eurabian civil war we're witnessing here.
Read the whole thing.
kofi should log on, keep hands off
The Internet, invented by and paid for with US dollars, has global reach. A few weeks back, Kofi Annan referred to it as a "global resource." As a dispersed network of networks, that is true. But it is in no way the property of some international community. The US should continue to manage the core DNS functions, despite Annan's argument otherwise:
Governance of matters related to the Internet, such as spam and cybercrime, is being dealt with in a dispersed and fragmented manner, while the Internet's infrastructure has been managed in an informal but effective collaboration among private businesses, civil society and the academic and technical communities. But developing countries find it difficult to follow all these processes and feel left out of Internet governance structures.
Feeling left out? Get over it. Today the Internet is laissez faire. Anyone can register a DNS address, plug in a server and join in.
The United States deserves our thanks for having developed the Internet and made it available to the world.
How nice of Kofi to notice.
For historical reasons, the United States has the ultimate authority over some of the Internet's core resources.
Yeah, we own it and we've been sharing it freely.
It is an authority that many say should be shared with the international community.
Who is this "many"? What "international community"? The one that ran the Oil for Food program? The one that allows UN officials to rape children in Africa?
The United States, which has exercised its oversight responsibilities fairly and honorably, recognizes that other governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns, and that efforts to make the governance arrangements more international should continue.
Baloney. The UN is often the tool of tyrants. Who hates an open, laissez faire Internet more than tyrants. (Witness the Chinese forbidding the words "democracy" and "freedom" from search engines there.)
Fortunately we don't have a president like Jimmy Carter (Panama Canal), who no doubt would have heeded the call. Our answer is this.
straight thuggin' at the university of chicago
by J.C Phillips
While strolling through our neighborhood, my wife happened upon a group of young white girls, ages 8 or 9, playing in front of their home. The girls were singing in full throat: “I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digga/but she ain’t lookin’ for no broke ------!” My wife said her eyes just about fell out of her head. Mine certainly would have.
I shared this story with a black student from the University of Chicago. The young man was interested in my opinion of a “Straight Thuggin’” party held a few weeks ago in one of the dormitories. Also known as “Ghetto Parties”, the shindigs seem to be a fad among many (mostly white) college students. Guests are encouraged to wear gold chains, doo rags, hats turned to the side, listen to loud rap music and flash gang signs.
Isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery? The largest market for hip-hop music is suburban white kids, who have adopted the music, the language and the dress as part of their youth culture. Indeed, based on photos I viewed, the students at U of C’s party didn’t dress any differently than many of the white kids I see everyday walking the streets of Los Angeles. Yet the black students on campus are not flattered, they are angry and some of their anger is understandable. There is an element of mean spiritedness surrounding some of these gatherings. A flyer for a party at another school encourages revelers to bring empty beer bottles to strew around the dorm, draw graffiti on the walls and steal computers from their fellow students. This was not the case at U of C, but the perception remains that the parties have less to do with adulation than they do with ridicule.
I suspect, however, that the black students are less concerned with being mocked than they are with what they see as the appropriation of a sacred haven by their white schoolmates. Though I have no official figures, it is a good bet that most of the black students attending universities like U of C are not from the Ghetto. Yet, that does not stop them from speaking with authority on ghetto life and charging sponsors of ghetto parties with insensitivity and racism. Among black folk there is a sense that no matter where you were raised, by virtue of being black you have some ownership of the ghetto, that it is part of who we are.
Another reader shared her opinion with me: “What I do find heartening is that those ghetto folks are proud to be just that, and more and more are identifying themselves thusly…it's not uncommon to hear people in their 20s--40s say proudly, ‘I'm from the ghetto.’ I think that's where the power is, that's where the life is, that's where our salvation is.”
This writer is not talking about location, however, but state of mind. The ghetto she celebrates is a vision of unity and shared purpose -- the power realized in another era that (oddly enough) sought to lift a people out of the Ghetto. If only those that sing of “straight thuggin” were singing about that same state of mind. Instead, their vision is one of minstrelsy -- scantily clad women shaking their rumps, fancy cars and gaudy jewelry. THAT is the ghetto satirized by students at U of C and to my way of thinking not one worth protecting from white interlopers.
Like the little white girls in my neighborhood, the students in West Hall on the University of Chicago campus are guilty only of buying images sold to them by black producers and performers. If we find those images offensive or mean spirited, perhaps we need to have a conversation with those that peddle them to the masses.
friday november 4, 2005
Critics call Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz "chicken hawks" because they've never been to war. What do you call politicians who once talked tough, but now pretend otherwise (besides hypocrite)?
Switchin' Hawks will have to do for now. If you've got something better, email us.
Here are three video samples of Switchin' Hawks in action. You may remember Ted Kennedy saying that the Iraq war "concocted in Texas for political gain."
Right-click to download a copy to send to your friends, or click to play.
Then there's this 1998 report from ABC News Report connecting Saddam and Osama bin Laden. This video clip streams from a remote server and cannot be downloaded.
An MP3, audio-only version of the report can be downloaded here.
how they teach civics in la
Two days ago a group called World Can't Wait organized anti-Bush demonstrations around the nation on the one year anniversary of Bush's reelection. As the LA Times reported, about 1000 students walked out of school to participate.
Neither the Times nor the Daily News has covered the degree in which the school district helped organize the students to protest. Only by listening to talk radio have I learned that:
- The school district provided school buses to bring the students back, which takes advance planning.
- Some teachers and counselors coached students on what to say and urged them to participate
- None of this was done with parental permission. If your kid goes on a field trip, you have to sign waivers of liability. The kids were set loose
- Students who disagree with the radical left politics preached in classrooms feel intimidated into silence. Numerous callers to Larry Elder and Doug McIntyre's radio shows provided examples of students being downgraded for speaking up.
From the World Can't Wait website, is this summary of LA:
High School Walkouts:
--L.A. High: almost entire school walked out; someone driving down the street saw a crowd of 500 Black and Latino students in front of the school with signs, chanting against Bush, fists in air.
--Belmont HS: a student was passing out leaflets yesterday before school; jumped by cops, pepper-sprayed and arrested; today, at least 75 students and some teachers walked out
--Downtown Business Magnet HS: over 100 students walked out
--Marshall HS: over 100 students walked out
--Montebello HS: all week long, students have been wearing WCW armbands. Today, 40 students didn't go to school but gathered close by the school and had a march down Whittier Blvd. in ELA, carrying signs and chanting "Ya Basta" "Fuck Bush" "Bush Lies, 1000s Die" "Queremos Paz, Quermos Justicia." Then they got on buses to go to Alvarado; when they told the bus driver what they were doing, she let them all ride for free.
UPDATE: World Net Daily reports.
From Jayson at Polipundit:
8.4 = unemployment rate in Oct. 1975.
7.1 = Oct. 1985.
5.5 = Oct. 1995.
5.0 = Oct. 2005.
Perspective - Part Deux
9.8 = unemployment rate in France.
11.6 = in Germany.
5.0 = in the U.S.A.
Job Creation - Oct. 2005
The economy created 214,000 net jobs last month, of which 56,000 were on non-farm payrolls.
Net payroll job gains in October were posted in the following high-paying labor sectors and subsectors: Commercial banking, securities and investments, computer systems design, business management, architecture and engineering, health care, real estate, and construction.
paris riots intensify
AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France Nov 3, 2005 — A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new momentum Thursday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking trains and symbols of the French state.
That's the what. For the why, read Amir Tehari:
In some areas, it is possible for an immigrant or his descendants to spend a whole life without ever encountering the need to speak French, let alone familiarize himself with any aspect of the famous French culture.
The result is often alienation. And that, in turn, gives radical Islamists an opportunity to propagate their message of religious and cultural apartheid.
Some are even calling for the areas where Muslims form a majority of the population to be reorganized on the basis of the "millet" system of the Ottoman Empire: Each religious community (millet) would enjoy the right to organize its social, cultural and educational life in accordance with its religious beliefs.
In parts of France, a de facto millet system is already in place. In these areas, all women are obliged to wear the standardized Islamist "hijab" while most men grow their beards to the length prescribed by the sheiks.
The radicals have managed to chase away French shopkeepers selling alcohol and pork products, forced "places of sin," such as dancing halls, cinemas and theaters, to close down, and seized control of much of the local administration.
A reporter who spent last weekend in Clichy and its neighboring towns of Bondy, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Bobigny heard a single overarching message: The French authorities should keep out.
Remember the lectures the French gave us about their sophisticated approach to Muslim extremism?
One way critics dismiss progress in Iraq is to say the Iraqi government is a puppet of the United States. Yet the Iraqis have minds of their own and are making their own policies. For example, in a move resisted by the US:
The Iraqi government has made its first official invitation for former army officers up to rank of major to rejoin the country's new forces.
The Defense Ministry has been quietly contacting officers for more than a year, but this marked the first public appeal for the experienced forces to return, The New York Times said Thursday.
The military was disbanded by Paul Bremer, the U.S. proconsul, within days of his arrival in Iraq in May 2003.
Meanwhile, Omar at Iraq the Model observes:
A positive change is noticeable even from the early days of the campaigns of competing parties and politicians (religious and secular) and it shows clearly in the speeches they’re making on TV; there’s more talking about plans and strategies than about sentiments and emotion-targeting slogans which dominated their campaigns before the January elections.
It is true their ways of presenting their platforms are still superficial and underdeveloped but it marks a change in the way politicians speak to voters.
thursday November 3, 2005
Gouging? Free markets at work? D.J. Drummond writes a meaty post about the subject.
stuck in a quagmire
From Rightwing Duck:
I’ve been looking at the news and I have to say that the casualties are really starting to get to me. Victim after hapless victim has fallen to this administration in a conflict that makes no sense. So we have to ask the very important question:
Has the Democrats' War on President Bush turned into a quagmire?
Maybe it’s time for them to look at reality of the Senate and, if appropriate, start formulating a comprehensive plan for withdrawal.
Since 2000, how many Democratic Senators have been lost to the RNC re-election war machine? Has it been worth it? How many reporters? Mr. Rather? Ms. Mapes? I don’t have the Fake But Accurate data on hand, but I’m sure it’s a lot.
Funny. Read the rest of it.
find the common thread
Rolling Stone keyboard player Chuck Leavell, Presidents Bush (both), Kelsey Grammar, Condi Rice, Tom Brokaw, Yo-Yo Ma, golfer Tom Watson, Donald Rumsfeld and many more. They're among the celebrants at the White House dinner for Prince Charles and Camilla. Condi's guest is Gene Washington, NFL honcho. Remember, Condi has said her dream job would be NFL Commissioner.
zell miller: no more dirty tricks
It's like a spy thriller.
Institutional rivalries and political loyalties have fostered an intelligence officer's resentment against the government. Suddenly, an opportunity appears for the agent to undercut the national leadership. A vital question of intelligence forms the core justification for controversial military actions by the current leaders. If this agent can get in the middle of that question, distort that information and make it public, the agent might foster regime change in the upcoming election.
But the rules on agents are clear. They can't purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail.
But their spouse can!
The agent realizes her spouse can go out on behalf of the spy agency, can distort information, go public with classified information and use all this spy-agency-sponsored material and credentials to try to pull down the current government, and it is all perfectly legal.
Suppose the spouse adds just one more brilliant, well-aimed lie: claim your foremost political opponent put the spouse up to the trip. As your spouse uses your agency's name to mount attacks, your enemy may fall into your trap. Will your enemy suffer your spouse's lies or take the bait and try to clarify his non-role? If he tells the press he didn't hire your spouse, the press will demand to know, "Then who did?"
Instead of you violating secrecy laws, it is your victim who is guilty because he tried to set the record straight. Heads, you win; tails, he loses.
It sounds unbelievable, a fiction, perhaps to be called "To Sting a King." But it is no fiction. This is the story behind Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and the Bush administration. And it appears that Plame and Wilson will get away with the biggest sting operation ever.
No one seems to care that our intelligence agency has crippled our president. Certainly not the media. They are determined to make Wilson a hero. Recall the dozens of times the Washington Post and The New York Times carried his lies on the front page, above the fold. The conclusive story discrediting Wilson was buried 6 feet deep, back by the obituaries.
But the rules on agents are clear. They can't purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail.
To the media, it doesn't matter that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says Wilson lied about what he did and with whom he met while investigating Iraqi attempts to purchase "yellowcake" uranium.
To the media, it doesn't matter that the CIA says what Wilson did actually find supported that Iraq was attempting to buy the uranium — a direct contradiction to Wilson's public claims.
To the media, it doesn't matter that he claimed the vice president assigned him to the uranium investigation when we all know now it was his wife.
Some absurdly claim that Plame had nothing to do with her husband's political activities against President Bush. But let it be clear. Plame could not have done what Wilson did and gotten away with it. Wilson could not have done what he did without Plame giving him a way to do it.
Something has to be done. We can't let the CIA become the domestic dirty tricks shop, with Republican and Democratic agents each trying to pull down their opposing presidents.
We need a Plame rule. Any family member of a CIA agent tapped to help out must live by the same rules regarding information disclosure and domestic political manipulations as those imposed on the agent. If the family member fails to live by those rules, the agent is terminated.
Clearly this will restrict the flexibility of the CIA. But who ever thought that the flexibility given to CIA agents would be misused to destabilize a U.S. president? No one — until Valerie Plame.
Zell Miller is a former Georgia governor and U.S. senator.
you need ask?
Slate writes Is Maureen Dowd Necessary?
democrats stifle free speech
Linda Ronstadt, after being booed off the Vegas stage last year for making a political speech during a concert, whined about her 1st Amendment rights. Of course, the 1st Amendment refers to government squelching speech, not paying audiences.
The House of Representatives needed a 2/3 vote to pass a bill making sure that McCain-Feingold would not infringe on free speech on the Internet. It failed by 47 votes.
Here's how it broke down:
Republicans: 178 yea/38 nay
Democrats: 46 yea/123 nay
When the federal government regulates political speech anywhere the Bill of Rights has been trampled.
roman genn, russian-american success story
In the late '80s Huell Howser, a broadcaster who specializes in human interest stories, ventured to Moscow with his Hi-8 camera and his knack for meeting interesting people. (Actually, Howser has a knack for making anyone interesting.)
At a local flea market he met a teenager named Roman Genn selling caricatures of Soviet leaders. Howser eventually went back to Roman's apartment, met his mother and did a nice broadcast featuring them. Members of a Southern California Jewish organization saw the show and sponsored their immigration to the United States in 1991.
Since then, I've seen Roman Genn's caricatures in many notable publications from the LA Times, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune to National Review (where the caricature of Michael Moore appears 11/7/2005). Whenever I do, I always remember the kid with the smartass grin living in the Soviet Union.
ramadan in europe: quite a riot
From Brussels Journal:
If you want to know what is the matter with those that are described by the mainstream media as rioting “youths,” read Theodore Dalrymple’s poignant analysis in the latest issue of City Journal. We are just witnessing the beginning of Europe’s problems: “The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.”
Our mainstream media, in attempts to preserve the Left’s chimera of “universal cultural compatibility,” hardly write about all this. Nevertheless, for some years now West European city folk and police officers have been familiar with the reality that certain areas of major European cities are no-go areas, especially at night and certainly if you are white or wearing a uniform. Three years ago, a French friend who had his car stolen learned that the thieves had parked the car in a particular suburb. When he went to the police he was told that the police did not operate in that neighbourhood and consequently would not be able to retrieve his car. This is Western Europe in the early 21st century.
HT Instapundit, who received this email from reader Steve Donohue:
"Rhetorical question: why is it that largely imagined riots in New Orleans receive almost non-stop coverage, but actual riots in France receive absolutely no coverage?"
Read the rest of the post. Another reader says the French riots are more like the Rodney King riots than an intifada.
Wednesday November 2, 2005
jesus gets downcased by eurocrats
From now on Christ shall be spelled christ, according to new European Union spelling rules. Seriously, nothing is too picayune to regulate over there.
Odd, because if ever there's a noun that's proper, Christ is it. No word on this from citizens of france, germany and belgium.
HT: Betsy Newmark.
who at the cia leaked this?
Serious stuff, not Plame games. The Washington Post writes about an ongoing covert CIA operation. It includes maps and details. Who was WaPo's source? Will Al Franken demand their execution?
all blacks think alike
...that's what you'd infer from Salima Siler Marriott. A black Baltimore Democrat, she said Mr. Steele [a black Republican] invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black. "Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community," she said. "His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people."
Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log.
What's that about diversity again?
calling all muslim moderates
It used to be that many Christians would burn or hang 'witches', slaughter those who did not share their denomination and kill scientific free thinkers. All of those things were done based on biblical justifications, some convoluted and other much less so.
Yet you would be hard pressed to find a Christian who would regard going back to that as desirable and I doubt many would have a problem if someone stood up and said "Yes, I know it says in the Bible that we should kill witches or people who use 'evil magic', but that's barbaric nonsense and we just do not tolerate that sort of stuff any more". Of course no one needs to stand up and say that because it goes without saying.
And when I hear lots of Muslims say "yes I know it says in the Koran that the penalty for turning your back on Islam is death, but that is barbaric nonsense and we just will not tolerate that sort of stuff any more", then, and only then, will I think that Price Charles is anything other than a fool for suggesting modern Islam could possibly be an overall force for good. I am not a Christian any more but I do not keep looking over my shoulder for a Jesuit with a garrotte sneaking up behind me because I dared to publicly state that fact. Ex-Muslims should be able to feel just as free as I do to publicly repudiate their religion if that is their wish, even if there are social consequences for them in their narrower community.
harry reid can't read
If he did, his little fit yesterday could have been avoided (but it wasn't really a fit, it was showbiz). The Senate already investigated Iraqi pre-war intelligence and concluded the White House exerted no pressure on the intelligence services to reach certain conclusions. Read the report here.
Glenn Reynolds has a comprehensive summary of the Democrats' belligerence toward Iraq when they ran the show in Washington, "WMDs make Harry Reid's head explode."
Read Bill Clinton's statement about the Iraq Liberation Act.
monkey vs. human brains
If you show someone a mouse and a cat and ask which is smaller, they'll quickly reply, "the mouse." Ask which is bigger, and it takes most people slightly longer to respond.
Conversely, if the two animals are large, such as a cow and an elephant, the typical person will be quicker at saying the elephant is larger than saying the cow is smaller.
This rule, known to scientists from actual tests on people, is known as "semantic congruity," and it also holds true for comparing numbers and distances.
Until now, scientists thought the rule was rooted in our language abilities. But in a recent study by researchers at Duke University, a group of monkeys have shown a similar ability to tell the difference between large and small groups of dots.
Read it all. And there's more on monkey thought experiments here.
kyoto: nice place to visit, but ya wouldn't want to live there
Tony Blair appeared last night to undermine more than 15 years of climate change negotiations when he signalled a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the end of the first day of a summit in London of environment and energy ministers, the prime minister said that legally binding targets to reduce pollution made people "very nervous and very worried".
He said when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, the world would need a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming.
irony of the liars club
- Joe Wilson tells a series of lies hoping to elect John Kerry, thus setting off the Valerie Plame scandal.
- Wilson begins by leaking to NYTimes columnist Nicolas Kristof whose column is entitled "Missing In Action: Truth" and contains some Wilson whoppers. Sample: that Dick Cheney had sent him to check out uranium claims in Niger.
- Mystery leaker in Bush's corner (media member? Bush aide?) counters the lies -- Wilson was doing political damage, or at least trying.
- Lewis Libby allegedly lies to special prosecutor about his knowledge of the matter and gets indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice.
- Democrats, disappointed that no one in the Bush administration is charged with outing a spy, lie about the significance of the Libby indictment. Harry Reid claims the indictment raised questions about how Bush handled prewar intelligence. The prosecutor said just the opposite. Reid is lying.
- Mainstream media had their "outed spy" stories ready to roll for Indictment Day. Instead of spiking them, or rewriting them to jibe with the new facts, they published as is. For example, CBS's "60 Minutes" lionized Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, while demonizing the White House for destroying her career. They are lying.
Photograph taken in Moorpark, CA. The area in the dotted box is the Reagan Library. The white, boxy building at left
is the new Air Force One exhibit.
one year ago today
...John Kerry won before he didn't win.
drummond vs. dionne
...and it isn't even close.
paris is burning
Tuesday November 1, 2005
Dedicated to Harry Reid for his hissy fit today. With apologies to Bob Dylan.
They made up postcards for the hanging
Excitement raged across D.C. town.
The parlors filled with Democrats
To see Bush lose his crown.
But there came Fitz the prosecutor
To say they'll be no hanging Rove.
Go fight your war about the war
My hands won't touch that stove.
Now the Lefties are getting riotous
Gotta let their emotions flow.
Dashed hopes, again, we see tonight
On desperation row.
too many vowels
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, today questioned Judge Samuel Alito’s commitment to diversity noting that the Supreme Court nominee’s last name is 60 percent vowels and only 40 percent consonants.
In perhaps the most substantive critique of President George Bush’s nominee to date, the senator also noted that the federal appeals court judge’s full name contains every vowel, but a disproportionately small percentage of consonants.
“Not only is Judge Alito’s name too vowel-heavy for mainstream Americans,” said Sen. Schumer. “But ‘Alito’ begins and ends with vowels, suggesting that vowels are the alpha and omega of the alphabet, and clearly denigrating the contribution of consonants to our society.”
by Jim Bass
Jews have a plan to dominate the world. It's no secret. It's all there in black and white, outlined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. There's just one problem with Protocols: it's a fraud. The document began as a French satire of Napoleon's ambition to rule the world, then was rewritten by Russian anti-Semites at the behest of the Czar so he could justify brutalizing Jews.
This is known to anyone who cares to know.
Alas, millions of people do not care to know. They prefer to view history and current events as a global Jewish plot against them. Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler took the Protocols as proof of a Jewish conspiracy. (If you Google "protocol elders zion" the top link is to a site that treats the racist defamation as fact. Since a site's Google rankings are largely determined by how many other sites link to it, this is disturbing.)
In today's Middle East, the Protocols is a bestseller that serves the interests of tyrants who basically tell their oppressed citizens, "Don't blame me. It's the Jews who are making you miserable." In Europe, residue of Protocols partially informs attitudes toward Israel and the US.
Like a mutant germ resistant to all antibiotics, Protocols refuses to die. Facts cannot kill what the human mind wills to live.
I have an elderly neighbor who is battling dementia. "April" loses things, then convinces herself that a phantom named Ezekiel stole them. I say phantom. To April, Ezekiel is quite real. Arguing otherwise gets me nowhere. For whatever reason, April wills Ezekiel to be real. End of debate.
April and the Protocols bring to mind the "Bush lied" crowd. They believe a cabal of influential neocons (curiously, most of whom are Jewish and former Democrats) manipulated a stupid president into lying about a non-existent threat (Saddam with WMD) in order to start a war for oil that became a quagmire. Thus, "Bush lied. People died."
But a mountain of facts refutes this. For Bush and Blair to have lied, they'd need to know that Saddam did not have WMD. But only Saddam knew that he was bluffing--even his generals were cluless until the last minute. Also, it made no sense for Bush to lie about WMD when their absence would become apparent while he ran for reelection.
Much as war opponents want to pretend otherwise, most of the world believed Saddam's bluff. For example, Sen. Hillary Clinton declared on Oct 9, 2002: "intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program."
Speaking of Clintons, President Clinton made regime change in Iraq official government policy. Bush was more or less picking up where Clinton left off, but with 9/11 informing his choices. Had the coalition not liberated Iraq and a terror attack were traced to Saddam, Bush would have been condemned for not "connecting the dots" and ignoring a mountain of intelligence warning of danger.
Those are facts known to anyone who cares to know.
But the anti-Bush left, which includes much of the Democrat party, their mainstream media enablers and countless musicians, actors and miscellaneous celebrity blowhards, are immune to these facts.
The "Bush Lied" crowd has its own Protocols, including Fahrenheit 9/11 and the "Downing Street Memo." When debating my liberal friends, I point out Michael Moore's numerous lies and half-truths. One said, "He may be lying, but he's bringing up good points." You can almost hear Henry Ford defending the Csar's ghost writer. Or Dan Rather with "fake but accurate."
When I point out the findings of the 9/11 Commission, the Duelfer report and the Senate Intelligence Committee, it's like me telling April that Ezekiel is a figment of her imagination. I'm wasting my breath.
Facts cannot kill what the liberal imagination wills to live.
Just as April's diseased mind invents a reality that entraps her in misery, liberals have invented a frightening world for themselves. In it, America has been hijacked by greedy warmongers who've stifled dissent and turned us into a police state. Some even believe that 9/11 was a plot by government insiders who murdered 3000 Americans and blamed it on jihadis to provide an excuse for wars of global domination. If you think that's absurd, know that in September the LA Times Sunday magazine devoted two pages to someone making that argument.
Facts cannot kill what the liberal imagination wills to live.
And so they miss the big picture: 51 million people free to elect their own governments, Syria forced out of Lebanon after 30 years, Libya voluntarily giving up its nukes, oppressed peoples in the middle east beginning to imagine a better life for themselves. Yes, it's messy and unsettled. When has history been otherwise?
When Bush is greeted in Tblisi by a massive crowd the way JFK was greeted in Berlin, they look the other way or mutter sour jibes. When Bush gives voice to the ideals of universal democracy, they scoff and grumble "Haliburton." When Bush says that freedom is god's gift to humanity, they gripe that you can't spread democracy at the point of a gun (ignoring the examples of Germany and Japan).
Unlike April, whose misery is self contained, the Left's dementia affects the world. So crazed is their hatred of Bush, they'll promote anything that could hurt him, even if it redounds to America's detriment. The "Bush lied" chant is heard worldwide. Right now some college student in the middle east, perhaps a potential jihadi, is reading the Protocols and wondering whether it's true. Then he'll see Fahrenheit 9/11 and read about neocon cabals and his doubts will be erased.
Facts cannot kill what the mind wills to live. I know this because Ezekiel told me.
chucky gets yucky
"The real question today is whether Judge Alito would use his seat on the bench, just as Rosa Parks used her seat on the bus, to change history for the better or whether he would use that seat to reverse much of what Rosa Parks and so many others fought so hard and for so long to put in place," Schumer said.
michael yon/Bruce willis
the sunni side of the street
John Burns of the New York Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — For those exhausted by Iraq's relentless violence and sectarianism, there are few tonics like a conversation with Adnan Pachachi. At 82, Mr. Pachachi is an Iraqi patrician who began his diplomatic career in Washington on the day in April 1945 when Franklin D. Roosevelt's coffin arrived at Union Station from Warm Springs, Ga. A fugitive from Saddam Hussein's brutality, he returned to Iraq 30 months ago in the hope of restoring the political civilities many Iraqis say were swept away with the assassination of King Faisal II in 1958.
Mr. Pachachi is a Sunni, but he believes that Sunnis and Shiites, Kurds and Arabs, and Iraq's minorities, are not by nature disposed to the current politics of religious and ethnic division. He regards the years of repression under Mr. Hussein, a Sunni whose main victims were Shiites and Kurds, as less a matter of Sunnis bludgeoning others to gain minority privilege than the work of a tyrant who betrayed Sunnis' instincts for a common life. Although seething mosques and insurgents dominate the Sunni heartland now, he says, most Sunnis, at heart, would prefer an inclusive, secular Iraq.
Read it all.
upsetting the unbalanced
NPR and various liberal echo chambers were alive today with the notion that Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court will "upset the delicate balance" on the court by swapping a "swing voter" with a conservative.
The argument that judicial appointments should maintain the status quo is misdirection, and comically so. Democrats have been losing elections and thus their influence on the courts. Tough luck.
Only a sucker forfeits his legitimately won advantage in the name of balance or of "uniting" the country.
you be the judge
Consider two defendants:
Defendant #1 lied to federal investigators, stole (on several occasions) classified documents germane to national security from the federal government, and destroyed said documents in his office.
Defendant #2 lied to federal investigators about when he had information about the wife of a partisan critic working to defeat his boss in a national election.
Who should do time? Be ruined? Pay a big fine? Be scorned in the national media?
This is not academic. #1 is Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Advisor, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, had his security clearance revoked for three years and paid a fine.
#2 is Lewis Libby, who has yet to be found guilty, but could face 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Monday October 31, 2005
What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?
...is the title of a very entertaining movie (infomercial) for the Ramtha cult. A friend recommended this last summer when it was making its way through the indie film circuit. He described people standing outside the theater afterward buzzing about the ideas in the film.
It's an odd, creative movie that combines quantum physics, pop psychology and New Age concepts. Talking heads, animations and the story of a depressed photographer played by Marlee Matlin are woven together to...to what?
Well, the talking heads are not identified during the film, which made me suspicious. If someone is making provocative statements, I like to know their credentials. One husky blonde stroked her chin a la Vito Corleone as she spoke. And she's a great talker, that's for sure.
Later, we learn she is JZ Knight, "channeling" the 35,000 year old spirit of Ramtha. Indeed, the producers of the film are associated with her group, the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Credit cards and checks accepted.
The film has some wonderful animations that explain quantum physics and neurological processes. But it also tries to pass off some big time bunk:
- Supposedly Caribbean Indians could not see Columbus's ships as they sailed to shore because they lacked a mental concept for ships. If the human brain really functioned that way, we'd be extinct.
- They show photographs by Masaru Emoto that supposedly show how the molecular structure of water changes when you think different thoughts. And since our bodies are 90% water (they aren't) then we can change our physical nature by how we think.
- After spending 30 minutes convincing viewers that we create our own realities, we hear several talking heads emphatically criticize the concept of god as understood by most people. Well, gee, if I create my own reality, who are they to judge it?
But it was slick.
riots in paris
...Islamic youths vs. police for the fourth consecutive night.
dutch treat: deductible witch lessons
Dutch witches are getting a tax break. A court has ruled that the cost of witchcraft lessons can be taken as a tax deduction.
Learning to cast spells and brew potions doesn't come cheap. Margarita Rongen runs the "Witches Homestead" in a northern province. Her witchcraft workshops cost more than $200 a weekend or more than $2,600 for a full course.
but who's counting?
The Associated Press advises us that if confirmed, Samuel Alito would be the fifth Roman Catholic on the current Supreme Court and the 11th Catholic to serve in the court's history.
doing away with the poor
by Burt Prelutsky
It is alleged that when his ex-wife was asked to sum up William Saroyan, famous for his heartwarming stories about Fresno’s Armenian community, she replied, “Bill loved mankind, but he hated people.”
Knowing from firsthand experience how bitter ex-wives can be, I can’t comment on the veracity of that rather pithy analysis, but I think it’s a very appropriate comment when it comes to large numbers of Democrats.
The specific group I have in mind includes several millionaire members of the U.S. Senate, virtually every major figure in the motion picture and popular music industries, and a slew of business tycoons. The one thing all these muckety mucks have in common is they only mingle with each other. They love mankind, but they hate poor people. That’s why they live behind high walls and electric gates, and travel everywhere in limos and private jets, generally accompanied by extremely large men carrying extremely large guns.
When it comes to speaking at charity banquets and delivering political speeches, the rich and famous will say all the usual compassionate bilge about the poor and the downtrodden. But so far as actually interacting with them, that’s strictly limited to the peons who mop their floors, cook their food, mow their lawns, and look after their kids.
And, frankly, I don’t blame them. I mean, who the heck really wants to hang around poor people? Besides not looking or even smelling as good as rich people, they always want something. And usually what they want more than anything is to be rich. That’s exactly the sort of thing that makes wealthy people really nervous. After all, it’s not their own kind who go around starting revolutions, burgling their homes, kidnapping for ransom, or knocking them on the head to steal their wallets.
So it is we have millionaires like Kennedy and Kerry, Edwards and Feinstein, Boxer and Dean, trying to pass themselves off as populists, yammering about raising taxes and soaking the rich, as if they themselves were members in good standing of the lunch bucket brigade. The odd thing is that so many poor people seem so willing to go along with the gag. That can either be attributed to extremely good manners or a naivete bordering on feeble-mindedness.
In any case, being neither rich nor poor myself, perhaps it’s no surprise that, being in a position to view the problem objectively, I have been able to come up with a surefire cure for poverty in America.
I’m not sure if it’s this way in other parts of the country, but here in Southern California, individuals and companies get to adopt a mile or two of freeway. I’m not sure what their responsibility is, inasmuch as the orange-vested clean up crews consist, so far as I can tell, of bad drivers performing the community service portion of their sentences, and not of Rosanne Barr or the gang at Morton’s Mufflers. But I figure they must have kicked in a pretty penny in order to get their names on those little highway signs. After all, publicity doesn’t come cheap in this town.
Well, it struck me that if the well-to-do are willing to adopt a stretch of the 405, why don’t they, instead, adopt the poor? Heck, all by themselves, liberals like Ted Turner, Barbara Streisand and George Soros, can afford to adopt every illegal alien coming across the border. And what’s more, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream moguls Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield can provide them with butter pecan and fudge ripple until the cows come home.
Sunday October 30, 2005
cia is big loser
THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.
Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative -- something that's not actually quite clear from the indictment -- the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson's oped appeared, Plame's covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.
This leaves two possibilities. One is that the mission was intended to result in the New York Times oped all along, meaning that the CIA didn't care much about Plame's status, and was trying to meddle in domestic politics. This reflects very badly on the CIA.
The other possibility is that they're so clueless that they did this without any nefarious plan, because they're so inept, and so prone to cronyism and nepotism, that this is just business as usual. If so, the popular theory that the CIA couldn't find its own weenie with both hands and a flashlight would appear to have found some pretty strong support.
Either way, it seems to me that everyone involved with planning the Wilson mission should be fired. And it's obvious that the CIA, one way or another, needs a lot of work.
President Bush has been criticized by writers on the right for calling the post-9/11 struggle a "War on Terror" instead of a War on Islamic jihadism. Last week, Bush did mention Islam by name:
The ideology known as Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-fascism - different from the religion of Islam - exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision that calls for the murder of all those who do not share it. The followers of Islamic radicalism are bound together by their shared ideology, not by any centralized command structure. Although they fight on scattered battlefields, these terrorists share a similar ideology and vision for the world openly stated in videos, audiotapes, letters, declarations, and websites.
It took no time for his words to be twisted. This is from an editorial in the Pakistan Observer:
U.S. President George W. Bush has likened Islamic radicalism to communism and fascism and said that it has ambitions of imperialism, although it claims to be in a battle against so-called imperialism. At a Washington function, he said that Islamic radicalism is a loose network of activists sharing an ideology and vision similar to that of communism.
Bush's statement represents a crude attempt to demonize Islam by equating it with Communism, utterly disregarding the inherent contradiction between the two. Islam is a revealed religion and it is here to stay for eternity, while Communism is a Godless man-conceived ideology that has perished from the pages of history.
By not addressing the bloodlust of the jihadis who have perverted their faith, Muslims editorialists such as this advance the idea that all Muslims are killers. They need nuance.
The Perils of Maureen
Maureen Dowd, columnist for the NY Times, writes:
At a party for the Broadway opening of "Sweet Smell of Success," a top New York producer gave me a lecture on the price of female success that was anything but sweet. He confessed that he had wanted to ask me out on a date when he was between marriages but nixed the idea because my job as a Times columnist made me too intimidating.
Men, he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties. Will she be critical of absolutely everything, even his manhood?
Intimidating? Maureen Dowd writes (and worse, thinks) like a high school newspaper smart aleck. Maybe she's alone at 50+ because men are turned off by snarky juveniles. Just as women are.
italians clone pigs, face jihad
The Italian researchers who produced the first horse clone have announced the birth of 14 cloned piglets. The animals were born several weeks ago at the Laboratory of Reproductive Technology in Cremona.
Missed Cinema: Himalaya
By "missed" I refer to films I didn't see in their initial run. Himalaya won Best Foreign Film in 1997, and is out on a wonderful DVD.
The story is about the Dolpo-pa, Nepalese Tibetans who for centuries have made their living gathering salt high in the Himalayas, which they take to market via caravan over some treacherous (and gorgeous) mountains to trade for grain.
You could say this is a road picture on roads most of will never visit. Shot in Cinemascope, the film could stand alone simply as a travelogue, although it is much more.
The Dolpo-pa live three weeks away from the nearest road, which meant French filmmaker Eric Valli and his crew had to haul everything there. In some ways, the story of the making of the film matches that of the film's -- one of determination and hardship (be sure to watch the 'Making of' documentary on the DVD. As is often the case, much went wrong and the 90 day shoot turned into nine months.
The cast is entirely locals. None had ever seen a movie, much less act in one. The dedication of the filmmakers to tell this story is quite remarkable. You can find it at Netflix.
America still burns witches
We like to believe that the Salem witch trials could never happen again in America. But an honest review of the child abuse trials of the 1980s--fed by media hysteria-- contradicts that bit of self-flattery.
Numerous lives were ruined when prosecutors swallowed fantastic stories and brought cases that didn't pass the laugh test. In Los Angeles, it was the McMartin Preschool case.
Today's LA Times has an account of one of the child witnesses coerced into making false charges:
I think I got the satanic details by picturing our church. We went to American Martyrs, which was a huge Catholic church. Every Sunday we had to go, and Mass would last an hour, hour and a half. None of us wanted to go: It was kicking and screaming all the way there. Sitting, standing, sitting, standing.
What I would do was picture the altar, pews and stained-glass windows, and if [investigators] said, "Describe an altar," I would describe the one in our church. Or instead of, "There was a priest in a green suit"—someone who was real—I would say, "A man dressed in red as a cult member." From going to church you know that God is good, and the devil is bad and has horns and is about evil and red and blood. I'd just throw a twist in there with Satan and devil-worshipping...
But the lying really bothered me. One particular night stands out in my mind. I was maybe 10 years old and I tried to tell my mom that nothing had happened. I lay on the bed crying hysterically—I wanted to get it off my chest, to tell her the truth. My mother kept asking me to please tell her what was the matter. I said she would never believe me.
She persisted: "I promise I'll believe you! I love you so much! Tell me what's bothering you!" This went on for a long time: I told her she wouldn't believe me, and she kept assuring me she would. I remember finally telling her, "Nothing happened! Nothing ever happened to me at that school."
Saturday October 29, 2005
jughead goes to washington
Prince Charles should stick to cutting ribbons at shopping centers:
The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.
The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.
The Prince raised his concerns when he met senior Muslims in London in November 2001. The gathering took place just two months after the attacks on New York and Washington. "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational," the Prince said, according to one leader at the meeting.
I don't know how many times I've heard Bush refer to Islam as a religion of peace. He had an Imam at the National Cathedral service right after 9/11. Muslims do just fine in the USA.
Now, if Charles thinks we need to ban piglet dolls and piggy banks to appease the tender feelings of some Muslims, as the Brits are doing, he's just demonstrating the downside of inbreeding.
grim milestone in 1944
From Terrestrial Musings:
October 28th, 1944
WASHINGTON (Routers) As this bloody and futile war enters its fourth year, the casualties continue to rise, and while it's hard to know how many American soldiers have been lost, due to a secretive Roosevelt administration, many analysts think that the number of deaths in brutal battle is now approaching a quarter of a million, with many more millions of civilian casualties in Europe and Asia. Even ignoring all of the innocent loss of life, the loss of American soldiers alone is now almost equivalent to that of the entire population of a medium-sized American city.
This mark is being reached amid growing doubts among the American public about the seemingly endless European and Pacific conflicts, hastily and, some say, thoughtlessly launched in December 1941 to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor by radical Japanese Shintoists.
all the news that's fit to twist
Michele Malkin finds the New York Times coloring the news again. In a 4625-word story about the 2000 dead in Iraq, they wrote:
Sifting through Corporal Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine's girlfriend. ''I kind of predicted this,'' Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. ''A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances.''
Starr's uncle contacted Malkin with the full quote:
"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom.
It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
a chilling effect on cIA recruitment
Patrick Fitzgerald seems like a nice guy. His baseball metaphor to explain why lying to investigators was a serious crime was apt. He also said that revealing the name of a CIA employee (not a covert agent) could impact recruitment to the agency.
If you're planning to work for the CIA, get your non-spy, preening spouse a gig to investigate intelligence matters and then sit back and watch him spin lies to the media (about his report's findings and the circumstances in how he was hired) in order to undermine a president who is running for reelection, and you expect the administration to remain mute to your lies ...uh, find another line of work.
To everyone else, it's a great career.
got brains and brawn?
...then chessboxing might be for you.
idealism changes parties
Once upon a time, the Republican party was known for its isolationism and hardbitten foreign policy. Democrats were the idealistic citizens of the world, promising the spread of freedom.
Here is President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address:
For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God...
To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
Here is George W. Bush in his second inaugural address:
The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth...
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
Things changed and the parties switched positions (curiously, many liberals failed to notice). Democrats are now sour isolationists demanding "exit strategies" and bitching about building fire houses in Baghdad instead of fire houses in Topeka. The 51 million Iraqis and Afghanis saved from tyranny through acts of war don't seem to count. Democrats were perfectly content to have President Clinton look the other way while 800,000 Rwandans were macheted to death, when 5000 Marines could have ended the slaughter in a few days.
One overlooked aspect of George W. Bush's presidency is his repudiation of the worldview of his own father and his father's advisors. Brent Scowcroft, an architect of the old Republican position, shows up in the New Yorker to criticize Bush on Iraq.
If you saw the movie Three Kings, recall the scene where the Kurds are being massacred by Saddam's army after the Gulf War. The Kurds, fully expecting to be backed up by the US, are crying out "George Bush! George Bush!" Well, that type of cold, calculated amorality is vintage Scowcroft. In his worldview, a stable Iraq under Saddam was preferable to an unstable Iraq, regardless of how many Kurds and Shiites died.
Charles Krauthammer takes on Scowcroft in an excellent oped:
Realists prize stability above all, and there is nothing more stable than a ruthlessly efficient dictatorship. Which is why Scowcroft is the man who six months after Tiananmen Square toasted those who ordered the massacre; who, as the world celebrates the Beirut Spring that evicted the Syrian occupation from Lebanon, sees not liberation but possible instability; who can barely conceal a preference for Syria's stabilizing iron rule.
Even today Scowcroft says, ``I didn't think that calling the Soviet Union the `evil empire' got anybody anywhere.'' Tell that to Natan Sharansky and other Soviet dissidents for whom that declaration of moral -- beyond geopolitical -- purpose was electrifying, and helped galvanize the dissident movements that ultimately brought down the Soviet empire.
the U.S. economy rolls on
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Economic activity expanded at an energetic 3.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, providing vivid evidence of the economy's stamina even as it coped with the destructive forces of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The latest snapshot of the country's economic performance, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, marked an improvement from the solid 3.3 percent pace of growth registered in the second quarter.
Growth in the third quarter was broad-based, reflecting brisk spending by consumers, businesses and government.
"Holy Katrina! The economy weathered two major hurricanes and in spite of that showed accelerated growth," said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "I think what this shows is that fundamentally the economy was and is in really good shape."
by J.C. Phillips
An e-mail chain currently making the rounds asks the question: “What do you love about America?” There are some terrific answers. Among my favorites are: The Grambling State University Marching Band, Times Square, overpriced coffee, 7th Avenue Park Slope, Thelonius Monk, Johnny Cash, Sandra Bullock and (of course) The Cosby Show.
To this growing list I would add: Western films, cheeseburgers, The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, Count Basie and most of all American Idealism.
I love that Americans are not afraid to dream big dreams. Our idealism is the source of our can do spirit; it is the foundation of our charity. It is an integral part of the American character and one of the strengths of this nation. In spite of differences in race, gender, ethnicity or political party, one thing we have in common is that as Americans we are willing to reach beyond ourselves to make the impossible real.
It has been that way since the founding.
Abraham Lincoln wrote that all nations have a central idea from which all its minor thoughts radiate. In America that central idea is equality. Thomas Jefferson the primary author of the Declaration of Independence wrote: “…the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” The theme is repeated in the keystone document of our republic: “All men are created equal” and granted certain rights by God. From this central idea flow the revolutionary ideas of government by consent, the right to private property and religious tolerance.
Natural rights and self-government were not new ideas. They had existed in the world of philosophy for hundreds of years. It was, however, the American aspiration to some more perfect form of governance that led to America’s using these principles as the foundation upon which to build a new nation. If not for this idealistic pursuit, the principles of human equality would have perhaps remained mere pretty words.
Though idealism is our strength it has often out stripped our capacity to reach it at the time.
The revolutionary principles upon which our nation was founded were preached even as the institution of slavery thrived. During its existence, our imperfect nation has suffered race hatred and ethnic discrimination of the worst kind. Happily, the principles of our founding served as a vision of where we hoped to go. Instead of allowing the failures of men to corrupt the power of ideals, the American vision of liberty has been the inspiration for freedom movements the world over.
Even as this nation struggled with the institution of slavery, we continued to aspire to something greater. The power of American idealism inspired Abraham Lincoln, standing amongst the dead of Gettysburg, to call the nation to a “New birth of freedom.”
One hundred years later that baton of idealism was carried by Martin Luther King Jr. who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke of his dream of a day when men would be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Americans are still dreaming big dreams. Forty years after King weaved our idealism into poetry, men and women all across the country are building businesses that create jobs and wealth; they are giving their time and money to support churches, charities, culture, arts and education in their communities. What I love about America is that we are a people always looking ahead, reaching out, encouraging, urging, fighting, scratching and clawing ever forward toward some noble end that is greater than ourselves.
books that kill
The Oct. 24 New Yorker profiles Bill Gates about his new passion: solving world health problems, particularly malaria. Gates' charity has a $29 billion endowment and has spent $6 billion in the past five years on health related projects, mostly in the Third World. Consider that the annual budget for the World Health Organization is $1.65 billion and Gates' impact becomes clear.
Most of the world once had a malaria problem. The Centers for Disease Control was established in Atlanta because of malarial outbreaks in the American south. It was soon eliminated by DDT. As Ronald Bailey wrote in Reason:
As soon as the war ended, American consumers and farmers quickly adopted the wonder insecticide, replacing the old-fashioned arsenic-based pesticides, which were truly nasty. Testing by the U.S. Public Health Service and the Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Pharmacology found no serious human toxicity problems with DDT. Muller, DDT’s inventor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948.
DDT was soon widely deployed by public health officials, who banished malaria from the southern United States with its help. The World Health Organization credits DDT with saving 50 million to 100 million lives by preventing malaria. In 1943 Venezuela had 8,171,115 cases of malaria; by 1958, after the use of DDT, the number was down to 800. India, which had over 10 million cases of malaria in 1935, had 285,962 in 1969. In Italy the number of malaria cases dropped from 411,602 in 1945 to only 37 in 1968.
Then came Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the book credited with kicking off the modern environmental movement. Bailey writes:
But DDT and other pesticides had a dark side. They not only killed the pests at which they were aimed but often killed beneficial organisms as well. Carson, the passionate defender of wildlife, was determined to spotlight these harms. Memorably, she painted a scenario in which birds had all been poisoned by insecticides, resulting in a "silent spring" in which "no birds sing."
Carson's book did much good, but it also did bad. Much of her science was suspect and partisan.
On June 14, 1972... the EPA banned DDT despite considerable evidence of its safety offered in seven months of agency hearings. After listening to that testimony, the EPA’s own administrative law judge declared, "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man...DDT is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man...The use of DDT under the regulations involved here [does] not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife." Today environmental activists celebrate the EPA’s DDT ban as their first great victory.
The EPA was not unbiased. As JunkScience noted:
Despite the exculpatory ruling, then-EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus banned DDT anyway.
Ruckelshaus never attended the hearings, did not read the transcript and refused to release the materials used to make his decision. He even rebuffed a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort to obtain those materials through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming they were just “internal memos.”
It gets worse.
Ruckelshaus was biased against DDT. He was a member of the activist group, the Environmental Defense Fund. Ruckelshaus solicited donations for EDF on personal stationery that read, “EDF's scientists blew the whistle on DDT by showing it to be a cancer hazard, and three years later, when the dust had cleared, EDF had won.”
US foreign aid comes with strings attached (rightly so) and one of those strings forbids the use of DDT in places where it could save millions of lives. Today, three million people die annually from malaria that we know about.
If all human lives are equal, then malaria ribbons not AIDS awareness ribbons, should be the fashion. The disease should be targeted and eliminated. Gates is putting his money where his mouth and passion are.
Politicians in the US have been slow to act. Al Gore famously visited the birthplace of Rachel Carson during his campaign to burnish his Green credentials. But Ralph Nader has spoken out for DDT and funded the Malaria Project.
Two ancillary points stick out: One, the accumulation of personal wealth is not always the evil many would believe. Bill Gates is able to focus and act in ways no government or UN agency can. His wealth is a social benefit.
The second point is that emotionalism can kill. DDT got a bad name that transcended facts, with the result that millions have died that could have been saved. (Greens would mock Christians for belief in Satan DDT is their Satan.) Do-gooders can do bad, even if they mean well.
Beyond DDT, consider that nuclear energy is has least environmental impact and requires no oil. France generates 80 percent of its power with nuclear power plants. In the United States not one nuclear plant has been built since Jane Fonda spooked everyone with The China Syndrome.
Thursday October 27, 2005
the, ahem, moral authority of the international community
Suppose Bush and Blair had decided to leave containment of Saddam up to the international community via sanctions. Where would we be today? Consider this:
More than 2,000 companies taking part in the United Nations oil-for-food programme paid illegal surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, an inquiry has found.
The 500-page report said companies in 66 countries paid kickbacks on selling Iraq humanitarian goods and companies from 40 countries paid surcharges on oil contracts but the UN Security Council took little action.
Sixty-six countries had companies on the take from Saddam.
...three members of the UN-established Independent Inquiry Committee had confirmed that the report would show that "the country with the most companies involved was Russia, followed by France."
What a shock, eh? France and Russia, two nations that took a (har har) principled stand against war, were up to their eyeballs in graft.
All the fools who carried placards calling Bush and Blair "terrorists" should know that the millions these well-connected companies stole was food/medicine from the mouths of suffering Iraqi civilians. And that their blood money went into Saddam's pocket to prolong his reign of terror over his people. Not to mention paying for suicide bombers in Israel, and who knows what else?
Those who whine about Bush's "illegal war" should ponder the moral debasement of the UN and ask themselves, why should the approval of this den of thieves meant anything?
run, Jacques, run!
Another weird aspect of French law is that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted for crimes. So as his dirty associates face justice, Chirac must be pondering another election campaign.
The suspicion of past corruption tainting Jacques Chirac's presidency returned to haunt him yesterday when a court imposed suspended sentences and fines on his former henchmen. A defence lawyer representing one of the most prominent of the 47 accused of an illegal party funding scandal had earlier spoken of "empty chairs" in the Paris courtroom.
One man missing from the proceedings was "the president whose name we dare not utter," the lawyer alleged.
The outcome of the trial, which highlighted kickbacks of £50 million from school building contracts, was another crushing indictment of a political system riddled with corruption from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s.
The main beneficiary of the kickbacks was the RPR, the party Mr Chirac founded in 1976.
As president, Mr Chirac has immunity from prosecution and would continue to avoid possible legal action if he defied predictions and successfully stood for a third term in 2007.
Candidates in the US often cite a "fire in the belly" as a reason to run for office. For Chirac, it might be fear in the gut.
joe wilson: what a piece of work
Regardless of what happens with the grand jury in the Plame affair, one known is that Joe Wilson is a liar. Now he's out flogging his book and saying:
"The fact that this may become a crisis of governance should please no one," Wilson said at a private hotel reception before speaking in downtown Seattle Wednesday evening. "It's a sad day for our country."
Oh, please. Wilson is a rank partisan who leaked lies to the New York Times and Washington Post during the 2004 election campaign. If Wilson's lies had not been countered, we might have John "Global Test" Kerry in the White House.
Stephen Hayes, who has covered this story more thoroughly than anyone, writes:
Wilson told Pincus [Washington Post] that he had debunked Bush administration claims that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. He was specific and apparently seemed credible. And Pincus bought it all.
Armed with information purportedly showing that Iraqi officials had been seeking to buy uranium in Niger one or two years earlier, the CIA in early February 2002 dispatched a retired U.S. ambassador to the country to investigate the claims, according to the senior U.S. officials and the former government official, who is familiar with the event. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity and on condition that the name of the former ambassador not be disclosed.
During his trip, the CIA's envoy spoke with the president of Niger and other Niger officials mentioned as being involved in the Iraqi effort, some of whose signatures purportedly appeared on the documents.
After returning to the United States, the envoy reported to the CIA that the uranium-purchase story was false, the sources said. Among the envoy's conclusions was that the documents may have been forged because the "dates were wrong and the names were wrong," the former U.S. government official said.
There is one problem with this: It's wrong. Wilson lied and lied repeatedly. His central contention--that he had seen documents about the alleged sale and determined that they were forgeries--was a fabrication. We know this because Wilson took his trip in February 2002 and the U.S. government did not receive those documents until October 2002. It could not have happened the way Wilson described it to Pincus.
My fantasy outcome: Joe Wilson gets indicted.
dog bites man: Michael moore found lying
File this under "now she tells us." A woman explains how the Hefty Lefty edited her words:
I said, "Many people have lost sons and daughters," and then a voice interrupted me and said, "Did you lose someone in Iraq?" I turned and saw I was being filmed. I said, "No, I was referring to 9/11!" Coming from New Jersey, I know many people who have lost loved ones on 9/11, including some very close to me. I thought this was the local news, I still did not know this was for Michael Moore's movie.
In the finished version, however, Duetsch says her words were edited as follows:
In the movie, Michael Moore edited out what I said, edited out all the sympathies and emotion I expressed for Lila. When she said, "I lost my son," he edited it to make it appear as if my response was simply "Many people have lost sons and daughters," making me look heartless to the world. He knew I was referring to 9/11; he was right there listening.
wal-Mart Spanks Robert Greenwald
Leftwing documentarian Robert Greenwald is taking on Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart smacks back with a video of its own. See it here.