Monday, August 28, 2006

Deadwood - facts and fiction

A look at who/what is historically accurate and who/what is fictional in HBO's brilliant series is here, fascinating stuff. While I'm on the subject, has there ever been a greater television character than Ian McShane's Al Swearengen?


This will warm your heart

From Yahoo News UK:

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is being made to watch his appearance in cult cartoon South Park while he is behind bars.

The deposed leader on trial in Iraq was featured in the movie spin-off as the lover of the devil. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut featured Hussein and Satan attempting to take over the world together.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said US Marines guarding the former dictator during his trial for genocide were making him watch the movie "repeatedly".

"I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie last year. That's really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy," Stone said.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Philly quagmire

No, not Terrell Owens, he's gone.

I'm talking about the fact that it is safer to be an American soldier in Iraq than a young black man in Philadelphia.

Will John Murtha call for a cut and run from Philly? It's time for everybody to admit that it was a mistake ever going into The City of Bortherly Shove in the first place.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

But don't question his patriotism!

Russell Shaw on the Puffington Host incredibly blogs that, while he doesn't want another terrorist attack, he sees a silver lining in a possible attack: it might help the Democrats!

If an attack occurred just before the elections, I have to think that at least a few of the voters who persist in this "Bush has kept us safe" thinking would realize the fallacy they have been under.

If 5% of the "he's kept us safe" revise their thinking enough to vote Democrat, well, then, the Dems could recapture the House and the Senate and be in a position to:

[Save women from back-alley abortions! Enact a health care rationing scheme! Repeal the Second Amendment! Eliminate some minimum wage jobs in order to give other minmum wage earners a raise! Etc!]

Not so much notable for the sentiment, which is red meat among the Angry Left, but in his willingness to say it out loud where the otherwise sane might hear him. Of course if some righty pundit or blogger suggested that he thought this way they would be branded a hate monger. As I have said before, you can't parody these guys anymore.

UPDATE 8/26/06: A thorough point by point fisking by Caerdroia. Absolutely a must read.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Nolan Derangement Syndrome?

Former 49ers RB Kevan Barlow, after being traded to the Jets, had some harsh words for head coach Mike Nolan:

"Nolan just doesn't know what he's doing. He's a first-time head coach with too much power," Barlow said via cell phone from New York. "He has too much power as a first-time head coach. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder, like he's a dictator, like he's Hitler. People are scared of him. If it ain't Nolan's way, it's the highway."

And you thought only President Bush could cause people to take leave of their senses to the point that they throw out the gratuitous Hitler reference!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why do they call it life?

Reading about a Danish terror indictment, I came across this head scratcher:

The four men, who cannot be named under a court order, would face up to life in prison if found guilty. Under Danish law, life sentences are commuted after 16 years.

Huh? If "life" sentences last 16 years, then why not call them what they are - 16 year sentences?

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How can you tell Hezbollah's lying?

Not just when they move their lips, as the old saying goes, but pretty much any time they communicate in any fashion. There's been a lot written lately about terrorists feeding fake stories to western journalists, as well as faking and/or staging photographs and video. An Aussie paper reports on a humorous attempt at photofakery: - an Iran-based website run by the Hezbollah terrorist group - is running this picture (above) of what it claims is the Israeli ship it hit with a missile last month.

Now look at the Royal Australian Navy’s picture below - as published by Defence Industry Daily - of its sinking of the decommissioned Australian destroyer-escort HMAS Torrens off the coast of Western Australia in 1998 . We were told at the time the Torrens was deliberately sunk by a torpedo fired by one of our own submarines, the HMAS Farncomb.

Should we now think that we were in fact attacked by Hezbollah - or is this just the latest proof that Hezbollah will lie and lie again for propaganda gain?

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It's all the same war

As you may have seen, some Palestinian group released a statement and a video of the two kidnapped Fox News journalists (Steve Centanni, 60, of the San Francisco area, and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand) yesterday. What I found interesting was their demand:

"We are going to exchange the Muslim female and male prisoners in American jails in return for the prisoners that we have. We are going to give you 72 hours beginning midnight tonight to take your decision," [Palestinian news agency] Ramattan quoted the statement as saying.

Hmmm, terrorists kidnap two innocents and use them to try to blackmail a civilized democratic state into releasing a bunch of criminals in exchange, that rings a where have I heard that before?

UPDATE 8/27/06: Great news, Centanni and Wiig have been released.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

That'll teach you to sell *us* out

So say the Lebanese:

SENDAI, Japan (Ticker) - Without its coach, Lebanon engineered the upset of the World Championships thus far with a 74-73 Group A victory over lackadaisical France, which saw NBA star Boris Diaw miss a crucial free throw in the waning seconds. [...]

Lebanon clearly played harder, often diving for loose balls, while France appeared too relaxed - which it should not have been.

Dominic de Villepin could not be reached for comment on the latest French surrender.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Domestic terrorism

This is sad, as the fascist tactics of anti-science animal rights terrorists pay some dividends:

The constant calls, the people frightening his children, and the demonstrations in front of his home apparently became a little too much.

Dario Ringach, an associate neurobiology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, decided this month to give up his research on primates because of pressure put on him, his neighborhood, and his family by the UCLA Primate Freedom Project, which seeks to stop research that harms animals.

Anti-animal research groups are trumpeting Ringach’s move as a victory, while some researchers are worried that it could embolden such groups to use more extreme tactics.

Ringach’s name and home phone number are posted on the Primate Freedom Project’s Web site, and colleagues and UCLA officials said that Ringach was harassed by phone — his office phone number is no longer active — and e-mail, as well as through demonstrations in front of his home. [...]

Colleagues suggested that Ringach, who did not return e-mails seeking comment, was spooked by an attack on a colleague. In June, the Animal Liberation Front took credit for trying to put a Molotov cocktail on the doorstep of Lynn Fairbanks, another UCLA researcher who does experimentation on animals. The explosive was accidentally placed on the doorstep of Fairbanks’s elderly neighbor’s house, and did not detonate. [...]

Upon Ringach’s decision to stop his research, UCLA issued a statement saying that “we all suffer when animal rights activists attempt to intimidate researchers by physically threatening and harassing them and their families, including young children.” The statement added that “to be so extreme as to use violent tactics aimed at halting animal research is to take away hope from millions of people with cancer, AIDS, heart disease and hundreds of other diseases.” [...]

As to the Molotov cocktail, [Animal Liberation Press Office spokesman Jerry] Vlasak said that “force is a poor second choice, but if that’s the only thing that will work … there’s certainly moral justification for that.”

Yes, he said that using a homemade bomb on a scientist's home and thus his wife and children is morally justifiable. That should tell you all you need to know about the radical animal rights movement.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Whitewashing Iran

A remarkable admission from lefty blogger (one of the sane ones, which is what makes it notable) Kevin Drum, what amounts to claiming that he does not criticize Iran because it might help Bush (or the Republicans, the Neocons, or some other dreaded bogeyman).

Junkyard blog nails it with his close: "This is a journalist, by the way; someone who—though he may be biased—is supposed to have some passing acquaintance with telling the truth. Even if it helps the other party. But his conscience is troubled more by possibly helping Bush with his super-important, oracular, weighty-smart words than it is by his helping the Mullahs—the antithesis of everything he believes, and who want to kill us all—through his dishonest silence."

As many have said, it is impossible to parody the left these days.

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This is probably fake, but...

If not it's amazing. Neil Rackers hitting the uprights on command.

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Useful Idiot of the Week

Time for a new quasi-weekly feature for those who, perhaps but not necessarily unintentionally, further the cause of terrorism. Named, of course, for Lenin's description of western reporters and other western fellow travelers who furthered the cause of communism via sympathetic or favorable coverage of the Soviet Union and its policies.

This week's "winner" is Carter-appointed Federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who issued a ruling that the NSA's program of surveilling international calls to or from terrorists is unconstitutional. In so doing she ignored a mountain of higher court precedent that the President has the constitutional authority under Article II to order warrantless surveillance for national security purposes. The program has previously been upheld by the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Circuits, as well as the FISA Court of Review, but if you judge-shop long enough you can find somebody to rule pretty much anything.

The Sixth Circuit will surely reject this decision on appeal, but it's sad that it even has to waste its time. This decision is just am intensely partisan judge putting Democrat Party politics above the law and the interests of the country. Even the far left NYT was forced to report on the scorn which legal analysts on both sides of the aisle have heaped on the decision:

They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions.

Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments.

“It does appear,” Mr. Bashman said, “that folks on all sides of the spectrum, both those who support it and those who oppose it, say the decision is not strongly grounded in legal authority.”

At least terrorists and their sympathizers got to celebrate briefly. As does Judge Taylor, having been named the first SarcastiPundit Useful Idiot of the Week and all that implies.

UPDATE 8/24/06: Ann Althouse has more on the quirks of decision and its implications. Money quote:

"For those who approve of the outcome, the judge’s opinion is counterproductive. It will be harder to defend upon appeal than a more careful decision. It suggests that there are no good legal arguments against the program, just petulance and outrage and antipathy toward President Bush. It helps those who have been arguing for years about result-oriented, activist judges."

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More comical bias

The NYT issued a correction for a whopper of a fake Bush bash:

An article on Tuesday about President Bush’s defense of American policy in the fighting between Israel and Lebanon incorrectly described the planning that led to Mr. Bush’s meetings on Monday at the Pentagon and the State Department. Mr. Bush’s schedule for the day was prepared weeks ahead as part of the annual presidential review meetings; it was not devised last week as part of a White House effort to seek political advantage on national security after Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s loss in Connecticut’s Democratic primary and news of a disrupted terrorist plot in Britain.

The Times has fully devolved from serious newspaper to partisan hit rag. Why they don't just officially merge with The Nation is beyond me - even the most politically naive of readers has to be in on the joke by now.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Comical bias

When you see this headline:

Rockets hit Lebanon despite cease-fire

you would think that Israel had broken the cease-fire, wouldn't you? That's where AP is trying to lead you, forcing you to read into the second paragraph before revealing the truth:

"Hezbollah guerrillas fired at least 10 Katyusha rockets that landed in southern Lebanon early Tuesday."

The anti-Jew, anti-Israel bias in most of the world's media would be comical if it wasn't so tragic.

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Signs of intelligent life in Hollywood

It turns out that not everybody in Hollywood loves our enemies:

Nicole Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.

"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.

"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

A who's who of Hollywood heavyweights joined Kidman on the ad.

The actors listed included: Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.

Directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi also signed their names.

Other Hollywood powerplayers supporting the ad included Sumner Redstone, the chairman and majority owner of Paramount Pictures, and billionaire mogul, Haim Saban.

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the advertisement.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The radical antiwar party - much ado about nothing?

John Hinderaker has a long and thoughtful post opining that the possible hostile takeover of the Democrat Party by the Angry Left may have little practical effect. Read the whole thing, but here are his basic points:

* An antiwar candidate (Russ Feingold the most likely possibility) would not take office until January 2009, by which time the prospect of a pullout from Iraq will probably be moot - few if any US combat troops are likely to be left in Iraq by then anyway.

* No matter which party wins in 2008 there will be no desire for another ground war in the Middle East that quickly.

* The gathering crisis in Neo-Nazi Iran can't be ignored until 2009, that problem will necessarily have been addressed by then and how it will play out and the implications for the 2008 election are unpredictable at this point.

* While an antiwar administration would be less (publicly) supportive of Israel, there are still enough pro-Israel Democrats that any policy differences would be minor.

* For self-interest, even an antiwar president would prioritze preventing terrorist attacks on US soil, and thus would use the anti-terror tools Bush created with every bit as much vigor, and would likely be less scrupulous in respecting civil liberties since (s)he would not have to deal with the kind of press hostility that Bush has faced.

Thus "the practical reality is that events in Iraq have constrained what a conservative administration can do, while the overriding need to forestall terrorist attacks constrains what a liberal administration can do. As a result, the gap in practice between the two alternatives would be, I think, much narrower than one might expect from the rhetorical gulf that separates the parties."

I have to admit that I had not thought of it that way, but he makes a lot of great points. Not that I want to find out what a President Feingold would mean for the War on Terror, mind you, but perhaps it would not be as great of a disaster as, say, an Al Gore win in 2000 would have been.

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Sponsering a teacher near you

My sister is a middle school teacher in a Dallas area school district. As with any government endeavor, silliness is sure to creep in, to wit:

"Our district has a contract with Coca Cola. Only Coke products in machines, etc. They (not sure if it's Coke or [the district]) have decided if we as teachers bring a drink from home that is not a Coke product (like my Ozarka water I take every day) we should put it in a cup or COVER THE LABEL like on TV."

You have to figure this is unenforceable and will thus be ignored, but it does bring up some interesting possibilities, not the least of which is that teachers will soon be wearing uniforms that look something like this.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An underreported story

I don't think this has gotten much play here, but to the surprise of nobody Iran been trying to procure uranium from Africa. This plot was foiled, but you have to doubt it is the only time they tried or will try it:

IRAN is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb, an investigation has revealed.

A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo.

Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check.

I'm sure they're just trying to generate affordable electricity...

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Hezbollah's human shields

Walter Reich in the New York Sun expands on Hezbollah's human shield strategy and its implications for civilized nations:

On the day an Israeli airstrike inadvertently killed some 28 civilians in the Lebanese town of Qana, a Berlin daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published an amazing letter that summarized the Hezbollah strategy that resulted in those deaths.

The letter-writer, who identified himself as Dr. Mounir Herzallah, said he was a Shiite from southern Lebanon who had lived there until 2002. After the Israelis withdrew from the area in 2000, he recalled, Hezbollah moved into his town, dug rocket depots in bunkers, and then built a school and a residence over those bunkers.

The letter went on: "Laughing, a local sheikh explained to me that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or, if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population; they use them as shields and, once dead, as propaganda."


Despite [authenticity] uncertainties, I think it's worth quoting from this letter because it formulates, in a way better than I've ever heard it formulated before, the human-shield strategy that is being used by Hezbollah, as well as by Hamas, against Israel — and also by forces with which we and other Western powers have been engaging on battlefields that are unfamiliar to us in this post-9/11 world.

Qana is, in fact, the new face of war. And this letter describes the contours of that face, as well as the mad logic behind its eyes, with the concision and clarity we'll need in order to be able to judge the actions of countries that are forced to respond to it — and in order to respond to it ourselves with a maximum of both humaneness and realism. There will be more Qanas in Israel's future, and many more in ours.

Specialists in military strategy, having recognized the challenges posed by this human-shield strategy, see a solution in better intelligence — in particular, better human intelligence. They argue that in order to avert international condemnation — which can be even more damaging than losing on the battlefield — armies shouldn't attack built-up areas, even ones being used to launch rockets that are killing their civilians, unless they can be sure that their own attacks won't kill civilians on the other side.

The problem is that an army facing such an enemy can almost never be absolutely sure of that. And if the standard such an army has to satisfy is absolute certainty that it will never harm civilians, then it will never be able to fight such an enemy even when the threat is critical — even when the rockets, endless volleys of them, are sure to be fired. Countries needing to protect their citizens will be utterly defenseless.

The letter in the German newspaper shines a clarifying and sobering light on a strategy that, like terrorism itself, is used precisely because it works. In an age in which many organizations and even some countries are prepared to sacrifice their own civilians in the service of killing ours — and are prepared to do so by situating their weapons, even weapons of mass destruction, in places of human habitation — we have to be ready for more Qanas. We have to be ready to place the blame for such Qanas on those who engineer them. We have to learn how to expose the depraved but effective logic that will make those Qanas happen. And we have to learn how to fight a war that's built on that logic even if we can't always be absolutely sure that innocents won't suffer as a result.

All countries have an obligation to minimize the loss of civilian life, both on their own side and on the other. But no country has an obligation to allow itself to be destroyed or its people killed. Demanding that of any country is a perversion not only of the ethics of war but also of the ethics of life.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

The propaganda war

I have yet to touch on the outbreak of fake and staged Hezbollah propaganda photos that the US and other Western media have, in some cases unwittingly and almost certainly purposefully in others, been running throughout the Israeli-Iran/Syrian conflict in Lebanon. To get an idea of how Hezbollah operatives (in this case the notorious Green Helmet Guy) choreograph their anti-Israel messages, check out this video from German television if you have the stomach for it.

In case you don't care to watch, what they do here is load the body of a dead child into an ambulance, then take the body back out and transfer it from a light stretcher used in the ambulance to a heavy duty gurney used in a rescue operation (to create the impression that it has just arrived from the bombed area), uncover it, clear other people out of the cmaera path, and pose it for photographs.

This, along with firing rockets from residential neighborhoods, mosques and hospitals among other civilian areas in the desperate hope of goading Israelis into bombing Lebanese civilians, is what the month-long conflict was all about. Hezbollah tried to maximize civilian casualties on both sides to order to stir up anti-Israeli (and of course by extension anti-Jew) sentiment. Sadly, a compliant and credible media were among their best allies.

And more sadly still, we seem to have lost our moral compass in supporting a disastrous UN resolution that merely gives Hezbollah time to rearm and start killing anew. An excellent account of the resolution and its implications is here.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Those who don't learn from history...

Patriot Post has a helpful history lesson in the form of a quiz that ends up with more D's than a Playboy Mansion party:

In 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by:
(a) A salesman from Utah
(b) An construction worker
(c) A college student on Spring Break
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamist between the ages of 17 and 40

In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were killed at the Munich Olympics by:
(a) Your grandmother
(b) A Midwest auto-parts dealer
(c) A mom and her 6-year-old son visiting from Indiana
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
(a) A bluegrass band
(b) Dallas Cowboy fans
(c) A tour group of 80-year-old women
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

During the 1980's numerous Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
(a) A family on their way to Disney World
(b) Jesse Ventura
(c) A Boy Scout Troop
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy
(b) The UPS guy
(c) Geraldo Rivera making up for a slow news day
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked, and a 70-year-old disabled American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard by:
(a) A girls' choir
(b) A hardware store owner
(c) A secretary
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver was murdered by:
(a) A Marine officer with two weeks leave
(b) A plumber going to visit his mom
(c) A Catholic nun
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
(a) A college-bound freshman
(b) A cardiac surgeon on his way to Houston
(c) A waitress
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed by:
(a) A starving actress
(b) A mom with a newborn
(c) Twin six-year-old boys
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
(a) A local TV weatherman
(b) A dad and his two sons on a ski trip
(c) A widower going to visit his grandchildren
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2000, 17 sailors died in an attack on the USS Cole (DDG 67) in Yemen by:
(a) A child in a stroller
(b) A high school class on their way to visit Washington, DC
(c) Newlyweds on their way to Miami
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked -- two flown into the World Trade Centers, one into the Pentagon and one into the ground in rural Pennsylvania. They were hijacked by: (a) A retired police officer on a mission trip to Haiti
(b) A firefighter going to Maryland for training
(c) An paramedic on his way to vacation in Hawaii
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2002 the United States liberated Afghanistan from:
(a) USAID relief workers
(b) Jewish Pilgrims
(c) Christian missionaries
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl and other Westerners were kidnapped and beheaded by:
(a) The Peace Corp
(b) Scottish clansmen
(c) Cuban refugees
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2002, more than 330 hostages in Beslan and 130 hostages in Moscow were murdered in sieges by:
(a) Russian exchange students
(b) The Red Guard
(c) Church planters
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2003 the United States liberated Iraq from "The Butcher of Baghdad," but most American military personnel were killed by:
(a) Iraqi school-girls
(b) Street vegetable venders
(c) Women without burkas
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2004, more than 200 Spanish civilians were murdered on trains by bombs in Madrid, detonated by:
(a) Morning commuters
(b) A three-year-old Chinese girl
(c) Flamenco dancers
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 2005 more than 50 UK citizens were killed by bombs on trains in London, detonated by:
(a) Rail workers
(b) Those unable to hail taxis
(c) Wheelchair-bound grandmothers
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

Right now, Islamist terrorist cells in the United States are composed of:
(a) Southern Baptists
(b) Athletes for Christ
(c) Campus Crusade
(d) Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages of 17 and 40.

Between 1970 and 2005, there were about 60 other notable examples of terrorism perpetrated by Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages 17 and 40, but we think you get the point. Singling out "Middle Eastern male Islamists between the ages 17 and 40" is not "ethnic profiling," it's "terrorist profiling" acting on prolific evidence.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

More on the Lamont-Lieberman dynamic

Michael Barone provides superb analysis of the demographics of the Lamont win in a subscription-only WSJ piece that is excerpted by Power Line:

The Connecticut primary reveals that the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved, from the lunch-bucket working class that was the dominant constituency up through the 1960s to the secular transnational professional class that was the dominant constituency in the 2004 presidential cycle. You can see the results on the map. Joe Lieberman carried by and large the same cities and towns that John F. Kennedy carried in the 1960 presidential general election.

Ned Lamont carried most of the cities and towns that were carried by Richard Nixon. In Stamford, where Joe Lieberman grew up the son of a liquor-store owner, and where there are still sizeable blue-collar and black communities, Mr. Lieberman won with 55% of the vote. In next-door Greenwich, where Ned Lamont (like former President George H.W. Bush) grew up as the scion of an investment banker family, and where the housing values are now among the highest in the nation, Mr. Lamont won with 68% of the vote. If Mr. Lamont wins in November, he will be just one of several members of a Democratic caucus who have made, inherited or married big money.

The working class Democrats of the mid-20th century voted their interests, and knew that one of their interests was protecting the nation in which they were proud to live. The professional class Democrats of today vote their ideology and, living a life in which they are insulated from adversity, feel free to imagine that America cannot be threatened by implacable enemies. They can vote to validate their lifestyle cho8ices and their transnational attitudes.

In the mid-20th century the core constituencies of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stood foursquare for America's prosecution of World War II and the Cold War. Today, as the Connecticut results suggest, it's different. The core constituency of the Republican Party stands foursquare for America's prosecution of the global struggle against Islamofascist terrorism -- and solidly on the side of Israel in its struggle against the same forces. The core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to stand aside from the global struggle -- and, as the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont's side on election night suggests, is not necessarily on the side of Israel. It's not your father's Democratic Party.

The same post quotes a Thomas Edsall piece from the online New Republic to the effect that Democrat Party presidential (and presumably other national) primaries are dominated by an upper and upper-middle class electorate which leaves the surviving candidate out of touch with the mainstream electorate, with the notable exception of Bill Clinton. This agrees with my point that wins by guys like Ned Lamont does not bode well for the future health of the party.

No matter your political affiliation, you have to hope they can turn it around as we need the two sides to serve as responsible checks on each other. Not to be confused with the irresponsible behavior that began to expand with a wacky faction of the right in the late 90's and has exploded with today's irrational Angry Left.

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Deja vu

The governments of the US, Great Britain and Pakistan deserve our grateful thanks for foiling the massive scale airplane bombing plot. In particular, credit goes to Scotland Yard, MI-5, a heroic British Muslim whistleblower, Pakistani intelligence, and our own NSA and Treasury Departments. WSJ notes that "The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications." Also vital were the NSA terrorist eavesdropping program and Treasury's SWIFT terrorist finance tracking program.

Wait...those last two sound vaguely familiar, where have I (and thus future terrorists) heard about them before? Do not for a minute forget that this kind of coordinated intelligence and law enforcement effort is exactly what the ACLU and the New York Times are trying to eliminate. They use the civil liberties canard, as if the ability to plan and execute mass murder transparently and anonymously is part of the Bill of Rights and thus are worth protecting at the expense of large numbers of American lives.

Fortunately, the early returns in court are promising. The government has chosen to prosecute individuals who violate espionage laws, and as it moves up the ladder courts are holding that they have the right to do so. A new decision also holds that institutions such as the Times have no more right to violate espionage laws than do individuals. There is a long road of "lawyers gone wild" yet to come, but the possibility that those who choose to flout the law in the service of partisan political posturing will be held to account for their actions seems to be closer to becoming a reality. And we will all be safer, with no loss of any liberty for the non-terrorists among us, if that comes to pass.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lamont's win good news, bad news...for who?

Everybody seems to have an opinion on the Ned Lamont victory over Joe Lieberman in Tuesday’s Connecticut Democrat Senatorial primary, with no real consensus on either side of the aisle. This is hardly surprising, as the result removes any remaining doubt that each party has deep fissures as we head to the midterms. I’m as uncertain as anybody else as to the cosmic significance of it all, so will just throw out a few random thoughts.

After seeing their first, what was it, 17 or 18 straight endorsed candidates go down in flames in previous elections, the MoveOn/Kos crowd finally gets a win – over a reliably liberal three-term senator! I wonder if they even get the irony? Stepping back a bit, it is the biggest win for the American left since Watergate, which says more about the American left than it does about Lamont.

I think we can now safely say that McCain-Feingold has made it easier for rich candidates to buy their way into office, as spending is limited for everybody but the guy running. We are increasingly seeing the emergence of trust-fund baby candidates such as Lamont who can afford to fund most of their own campaigns. This makes it much more likely that less intellectually rigorous (trying to be kind here!) candidates such as Lamont will be able to get themselves elected despite not having much to offer in the way of substance. Yet another unintended consequence of misguided campaign finance reform laws.

I think that Lieberman still has to be the favorite in the general election. A sizable block of Green, Naderite, and other assorted independents were able to register late and put Lamont over the top, albeit only by the smallest of margins in a state whose Democrats oppose the war and the president by about 4-1. Being Jewish right at this moment also almost certainly hurt Lieberman with the base, which makes up much of primary voters. With the Republicans running an underfunded and ineffective candidate, the potential for Lieberman to peel off moderate and right voters to go with his existing bloc of serious liberals and the working class, while Lamont will be hard-pressed to get much more of the hard left vote than he did this time. Vulnerable Connecticut Republican House candidates could all endorse Lieberman and further build an “all but the far left” voting bloc.

The far left fringe is now officially a viable force within the Democrat Party. The party leadership has abandoned moderates to pander to the extreme. Candidates who refuse to toe the antiwar line will do so at their own peril, as the utter viciousness of the “netroots” movement is now well-established. Lieberman is a guy who votes left around 90% of the time, yet he has been subjected to an endless series of racist slurs (mostly anti-Semitic but most recently anti-black) and a criminal attack on his website. The enabling of such thuggery by Connecticut voters will surely only make it worse in the future as they step up their efforts to crush dissent within the party. Clintonista Lanny Davis has certainly noticed.

That said, it could well end up being a pyrrhic victory for the fringe. Lamont’s entire platform rests on the desire for the US to unilaterally and unconditionally surrender in Iraq, to accept complete and total defeat at the hand of the terrorists there. Even as the war has grown unpopular with over half of the country, is this a message that will resonate with the American people? The antiwar movement’s best hope for electoral success will most likely be in trying to impose its agenda onto Democrat candidates while trying to hide its true agenda from the voting masses, who would be revolted if they spent a couple of hours on DailyKos or the like. If Republicans are successful in tying the national Democrat Party to the MoveOn/Kos fringe, it could be devastating to their chances this fall. To that end, the Lamont victory could put in jeopardy what would seem to be a golden opportunity for them, with Republicans themselves divided on immigration and government spending. The Democrats seem determined to try to rip defeat from the jaws of victory as much as the Republicans seem determined to just forfeit. If the Democrats do manage to survive the damage that the fringe will undoubtedly do to them this cycle, it could spell unmitigated disaster for them in 2008.

It appears that the far left will demand that candidates embrace their agenda (pacifism/isolationism, abortion on demand, racial preferences, etc.) or risk being banished from what was once considered an inclusive party and is now quite the opposite. The message is that you cannot be responsible on national security and be a Democrat, but you can embrace the looniest of far left theory and be a Democrat. It is hard to imagine that a national party can be formed on the McGovernite principles of pacifism, appeasement and burying its head in the sand when faced with external threats, even if some dissent were to be allowed on other issues. That has certainly been a recipe for disaster in the past, and its not like existential threats to our way of life have gone away, they’ve just changed shape.

A related question is what effect this will have on the Republican Party. Will right wing blogs start to have more influence, bringing issues such as pork reform, serious immigration policy, reining in government spending overall and the like back into the party? At the very least, you have to think they will gain influence.

If an antiwar movement does manage to force a withdrawal from Iraq, let’s not pretend that it would stop there. Next would be an attempt to “bring the troops home” from Afghanistan, and then to disengage from the Middle East altogether. You must remember that this movement’s fundamental premise is that America is a bad country, the source of many if not all of the world’s problems, and that it deserves to be defeated. Everything they do is ultimately designed to weaken the US and to empower our enemies, because they truly believe that if the US were to collapse there would be a chance for some Utopian world of peace and socialism. The irony is that it would in all likelihood sow the seeds of a movement toward theocratic governments in most of what was formerly the free world. Not the “theocracy” fantasy that anti-Christian bigots see in today’s US, but the real enchilada. Any time knee-jerk pacifists gain traction in one of the major parties it is very bad for the US. Having two parties who think that defending America is a worthwhile goal keeps us all safer.

To that end, Can anybody be more thrilled at this result than Iran’s mullahs? Yeah, I know, Mr. Rove, put your hand down. A peace movement gaining enough strength to force an American withdrawal from Iraq is the dream scenario for Iran. Their quest for domination of the region is only seriously resisted by the US and Israel, which explains why they are fighting the current two (major) front war in Iraq and Lebanon as they try to buy time for putting the finishing touches on their nuclear weapon program. Much as the British pacifist and American isolationist movements of the 1930’s emboldened the Nazis, so too does the antiwar left aid the cause of Islamic Fascists. American withdrawals from Lebanon in 1983 and Somalia in 1993 were seminal events for the 9/11 terrorists, leading them to believe that the US is a weak country that will not stand up for itself when the going gets tough (a theme that comes up repeatedly in jihadist literature). A withdrawal from Iraq would be the ultimate early Ramadan present for the next US attacker in particular and the cause of Islamic Fascism in general.

In closing, I'll take a stab at answering the question posed in the subject. Winners - Karl Rove, the extreme left, Iran and the Islamofascist movement. Losers - the future Democrat Party, moderate or traditional liberal Democrats and the American people.

UPDATE 8/15/06: The problems with the Lieberman website may have been human error instead of a hack after all, but nobody knows for sure.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Getting a jump on the competition

If you're Nike, trying to hold your place in a hyper-competitive shoe market, finding the next LeBron James is one of the focuses of your marketing organization. It's no longer sufficient to identify talent in college or high school, the forward thinking company has to start scouting them a little earlier.

My favorite, for obvious reasons:

4. Christopher "Magic" Johnson, guard

One-year-old phenom. Already plays like a 2-year-old. Scouts say he's the best ballhandler they've seen in years: can hold ball without falling. Turnover rate should drop considerably if he stops drooling. Defense and rebounding need work: seems more interested in breastfeeding than boxing out.


I couldn't have said it better

Interviewed for an Atlanta Journal Constitution article, Lonnie Smith (presumably not "Skates") perfectly sums up the repugnant Cynthia McKinney, loser of yesterday's Georgia Democrat Congressional primary: "Cynthia McKinney doesn’t need to win. She is an embarrassment to the law, an embarrassment to being female, an embarrassment to being black and an embarrassment to being a Christian. She’s loud and obnoxious and exhibits no sense of class."

The political world will be a batter place without this hate monger, although Karl Rove and other Republican strategists will certainly miss her.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Idiot kryptonite

This new book should be kept in mind for anybody who might encounter the Kevin Barretts of the world. Nothing like the facts to diffuse a good conspiracy theory.

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The Bomar January

A good Ag was all over it.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Orgasm or excellent marinara?

A quiz to see if you can tell the difference between the stars of porn and the Food Network.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

He was elected to the Hall of Fame, you know

Moon's Strange Bulge Finally Explained

Keep 'em down!

A remarkable story in a Madison, WI newspaper begins:

Sister city activists and other Madisonians with ties to Cuba said today they fear the Bush administration will use the transition in power from Fidel to Raul Castro as the occasion to activate a plan to replace that nation's communist system.

Yeah, one of the things that keeps me awake at night is the "fear" that a nation's citizens might gain speech, press or other basic freedoms or have the opportunity to raise themselves out of poverty and despair.

Retired UW English prof Robert Kimbrough typifies Madison's fatuousness with this howler:

"It is disgusting. The 2004 report said, 'We pledge to help the Cuban people, and a new transition Cuban government, as you move away from the totalitarian Communist dictatorship and toward a free and representative democracy.'"

Such naked contempt for the Cuban people is disgusting. This guy, although probably young at the time, must have been absolutely crushed when Hitler committed suicide...

The affection a naive segment of the left gives to the brutal tyrant Fidel and the mass-murdering butcher Che Guevara and the credulity with which they parrot the regime's propaganda has always fascinated me in a macabre sort of way. It seems that as long as you hate America you will always find a willing audience, no matter what your crimes against humanity, we've seen it over and over throughout the last century. The phenomenon is so common that the Soviets famously had a term for them: useful idiots.

James Lileks hit the nail on the head when he said "Given the left's romance with revolution and guerrillas, it'll be only a matter of time before Hizballah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah appears on T-shirts like Che, and his merry band are lionized as the new Viet Cong. Hizballah builds schools, you know. Granted, they're schools where the biology lesson consists of sawing off the heads of infidel frogs. But they build schools!"

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Remarkable bird, the Cuban Red...Beautiful plumage!

Noting that had a (no longer available) article headlined:

Fidel Castro "Resting" in Hospital, Says Cuban Official

James Taranto produces this bit of genius:

'E's passed on! This tyrant is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! This is an ex-tyrant!!

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The Passion of the Drunk

If Mel Gibson's drunken racist rant ends up costing him his Hollywood career, you have to figure he will land on his feet. Public Jew-hating could open up a whole new new set of possibilities for him:

- He's got to be among the favorites for the next UN Secretary General

- He's well on his way to the Nobel Peace Prize

- He's in if he wants to write for the New York Times editorial page

- He could have a tenured position in any Ivy League Middle Eastern Studies faculty

- Have you seen MSNBC's prime time ratings lately?

You have to think Gibson will easily find a way to turn these lemons into Mike's Hard Lemonade.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Name recognition

From Jay Nordlinger's NRO column:

[A] reader told me he was driving through Stewart County, Tenn., when “I was shocked by a sheriff candidate’s billboard. Could it be that a man named James Crow was running for sheriff in one of the eleven former Confederate states?”

Yes, sir! And don’t tell me his family and friends don’t call him Jim.

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Fun with Google

Do an "I'm Feeling Lucky" Google search for "French military victories" and you get:

Did you mean: french military defeats

No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found.

Your search - french military victories - did not match any documents.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hey, I've got a better idea!

The Atlanta Journal Constitution gives some helpful medical advice:

CLOTHING: Loosen that bra strap to ease headaches

Here's something to think about the next time you choose a bra to go under that cute summer outfit. Wearing a thin bra strap too tightly can lead to a nagging headache, according to doctors at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

"The binding from the strap puts pressure on the trapezius muscle, which causes strain and knotting of the muscle and may cause headaches or pain that radiates down the arm," says Dr. Karen Kowalske, UT Southwestern's chairwoman of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

The pain may take days or weeks to resolve, but there is usually no permanent damage.

Full-busted women should wear bras with straps that are significantly wider than a standard strap and with some padding if possible.

Now I'm a guy who's sensitive to the needs of women, so I'm here to suggest that you all just stop wearing bras altogether in order to nip this problem in the bud. You full-busted women may find this advice especially useful, so any of you that want to thank me personally can reach me at the e-mail address at the top of the page.

Can't they afford a thesaurus?

The lead paragraph in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer column:

A prominent Seattle lawyer and a scion of a prominent Seattle family are suing a prominent politician -- U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick -- over his lucrative retirement package from a prominent Seattle company, Safeco.

Prominent reporter Neil Modie's mom must be very proud.


Boomer Bomar, Boomer Bomar

You would think this would have given them a hint that something was wrong.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A loon of epic proportions

I had seen some chatter on the blogs, particularly Ann Althouse, about the goofy Wisconsin professor Kevin Barrett, but frankly I hadn't paid much attention to it - a university professor throwing out silly anti-American hate speech is about as noteworthy as a hot day in July. But then I heard an exceprt of the podcast that made him (in)famous, and I think I see what the fuss is about now.

Sure, he throws out the standard "9/11 was an inside job" idiocy, but that's just red meat conspiracy theory for the irrational America hating crowd, as crazy as that might seem to any rational readers. But he goes well beyond the tinfoil hat level into a category that hasn't yet been labeled, let's call it the "aliens control us all via anal probes" school of thought.

In Barrett's fantasy world, not only 9/11 (an "inside job" organized and commanded by VP Dick Cheney) but the Madrid, 7/7 and Bali hotel bombings, as well as most of the "Zarqawi style" bombings in Iraq, have been carried out as what he calls "false flag terrorism/operations" by US military intelligence. All as part of a government conspriacy to spark war in the Middle East. Just when I thought I'd heard it all...if you want to spark war in the Middle East all you need to do is assert that Jews have a right to exist!

And here's the punch line - this loon is scheduled to teach an inroductory course in Islam this fall. As disturbing as it is that this guy has allowed himself to become brainwashed to the point of insanity, that pales when stop to ponder the idea of him trying to indoctrinate students in any setting, much less one as potentially volatile as a course on Islam. That could do permanent damage to the more impressionable kids. It's no different from hiring the Grand Wizard of the KKK to teach a course in black history.

Hopefully the state will do the right thing, fire the guy (he's only an adjunct) and look into their hiring process for professors, although the early returns aren't promising. I'm sure that whatever happens, or if you want to see more background on the story, Ann Althouse (linked above) will be all over it, as she has been to this point.

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Greatest story ever

I may have to use that title again, but it would be hard to imagine a story better than this one:

Senator's dad, 81, cited for having sex in car

The father of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) was cited for lewd conduct and indecent exposure Tuesday for allegedly having sex in a vehicle with a 38-year-old woman. Police responded to a call early Tuesday evening and arrested Norman Bertram Coleman Sr. and the woman, Patrizia M. Schrag, outside a pizza joint.

It's hard to name the best part of this story - that he's a senator's dad, that he's having sex in a car outside a pizza joint, or that he's an 81 year old guy nailing a 38 year old woman. Kudos to him for pushing the "half your age" envelope, it gives us all a goal for our golden years.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The good old days at the NYT

David Henderson (not the guy who indirectly killed Donnie Moore) leads with a media history lesson in his WSJ piece today:

"The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00." So read an editorial headline in one of the most respected newspapers in America. The editorial stated: "There's a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market." Can you guess the newspaper? The Wall Street Journal, perhaps? Right city; wrong paper. This editorial appeared on Jan. 14, 1987, in the New York Times.

Sadly, nothing so sensible would ever appear on the current Times editorial page.

Hat tip: Greg Mankiw.

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Crime doesn't pay

If you're going to use a stolen ID, you might not want to present it to its rightful owner:

WESTLAKE, Ohio (AP) -- A bar waitress checking to see if a customer was legally old enough to drink looked down to see a familiar photo.

It was her own.

The 22-year-old waitress, whose name was not released, called police last week and said she had been handed her own stolen driver's license by a woman trying to prove she was 21.

I hate poetry

but the Lakers roster in haiku from The Jello is Jiggling is pure genius.

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