Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, April 30, 2005

LAT Busted On Sgrena Story

Patterico busted the LATimes today by comparing an original Reuters story with the edited Reuters story the LAT ran on the US military's report on the Giuliana Sgrena incident. He found that the LAT, which always plays up the Italian Communist journalist's claim that the car carrying her was traveling no more than 30 mph, edited this paragraph from the Reuters story:
CBS news has reported that a U.S. satellite had filmed the shooting and that it had been established the car carrying [Italian intelligence agent] Calipari [and Sgrena] was traveling at more than 60 mph per hour [sic] as it approached the U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad.
Patterico also points out that in reporting the U.S. soldier's action, LAT replaced the word "killing" in the Reuters story with "slaying." There is quite a difference between the two words. I could hit someone with my car and kill them, or I could deliberately shoot them and kill them. I could only slay them in the latter case; the word connotes deliberateness. (h/t Dafydd)

When will the diehard Lib MSM finally realize that their world has become much more transparent? Each ethical breach, each distorted report, each blatant bias will come to light, yet they prattle on, oblivious to the new reality, fiddling while their circulation plummets.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Update: They've done it again. From Patterico's post this morning:

A Reuters story filed Saturday morning states on page two:

CBS news has reported that a U.S. satellite had filmed the shooting and that it had been established the car carrying Calipari was traveling at more than 60 miles per hour as it approached the U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad.

Today’s L.A. Times reprint of the article edits out that passage, which suggests that there is definitive proof that the car was speeding – a critical issue in the controversy.

More Gay Republican Hysteria

A minor GOP lobbyist with no substantial power and no ties to the White House dies of a drug overdose. Is this news? No, of course not ... unless he's a gay Republican lobbyist. Then trust the LAT to be all over the recent death of R. Gregory Stevens.

Never heard of him? Neither have I.

Read the story and tell me if you see any other reason to run it but a envy over the ink the NYT got from breaking the story of GOP lobbyist Arthur Finkelstein's gay wedding.

See also:
Leftist Outrage As Finkelstein Weds

LAT Loves Communist Vietnam

Gushing with enthusiasm and turning a blind eye on human rights violations, an LATimes article on Vietnam 30 years after the war gushes with sentences like these:
Among [Vietnam's] strengths, [a Vietnamese-American there to make money] listed political stability, a 94% literacy rate, a young, industrious population and a reliable, efficient workforce. "If you're the World Bank or [a nongovernmental organization], this is a place you can really see results." ...

It is a peaceful, stable presence in the Pacific Basin, with an army that has been whittled down to 484,000 troops. Its economy, a mix of Karl Marx and Adam Smith, has the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia. Private enterprise is flourishing, a middle class is growing, poverty rates are falling. The United States is a major trading partner, and Americans are welcomed with a warmth that belies the two countries' history.
Human rights are almost completely ignored in this article about what is, at its base, a totalitarian Communist regime. Reporter-enthusiast David Lamb might have taken a moment to look up Vietnam on the Web site of George Soros' Human Rights Watch. If he had, he would have reported a more truthful story:

The government continued to stifle free expression and restrict the exercise of other basic human rights. Authorities destroyed thousands of banned publications, restricted press coverage of a key corruption scandal, increased the monitoring of the Internet, denied the general public access to international television programs broadcast by satellite, and arrested or detained dissidents who used the Internet or other public fora to publicize their ideas. The year saw the death of Vietnam's most well-known dissident, Tran Do, and the trial of Li Chi Quang, one of an emerging group of younger pro-democracy advocates in Vietnam.

Officials continued to suppress and control the activities of religious groups, including ethnic minority Christians in the northern and central highlands, members of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, and Hoa Hao Buddhists in the south. Authorities made a new round of arrests of indigenous minority church leaders and land rights activists in the Central Highlands, the site of widespread unrest in 2001.
Instead, Lamb quoted a Vietnamese Catholic who said he didn't feel discriminated against and a young studnet who said, "I feel we have enough freedom. We know what we can do."

Who you gonna trust -- your local leftest newspaper or your international leftist human rights organization?

The story follows in the footsteps of Barbara Demmick's LATimes lovefest for North Korea (see links below), and will probably tick off the local Vietnamese community -- the largest in the US.

Update: VietPundit quickly linked me to this post on his blog that paints a very different picture.

See also:
Arrogantly, Ridiculously Defiant
Barbara Demmick: Unbalanced
North Korea Story: LAT Suicide Wish?
North Korea Spin Machine Hits LA

Friday, April 29, 2005

What Dem Outspent Soros in 2004?

George Soros gave a lot of money to 527s trying to get the elitist, stumbling John Kerry elected -- $12,650,000, according to the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. A pretty good donation, outspending ultralib Steven Bing nearly two-to-one.

But Soros plays second fiddle in this orchestra, falling nearly $2 million short of the $14,230,000 in 527 contributions made by Peter B. Lewis. Lewis gave the Dem's Joint Victory Campaign $7.5 million, Act Now nearly $3 million, Move On.Org $2.5 million, and his "marijuana block" -- he's a big supporter of legalized marijuana -- nearly $1 million. That block is made up of the Marijuana Policy Project Political Fund, Young Democrats of America and Punk Voter.

Who is Peter Lewis? The Chairman and CEO of the they-don't-call-it-Progressive-for-nothing auto insurance company. If your insurance is with Progressive, you should cancel it immediately.

New UN Sex Crimes: Liberia

Evidence that UN peacekeepers are raping and sexually exploiting minors is continuing, despite UN efforts to curb the sexual perversion of its peacekeepers. Who is surprised?

Here's the statement from today's UN press briefing:
This past week, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations received information concerning a number of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel serving with the UN mission in Liberia. The allegations range from the exchange of goods, money or services for sex to the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Preliminary investigations under way by the Mission have indicated that some of the allegations have been substantiated, while others have not. The Peacekeeping Department here in New York, as well as the Mission on the ground, are taking appropriate follow-up action. The Peacekeeping Department has been in touch with the relevant troop-contributing countries to inform them of the allegations and to seek their full cooperation.

The United Nations treats this issue with the utmost seriousness. And, as we continue to clamp down on misconduct throughout all peacekeeping missions, it is likely that the number of allegations will increase. While the information we have received is still preliminary, as in some cases, the Peacekeeping Department can be contacted directly for further information.
Under mild questioning, the spokesperson refused to release any additional information. His statement that allegations will increase certainly deserved probing by the reporters present, but they were in an oil-for-food frenzy and didn't ask.

Nitpicking To Death

Unable to face the reality that John Bolton is the only logical candidate to force much-needed reform at the UN, the Left continues their efforts to nitpick the nomination. A raised voice here, a not being nice to an incompetent underling there, and now this (from AP):
John R. Bolton, the embattled nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, regularly tried to set up meetings abroad with Russian, British and French officials without notifying the U.S. Embassy or the State Department, the outgoing head of the department's European bureau said Friday.

On each occasion, Bolton ultimately received permission before the meetings actually were conducted because department officials found out about his plans, A. Elizabeth Jones, assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Let's see. He travelled to do his job. He received permission. Holy cow!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Left Fails To Get It Right

Some pearls from comments posted on Talk Left regarding the President's press conference:
He actually said the reason for all the increased teror [sic] attacks is because of our effective offense. Can someone explain this to me?
Not much good at strategic thinking, eh? There followed a lengthy discourse on whether and how Bush was "using" his accent for political gain that was fairly intelligent, but it ended with this:
When you've arbitrarily killed that many people openly, and gotten away with it in a big way, and actually turned it to political advantage, you can talk in any damned accent, with any imprecision of diction, that you like.
Elitism is still alive on the Left:
People actually like mumbling, glassy-eyed inbred retards? Must be a southern thang...
And intelligent thought still eludes many of them:
I wouldn't trust the stock market to handle the money. Yes, I think the President should advocate us raising the payroll taxes to pay for it. The President quoted a figure of 18%. My answer to that is: Mr. President, raise our payroll taxes. We are in debt because of your tax policies and now we have to pay the piper.
Wouldn't trust the stock market? Gee, I guess all those union pension funds and all those IRAs, SEPs and mutual fund accounts are in the hands of untrusty people.

Solution for problems: Raise taxes.

Missing the issue: Raising payroll taxes will have no effect on reducing income taxes ... and reducing income taxes spurred the economy. Excessive federal spending (mostly on Dem entitlement programs) and the war on terrorism caused the deficit.

Unlimited Oil Reserves, Part Two

Dr. Thomas Gold, who died in 2004, was the author of The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels, and the leading proponent of the theory that oil is not a "fossil fuel," but a material that is continuously being produced deep within the earth. Gold was an astronomy professor at Cornell and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, so he's not some uneducated rube spouting a far-fetched theory.

Imagine for a moment what would happen to international policy if suddenly we found the Saudis were sitting on a small portion of a vast, replenishable resource? Imagine what would happen to the economy. Interesting little thought-bunny-trails, huh?

Here are some excerpts from an interview with Gold from Radio Free America, hosted by Tom Valentine, whose questions are in bold:
What first prompted you to suggest that oil and natural gas is generated from a chemical substance in the crust of the Earth?

The astronomers have been able to find that hydrocarbons, as oil, gas and coal are called, occur on many other planetary bodies. They are a common substance in the universe. You find it in the kind of gas clouds that made systems like our solar system. You find large quantities of hydrocarbons in them. Is it reasonable to think that our little Earth, one of the planets, contains oil and gas for reasons that are all its own and that these other bodies have it because it was built into them when they were born?

That question makes a lot of sense. After all, they didn’t have dinosaurs and ferns on Jupiter to produce oil and gas?

That’s right. Yet, for some reason my theory was not heard. The old theory that it was all made from fossils had become so firmly established that when the astronomers had perfectly definitive evidence on most of the other planets, it was just ignored, especially by the petroleum geologists who had, by then, called these things “fossil fuels.” So once they had a name, then every body believed it.

Gold's test wells in Sweden yieled oil in an area that geologists would have avoided, but the amounts were not enough for commercial exploitation. Still, some took note:

Is the oil and gas industry reconsidering things in light of your work?

In many other countries they are listening to me: in Russia on a very large scale, and in China also. It is just Western Europe and the United States that are so stuck in the mud that they can’t look at anything else.

See also:
What If Oil Reserves Were Unlimited?

Socialism In Action

Last night, one of my co-workers was at a community meeting for a builder who is working on getting approvals for a new residential community. A college professor stood up and said the following to the builder:
"You're just here to make a buck. It's not like you're from the government, coming here to do something good for the community."
The people who teach our kids ....

Kofi Lied

It's been a bad week for Kofi, forcing him to retreat from earlier statements that the Volcker report had exonerated him from blame in the oil-for-food scandal. The week is well summarized by the WashTimes:
Mr. Annan's retreat became inevitable after Paul Volcker told Fox News on Tuesday that the Independent Inquiry Committee report "criticized [Mr. Annan] rather severely," adding, "I would not call that an exoneration." Asked point blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the scandal, the former Federal Reserve Board chairman said: "No." Yesterday, Mr. Annan's lawyer, Gregory Craig, claimed that the secretary-general was misquoted, and that he had never claimed to have been exonerated.
Misquoted? Did Annan and his attorney forget that transcripts of all UN media briefings are available online to anyone who wants them? Here's the text of Annan's statement to the UN press corp on the day of the release of Volcker's last interim report, March 29:
“I have this morning received from Mr. Paul Volcker and his colleagues the second interim report of their independent inquiry into allegations concerning the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq. I thank them once again for their investigation.

“As I had always hoped and firmly believed, the Inquiry has cleared me of any wrongdoing. On the key issue of the award of the contract to inspect humanitarian goods entering Iraq under the oil-for-food programme, the report states clearly that ‘there is no evidence that the section of Cotecna in 1998 was subject to any affirmative or improper influence of the Secretary-General in the bidding or selection process’."
Misquoted? It seems to me the statement says, "the Inquiry has cleared me of any wrongdoing." Oh, and that's a period at the end of that sentence, as in, "the Inquiry has cleared me of any wrongdoing period."

Annan did not stay to answer questions at the March 29 briefing, so the statement stands alone, in flat rebuttal of Annan's attorney's claim that the Sec. Gen. never claimed exoneration.

Hollywood Libs: "Let Them Eat Cake!"

Not satisfied with their hundreds of millions, Hollywood's liberal elite, protectors of the earth and the little people who live on it, want more -- even if it means strangling the meager film industries of Mexico, South Africa and Romania, and the people that earn their modest salaries from filmmaking in those countries.

Read all about it in "The Rubes in L.A. City Hall Have Swallowed Hollywood's Hard-Luck Story," by Reason's Matt Welch, appearing in today's LATimes ... where all of Hollywood will read it. Some days I actually like bits and pieces of the LAT editorial pages. Bits and pieces.

Slime Level Grows In LA Mayor Race

I know that headline is of the "Dog Bites Man Again and Again" variety, but it's true.

In a story broken by the Daily Breeze, after pushing his way to the front by criticising current mayor and electoral rival Jim Hahn for being corrupt, it looks like Antonio Villaraigosa has been calling the kettle black. Villagarosa's campaign accepted contributions from employees of a Florida company that's apparantely seeking a lucrative airport concession contract.

Asked why they contributed, the employees said, basically, "What LA mayoral race?" That makes for an illegal contribution under LA Law.

And now the kettle is calling for an investigation of the pot.

LA politics, like big city politics everywhere, are long on Dems and short on ethics.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Quiz for News Editors

Question One:

Of these two stories, which is the most newsworthy?
A) An ambassador nominee is accused of yelling at subordinates decades ago.
B) A former National Security Advisor pleads guilty to stealing and destroying highly classified documents from the National Archives.

For the rest of the quiz, see Whizbang.

h/t Betsy's Page

Why We Need To Drill In ANWR

Saudi Arabia's "chief justice" justifies killing Americans:

“If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so,” says Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan in Arabic on the October audiotape from a government mosque, obtained by NBC News. "The lawfulness of his action is in fighting an enemy who is fighting Muslims and came for war,” says Luhaidan.

Continuing US dependence on Saudi Arabia is suicidal for us as a nation. We must increase our domestic production (and conservation, of course), so it's time to pass the energy bill and get on with it. Luhaidan's outburst couldn't have come at a better time for the GOP.

h/t Little Green Footballs

See also:
What If Oil Reserves Were Unlimited?
Refined Refinery Thinking
ANWR: Any Nitwit Will Rant
Greenthink Gone Wild


In "The Unholy Alliance Against the Filibuster" the LATimes has found a Christian pawn they can use to attack the Christians. How lucky for them. And he even has a pulitzer, for "God: A Biography."

The op/ed's author is Jack Miles, who is also a former member of the ultraliberal LAT editorial board, but that's not disclosed in his brief bio, which is an act of journalistic sleight of hand if ever I saw one. But that's to be expected, as are the unsubstantiated rhetoric and outright lies that pepper Miles' piece:
Today, the United States faces an unprecedented Bush administration effort to use religion to bring about one-party rule in the United States ...
What hyperbole! Everyone in the GOP recognizes political ascendency and descendency. Their strength is not permanent, as Speaker Frist made clear on Justice Sunday, when he said he understood that the rules change could be used by Dems when they are once again in the majority, and that's fine and right because it's a good change.
Once filibusters against judicial nominees can be eliminated, they can be easily eliminated for any other matter before the Senate.
Easily? Please explain that! To propose such a thing would be ruinous to a party because the legislative filibuster is truly established, not a rules johnny-come-lately. In fact, let's bring back the true Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington / Mr.-Byrd-Rants-Against-Integration legislative filibusters of old!
Tom DeLay, the ultraconservative Republican leader of the House of Representatives ...
Why are conservatives always ultraconservative and liberals always mainstream?
Last January, Fritz Stern — a German emigre historian who witnessed the rise of Nazism — was asked whether the United States could ever become an authoritarian state.
The only reason for this passage is so Miles can rub up pretty close to that cozy and fulfilled feeling Libs get from calling Republicans Nazis. As much as he hates Republicans, though, Miles hates Catholics more. And he hates most of all Catholics and Republicans working together:
And the German pope? In what mood does he witness the rising threat to democracy within the U.S.? During the presidential election, each candidate had an issue that he could exploit to claim Pope John Paul II as an ally. Kerry had Iraq, which the pope opposed; Bush had abortion. But Ratzinger would have nothing of such evenhandedness. "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia," the future pope wrote to the U.S. bishops. "There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

What his letter seemed to suggest was that if Bush gave Rome what it wanted on the abortion issue and the (now strategically inflamed) euthanasia issue [What?! Did Republicans bring up Terri Schiavo? No, Dem Libs did, aggressively pushing her case to establish new standards for euthanasia!], Rome would do its best to give Bush what he wanted regarding the death penalty and, above all, war. The question that now arises is whether Rome is offering a similar deal with the U.S. Constitution at stake: If Bush backs Rome on abortion and euthanasia, Rome will do what it can to turn U.S. Catholics against the filibuster.
What astonishing paranoia! What ranting conspiracy theorizing! Bush isn't "backing Rome" on abortion and euthanasia, he is backing Christ and holding to beliefs he held long before the Dems started their hate-based campaign against judges with morals.

Miles is breathing pretty thin air here, standing as he is at the top of the massive mountain of truly awful op/ed writers the LAT has foisted on the American public.

Save the Unsmiling Girl

Her photographs started appearing years ago and have become collectors items, even though she's probably no more than 12 years old today. In those first photos you might have seen a smile, but no more.

She is the Unsmiling Girl. Her eyes are distant, sad, unconnected, uncaring.

Or so we're told by Maggie Farley, in her exceptional LATimes story today. I've never seen a photo of the unsmiling girl, because she is a much-photographed victim of child pornography.

Farley, who should have won a Pulitzer for her work bringing the UN-Congo sex scandal story to light, has focused once again on the weak and exploited, telling the story of the frustrating but inventive search for the Unsmiling Girl, so she can be freed and her tormentor arrested.

This bed is the scene of a terrible crime. The fuzzy portion is where Toronto police removed a pornographic image of the Unsmiling Girl and Photoshopped back in the bed spread. This photo and others were circulated and led to leads: The bed is probably at Disney World. But no clues have come in yet that have allowed police to find the girl and her exploiter -- who most probably is her father or stepfather.

It is a sad and fascinating story. Here's the link again. Please click through and read it. And look at the photos. Maybe you can help save her, and bring her smile back.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

AP Celebrates Earth Day by Lying

What did you do last Saturday to celebrate Earth Day? Me? Oh, I drove my powerful V8 fast to the office, where I worked on getting a big (and environmentally sensitive) development project approved.

Others marked the day differently ... like Associated Press which spent it lying about global warming. Its article focused on glaciers on the Antarctic peninsula, and said:
"Fifty years ago, most of the glaciers we look at were slowly growing in length but since then this pattern has reversed. In the last five years the majority were actually shrinking rapidly," said the study's leader, Alison Cook of the British Antarctic Survey.

Antarctic Peninsula. (Photo by Greg Mortimer)
It also helpfully pointed out:
The Antarctic peninsula is a small segment of the Antarctic continent (actually, it's about 2% of it), located at the South Pole, and the behavior of the ice on the peninsula is not necessarily a reflection of what's going on elsewhere in Antarctica, said another investigator, David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey.
What Associated Press failed to tell readers (who must have upped the global temperature a degree or two with all their hand-wringing) is that temperatures over most of the remaining 98% of Antarctica are dropping and that ocean ice everywhere around Antarctica except the seas off the Antarctic peninsula is increasing.

Patrick Michaels at Tech Central Station devastates the AP story in delightful detail with, as Arlo Guthrie once said, "circles and arrows and paragraphs on the back." After establishing that the scientific literature clearly shows the continent is cooling, Michaels does his bit to warm up the global warming debate:
The general cooling of Antarctica is highly scientifically significant because climate models run under increasing levels of greenhouse gases predict that the Antarctic continent as a whole, not just the Peninsula, should be rapidly warming. This is clearly a model failure and no amount of going on and on about the impact of warming in the Peninsula, is going to change that fact.
h/t Greenie Watch

In Case You Missed It, Prayers Needed

Laura Ingraham has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Here's the statement from her Web site:
PRAYER REQUEST FOR LAURA: You know I hate Drama Kings or Queens, but I am asking for your prayers today and for the foreseeable future. On Friday afternoon, I learned that I have joined the ever-growing group of American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As so many breast cancer patients will tell you, it all came as a total shock.

I am blessed to be surrounded by people who love me – my family, a wonderful fiancé (if he thinks he's going to get out of marrying me because of this little blip, he's sadly mistaken!), my friends and my church.

I am absolutely blown away by how helpful and kind everyone has been – including total strangers who have experienced the same roller coaster of emotions. The sisterhood of breast cancer survivors is inspiring. I am truly blessed. On Tuesday, I will have an operation and within a few days will know more about the future. I am hopeful for a bright future and a "normal" life (well, scratch the "normal" part). Anyway, people have gone through much worse, and I know I'll obliterate this. I am thanking you in advance for your prayers. You are my family. And remember, I'll be back sooner than you think.

All the wonderful heroines who beat this disease will soon be joined by another; that's my prayer.

h/t: WND

Irresponsible Parenting

Take an unhealthily large dose of of self-indulgence, mix in a bit of "super mom" and "super dad," and you've got a recipe for irresponsible parenting.

This hit me the first when I was reading the account of a dying climber on Mt. Everest saying goodbye to his (as I recall it) pregnant wife in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, and I was reminded of it again by this in the NY Daily News:
Amanpour on worried-mommy track
Talk about your work-versus-motherhood conflict.

Top CNN international correspondent Christiane Amanpour probably has one of the riskiest jobs in the world. It weighs on her, she told us recently, more out of concern for her 5-year-old son, Darius, than for herself.

"I find it increasingly difficult," Amanpour said during a recent visit to New York. "Because the kind of work I do is rather dangerous. And it takes you away for prolonged periods of time."

Does she really think we need her more than her son does? Does she love her fame more than she loves Darius? She, and so many other self-indulgent parents, must answer these questions yes and yes. Quit your job, Christiane. Darius needs you far, far more than we do.

Adriana Blog Brings LAT Admission

Buried deep in the LATimes story about Adriana Huffington's proposed new blog, huffingtonpost, is this admission that got through the LAT's editors:
Blogs have been credited as a leveler of American journalism — offering a public forum to anyone with a computer and an opinion.
Not that we see a lot more level-headed journalism on our breakfast tables and TVs since blogs emerged, but any journalist who's been slammed by a blog or two is going to approach reporting differently.

As for huffingtonpost, it's an interesting concept, a "salon blog" that will give 300 of Adriana's closest celeb friends the opportunity to post, and we little people the opportunity to comment. It's left skewed, with Michael Medved and the WSJ's John Fund positioned against Libs Adriana, Walter Cronkite, David Geffen, former Sen. Gary Hart, writer David Mamet, the Urban League's Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Norman Mailer, Playboy's Christie Hefner, and actors Harry Shearer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

What they produce in volume and emotion Medved and Fund should be able to counter with reason and logic -- maybe it's not all that skewed after all!

Sierra Club Immigration Vote Fails

Liberal pro-soft border thinking outweighed radical "forget 'think globally,' stop immigration" thinking at the Sierra Club, as a proposal to swing the environmental group to an anti-immigration position failed. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, a Sierra Club board member, was behind the effort to radicalize the group.

The vote garnered the second-highest vote count in the Club's history, and the immigration proposal fell by a 5-to-1 margin. None of Sea Shepherd's endorsed candidates won board seats.

The vote signals the effective end of Watson's efforts to move the Sierra Club toward much more radical positions on public policy and the environment. Nevertheless, we can count on the Sierra Club to continue to fight senseless battles against American families and industries, refusing to accept balanced development or the environmentally sensitive exploitation of the Earth's plentiful resources.

Here's a link to the Sierra Club's news release on the vote.

It's interesting to think of immigration as an issue that pulls the left further left, as would have been the case if Watson had prevailed. Strange bedfellows, strange alliances might have followed, but it's obvious that the Birkenstock Legions aren't ready to think sensibly about immigration yet.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Warring Visions of Dean

Capt. Ed has a wonderful post on the Dean-ocrats, drawing heavily on a well researched aticle by Donald Lambro in today's WashTimes.

It's worth the read, particularly if you click here when you're done, so you can read Kos gush about Howard Dean, man of the people and savior of the Dems.

Theocracy "Scare" Unwarranted

Michael Barone, writing in Real Clear Politics, lays to rest the Lib's fear that America is becoming a theocracy. If you can accurately call it a fear, that is; it's more a rant, a fund-raising headline. The article is clear and convincing. Here's the wrap-up:

In the United States, as pointed out by Phillip Longman in "The Empty Cradle" and Ben Wattenberg in "Fewer," birth rates are above replacement level largely because of immigrants. But, as Longman notes, religious people have more children than seculars. Those who believe in "family values" are more likely to have families.

This doesn't mean we're headed to a theocracy: America is too diverse and freedom-loving for that. But it does mean that we're probably not headed to the predominantly secular society that liberals predicted half a century ago and that Europe has now embraced.

Reid Fails To Explain Dem Stand

Sen. Frist said Sunday to GOP senators who fear that using the nuclear option would prevent the GOP from using it later against a majority Dem Senate, "If it's wrong for the Democrats to deny a vote to Republican court nominees, then it's wrong for Republicans to use it to deny a vote to Democratic nominees." (That's a paraphrase.)

Given that position, why is it that Dems are ranting so against the rewriting of the rules? If we were to consider (for a moment, anyway) that the Dems follow logic, then the only answer is that they feel its fine for minority parties to hold up judicial nominees. Not true, at least when they're in the majority.

Oh, then this must be it, from Kos' report of a conference call between Sen. Reid and Libbloggers:
But Senator Reid was quick to point out that the the filibuster issue and the invoking of Frist's "nuclear" option goes beyond the issue of judicial nominations - seriously impacting the Senate in its every facet - including Cabinet nominations and legislation. IF the genie is let out of the bottle, there is no putting it back in.
Not exactly. Kos' credibility (an interesting concept) is challenged by even reporting that. Everyone knows the proposed rules change applies only to judicial nominees, not cabinent nominations or legislation.

Well, maybe the Dems are opposed to the change because they are genuinely concerned about the nominations. Again from Kos:
Senator Reid also acknowledged a need to explain more comprehensively the basis for the Democratic opposition to Bush's previously rejected and now renominated judicial nominees. Senator Reid assured us that the substantive case for opposing Bush's previously rejected nominees will continue to be made, and in a more forceful and detailed fashion.
This far into the debate, and the Dems are acknowledging that they haven't made the case against the nominees. Why? Because they don't want to stand in the public square and say, "We're threatening to close down the Senate because we're beholden to the abortion industry."

Oh, that confusing and consternating morality thing.

Quote of the Day

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm - but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

-- T.S. Eliot, quoted by Thomas Sowell in a column about environmentalists in the Christian Science Montor

LAT: Dems To Win West On Schiavo Vote

Letting its high-held Dem banner wave boldly in the breeze, the LATimes editorializes today that changing demographics and tried and true Dem values just might turn the red states of the West blue. The crowning point of their logic:
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the new Democratic Party chairman, has been advising Democrats nationwide to cool their rhetoric, if not their beliefs, on hot-button social issues such as abortion.

But what's needed is less a retreat than a recasting of privacy issues (Terri Schiavo's ordeal, for instance) that will resonate with the hands-off individualism of the mountains and deserts.
Since when does government-forced murder read as "hands-off individualism?" The LAT apparently didn't bother to read the more accurate surveys on public opinion on the Schiavo matter.

See also:
Finally, A Believable Schiavo Poll

LAT Confirms China's Risk

In a front-page story today, the LATimes chimed in chorus on something I've been saying for quite some time: The Beijing Communists might not be able to successfully contain the anger they've allowed to be unleashed against the Japanese.

The article quotes Zhu Feng, a security expert with Peking University:
"When Chinese start to feel such emotion, there's a fear this could backfire against the government itself and get out of control . The government is scared of these long-simmering sentiments."
As well it should be. In an increasingly wired world, it's tough to maintain the information dominance that it is at the heart of every repressive dictatorship.

The LAT article focuses on Lu Yunfei, purveyor of the internet site that fueld the anti-Japan protests. I think it may give Lu too much credit. China maintains tight control over the internet and was obviously supporting his effort or it would not have occured.

Still, it is enticing to see what can be done in repressive China with a Web site and email.

See also:
Koizumi Apologizes (Talk Is Nice)
Beijing and the Tiananmen Teapot
China-Japan Demons At Play
Chinese Snuff Out Internet Dissent
How Will Chinese Stop the Riots?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

MSM Continue HRW-Soros Cover-up

If a conservative Republican Texas oil man were to fund an organization that opposed Democrats, do you suppose MSM would connect the dots for us? Of course they would! Just look at how they covered the Swift Boats story.

Yet whenever the George Soros-funded organization Human Rights Watch comes up with another hyperventilating story about alleged prisoner abuse by U.S. forces, his connection is no where to be seen in the coverage.

Today, papers all over the world dutifuly reported HRW's questionable and unsubstantiated call for Rumsfield and Tenant to be investigated -- as if they had a role in the activities of a few misfits and wayward souls at Abu Ghraib. In story after story, no mention of Soros was made. Not in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, or Associated Press.

It's too early for Nexis to have Sunday papers in the US up, but a search of "human rights watch" and "soros" yieled no hits in any English-language paper from London to Singapore.

In case you're wondering just what the HRW-Soros connection is, here's something from an earlier CSM post:
Who is the HRW money man? George Soros, with help from prominent lefty-foundations including Ford, McArthur and Rockefeller.

Who runs it? George Soros and his friends.

Also on the board, Soros' publisher, Peter Osnos, Chief Executive of Public Affairs, a Soros publication, that traces its roots back to I.F. Stone, Ben Bradlee and Robert Bernstein (also a HRW board member), and chair Jane Olson, a long-time pacifist activist who cut her teeth arguing against nuclear arms while Reagan was using Pershing missiles in Europe as a strategy to crush the Bear.

Wish I'd Said That!

Here's a great letter from today's OCRegister:
The media will portray the new pontiff as a "watchdog of Catholic morals," given his last assignment as head of the ongregation for the Doctrine of Faith. But who better to guard God's sheep from the wolves of moral relativism than a German shepherd?
Thank you, Alice Manning of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Evangelicals Are Still Dumb?

In a Cox News Service story by Scott Shepard, the old "Evangelicals are stupid and easily manipulated" rhetoric has cropped up again, this time out of the mouth of Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report:

"Im not sure how much a Harvard-trained former Vanderbilt heart surgeon
Presbyterian can sound like an evangelical."

Does a Harvard education preclude being an evangelical? Is being bright and rich like a heart surgeon impossible for an evangelical, who must be poor and stupid? Indeed, does even being a Presbyterian preclude being an evangelical?

Today is Justice Sunday, when evangelical churches across the country will take up a bit of politics as they consider whether the fact that being anti-abortion precludes one from being a federal judge means that the Dem filibuster is an action against people of faith. The MSM coverage will probably be constrained, respectful, clueless and insulting, all at the same time.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Koizumi Apologizes (Talk Is Nice...)

Stung by Chinese anti-Japan riots and more importantly by Chinese efforts to keep Japan off an expanded UN Security Council, Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized for World War II attrocities to an audience that included leaders of the nations that suffered most at the hands of wartime Japan, China and Korea.

Here's Koizumi's apology, as reported by the NYTimes:

... Mr. Koizumi said, "Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations."

Without identifying any other country, he added: "Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility. And with feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind, Japan has resolutely maintained, consistently since the end of World War II, never turning into a military power but an economic power."

There's nothing new in this apology; it rehashes earlier efforts by Japanese leaders to put World War II behind them. Talk is nice, but it is a poor substitute for action. Speaking as a crisis communications expert, here's what I'd recommend to Mr. Koizumi, were he my client:
  • Mention China and Korea by name, and apologize specifically for what happened there. And in Burma, Singapore and elsewhere. By name. Lay a wreath in those countries and be photographed with a tear running down your cheek.
  • Meet with Japanese veteran groups and apologize to them, too, for the statements. This will be a tricky messaging strategy, but given the Japanese psyche, it's essential.
  • Push hard for the Diet (Japan's Congress) to enact a law specifying that henceforth, Japanese textbooks will present an honest and complete story of Japan's attrocities in World War II, including details on how the country has apologized, and impose stiff penalties for perps who don't follow the rules.
  • Deal forthrightly and generously with any claims that arise from those on who attrocities were perpetrated.
World War II ended 50 years ago. It is time, past time, to mend the wounds that Japan has yet to minister to effectively.

See also:
Beijing and the Tiananmen Teapot
China-Japan Demons At Play
Chinese Snuff Out Internet Dissent
How Will Chinese Stop the Riots?

Hooray, I'm a Christian!

Just thought I'd check to make sure I really am a Christian, so I took Quiz Farm's "Which Religion Is The Right One For You?" survey, and whooo baby, I am what I am! (Phew! What would I have done if it said I was a Hindu?)

As I took the survey, it provided a good and unpleasant remembrance of the secular and multi-theist positions I held earlier in my life, but when I finished the survey, the message that came up was quite positive and well written:
Your views are most similar to those of Christianity. Do more research on Christianity and possibly consider being baptized and accepting Jesus, if you aren't already Christian. Christianity is the second of the Abrahamic faiths; it follows Judaism and is followed by Islam. It differs in its belief of Jesus, as not a prophet nor historical figure, but as God in human form. The Holy Trinity is the concept that God takes three forms: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (sometimes called Holy Spirit). Jesus taught the idea of instead of seeking revenge, one should love his or her neighbors and enemies. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save humankind and forgive people's sins.
To that I would only add that He is the one way, and if you confess with your mouth and believe with your heart that he is the Son of God who died for our sins and was raised from the dead to sit at the right hand of God, you will be saved.

Would The UN Re-Hire Strong?

Here's an obvious question on oil-for-food scammer Maurice Strong, from yesterday's UN press briefing:
Question: Maurice Strong, even if everything is cleared with the Volcker Commission over the next few months, is he ever coming back as a career representative or not? Or is he completely finished? Is this step-aside temporary or...?

Associate Spokesman
: I addressed this yesterday. He said he was stepping aside while the matter was. ... He means he’s stepping aside while the matter is being cleared. I am not going to go any further than that. ...

: But the Secretary-General now knows that he had these business dealings with TongsunPark, who has also had problems in the 70s and so forth. The Secretary-General now knows that, which may have reinfluenced him in taking him on in the first place.

Associate Spokesman
: I really have nothing further to add than what I have said.
It's a cryin' shame the Associate Spokesperson doesn't feel comfortable saying something like, "The UN would never re-hire a slime like that." But the real answer is more like, "We hire slime like that every day, because the General Assembly is, after all, made up largely of slime like that."

More on Strong at Instapundit.

If Sudan's a Morality Issue Where's Kerry?

In his recent Senate speech outlining his position on the morality vote, which I analyzed under one of my regular "That Confusing Morality Thing" posts, John Kerry defined Dem morality in this context:
When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers ...
Out of curiousity, I did a Nexus search for the number of times "Kerry" and "Darfur" or "Sudan" appeared within nine words of each other in any English-lanugage newspaper over the six months preceding his speech. The results: zero hits. Zero.

The man is such a hypocrite. He preaches to us on morality, tells us what he thinks morality is, but does nothing moral -- by his own definition -- himself.

Update: Michelle Malkin provides a link to a video of Kerry giving the speech. Play it tonight at bedtime!

It Makes You Want to Homeschool

After a vocal parental protest, school officials in Montgomery County, a suburb of DC that has a national reputation as an education leader, were forced to delete two sentences from a new sex-ed curriculum: 'Sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence.'

In addition, the school district was forced to remove a statement from the curriculum that said students would 'discuss how you develop your sexual identity.' (h/t WashTimes; I suggest you read the entire story)

Revisions were also made that direct teachers not to lead discussions toward same-sex marriage or certain aspects of sexual orientation. Before the agenda was changed, it was a favorate of homosexual activists.

Cheney Speaks Clearly on Nuke Option

It's easy to see why the Left so dislikes Dick Cheney: He speaks clearly and forcefully, making it so hard for them to justify their positions. That's why their attacks against him are so personal. From today's WashTimes:
"For more than 200 years, the Senate has exercised this responsibility by voting either to confirm or reject nominations sent up by the president," he told a gathering of Republican lawyers yesterday. "Recently, however, a minority of senators has turned away from two centuries of practice and begun filibustering judicial nominees."

Mr. Cheney confirmed what many already assumed: He supports the so-called nuclear option and will perform his parliamentary duty to override the filibusters against judicial nominees, if it comes to that.

"If the Senate majority decides to move forward, and if the issue is presented to me in my elected office as president of the Senate, and presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an up-or-down vote," Mr. Cheney said. "On the merits, this should not be a difficult call to make."
Gotta love that "on the merits." On shameless political grandstanding, it's a difficult call to make. On fall-on-the-sword defense of abortionists, it's a difficult call to make. On amoral, secular values, it's a difficult call to make. But on its merits, it's a no-brainer.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bolton! Bolton! Bolton!

After writing the piece below, I am overwhelmed by the corruptness that saturates the UN. Rank-and-file UN pedophiles in Congo. Oil-for-food cheating the hungry to build up Saddam's weapons and scammers' bank accounts. Greenhouse gas credits. And on and on, in a long, deep string of filth.

It reminds me of my feelings as we were moving toward our second war with Iraq. My inside-the-beltway-liberal mom was horrified at the thought of war because "it might destabilize the Mideast." "Exactly!," I thought. No region of the world needed destabilization worse, and with each passing day, it's increasingly evident that Bush's strategy is paying off.

Reader Rod Stanton closes this thought with a comment on an earlier post:
The UN has been corrupt for 50 years. It is not just Kofi; although he is a bribe seeking, influence peddler of the worst kind. This is why Bolton is needed. If Dr. Frist can not get him approved then Frist should step aside so somone with leadership ability can be GOP leader.

Kofi's Friend Maurice Strong

Just down the hall from Kofi's office was Maurice Strong's. Now that Strong is under investigation for oil-for-food scamming, his long closeness to Kofi is just one more question thrown to the funeral-pyre-high stack of questions about Kofi's ability to dodge disgrace in the oil-for-food scandal. But oil-for-food is just the latest sordid episode in Murray's astonishingly slimey career.

Here's some more, from Canada Free Press with a hat tip to Greenie Watch:

It all began with the flight of Canadian Maurice Strong’s Earth Council from Costa Rica ....

The Costa Rican government has been pursuing the Earth Council for payment of U.S.$1.65 million, for the wrongful sale of a tract of land it imprudently donated to the Council. The land was donated to the Council by the Costa Rican government with the agreement that, if the Council moved, it would have to return the land.

It was in 1996 when Costa Rica granted the Council the land in question. All Hell broke loose when it was discovered that the Earth Council sold the land that was not theirs to sell in the first place.

Even while Costa Rican authorities were investigating the crime, Strong landed down the hall from Kofi. A couple years later, Strong was at it again:

Incredibly, while Strong was organizing the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992, in the same month of the same year, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Natural Resources were filing charges against Strong and his partner in Desarollos Ecologicos S.A., Julio Garcia for building the $35 million Villas del Caribe condo hotel on land located in the Kekoldi Indian Reservation and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge–without official permits. Strong’s son ran the luxury hotel.
And finally there's the "Kyoto Kickback Kleptocracy," heralded by Bill Clinton as "the world’s first formal program to curb global warming through an international market in greenhouse gas emission reductions." Earth Council was at the core of this scheme, under which companies would buy credits allowing them to emit greenhouse gases with the money going to restore rainforests in ... where else? ... Costa Rica. And who was in the middle of this program? Maurice Strong.

The Costa Rican office for Joint Implementation (OCIC) was working with Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), a world leader in inspection, testing and verification, to "certify" the offsets.

Add to this mix, the entry of a Geneva-based entity called the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), brought to the table by Strong and sponsored by the Earth Council.

Of course, the deal was a scam. Companies paid for the credits but the game pretty much ended there, making the program one of the biggest scams of all time.

Given such a sordid career, one has to ask why Strong was anywhere but in jail, why he was the UN's emissary to as crooked a country as North Korea, why he has been Kofi's long-time friend, why he's not in jail.

Ah, but of course. It's the UN, the world's premier scam-booster. Witness oil-for-food and, of course, global warming.

Michael Moore: Bribing For Violence

Last year, Cal State San Marcos, a nice little school in northern San Diego County, canceled a talk by Michael Moore.

He's getting back that them by rewarding and instigating childish student activism on the campus. He's set up The Michael Moore Freedom of Speech Schoolarship, which will award $2,500 each to two CSSM students "who have done their most to fight for issues of student rights by standing up to the administration."

Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer said conservative Christians were threatening the lives of judges by saying that the Dem filibuster is a filibuster against people of faith. This week, Michael Moore is bribing students to incite violence.

MSM covered Schumer as serious news; they're covering Moore as cute news. Outrageous.

Update: More on Moore, and some good trackbacks, at Michelle Malkin.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

UN's Full-Court Hariri Press Continues

Dauntless, speedy, justice-hungry. That's our trusted UN. From today's press briefing:
Question: The investigation of the Commission, the investigative commission [into the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri] is supposed to be sent shortly. Does it mean that the investigative commission has already been formed?

Associate Spokesman
: No. We’ve been told that it is not yet fully formed. And as soon as it is, we will be able to announce who will lead that team. This is the one into Hariri’s assassination. We will be able to announce who is leading that team and who composes the team.
The assassination was in February. Hot on the trail of the killer, the UN is assembling a team.

See also:
UN Hariri Conclusion: Let's Study More
UN Appoints Hariri Team (Updated)
UN Hot On Lebanon Investigation

Not My Normal Post (heh, heh)

Here's something I found on a strange blog, Me, Myself and the Wasteland, that recently -- for reasons I'm not at all clear about -- added Cheat-Seeking Missiles to its blogroll.

I would explain the picture to you, but MM&W is a bilingual blog, and this section isn't in my lingua. I just thought it was funny, even if it lampoons a president I happen to like.

That Confusing Morality Thing

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for posting John Kerry's Senate speech on his blog, and giving it so much air time today ... keeping me seething much of the way to the airport this afternoon.

Kerry is continuing to refine his long, boring diatribes to create a response to that confusing morality thing that so tripped him up in November. Let's strip the anti-GOP policy stuff from the speech and look at what it has to say about the state-of-the-art of Dem-speak on addressing the morality vote:
Forces outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push Republican leaders toward conduct that the American people really don't want in their elected leaders ...
Rather than lead with Dem morality (we'll get to that in a bit), he's choosing to play to the amoral base by marginalizing the morality vote. Christians, Republicans and conservatives are not a significant part of Kerry's America, an America where a minorstream is really the mainstream.
... inserting the government into our private lives, injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn't apply.
For all their talk of the GOP exploiting Terri Schiavo's death, here's the incredibly ghoulish looking John Kerry exploiting Terri Schiavo's death. And why is it that when anti-death penalty freaks use the courts to slow or avoid a murderer's execution, it's not injecting religion into debates about public policy?
Jumping through hoops to ingratiate themselves to their party's base ....
This is off the morality thing subject, but this line reminds me of those funny photos of a very uncomfortable looking Kerry in this black church and that black church.
Will Republican senators let their silence endorse Senator Frist's appeal to religious division, or will they put principle ahead of partisanship and refuse to follow him across that line? ... Joe Lieberman's a person of faith. Harry reid's a person of faith.
This reference to Frist's participation in a program with Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship Ministries and the Southern Baptist Convention shows that Kerry is piling on the current Dem effort to build a wall between the Legislative branch and our religion. Not his religion, but our religion. Politicians speak to religious groups all the time, but Kerry's saying if the religion is not in his mainstream, then speaking to that religion is partisanship. He divides, but we're partisans.
Are we going to allow the Majority Leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench? Is that where we are now?
There's his "minorstreaming" of the mainstream again. "If I keep saying its small, maybe it will go away ...." In Kerry's world, judges who believe the Supreme Court erred in Roe v. Wade, who beleive the courts have overstated and incorrectly applied separation of church and state, are by default substandard and extremist, even though they reflect the majority view on abortion and a dominant view on separation of church and state.
When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers ...
And there it is! After attacking our faith and being divisive by calling us divisive, Kerry rolls out what has become standard Dem-speak on that confusing morality thing. Morality is feeding the poor, universal health insurance and balanced trade. There is certainly a moral basis for feeding the poor and caring for the sick, but balanced trade?! (And why, by the way, the swipe at Asian bankers?)

Even so, this approach to answering the morality vote will only work with the amoral, because the moral know that conservative Christians are doing more in Dafur than liberal agnostics and atheists are, and that there are better ways to care for the sick than sinking America into the sort of ineffective health care that exists in the Canadian and European socialist democracies.
... no one can tell me that faith demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges. No one with those priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us.
It is clear that rather than address the morality vote, the Kerry approach is to align with agnostics, atheists and Christians in name only. He thinks that by attacking people who walk the walk of deep religious convictions, he will rise up an amoral vote. Never mind that it's the Dems who threaten to pull the Senate apart because of their faith in liberal secularism. Attack! Attack! Attack!

The Real On-Line Threat to MSM

Lest the blogosphere get too big a head about its potential ability to take readers away from newspapers, here's a study (registration required) that shows where the Internet's biggest hit on the big, old print media is: in the lowly, but highly profitable, classified ad pages.

If the car and real estate ads get hit the way Monster obliterated the job listings in the classified pages, the papers could lose, in aggregate, $4 billion.
It's hard to overstate the importance of classifieds to newspapers' bottom lines. Those pages of pure agate type are so profitable that, according to Mr. Ubinas, one newspaper executive said classified ads were a "better business than printing dollar bills."

But the proliferation of online sites as diverse as, and has substantially complicated newspapers' hold on the format. "Once upon a time, classifieds was the exclusive property of newspapers," said Mort Goldstrom, the NAA's vcie president of advertising. "That time is over."

LAT's Pope Analysis Hits Sweet Spot

I was ready to read an apologetic for the liberal factions in the Catholic Church, and a description of stark political intregue by the conservatives in today's multi-bylined LATimes analysis of the Cardinals' vote, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The second paragraph appeared to set up such a story ...
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger arrived with a solid base of votes that staved off the emergence of any real challenger, culminating a juggernaut of a campaign months in the making, cardinals and Vatican-watchers said Wednesday.
... but nothing that followed fleshed out the "juggernaut of a campaign months in the making" line. One wonders why it was there. Perhaps to reassure liberal LAT readers, who could then turn the page to the next story, reassured that their paper was still on their side?

What followed was a testimony to the popularity of John Paul II's and Ratzinger's policies, a slap on the hand to the media for speculating that Latin American Catholics might be upset by the selection, a clear picture of the weak position of European and American liberal Cardinals, and evidence the Holy Spirit was just as hard at work as the religio-political powerbrokers. Here's a preview, but you should read the entire piece:
"Ratzinger put nothing 'on sale' in order to be elected pope," Sandro Magister, a veteran Vatican watcher, wrote in an online column Wednesday. "The votes and consensus landed on him one after the other, month after month, scrutiny after scrutiny, attracted only by his agenda, hard as a diamond."

A telltale sign of his ascent took place at the funeral of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation. The Mass in Milan's Duomo cathedral on Feb. 24 drew Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other notables.

Representing the ailing pope, Ratzinger presided over the funeral Mass instead of Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, against the expectations of some. Ratzinger's homily brought enthusiastic applause. The audience responded to remarks by Tettamanzi, a rival candidate for pope, with silence.

Balarus, Lukashenko In Condi's Sights

Sometimes are better days to be a dictator, others are not. Yesterday was a "not" day for Victor Lukashenko, as Condi fixed her freedom fighter's stare on Lukashenko's Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe.

Fired up dissident Aleksander Dobrovolskiy, one of seven who met with Condi at this week's NATO confab, said after the meeting (quoted in the LATimes):
"She said the United States and Europe remained committed to helping Belarus become free. We intend to offer an alternative and initiate a mass pressure for that change."
Note who they didn't meet with: France, Germany, Spain. That means that for thousands of freedom-hungrey Belarusians, Condi, Bush and democracy are seen as heroic and inspirational, and Old Eurpopean liberal socialism is just wallpaper.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Oil-for-Food and Benedict XVI

Here's a bit of humor from the very end of Tuesday's UN Press Briefing, held just after the white smoke poured out of the Vatican chimney:
Question: On a lighter note, does the United Nations have any reaction to a new Pope being selected?

Associate Spokesman
: I just saw the smoke.

: I was wondering if Mr. Riza was seen near there burning documents or...(Interrupted)?

Associate Spokesman: On that note, thank you very much
"Riza," of course, is Kofi's former chief of staff S. Iqbal Riza, who suddenly announced his retirement the very day he admitted to the Vocker panel that he shredded documents that were likely related to the scandal.

UN Drags Out Syria/Lebanon Inquiry

I loved (in a frustrated sort of way) the blithe diplomatic blame-denial of this statement from today's UN press briefing:
Question: Steph, could you comment on the Secretary-General’s decision to delay a final report on Syria’s military withdrawal from Lebanon?

Associate Spokesman
: The report was not so much delayed as it was decided that it would be released at a later date ...
If you click through to the link, you'll find some intense questioning about Maurice Strong, his relations with various Koreans, and the status of his diplomatic immunity ... something that has suddenly become quite important to him.

Check Out Renegade Mentat

Via a comment to one of my posts, I was introduced to Alain Dewitt's fine blog Renegade Mentat. If you haven't been reading him, here's a free sample featuring one of my favorite subjects, the UN:
This weekend I had a chance to watch the BBC News program "Talking Point". "Talking Point" is a viewer participation show and this weekend's topic was U.N. reform. The guest was Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan's chief of staff.

A viewer e-mailed with the suggestion that perhaps the U.N. should set representative government as a precondition for membership. Mr. Malloch Brown responded that if that were the case, then China, representing 1/6th of the world's population, would be excluded from membership and its people "disenfranchised".

What on earth makes Mr. Malloch Brown think the Chinese people have any kind of franchise now? He unwittingly made the e-mailer's point. Namely that the U.N. is a body of governments, many of whom do not represent their people's wishes.
Alain has a unique perspective brought on by his wierd techy-in-a-dip-world job:
I have one of the greatest jobs in the world. I am a Technical Specialist on a U.S. Department of State contract. That means that I get paid to travel to far-off, exotic locations and work on the computers in US embassies and consulates worldwide.
Cool. I'll be adding Renegade Mentat to my blogroll as soon as I post this.

Whitewashing the Bloodsuckers

I've been too busy to post lately ... sorry, but the busy-ness is answered prayer ... so it took my friend Steve at Double Toothpicks to make me aware of the LATimes' whitewashing of the deathmerchant bloodsuckers who killed Terri Schiavo. No need to rewrite Steve, since he says it well:
And now, the LA Times lauds the conquering, selfless heroes who put Terri in the ground (or rather the urn). This is sickening to me. Despite the efforts of the mighty LA Times, I will never, never, never change my mind about euthanasia and bow down to their idol of "death with dignity". It is wrong. Always has been, always will be.
Here's the most galling quote in an article filled with galling quotes:
For at least a year and a half, whether Terri Schiavo's feeding tube should be disconnected and the woman be allowed to die became a battleground in America's culture wars, with lawyers and financial donors from conservative Christian, antiabortion and disability-rights organizations arrayed against attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and advocates of the right of individuals to choose their medical treatment.
Was reporter John Thor-Dahlburg (what a progressive name!) in Mongolia for the entire Schiavo drama? Were his editors smoking pot and reading R. Crumb while Terri was in the news? Must have been! This was about denying medical treatment, not choosing medical treatment. Moreover, it was about denying that treatment for years, in order to ensure that no medical record could be built to argue against Terri's slow execution.
Notice that Thor-Dahlburg positions the supporters of Terri as "conservative Christian" and "anti-abortion," but does not similarly describe Michael's attorneys as "radical secularists" and "anti-life."

Sorry Thor, old boy, it's not going to work. You're schlepping for the Left in the great LAT tradition, pecking away at your keyboard while subscribers continue to desert in droves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict: First Nazi-Deserter Pope

Why the Left will attack Benedict XVI:
Ratzinger said in his memoirs he was enrolled in the Hitler Youth against his will at the age of 14.
Why they'll be sooooo conflicted:
Ratzinger was conscripted into the German Army, but he deserted during World War II and was sent to a POW camp when the Allies entered his hometown.
h/t: WND

Seattle Paper Readying Hit Piece

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will shortly publish what will be a typical MSM hit piece on innovative approaches to environmental issues. And since it's a hit piece, we can expect it to be picked up by other biased-left papers (i.e., nearly all of them).

The article will cover Habitat Conservation Plans, or HCPs, under which landowners contribute rich habitat areas for preservation in return for deveopment rights on lower quality habitat. Moderate environmentalists like the plans because they work to protect species; radicals hate them because developers benefit from them.

A colleague of mine talked to the reporter several months ago and suggested that he speak to knowledgeable environmentalists who have actually worked on HCPs and support them. The three sources he provided to the reporter subsequently confirmed that the reporter had not called them. One of the sources called the reporter himself, and said it appeared that the story was already written and would not be altered.

The article apparently will cite an old, discredited study and claim that HCPs are just back room deals that don't provide for public participation, which is not an accurate characterization. Some small HCPs may be negotiated largely in private but they are reviewed publicly. Large scale HCPs are typically negotiated in public.

What's the motivation? Endangered Species Act reform is in the air, and some of that reform would make HCPs easier. So of course, MSM, as the constant handmaiden of the radical environmentalists, is doing what it can to thwart significant and necessary reform.

LAT Cans A Sloppy Reporter

LATimes reporter Eric Slater was canned by the LAT for numerous errors in a story he wrote about a fraternity hazing death at Cal State Chino. Read the lengthy editorial note here.

Now if they could just start firing the many reporters who file sloppy stories on matters of national and international significance....

h/t Media Bistro

Monday, April 18, 2005

NOW Says Women Can't Choose

Let's see.... Women have the right to kill an innocent baby if it suits their fancy, and are fully capable of correctly weighing the pros and cons of such a complex decision. But they should not have the right to have breast implants, because that's a decision that's just beyond their limited capacity to make.

I'm not making this up. The radical feminist left really is that whacky. NOW, the champions of abortion on demand, has blasted the FDA for not imposing an outright ban on breast implants.

h/t Dennis Prager

South Park Conservatives

I don't watch South Park, but I laugh every time someone tells me about one of the show's PC-bashing episodes. Now there's a book, South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias, that looks like it'll be a pretty good read. Its author, Brian C. Anderson, writing in the New York Post, posits that MSM's liberal leanings have created a real, growing and powerful backlash, especially among the youthful population that will be tomorrow's leaders.

One sign of the backlash, he says, is that humor is no longer in the sole ownership of the Garafolo and Frank team. South Park is but one example of the growing irreverance toward the hallowed truths of the Left, as described by Anderson:

South Park sometimes shows a socially conservative streak — one episode actually mocks pro-choice extremism, when Cartman's mother, Liane, decides to abort her son — then in the third grade.

She goes to the "Unplanned Parenthood" clinic. "I want to have an abortion," she tells the receptionist.

"If you don't feel fit to raise a child, then abortion probably is the answer," the receptionist tells her. "Do you know the actual time of conception?"

Liane: "About—eight years ago."

"I see," the receptionist says, "so the fetus is?"

Eight years old, Liane says, matter-of-factly.

"Ms. Cartman, uh eight years old is a little late to be considering abortion," says the receptionist.

Liane registers surprise, and the receptionist elaborates: "Yes — this is what we would refer to as the 'fortieth trimester.' "

"But I just don't think I'm a fit mother," Liane laments.

"Wuh? But we prefer to abort babies a little earlier on," the receptionist notes. "In fact, there's a law against abortions after the second trimester."

Later, Liane discovers, to her horror, that the word "abortion" means termination of life — and not the same thing as "adoption," as she had mistakenly thought — she abandons her plans.

Also from Anderson, this reaffirming tidbit:

Student views on most issues have moved steadily to the Right over the last decade. The change isn't coming from the faculty lounges and administrative offices but from self-organizing right-of-center or anti-liberal students themselves, helped by innovative off-campus groups — and by the new media, which allow students easy access to ideas considered verboten in many classrooms.

The number of College Republicans, for instance, has almost tripled, from 400 or so campus chapters six years ago to 1,148 today, with 120,000 members — more than the College Democrats on both counts. Other conservative groups, ranging from gun clubs — Harvard's has more than 100 students blasting away — to impudent anti-PC newspapers are budding at schools everywhere.

h/t Media Bistro

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Lech Walesa on John Paul II

Lech Walesa defiantly states the truth in today's LATimes, in stark contrast to MSM's underplaying of Pope John Paul II's role, with Pres. Regan, in defeating the Soviets.
For years before the pope's visit in 1979, I had tried to organize a group to fight communism, seeking support from Poland's 40 million people. In two decades, I attracted 10 fellow activists. People had no hope that they could overthrow communism and no faith that world leaders would offer support. The enslaved societies were in bad shape, weakened by uncertainty and apprehension.

Then something unbelievable happened. A Pole became pope.
Read the op/ed here.

Water Weakening Enviro Appeal

Every pendulum swings, and the momentum of the environmental movement's swing to the left is visibly slowing.

Two of the main reasons that this is happening is, first, that as momentum slows, more radical voices move to the fore to sustain the movement, and the cost of alienating the moderates. And the even more influencial second reason: Social movements can't control natural events, and local movements can't control international events.

ANWR will be drilled because the American environmental movement can't control international oil markets.

And now, news (h/t LATimes) that the continuing mountain state drought will lead to decidedly anti-whacko policies.
Still struggling with drought on the Colorado River despite a winter of bountiful storms in the Southwest, water managers are dusting off provocative ideas for filling the river — among them, logging mountainsides to wring more runoff out of national forests and seeding clouds to pull more snow out of the sky.

"A lot of things that are controversial will be looked at," said Central Arizona Project general manager Sid Wilson. "We can't do things the way we've always done them. We have to find ways that are creative to address tomorrow's problems."
Faced with a destructive regional drought, the enviros don't have much to say:
"Those[suggestions] are ludicrous," said Jennifer Pitt of Environmental Defense's Colorado office. "We're going to cut down our national forests so we can water our lawns on the front range? Give me a break. There's no way people are going to accept that."
Actually, they will. It's because Environmental Defenses rhetoric about watering lawns doesn't play to a public that is just having babies, buying homes so they can stay close to family, and are worrying about water for future generations. The old environmental message -- conserve so we don't touch our natural resources -- just isn't going to play much longer as it becomes evident that there are sensible management alternatives to sticking our head in the dirt.

Oh, and the enviros want us to get a permit before we disturb that dirt.

See also:
Refined Refinery Thinking
Greenthink Gone Wild

Beijing and the Tiananmen Teapot

I've been turning the whole Chinese anti-Japan protest thing over in my mind, and the conclusion that seems to answer all the questions is that it's social engineering by Beijing.

Having their sticky fingers all over the heart and mind of the Chinese people s they do, they must see that the People's Frustration Meter is topping the scale. The last thing Beijing wants is Beirut, so they thought it might work to give the Chinese people an outlet to relieve the pressure. Let them blow off some steam, they proposed, before things reach the Tiananmen Teapot level and start shrieking.

As Solomon so aptly put it, there is nothing new under the sun. Others have reached the same conclusion, notably, via Instapundit, Ian Hamet, blogging from Shanghai:

The email [from the demonstration organizer] I heard about and the numbers of people involved both tell me that this was organized at a high level. I’m convinced someone in Beijing orchestrated this, even as the demonstration was declared “illegal” yesterday. The police didn’t try to quell the crowd at all, weren’t even in riot gear. They just steered people away from the (very expensive) buildings in People’s Square.

Whoever he is, this Machiavel, he’s stirred up one hell of a hornets’ nest. I sincerely hope that he’s frightened by how angry it is; if not, there’s even more trouble on the horizon.

Here's the link to the now-translated email from the demonstration organizer (scroll down). All its admonitions to behave oneself and respect the police supports the thesis that these demonstrations are not spontaneous, but government-organized. It's just a small step to the obvious conclusion that it's all about Beirut-avoidance.

See also:
China-Japan Demons At Play
Chinese Snuff Out Internet Dissent
How Will Chinese Stop the Riots?

What If Oil Reserves Were Unlimited?

Oil comes from dinosaurs, right? So it's a finite resource that must be tightly managed, right?

What if this were wrong? What if oil were regenerating, endless, primordial? Check this out:
Eugene Island is an underwater mountain located about 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1973 oil was struck and off-shore platform Eugene 330 erected. The field began production at 15,000 barrels a day, then gradually fell off, as is normal, to 4,000 barrels a day in 1989, Then came the surprise; it reversed itself and increased production to 13,000 barrels a day. Probable reserves have been increased to 400 million barrels from 60 million. The field appears to be filling from below and the crude coming up today is from a geological age different from the original crude, which leads to the speculation that the world has limitless supplies of petroleum. ...
The Eugene Island phenomenon is so interesting that the Department of Energy and several oil biggies funded a $10 million study of it:
This work began about the time 3-D seismic technology was introduced to oil exploration. Anderson was able to stack 3D images resulting in a 4D image that showed the reservoir in 3 spatial dimensions and enabled researchers to track the movement of oil. Their most stunning find was a deep fault at a bottom corner of the computer scan that showed oil literally gushing in. "We could see the stream," says Andersen. "It wasn’t even debated that it was happening."
Where is the oil gushing in from? Some think it's a material created with the formation of the earth that picks up bacteria on its way to the surface. These bacteria led scientists to assume it comes from decaying dinos and ferns.

Some Russian scientists reportedly are moving away from the oil-is-from-dinos school, but the idea that oil actually may be a greenie-whacking unlimited resource hasn't been given much credibility by the scientific community ... yet.

H/t Lew Rockwell, via Greenie Watch

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Animal Activist Story Faked In Globe

The Boston Globe ran a story by reporter Barbara Stewart on a bloody, savage seal hunt that never occurred. And there's no greenie-bias in the MSM? (h/t Michelle Malkin)

With stuff like this, it's no wonder the Globe's circulation is dropping. How long ago did newspapers forget that credibility, not the biases of their reporters, is their most valued asset?

LAT Picks Up Weekly Standard Editor

Weekly Standard contributing editor David Gelernter got off to a great start as the LATimes' newest regular columnist.

His outstanding and patriotic column, Soldiers Do Us The Honor, was the second-most-emailed piece in today's LAT, trumped only by an article on the settlement of a 30-year coastal access battle between the California Coastal Commission and producer David Geffen.

An excerpt from Gelernter's column; be sure to read the whole thing:
A few weeks ago, I spoke on the pro-Bush side of an informal debate at Yale, and an imposing middle-aged man with fierce white hair came up afterward to ask me where I got the nerve to support a president who sends young soldiers to their deaths? (Lots of approving nods.) By accusing President Bush of extorting something that soldiers have freely offered, he slandered the president and stole honor from the soldiers. ...

A 17-year-old boy tried to explain to the white-haired man (in his straightforward, soft-spoken way) that those soldiers had chosen to be where they were; had understood and accepted the dangers; loved life just as much as the man did, but had different ideas about how to live it. The 17-year-old mentioned that he and a friend planned to join the Marines when they finished college. But he couldn't change the Bush-hater's mind.

I had a stake in the argument: the 17-year-old is my son.
Not to be lost is consideration of why the LAT has brought Gelertner on board. Perhaps there is a remaking on the way, an acknowledgement that they have gone too hard left and needs to balance its way back toward middle.

If so, that's nice. But it won't work until leftist, anti-American bias is purged from the news columns.

Third GOP Judicial Reform Drive?

Writing in today's LATimes, Cass R. Sunstein, a law prof at the University of Chicago, posits that the GOP is up to no good on judges. This really stupid story is striking the heartstrings of liberals, becoming the third most emailed LAT story today.

Sunstein lays out three attacks by the GOP on the judiciary. First was the Goldwater-era move by conservatives to attack liberal activist judges for finding vaporous constitutional provisions which they used strike down decisions of elected officials, i.e., the battle over the Miranda case. The second is originalism, as championed by Justice Scalia. The third:
But now we are witnessing a third wave of attack, in which originalism is receding, and in which many conservative politicians want judges to read the Constitution, and the law in general, as if it fits with the Republican Party platform. After all, Republican presidents have succeeded in reconstructing the federal judiciary so that it is dominated by handpicked GOP appointees. Liberal activism is dying if not dead. Why shouldn't Republicans take advantage of their dominance of the judiciary to ensure that their preferred policies are implemented by courts?
Drawing on the Schiavo case, Sunstein defines this "new assault" as follows:
In [the Schiavo] case, the law clearly did not authorize federal judges to order Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted — but some Republicans are outraged that the judges did not have it reinserted anyway. On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay instructed the Judiciary Committee to investigate federal court decisions in the Schiavo case.

The attack on the judges who refused to order the feeding tube reinserted may be trivial by itself. But it is of a piece with something much more important. In recent years, some conservative politicians have been insisting that federal judges should strike down affirmative action programs, protect commercial advertising, invalidate environmental regulations, allow the president to do whatever he likes in the war on terrorism, use the Constitution to produce tort reform, invalidate gun control regulation, invalidate campaign finance laws and much more — regardless of whether they can find solid justification for these steps in our founding document.
It's amazing that such archetypical liberal law professor hooey becomes so rubustly e-mailed, despite his [thanks for that correction Alain] opinion's many flaws. Who are these "some conservative politicians?" They go unnamed. Are they really arguing that these laws should be struck just because they want them to be? Of course not. Is anyone really suing to invalidate environmental regulations? No, only to review and revise them. And on and on.

We are not as stupid as this man, who probably still thinks Bush is stupid after all his stunning victories, thinks we are. We know how the law works, and each claim above is not structured on a "because we want it" brief, but on a carefully crafted constitutional analysis.

Sunstein is guilty of mighty condescension in this article, minimizing the intelligence of his opponent, letting his like-thinking readers assume a similar self-agrandizing hautiness, and ignoring the fact that Democrat activists use the same systems the same way that GOP activists do. But it still doesn't stop the LAT's liberal readers from gleefully e-mailing it off to their buddies.