Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, July 30, 2005

24 Hours Of Al Jazeera in English

Al Jazeera will launch its international English language network in early 2006, promising to offer "a Middle Eastern perspective on global events." Presumably, they are not including Israel in the Middle East.

To prep for the launch, Al Jazeera has hired the London-New York-DC public relations firm Brown Lloyd James (BLJ), giving it the challenge to "demystify" the channel. Interesting word for what is really a challenge to give the station a modicum of believability.

BLJ has media experience (BBC, Forbes, Clear Channel) and represents Qatar, Dubai, and Ayad Allawi, but even so, this quote provided to PR Week is a beaut of understatement:
"The channel must establish its identity quickly because there are complex feelings toward the Arabic channel."

Complex indeed. Stopping being the network of choice for bin Laden could be a good first step.

h/t PR Week, subscription required

Musharraf Limits Madrassas

This very significant piece of news was buried as the last two paragraphs in the WaPo story about the arrests of another three London terror suspects:
Meanwhile, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, ordered all foreign students at madrassas , or religious schools, to leave the country, according to wire service reports. The schools have come under renewed scrutiny after reports that at least one of the four alleged suicide bombers in the July 7 attacks became radicalized while studying at a madrassa.

The order is part of a new crackdown on Islamic extremism that Musharraf has ordered in the wake of the bombings. More than 200 people have been arrested, although none of the detainees are alleged to have had any role in the attacks. "We will not allow madrassas to be misused for extremism, hatred being projected in our society," Musharraf told foreign journalists in Islamabad.

To fight terror, Islam must force the closure of madrassas run by crazed jihadists, so they cannot spread their vile disease to impressionable young men. Musharraf needs to go further than simply expelling the foreign students, but this public recognition of the danger of the schools is good, particularly because Pakistan has become such a fertile breeding ground for terrorists.

The Name Game

Ibrahim Muktar Said. Ramzi Mohammed. Osman Hussain.

Just noting that the London terrorists arrested yesterday appear to be Muslims.

Vice Fund Outperforming Market

Take a look at this chart; it shows the performance of the Vice Fund, which invests in companies that profit off human moral weaknesses. As you can see, it is out-performing the S&P Index pretty healthily.

But don't be so quick to think it's all about booze, tobacco and gambling. Only 61.26% is. There's 17.15% in "other" -- that's troubling -- but a big contributor to The Vice Fund's performance is the 21.59% share of its portfolio invested in defense stocks.

Defense as a vice? Here's how the fund justifies it:

The Case for Defense Stock Investing

Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea. Those should be reason enough to believe in Defense Stocks. Homeland Security and anti-terrorism have become large, profitable industries. So called "Socially Responsible Investors" would claim that you shouldn't own stocks that have anything to do with defense or weapons. That means that all of the Aerospace and Defense Industries are to be avoided. Maybe in a perfect world these industries wouldn't need to exist, but until that perfect world does exist, we want to own these stocks.

Through good times and bad times, Aerospace and Defense firms employ millions of Americans and contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. They provide technological innovations that are used in almost all of our daily lives. Why wouldn't we want to invest in these companies?

Are these good stocks to own? The new Bush budget calls for increased defense spending, and defense stocks have performed historically well following conflict. As an example, look at any public information on stocks like Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics since the 1970's. You'll see that they outperformed the S&P 500 Index by wide margins over the past 30+ years.

What high horse can someone who makes their living investing in alcoholism, lung cancer and the destruction of families through gambling be on that allows them to say that the defense of our country is a vice? How can you be "for our trooops" if you think it's a vice to provide them with the tools they need to survive and win?

And where are the pop music companies and MTV/Viacom in the portfolio? Those are among the biggest vice stocks going nowdays.

Hillary's Unelectability

Jacob Weisburg writes in Slate about the problem Hillary has in her run for president. With considerable right-bashing, Weisburg dismisses the conventional arguments: too liberal, too much married to Bill, too divisive, and ends up with this:
You may admire and respect her. But it's hard not to find Hillary a bit inhuman. Whatever she may be like in private, her public persona is calculating, clenched, relentless—and a little robotic.

With the American electorate so closely divided, it would be foolish to say that Hillary, or any other potential nominee, couldn't win. And a case can be made that the first woman who gets elected president will need to, as Hillary does, radiate more toughness than warmth. But in American elections, affection matters. Democrats lost in 2000 and 2004 with candidates Main Street regarded as elitist and aloof, to a candidate voters related to personally. Hillary isn't as obnoxious as Gore or as off-putting as Kerry. But she's got the same damn problem, and it can't be fixed.
Hillary does indeed suffer profoundly from that weakness, but a more damning weakness politically is her transparent pandering. All pols play the audience and tweak their speeches accordingly, but Hillary harps louder, covers less effectively, and votes more deceitfully than most.

The Left still doesn't get it. Like Weisburg, they can see the likeability issue, but they completely miss the larger believability issue. And it's the problem that is rotting the Dems to their core. As they become more extreme, more out of step with mainstream American values, they must become less believable in order to sound better. And while they may think Americans are too dim to figure that out, they're wrong.

h/t Real Clear Politics

Durbin's Roe v. Wade Gulag

I didn't know Dick Durbin went to Washington as a pro-life Dem, only to be converted to one of the leaders of the abort-abort-abort crowd. Terence P. Jefffery writes in the WashTimes about it, and gives us Durbin's explanation from a Tim Russert interview:

On "Meet the Press," this is how Mr. Durbin explained his conversion: "You know, it's a struggle for me. It still is. I'm opposed to abortion. If any woman in my family said she was seeking abortion, I'd go out of my way to try to dissuade them from making that decision. But I was really discouraged when I came to Washington to find that the opponents of abortion were also opponents of family planning. This didn't make sense to me. And I was also discouraged by the fact that they were absolute, no exceptions for rape and incest, the most extraordinary medical situations. And I finally came to the conclusion that we really have to try to honor the Roe v. Wade thinking, that there are certain times in the life of a woman that she needs to make that decision with her doctor, with her family and with her conscience, and that the government shouldn't be intruding."

As Jeffery puts it, the logic of that statement is akin to saying "Some pro-life people are Dodger fans, therefore abortion should be legal."

People are allowed to change their minds; they're even allowed to sell their souls in return for campaign contributions. But when Durbin starts prying away at John Roberts to reveal him as (Gasp!) a pro-lifer, it would be nice if it were possible (and in today's litmus test world, it's not) for Roberts to look Durbin in the eye and ask him about his conversion, and whether he can accept that people hold views that he once held.

And if Roberts is, in fact, not a no abortion ever under any circumstances kind of pro-lifer, it would be nice if he could tell Durbin as much.

That would put Durbin in a situation he'd have to weasle and lie his way out of. So, in addition to making Durbin feel comfortable and right at home, it would make the hearings honest, instead of the sham they've become because of the Dems' extremism on abortion rights.

h/t Real Clear Politics

Memories We Must Never Forget

Steve at Double Toothpicks does a helpful public service by reminding us that when we hear the excuse-making and blame-shifting that surrounds the War on Terror, we need to never, ever forget this.

Big Yuks At UN Press Briefing

The UN press corps was in a goofy mood today.

Here's one curious exchange:
Question: Secondly, the Security Council this morning looked like a
parody of “Saturday Night Live” with one resolution after another, done by numbers rather than name. Anyway, for them to say that this is now terrorism, this is now Georgia...

Spokesman: We’ll try to get them better comedy writers.

That passes for UN humor. Next, we have the Uzbeks to Romania humor. Uzbeks who fled to Kyrgyzistan to escape the home-town violence were moved to Romania -- except a guy who decided he'd rather take his chances and go back home:

Question: Do you know why that particular person you mentioned didn’t want to go to Romania? What’s the reason, what happened?

Spokesman: No, he said he wanted to go back to Uzbekistan.

Question: So Romania is a worse place than Uzbekistan?

Expect a formal complaint from both ambassadors tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2005

An Extremely Disappointing Energy Bill

The Libs are going to have to change their rant. If Bush and the Republicans are so much in the pocket of Big Oil, why didn't the 1,724-page just passed energy bill include new drilling in ANWR on Alaska's North Slope?

The exclusion of that provision makes laughable any rhetoric about freeing ourselves from dependence on Islamofascist oil. There is no good reason not to drill there, given the light-touch technology today; only bad reasons from ranting greenies who use emotion, not science. Even they have abandoned their "save the critters" rhetoric on ANWR, replacing it with an even more onerous message: If we drill for more oil, we'll just keep driving our cars longer.

What a bunch of hooey! We will drive our cars for as long as we possibly can, then leave them abandoned by the side of the road when the gasoline finally runs out. Everyone in America but the small cadre of enviro-socialists accepts, enjoys and celebrates the personal freedom cars give us. They would have government tell us how to get to where we go; we will not accept that.

Why did ANWR get cut? Here's Sen. Dominici's explanation:

During two presidential campaigns and repeatedly over the last five years, Bush has talked of the need to tap the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for the billions of barrels of oil that it holds. He views it as key to reducing the country's reliance on foreign oil. It is not mentioned in the energy bill.

"If we put it in we wouldn't be here," Domenici told reporters.

In other words, fear of filibusters. Bah! We need to change the filibuster rules pronto to require the old-time Mr. Smith and Mr. Byrd ramble endlessly type of filibustering, then let them filibuster. Let them stand there for hours saying it's more important to pretend we're coddling carribou than it is to be independent of Saudi terror shieks.

We still might not end up with oil wells in ANWR, but the country will have more evidence of the continuing Sept. 10th mindset of the Dems.

White House Will End Run Bolton

A recess nomination is in the works. So I was wrong, but I still think the Roberts nomination is the prize here, and moving on Bolton could drive the Dems to not give up until they delay Roberts long enough that we suffer through one more O'Connor term.

Boobs For Peace

I was thinking about the boobs that participated in the Breasts Not Bombs protest (warning: link contains really ugly full public nudity), and two thoughts occured to me.
  1. This is what you get from a lifetime of pot-smoking and acid-dropping. If there ever was a sound argument against legalization of drugs, it's one look at these aging Berkeley hippies.

  2. Imagine if Bush were to call them tomorrow and say, "You know, you're right. It should be breasts, not bombs." Imagine them shipped lock, stock and barrel-chests to Baghdad to protest against the insurgents who kill so many, or even against the US presence. Imagine them then going to Afghanistan to continue their protest, with a stop in Saudi Arabia for good measure.
If they weren't promptly buried up to their necks and stoned (with real stones this time), they would be lucky. And talk about a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda! Muslims thought America was decadent before? One look at Berkeley's finest, and all sorts of people would be lining up to strap on some explosives.

Ich ben ein headline-writer

There's an interesting post at Asymmetrical Information that refutes the urban myth that when JFK said Ich ben ein Berliner, he actually said he was a jelly donut.

Fine. But when I saw this headline ...

Did Kennedy really say he was a jelly donut?

... I thought they were talking about Teddy, not Jack.

It is a reasonable enough headline, after all. His jowly face certainly looks like a jelly donut (or "berliner," in German). And his weight hints that he may have eaten quite a few of them. Certainly drinks enough that he just might have blurted, "Look at me! I'm a jelly donut!" at some inopportune moment.

Just ... let ... your ... imagination ... wander ...

Ich ben ein Bridgecrasher!

Should Muslims Apologize?

Two articles from Real Clear Politics make for interesting context and contrast this morning.

First, Mansour El-Kikhia writes in the San Antonio Express News that American Muslims have nothing at all to apologize for -- in fact, America should apologize to them for putting them under surveillance since 9/11:

Does anyone think [American Muslims] are pleased to have their movements and telephone conversations monitored or that coercive and Freedom-depriving laws are tailored for them? Does anyone in his or her right mind really believe that being an Arab American or a Muslim is pleasant in America today?
After the London bombings, I, for one, am not moved by his whining.

El-Kikhia goes on to blame the war on us. Our policies. Our mingling in Arab affairs. Our war in Iraq, for which there is no justification. He undercounts are dead and underplays the blind nature of jihad.

A few clicks down, RCP takes us to the Washington Times, and Wilson John writing about Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf's inability, or unwillingness, to confront terror in his country.

All the mad Imams he said he would contain proceed uncontained, and listen to what they're uncontained about:
Lashkar leader Hafiz Saeed publicly announced his resignation and the appointment of the new leadership. It was nothing but a ruse, something the security agencies in Pakistan knew. For several months, Mr. Saeed was not arrested and remained free to spew venom about India and the United States. He was subsequently arrested but not charged with terrorist activities; instead, he was charged with violating a maintenance of public order law that has a maximum punishment of three months. Mr. Saeed has since been freed. Today, he openly conducts prayers from a Lahore mosque every Friday. His sermons, published widely in the Urdu press, have been replete with calls for jihad in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world.
Jihad in Kashmir. El-Kikhia is in complete denial. All over the world, his religion is running schools where hatred against anyone who's not exactly them is preached. In Indonesia against Christians, in Pakistan against Muslims, in London agains Londoners.

But El-Kikhia is right about one thing. Islam doesn't owe America an apology. It owes the world an apology.

Islam's Mind Is On Fire

In case you missed Hugh's link to an article in Middle East Times by Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former Middle East correspondent for The New York Times, click and read.

It is a window into the rising frustration moderate Muslims have with jihadis, and the rising fear they have about the probable consequences. Here's the summation:
In this new cold and hot war, car bombs and suicide bombers here and there will be no match for the arsenal that those Westerners are putting together - an arsenal of laws, intelligence pooling, surveillance by satellites, armies of special forces and indeed, allies inside the Arab world who are tired of having their lives disrupted by demented so-called jihadis or those bearded preachers who, under the guise of preaching, do little to teach and much to ignite the fire, those who know little about Islam and nothing about humanity.

Why We Can't Trust CAIR

Sure, CAIR drove through a fatwa against terror, sort of, I guess. But before getting too excited, ask yourself if this isn't what they're really all about:

ACLU Wants Investigation into FBI Lodi Terrorist Probe

Civil rights groups want records on the FBI's investigation into alleged terrorist activity in Lodi. They are concerned investigators have violated the rights of members of Lodi's Muslim community.

The groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on Islamic-American Relations, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and the Japanese American Citizens League plan to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get records pertaining to the FBI's investigation into a possible al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Lodi.

The groups want to examine the policies and practices the FBI has used while questioning and detaining dozens of Muslims in the investigation.

Basim Elkarra of the Council on American-Islamic Relations detailed his group's complaints: "Threats of arrest or deportation used to coerce cooperation, unnecessary use of force, denial of medical treatment and constant FBI surveillance of regular mosque attendees."

The group says it has eight "verified" incidents of civil rights violations, including threats of deportation, humiliating two people in front of co-workers, threatening to charge people with jaywalking if they didn't cooperate, and not allowing attorneys to be present during questioning.
You are not against terror if you fight efforts to stop terrorism. Your much-ballyhooed fatwa is useless if you don't follow it. Here's what it says:
In the light of the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah we clearly and strongly state:

1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.

Obviously, unless CAIR changes its walk, its talk is not worth the electrons the fatwa is written with.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why Berkeley Will Never Catch On

They do things in Berkeley ... well, that just leave me speechless.

Before you click here to see what I'm talking about, be forewarned. The link will take you to a display of public nudity called "Breasts Not Bombs." Really, really ugly public nudity.

Scroll down, if you can take it, to the requisite Bush-as-Nazi T-shirt.

h/t Rantingprofs

US Fatwa: Not Far Enough

Six weeks shy of the fourth anniversary of Sept. 11, leading American Muslims did what they should have done on Sept. 12, 2001: issued a Fatwa, or religious edict, condeming terrorism.

While it's a good thing and one we should appreciate, it is also too late, for sure. Worse, it is too little.

If the teachings of the Koran are as clear as the Fatwa says they are -- "We issue this fatwa following the guidance of our scripture, the Qur’an, and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him." -- why did it take America's Muslim leaders nearly four years to issue this Fatwa? I'll tell you why: Because the London terrorists were British natives, that's why.

Knowing that it is inevitable that an American-born Muslim will sometime soon kill Americans -- remember the Lodi Loser -- American Islamic leaders decided it was time to turn up the PR machine. CAIR, which led the charge, is more concerned about stopping the profiling of suspected terrorists than it is in stopping terror, and they know once one of them strikes us, they'll need something like this to slow the profiling tsunami that will follow.

It is too little because only 145 U.S. Muslim organizations and mosques signed on. There are over 2,000 mosques in the United States. Where do the other 1,855+ mosques stand on this Fatwa? And what will the clerics who signed it do to clerics at US mosques where hate is preached?

It is also too little for what it says. This is as strong as the statement gets:
Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not “martyrs.”
It should have gone on to say that guilty of terrorism will not be received in heaven, and should be banned from taking Hajj to Mecca. This is not my idea, it's been batted about quite a bit lately.

Why, then, did the writers of this Fatwa not say it?

Update: The Left, of course, is angry at us, not the Muslims. Obsidian Wings quotes this letter to the NYTimes:

[T]he New York Police Department has advised subway riders to be alert for "people" in bulky clothes who sweat or fiddle nervously with bags.

Well, a lot of people wear bulky clothes. A lot of people fiddle with their bags. And for that matter, a lot of people sweat. Could the Police Department be any more general in describing the traits of an Islamic suicide bomber? Could its advice be more useless?

Truth be told, commuters need to be most aware of young men
praying to Allah and smelling like flower water.

To which he adds:

Excuse me, sir. I don't understand what you're mumbling...are you praying to Allah? And what's that cologne you're wearing?

If there's one sure way to ensure more moderates join the radicals, it's ill-concieved, fear-mongering crap like this. America's Muslims are doing their part. The least the rest of the nation can do is agree to the minor inconviences that show our fellow citizens we're all in this together.

It's just too rich, and too stupid, to believe. Does Edward, who authored this post, really think that if we don't talk about the fact that every terrorist is a Muslim, they will suddenly forget jihad and be our buddies?

Does he really think that stating the obvious is "fear-mongering crap?" Then "the sky is blue" is fear-mongering crap.

Does he really think that getting about 1/18th of American mosques to actually say out loud that terrorism is bad constitutes "doing their part" for American Muslims? I'll believe that when they start turning in the firebrands and bomb-builders, and not a moment before.

Did Islamofascists Turn Them Off?

You have to wonder, reading this.

A Moving Story On Moving Settlers

Carolyn Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post about the nobility of the Israeli settlers who will soon be displaced for no good reason:

Walking among the tens of thousands of Israeli protesters at Moshav Kfar Maimon this week was like being witness to a miracle. There in the scorching summer heat were thousands upon thousands of families with children of all ages, young men and women and elderly people, living under siege and in conditions that would make an infantryman cringe.

And yet, there was no complaining. There was no shouting. There was no pushing. There was no garbage on the ground. There was no stench of any kind. What one saw in the protesters' faces and heard in each and every statement and conversation was dignity, determination, integrity, faith and a form of earthy, plainspoken and unabashed patriotism and concern for the greater good that has become an artifact of a barely remembered past for many Israelis.

In witnessing this – when just outside were 20,000 soldiers and policemen, laying concertina wire along the fence penning these people in as if they were terrorists, and standing arms locked in row upon row, poised to pounce at them at the slightest provocation – it was, indeed, hard to shake off the sense that one was watching a miracle happen.

It's a long, three-jump story. It'll drive you crazy about the situation and give you great respect for the people being forced out of their homes and off their farms.

h/t Jim

Loss Of A Dear (Electronic) Friend

My beautiful Sony Vaio died yesterday and I have to admit ... I'm feeling really terrible about it.

It is the prettiest computer I have ever seen. Sculpted brushed aluminum with bezeled edges. No clutzy clasp to open it; instead beautiful counterweighted hinges that let me just open it and close it. Very trick side design that is a delight to look at. Plus it rocked -- fast, efficient, light, and until yesterday, trustworthy.

We're shipping it back to Sony to see if it can be saved, but a Dell laptop is on order just in case. I'm prepared to be underwhelmed by a functional, uninspired design.

Sigh. Lost beauty is a mournful thing.

Graveyard Hero Thwarted

For three years, Gene-o Platt worked, often laying on his stomach in the sweltering sun, to clean and seal deteriorating tombstones of Civil War veterans in Santa Ana. It kept him busy doing something good after he became a widower.

And for three years, Cemetery District GM Sam Randall watched Platt at work -- until one day, it dawned on him that Platt didn't have the proper permissions all in order. So, after Platt had cleaned, painted and sealed all but 16 of the cemetery's 204 Civil War vet tomb stones, Randall ordered him to stop.

Last week, cemetery workers began stripping the now-beautiful tombstones, obliterating three year's of Platt's dedicated and humble effort.

It's a heartbreaking and infuriating story of devotion battling blind bureacracy. Read the whole thing in the the OCRegister. It's worth it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Roberts' Role In Gore v US -- Wow!

This Miami Herald article might have been assigned as a hit piece on Roberts -- "Kid, go up to Tallahassee and dig into what this Roberts guy did to take the election away from Gore" -- but if that was the motive, the piece is a resounding failure.

The article quotes various leaders of the GOP team on Roberts' involvement, and to a person, they expressed awe at the man's legal talent.

Here's Ted Cruz, now Texas solicitor general, who was responsible for drafting the Bush legal dream team:
''He's one of the best brief writers in the country. Just like a good journalist or a novelist, he can write with clarity, concisely and can paint a picture with words ... [His secret for winning is he] does his homework for hundreds of hours.''
Ted Olson argued the case before the Supremes and commented on Roberts' participation in the moot court that preceded:
''It was a conference room full of people and John was there. I had known him for 20 years by that point, and I highly respected his opinions.''
Articles like this make me fear for my Supreme Bias list of MSM bias in Roberts reporting. Things will get nastier before he's confirmed, but this guy appears to be evidence of some beautiful list-compiling and screening at the Bush White House.

Beer Without Babes?

As a non-drinker, I'm always amazed by the clumsy suggestiveness of liquor ads, which always have the premise that if you drink, you get to have fun with hotties. It's an interesting premise, especially when contrasted with the "three beer beauty" reality of really bad sexual contact decisions being made under the influence of alcohol.

In England, all that is going to change, as hotties male and female are now banned from liquor advertising. The first ad has already been nixed -- because the government said the man in it was too handsome and might mislead women into thinking George Clooney was just around the corner, if only they'd imbibe.

From The Times:

Drinks companies have been ordered to hire paunchy, balding men for advertisements to meet new rules forbidding any link between women’s drinking and sex. Watchdogs have issued a list of undesirable male characteristics that advertisers must abide by in order to comply with tougher rules designed to separate alcohol from sexual success.

Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive.

The offending poster featured three women “hooking” a slim, young man in a parody of a fairground game scene. Harmless fun to lead its summer campaign, Lambrini argued.

But the Committee of Advertising Practice declared: “We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive — overweight, middle-aged, balding etc.

The ruling continued: “We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed.”

Even for someone like me, who's all for truth in liquor advertising, seeing that truth being realized is so galling it makes me want a double.

h/t Media Bistro

Some Folks Never Learn

The argumentative, obstructionist track has not served the DNC well, so Hillary's call for a more moderate tone is not surprising. But it's sure stirred up the Leftyblogs. Huffington is really in a huff, full of bluster and political in-intuitiveness:

In other words: No, DLC, your call to show how tough we are by capitulating to the Republicans has not gone over well. If the blogs have any say -- and they increasingly do -- we're going to show how tough we really are by being... tough. And progressive.

Ready to rumble?

Shhhh! Don't tell them that America is made up of Republicans and Democrats, not Republicans and Progressives!

Count 'Em: Seven Brit Bomb Arrests

British police are all over the place, arresting suspects in their recent terrorist attacks. In this article, I count seven arrests.

I'd say this is an argument for cameras, lots of cameras, in public places, since that's where the leads came from. And I'd say the ACLU will say that's a bad idea.

Pew Sugar-Coats Survey On Muslims

Here's the lead to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life news release on its new survey of America's view of religion:
The July 7 terrorist bombings in London drew considerable public attention and raised fears of another attack in the United States, but these concerns do not translate into less favorable opinions of either Muslim-Americans or Islam. And compared with 2003, fewer now say that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.
Pew, one of the Big Left Eight non-profits, appears to be promoting goodwell toward Muslims. Well and good, if it were factual. Their own survey rebuts their news release's lead. How do they explain the answers they got to this question, #47 in their survey instrument:

The Islamic religion is more likely than others to encourage violence among its believers?
2002: 25%
2003: 44%
2004: 46%


The Islamic religion does not encourage violence more than others ?
2002: 51%
2003: 41%
2005: 37%
Moral: Never, ever, ever believe what biased bsurvey firms say about their surveys. h/t Soxblog via Powerline.

Update: Max Boot looks at the same survey, ignores the Pew press release, and writes a column about the decreasing popularity of terrorism, increasing popularity of America, and decreasing popularity of America's enemies, in the Muslim world. Amazing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Flush The Flag, Then Flush Marriage

OK, we've all seen this disgusting piece of "art" and read about California AG Bill Lockyer's support of the "art" show from which it comes.

Cropped -- but not enough!

Now two related items.

First, there's going to be a counter-show with patriotic art.

Second, not content to trash America, Lockyer is now trashing marriage ... or at least a proposed (second) amendment to the state constitution designed to protect marriage.

The petition that would be used to gether signatures for the proposed amendment was submitted to Lockyer for review carrying the title, "The Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative," but left his office renamed, "Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights."

That re-naming will be challenged in court, as will the AG's re-write of the petition summary:
The summary that would appear at the top of the petitions that will be circulated for signatures similarly calls attention to how the amendment would reverse the six-year course the state Legislature has been on in extending significant spousal rights to same-sex couples.

While noting that the amendment would "provide that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized in California," it goes on to state that the measure "voids and restricts registered domestic partner rights and obligations" in areas ranging from inheritance and adoption to insurance benefits and hospital visitation."
I haven't read the language of the petition yet, but based on the SacBee's write-up, which is surprisingly sympathetic to the petitioners, it appears to go too far. I'm all for protecting marriage, but don't see the benefit of depriving homosexuals who choose to live in monogamous relationships simple things like being each others' beneficiary.

Just let them go through the same paperwork hell married heterosexual couples go through when they get divorced and have to deconstruct all their jointly constructed policies, plans and provisions. Maybe then the entire gay marriage movement will lose steam.

Iran Simmering: Watch Ganji

Akbar Ganji may die soon, imprisoned in a hellish Iranian jail by those who used to be his revolutionary cohorts. Ganji is on a hunger strike and is not doing well. If he does die, he will be more than just a jailed dissident dying in an Iranian jail -- that happens daily, no doubt. His will be a very symbolic death that will be noted by Iranians struggling to be free.

Ganji has a high profile because he once was a leader of the Iranian revolution. Arab News' profile contrasts him with recent presidential candidate and reformist Mostafa Moin:

Unlike other in-house critics of the regime, Ganji has succeeded in liberating himself, morally and intellectually, from his Khomeinist illusions.

Moin, for example, pretends that Khomeinism is a pure and beautiful ideal that has been sullied in practice. Ganji, on the other hand, has no doubt that Khomeinism itself is the root cause of all of Iran’s sufferings in the past 27 years.

Moin is like Mikhail Gorbachev, who, even in the final moments when the Soviet Titanic was sinking, was trying to fool himself and others with a vision of “ pure Leninism.” Ganji, however, is like Boris Yeltsin who, although a member of the Soviet Politburo for years, at one point realized that the Bolshevik Revolution had been “ the greatest tragedy in the history of the Russian people,” and said so publicly.

Moin wants to reform a system that is unreformable. Ganji wants a new system that is as distant from the one in place as possible. All this means that while Moin is no threat to the establishment of which he remains a privileged member, Ganji is.

The best solution to the Iranian problem is an Iranian revolution, because -- if it went right -- it would not only remove the Mullahs from power in near-nuclear Iran, it would cut a major funding source of international terrorism.

Ganji's life, if he's freed, or death, if he's not, could be a significant catalyst.

h/t Jim

What To Expect At Roberts Hearing

Ask WuzzaDem.

Here's a preview:

Good morning, Judge. If I were a Tootsie Roll Pop, what would do to me if you wanted to get to my chewy Tootsie Roll center?

h/t Sue Bob's Diary

New NIMBY (Union) Tactic

NIMBYs fight local development, and if they want to protect perceived threats to their property values, more power to them -- despite their general ignorance and over-amped angry attitudes. But when they serve as a cloak of secrecy for unions, truly bad stuff can happen.

In Bakersfield, a NIMBY group is suing to have two "big box" developments torn down because of flaws in the environmental impact reports. Here's how:

The two developments, both including a Wal-Mart, which the unions hate, received approval of their EIRS and the developers started construction.

The NIMBYs, no doubt funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, filed a lawsuit. Routine. Development continued, and the lawsuit progressed through the courts. Small retail outlets -- Radio Shack, Starbucks, Petco and the like, employing about 200 folks -- opened for business.

A judge found the EIR was, in fact, short in a couple areas. Normally, new studies would be done and the developer might have to put in a new traffic signal to address the additional impacts uncovered by the new study.

But in this case, the NIMBYs, Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control, who will not reveal their membership list to anyone but use a union spokesperson as their spokesperson, have filed a motion stating that the construction was illegal and should be torn down.

As Bakersfield American columnist Marylee Schrieder wrote,

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Twisselman will rule on (NIMBY/Union attorney) Herum's ludicrous motion [to tear down the stores] by Sept. 16. Herum insists that Castle & Cooke and the city acted illegally when they approved the construction of the stores and now they must pay.

So, apparently, must Starbucks, Panda Express, Petco, Radio Shack, Walgreens and the 200 employees who work in these stores. And so must the residents of the area who have no doubt come to appreciate the services these businesses provide.

And so will Bakersfield if the Citizens and their dubious acquaintances are allowed to call the shots.


Connecting Over-Connected Dots

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, writing in the LATimes as they do every month or so, take the lead as apologists for al-Qaeda, coughing up a hairball of excuses for London's Tube Terrorists. As is so often the case, the Leftist logic is flawed beyond any hope of resuscitation.

Here's just one example. First, they quote London's Socialist mayor Ken Livingstone:
Last week, London's mayor, "Red" Ken Livingstone, said, "I don't just denounce the suicide bombers. I denounce those governments that use indiscriminate slaughter to advance their foreign policy" — which presumably means Israel and the U.S. "The bombings would never have happened if the West had simply left the Arab nations alone in the wake of the First World War, rather than trying to control the flow of oil."
Then, exactly 59 words later, they write:
Tube bomber Shahzad Tanweer was much exercised about India's conduct in Kashmir, for instance.
What, exactly, is the connection between the alleged efforts to control oil and Kashmir? I remember pictures of temples, green forests and Himalyan peaks in teh Kashmir geography section of my brain ... but no oil wells are present.

Is there anyone anywhere who thinks that without international interest in helping the clueless Arabs develop their oil resources, the Arabs would still be riding camels in abject poverty, pereferring their perfect religion to wealth? Not in a million jihads.

"Contol" is a far-fetched word to use when describing US-Arab oil relations. Have Mickelthwait and Wooldridge forgotten the 1970s and the oil crisis? Have they not looked at the cost of oil?

More proof that the LAT lives in its own world, and as it struggles to drag us into it, they sit around and scratch their heads over why their circulation is declining.

England To Muzzle Radical Clerics?

Leaders of the three major British parties are meeting to draft new anti-terror legislation, which will be considered in October. According to the Mirror:

The Tories and Liberal Democrats back the creation of three new offences which would ban inciting terrorism, preparing an attack and giving or receiving terror training.

Other measures being considered include increasing the time terror suspects can be held without charge and increasing the use of phone taps and other intercept evidence in court.

Getting into the mosques and rooting out the fomenters of terror is such an obvious first protective step here and abroad. Who's going to introduce our bill and when?

Yesterday's provocative three hours of exchanges on Hugh Hewitt's show plays up the importance of such legislation, as it was revealed that as many of 80 perent of US mosques have been overtaken, to at least some degree, by radical Wahhabism.

The Mirror article also carried Blair's outstanding quote from yesterday. Here it is:

"Obviously these are difficult times and London is being tested but standing firm.

"The calm resolve of Londoners is remarked upon time and time again and rightly.

"And I would like to place on record again my thanks to the police and emergency services, the security services and those working on London's tubes and buses for all the work they are doing in unique and challenging circumstances. They have our full support."

And he rejected suggestions he had tried to claim the bombings in London had "nothing to do with Iraq" but said the terrorists' claim the war was their reason for the bombings was a completely false one.

"Let us expose the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism,” Mr Blair said.

"If it is concern for Iraq then why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them?

"Why are they every day in Iraq trying to kill people whose only desire is for their country to become a democracy?

"They will always have a reason and I am not saying any of these things don't affect their warped reasoning and warped logic as to what they do or that they don't use these things to try and recruit people.

"But I do say we shouldn't compromise with it. I'm not saying anyone says any of these things justify it but we shouldn't even allow them the vestige of an excuse for what they do."

Mr Blair rejected suggestions that the bombings should spell the end for faith schools saying ending Muslim schools would also mean ending Catholic, Protestant and Jewish schools.

He said: "It is perfectly consistent with a society being integrated and us being a multi-cultural, multiracial and multi-religious society for people to desire to have their children educated with the values of their own faith. There is nothing wrong in that at all."

The Recusable Roberts?

Did Supreme nominee Roberts say he would recuse himself from abortion cases? That's what Dick Durbin alleges was said, and fJonathan Turley, the LAT op/ed writer who spilled the beans, stands by the story.

Here's a comment from The Brothers Judd site that clarifies. Click through on the link to more clarification from Althouse:

Apparently Justice Roberts said that he would recuse himself if the law required him to rule in a way such that the act of ruling would be considered by his church as the commission of an immoral act. That's quite a bit different from the mess of pottage of a summary that we see in the Times, but what can you expect from such a tabloid?

A bit more discussion here.

Ann's conclusion:
I think Roberts, during the pause, thought this through and fixed on the key point, which was Scalia's point: a ruling in favor of abortion rights is not an immoral ruling, even if abortions are immoral. It is only if he becomes "part of the machinery" -- as is the case with the death penalty -- that the immoral act of another is the judge's own immorality.

Thus, Roberts' answer will not mean that he will need to recuse himself in abortion cases.
It's impossible to see inside another's mind, but the Scalia connection is a valuable discernment tool. Watch for broad MSM extreme interpretation of the matter.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ruffini Poll

Patrick Ruffini's straw poll of Republican candidates has some interesting things going for it. (Click here if you haven't voted yet.)

It shows Allen and Guiliani in a virtual dead heat (37% to 35% respectively at 7:15 PDT), and everyone else below seven percent. That's quite an even split, given Guiliani's stand on abortion and gay marriage. It's either (1) statistically meaningless (the most likely answer) (2) a sign that the blogosphere GOP is not as conservative as the voting GOP, or (3) evidence that the Kosniks are stuffing the ballot box.

I'm on a wireless internet link that is just too slow to check the leftyblogs out, but I wouldn't put it past them. They're nothing if not Sophomoric.

Hugh mentioned that his listeners were strong for Allen, while Instapundit's were strong for Guiliani. With the Instapundit's out-polling the Hughbies by three-to-one (agian, per Hugh), that may mean Allen has a more diversified base.

Or it could mean the whole thing is statistically meaningless.

A Bolton Sidestep? Don't Think So

The White House floated a trial balloon today that it might move the John Bolton's UN ambassador appointment forward without Senate approval via a recess appointment, perhaps as early as Congress' August recess.

I don't think so. I argued for just such a recess appointment a number of moths ago because the Dem delays are just silly, given Bolton's record and the UN's need for a decidely undiplomatic slap upside the head.

But that was before O'Connor resigned.

As important as UN reform is to out international policy, it is just that: an international policy matter. As such, it pales in comparison to domestic policy and the Big Daddy of all domestic policy matters: A Supreme Court appointment.

Nothing unusually awful has happened at the UN since the Dem's pathetic but frurstrating campaign against Bolton began. Just the usual awful that goes on daily.

In fact, I'd be willing to sacrifice Bolton in return for a pledge that Roberts would be confirmed before October, so we don't have to suffer through another term of Sandra Day O'Indecision.

I hardly think it will come down to that, but let's not mess up the big campaign will an ill-timed skirmish.

Congressional Hearings on Global Warming

Sen. James Inhofe, a critic of the Kyoto approach to global warming, has scheduled Senate hearings that should warm things up. From Green Sheets; subscription required:

Global warming skeptic Sen. James M. Inhofe steps into an intensifying climate debate this week with a hearing by his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the 1997 Kyoto treaty and the status of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Oklahoma Republican will refocus the debate a week after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard prominent scientists link rising global temperatures to gases generated by the burning of fossil fuels.

Senate Energy Chairman Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., appeared generally in favor of action to slow emissions, although he did not endorse a specific course. ...

But while Domenici sees the danger of global warming as a problem to be solved, Inhofe has called it a hoax based on fear rather than science and charges that "environmental extremists" see man-induced global warming as "an article of religious faith." ...

The Environment Committee is due to hear from a member of the European Parliament about difficulties that European nations are having in meeting their Kyoto targets, and from an economist on the economic implications of the treaty, committee sources said.

They said Democrats planned to call a professor of climate and energy to discuss why emissions caps are a preferable way to deal with climate change and about Kyoto's successes.

The Dem's testimony on Kyoto's successes should be brief, very brief.

Live Within Means: Radical Conservatism?

California's "Live Within Our Means Act," a voter initiative proposed for this fall which would require the state to spend no more than it raises, is profiled as a dangerous proposition in this morning's LATimes. Really? It seems rather straightforwardly correct.

LAT referrs to the supporters as "ideologically conservative ... anti-tax activists ... hardline fiscal conservatives;" in other words, people who put their pocketbooks ahead of hungry, uneducated children.

Posed against these hard-hearts, according to the LAT, are "liberals." Just that; liberals. Not radical, not anti-anything, not hardline. Here's their quote:
The American Legislative Issues Exchange, a policy forum made up of thousands of liberal elected officials, has warned members that the spending restraints would "decimate education, healthcare, parks, highways and the very infrastructure of state government."
We might call to their attention that the word "decimate" comes from Roman days, when defeated and shamed divisions suffered the death of one in ten of their ranks -- at the hands of the Roman leadership as a punishment for messing up.

Liberal policies are defeated and shamed. A little decimation of the liberal leadership and liberal policies is due, so the people who are being hurt by these policies can be freed of their chains.

Are Arabs Rising Up Against Terror

Maybe. Gateway Pundit has the news and lots of photos from Egypt. Let's hope so. It is beyond far past time.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Multiculturalism Didn't Stop Atta

In his newest column, Mark Steyn knows what to blame for 9/11 and the tragedies that followed: multiculturalism.
WITH hindsight, the defining encounter of the age was not between Mohammed Atta's jet and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but that between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant a year earlier. Bryant is an official with the US Department of Agriculture in Florida, and the late Atta had gone to see her about getting a $US650,000 government loan to convert a plane into the world's largest crop-duster. A novel idea.

The meeting got off to a rocky start when Atta refused to deal with Bryant because she was but a woman. But, after this unpleasantness had been smoothed out, things went swimmingly. When it was explained to him that, alas, he wouldn't get the 650 grand in cash that day, Atta threatened to cut Bryant's throat. He then pointed to a picture behind her desk showing an aerial view of downtown Washington - the White House, the Pentagon et al - and asked: "How would America like it if another country destroyed that city and some of the monuments in it?"

Fortunately, Bryant's been on the training course and knows an opportunity for multicultural outreach when she sees one. "I felt that he was trying to make the cultural leap from the country that he came from," she recalled. "I was attempting, in every manner I could, to help him make his relocation into our country as easy for him as I could."

Of course, she should have called the FBI, not the PC Police. But she didn't. Steyn thinks the new, home-grown, fish-and-chips-eating terrorists that bombed London will change that, and provides evidence:
At The Age, Terry Lane, last heard blaming John Howard for the "end of democracy as we know it" and calling for "the army of my country ... to be defeated" in Iraq, now says multiculturalism is a "repulsive word" whereas "assimilation is a beaut" and should be commended.
I'm not so sure. Multiculturalism and political correctness have become a powerful weapon of our enemies -- the Islomafascists for sure, but also the Socialists, the UN one-worlders, the separation of church and state crowd, the anti-war aging hippies and others. The latter will hold on, being dupes to the jihadists, and threatening us.

As President Bush said, "If you're not with us, you're with them."

An Empty Shell Of A Monolith

The once almighty AFL-CIO, the foremost symbol of the American union movement, is shattering, and in so doing, reflecting the diminishing power and influences in the US. From AP:
Jolting organized labor, the Teamsters and a massive service employees' union decided Sunday to bolt the AFL-CIO, paving way for two other labor groups to sever ties in the movement's biggest schism since the 1930s.

The four dissident unions, representing nearly one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, announced they were boycotting the federation's convention that begins Monday, a step that was widely considered to be a precursor to leaving the federation.
The four are joining three other unions in the "Change to Win Coalition" which hopes to reverse the decline of union influence in national politics. The change is part a major falling out with AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney, and partly stark recognition that the status quo is not getting the unions anywhere.

Condemning Arab Leaders and Clerics

Here's an interesting perspective on Friends of Democracy, the pro-Democracy Iraqi blog, by Saad Al Omari on the bombings in London:
In the end, the blood and lives of Englishmen and Iraqis are not so different from each other. They are of the same value, and both have been given sanctity by God. Nevertheless, different reactions to similar events from certain people should open our own eyes to where we stand.
The "certain people" he cites are Arab leaders and Arab clerics, and his criticisms are honest and powerful.


Muslim leaders quoted on BBC show a fundamental inability to understand the necessity to tighten things up a bit, in light of their religion's assault on the world, as quoted on BBC:

However, the Muslim Association of Britain's Azzam Tamimi said: "It doesn't matter whether he (Mr Menezes) is a Muslim or not, he is a human being. It is human lives that are being targeted - whether by terrorists or, as in this case, by the people who are supposed to be catching the terrorists."

"I just cannot imagine how someone pinned to the ground can be a source of danger." [Really, you can't? Let's say the detonator is in his right hand which isn't secured by an officer ... or is it in his left hand? That wasn't too hard to imagine.]

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "It's vital that the upmost care is taken to ensure that innocent people are not killed." [Sounds like a good idea, so be quiet when the police and intelligence services get a bit more oppressive in your neighborhood.]

And Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, called for a public inquiry, adding: "You can't even put someone in prison on suspicion, how can you kill them like that?" [Oh, shut up! It's your religion that's causing all this!]

BBC's Confused Use of "Terrorist"

If a vicious villain blows himself up, taking innocents with him, he's a "bomber" to the BBC. But what if the police mistakenly shoot someone suspected of being a bomber? Well, then he's a "terrorist:"
Officers shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, in Stockwell, London, on Friday, thinking he was a terrorist.
So police mistakes garner the T word and actual events garner only a B? This is getting confusing ... biased, even.

Exit Interview With US Amb. To Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Vershbow is wrapping up his duties, but paused to give a lengthy exit interview to Moscow Times. It covers a wide range of subjects, but delves deeply into Russia's troubled oil market.

Chevron and Exxon both have tried to get into the market, but Putin's take-over of private oil giant Yukos has clouded the picture:
The main problem in the oil sector, he said, was that the rules had not been defined. "They clearly have changed, but we're not sure where they're going to end up. And the constant message from [U.S. Energy Secretary Sam] Bodman, [U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos] Gutierrez and everybody else who comes through here is, establish some clear rules, define what's strategic, what's not strategic, pass the necessary laws, implement them fairly and don't change them."

Vershbow said the ultimate impact of the Yukos case on the investment climate was not yet known because it was still not clear whether it was an isolated case or whether it was a pattern that would repeat itself.

"But I think the bottom line is that international investors and particularly the energy companies do want to get into the Russian market," he said. "They are hoping it was a one-off and that stable rules are clarified and maintained."

The interview also includes an interesting discussion of turmoil in the former Soviet republic.

h/t Jim

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's Just A Heatwave

Boy it's hot. The global warming set isn't making too much of it -- after all, they blame blizzards, hurricanes, earthquakes and everything else on global warming -- but you're likely to hear some airhead relate the recent heat to us bad, bad humans. If so, just remember there's nothing to it, as Denver's Rocky Mountain Post points out:
Don't be fooled by the heat wave and Wednesday's record-tying high: Denver summers are not getting hotter, State Climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. said. Wednesday's high temperature of 105 degrees tied the all-time Denver record set Aug. 8, 1878.

"Denver is not getting hotter in the summer, and one measure of that is the number of consecutive days above 90 degrees," Pielke said. "There were longer stretches of days above 90 degrees back in the early part of the 20th century and the end of the 19th century," he said. "So we are in a heat wave right now, but we're not in an unprecedented heat wave." A 12-day stretch of 90-or-above highs ended Sunday, when the mercury in Denver peaked at 86.

The city's longest streak of 90-or-higher days is 18, which has happened twice: in July 1874 and July 1901.
As Greenie Watch put it, "Marvellous the difference that a bit of history makes."

Dean: Repubs Don't Love Their Kids

After keeping his mouth shut for a while, Howie D. apparently has reached the point where he can no longer hold himself back. At a rally for Bab Casey, a pro-life Dem running in PA, he told the crowd:
Now, why do I support Bob Casey? Why would I support anybody who is pro life? Because a pro-life Democrat, unlike a pro life Republican, cares about after they're born, not just before.
Political Teen has the tape.

That will help sway those undecideds who love their children. But that's probably a pretty small demographic, eh, Howie?

h/t Betsy

Guardian: US Blogs Forced Aslam Out

The leftwing Brit paper The Guardian, after firing Dilpazier Aslam, is blaming US "right wing" bloggers for the fall of the Islamofascist writer:
Rightwing bloggers from the US, where the Guardian has a large online following, were behind the targeting last week of a trainee Guardian journalist who wrote a comment piece which they did not care for about the London bombings.

The story is a demonstration of the way the 'blogosphere' can be used to mount obsessively personalised attacks at high speed.

Within hours, Dilpazier Aslam was being accused on the internet of "violence" and belonging to a "terrorist organisation" - both completely untrue charges.

"Completely untrue" is a typical Guardian warping of the truth. The group he belonged to, Hizb ut-Tahrir, is a hate-mongering, pro-violence, Anti-Semitic group, which is rightly banned in many countries. As it happens, England is not one of those countries, but that doesn't make the group not one that is supportive of violence and terror.

Here's a list of the US bloggers the Guardian mentions in its article. You might want to pay them a visit:

The Daily Ablution
UK Commentators -- Laban Tall
DSquared (I don't see related postes there)
Joe's Dartblog
Dreadpundit (quaintly noted as "the most extreme blog was posted by by Dreadpundit" in the Guardian)

Here's Dreadpundit's "most extreme" post:
"Okay, Dilpazier, I've decided to bow to your 'logic' - sauce for the goose and all that. That's why I'm issuing a secular fatwah and asking for some loyal Briton to saw off your head and ship it to me (use Fed-Ex, please, so I can get a morning delivery, and do remember the dry ice, also, a videotape of the "execution")."
So pointing out the actual crimes of the terrorists with a bit of satire is extreme? Please.

Two Tests For England

Test One: Raids are underway as I post, following the publication of these photos of suspected terrorists were released. Fox is reporting that 400 calls were received after the photos were published. That's a pathetically small response for a city the size of London, especially given the high density of poorer (Muslim) neighborhoods.

The first part of this test is whether those calls came from Muslims. If the Muslim community did not rise up to report these vicious slime, the government should have no sympathy for protestations that the terrorists do not reflect mainstream Islam. If the creeps are turned in by their Muslim neighbors, fine, but Britain still will not have passed this test.

The second and more important part of this test will be how England handles people who knew these perps and did not turn them in. They should not be allowed to remain free if they can't but the safety of their nation ahead of a warped and indefensible religion.

Test Two: The Times of London leads off it's home page not with the search for suspects but the news that the fleeing suspect shot Friday in the Stockwell tube station appears to not be a terrorist, under the headline, "Stockwell death shows dangers of shoot-to-kill." It also shows the dangers of letting terrorists live in your midst while continuing to approach the threat with a lazy ACLU attitude.

If England's new, lighter restrictions on armed response are tightened after this first unfortunate test, England will fail the larger test. It's a test we still may well fail as well; tipping the delicate rights-vs-safety balance too far towards the rights of legitimate suspects.

UN Report: Mugabe Not To Blame For Sweep That Left 700,000 Homeless

Yesterday, the UN released its report on what Zimbabwe locals call "Operation Tsunami," President Mugabe's forced relocation of poor, opposition populations from urban centers. Says the report:
Popularly referred to as “Operation Tsunami” because of its speed and ferocity it resulted in the destruction of homes, business premises and vending sites. It is estimated that some 700,000 people in cities across the country have lost either their homes, their source of livelihood or both. Indirectly, a further 2.4 million people have been affected in varying degrees.

Hundreds of thousands of women, men and children were made homeless, without access to food, water and sanitation, or health care. Education for thousands of school age children has been disrupted.

Many of the sick, including those with HIV and AIDS, no longer have access to care. The vast majority of those directly and indirectly affected are the poor and disadvantaged segments of the population. They are, today, deeper in poverty, deprivation and destitution, and have been rendered more vulnerable.
In an act that would be amazing if this report wasn't authored by the UN, Mugabe gets no blame. Indeed, the report makes no mention of the politics of power behind the sweep, and instead blames the whole thing was just an unfortunate miscommunication and overenthusiam for cleaning up the capital city's street blight:
The Government of Zimbabwe is collectively responsible for what has happened. However, it appears that there was no collective decision-making with respect to both the conception and implementation of Operation Restore Order. Evidence suggests it was based on improper advice by a few architects of the operation. The people and Government of Zimbabwe should hold to account those responsible for the injury caused by the Operation.
So 700,000 people were forceably displaced from their shantytown homes and street businesses without any decision-making by Mugabe's government. This conclusion, far fetched as it is, sealed the fate of the investigation, as it drew Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka to conclude that in all likelihood, no international laws were broken.

The report looked at two laws, the 2001 Responsibility to Protect, established in response to the world’s [read UN's] failure to intervene in Rwanda, and the "crimes against humanity" of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which Zimbabwe is not party to. In both cases, Tibaijuka concluded that persecutions would be difficult to accomplish.

The whole thing smells of Clinton, Kerry and the Dems on the War On Terror. Their approach to terrorism as a legal issue, not a military issue, is exactly the UN's approach to Mugabe's abomination. Just because the displaced were squatters and therefore not legal, Mugabe is given a free pass, since it's just a crime of improper notice, not a crime of putting 700,000 legal people at severe health and economic risk.

Even more, the report sets up pre-packaged scapegoats Mugabe can use to retain his grip on power. While they're not named, but are alluded to in a way that can be interpreted to mean second- or third-tier fucntionaries. The report recommends that action be taken against them, so look for Mugabe to do just that in the near future in order to kissy-face to the UN.

The report's foremost recommendation is the appointement of mediators to "establish confidence-building measures." How lovely. Since Mugabe's thuggery has been thoroughly whitewashed by the UN, we are left with nothing but a Jimmy Carteresque kumbayafest, and no chance that Zimbabwe's path to destruction by a crazed kleptocrat might be stopped.

The result will very likely be war, which the UN report rosily points out does not currently exist in Zimbawe. But it will, thanks to the UN's inability to call evil what it is, and do something forceful about it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Fifty (Thank You!) Thousand!!

Last October 18, I typed these words ...
A life purpose isn't built overnight. It is formed early and grows slowly, nurtured by feedback and strengthened by milestones in passion, pain, achievement and failure.
... and started blogging. Looking back, I couldn't be happier that those were the first words to be posted on Cheat-Seeking Missiles.

Back then, it was Cheat Seeking Missiles; no hyphen. I knew it was wrong, but it took my inside-the-beltway-liberal and fierce grammarian mom (now outside-the-beltway in Chevy Chase) to make me feel bad enough to change it. This is not a blog about crooked people looking for rocket-powered firearms; it is about firing word weapons that target cheaters.

Sometime today, one of you will make the counter roll over from 49,999 to 50,000. I am humbled and honored that you like what happens here enough that you visit and come back. Cheat-Seeking Missiles wasn't built overnight, and it continues to form itelf, growing stronger by your feedback.

I look forward to your comments, links and trackbacks as this blogospheric missile tracks towards 100,000. Thank you! Any glory thatis caught hanging around here goes to God.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pro Iraq Statements On MTV?

I just turned on the TV, which was on MTV from my teenage daughter's earlier viewing (don't ask; I've tried), and was pleasantly surprised by a brief Real World segment.

A young man was bad-mouthing the war and was confronted by two others his age, a man and a woman, who really slammed him as a know-nothing.

The woman had served in the Armed Forces as a nurse and told him not to say she was not a real soldier. "I was taking care of injured soldiers, so don't say I wasn't a real soldier! You are the most ignorant person I've ever met!" she yelled and stormed off.

The anti-war bozo was left speechless, looking rather dumb and foolish, and the scene ended.

If that were how the network normally was, I'd want my MTV.

Why So Many Gay Men In San Francisco?

Too much. From Bookworm:
Roseann Galvan's 2-year-old son, Brendan, who has been happy at Habitot summer camp in Berkeley, brought her a book to read to him that had a huge white warning sticker affixed to the front cover: 'A parent has asked us to warn you that there are pictures of military aircraft on the last pages of this book.' (source)
Besides idiotically ignoring the need for defense, depriving boys of the fun of big machines feminizes them. I'm sure this school would put a warning on a book with a picture of a bulldozer in it, or a church-going couple.

UN Wants One World Internet

File this under "What are they, crazy?"
The people who brought you the oil-for-food scandal now want to get their hands on the Internet. On Tuesday, a U.N. organization called the Working Group on Internet Governance proposed that the United Nations take control of regulating the Internet's inner workings. Apparently, U.N. leaders think their failures in global security and humanitarianism qualify them to regulate the engine of the high-tech industry.

The U.N. group -- which is a team of bureaucrats from, among other places, Cuba, Tunisia and Iran -- envisions taking control of such Internet functions as registering domain names, settling disputes, conducting arbitration and fighting cybercrime. Currently, a U.S.-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, handles basic registration functions. Traditional law enforcement bodies handle the rest. The United Nations would like to wrest all this from ICANN and governments because it thinks it is more inclusive and more transparent than the people who currently run the Internet. In all but one of its proposals, the U.N. envisions itself setting "international Internet public policy."

Somewhere along the way the United Nations forgot to invite Silicon Valley. Its 40-member working group boasts not a single executive of a major technology company. It invited such "experts" on the Internet as Peiman Seadat from Iran's U.N. mission in Geneva; Juan Fernandez, head of Cuba's Commission of Electronic Commerce; Faryel Beji, president and CEO of the Tunisian Internet Agency; Baher Esmat, a telecom planner for the government of Egypt; and assorted other bureaucrats from Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Korea, Singapore and a few dozen other countries. (source)
Let's see. Their tsunami relief project is leaving warehouses full of relief supplies undelivered. Their programs for Africa have contributed significantly in the deaths of millions and the continued economic depression of that continent. And their effort to use oil revenues to provide relief to Iraqis turned out to be the largest scandal in history.

So why not give them the Internet?

h/t Paragraph Farmer

As If Cop Killing Weren't Bad Enough ...

Take-Two, the manufacturer of the highly controversial video game Grand Theft Auto -- controversial because it lets players kill cops and run over prostitutes, among other deviant behaviors, not the least of which is grand theft auto -- has admitted that its programmers buried graphic, interactive sex sequences in its new game, San Andreas.

The company previously denied it was their work, and blamed hackers. It will make a "patch" available for free downloading to block that sequence of the game -- but hey, their target market is young men, so does anyone really see that as a fix?

Today's LAT reports that Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson is calling for legal consequences, because Take-Two apparently duped the video games rating board deliberately by hiding the sex sequence. Hillary Clinton, donning neo-Tipper conservativism, has also called for investigations. (Bill has probably already investigated the matter fully.)

Wal-Mart and other major retailers have pulled the game, and Take-Two's stock fell 11% on the news. Let's pray for further declines.

h/t Media Bistro

Losing The Paper We Love To Hate?

With John Carroll's departure/firing/"open-ended vacation" and Managing Editor Dean Baquet's ascention to the editorship of the LATimes, will the paper get more balanced?

Even the LAT release blamed "a struggle with declining readership and flat revenue" for Carroll's demise, but it's unclear if the LAT connects the dots between its strident advocacy of increasing unpopular viewpoints and its financial woes.

A good analysis in LAWeekly (I can't believe I put "good" and "LAWeekly" in the same sentence") quotes an LAT reporter saying of Baquet:
"He’s a remarkable person in that he seems to create almost no hard feelings and no enemies. He’s obligingly had lunch with everyone and listens attentively, so all of my experiences are unsettlingly positive. I say that because I’m nervous about anyone who’s so likeable."
Sounds like he'd get along great with a certain Supreme Court nominee. Let's see if he can keep that record up once he's responsible for charting the editorial course of what has become one of the most disappointing major news outlets in America.

h/t Media Bistro

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Chop Down Those Trees!

Environmentalists believe that man can manage nature, but ask anyone who's familiar with their efforts, and you'll find that nature seems to subscribe to chaos theory, reacting in bizarre and unpredictable ways to human efforts to run the natural show. Take butterflies.
According to [biologist Dr. Jens] Roland, the altitude of the tree line in the Canadian Rockies is rising--likely due to global warming--and, outside of national parks, forest fires are usually suppressed. [That's human intervention!] These factors are combining to create larger forests and smaller alpine meadows. This is bad news for butterflies in the Rockies, such as the Parnasissus, which Roland studies, because they require two things that they can easily find in meadows: sunlight and stone crop.

Butterflies need sunlight to elevate their body temperatures in order to fly, and forests are generally too shady for them to travel through with quickness and ease. Parnasissus also need stone crop, a plant that grows in meadows and is the only suitable host for alpine butterfly larvae. Therefore, alpine butterflies do not generally travel beyond the meadows they are born in, and the shrinking meadows could lead to inbreeding and the decreased diversity in the gene pool, Roland said.
Rowland doesn't mention as a cause environmentalists' largely successful efforts to stop logging in forests throughout Canada and the U.S. When combined with fire supression, there's little natural or unnatural thinning of trees going on nowdays. Of course, environmentalists often oppose fire supression, but it does occur nonetheless, in order to protect homes. Fire supression areas abut areas where thinning and cutting are prohibited, and the result is choked out butterflies. (h/t Greenie Watch)

Historic photographs of the Sierra Nevada mountains, taken before any forestery operations were undertaken, uniformly show less dense forests when compared to contemporary photographs of the same setting, as explained by George E. Gruell is author of Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849:

I have published scores of historic photos side-by-side with modern retakes from the same locations that show how much less dense Sierra Nevada forests were about a hundred years ago.

Our current forest conditions differ greatly with the historic norm - as detailed in my book.... California's forests have experienced massive increases in tree cover resulting from human activities, particularly the suppression of natural fires. Similar changes are evident in vegetation throughout the West.

As a wildlife biologist, I know evidence strongly suggests that increasingly dense forests are detrimental to wildlife, including numerous songbirds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Historically, wildlife populations adapted to ecosystems that were subjected to frequent low-intensity fires. Today, thicker forests burn in high-intensity crown fires. (source)

Practicing Religion Without A License

A Canadian legislator has proposed that all who preach and teach religion ought to be regulated because it would prevent horrors. Such as, quoting this wayward elected:
"I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any [registered religious practitioner] to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone."
For a great commentary on absurd proposal, read Steve at Double Toothpicks.

My Senator On Roberts

Democracy, unfortunately, doled out Barbara Boxer to me and my California GOP colleagues. She serves a purpose; we remember why we're Republicans every time she opines. And here she is, on Roberts:

"With so many rights of the American people hanging in the balance, this Supreme Court nomination deserves a thorough and in-depth evaluation. Judge Roberts could go down the same independent, non-ideological road as Justice O'Connor, or he could join the right-wing block on the court which has consistently expressed the belief that a woman's right to choose isn't guaranteed, nor is the federal government's ability to protect workers, the environment and a family-friendly workplace."

More On PBS Racial Gaffe

I posted last night about a racist-sounding statement made by David Brooks on PBS, when he said that in nominating John Roberts, it was clear that Bush was making this selection based on what he thought was long-term good for the court, because (this is a paraphrase lifted from a Daily Kos comment), "He could have gone with a woman or a Latino, which would have had political short-term gain, but here it's clear with the person he's chosen that he's deciding this on other grounds and taking a longer view..."

Heather from From the Word Go answered my request for more info:
I saw that. He did say something like that. It was a bit jarring. But Brooks had said earlier that Roberts is a brilliant legal mind, not because he's a white guy, just because he is. I think the "woman or Latino" comment was supposed to underline the fact that,if Bush was trying to get some political advantage, Roberts being a white male was a negative. A woman or a Latino (presumably regardless of qualification) would have been a better political choice. That does leave him saying that the ladies and the Latinos were not as qualified as Roberts, but I suppose that is a matter of opinion.

It did come off rather bad, but I doubt he meant anything by it. Brooks has never struck me as a macho, paleocon type.
Consider my earlier post duly qualified. Now I'm going to ponder that "paleocon" concept.

The Other Truth About Kelo

The Kelo decision was, of course, a serious affront to property rights and the conservative desire to keep government out of our lives.

An op/ed in today's LA Times tells the other story. The much-vaunted economic benefits that now are the legal foundation for eminent domain are more often than not liabilities on the public, not benefits:
The city of Boston couldn't accumulate enough land to build the gleaming new $800-million convention center it wanted on the south side of town. So the city government used its powers of eminent domain to snatch about 20 properties from private owners to provide space for the center, justifying the seizure on the grounds that the new center would boost the local economy. Today, the recently opened Boston center sits idle much of the time. First-year bookings and attendance were only one-sixth of what the city projected. Taxpayers now find themselves on the hook not only for the center's construction cost but also for its operating deficit.

It's no wonder defenders of private property rights went ballistic over the Supreme Court's decision last month in Kelo vs. City of New London, in which the court endorsed for the first time the government's power to seize private land for the sake of economic development. In its decision, the court pronounced that government can legitimately use eminent domain if it believes it will "provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue." The court thus gave federal constitutional authority to a form of property-taking that local governments such as Boston have been already — and increasingly — using in recent years.

But the fact is, the public benefit promised by urban economic development programs rarely materializes. In fact, such initiatives often become tax eaters — a public burden rather than a public benefit. Throughout the country, cities have liberally used eminent domain to take land in order to build publicly subsidized mega-projects that have wasted tax dollars and distorted the private marketplace. Regrettably, the Supreme Court's decision is already encouraging more such plans.

The Boston facility is only the latest in a long line of convention centers that governments have built or expanded by bulldozing over private property rights with little or no economic gain to show for it. Dozens of new centers have opened over the last decade, creating a nationwide glut in convention space. ...
The emphasis is mine. The hat tip goes to Real Clear Politics. The thoughts are by Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute.

Having It Both Ways

Condi in Africa: She acknowledges the importance of US-Africa oil trade and says things could get better for Africa if other areas of trade would expand. (source)

That's too much for the misnamed America Blog, where Chris goes on the attack:
Condi is clueless about trade
by Chris in Paris - 7/20/2005 02:57:00 AM

And this is who some in the GOP want to see run for president in 2008? Besides being a liar, she has absolutely no idea what she's talking about when she repeats her little canned messages about African trade. The bottom line is that oil dominates African trade (85% of all exports) and agricultural products will stumble along with limited success overseas until the rich nations decide that free trade actually means free trade and not just free trade when they can crush poor farmers or poor countries.
Of course, the assumption that modernizing agriculture would crush farmers is false. In China, it took until the late 1980s for the first farmer to afford to buy a truck; now they are common. Modernization means a better standard of living, and it does not come from the back of a UN truck, but with capitalism.

What gets in my craw more, though, is its own cluelessness regarding oil. What does he want? Were Condi to say we should expand oil trade with Africa (which of course we should), it would be to Chris nothing but more evidence of Bush/Oil cronyism. And, it would be a damnable offense to the greenies on the left anyway:
Environmentalists on Monday protested
World Bank funding for a controversial African pipeline that would transport crude oil from landlocked Chad to a port on the Cameroon coast. The 650-mile pipeline, which is expected to cost $3.5 billion, would be built by a consortium of international oil companies, led by Exxon Corp. ....


Indigenes and residents of Nigerian communities affected by the proposed West African Gas Pipeline have instituted an action at the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge the project. The citizens from Badagry communities, Lagos State and communities from the Escravos area in Delta State are asking the court to stop the project, which is being implemented without respect for Nigerian laws and in total disregard of environmental and livelihood concerns of Nigerian communities.

Chad's pipeline is being threatened by some environmental groups. Environmental groups are critical of lending by U.S.-subsidized banks, which include the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and African Development Bank. The groups contend these public agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID), back projects -- oil and gas wells, dams, pipelines and logging -- that accelerate the destruction of fragile, diverse and dwindling ecosystems.
Which proves the old adage: It's impossible to be sane and please a Leftist at the same time.