Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, September 30, 2005

DeLay Atty Has Beaten Earle

"I represented Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison 12 years ago, and to me this seems like what Yogi Berra said: 'It's deja vu all over again.' That was a political prosecution. This is a political prosecution."
Speaking is Tom DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, which suggests this alternative headline:
DeGuerin DeFends DeLay Against DeBum.
More here.

Tuesday's Vote On Pres. Bush

Tuesday's special election to select the GOP candidate to fill Chris Cox's vacated OC seat is setting up as a referendum on the President. There are 17 candidates, but only two that matter.

In this corner, John Campbell, who Hugh Hewitt listeners know as "the smartest man in Sacramento." Campbell is pretty much a Bush man, although he'd like to see a stronger stand on immigration -- as would most of us. AP quotes him:
"Of the leading candidates, I'm probably with the president on more issues than anyone else."
And in the other corner: Marilyn Brewer, perhaps even better known in the District than Campbell. She's a well-liked but liberal Republican, supporting abortion rights and stem cell research. She's also been talking a green streak, if you catch my drift. She discounts Bush with a shrug:
"If the election was this year ... he would not be re-elected."
My office is in the District as is part of our local cable franchise service area, so I've been watching the race develop. There have been hard-hitting attacks on Brewer from Campbell, going after her more for absenteeism than positions. Brewer's been pretty mum, but I'm out of town in the final days before the election, when she'll probably be hitting back.

My bet's on Campbell and the president, but the beach cities, while Republican, aren't as conservative as the inland cities, so it'll be an interesting race to watch.

Intelligent Intelligent Design Op/Ed

Blogger Gary Bourque at Both Worlds got a bit excited about an op/ed slamming Intelligent Design in his local paper, so he wrote a rebuttal which ... surprised? ... was never published.

So he published it on Both Worlds, and it's worth reading, from its whimsical lead ...
A blogger friend of mine once wrote that intelligent design opponents see intelligent design advocates the way Elmer Fudd sees Bugs Bunny, as wascally wabbits trying to pull one over on the west of us.
... to its provocative close:
Bookman [who wrote the anti-ID piece] would suppress teaching that evidence on the thin ground that it happens to benefit the faith of its advocates, which is another way of saying the best science is science that pleases only atheists.

Bookman has one valid point--lying to promote truth is counterproductive. But focusing on irrelevancies in order to avoid a more important point is a form of lying.

So which is worse, advocating the teaching of a scientific fact which happens to benefit a particular faith, or suppressing that fact because of, well, whatever motives evolutionists have, which nobody ever bothers to question?
h/t Paragraph Farmer

Jennings Estate And Lib Journalism

Oh, the hardscrabble life of the journalist:
Peter Jennings left a fortune worth more than $50 million to his wife and two children, according to the ABC News anchor's will, the Daily News has learned.

Well, OK, let's not begrudge him his bucks for clawing his way to the top. But as a Lib, surely he gave a lot of his wealth back to the people, right?

Jennings, 67, left the bulk of his estate in trust for his two children, Elizabeth, 25, and Christopher, 23, from his marriage to writer Kati Marton, according to the will, filed Wednesday in Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

He left his Central Park West apartment to his widow, Kayce Freed, whom he wed in 1997, as well as a portion of his estate, as laid out in a prenuptial agreement the couple signed before their wedding.

Oh. Well, then, surely he lived a frugal life, out of understanding of the poor and oppressed people for whom he cared so deeply, right?

Jennings, who died last month after battling lung cancer, reportedly earned as much as $10 million a year during part of his tenure at ABC. His will lists $50 million in personal property and $3.5 million in real property in New York.

$10 million a year and a $50 million estate to show for it -- this guy must have been spending money like a drunken fleet of sailors!


Source. h/t Media Bistro

The Meathead-Moonbeam Ticket

What a nightmare. Carl Reiner is apparently set on a run for CA gov, and the police and fire unions are pushing hard for Jerry Brown for attorney general.

Like Schwarzenegger, Reiner has successfully led a statewide initiative -- on preschooler programs -- and he's itching for a bigger playground in which to tinker with his old lib toys.

And Atty Gen Moonbeam? That would prove what I thought was unprovable: No one could be a worse Atty Gen than Bill Lockyer.

Maybe Incredible Wife and I can pick up something cheap somewhere along the Gulf Coast ....

Hellerstein: Three for Three

Fed. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein was new to me when I heard about his order that photos and films of Abu Ghraib abuse cases be released, but he's been on the case for quite some time.

In August 2004, according to Cooperative Research:
After an oral argument in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein orders the Pentagon and other government agencies to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and provide the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups documents about detention and interrogation activities regarding prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. The government must comply by August 23, the court orders.
And a few months later, in December:
Five agencies, under an agreement worked out by US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, release approximately 9,000 pages of internal reports, investigations, and e-mails containing information about prisoner abuse in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The massive disclosure marks the end of a more than 13-month long effort (see October 7, 2003) by five human rights groups to access the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents demonstrate that the abuses were far more widespread and systemic than previously acknowledged by the government. The documents include information about numerous abuses, such as threatened and mocked executions, thefts of private property, physical assaults, shocking detainees with electric guns, the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners at Guantanamo, shackling detainees without food and water, and murder. In many of the cases, the Army chose to punish offenders with non-criminal punishments rather than court-martial them. Reporting on the disclosure, the Washington Post notes, “The variety of the abuse and the fact that it occurred over a three-year period undermine the Pentagon's past insistence ... that the abuse occurred largely during a few months at [Abu Ghraib], and that it mostly involved detainee humiliation or intimidation rather than the deliberate infliction of pain.” [Washington Post, 12/22/2004]

This is a man who has seen the results of his actions -- rioting, death, US soldiers at risk -- and that's all just fine with him.

Born in the mid-thirties in New York, educated entirely at Columbia, appointed by Clinton: Can you say "out of touch liberal?"

Update: Hellerstein is also handling a lawsuit brought by 9/11 families against Boeing, an airport security firm, the World Trade Center and others. He's behaving the same way on that case:
On December 20, 2004, Hellerstein said he would deny a government request to delay a review of whether certain CIA internal files related to Iraq should be made public. [1] Judge Alvin Hellerstein's comments marked a victory for the ACLU and other groups seeking information about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and in Iraq. (source)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Talkin' With Hugh About ESA

It was a pleasure talking this afternoon on-air with Hugh about the Endangered Species Act. It is semi-exhilarating to have a decent ESA bill clear the house, but only semi, because the Senate looms dark and foreboding ahead.

Hugh thinks Lincoln Chafee will be an brick wall, a Republican in Dem clothing in the all-powerful Environment and Public Works Committee. Hugh suggests funding the heck out of Chafee's primary opposition which is a good idea.

Also targeted is DiFi. She's seen the benefits of habitat conservation plan in her hard work to reach the Headwaters (timber) and Cal-Fed (water supply) agreements. And she's also seen how underhanded and self-interested the enviros can be.

She's also seen their money and gotten their votes.

It'll be a tough fight, but the stakes are high -- nothing short of our life in the West. The hardcore environmentalists are using ESA to attack our water supplies, our power supplies, our schools, our roads. Their mission is to depopulate the west, or at least keep it from growing.

That means they're against my kids and future grandkids. And that means I'm against them.

UN Will Not Get Control Of Web

The US thumbed its digital nose at the UN today, telling them to keep their hands off the Internet. AP reports:
"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable." ...

One proposal that countries have been discussing would wrest control of domain names from the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and place it with an intergovernmental group, possibly under the United Nations.

Gross dismissed it as unacceptable.

"We've been very, very clear throughout the process that there are certain things we can agree to and certain things we can't agree to," Gross told reporters at U.N. offices in Geneva. "It's not a negotiating issue. This is a matter of national policy."

It's hard imagine a scenario worse than putting the globe's emerging economic engine into the hands of as corrupt and selfish despots, oppressors and enemies of free speech as those who sit on the floor of the UN General Assembly.

Or put more simply, it's our ball. Play our way, or go home.

Roberts Confirmed; AP In A Snit

Oh, those little words that tell so much.

In reporting on Roberts' strong showing in the Senate -- 78 for, 22 pro-abortion fanatics against -- AP slipped in a bit of prejudice. Way down in paragraph 10, AP couldn't fully hold back its liberal displeasure with the nomination:
"With the confirmation of John Roberts, the Supreme Court will embark upon a new era in its history, the Roberts era," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., whose 55 GOP members unanimously voted for the multimillionaire judge. (emphasis added)
What in the world does that have to do with anything? When DiFi was questioning Roberts, did AP refer to her as the "multimillionaire senator?" And I wonder why the reporter, Jesse J. Holland, didn't bother to include this:
At least 40 of the 100 US senators are millionaires, some many times over, according to financial disclosure filings submitted last month. Republicans on the list outnumbered Democrats by a narrow margin of 22 to 18. However, Democratic senators hold the top five spots on the list and eight of the top ten, according to an analysis of the forms by CNN.
Well, Holland is left to slip in his little invectives while we get a strict constitutionalist for life. Not a bad deal.

Greenies In The Green

The other day, I mentioned that the Center for Biology Absurdity ... uh, Diversity ... makes big money in legal cost reimbursements. A friend emailed me the actual amount: $718,569 in 2003.

The Center brings easy-to-win critical habitat lawsuits against the US Fish & Wildlife Service, racks up hours in filing, defending and settling the lawsuits, and is reimbursed at a rate of approximately $300 an hour. It pays its eight eager young attorneys considerably less than that - the group's entire G&A expendures for the year were just $227,287.

Even before grants (more federal money) and contributions, they're using litigation to generate a profit of almost $500,000.

This is one reason why it is important to amend ESA, and one reason why the Center is foaming at the mouth about the proposed changes. There is no reason why a federal law should be a printing press to print money for radical greens.

If you haven't done so yet, go to and send a letter to your representative in support of HR 3824. If you live outside California, by noon today PST there should be a letter up on the site that has a non-Californian slant.

Disclaimer: I am paid to work on endangered species reform, and have been since 1991. My clients' objectives fully reflect my personal beliefs on this matter.

Night And Day On DeLay

For an interesting study, read conservative and lib side-by-side on DeLay.

Conservative: Dem's Delight by John Podhoretz in the NYPost
Liberal: Justice Delayed by John Dickerson in Slate

Dickerson scribes ad hominem attacks in Delay's direction:
" a flourish that proves he was a former exterminator and not a lawyer ..."

"At the level of personality, he positively oozes meanness ..."
Then he uses personal attacks foil to skirt the issue of prosecutor Ronnie Earle's own highly questionalbe ethics and personality:
[DeLay] then went on to lambaste the Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, repeatedly. He called him an "unabashed partisan zealot" and "fanatic" ...
Dickerson doesn't waste any time rebutting this, since his Slate readers will just accept that DeLay's the bad guy and Earle's all right. Podhoretz, on the other hand, gives detail:

Earle was humiliated in 1994 when he sought to drop a case he had brought against Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on the eve of trial just so he could switch judges and give it a second shot — only to see the judge swear in a jury to assure that Hutchison receive a full acquittal.

Some liberals defend Earle on the strange grounds that he isn't guilty of using his office to play politics because he's also indicted fellow Democrats. But in the highest-profile case he had before Hutchison, Earle was also humiliated when an absurd bribery charge he had brought against Democratic state Attorney General Jim Mattox led to a quick jury verdict of "not guilty." He also indicted himself once — on some campaign-finance charge — so there's some reason to believe he might be a bit cracked.
More importantly, Dickerson just leads his readers through a series of rib-pokers about the GOP, focusing primarily on the Drier-Blunt machinations -- which, if anything, showed a disciplined party -- so he can conclude that the GOP is still in the hands of the pro-life, pro-family, anti-gay marriage crowd his readers love to hate.

Podhoretz avoids these shallow issues for a more significant question that Dickerson avoids: What will the 2006 and 2008 fallout be? The answer isn't one readers who like Podhoretz want to hear:

What makes this an especially dangerous time for Republicans is that the party's troubles — beginning with the president's falling poll numbers — have come early enough in the 2006 campaign cycle that Democrats might be able to convince a great many decent candidates. Good recruitment was crucial to GOP success in 1994.

It's unlikely that Democrats will take back the House and Senate. But it's not impossible, and it's almost certainly the case that Republicans will remain on the political defensive for some time to come.

A thoughtful, informative analysis vs. an emotional rant that's about feelings, not informing. Reminds me of Air America vs. its conservative competition.

Footnote: Podhoretz column also has a neat rebuttal of the current Dem line that it only took the GOP 10 years to get corrupted by power, while it took the Dems 50. I heard that presented by Time's national editor on NPR last night and was struck speechless by the audacity and silliness of the argument.

h/t Real Clear Politics

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Answers to ANSWER

Conservative Propaganda has an entertaining write-up on last weekend's ANSWER-less march on Washington, including fun like this:

Actually, bombing Germany and Japan in WWII did bring about peace quite neatly. And bombing Afghanistan stopped follow-on attacks by Al Qaeda on America from there after September 11. Give bombing a chance, I say. Visualize smart bombs. On Saudi Arabia.

h/t Jim

Another Trashing Of Global Warming

There's a highly accurate 200-year temperature record in Ireland. Here's what it shows:
In contrast to the highly publicized climate-alarmist claim that the past two decades have experienced unprecedented warmth due to CO2-induced global warming, the Armagh record indicates that "we are not yet beyond the range of normal variability," to quote its developers. What is more, Butler et al. note that late 20th-century warmth is typically compared to temperatures characteristic of the beginning of the 20th century, when conditions were noticeably cooler, which comparison, in their words, "exaggerate[s] the subsequent warming in the 20th century."
More here.

h/t Greenie Watch

Bookworm's First Birthday

If you haven't pulled up a chair and relaxed a bit in the Bookworm Room, now's the time to do it. Tomorrow is Bookworm's first blogiversary and it's been a year very well spent. She's marked the occasion with a treat retrospective on her journey toward conservativism.

The Scoop On DeLay Indictment?

Michelle Malkin has posted an email from Barbara Comstock, a former Justice official, that says in part:

According to the indictment, the conspiracy was to unlawfully make a political contribution of corporate funds to a political party within 60 days of an election.

The Texas Election Code clearly states that "A corporation or labor organization may not knowingly make a contribution [to a political party] during a period beginning on the 60th day before the date of a general election for state and county officers and continuing through the day of the election." Title 15, Texas Election Code, § 253.104. Texas law also states in part that "A person commits criminal conspiracy if, with intent that a felony be committed: (1) he agrees with one or more persons that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute the offense; and (2) he or one or more of them performs an overt act in pursuance of the agreement."

The Problems with Earle's case:

In an effort to contrive jurisdiction over DeLay, Earle charges that because Congressman DeLay may have known about the transaction before it occurred, he was then part of a conspiracy.

However, Earle's office has sworn testimony and other exculpatory evidence showing that Congressman DeLay did not have knowledge of the transaction.

In addition:

No corporation or labor organization was indicted in this conspiracy. Neither Jim Ellis nor John Colyandro is a corporation or labor organization.

No corporation or labor organization made a contribution during 60 days of an election.

What constitutes a contribution under the Texas Election Code is not strictly defined.

Neither the RNC nor RNSEC constitute a political party under Texas election law. They are considered PACs, just as the DNC is.

Corporations in Texas could have legally made contributions to the RNC or RNSEC during the period in question under Texas election law.

There was no violation of the Texas Election Code. There was no conspiracy. The underlying transaction was legal. Had corporations sent money directly to the RNC or RNSEC, the transaction would be legal. How could anyone conspire to do indirectly what could legally have been done directly?

It sounds to me like Earle went to the Grand Jury seeking much, much more and they shut him down. All he was able to scrape together was this -- the table scraps left over when the storied ham sandwhich that could get indicted is all 'et up.

As usual, Michelle's got deep and clear coverage on this, so I don't care if you click on over there and catch up, if you haven't been there already, or been there recently -- she's adding updates regularly.

Some Reject Starbucks' Gay Cup

The next time you take your toddler to Starbucks for a hot chocolate, you may want to ask the barista not to use the cup with "The Way I See It #43" emblazoned on the side. That's the one with this quote from Armistead Maupin:

"My only regret about being gay
is that I repressed it for so long.
I surrendered my youth to the
people I feared when I could
have been out there loving
someone. Don't make that
mistake yourself. Life's too
damn short."

C-SM has been on Starbucks' case ever since a friend got that cup with his family one evening. Regrettably, Starbucks does not appear to see anything wrong with putting sexual content -- that's sexual content, not homosexual content, I really don't see any difference in this case -- on the side of a cup that is very likely to end up in the hands of a child.

Others do think it's a bad idea. Interestingly, the opposition to cup #43 is coming from college campuses, as acknowledged by Starbucks in an email to C-SM:
Dear Laer,

No, Starbucks has not removed any of our paper cups. As you may have seen on local news stations some of our kiosks located on college campuses have decided to remove all of our cups with quote # 43.

Thank you for contacting Starbucks. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us at or call (800) 23-LATTE to speak with a customer relations representative.

Best Regards,
Customer Relations Representative
Perhaps you'd like to suggest that Starbucks stop foisting sex on customers of all ages who just want a good cup of coffee, hot chocolate or chai, unaccompanied by someone's comments about his or her sex life. If so, Christine has been kind enough to provide you with her contact information.

Blanco The Supplicant

Somebody got to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and taught her how to do it right.

Testifying today, Blanco refused to go tit-for-tat with former FEMA chief Michael Brown. Reports Fox:
But when given the opportunity to again respond to Brown's scathing statements from a day earlier, Blanco declined.

"Today, I came to talk about job creation," she told Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

Asked by Sen. James Jeffords, Ind.-Vt., about FEMA's management of hurricane relief, Blanco replied that an independent commission should be formed to investigate, and "there are lessons to be learned. ... We can all work hard."

Don't be fooled. Blanco's not about to let Brown run over her, despite the clear evidence that she botched the emergency response badly. But that's a battle for another day.

Blanco and her Senators are asking for a big, fat blank check from Congress, a pot o' gold they're eager to use for their political ... and, given the state's history, personal ... gain. So she is being the model of decorum, so Congress will see her as a worthy recipient of their own politically motivated largess.

Sen. Pork To Run Again

Sen. Pork has announced his intention to run for a record ninth term. Our office's token Dem went to school in W.Va., and gives this report:
Let the fun begin. Likely challenger will be Shelley Moore Capito, and she is well liked in the Mountain State. And as the population moves more right in their voting trends, this may be a tough battle for Byrd to win. That being said, West Virginians love their peers and with 15% of the State over 65 they may continue their loyalty to the Old Dog.

My senior year, I worked on a Secretary of State campaign in WV, where the campaign manager attacked the age of the front runner (rightfully so as he was literally 90 years old and a former Truman speech writer). At that point the race was virtually neck and neck with our guy down 5 points, 2 months to go. After the attack, we dropped to a distant fourth and received less than 5% of the vote. This may be an indication that Capito can’t win on an age-based (or biased) campaign. One thing for sure is that this will be one midterm to watch.
He's right about that.

Saddam's Attorney Lays Out Plan

Delay and obfuscate.

That's Khalil Dulaimi's plan for winning Saddam Hussein's release ... or at least forestalling his execution for a bit.

Key strategies, as reported by WashTimes:
  • Ask for delays so new documents can be studied
  • Claim Saddam had the right to do what he did under the Iraqi constitution (an admission of guilt?)
  • Claim the court is illegitimate because the US invasion was illegitimate
  • Try to get the case thrown out because non-Iraqi lawyers were prohibited from participating (by the Iraqi constitution, but who cares?)
Dulami reports that Saddam thinks he'll prevail and be reinstated as Iraq's leader. Is he laying the groundwork for an insanity defense?

Media To Stay Stuck On Stupid?

No sooner than I post the post below on media coverage of Katrina, than I come across this excellent Jennifer Harper piece in WashTimes.
The general in charge of Louisiana's hurricane relief has admonished reporters not to confuse questions with answers, and urged them to give the public facts -- not exaggerations and rumors that several media organizations now say corrupted coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

"Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters," Lt. Gen. Russel Honore first told them last week. "We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people, please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight."
The article includes this explanation of the media's poor performance:
"The fog of war and the gusts of a hurricane both cloud and obscure vital truths," said Matthew Felling of the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

"What we're seeing here is no different than the reports of museum looting right after U.S. troops entered Baghdad. It's not that different from election night 2000 when some journalists prematurely declared a winner. In all three cases, the public would have been served by a bit more patience and less feigned certainty."
OK, fine. But why don't they learn? Why doesn't some hardnosed editor somewhere stop the process and say, "Hey, wait a minute! This is just like Baghdad and Tallahassee. You'd better check those facts before we go with it."

But why stop the fun? It's so exciting to report dead babies in coolers, bodies stacked in morgues and endless rapes in the restrooms. It lets reporters be racist for a moment while hiding behind their mantel of cool journalistic objectivity.

It's no wonder that Gallup finds 49% of the people reporting that the media is unreliable.

Katrina "Shriekporting": What Next?

Shriekporting. It may not be the best new word around, but it does a pretty good job of describing the media's coverage of Katrina. The shrieking got priority; the real job of reporting facts came in a distant second.

Yes, the hurricane was much worse than the media coverage, but as reporters misreported Katrina as the worst natural disaster in US history, they were aggressively pursuing the title of worst covered natural disaster in US history.

In the link above, Gateway Pundit graciously refers to flagrant misreporting as "folklore." It's not. It's rumormongering.

The way the rumors spread and are reported is a window onto base motivations and beliefs of people. And what the rumors showed about the media wasn't pretty: A dislike, distrust or lack of knowledge of poor blacks; a continuing desire to "get Bush" at every opportunity; a commitment to pack journalism; a laziness that comes from putting career-boosting ahead of fact-checking.

The new journalists are supposed to be professionals -- not the cigarette-smoking, Underwood-pounding, street-wise reporter ... I'll use the word ... of folklore, but the new generation of well educated, cooly professional Ivy League scribes that are supposed to be taking the profession to new heights.

They didn't. They forgot the basics, as so clearly stated in a sign that used to be in the ChiTrib newsroom:

If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

It's a shame they forgot the basics and shriekported their emotions, fears and prejudices in a storm of rumors. Just like the water left behind in NOLA, they've left behind coverage laden with toxins that will be long-lasting and difficult to purge.

Heads should roll. But they won't. MSM will circle the wagons, and in a few months we'll see a seminar -- perhaps co-hosted by Marvin Kalb and Dan Rather -- in which they pat each other on the back for their fine performance, even as they ask shallow, but seemingly deep, questions about what went wrong.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gotta Love Angels!

My Angels just won the American League West for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, Hugh's Tribe is falling further behind my boyhood team, the ChiSox.

Study Blames Faith For Crime

Leftyblogs - are - alive - with this:
RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.
The study is by social scientist named Gregory Paul, who obviously has a chip on his shoulder that keeps him from understanding Christianity:
“Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world."
Personally, I know of no Christians that believe that. America does stand for freedom and democracy, but Christians see it for what it is spiritually -- full of worldly sin.

The entire study, which appears in the
Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, is breathlessly reported in the London Times' Times Online, from which the three paragraphs at the top came.

As is typical of MSM, the London Times charges into the study, pulls the most sensational quotes, and ties them up in a neon "LOOK AT ME!" ribbon. It fails to report little items like this, which appears at the top of Paul's study:
This study is a first, brief look at an important subject that has been almost entirely neglected by social scientists. ... This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health.
Even as a first study, Paul's work is sophomoric, contrived and biased. The study makes Paul's contempt for Christians evident. He spends several paragraphs at the outset belittling those who believe in creation, and working to establish that Christians have little need for, or foundation in, science.

His bias clearly established, Paul launches into correlations. America is Christian and it has more murders. Europe isn't Christian and it has fewer murders. The flaws are enormous:

First, calling America Christian and Europe secular is a stretch. America started with a quest for religious freedom, and for 300 years has been moving away from that ideal. Europe started as rock-solid Christian and for 125 years has been moving away from it.

This leads to the second flaw in the study: the myriad societal differences beyond, as C.S. Lewis might put it, mere Christianity. The US remains predominantly a laissez faire democracy while Europe is a highly regulated social democracy. The effect of this on, say, murders, is obvious: strict gun controls in Europe, limited gun control in the US. Similarly, socialized medicine in Europe may have more to do with lower STD rates there than secularism does.

Heck, small, densely packed lifestyles and less car ownership may have more to do with lower promescuity in Europe than faith. Here in the US, there's always a sofa downstairs, a bedroom upstairs, or a back seat on a dark street -- things often hard to find in Europe.

That last one was semi-faceteous, but it drives home the point: There are so many differences between Europe and America that you have to perform reductions on the data to pinpoint the effect of any one factor. Paul does not do that in this study, and says as much at the top. Here's how Clayton Cramer puts it:
One of the great hazards when doing correlation analysis is to assume that correlation indicates causality. If you find that A is present, and so is B, it is tempting to assume that A causes B. But it could also be that B causes A--or perhaps there is some underlying causal factor C that causes both A and B. It could even be a coincidence that A and B are both present. There are methods for showing that the correlation of A and B is not likely to be coincidence, but there is still the problem that you may have not considered all the possible factors that may explain why both A and B are present.
Finally, Paul does not look into sub-populations. He is so eager to attack Christianity that he didn't partake the obvious study: European vs. US Christians and European vs. US secularists.

The study is sure to get lots of play in the secular MSM, but honest Leftybloggers are more forthcoming than these reporters. Here, for example is a bit of what Politboro Dictat posted in what is an excellent rebuttal of Paul's work:

First of all, let me be clear. I am an atheist. If you press me with “Okay, what happened before the Big Bang?” I will confess that I don’t know and therefore cannot deny the possibility of God. Maybe that makes me an agnostic. But I’m as secular as one can be.

Now read this prejudiced, narrow-minded, intolerant, anti-religious pseudo-science ...
All this proves two things: Social science is not a science. And biased MSM will continue to treat it as science.

h/t Memeorandum

Shepard Smith: Dem Jackasses

Shepard Smith let one go on Hannity and Colmes tonight that will get the Lefties all riled about Fox bias. Reporting from NOLA, he said,
"What you've got to hope, Alan, is that up there on Capitol Hill they'll forget about their elephants and jackasses and theyll get right down to it -- the bottom line is we've got a horrible mess [in New Orleans] ...."

If You've Read One 80-Year-Old Surfing Priest Story, You've Read 'em All

Anyone who's been hankering to read about a beloved 80-year-old priest who surfs and is a competitive swimmer, have I got the link for you. Really, it's a great read.

Our token office Dem goes to this priest's church and says, "He's an incredible man who inspires us all with his seemingly unending knowledge."

Funniest MSM Line Of The Day?

In an article on two new conservative appointees to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board, WaPo reported:
[Newly appointed chair] Cheryl F. Halpern ... succeeds a close board ally, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who stirred controversy earlier this year by contending that public broadcasting favors liberal views.
Can something so obvious really be a controversy? It's like saying, "Tomlinson stirred controversy earlier this year by having a nose on his face."

The CPB board is firmly in conservative hands now. And so it gets interesting. Any push they make to swing the public outlets back to objectivity will necessitate the addition of conservative voices and perspectives -- and will be seen by the Left as giving public broadcasting a conservative tilt.

The CPB board needs to be an example of how to do it right; I hope they don't do any foolish partisan grandstanding. I just hate it when Republicans repeat the Dem's mistakes.

Greenie Crocodile Tears

The forces of reason won a big victory last week, as the US Fish & Wildlife Service agreed to review the status of every listed species in California. The Endangered Species Act requires these reviews every five years, but the Service does not conduct them.

Included on the list is the California gnatcatcher, a small bird that would have caused upwards of $10 billion in economic damage to California if we hadn't dodged the bullet through habitat conservation plans, which are more flexible than the rest of the Act -- and which enviros sue over routinely.

The Center for Biological Absurdity tried to block the lawsuit over status reviews, but lost. Its founder and chief of hysteria, Keiran Suckling, was quoted in the SFChron:
"It was a bit of a crackpot suit, but the settlement isn't bad, and we agreed to it. Some important data may come out of it, and the service is being given enough time so they won't be forced to rush their work. Unfortunately, it will cost the taxpayers about $1 million -- money that would have been better spent on habitat acquisition and recovery."
What a hypocrite! The Center has brought no fewer than 33 lawsuits against the Service over critical habitat -- suits which have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars in court-award costs into the Center's coffers. While Suckling is paid by the Department of Justice, defending against the Center's incessant lawsuits has stripped the Service of time and personnel needed to process listings or do research.

Officials of the Clinton and Bush administration alike say critical habitat is costly and offers no additional protection to species. But it does offer parasites like Suckling (such an apt name!) to take taxpayer money for doing nothing more than filing frivolous lawsuits.

The Craftiest Showboat In Politics

I've struggled for some time to find a moniker fitting for Bill Lockyer, our great state's attorney general. Thanks to Bloomberg's Andrew Ferguson, I've got it, and it's up there in the headline.

Here's the lead of Ferguson's piece, Lawyers Protect California from Killer Fries:

For political zoologists, state attorneys general have long been one of the most fascinating species: third-tier politicians whose frustrations with their lowly position, combined with the corner-cutting ambition typical of modern litigators, force them to extremes of moral grandstanding that might shame an ordinary public servant.

This is certainly true of Bill Lockyer, California's attorney general and perhaps the craftiest showboat in U.S. politics. His latest bid to grab headlines -- and, not coincidentally, reward his friends and hurt his enemies -- has startled even some of his political allies. He wants to label French fries.

Lockyer siezed on a tiny bit of science -- that a carcinogenic chemical called acrylamide is formed when starchy foods are fried -- and ignored a more significant bit of science -- that the amounts of acrylamide in fries is laughably, insanely, irrelevantly miniscule -- and sued McDonalds, Burger King, Frito Lay and others.

I think we should just lay a massive label over our beloved Golden State:

Caution, contains chemicals known
to cause insanity in elected officials.

Doomsayers Proved Wrong Again

Good news doesn't sell papers. So when Katrina and Rita hit, the news media hustled up sales by predicted $5 a gallon gas and long lines at gas stations.

Wrong. Again.
Oil edged lower Tuesday on signs that crude supplies remain plentiful, even with all U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output locked in after Hurricane Rita.

Saudi Arabia said there were no takers for OPEC's spare supplies, while the kingdom may pump less crude in October. The possible cut in output next month would come even with all 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of U.S. crude production in the Gulf of Mexico shut in for a third day Monday.

At 6:20 a.m. ET, U.S. crude fell 60 cents to $65.22 a barrel ...
Negativity has become such a hallmark of journalism, it is rivaled only by reporters' lack of appreciation for capitalist market forces. Put the two together in one story, especially if a picture can be painted of oil companies as evil in the process, and the result is a negative cluelessness that reminds me of:

Eeyore. Droopy, sad, always expecting the bad. Never convinced from past experience, when things turned out better, that this time around, things actually will be better. "Please," he laments, "will you buy my newspaper?"

Baby-Cooing Banned In UK

PC overkill begins at birth, as an English hospital has banned cooing at babies. BBC quotes a nurse supervisor at Calderdale Royal Hospital in West Yorkshire:
"Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me."
How does this woman get to supervise anyone? Has she ever paused to look at a baby? Has she ever tried to treat it as if it were just like you and me?
"Morning, Anthony. How are you feeling today?"


"Frightful weather we're having, eh?"


"Didya see that the Ryburn Valley Juniors lost again last night? Cryin' shame those boys can't kick any better than a mule."


"But then, I shouldn't be puttin' down mules. They're just four-legged sentient beings with the same rights as you and me"

I keep thinking the pendulum is going to swing back towards sensibility, but it just keeps going farther and farther out there.

h/t Memeorandum

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Joy Of Resisted Arrest

As Qaeda's #2 man in Iraq is dead at the hands of US forces in a story that reminds me of my ride-along with my brother-in-law, a Fresno cop.

We spent most of the night tracking down a child molester. We interviewed the 12-year-old victim and her family, got an ID, verified it, set up a bust (but he wasn't there) and got the morning shift all primed to do the bust. Then at 3 a.m. we went home, dog tired.

In the morning, my brother-in-law called in to see how the bust went. He grinned big, said "thanks," and hung up. Turning to me, he said without his grin fading an iota,

"He resisted arrest."

According to the reports, so did Abu Azzam:
According to Pentagon officials coalition troops raided the house in response to a tip. When Azzam opened fire, these officials say, he was killed with troops' return fire.
Thanks for doing us the favor, Abu old boy. Hope your house was full of good intelligence.

Sharks Blame Big Oil For Katrina

Two lawsuits have been filed blaming oil companies -- not nature or Louisiana incompetence -- for the damage caused by Katrina.

Wetlands lawsuit: Two NOLA shark tanks ... er, scammy litigation mills ... er, law firms have initiated a class action lawsuit blaming big oil companies for Katrina's damage to the city.

According to a news release these opportunistic greedmeisters placed on PR Newswire, the lawsuit blames oil companies for the destruction of over one million acres of marshland that they say would have protected NOLA from Katrina. Canals allegedly dug by the oil companies allegedly caused the alleged destruction, according to the alleged lawyers.

Now all they need is a couple of scientific studies by paid profs, and ginned up testimony from a couple of paid experts, and a couple plaintiffs, and they're in the money!

Global warming lawsuit: Meanwhile the Bulletin News Network reports an even more far-fetched and silly lawsuit:
A new lawsuit filed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina attempts to force energy companies to pay damages in the wake of Katrina,citing global warming as a proximate cause of the storm. In Cox vs.

Nationwide et al, a class-action suit filed in Mississippi, the plaintiffs charge, "The environmental conditions present in the Gulf of Mexico which fostered the strengthening of Hurricane Katrina are the direct result of a condition sometimes described as 'Global Warming' which has been manifested by a marked increase in global air and water temperatures, melting of the polar ice caps, and significant increases in the frequency and intensity of storms known as hurricanes."

The suit also charges, "The Oil Company Defendant Class has engaged in activities that have produced the greatest single source of by-products leading to the development and increase of global warming. Despite warning from scientists and other knowledgeable advocates about the adverse effects of their activities on the environment in general and global warming in particular, the members of the Oil Company Defendant Class have continued to engage in or increase the activities that have increased Global Warming. Further, the Oil Company Defendant Class has taken no action to counteract the adverse impact of their activities on the environment.
Shouldn't they have also named everyone who drives a car, takes a bus, heats or air conditions their home, or buys manufactured items? These people created the demand for oil, after all.

Oh, that's us. Yeah, sue the oil companies instead. All they have to do is prove to 12 scientifically illiterate jury members that global warming exists. That shouldn't be hard; they can get some glittery Hollywood celebs to testify that it's true, then they can scurry back to the office and file another class action suit against McDonalds for getting people fat.

The oil companies will defend themselves against these suits, and ultimately win or settle. They won't lose. But we will. Their cost of defending this silliness will be added on to our costs at the pump.

LA Times: From Visionary To Ostrich

Any history of LA has to acknowledge the LATimes' historic role as cheerleader for growth. Whatever would make LA bigger, safer, more powerful, there was the Chandler family and the LAT, boosting the idea.

Without the LAT's support, one could argue that the Owens Valley would still have its water and the movie Chinatown would never have been made. The Pasadena Freeway certainly wouldn't have been the nation's first. And the port at San Pedro would not be the nation's busiest.

But that was then. Here's the LAT today:
But the main objection to [long freeway] tunnels is more philosophical. It's a truism in Southern California: If you build it, they will drive on it. New freeways (or expanded old ones) tend to lure more people into their cars, and the new routes quickly become just as jammed as the old ones. There is no reason to think the same thing won't happen with underground freeways. Building tunnels does nothing to get people out of their cars, a necessity if the nation wants to reduce its reliance on oil and Southern California wants cleaner air and less traffic. If taxpayers are going to pay the cost of building miles-long tunnels, it would be wiser to put trains in them than automobiles.
Miles-long tunnels from the Inland Empire to Orange County, or from Palmdale to Glendale, offer tens of thousands of drivers relief. But who at the LAT editorial staff cares? None of them have probably ever even been in Palmdale, and they only pass through Riverside and San Bernardino on their way to Palm Springs.

Even though these tunnels will lead to increased fuel efficiency and better air quality by keeping traffic moving -- something the LAT rants about whenever the GOP proposes an energy or air bill -- they can't bring themselves to think that big.

They'd rather continue their pie-in-the-sky championing of mass transit, i.e., mega-billion dollar subsidies of economically infeasible public transportation systems. It's just another way for them to say "no," because LA's own failed and costly experiments with mass transit don't bode well for approval of future systems.

We're in a region facing huge growth pressure -- tens of millions of new residents are coming our way -- and the new LAT has lost all vision, all leadership, all hope.

Somebody with some positive energy, please buy this paper.

Sheehan Arrested

Cindy's going to have to work on her protester protocols. When arrested, you're supposed to shout something and look like you're angry -- not like you're getting a special treat at Chippendales.

A couple good quotes are in the AP coverage:

Mitzy Kenny, who's husband died in Iraq last year:
"I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters: Don't be a group of unthinking lemmings. [Anti-war demonstrations] can affect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy hope."
Scott McClellan:
"It's the right of the American people to peacefully express their views. And that's what you're seeing here in Washington, D.C. They're well-intentioned, but the president strongly believes that withdrawing ... would make us less safe and make the world more dangerous."

China's Preview Of UN Net Regs?

My head is spinning. China has imposed internet regulations that allow only "healthy and civilized" news on the Web -- and I'm reading this AP report on Yahoo, the very company that is helping China bust violators.

China, in many ways a model UN nation -- it is strong, its people are pretty well fed, it has a powerful central government, it's not overly concerned about troubling rights issues -- has laid down Internet rules just as the UN pushes for global control of the Internet. Here's what China is setting down as a model:
  • Sites should limit posts to news on current event and politics
  • Only "healthy and civilized" content that "is beneficial to the improvemetn of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress" will be allowed
  • News that goes against state security and public interest is not allowed
  • Not in the policy but worth noting: The government has been closing Internet cafes, or installing cameras in them, or requiring ID at the door.
The world has two poles -- the free and freedom granting, and the repressed and repressors. China tries to fool us, but it's clear what pole they are tied to.

Throw More Money At Poverty?

Sen. Obama thinks the solution to poverty is to throw more money at it. Star Parker disagrees:
The Washington Post reported this week that the federal government has in place over 80 poverty-related programs on which we spend in the neighborhood of $500 billion annually. Given the 37 million Americans that the Census Bureau tells us live in poverty, my calculator tells me this comes out to $13,500 spent per poverty-stricken person. Hardly indifference.

Yet, says the Post, "despite" all this spending, tens of millions of Americans remain poor. And despite 40 years of bloated government and massive spending, with no impact on structural black poverty, Obama concludes we need even more of the same.

At least as incredible as the insistence of liberals on perpetuating failure is their absolute refusal to consider a single new idea.
h/t Double Toothpicks

Conservative Victory In Poland

Poland's leftist descendants of the old Communist government failed so badly in the weekend's elections that, at only 11%, they are no longer the official opposition party. The big winner was the conservative Law and Justice and free-market Civic Platform parties, which together captured 51 percent of the vote.

Capt. Ed provides the color commentary:

This comes as good news for the US, and bad news for the autocracy of Belarus. The new Polish government wants to implement free-market reforms that will address its crisis in unemployment, which sits at almost 18%, and will lower taxes in order to jump-start its economy. It will also purge old Soviet-era Communists from its government with the idea that people working from market-based principles will allow the government to work that much quicker to solve these problems.

The new regime also will likely strongly support the US on foreign policy. They have declared themselves open to negotiating an extension on the Polish commitment for their troops in Iraq, while the previous government had quietly informed us that they intended to leave in December when their initial agreement ended. They will also keep the pressure on in Belarus, pushing for democratization in what has been called Europe's last dictatorship.

One has to wonder what the EU will make of the new Polish government.
Despite the howls of protest, Rumsfield was right when he talked about Old Europe and its appeasing, social welfare ways, and New Europe, and its philosophical ties to American Conservatives.

Al Jazeera Reporter A Terrorist

Spain has convicted Al Jazeera's Spain correspondent of joining a terror cell, reports Iraq the Model. This raises a question: Will journalist groups begin to consider reporters' credentials when they protest the number of journos killed in Iraq? Will they defend a journo with ties to insurgents, Baathists and other terrorists, and protest the legitimate shooting of such a person by the military?

Don't count on it.

h/t Instapundit

Post-Katrina Questions To MSM

John Hinderaker at PowerLine believes the post-Katrina investigation should include a Congressional investigation of media coverage, including getting answers to these questions:
  • How did so many false rumors come to be reported as fact?
  • Do news outlets have any procedures in place to avoid this kind of mis-reporting? If so, why did their procedures fail so miserably?
  • To what extent were the false rumors honest mistakes, and to what extent were they deliberate fabrications?
  • To the extent that the false reports were deliberate, did the press pass them on through sheer negligence, or did some reporters participate in deliberate fabrication?
  • Did the widespread breakdown in accurate reporting stem only from a failure to follow proper journalistic standards, or did it also reflect a deliberate effort to damage the Bush administration by passing on unconfirmed rumors as fact?
  • In deciding what stories to report, did the news media consider the likelihood that passing on false rumors would damage the rescue effort?
Rule #1 in crisis communications is to squelch rumors. It is common knowledge among managers and media alike that rumors flourish in post-catastrophe situations, and PR people are trained to refuse to respond to rumors, and to quickly determine whether they are true or not.

I can only conclude that editors in New York and elsewhere, fully aware of the high risk of false rumors, chose to ignore their professional understanding in order to paint a bleaker picture which would offer the double benefit of selling more papers/airtime, and discrediting Bush.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Pentagon To Lead Relief Efforts?

President Bush has asked a military task force if there is a scenario when responsibility for emergency response would be given to the Pentagon, not local or state agencies. WashTimes quotes him:
"Is there a circumstance in which the Department of Defense becomes the lead agency? Clearly, in the case of a terrorist attack, that would be the case, but is there a natural disaster of a certain size that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort? That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about."
Everyone agrees the military response to Katrina was the best response, and there have been suggestions that change to the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbits such federal authority is necessary.

I'm looking forward to the debate, despite strong reservations about broad federal authority in states' issues and a belief that Posse Comitatus should not be repealed lightly. Why the anticipation?

First, because it's true that the military is the best equipped, best trained, most efficient responder, and that discussion will drive anti-war, anti-military folks nuts.

And second, because the debate will force the anti-Bush people to clarify their criticism of the federal response. They've been saying Bush failed -- but they can't say that and at the same time acknowledge that the federal military response was the best response.

A Sober Assessment From Iraq

Senior Pentagon officials are backing off last year's optimistic positions and are stating that victory in Iraq may be months or years away ... or as one senior official told WashTimes when asked if we're winning, "Good question. It's open to discussion."

In light of these assessments, the Bush administration changed message on Iraq this summer, saying we need Iraqi support to win. The Left promptly jumped on that, accusing the White House of (GASP!) changing message! At the same time, they tried to keep their "Bush as Pollyanna" theme alive. They can't have it both ways, but they appear to be the last to understand that.

Rowan Scarborough's WashTimes piece does have good news in it, too, though:
Yet inside the Pentagon, and among field commanders, there is a firm belief that Zarqawi is growing desperate.

He is increasing attacks on Shi'ite markets, mosques and neighborhoods to try to incite a civil war between Shi'ite Muslims and dethroned Sunnis, who ran Iraq under Saddam's rule. But in the process, Zarqawi is alienating the very Shi'ites who, like the terror master, want American troops out now.

"You don't see Zarqawi attacking Americans," said a special-operations officer who has debriefed commandos returning from Iraq. "He is so desperate and twisted he's attacking Shi'ites."

A second Pentagon official said intelligence reports show that militant Shi'ites increasingly see Zarqawi as an enemy, not an ally.

"Shi'ites are rapidly concluding that al Qaeda is serving no purpose," the official said. "I read the intelligence. Shi'ites are saying, 'If you want the Americans out, get rid of al Qaeda.' It seems to be turning against [Zarqawi]."

Corruption Storm Warnings

John Fund's got a good piece in Opinion Journal, Swamp of Corruption, that sounds another clear call for caution in the funding of Katrina disaster relief:
Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize). In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted on charges they obstructed a probe into how federal money bought out flood-prone homes. Last March the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered Louisiana to repay $30 million in flood-control grants it had awarded to 23 parishes.
There are already many signs of corruption in the works, and if we are to truly rebuild Louisiana, we have to flood out those rats as effectively as Katrina flooded NOLA.

And while we're watchful in Louisiana, let's keep our eyes on Mississippi -- after all, they're #1 in political corruption.

What's With The Rove-anoia?

Cindy Sheehan speaks to the multitudes!

And the first words out of her mouth are Karl Rove.

So the first question that comes to me this Monday morning ... besides "How can she conjure up 'hundreds of thousands' of demonstrators when the number was apparently between 100,000 and 150,000 ... is, "What is it about Karl Rove that makes them so paranoid?"

You could say that it's because he's not elected but has power with the president. But then there's James Carville.

You could say that it's because he is pinpoint focused on the president's success. But then there's James Carville.

You could say it's because Rove is particularly effective. But Bush under Rove isn't any more popular today than Clinton under Carville was at this point in his administration.

That leaves the boogeyman. The childish, emotional politics of the ANSWERless Left always require a boogeyman, and Rove's the one obvious choice: behind the scenes, rarely seen, powerful.

And then there's that K-for-Karl ... the anti-AmeriKan, pro-Karl Marx, quick to throw around KKK Left has a big thing for that letter.

And the letter K is as logical an explanation as any for their Rove-anoia.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ronald v. Paris

In the competitive battle for burger-hungry young men, the Japanese McDonald's franchisees have tossed in the towel ... and the baggy yellow pants and red and white striped shirt.

Now Japanese kids will be greeted by a new red-haired mascot-person, wearing a red and white striped bikini, thigh-high stockings and red high heels.

Fortunately it's all on a female model.

You never know these days.

More at WND.

WaPo vs. WaTimes On Demonstration

In paragraph eight, the WashPost finally got around to saying their were counter-demonstrations in DC, numbering the protest-protesters at "more than 200."

The WashTimes mentioned the counter-demonstrators in paragraph four, counting them as "hundreds."

WaPo gave the counter-demonstrators one paragraph, while WashTimes gave them five.

WashTimes quoted the police chief to get a count of 100,000 demonstrators, while WaPo went to the same source and got a count 50 percnet higher.

Same demonstration, two perspectives.

Is NYT Blaming Israel For Gaza Fight?

The NYTimes report on Israel's build up on the Gaza border in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Southern Israel points a finger of blame at Israel -- the same Israel that just concluded an ill-conceived withdrawal from occupied territories. For example:
The new [Israeli] offensive dubbed ''Operation First Rain'' dashed hopes that Israel's recently completed Gaza withdrawal would help restart peace talks and left a seven-month-old cease-fire teetering on the brink of collapse.
Offensive? It is an offensive to strike back when you're struck first? And it was Israel's operations that "dashed hope," not the fact that Hamas has fired 40 rockets into southern Israel, injuring six Israelis living innocently within their own internationally recognized borders?

What would the NYT have Israel do? Withdraw from occupied territories and continue to endure stoicly attacks on its own territory.

Those who theorized that Sharon always expected this to happen and slyly traded settlers homes for international acceptance of a subsequent crushing of Hamas are looking more prescient by the moment.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

al Qaeda Overjoyed With Katrina

The blacked-out newscaster on al Qaeda's weekly newscast for mid-September, the Voice of the Caliphate, was thrilled with Katrina's destruction:
The entire Islamic world is overflowed with joy when hurricane Katrina struck in America, which seemed to reel from the strength of the hurricane and went asking for aid from all the countries of the world.

Broken and completely humiliated, George Bush, a fool who is being obeyed, announced his obvious incapability to deal with the wrath of Allah that visited the city of homosexuals.

While Louisiana is trying to recover from the aftermath of hurrican Katrina, another hurricane fiercely struck the state of North Carolina on the Atlantic coast, but so far there have been no casualties or significant damage as was expected.

We hope Allah [whom their credits call "all merciful"] will humiliate America with this hurricane to make a lesson for whoever wants to listen.
As both Ophelia and Rita failed to meet al Qaeda's expectations, not humiliating America, is there a lesson there for whoever listens to this tripe?

h/t Watching America

Inevitable Hamas Attack Against Israel

Eager to prove that they cannot be trusted, that nothing will satisfy their lusty hatred of the Jews, Hamas has greeted the return of Gaza by firing 35 rockets at Israeli towns. In response, Israel has launched a "crushing response, including airstrikes, targeted killings and arrest raids." (AP)

Now when they get their just desserts, will the world be any more understanding of the Israeli position? I doubt it.

Saturday Read: Two Heros

Today's OC Register has two wonderful stories about two brave men in two different wars, Korea and Iraq, neither of whom was a citizen when he bacame a hero, both of whom loved this country nonetheless. Both stories are worth reading in full.

Tibor Rubin's story: Liberated by US forces from Germany's Mauthausen concentration camp, Rubin vowed to join the U.S. Army and give back to this country that believed in freedom. He fought in Korea with such valor that yesterday President Bush awarded him with the Medal of Honor -- an honor long delayed because his sergeant was an anti-Semite who refused to recommend him. Rubin holds no grudges:
"I'm not angry with the Chinese, I'm not angry with the North Koreans, I'm not angry even with the Germans because I figure the Lord is going to take care of them. And if I'm going to be angry and everything, I'm only going to hurt myself."
Cpl. Akram Falah's story. Falah, a Purple Heart decorated Marine, is returning for his third tour in Iraq, having recovered from almost losing his arm in a firefight. A Palestinian born in Kuwait, his family fled to Jordan when Arafat supported Hussein's war against Kuwait. Then the family came to America, where despite anti-Arab harrassment, Falah wanted nothing more than to fight for this country.

It took him several tries to get into the Marines, but he made it and served as a translator. He describes the firefight in which he got injured:

One round struck Falah's commander in the body armor. Another round missed Falah's head by inches. The next instant, a round ripped through his left bicep, shredding nerves, muscle and an artery. Blood pulsed out in small gushes. Chunks of flesh landed on the Humvee floor.

"I put my right hand on my arm and, in this anguished animal voice, I kept yelling, 'I got hit! I got hit!'" he says. "I kept hitting my head on the door of the Humvee to calm the pain. I was doing anything to calm my pain down."

Falah saw blood. Lots of it. Then nothing. When he awoke, he was lying on the ground of a landing zone, awaiting a helicopter.

"I remember I opened my hand wide and I was laughing and crying at the same time, and I started yelling, 'I got shot for America. I got shot for America.'"

Falah has applied for citizenship, but it's a long process, and he's shipping back for this third tour as a green-card-carrying legal resident. Do read his story; it's a wonderful counterpoint to ANSWER's anti-American show of stupidity in DC.

UN Lurches Toward Iran Action

The International Atomic Energy Agency has voted, not passed by concensus as is typically done, a resolution on Iran's nuclear program. BBC:
Submitted by Britain, France and Germany, the resolution calls on the 35-member IAEA board to consider reporting Iran - at an unspecified date - to the UN Security Council.

As grounds for referral, it stated that Tehran's "many failures and breaches" over international nuclear safeguards "constitute non-compliance" with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
It wasn't much of an action. Germany, Britain and France dropped their efforts to refer Iran to the General Assembly, and moved a watered down request that the GA consider taking up Iran. Even this watered down vote drew out the scoundrels: Russia and China abstained from voting, and the emerging international jackal Venezuela actually voted against the proposal.

Moscow Times quotes an EU spokesperson who provides a bit more info:

He said the Russians objected to the fact that even though the new draft does not call for an immediate Security Council referral, a report to the council would be inevitable if the resolution is approved. The Security Council, the United Nations' highest body, can impose economic sanctions.

Of the 35 International Atomic Energy Agency board members, Russia, China and at least a dozen others oppose the EU and U.S. effort to haul Iran before the Security Council for breaching international nuclear obligations.

Over the years, Iran has strayed from its "peaceful use" blather, with bluster and braggadacio about pursuing a bomb, as detailed definitively in Ken Timmerman's Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iraq.

Despite Iran's clear intent to build a bomb, there are nations like Venezuela that put their anger above rational thought, and there are those like China and that put their quest for money and power ahead of the future of the world.

And that's forever the weakness of the UN and the IAEA.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Trouble With Terrorist Rallies

I'm not feeling too Christian at the moment, because I'm having a really hard time feeling any sympathy about this item:

A pickup truck carrying masked terrorists blew up at a Hamas rally at the Jebaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Friday. At least least 19 Palestinians were killed and 85 injured, hospital doctors said. ...

... the Fatah blamed Hamas for the explosion.

Channel Two reported that while conflicting reports were received, the truck appeared to have been carrying a number of missiles,one of which exploded due to mishanding. ...

Initial reports indicated that Ahmed Randoul, a key figure in Hamas, was either killed or seriously injured in the explosion. Israeli security forces have neither confirmed nor denied this. ...

Witnesses said participants crowded around the pickup truck carrying terrorists when the explosion went off.

Hamas, of course, said it was all Israel's fault. Ha. This is just the sort of thing that happens when a nation lets a bunch of terrorists with missiles pile into a pickup truck and drive in your parade.

Another Disaster In The Making?

A couple thousand miles away from Rita, another nasty lady, Mt. St. Helens, has been making noise. This photo of Mt. St. Helen's is live and updated every five minutes. Here's the link. Nighttime readers, come back at daylight.

The US Geological Survey has put the volcano at Condition Orange:
Current status is Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2); aviation color code ORANGE: Growth of the new lava dome inside the crater of Mount St. Helens continues, accompanied by low rates of seismicity, low emissions of steam and volcanic gases, and minor production of ash. During such eruptions, changes in the level of activity can occur over days to months. The eruption could intensify suddenly or with little warning and produce explosions that cause hazardous conditions within several miles of the crater and farther downwind. Small lahars could suddenly descend the Toutle River if triggered by heavy rain or by interaction of hot rocks with snow and ice. These lahars pose a negligible hazard below the Sediment Retention Structure (SRS) but could pose a hazard along the river channel upstream. (Italicized emphasis added)

ESA's Favorite Species At Risk

The species that stands above all others under the Endangered Species Act, the most protected of the protected, is at risk.

It's the sacred cow.

Yes, the Big Green Fundraising Machine is shaking because yesterday the House Resources Committee passed the first meaningful reform of ESA since the 1980s.

Big thanks to Hugh for responding so quickly to my request for a post on the subject, which you'll find here. Hugh's focus is on the Senate, as it should be. It's pretty clear a decent enough bill will pass the House; we need something out of the Senate so we can get in Conference Committee.

Environmentalists are using the Act to attack water projects that are necessary to bring water to our cities, new power lines that are needed to bring power to our cities, flood control projects that are necessary to protect our cities from Katrina-like disasters. They're stopping schools, roads, hospitals, employment centers and homes.

And in the process, they're pocketing huge amounts of court-awarded attorneys fees, which they use to keep their litigation mills well oiled.

None of this has much to do with protecting species. It has to do with the vision of some environmentalists, like the hysteria-fired Center for Biological Diversity, of a de-populated American West. And it has much to do with fundraising, staffing and big new headquarters buidings, like the Natural Resources Defense Council built a couple years back.

Help us keep the momentum up by logging onto the Save Habitat Conservation Plans web site and, in just a few clicks, sending a letter to your elected representative.

You Missed The Preview Screening

So last night while you were blogging ... or reading blogs ... in your pajamas, Hollywood and DC were converging in a glitzy preview screening of Commander in Chief, the Gina Davis woman-as-president show premiering soon on ABC.

Who was there? Well, it just might give you an idea about Pres. Gina's politics. How about Gloria Steinem and Arianna Huffington as a couple of the headliners in a to-do all put together by Marie Wilson, founder of the White House Project, an allegedly nonpartisan group dedicated to electing a woman president.

I say "allegedly" because of the who's who on its Board and Advisory Board:
  • Arianna Huffington
  • Kitty Koleman, who claims she "saved" Doe v. Wade when she argued Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the Supreme Court
  • Gara LaMarche, who runs George Soros' Open Society Institute
  • Zina Pierre, a Clintonista who now runs a DC lobbying firm
  • Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale, a pro-abortion Episcoplian priest
  • Chris Wilson, of the Friends of Hillary Finance Committee
  • Donna Brazile of the DNC
  • Former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers
  • Elanore Clift, who's identified as a pundit
  • Pat Mitchell, CEO of PBS
And, of course, the show is on ABC.

So I guess you didn't miss much when they didn't invite you to the big preview.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Schumer Gets Big Bucks From Soros As Aides Dumpster Dive For Credit Histories

If you haven't read Michelle Malkin and Captains Quarters on the smarmy Chuck Schumer scandal, in which two aides to the Dem Sen Campaign Committee which Schumer chairs clearly broke the law, do so.

Dumpster diving to steal Del. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's identity, then get and share his credit history, then share it with others is criminal and should result in (1) jail time, (2) outrage from the media, and (3) the forced resignation of Schumer from the DSCC, since he either can't control his troops ... or he is controlling them.

We'll see if any of those happen.

Meanwhile, do you think the billionaires George Soros invited over to cut checks to Schumer would have been so kind if this scandal had broken a it sooner?
Billionaire financier George Soros hosted a fundraiser for Senate Democrats last week at his Manhattan home, making his first foray into politics after spending $25 million of his money in an effort to defeat President Bush last year. Soros gathered about 60 of his friends and acquaintances in his Upper East Side home Thursday to hear a presentation from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a knowledgeable source. The event raised an estimated $250,000 for Senate Democratic candidates. The Hill: Soros Dives into Midterms

13-5 For Roberts!

Biden, Feinstein, Kennedy, Schumer and Durbin, toadies of the abortionists, were the only senators who did not vote for John Roberts.

Leahy, Kohl and Feingold apparently got the assignment to march forth under a banner of reasonableness.


Jordan's King On Jews And Jihad

King Abdullah II of Jordan is staking a bold position against radical jihadist Islam, seeking a reform to moderation for the religion that even includes closer ties with Jews.

WashTimes reports that Abdullah met with American rabbis Wednesday and told them:
"We face a common threat: extremist distortions of religion and the wanton acts of violence that derive therefrom. Such abominations have already divided us from without for far too long."
Abdullah also attacked the jihadists, in effect saying Muslims and Jews are closer than Muslims and the likes of bin Ladin or Zarqawi:
"Muslims from every branch of Islam can now assert without doubt or hesitation., "that a fatwa calling for the killing of innocent civilians -- no matter what nationality or religion, Muslim or Jew, Arab or Israeli -- is a basic violation of the most fundamental principles of Islam."
It's not his first venture down this road (here's a WaPo report on his recent speech at Catholic University), and I hope it's not one of his last. He is taking a very courageous position, one that could easily result in his death -- but it is voices like his that are needed now. To turn Islam around will require multiple Martin Luthers.

We have one in Jordan's King. Where are the others?

The Blind Eye Of The Left

As often as I link to a story found in Media Bistro, I have to say I really dislike that outlet's attitude, which exudes East Coast elitist leftism.

This morning's edition included this item:
Arthur Chrenkoff, a 32-year old Australian with a talent for research, has begun writing a blog focused solely on good-news reporting out of Iraq. (link)
The headline:

Updated Very Infrequently.

Which goes to prove you can only stay Left if you turn a blind eye to reality.

Reporter To Use Smack On Camera

A Dutch television reporter plans to smoke heroin, take LSD and binge drink as part of a program on issues of concern to young people.
The show's in-studio host, Sophie Hilbrand, will interview guests about drug use and abuse, while Wesselink appears in segments taped in the field as he experiments with drugs and liquor. Another reporter, Ties Van Westing, will do segments about engaging in sex acts, but not on camera.

For one episode, Wesselink, 26, plans to smoke heroin, said Ingrid Timmer, spokeswoman for the show's producer, BNN. For others, he plans to go on a drinking binge in a series of pubs and to take the hallucinogenic drug LSD — on his couch under the supervision of his mother.

"It's not our intention to create an outcry. We just want to talk about subjects that are part of young people's lives," Timmer said. (source)

Of course it's their intention to create an outcry. It's also their intention to legitimize the use of illegal drugs -- heroin and LSD possession is illegal in the Netherlands. Previously, the show did a segment on how to have sex in a nightclub. They probably didn't intend to create an outcry with that, either.

All of which proves the point that people who believe in nothing will believe in anything.

h/t media bistro

Iraqi Newsmen Killed By Insurgents

Whenver some lefty newspaper person alleges US soldiers deliberately target journalists -- an allegation disproved time and again -- it gets big play.

Contrast that with this Reuters story, reporting on three journalists' death at the hands of insurgents, all in seven short paragraphs.

It's particularly signficant because two of the journalists worked for an Iraqi paper that is a champion for freedom and democracy -- yet it's a virtual non-story to the mainstream media.
An Iraqi editor was killed outside his Mosul home on Tuesday, the third journalist murdered in Iraq in four days, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Wednesday.

The New York-based group said Firas Maadidi, 40, was the Mosul bureau chief for As-Saffir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar. He was killed after being shot six times, including two shots to the head, As-Saffir Deputy Editor Slayhe Jowiree told CPJ.

Maadidi died hours later in hospital, the statement said.

Maadidi is the second journalist affiliated with the daily newspaper As-Saffir to be killed in Iraq this week, CPJ said.

CPJ said that Iraqi journalists view the Baghdad-based newspaper as one that has sought to educate Iraqis on the importance of Iraq's new constitution and upcoming elections. Local journalists also say the newspaper has characterized insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians as terrorist operations.

On Saturday, Hind Ismail, a reporter for As-Saffir was murdered by a single bullet to the head. Fakher Haider, an Iraqi journalist who worked for The New York Times, was abducted on Sunday night and found dead on Monday.

Since the Iraq conflict began in March 2003, 56 journalists have been killed. CPJ said two-thirds of those killed have been Iraqi journalists.
h/t media bistro

More Blues At Gray Lady

Standard & Poor's Rating Service has put the NYT's long-term debt on "credit watch with negative implications" because of recently announced layoffs and poor financial performance.

The news is particularly significant as Big Print scrambles to pick up new media to offset its own declining circulation. The NYT paid $410 million in March for -- something that would be difficult to repeat given S&P's new rating.

Meanwhile, the NY Post reports internal communications at the Times were not exactly textbook:

The extent of the cuts apparently caught Times Executive Editor Bill Keller by surprise.

He learned last Friday that the company planned to cut 500 jobs — about 4 percent of its workforce — and on Monday was informed by Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. that the Times newsroom would take a 45-person hit.

"My heart sank," Keller said in an interview with Editor & Publisher. "I was hoping we could do this without layoffs, which are poison in a newsroom."

LAT Passionate About Passion Play

Oh, this is just too easy.

Put a bunch of dumb Christians in a hick Arkansas town to see a passion play -- talk about low-hanging fruit!

LAT reporter Stephanie Simon takes full advantage of the opportunity to look down her well educated, cynical nose and snicker in a quiet way that hides between lines. And her editors got in on the fun, headlining the story, "Acting on Faith."

You can see them with their friends over latte laughing up that one. "It's about a play, so no one's going to get uppity about the headline -- but it's saying that faith is all an act. Clever, no?"

You might think I'm being hyper-sensitive, but Simon focuses almost entirely on the negative:
"The Great Passion Play" was created by the late Gerald L.K. Smith, a mesmerizing and virulently anti-Semitic orator who traveled the nation in the 1930s and '40s, trying to rally support for "saving" white Christian America by deporting blacks and Jews.
She later admits that Smith did not script the current play, but even so, she struggles to breathe fire into the anti-Semitic story line Liberals tried, and failed, to put on The Passion of the Christ:
The current version still portrays the Jewish high priests as greedy, power-hungry connivers who force a reluctant Pontius Pilate to order the Crucifixion. But publicity director Mardell Bland says she has heard no complaints about anti-Semitism for years.
Perhaps before she reports on religion, she ought to read the source material and study the history of the time. Just a thought.

She also works to poke fun at belief in Genesis and creation:
The new Museum of Earth History uses murals and dinosaur sculptures to present the Book of Genesis as science. ("If you hurry, we can get you in on the first four days of creation," a tour guide says, urging a dawdler along.)
And shame on people of faith who become emotional:
The play ends with a dramatic Ascension: Radiant under a white spotlight, Jesus rises to the treetops with the promise "I am with you always."

The wires that hoist the actor 65 feet are clearly visible. That hardly seems to matter. Every night, the crowd erupts in cathartic applause.
I understand how hard it is to write about faith without offending. Simon was probablyworried about offending friends in the newsroom by being too sympathetic, just as she probably struggled to make her prose inoffensive to believers. It's impossible to do both, and of course she failed.

As their circulation falls, papers like the LAT seem willing to risk great offense to substantial portions of their readers. But they soldier on, trekking to the Arkansas woods to report again on this mysterious Chrisitanity thing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

NoKo: Peaceful Nukes Or Songun?

This shot of North Korea and South Korea shows why Kim Il Jung might think a nuclear reactor just might come in handy.

In a statement, the North Koreans blamed the current impasse on the US' refusal to hand over the reactors -- not a reactor -- first:
What is most essential is, therefore, for the U.S. to provide reactors to North Korea as quickly as possible, in order to substantially prove its recognition of our right to nuclear activity for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. should not even dream that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear deterrent before providing it with light-water reactors, which is a physical guarantee of confidence-building. This is our just and consistent position, which is as solid and as a deeply-rooted rock. Up until now, we have shaped our policies as a reaction to the U.S. hardliners, and will continue to do so.
We, of course, say all NoKo has to do is shut down its bomb-making operation as a "physical guarantee of confidence-building."

And we're right on this one. We're the ones with the light, they're the ones that need it. They're the ones that break every promise, we're the ones that know it.

There's one thing that will immediately stop the impasse: China. They can cut off NoKo's oil, power, water, food.

The big questions: What is China going to demand from us to get NoKo to flip its position? And will we give it?

And one more question: Even then, would NoKo fold? Here's the final part of teh NoKo statement:
If the U.S.opts to renege on its promise, we will forge ahead without even a hint of hesitation along the road indicated by the Songun line, which is our faith and signpost.
The editor explains:
The "Songon Line" or the Songun Ideal are said to have been introduced by Kim Jong-il in 1995 as an offshoot of the "Juche" Ideal, which means, essentially, "Self Reliance." The Songun Line is like Stalinist Communism on steroids. Like the former Soviets, it emphasizes the military over the quality of life of its people as a necessary stage in the nation's development. This is how the regime explains why the "Worker's Paradise" is more like a living hell. Here is an excerpt from a Korean News article that seeks to explain the Songun Ideal:

Songun means regarding military affairs as the greatest of State affairs ... Some people ask: "Why do north Koreans pay priority to military affairs while going hungry?" and "Can the gun feed people?" As they say, the gun cannot give people food. But the essence of the Songun idea is that even though the gun of the revolutionary army cannot make a meal, it can create something even more valuable. Those with the guns of revolution have it within their power to create ideological and political life.