Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Religion Of Peace Strikes Again

Those peace-loving Muslims in Indonesia have struck again, bombing a Christian market in Palu, where Muslims have been busy beheading and murdering Christians for some time.

Reuters, true to form, can't report reality. After mentioning that storekeepers in the market were (Oh. My. God.) selling pork, the news service says of the bombing, "But it appeared to be linked to regional tensions, not international Islamic militancy." If that's the case, one wonders why Reuters goes on to report "that security was being tightened, especially in places of worship."

I can only read that to mean Reuters is differentiating between regional Islamic militancy and international Islamic militancy, a nuance that is surely lost on the families of seven who died in the blast.

"Oh, good. Our children weren't killed by international Muslim terrorists! That's a relief!"

In early Christianity, it was quickly understood that religious differences in food preparation should not get in the way of faith -- that Christians should adapt to the food preferences of their hosts in order to minimize barriers to the Gospel.

In Islam, apparently the lesson is to kill those with different customs regarding food, in order to minimize the number of non-Muslims.

Not Yet Ready For Nationhood

Reuters is reporting that Palestinian gunmen have attacked a U.N. workers' club in Gaza City, blowing up the club's bar.

In classic understatement, Reuters said the attack is "a new sign of unrest in the chaotic territory."

Palestine is massively dependent on the goodwill and good wallet of the U.N. Still, I don't think this attack was a cry for fiscal independence and no more doles.

Have the baby blue-heads been child molesting again? Or perhaps they're not doling out enough money?

Or perhaps the Palestinians just want to strengthen their international reputation as the people most likely to trash their international reputation.

Social Democracies Gone Wild

Another reminder of why we're glad America is not a social democracy: We do not yet have employment tribunals. Let's call this the Case of the Lime unCordial, from the London Times:
A LESBIAN shop worker sacked for throwing a bag of flour at a customer who called her a “filthy dyke” has won her case for unfair dismissal.

Caroline Gardener snapped after the man became abusive when he was unable to find any lime cordial in the shop. She claimed that he pushed her, called her useless and told her: “Get your sex life sorted out.”

Miss Gardener, 45, retaliated by throwing a packet of flour at the back of his head. When they went to the manager’s office to complain about each other’s conduct, Miss Gardener lunged at the customer.

She told the tribunal: “I didn’t go for his throat, I just went for his collar [nice defense!] because he had really upset me. When he called me a filthy dyke I had a pack of flour in my hand and, although I regret it now, I threw it at the back of his head. He then turned round and said, ‘You are a dyke and you’re going to get the sack’.”

Miss Gardener was dismissed for violent and insulting behaviour after a disciplinary hearing in September last year. She took Booker Cash & Carry to an employment tribunal, claiming breach of contract, unfair dismissal and discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

The tribunal panel ruled that Miss Gardener ... had been unfairly dismissed; but that she had not been dismissed because of her sexuality ....
That means in England it's unfair to fire someone for throwing objects at customers and lunging at them. This guy certainly is a strong argument against "the customer is always right," but still, I think anyone but a socialist-leaning bureacrat would say it's ok to give her the sack for nailing him with a sack.

Sue Bob Rocks

Stuck in rainy Dana Point on the cloudy California Coast, I'm thinking a little hot and funny Texas reading might be on point, and I'm right.

Sue Bob on Brokeback Mountain:

My point is that I have known cowboys. No cowboy that I have ever known would get in another cowboy’s tent and snuggle to the point of fornication. My cowboys would freeze to death first.

This dumbass movie apparently has a scene alleging that some red-state people retaliated against some old cowboys who lived together as lovers by taking one and killing and mutilating his privates. BS! Country people keep to themselves and don’t interfere in the business of others. I say that any pair of cowboys who descended into fornication with each other, would have killed themselves before any neighbor even contemplated such a thing.

Sue Bob on Muslim anti-female attrocities and strong women:
A Battered Woman’s group used to call me to ask me to donate old cell phones. They stopped after I told them that I would rather donate a short-barrelled 20 guage shotgun and shooting lessons to one of their clients. I told them that I couldn’t see the efficacy of a woman calling 911 in the midst of a beating by a goon.

US About To Strike Iran?

German media are running reports that Washington is well on its way to planning military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. Der Spiegel reports:
According to [reporter Udo] Ulfkotte's report, "western security sources" claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss' Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are undeniable and cannot be allowed to proceed. The country is just too crazy and irresponsible to have a bomb, but a strike on Iran will be dicey, given Iran's unstable Sunni population. Bush's focus is always on our safety, and it's very likely he's come to see Iran as a more immediate threat than Iraqi instability.

The German response is interesting. Der Spiegel provides no man-on-the-street or politician quotes, but does say:
The German wire service also quotes a high-ranking German military official saying: "I would be very surprised if the Americans, in the mid-term, didn't take advantage of the opportunity delivered by Tehran. The Americans have to attack Iran before the country can develop nuclear weapons. After that would be too late."
If an action is in the works, the Turkish response will be more important and more complex.

Also interesting, if there's any truth to this story, would be the response of the Dems and the American left. They've said all along Iraq was the wrong target. Will they now say the same thing about an Iran that's about to have nuclear-tipped missiles and ambitions of annihlation?

h/t memeorandum

A Cop Who Was There When Needed

From It's Morning Somewhere, a road rage story we wish were true, with a lesson that is true:
An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up!

He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. "I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."
h/t memeorandum

Inside Dope On ANWR Failure

Robert Novak reports:
Before the Senate refused to close debate on the defense appropriations bill containing a provision to permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska several times assured the White House that he had the votes to invoke cloture.

The White House relied entirely on Stevens, president pro tempore of the Senate as the chamber's senior Republican, to get the votes. But he did not collect the two-thirds of senators needed to force the bill to a vote, and ANWR was removed from the military bill.

Stevens admitted defeat with an unusually bitter speech Dec. 21, the last night the full Senate was in session. "I don't deserve some of the comments that have been made by some senators," he said, referring to criticism for inserting ANWR in the defense bill. He indicated he especially resented criticism by Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, the Senate's senior member.
In politics as in farming, it's a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

Dana Point Blogging

My wife's family is converging on Dana Point, CA for her mom's 80th birthday tomorrow. There will be 50 of us for tomorrow's lunch, so I'll be with in-law-ing instead of on-lining most of the time.

Friday, December 30, 2005

British Trio Freed In Gaza

Good news on the Burton family, which was freed today, two days after being kidnapped near Bethlehem.

No details were released, so it appears to have been a ransom kidnapping. Ransom paid, hostages released -- an old fashioned kidnapping. Lucky for the Burtons. Unlucky for anyone else, because if you allow ransom kidnappings to succeed, it only creates more ransom kidnappers and kidnappees.

VDH On Laziness In Victory

Oh, how I wish I could write with the clarity of purpose of Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hanson. VDH's latest is wonderful, on how incapable of fighting and winning America has become. Here's an excerpt, but read the whole thing:
Precisely because we are winning this war and have changed the contour of the Middle East, we expect even more — and ever more quickly, without cost in lives or treasure. So rather than stopping to praise and commemorate those who gave us our success, we can only rush ahead to destroy those who do not give us even more.

Those Pesky Palestinians

In another show of international credibility, they've stormed and seized the Gaza-Egypt border. (h/t memeorandum)

"Eh?" Don't Give Me No Stinkin' "Eh!"

Fed up with those Molson-chuggers? Had enough hockey? Ready to fight if you hear "eh?" one more time?

Then let's implement War Plan Red, created in the 1930s, declassified in the 1970s and dredged up again in today's WaPo: Seize Halifax, pour over the New Hampshire border, capture the hydroelectric plants at Niagra. Piece of cake.

But lest we think dominion of the great North would be easy, we'd best keep Canada's own Defense Scheme #1, created by the near-mythical Canadian Buster Brown (i.e., no one's heard of him down here) in 1921. And let's not forget the multiple failed American raids on the Great White: during the War of Independence, the War of 1812 and local skirmishes in 1839 and 1866.

If the epoch battle ever comes to pass, Alan Alda has already provided our battle cry in the film Canadian Bacon: "Surrender pronto or we'll level Toronto."

This five-clicker article, "Raiding the Icebox," by Peter Carlson has a strong measure of anti-Iraq war sarcasm in it, but it's a fun and informative read; highly recommended.

h/t memeorandum

Seditious Media: WaPo's GST Story

Anti-Bush = anti-Americanism = poor news judgment = dead Americans.

That's the formula that's playing out regularly in the troika of major anti-Bush newspapers -- the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. The NYT broke the NSA story, LAT the story-planting story, and today WaPo turns up a CIA expose.

WaPo's got pretty thin gruel here -- just the "umbrella" name of a number of covert operations, GST. There are no real revelations in the story, just that a lot of efforts are being coordinated under GST:
GST includes programs allowing the CIA to capture al Qaeda suspects with help from foreign intelligence services, to maintain secret prisons abroad, to use interrogation techniques that some lawyers say violate international treaties, and to maintain a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe. Other compartments within GST give the CIA enhanced ability to mine international financial records and eavesdrop on suspects anywhere in the world.
To hold such a non-story together, WaPo reporter Dana Priest spills beans. One example:
The presidential finding also permitted the CIA to create paramilitary teams to hunt and kill designated individuals anywhere in the world, according to a dozen current and former intelligence officials and congressional and executive branch sources.
Al Qaeda is well aware of these teams, but raising the specter of CIA assassinations domestically will likely result in efforts to curtail these necessary wartime activities. That is clearly WaPo's intent:
Time and again, the administration asked government lawyers to draw up new rules and reinterpret old ones to approve activities once banned or discouraged under the congressional reforms beginning in the 1970s, according to these officials and seven lawyers who once worked on these matters.
This is not presented as an heroic effort by lawyers to secure the tools needed to fight al Qaeda; it's painted as lawyers enabling Bush's obsessions.

MSM's hard work to curtail America's terror-fighting capabilities may have a very negative effect on those very efforts. Their incessant feeding of outrage to already ambitious lefty legislators may result in less aggressive terror-fighting by the CIA, which could lead directly to another attack on the homeland.

And if that happens, don't expect the boundaries to stay as confined. The CIA and other agencies will be granted more authority to fight the war, and WaPo's efforts will have been for naught -- but will have led to more American deaths.

Fortunately, as the article points out, we have President Bush:

"In the past, presidents set up buffers to distance themselves from covert action," said A. John Radsan, assistant general counsel at the CIA from 2002 to 2004. "But this president, who is breaking down the boundaries between covert action and conventional war, seems to relish the secret findings and the dirty details of operations."

Keep up the good work, Mr. President. Keep your eye on the ball, not the howling banshees in the stands.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Whadya Do On Christmas Break?

"I Do." "Squeak, Squeak"

Now that it's OK for gays to marry, why not a man and two women? A man and a goat? A woman and a boy? A woman and a dolphin.

Don't go harumph over that last one. Here's Ynetnews:
An unusual wedding ceremony was held in the southern resort town of Eilat [Israel] on Wednesday, as Sharon Tendler, a 41-years-old Jewish millionaire from London married her beloved Cindy, a 35-years-old dolphin, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The groom, a resident of the Eilat dolphin reef, met Tendler 15 years ago, when she first visited the resort. The British rock concert producer took a liking to the dolphin and has made a habit of traveling to Eilat two or three times a year and spending time with her underwater sweetheart.

"The peace and tranquility underwater, and his love, would calm me down," the excited bride said after the wedding.

Tendler insists she's not a sick-o. Duly noted.

This week, a dolphin, what's next week? "Do you take this cockroach to be your lawful, married husband?"

h/t memeorandum

Black Caucus Burning Katrina Vics?

Here's a little something that got a lot of blog play when it was announced on Dec. 22, reported here by Brit Hume on Fox:
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has blasted the Bush administration for slow response to Hurricane Katrina, but it has yet to distribute any of $400,000 it raised for Katrina victims in the aftermath of the storm, the CBC member Jesse Jackson, Jr., called the government's lack of response, quote, "shockingly awful," and Carolyn Kilpatrick said she was, quote, "ashamed of America."

But a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spokesman tells Cybercast News Service that funds won't be distributed until January or February at the earliest, after a committee decides how to spend the money.
How hard is it to write a check or two to any of the proven and worthy charities in New Orleans and Mississippi that have proven they do good work? This is the same bunch that said Bush was another Bull Connor because it took Washington a few days to step in after New Orleans and Louisiana lost control of the situation.

It's obvious that the people represented by these jokers deserve and need a higher caliber of representative.

And if you, like me, weren't aware of this story, it's not because you're not reading your newspaper. A Nexus search revealed only one story (the Fox report above) on the subject. MSM continues to defend its allies, saving ink for its enemies.

No, It's Islam, Not "Just Culture"

I posted recently on the Teflon nature of Islam -- how Islamic men can rape or gang-rape non-Muslim women, how Islamic fathers and brothers can kill their daughters or sisters in "mercy killings" -- and their religion just stands by. And they avoid global outrage. There is no women's group hollering for the rapes to stop, no human rights organization mounting a global challenge to honor killings.

And certainly, no uprising of Imams and Mullahs saying, "Knock it off! That's not Islamic!"

Imagine if Christians all over the world, from all sorts of cultures with only Christianity in common, were killing homosexuals or molesting children, and priests and pastors just stood by, or worse, encouraged it. What an outrage we'd have then! Certainly, people wouldn't simply dismiss these outrages as "Oh, it's just the culture."

But that's exactly what I heard from
This is not Islamic, it is cultural and you would know only if you would bother to have a look at their history. Too bad you are only concerned with defaming Islam. haha. What a waste of time for Islam cannot and will not be suppressed. It simply is God's will and mark His words that it shall not vanish.
Sue Bob couldn't stand it. She countered:
What culture is Meysar talking about? Arabic? Persian? Indonesian? Philipino? African?These honor killings are happening in all these countries. In the Muslim communities.
Not to mention the Lebanese-Australians who are gang-raping Australian women.

Meysar and Muslim leaders all over the world are trying to simply dismiss the attrocities of their religion, whether it's terrorist jihad, rape or mercy killings. It is not just culture -- it is a religion that condones and even deifies abominations.

Again and again, when voices are raised about something that's wrong with Islam, Islam's reaction is not to address its ills, but to attack the accuser as someone who is defaming their religion. If I remember my psych 101 lessons right, defensiveness of that sort is a sure-fire sign of guilt.

So once again, why won't Islam heal itself?

Privacy Hawks: The New ACLU?

Big brother can listen in on me if he thinks it will help stop terrorist attacks. There's nothing criminal and little that's embarassing in my world.

In time of war, when very real threats to our nation and its individuals exist, it is entirely appropriate for government to raise its guard and investigate all possible threats. But chance are, your cable provider, your cell phone company, your credit card company and your internet search engine of choice are all working diligently to stop investigations that would protect you.

These companies and others fund the Center for Democracy and Technology, whixch is jeopardizing our nation's ability to protect itself. Says AP:
The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them.

These files, known as "cookies," disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake.
The accuser is Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology. The center is an advocate for on-line pornography, fighting efforts to protect children from content they should be protected from. This is a bit hard to discern, but the group's web site says it "stud[ies] technologies and other methods for protecting children from objectionable material on the Internet consistent with constitutional values." In other words, don't restrict the pornographers and preditors.

CDT is anti-Patriot Act (of course) and has a grassroots campaign in progress to try to stop its reauthorization, and has been highly critical of NSA searches without FISA warrants, saying a civil liberties crisis is confronting the nation.

What crisis? Thirty investigations since 2001? All under strict requirements that ensures that everyday citizens aren't bothered?

Groups like CDT are putting the narrow legal needs of their clients ahead of the preservation of our freedom. Contributions from individuals represent only .12% of its income -- it is not representing us, or anyone like us.

American Express, Time Warner, Visa, AT&T, Verizon, Google, Yahoo -- all are contributing to CDT and to the ability of terrorists to kill us. Is that what you want from your credit card or cell phone company?

Stupidity Of Siding With Palestinians

Kate Burton is a 25-year-old Scot with a British international law degree and a heart for the Palestinians. She has spent the last four months working at the al-Mezan Palestinian human rights organization in Gaza and was planning to spend another six months or so at the job.

That is until she, her mom and her dad were kidnapped by Palestinians Wednesday in Gaza, after visiting Bethlehem.

This incident, like so many others, shows that Palestine has a long, long way to go before it gains any ligitimacy as a nation. Its longest journey will be the moral one, as it is a nation built on the principle that terrorism is honorable, that Israel is wholely responsible for their plight, and that victimhood is a virtue.

Pity the Burtons gave them a chance. Let's hope and pray it's reciprocated ... against all odds.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Strong Support For NSA Spying

A Rassmussen survey reveals that almost three times more Americans support President Bush's use of NSA surveillance on domestic terror suspects than don't -- 64% say it's OK, 23% say it's not.

Americablog, a premier lefty ranter, tries to spin this as bad numbers for Bush:
That number should have been in the 90 percentile and up, Americans who support the NSA eavesdropping on conversations with suspected terrorists. Yet it was only in the low 60s. Something's up.
That's naeve. Nothing hits 90% in these divisive days, not even motherhood and apple pie.

But I agree -- something is up. And here's what it is: The report also showed that just 51% of Dems believe the NSA should be allowed to monitor communications between terrorists overseas and people living in the United States. That's not even a real majority given potential sampling errors.

By comparison, Reps weigh in with an 81% "yes" on this question.

The question did not factor in whether or not a FISA warrant was obtained -- half the Dems just flat out believe NSA shouldn't be listening in on domestic terror suspects, period.

What's the deal with half the Dems putting the privacy of people who are communicating directly with al Qaeda over national security?

Because they didn't wail over the Clintons having FBI files on their enemies -- a much worse breach of privacy -- I can only assume that they don't accept that we're at war. They've forgotted 9/11, the Cole, the African embassies, the barracks in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, the attempts to bomb numerous targets in the US, the Iranian nuclear program, and so much more.

They think Bush just made the whole thing up. That would be OK if there were a couple hundred people who felt that way -- but half the Democrats? That bodes badly for the Democrats. I hope. If not, it bodes very, very badly for America.

Iraq's Economy Much Stronger

On Fox News this evening, there was an interesting story intro by Stuart Varney, Neil Cavuto's stand-in host:
Most agree Iraqis are indeed better off without the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein. But you may be shocked to know how much better off they are economically. The numbers are clear. ...

And, look, we can go through the numbers all day long, unemployment cut in half. The economy is a third larger than it was, 31,000 businesses operating. Can you say flat-out, categorically, Iraqis are much better off economically, financially, than they were just a couple of years ago?
Varney's guest, Thomas Delare, the econ guy at the US embassy in Baghdad, demurred a bit from Varney's enthusiasm, but didn't contradict the host.

That means when you hear stats about unemployment in Iraq at 30 percent quoted as evidence of failure of our mission, you need to put it in the context of unemployment rates of 60 percent under Saddam.

And Delare thinks it's going to get better:
They're -- they're considerably better off. And we believe, next year, 2006, should be a turnaround year, when a new government takes its ... seat, and is in a position to actively pursue the kind of legislation this country needs to get the economy jump-started.

Hurrah! MSM Mainstay Supports Bush

Anyone who tracks media ownership knows the Chicaco Tribune is much more than a large midwestern daily -- it is also the owner of the LATimes and Newsday and hence, the mothership of a liberal MSM empire.

So it's cause of celebration when ChiTrib's editorial writers carefully analyze what we know today of Bush's nine arguments for war against Iraq and conclude:
Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. We said that every earnest tool of diplomacy with Iraq had failed to improve the world's security, stop the butchery--or rationalize years of UN inaction. We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.

Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now ... affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003.
You really should read the entire four-clicker article, but in case you're rushed, here's a summary:
  1. Weapons of mass destruction: Over-emphasized and unnecessary, given other overwhelmingly justified causes for war.
  2. Iraq ignores the UN: Bush understated the chicanery and toothlessness of the UN.
  3. Quest for nukes: Even if overstated (aluminum tubes & yellowcake), a legit cause for concern ... and war.
  4. Pre-emptive war needed to take out weapons-making capabilities: Very possible, but you can't prove future actions.
  5. Saddam harbors terrorists: Exaggerated. [I think ChiTrib is understating here.]
  6. Reforming the Middle East: The "most successful pre-war prediction to date."
  7. Iraq-al Qaeda connection: Exaggerated. [How many connections would ChiTrib allow?]
  8. Saddam's brutality: Accurate. Saddam would have continued his brutality if we hadn't stopped him.
  9. Iraq ready for representative democracy: Correct.
h/t memeorandum

The Other Shoe Falls On NSA

Leftwing lawyers defending GWOT terrorists are quickly exploiting last week's NYT leak about NSA domestic intelligence, seeing it as a way to free their reprehensible clients -- and America be damned in the process.

The NYTimes (who else?) reports:
Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to Al Qaeda.

The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were singled out.
Of course, the government will not, cannot, provide the information necessary to justify the prosecution of these thugs, since it's more important to national security to gather intelligence on new threats. This doesn't concern the lefty lawyers, whose only concerns are (1) their careers, (2) shaming America and (3) freeing possible terrorists. It's a sick world, and the NYT is all too happy to give the sickest aid and comfort.

Look, here's how disgusting it is:

Government officials, in defending the value of the security agency's surveillance program, have said in interviews that it played a critical part in at least two cases that led to the convictions of Qaeda associates, Iyman Faris of Ohio, who admitted taking part in a failed plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, and Mohammed Junaid Babar of Queens, who was implicated in a failed plot to bomb British targets.

David B. Smith, a lawyer for Mr. Faris, said he planned to file a motion in part to determine whether information about the surveillance program should have been turned over. Lawyers said they were also considering a civil case against the president, saying that Mr. Faris was the target of an illegal wiretap ordered by Mr. Bush. ...

Why Smith finds it necessary to defend a man who wanted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge is beyond me. But if Smith does indeed file a lawsuit against the President for (possibly) authorizing the investigation that captured this thug, it shows how visciously warped the leftist bar has become.

Here's how desperate Smith's defense of Faris (who has met with bin Laden and provided materials and intelligence to terrorists) is:
The government "thinks he's guilty because he looks so dangerous," said Faris' current attorney, David B. Smith. "It's not because they had a good case against him but because he's potentially an extremely dangerous person."
If that's all the government has on Faris, then clearly they didn't use any electronic surveillance to nail him.

Islam: Teflon Against Attrocities

Yesterday, Bookworm had a powerful post about the world's lack of outrage over the hundreds (thousands?) of rapes perpetrated by Islamic men on non-Islamic women. "Where is the outrage?" she asked.

And where is it over mercy killings -- like this one in Pakistan?
Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor" — a crime that shocked Pakistan.
We'll believe that shock when we see Pakistan and other Islamic nations begin to confront mercy killings before they're carried out, through condemnation, reform and education. Or are they only shocked because he went beyond killing his stepdaughter and killed all his daughters?
The 40-year old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret — that he didn't murder the stepsister's alleged lover too. ...

Ahmed's killing spree — witnessed by his wife Rehmat Bibi as she cradled their 3 month-old baby son — happened Friday night at their home in the cotton-growing village of Gago Mandi in eastern Punjab province.

It is the latest of more than 260 such honor killings documented by the rights commission, mostly from media reports, during the first 11 months of 2005.

That's right -- 260 such killings in 11 months, or 24 a month, in just one Islamic country. Similar killings occur throughout the Islamic world, and it's all right with Islam.

There isn't a massive movement within the religion to confront this monstrosity and right the wrong.

Nor is there a movement in the West to condemn Islam for this failure. When 24 people are killed a month because of land mines (or whatever the true number is) the West recoils. Rock stars and royals clamor over each other to express their outrage, and the UN passes resolutions.

Why not with Islamic mercy killings? Why not with Islamic rapes?

Are we so afraid of Islam that we will continue to allow its abominations? What moral difference is there between killing one's daughters and flying planes into skyscrapers?

The evil that is allowed to dwell inside of Islam needs to be confronted; it needs to be stopped.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Why Kwanza Shouldn't Be Mainstream

Since Kwanza was created by an anti-Christian man found guilty of torturing two black women, how about a history of the holiday by a black Christian woman ... maybe Bonnie Calhoun of the blog Bonnie Writes?

Deathbed Confession In Sweden

An unnamed man in Sweden asked to talk to police before dying, and told them he had murdered two young women in the 1970s.

The women, Sigrid Heggheim and Torunn Finstad, were killed in 1976 and 1977. The deathbed confessor did not come forward when another man, Fritz Moen, was convicted of the murders.

Moen spent 18 years in prison and died earlier this year, unexonerated.

When I read stories like this (this one was in The Scotsman), I am reminded how false the religion of self esteem is. The confessor in this story had great self esteem, thinking himself far better than the two women he killed, and the man who wasted away in jail.

I'm a much bigger fan of humility.

Putin's Shame: "Russia Is Not Free"

On the eve of becoming president of the G8 nations, Russia's Vladmir Putin suffered the resignation of his chief economic advisor -- and economic critic -- Andrei Illarionov.

The Financial News reports Illarionov's parting statement:

“It is one thing to work in a country that is partly free,” Mr Illarionov said yesterday, saying Russia still qualified for that description when Mr Putin came to power six years ago. “It is another thing when the political system has changed, and the country has stopped being free and democratic.

“I did not sign a contract with such a state, and therefore it is absolutely impossible to remain in this post,” he said.

Illarionov says Russia is moving towards a new governance model, corporatism, in which large corporations are controlled by the state via government representatives on their boards. Such boards answer to the government, not the economy -- typical of Putin's drift back towards a Soviet-like model.

Poland Extends Troops' Iraq Stay

As the Ukraine and Belgium withdraw their forces in Iraq -- 1,650 and 130 troops respectively -- Poland's government has decided to extend its troop commitment through 2006.

BBC reports that the recent election of conservative Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz a prime minister led to the decision. Polish conservatives feel their commitment to GWOT is winning them international prestige where it matters -- a good call.

Honoring Heroes: Bring Back Pyle

As a journalism student at Indiana University during the Vietnam war protests, I spent my days in Ernie Pyle Hall. Had journalists then been more like that building's namesake, we might have won that war.

Misreading their despicable behavior then as a victory, journalists are working hard to replicate their Vietnam performance in Iraq. Why not instead be more like Ernie Pyle -- more like Michael Yon -- writing gritty dispatches about our troops in both their everyday drudgery and their periodic brave heroics?

Caspar Weinberger asks that question today in a moving op/ed in USA Today, complete with the stories of two soldiers that journalists would do well to use as their models for a new style of reporting on the war -- one that looks at our achievements and the bravery of our troops and their Iraqi allies.

It's a terrific piece. Will anyone in the media notice?

Bone Bites Back

James Bone, who's covered the UN since 1988 for the Times of London, didn't take too warmly to the temper tantrum Kofi Annan pitched his way last week. After calling Bone "cheeky," Annan went on to say, most undiplomatically:
“Hold on. Listen, James Bone. You have been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years. You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving, and please let’s move on to a more serious subject.”
The "less serious" subject Bone was pursuing, and had been pursuing for a few months, was what happened to the Mercedes Benz Annan's son Kojo falsely purchased in his father's name, reaping over $20,000 in savings as a result.

In today's Opinion Journal, Bone details the case -- and it stinks:
Mr. Volcker's investigators found a memo on the computer of Mr. Annan's personal assistant asking him to authorize a letter to Mercedes. "Sir, Kojo asked me to send the attached letter re: the car he is trying to purchase under your name. The company is requesting a letter be sent from the U.N. Kojo said it could be signed by anyone from your office. May I ask Lamin to sign it?" the assistant wrote.

Neither Kofi Annan, his aide Lamin Sise, nor his assistant, Wagaye Assebe, can recall what happened, and the original documents have disappeared--but somehow the Mercedes was purchased with the diplomatic discount anyway. Abdoulie Janneh, the U.N. official who arranged the tax exemption in Ghana was recently promoted to U.N. under-secretary-general, in charge of the Economic Commission for Africa.

Amid the clutter of unanswered questions, one query has the virtue of simplicity: Where is the car? I have been asking this for weeks at the U.N.'s daily briefing. It was this question that triggered Kofi Annan's outburst. He clearly wants me to shut up. I'm afraid, Mr. Secretary-General, that would be the wrong thing for me to do. Every schoolboy knows that.
So, Kofi, where's the car?

h/t Memeorandum

Monday, December 26, 2005

Good Tsunami News

On the first anniversary of the devastating Asian tsunami, the 30-year rebel uprising in Indonesia's hard-hit Banda Aceh area appears to have drawn to a close. Agency France Presse reports:
Former separatist rebels in Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province announced the dissolution of their armed wing Tuesday in another step towards implementing an historic peace pact.

The Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed the pact in August in Helsinki after agreeing to negotiate in the wake of last December's tsunami.

"On behalf of GAM combatants I have the honour to announce that TNA (Aceh National Armed Forces) has been decommissioned and demobilised," GAM spokesman Sofyan Daud told a press conference.

"We are committed to implement the memorandum of understanding (the pact) and will abide by its contents," he said.

The former rebels surrendered their final batch of weapons last week to meet the terms of the pact, while non-local Indonesian troops and police are expected to pull their final personnel out of Aceh on Thursday.
As I recall, peace talks were going nowhere or were non-existant before the tsunami. Rebuilding, rightly, appears to have become more important than tearing apart.

"Evolution Refutes Intelligent Design"

Der Spiegel's got a very provocative interview with Daniel Dennett, the Tufts U. philosopher and hardcore advocate for evolution.

It is recommended reading for anyone who believes in God. It's easy reading for non-believers, but if you believe, you'll find it challenging ... and for me, reaffirming of my faith.

Here's a couple of the more provocative excerpts:

SPIEGEL: You don't think it's possible to leave life to the biologists, but let religion take care of the soul?

Dennett: That's what Pope John Paul II was demanding when he issued his oft quoted cyclical in which he said that evolution was a fact, but he went right on to say: except of on the matter of the human soul. That might make some content, but it is just false. It would be just as false to say: Our bodies are made up of biological material, except, of course, the pancreas. The brain is no more wonder tissue than the lungs or the liver. It's just a tissue.
To say a soul is no different from a brain or pancreas shows a massive spiritual ineptitude. The Dennetts of the world think so pragmatically that if something can't be found through science, it simply must not exist -- and they laugh off those of us who are willing to accept the reality of the unmeasurable, the mysterious.

But Dennet is nothing if not confident of his position, so confident, in fact, that he even knows where God is -- or more exactly, isn't:
SPIEGEL: Another idea of Darwin's was that God is dead. Is that also a logical conclusion reached by Darwinism?

Dennett: It is very clear a consequence. The argument for design, I think, has always been the best argument for the existence of God and when Darwin comes along he pulls the rug out from under that.

SPIEGEL: Evolution, in other words, leaves no room for God?

Dennett: One has to understand that God's role has been diminished over the eons. First we had God, as you said, making Adam and making every creature with his hands, plucking the rib from Adam and making Eve from that rib. Then we trade that God in for the God who sets evolution in motion. And then you say you don't even need that God -- the law giver -- because if we take these ideas from cosmology seriously then there are other places and other laws and life evolves where it can. So now we no longer have God the law finder or the law giver, but just God the master of ceremonies. When God is the master of ceremonies and doesn't actually play any role any more in the universe, he's sort of diminished and no longer intervenes in any way.
How exactly does Dennett know that God no longer intervenes, that he is simply a master of ceremonies? What scientific evidence would God -- who seems to relish his mysteriousness -- leave behind?

Evolutionists like Dennett are arrogant to a fault; because they have no room for God in their cosmology, they can find no place for him in the universe. Still, his provocations, including a section late in the interview when the evolution of religion is discussed, make this an interesting read.

UN Blows $200 Million Of Tsunami Relief

About one-third of the funds raised for tsunami relief was squandered on UN overhead, LGF reports.

I'm not sure if strutting peacocks feather their nests, but their close cousins at the UN certainly do.

Ah, Aphorisms

Columnist John Leo has compiled some yummy aphorisms for your post-Christmas enjoyment, including:
  • "The plural of anecdote is not data." Frank Kotsonis
  • "Where there's Saddam, there's Gomorrah." Stefan Kanfer
  • "Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire." John Roberts
  • "When your victimhood is your empowerment, recovery is the enemy." Tammy Bruce
  • "Multiculturalism is a kind of societal Stockholm Syndrome." Mark Steyn
  • "There is nothing quite so powerful as an idea whose time has passed." David Frum

Support For Bush/NSA From Carter Guy

Jack O'Neill was Pres. Carters telecommunications guy in the White House, so he knew what the NSA, CIA and FBI were up to in the world of high tech communications monitoring. And knowing this, he thinks Pres. Bush's use of unwarranted NSA searches are a good thing.

In a WashTimes op/ed, O'Neill points to the 2002 capture of top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan, which came with a treasure trove of email addresses, cell phone numbers, and personal phone directories.
Some of Zubaydah's telephone numbers and e-mail addresses are in the United States. How long do you think these domestic numbers would remain active after
Zubaydah's arrest is made public? Hours? One day? Two?

In other words, not long enough to get a warrant. The investigations would have to be completed before word of Zubaydah's capture made it over here.

As reported by the New York Times, Mr. Bush issued his executive order allowing the NSA to rapidly follow Zubaydah type contacts as they are discovered and to monitor only the international communications from Zubaydah type contacts on American soil. The FBI takes over monitoring their subsequent domestic-to-domestic communications.

The president has the ultimate responsibility for Americans' security. His executive order, as reported by the New York Times, is a reasonable assistance to our intelligence agencies.

If we want the CIA, NSA and FBI to "find the dots," they must be freed to work as a lighting-fast team.
h/t RealClearPolitics

Powell Supports Prez On Wiretaps

Colin Powell doesn't align himself with the President too often any more, so when he does, it's news:
Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Powell said he sees "absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions" to protect the nation. ...

Powell, who also is a former chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, had no reservations when asked whether eavesdropping should continue.

"Of course it should continue," he said. "And nobody is suggesting that the president shouldn't do this."

Powell did say he thought it would have been better for the President to get warrants in all cases. A lesser president might rush forward with examples to justify his action, but Bush puts the nation's security first, so he's not likely to reveal any details that would vindicate his decisions not to pursue warrants.

h/t Real Clear Politics

Too Much Emoting For Saudis

I confess. I've never seen Sex in the City or Deperate Housewives. I just don't think they're positive influences on our socieity.

Yet I delight when some version of these shows befuddle the powers that be in places like Riyadh or Beijing. It makes me feel hypocritical, rooting for the diminishment of their moral systems, but there's healthy morality and repressive morality, so I forgive myself and let the glee flow when I read stories like this:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- It's hardly "Sex and the City," but by Saudi standards "The Girls of Riyadh" is a bombshell.

The fictional tale of the loves, dreams and disappointments of four young women in the capital has, not surprisingly, drawn criticism in a country where women are not supposed to date or have a love life until married. More striking, however, is the degree of support being voiced for 24-year-old author Rajaa al-Sanie and her first novel.

In the novel, Sadeem's husband divorces her because she's too sexually bold for his liking. Qamra discovers soon after her wedding that her husband is in love with a Japanese woman. Mashael's boyfriend cannot marry her because her mother is American. Only Lamis finds true and lasting love. ...

In Saudi Arabia, where the sexes are strictly segregated, authorities haven't decided whether to approve its sale, but pirated editions are circulating in photocopy form.

The book has no sex in it; just emotions of young women. That's dizzying enough for the leaders of a religion that is noted for its singular obsession with keeping women from realizing their God-given potential.

The world's best hope for peace is the reformation of Islam. Highly visible social phenomena like the publication of "The Girls of Riyadh" are tiny steps on the thological scale, but they're necessary. It may well be a generation before we see reform-minded senior clerics leading Islam -- and when that happens, I'll wager they're the ones who read "The Girls of Riyadh" while in their 20s.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Unexpected Christmas Gift

I didn't expect to be coronated a king when I took the What Monty Python Character are you? test. Excuse me, I've got a crown to polish and some peasants to plunder.

h/t Anna (AKA Sir Robin)

Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 6

Interesting to note that all the stores that wouldn't put the word "Christmas" in their pre-Christmas adds were quick to headline their ads and inserts today with big "After Christmas Sale!" headlines.

Sacredness Amidst The Secular

I read the first couple chapters of Luke this morning, because the words there are so good at making the depth and breadth of the Christmas miracle real -- the prophesies, the recognition, God's hand in multiple lives to make his will known, and most miraculous, that God's spirit would enter a young woman to make a God-child because, of course, God has that power.

The simple, awesome wonder of Christ born stands in contrast to the secularization of Christmas, and every year the gifts, decorations, fru-fru and fruitcakes of Christmas cause many spiritual Christians discomfort, just as they make non-Christians incredulous of the entire religion.

Rev. Robert Sirico settles the discomfort like a spiritual Bromo with his Christmas essay, Christmas Sacred and Secular. Sirico, who serves as president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, writes:

A big Christmas need not be an insincere Christmas. This point was made by Benedict XVI before he became Pope. He noted in a 1977 essay that “nowadays a
theologian or a preacher is all but expected to heap more or less sarcastic
criticism on our popular way of celebrating Christmas ... Christmas, we are
told, has been commercialized irredeemably and has degenerated into a senseless
marketing frenzy; its religiosity has become tacky.”

“Of course,” he continued, “such criticism is largely justified, even though it might too readily forget that, behind the facade of business and sentimentality, the
yearning for something purer and greater is not entirely extinguished; indeed,
that the sentimental framework often provides the protecting shield behind which
hides a noble and genuine sentiment that is simply reluctant to expose itself to
the gaze of the other.”
For those who are offended by the commercialization of Christmas, Sirico goes back to the Pope's 1977 essay and finds a balm of solace:

[The Pope] is speaking about the core of good and virtuous intentions behind much of what is assailed as “commercialism.” Much of what people buy is for others. But what people do to commemorate Christmas reflects an inner sense that something extraordinary is occurred and continues to occur on the night of Jesus’ birth. All this fuss would not take place over a fat man in the red suit; it takes more than that to create the astonishing display that Christmas has become..
Yes indeed, all this fuss would not take place over a fat man in a red suit. It would be purer if the energy Christmas generates were focused more entirely on the spiritual, but it is undeniable that a great energy exists around this holiday, more so than any other.

And only one thing made it that way: Christ

Well, That's Never Happened Before

A day and a half without posting ... that's never happened before in C-SM history.

It was a bit of flu, a lot of Christmas busy-ness, some computer problems, but mostly just a bad case of issues exhaustion. I read the news and just feel drained. I'm tired of everything being a shouting match, of every decision by Dem or Rep being second-guessed by Rep or Dem, of histrionics over minutia.

The latest round of hysteria over intelligence-gathering has been a body-blow to my sense of engagement. Nothing has shown the crossed-up priorities more than this tempest, with each call for another area of investigation serving as a new guidepost to terrorists seeking ways to get through our defenses. Each politician putting sound-bite opportunism ahead of the safety of America has been a psychic vampire on me, sucking out my energy and leaving me exhausted.

Now that my family has hugged its Merry Christmases to each other and the presents are opened and the Christmas Eve turkey reduced to Christmas morning turkey scramble, maybe normalcy -- that would be interest, outrage, cattiness, occasional forays into wit -- will return.

Or maybe the Dems will get their act together and deprive us of commentary fodder.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Korean Stem Cells A Fraud

Is embryonic stem cell therapy the cold fusion of the 2000's? If South Korea has anything to do with it, yes.

The much-touted research at Seoul University that allegedly showed that you could put anyone's skin cell into an embryonic nucleus and create embryonic stem cell lines that were functional and ripe for miraculous medical exploitation has been shown to be a fraud -- officially, according to the University. The school's study shuts the door to any hope the research team may have held that their work would be vindicated.

Instead, it's been shown to be a cheat of cold fusion proportions.

Only two of the 11 claimed lines were found to be legit ... maybe. They could have been lifted from anywhere, and the university is now investigating that -- and the claim that a dog produced by the researchers is really a clone-puppy.

As Joe Palca at NPR reports:
"The scientific community thought [creating cloned embryonic stem cells from human donors] had been done. Now there is a great deal of doubt about that."
As with cold fusion, hope dies hard, and other scientific teams are still trying to do what the Koreans said they did, but didn't.

We are spared for the time being the ethical questions the research raised, and are pointed back, once again, to adult stem cell research as the better course.

See also:
Korean Stem Cell Crisis

Quixote Attacks The Japanese

Paul Watson, Sierra Club board member, Greenpeace granddaddy and Sea Shepherd radical, if in Anarctica, hunting down Japanese whalers. Here's his latest dispatch, just to give you an insight into the fiery minds of those on the fringe leadership of the environmental movement.

As you read the piece, remember this: The Japanese whalers, think what you will of them, are acting legally, under permissions granted by the International Whaling Commission.
December 23rd, 2005
I am sending this e-mail from our ship the Farley Mowat to a small list of friends and supporters.
We are down off the coast of Antarctica about 180 miles off the Mertz Glacier and the Adelie coast.
We are about five hours from interception of the Japanese whaling fleet. We are presently on an interception course.
I am anticipating a confrontation with the Japanese whalers in a few hours.
Apparently, we have been warned that the Japanese have firearms and that they intend to aggressively resist us. We anticipate that we may sustain some damage but our objective is to shut down their illegal activities and we will risk losing the ship if need be to further that objective.
The crew are ready and eager to engage the Japanese whalers.
We will have a helicopter in the air and three inflatables on the water during the confrontation to film the intervention.
I want you all to know that I am down here with 43 dedicated and courageous volunteers who have given up their holidays with friends and family to be here to defend the Piked and Fin whales from the merciless grenade tipped harpoons of the Japanese fleet.
We anticipate a battle today. I have been working towards this showdown with the Japanese fleet for 25 years. Now at last, their ships are within striking distance and we will do everything we can with the resources at our disposal to shut down their illegal slaughter of these gentle and intelligent creatures.
We may l ose our ship and find ourselves in our lifeboats within the next few hours. I am quite sure we will sustain damages.
But I want you to know that there is nowhere in the world that we would rather be at this moment, and that there is nothing else that we can imagine doing other than what we are doing right now.
For this holiday season, we want to give a gift of life to the whales and if we can stop this fleet, if we can stop the killing, we will be very happy.
I want to enter the New Year knowing we have stopped these killers.
For all of you who have supported our efforts, thank-you. You helped to put us here where we want to be. We are grateful.
This is a glorious way to end this year, down here at the bottom of the world amongst magnificent icebergs in a sea of whales, seals, penguins and birds fighting the most ruthless killers in the world.
I hope that within 25 hours, if we still have a ship and if we still have communications that I will be able to report to you the consequences of our intervention.

Happy Holidays
Captain Paul Watson and the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat
With Sea Shepherd, Earth Liberation Front, Earth First! and the other Deep Ecology environmentalists, it is not a movement, it is a war.

Let's pray no one gets hurt, and that the good guys (in this case, as silly as their continued whale-hunting is, it's the legal Japanese whalers) prevail.

I'm keeping my hat-tip anonymous on this one, because I don't want to risk him getting pulled of the distribution list he's on that gets him this stuff.

Sen. Dems: No To Democracy In Iran

Yesterday, the Democrats in the Senate refused to endorse democracy in Iran -- and refused to say exactly which Dem or Dems were behind the refusal.

According to Regime Change Iran, the two removed provisions

  • Supported the people of Iran's desire to exercise self-determination, and
  • Supported a call for a national referendum in Iran with international oversight to ensure fairness (unlike Iran's last national election).

  • Capt. Ed joins in to explain the bizarre machinations by the Party Too Afraid To Take Credit For Its Actions:
    The objection officially came from Senator Wyden (D-OR), who then told the Senate that, uh, he didn't have a problem with the resolutuion, but that his colleagues did -- who displayed their intestinal fortitude by hiding behind Wyden's skirts:
    When Mr. Santorum moved to introduce the resolution last Friday, Senator Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon, registered an unusual objection. According to the Congressional Record, Mr. Wyden told Mr. Santorum on the Senate floor that he was objecting to the resolution because his Democratic colleagues in the Senate had asked him too. Mr. Wyden did not say who asked him to issue the objection.

    "While I personally am vehemently opposed to the statements that have been made by the president of Iran," Mr. Wyden said, "I have been asked by the members on this side of the aisle to object, and I do so object."

    Mr. Wyden's office did not return repeated calls yesterday to explain who suggested that he object to the Iran resolution or why he was chosen to register the complaint. And a spokesman for Mr. Santorum, Robert Traynham, said he did not know who raised the objection either.

    That's right, Wyden and Reid. Holler and fret about fantasy infringements in freedom here at home and refuse to call for similar freedoms overseas. It is clear that they have completely lost their democratic ideals and become the party of repression.

    Thank God For John Thune

    Today, Tom Daschle is nothing more than some former schlepping his self-aggrandizing resume around DC, looking for a buck. And we can be thankful for that!

    In today's WaPo, Daschle waves high his Sept. Tenner banner as he works to re-interpret the Congessional actions on Sept. 14, 2001 as restrictive of the president's right to take extraordinary but appropriate force to defend America from al Qaeda.

    It's noteworthy that this debate took place not after the first WTC attack, not after the Cole attack, not after the African embassy attacks, but after George W. Bush was elected, and after al Qaeda scored its first major hit -- but not its first hit. It's noteworthy that Daschle never moved such a resolution as Senate majority leader on the numerous occasions during his tenure when such a resolution would have been legitimate.

    Capt. Ed gets it right:
    Can you imagine that, in the days when the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center still dominated the nightly news, Congress would have passed a resolution barring the US from pursuing terrorists within the United States, implicitly or explicitly? The American people would have held 535 recall elections by October 20th and tossed every last Representative and Senator out on their ear -- and Tom Daschle damned well knows it.

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    MIA: Kofi's Big Blow Up

    Go to the UN's press centre and try to find the transcript of yesterday's press conference. It's not there -- vanished, as if it never occurred.

    Ah, bit it did occur, and how. NRO's Claudia Rosett, UN-watcher extraordinaire, chronicles how Kofi completely lost it when questioned about now routine oil-for-food fare:
    The occasion was Annan’s year-end press conference, at which Annan had just described his own job, and by extension himself, as “perhaps chief diplomat of the world.” It is a role, he said, that requires “a thick skin” and “a sense of humor.” But Annan displayed neither when James Bone of the London Times began asking questions referring to two of the scandals that continue to bedevil the secretary-general: the saga of Oil-for-Food, and the cameo of a Mercedes-Benz allegedly bought and shipped under false use of Kofi Annan’s name and U.N. status by his son, Kojo Annan.

    Instead of answering Bone, Annan cut him off, first calling him “cheeky,” and then interrupting him again to say: “Hold on. Listen, James Bone. You have been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years. You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving, and please let’s move on to a more serious subject.”

    In Rosett's book, Bone is a serious and well respected journalist, and that's good enough for me. It's Kofi's who's an embarrassment to his colleagues and his profession. The Mercedes Bone asked about was purchased in Kofi's name, got a $14,000 import tariff exemption in his name, and appears to have vaporized, just like the transcript of Wednesday's press conference.

    Answer the questions, Kofi.

    h/t memeorandum

    Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 5

    How many governors put "Merry Christmas" on their Christmas cards this year?


    According to, 37 went the "holidays" route and four haven't sent out a card yet.

    I earlier excused Pres. Bush for his "Happy Holidays" greeting, since his card goes around the world, including to many nations where Christianity is not well received. But governors' cards go overwhelmingly to domestic audiences, where a Christmas greeting in a Christian nation is appropriate.

    Man Bites Dog That Bit Him

    Biting back at a UCLA study on media bias is the Wall Street Journal, which UCLA found quite liberal.

    UCLA analyzed the think tanks quoted by media to see if there was a bias toward left-leaning or right-leaning sources for quotes. This is a good mask for bias, so it's an interesting research approach -- but flawed in this case, as WSJ points out:

    First, its measure of media bias consists entirely of counting the number of mentions of, or quotes from, various think tanks that the researchers determine to be "liberal" or “conservative." By this logic, a mention of Al Qaeda in a story suggests the newspaper endorses its views, which is obviously not the case. And if a think tank is explicitly labeled “liberal” or “conservative” within a story to provide context to readers, that example doesn’t count at all. The researchers simply threw out such mentions.

    Second, the universe of think tanks and policy groups in the study hardly covers the universe of institutions with which Wall Street Journal reporters come into contact. What are we to make of the validity of a list of important policy groups that doesn’t include, say, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the AFL-CIO or the Concord Coalition, but that does include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Moreover, the ranking the study gives to some of the groups on the list is simply bizarre. How seriously are we to take a system that ranks the American Civil Liberties Union slightly to the right of center, and that ranks the RAND Corp. as more liberal than Amnesty International? Indeed, the more frequently a media outlet quotes the ACLU in this study, the more conservative its alleged bias.

    Third, the reader of this report has to travel all the way Table III on page 57 to discover that the researchers’ "study" of the content of The Wall Street Journal covers exactly four months in 2002, while the period examined for CBS News covers more than 12 years, and National Public Radio’s content is examined for more than 11 years. This huge analytical flaw results in an assessment based on comparative citings during vastly differing time periods, when the relative newsworthiness of various institutions could vary widely. Thus, Time magazine is “studied” for about two years, while U.S. News and World Report is examined for eight years. Indeed, the periods of time covered for the Journal, the Washington Post and the Washington Times are so brief that as to suggest that they were simply thrown into the mix as an afterthought. Yet the researchers provide those findings the same weight as all the others, without bothering to explain that in any meaningful way to the study’s readers.

    In a world where Cindy Sheehan thinks she got negative coverage, it's hard to devise a method to measure media bias. The UCLA approach isn't wrong on its face; it just proves that good research requires good execution.

    Mexico Not Nice To Its Illegals

    Mexico led the charge to rally Latin American opposition to a House bill (which passed 239-182) that would make illegal entry into the US a felony, and enlists military police and local police to help stop illegals.

    Oops. MSNBC reports:
    But officials of Mexico's federal Human Rights Commission acknowledged that Mexico already employs both tactics in its own territory.

    "As a matter of fact, (Mexico's) population law does include prison terms for illegally entering the country ... and this is something that has been the subject of constant complaints," said Mauricio Farah, a national inspector for the rights commission.

    Jose Luis Soberanes, president of the rights commission, said that Mexico also uses many government agencies, such as the police and the military, to detain undocumented migrants, even though Mexican law technically doesn't allow that.

    "One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues," Soberanes told a news conference, "is the contradiction in demanding that the North (the United States) respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," along Mexico's border with Guatemala. ...

    The commission also acknowledged that Mexico mistreats many migrants _ mostly Central Americans who cross Mexico in a bid to reach the United States _ and called for improvement on that front.

    The human rights commission also presented a report on Wednesday that found overcrowding and bad conditions at about three-quarters of Mexico's 51 immigration detention centers and 68 other holding facilities.

    On last night's show, O'Reilly read a letter from a reader who witnessed Mexico's laws being enforced with fierce efficiency on the Belize-Mexico border.

    Perhaps Mexico should build a fence along its southern border, and stop calling our proposal to do so "absurd."

    Putting The [Blank] Back In [Blank]mas 4

    Incredible Daughter #1 forwarded this to me. I've seen it before, but it's good enough for a repeat performance.
    Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. And a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wish.

    By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:

    This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal. This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged. This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes. This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions, and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor. This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor. Any references in this greeting to "the Lord", "Father Christmas" "Our Savior", or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.


    J. Andrew Starnes, Esq.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Judge Posner Nails It

    It's rare to have a US Court of Appeals judge weigh in on a timely matter in an op/ed but judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit did just that today in WaPo, with an op/ed that should put the NSA tempest to bed.

    Lefties imagine Big Brother sifting through their trash cans, sorting through the porn files on their computers, listening in on their phone calls and tracking them on their late-night runs to 7-11 to feed their munchie cravings, so they tend to personalize NSA surveilance. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Posner points out:
    The collection, mainly through electronic means, of vast amounts of personal data is said to invade privacy. But machine collection and processing of data cannot, as such, invade privacy. Because of their volume, the data are first sifted by computers, which search for names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., that may have intelligence value. This initial sifting, far from invading privacy (a computer is not a sentient being), keeps most private data from being read by any intelligence officer.

    The data that make the cut are those that contain clues to possible threats to national security. The only valid ground for forbidding human inspection of such data is fear that they might be used to blackmail or otherwise intimidate the administration's political enemies. That danger is more remote than at any previous period of U.S. history. Because of increased political partisanship, advances in communications technology and more numerous and competitive media, American government has become a sieve. No secrets concerning matters that would interest the public can be kept for long. And the public would be far more interested to learn that public officials were using private information about American citizens for base political ends than to learn that we have been rough with terrorist suspects -- a matter that was quickly exposed despite efforts at concealment.

    It's been half a week since NYT (seditiously) broke the NSA story. No one has yet come forward with a sympathetic victim of this surveillance -- and you know how the media love to put a face on the story.

    There is no sympathetic victim. There is no abuse of good citizens. There's risk, always, that a president could abuse this authority -- but that's one reason why they only are entitled to serve at the people's discretion for four years at a time.

    Clinton's AAG Backs Bush On NSA

    John Schmidt was Assistant Attorney General under President Clinton. He remembers his boss, Jamie Gorlick, saying,
    "the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes."
    In a ChiTrib op/ed Schmidt makes it clear that President Bush has the authority to order internal use of the NSA, as long as the messages it's investigating initiated internationally.
    In the Supreme Court's 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president's authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad.

    Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

    Schmidt draws the right conclusion: Giving the president this authority means we need to be careful who we elect president; it does not mean we should take the power away from the presidency.

    Interestingly, Schmidt's piece generated only five blog commenters on Memeorandum, all conservative stalwarts. Meanwhile, a Memeorandum listing on WaPo's story on a FISA jurist (and longtime Bush/GWOT opponent) who resigned in protest generated comment on all sides of the political spectrum.

    A client of mine says everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts. In this case, Schmidt's facts stand alone, and the opinions swirl about the actions of an opinionated judge.

    Any Nitwit Will Rant - At Tactics?

    It seems the head- in- the- oil- rich- sand Senante envirocrats found cover this time around in the fact that authorization to conduct oil operations in ANWR was tied to passage of the defense bill.

    DiFi, expressing uncharacteristically strong support for the war effort, said, "Holding funding for our troops and relief for Hurricane Katrina victims hostage in this manner is just plain wrong and a violation of at least two Senate rules."

    Sounding like a high school assistant principal, Joe Lieberman added, "If we yield to this tactic on ANWR, next year it will be someone else's pet project attached to the defense spending bill." (source)

    So, here's the glorious and illustrious senate of the US reduced to "If I let you do it, I'll have to let everyone do it." As if every Senator diving under this cover hadn't employed the same strategy with their pet projects.

    OK, if that's the way they want it, the next step should be a straight-up bill authorizing exploration on no more than 2,000 acres of ANWR, with strict environmental controls, and a caveat that all oil produced must be used domestically.

    No games, no tricks up our sleeves.

    Let's see who falls on the side of progressives (that's us, don't be fooled) and who votes primitivist.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    27 And Counting

    That's how many types of legal dententions and warrantless searches NRO's Andrew McCarthy lays out -- 27, from
    • Detain American citizens for investigative purposes without a warrant
    • Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens who are on bail, probation or parole.
    Of course that won't stop MSM and Congres-o-libs from doing backflips to convince America that there's something wrong here.

    h/t Hugh Hewitt

    Tookie's Last Words

    They played a recording from Tookie Williams at his LA memorial service today, and I can't find much to criticize in them:
    "The war within me is over. I battled my demons and I was triumphant. ... Teach them how to avoid our destructive footsteps. Teach them to strive for higher education. Teach them to promote peace and teach them to focus on rebuilding the neighborhoods that you, others and I helped to destroy."
    Too bad the same can't be said for those still breathing.

    Snoop Dog:
    "It's nine-fifteen on twelve-thirteen and another black king will be taken from the scene," he said. A stanza that stated, "I don't believe Stan did it," drew wild applause in the parking lot.
    Yeah. Whitey's court system made up all the evidence.

    Jesse Jackson:
    "Tookie is dead. We're not safer, we're not more secure, we're not more humane."
    I feel safer and more secure -- if Tookie's whole defense against execution had a whit of truth to it, because it would mean there are fewer gangsters out there wanting to hurt me.

    Hmm. Let me reconsider that. The LATimes article I'm quoting from includes this:
    Several dozen gang members wearing blue attire associated with Crips gangs watched the funeral in the parking lot. One, who identified himself as "Killowatt the Third," age 33, estimated there were 20 to 30 Crips "sets" there to honor Williams.

    "That's my role model, man. That's the CEO of the Crips," he said.
    So, his career as a gang-starter appears to have been more successful than his later literary career.

    Feeling Breathtakingly Inane

    US District Judge John E. Jones says I'm breathtakingly inane. Well, actually, he says the Dover Township, PA school board is, for teaching Intelligent Design (ID) as a science. Well, actually, he said the former school board is, since most of the pro-ID board got voted out of office in an uprising. (source)

    I've heard the anti-ID arguments, the ones on which Jones based his decision to pitch ID from Dover schools: In a nutshell, ID is not a scientific theory. That makes me wonder whether the study of statistics is a science, because a good ID curriculum should boil down to a study in statistics.

    Break down any element of evolutionary science and there's a probability question. I'm sure evolutionists have fancy-pants ways to explain it, but it's basically "add A and B, allow enough time, and poof!" Some new critter. The question ID raises is, given the statistical probability of a particular event occuring randomly, is there enough time available for there to be a reasonable possibility that it might have occurred?

    The answer is no. No matter how much time you add to the formula, all the amino acids won't simply occur. No, no matter how much time you add to the formula, the complexity of an eye won't jump into being. No, no matter how much time you add, life doesn't simply spark into existence.

    That seems like a valid scientific analysis to me. Perhaps if the ID crowd focused on the math curriculum instead of the biology curriculum, they'd make better progress. But what high school or junior high curriculum offers statistics nowdays?

    The interesting part of this case is the fervor it aroused in the community. An attorney for the parents bringing the suit spoke of "vindication" and the "real courage" of his clients to stand up to a school board that held different beliefs.

    Their conviction sounds almost religious.

    And that's what bugs me. Evolution is, more and more, secularism posing as science. And that's ok with the courts, which refuse to view secularism as a religion. Of course it is, even though there is no high priest of a secular church who is going to stand up this Sunday and praise Judge Jones.

    They don't need high priests to win their religious wars. They've succeeded in making secularism the national religion of America, utterly unseparated from the state.

    The Reuterian View

    The photo above shows a failed book-signing conducted by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford TX in late November. Not exactly a booming success.

    Faced with a bust story on one of its heros, Reuters' intreped photographer got creative with perspective and cropping and saved the day for left-leaning media. As Sweetness & Light put it, "In Hollywood this is called 'protecting your star.'"

    Dog Bites Man: Media Are Biased

    A three-year UCLA research projecthas found that journalists slant far more to the left than previously thought.

    Thought by whom? It took a staff of 21 researchcrs three years to find this out? Sheesh.

    But anyway, for the record:

    Of the 20 major American media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal.

    Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter. Of the print media, USA Today was nearest to the center according to the study, though still slightly to the left.

    The most centrist TV news programs (although again slightly to the left) proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” (which has recently been ditched by CNN), and ABC’s “Good Morning America." (source)
    Dan Rather was not available for comment.

    And it's interesting that CNN dropped its one program that is remotely centrist.

    President Gains Support On Taps

    Just a quick scan at Real Clear Politics this morning gives reassurance that the president is getting a lot of support on his obviously correct position on strategic use of NSA to gain domestic intelligence. Here's the run-down:

    Why Didn't Bush Ask Congress -- George Will
    A President Can Pull The Trigger -- John Yoo, LATimes
    A Vital Presidential Power -- William Kristol & Gary Schmitt, WaPo
    Don't Let Congress Trump National Security -- Jack Kelly
    National Insecurity -- Debra Saunders, SFChron

    And driving the bozo bus:

    President Has Gone Too Far -- Paul Campos, Rocky Mt. News

    I've been a Jack Kelly fan for some time (actually, since he led one of his columns with Cheat-Seeking Missiles), and he's true to form today:
    There hasn't been a successful terrorist attack in the United States since Sep. 11th, 2001. Congress may be about to change that.
    If the Dems think for a minute that we are bleeding in our hearts over the rights of some American citizen who's working with al Qaeda to blow up other American citizens, they're sorely mistaken.

    Monday, December 19, 2005


    Well I thought that it was interesting when I was visiting Perth recently that every room of the Sheraton in Perth has an arrow on the ceiling pointing to Mecca.
    That comment was posted on Tim Blair's blog following a post on a hospital taking Christmas ham off its menu so as not to offend Muslims. (h/t Relapsed Catholic)

    Any Nitwit Will Rant - A Camparo

    Here it is, folks, ANWR! Wilderness of magnificence on our northern frontier! Home of the massive and majestic carribou herds that weren't killed off by the Alaska pipeline, even though the environmentalists told us they would certainly die! (p.s., there are more carribou today than before the pipeline was built.)

    Now, here's a West Texas oil field in an area known as Cedar Hill. It appears to have a whole lot more going for it ecosystem-wise than ANWR, which has no trees and only gets full days of sunlight a few weeks a year. But the environmentlists and their Congressional lefty supporters aren't raising a hue and cry over protecting Cedar Hill.

    What is it with ANWR? Simply, it is far, far away. Congres-o-lefties can paint pretty pictures and everyone can gather around because it is just an abstraction, a symbol of anger at SUVs and oil companies and foreign wars and Bush.

    But it is also a symbol of national security and energy independence and telling the Saudis to shove it.

    Which side are you on? In case you need a bit more fodder, here's another oil field environmentalists and Congressional allies don't care about, near Bakersfield.

    Why is it OK to drill here, but not in ANWR? Because this, my friends, isn't a symbol of anything.