Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Putting The Stoned In Estonia

The Bush girls at their wildest fantasies have nothing on Helena and Maria Ruutel, 15 and 13 respectively, the granddaughters of Estonian president Arnold Ruutel. Moscow News reports on the girls' wild parties at the presidential palace while granddaddy's away:
Friends of Helena and Maria smoked marijuana, drank alcohol and urinated on the roof of the building.

The first party took place on Oct. 1 when the girls invited about 50 guests, while their grandparents were away. Most of the youths now know the door codes of the palace, reporters said.
In a lovely bit of undertatement, the News wrapped up their story with "Maria and Helena have enjoyed living with their grandparents. It seems, that they prefer the presidential palace to the home of their mother, an artist, and father, an acupuncturist."

As much as I'd like to laugh at the foibles of political families, I am the father of daughters, so I just hope this is a wake-up call for the Ruutens that works.

Slouching Towards Tehran

Here's a European diplomat from a couple years back, on how to deal with Iraq:
Our diplomacy is an attempt to prevent an escalation. You may criticize it as being lengthy and not especially promising, but I believe that it is both smart and correct to reserve the possibility of cautious steps toward escalation (e.g. to keep the possibility of an escalation on the table).
Oh, wait. That's German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier talking to Der Spiegel yesterday about the Quartert negotiations with Iran over the Iranian nuke program.

Some things never change ... but in this case, WMDs are a reality or near-reality and letting diplomacy go even one day too long could have disasterous results.

The next step will be a Security Council resolution opening the door for Iran to accept Russia's offer to enrich uranium for the Iranians. That has to be the last step ... one more Ahmadinejan moment and diplomacy must come to an end.


Has President Bush given up on opening ANWR for oil production? In his SOTU speech, he rambled on for four paragraphs on energy, hitting on zero-emission coal plants, solar and wind technology, nuclear energy, car batteries, hydrogen cars and ethanol.

It's not like we shouldn't give these things a shot, but for the most part, these ideas are so tomorrow. Hydrogen, for example, needs a massive amount of work if it's ever to become efficient. It takes so much energy to produce that hydrogen cars net out with very lousy gas mileage. Ditto ethanol. Solar needs big tax subsidies. Wind ticks off environmentalists and eats up land.

ANWR is today, a smart and necessary bridge that will help us fuel our internal combustion engines, which remain the most efficient way of moving goods and people. Nothing comes close.

Oh, by the way ... remember the carribou that were going to get wiped out by oil operations in Prudhoe Bay? Here's a photo showing all that big bad carribou pathos:

State Of The Union Vapidness

On Monday, I listed my fears about President Bush's State of the Union speech.

I feared pretty much correctly that President Bush would announce troop cuts in Iraq. He said cuts were likely, but would be the military's decision, not his. Cuts seem inevitably in the offing, and I think it's wrong. We should increase troop strength and blast through a short-term, aggressive military assault on jihadist insurgents.

I feared needlessly (for now) that President Bush would announce defense spending cuts. Nothing this specific was mentioned, but I still fear that we are not going to move the defense budget up until it represents five percent of the budget.

I feared rightly that President Bush would talk about temporary worker programs without enough emphasis on border control. He went on about guest workers (which I support) but did not give one whit of detail about toughening up the border. A temporary worker program will not work if illegals can continue to cross the border easily.

I feared that President Bush will say something nice to John Murtha. I didn't hear anything, but I was listening, not watching, so I couldn't see if there was eye contact.

So once again, I made that same old mistake: I expected specifics in the State of the Union speech. There's no constitutional mandate for a State of the Union speech. If I were president, (1) duck and cover because I'd really mess things up, and (2) expect a nice solid written report on the state of the union, and none of this joint session nonsense.

Kos Bummed By Campaign Funds

Kos is bummed. Yes, the leader of the whacked-left charge has lots to be bummed about, but today it's this:
Before we get too giddy about poll numbers showing Republicans like Santorum and Burns in serious trouble, let's take a gander at their fundraising numbers in the top-tier races.
Stroll on over to Wackyville and take a gander at the numbers. The Dems are having a tough go at fundraising this time around. I wrote about this earlier in a post Deadbeat Dems Voting Smart? about the fundraising shortfalls over at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Dems are short on ideas and long on shrillness, a combination that doesn't inspire a lot of check-writing. But that's just the fact. Expect Kos and others to blame it on Abramoff next ... ignoring the beaucoups of Abramoff tender the Dems pocketed before his downfall.

Iranian Spies At IAEA

"No nuclear weapons for Mullahs" says
this sign at an anti-Iran rally. (CBC)
Here's an interesting question: If Iran's nuclear intentions are purely peaceful, why have they set up a special nuke-tech team to infiltrate the compliance division of IAEA?

And here's another: How can we trust IAEA to do its job if it staffs itself with representatives of the most highly suspect nations under its watch?

Both questions grow out of a report in the London Telegraph which says:
Iran has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear programme, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

Iran has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear programme, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

Its target is the IAEA's safeguards division and its aim is to obtain information on the work of IAEA inspectors so that Iran can conceal the more sensitive areas of its nuclear research, according to information recently received by western intelligence.

The operation to target the IAEA is being run by Hosein Afarideh, the former head of the Iranian parliament's energy committee.

Mr Afarideh, reported to have close links with Iran's ministry of intelligence, is in regular contact with a team of Iranian nuclear engineers seconded to work at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters.
The answers to the lead-in questions, by the way, are (1) Of course their intentions aren't peaceful, and (2) We can't trust IAEA.

What Iran is doing is technically legal because any signatory of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty is entitled to have staff on board at IAEA -- but there's a catch. They have to be in compliance.

Despite overwhelming evidence of Iran's 20-year history of non-compliance, the IAEA isn't quite ready yet to jump to that conclusion. So the Iranians are still on staff, and still fly regularly to Tehran to meet with Afarideh ... presumably laughing all the way at the ridiculous ineptitude of IAEA and the UN.

The cause of the ineptitude? The non-judgmental inclusiveness and moral relativity that permiates the UN -- not the character traits normally associated with tough and effective cops.

h/t memorandum

Monday, January 30, 2006

Run, Cindy, Run!

Here's Cindy Sheehan with her new best-buddy comrade, Venezuelan president and moonbat- in- residence Hugo Chavez.

Lovely pair. C'mon, Cindy, run against DiFi! You can do it! Run as a Dem, not the socialist that you are!

It'll be so much fun listening to you campaign hard. It'll be fun listening to your friends like Hugo campaigning hard for you. We'll hear stuff like this, which you and he recently spouted off at the World Social Forum:*
Hugo: "Enough already with the imperialist aggression! Down with the U.S. empire! It must be said, in the entire world: Down with the empire!"

Sheehan, noting that Harry Belefonte had just called President Bush the greatest terrorist in the world: "I agree with him. George Bush is responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent people."
* The World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual meeting held by members of the alternative globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and inform each other about movements from around the world and their issues. It tends to meet in January when its "great capitalist rival", the World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos, Switzerland. -- Wikipedia

Alito's In

Confirm Them reports:
It appears that the Switzibuster has failed. There is no joy in Davos, for Mighty Kennedy has struck out. Tomorrow morning Judge Samuel Alito will be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
CNN reports that 14 Dems broke ranks and voted for cloture -- that's just shy of one-third of the Senate's Dems. A sign of weakness in the Kennedy/Reid block, for sure.

Looked at another way, two-thirds of Dems are willing to play petty games -- denying Alito a seat before the State of the Union -- and that's just plain pathetic. This is supposed to be a significant national party?

Making An Ash Of Oneself

Now there's a whole new environmental calamity to worry about. But the good thing is that those who cause it have nothing to worry about at all!

From the WashTimes:
Mourners who scatter the ashes of their loved ones on the mountaintops of Scotland are being warned that they are playing havoc with the environment. The problem, it seems, is that cremated human remains make a dandy fertilizer.

Critics say the practice is upsetting the foliage by causing plants to grow too fast and too thick.

"The instant you put [human ashes] down on the ground," says one professor, "you are getting luxuriant growth" of vegetation.
"What's wrong with luxuriant growth?" you ask. "Isn't a healthy environment with lush growing things a good thing?" you wonder.

Oh, silly, silly you. Improving the environment is just another one of man's ugly fingerprints on the natural domain of Mother Earth.

Look how un-verdant that Scottish hillside is! Can you imagine how disgusting it would be if human ashes were to cause it to become ... gasp ... green? Oh, the horrors!

State Of The Union Fears

I fear that President Bush will announce troop cuts in Iraq tomorrow night. He should announce increases, a short-term, aggressive military assault on jihadist insurgents. Anything less will be translated across the Jihadist network as an American defeat, and will be a recruiting tool par excelance.

I fear that President Bush will announce defense spending cuts tomorrow night. We should be increasing defense spending steadily towards a target of 5 percent of the budget. It's OK if he cuts yesterday's systems, but only if he funds tomorrow's systems and today's troops like crazy.

I fear that tomorrow night President Bush will talk about temporary worker programs (which I'm for) without drubbing Mexico for its farcical and hypocritical policies, and without promising immediate toughening of our border protections. Temporary worker programs will not work if illegals can continue to cross the border easily. Close the border, handle violators roughly and with quick dispatch, then offer a temporary worker program.

I fear that President Bush will say something nice to John Murtha tomorrow night. Nope, sorry. Not even a nod in his direction.

I hope I'm wrong on all points, but I fear I'm not.

The Most Obvious Overlooked Point

In all the NSA scandal natterings, the Dems are proving that they're willing to stay dangerously behind the technological curve if it means they score a point. For their arguments to work, they have to refuse to acknowledge that technology has outrun FISA.

NYTimes readers (Libs that they overwhelmingly are) may choose, then, to overlook former National Security Director Philip Bobbit's op/ed this a.m., entitled, "Why we listen." After making the point that about 60 percent of the president's daily briefing comes from NSA findings -- in other words, the agency is essential to our national security -- he talks tech:
[NSA] was created during the cold war to collect against enemy countries, and that war, indeed that kind of war, has now been superseded. Signals intelligence in the 20th century meant intercepting analog signals along dedicated voice channels, connecting two discrete and known target points. In the 21st century, communications are mostly digital, carry billions of bits of data, are dynamically routed in packets to be reassembled and are globally networked.
He tells of telltale, pre-attack phrases NSA picked up by monitoring telephone booths in Afghanistan (!) on Sept. 10. The calls were to al Qaeda operatives in the US, but they were not translated until Sept. 12. With more time -- the kind of time going before a FISA judge just does not allow --
[NSA could have] cross-referenced credit card accounts, frequent-flyer programs and a cellphone number shared by those two men, data mining might easily have picked up on the 17 other men linked to them and flying on the same day at the same time on four flights.
Bobbitt admits that none of this is done with probable cause -- but that argument only matters in the Clintonian structure, where fighting terrorism is a police action (defensive) instead of a military operation (offensive).

Having no case is no big consequence if the planes are never hijacked, the towers and Pentagon never hit, the heroes never obliterated into a Pennsylvania field.

FISA reform legislation needs to be submitted today to bring the Act up to date. Let the Dems fall on their swords fighting it, trying to convince the American people that the rights of people who get phone calls from phone booths in Afghanistan mean a darn thing in the war on terror.

See also Michael Barone's column, "Stuck in the 70s."

(h/t RCP)

Palestinian Dreaming

Actions have consequences; you're dreaming if you think they don't.

Welcome to the dreamy state of Palestine, perpetrator of approximately one suicide bombing a month since 2000 -- not to mention their role in firing rockets into civilian settlements and being an obstinante thorn in the side of peace. Arrogant, single-minded, cruel.

Until it comes to begging for money.

"We confirm to you this income will be used to pay the salaries of (government) employees and fund daily running costs and infrastructure. You can confirm this through a mechanism that can be agreed upon," whined Ismael Haniyeh, as he begged the EU to keep that $615 million of lifeblood a year transfusing into bloody Palestine. (source)
But tie foreign aid to dropping Hamas' commitment to the destruction of Israel -- even if it's just the words on the paper of the Hamas charter, not necessarily real peace actions?

No, we want actions without consequences, said Haniyeh. (That's a loose paraphrase.) The EU needs to understand that a call to stop violence would "increase the suffering of our people who are looking for freedom, right of (refugee) return and independence." What about the suffering of the Isaelis?

What about the suffering of the Palestinians under their corrupt government? What about the suffering that their government causes by its bloody dedication to endless war?

Well, "the Americans and the European Union are dreaming if they think they can force us to change our positions," piped up another Hamasite, Mohammed Nazzal, on Al Arabiya television.

Meanwhile, Condi Rice said:

"The United States is not prepared to fund an organization that advocates the destruction of Israel, that advocates violence and that refuses its obligations." (Source)

Let's stick to that. And let's keep the PA out of the money business until it gets itself out of the terror business.

The charity-dependent Palestinians have a well-honed NGO structure for the acceptance and allocation of money for their impoverished people. We can make sure the poor are fed and the sick are healed without giving the leaders of the carnage a penny.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Iran Waffling On Nukes?

Iran has requested talks with Germany, France and Britain -- a sharp reversal from the Iranian's earlier blustering about how sanctions wouldn't hurt them. The timing's obvious: The IAEA is set to take up the sanctions issue this Thursday.

Meanwhile, the three European leaders are holding parallel talks with Russia, China and the US.

Maybe diplomacy will work ... but the Iranians have been doggedly pursuing a bomb for 21 years, 18 of them in secret, veiled by lies and deciet that continue today. So, as diplomacy moves forward, here are the must-do guidelines: Don't trust, verify, and punish quickly whenever necessary. (source)

Arabs To Ask UN To Squelch Speech

Q: A dozen little cartoons, a couple showing Mohammed in the context of the terrorism the religion he founded fostered ... who'd have thought they'd create such a stir?

A: Anyone who sees Islam for what it is: Totalitarian, extreme, unforgiving.

From the Arab News:
The Muslim world’s two main political bodies, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League, said yesterday they were seeking a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions. This follows the outcry caused by publication in Scandinavia of cartoons denigrating Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the 57-member OIC told reporters in Cairo that the OIC would “ask the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution banning attacks on religious beliefs.”
So now any country that doesn't clamp down on its citizens and media to make sure they tow the Wahhabist line will be punished with sanctions? The crazy thing is, the UN just might go along with such a harebrained idea.

One question: How will the Islamists word their resolution so it won't lead to sanctions against them everytime they show their anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu, anti-Sunni, anti-Sufi, anti- anti- anti- side?

Newt's Nine

Newt Gingrich, who rode to power on a wave of GOP-led reform, deserves a bully pulpit in today's era of tarnished GOP ideals.

In an op/ed RCP links to in the San Diego Union Tribune (which gets credit for that nifty graphic), Gingrich writes:
At a time of great uncertainty, America can ill afford to have the majority party distracted from doing the people's business for the sake of power. No less than the survival of America's unique civilization is at stake.
To save civilization, Gingrich lays out a nine-point program he hopes will lead the GOP to reform. It may just be coincidental, but it reads like a nine-plank presidential platform. (And if we can't have Hillary/Condi in '08, what would be better than Hillary/Newt?)

The list, though, has a major disappointment. Where is the campaign reform plank? It's missing in action. Newt sounds the right trumpet calls: government is too big; there's too much GOP pork. He doesn't want McCain-Feingold II -- but what does he want? We are left not knowing.

Here's what we do know Newt stands for:

1. National Security. Newt wants a "vastly more robust military and intelligence capability." How will the Dems fight that?

2. Energy. Newt wants "
a sound long-range program that minimizes American energy dependence while maximizing biodiversity, environmental health and economic prosperity." That's equal opportunity pablum -- parety with the Dems, not superiority.

3. Borders. Tough security and a guest worker program. The Dems will struggle here, as they're trying to turn the Hispanics into the new Blacks, the new subserviant base of the party. Advantage Newt.

4. American Education. Newt has a winner here, one that will rile the ACLU and the hard black racist and brown racist factions of the DNC: "W
e must return to teaching American history, the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and their core writings, their importance and why America is a uniquely successful civilization worth protecting. Immigrants wanting to become American citizens should pass a U.S. history test given in English."

5. Infrastructure in the post-Katrina era. Newt sees the root cause as bureacracy; slow-moving, dim-witted, ass-covering bureaucracy. Attack at will, Newt. The Dems will have no choice but to rally to the cause of the government employee units.

6. Health care. He wants to create a new system that is "
consumer-centered, knowledge-rich, innovation-friendly, outcomes-based, prevention-focused and market-driven." The last point notwithstanding, it sounds expensive.

7. Social security. One more try at a social security system with choice. Go for it!

8. Math and science education. We need to get better. It won't be me. I'm a word guy.

9. Global competitiveness. Newt calls for "
reforms in taxation, education, regulation, litigation, energy and health care" to accomplish this. Dealing with the pricing irregularities of Asian manufacturers would help too.

ABC Co-Anchor Injured By IED

ABC co-anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, have been seriously injured by an IED in Iraq. ABC reports that Woodrum sustained a head injury from shrapnel.

Shortly before the attack, the two transferred from an armored Humvee to an Iraqi military vehicle thought to be a softer target. They were wearing body armor, helmets and ballistic glasses.

It was a bad day in Iraq. Craziness in the Saddam trial, bombs outside Christian churches, and a high-profile American reporter seriously injured.

All history swings on pendulums, however, and no movement lasts forever. The Baathists and Sunni terrorists are on a pendulum arc that will be overwhelmed by the much larger societal pendulum that is swinging away from repression and toward freedom.

The Iraqis know this and are showing stout hearts and growing revulsion with the rot that is wracking their land. Will ABC have that perspective? Doubtful.

Mirecki May Sue; Athiest Group Grows

Paul Mirecki, the KU prof so eager to use a college course on intelligent design to put a "nice slap" into the "big fat face" of "fundies," has hired a lawyer, and may be planning to sue the university.

"Yeah, of course I've hired a lawyer," Mirecki told the Daily Kansan, a student newspaper. "You have to protect yourself." (via Nexis)

What did the university do that he would sue over? He had a serious error in judgment that reflected negatively on the university, especially since he was dean of the religious studies department. His grounds for a lawsuit would have to be something along the line of, "It's OK for the dean of a major religious studies department to publicly denigrate the largest religion on campus, in the US, yea, even to the ends of the earth."

Mirecki's tale underscores how secularism and victimization tend to go hand in hand. Someone who is his own god typically isn't particularly open to learning lessons to improve his godliness. Christians and Jews see in errors times of suffering opportunities to grow, to change direction, or just to honor God, even if confused and angry about the suffering.

Other religions may be the same. Mirecki, as a religion prof, should know the answer. But he stands as testimony that learning and benefitting from learning are two very different things.

Meanwhile, the student group Mirecki was formerly the advisor of, the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics (SOMA), is growing. Mirecki's fable generated a lot of publicity, and they're making the most of it.

They're going to auction off their souls to raise money for charity, and are planning to bring a speaker to campus for Darwin Day. (It's Feb. 14 if you, like me, didn't know there was a Darwin Day.)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Well, They're Not Supressing This!

I played around with Google Images/China ( for a bit this afternoon. It coughed up one brief page of images of Christ (h/t Michelle Malkin) -- ten in all, although one is of Santa and another of blue pebbles -- two pages of images of bin Laden and even nine pages of pix of Taipei. In some, the town even looked prosperous.

Then I thought, what about images of morons in lingerie? Apparently, the commies have found no reason to suppress Paris Hilton.

Sheehan Pushes DiFi-libuster?

Talk about stupidly pandering to the dregs o' the Dems:

Senator Feinstein to Vote No on Cloture for the
Nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to be an
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

January 27, 2005

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will vote no on cloture regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

“Based on a very long and thoughtful analysis of the record and transcript, which I tried to indicate in my floor statement yesterday, I’ve decided that I will vote no on cloture.”
DiFi's up for election in November and must look at backing away from her earlier statement against a filibuster to as solidifying the base.

Does she think Cindy Sheehan is the base? Betsy thinks so, linking her readers to this in NRO:
Caracas, Venezuela – Gold star mother Cindy Sheehan has decided to run against California Senator Diane Feinstein if Feinstein does not filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. While in Venezuela attending the World Social Forum,* Sheehan learned that several Democratic Senators had announced their plans for a filibuster but that Senator Feinstein, who’s up for re-election in November, had stated she would vote against the nomination but not filibuster it. “I’m appalled that Diane Feinstein wouldn’t recognize how dangerous Alito’s nomination is to upholding the values of our constitution and restricting the usurpation of presidential powers, for which I’ve already paid the ultimate price,” Sheehan said.
It is so too bad that DiFi folded. How sweet it would have been to see one of the Dem's strongest senators have to contort, waffle and lie in the face of a ranting yet oh so loved by the Libs Sheehan.

C'mon, Cindy! Don't fold so easily. Come back from your Socialist revolt-in down there in Venezuela and fire up the campaign engine.

* The World Social Forum (WSF) is an annual meeting held by members of the alternative globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and inform each other about movements from around the world and their issues. It tends to meet in January when its "great capitalist rival", the World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos, Switzerland. -- Wikipedia

Alternative To Democratization?

Democratization may not be the only way to defuse the Islamofascist terror bomb.

Democratization is showing its potential, but let's face it, the enthusiasm many of us felt during the demonstrations in Beirut and Baku were a high point that has come and gone. In the Middle East, it is a long and risky process for Democracy to gain even a tenuous toehold.

The Bush strategy of democratization as an anti-terror strategy may still succeed. I earnestly pray that it does. But what if it doesn't? What if our hopes for a clean, liberating solution are dashed on a harsh reality of despots too strong and an Arab Street too set in its ways?

Well, then, what about trying something a little different in order to protect ourselves from the blood-soaked boys of Islam?

Like the Iran/Iraq war. Not really; that was too bruttal and killed too many innocents, as indicated by the accompanying photo, of the war-wrought ruin of downtown Khorramshahr, an Iranian city.

But tying up the terrorists with fighting each other is a logical alternative to having them fight us. Should democratization fail and the Iraq war drag on too long, why not keep them busy spilling each other's blood?

What our military has seen on the streets of Iraq -- Baathists fighting foreign al Qaeda forces -- is the perfect model. Neither group deserves to continue, wiping out both would help protect our interests, and when they're fighting each other, the innocents are protected.

Can we do the same thing with Egypt's radicals? Palestine's? Yemen's? A coordinated campaign to foment division between Sunni terrorists and Shi'ite terrorists, and within the ranks of each, is probably too much to ask for, given our current pathetic lack of sufficient operatives within the terrorist infrastructure.

But a little mischief here, a little there ... it's certainly a goal worth working towards.

Davos Takes Up Iran

In a Davos forum yesterday, Bill Clinton said of the world response to Iran's nuke-quest:
"We have to .. not rule out sanctions at the U.N. and not rule out any other option. We shouldn't jump to the last option first because we've got a few years here."
A few years? What's the source of his intelligence on that? We don't know how much time we have -- if any -- before the Mullahs arm their nukes. What if it's one year, and the "several years Clintons" of world diplomacy are on a "conservative" 18-month timetable for negotiations?

Diplomacy has yielded little. Only the Russian offer to enrich Iranian uranium remains viable. The US is unlikely to approve the big financial incentive option, and the Mullahs are unlikely to bite at it. IAEA action is growing more likely, but if sanctions result, the Mullahs will only be hardened in their hatred of the West.

The last option Clinton mentioned is of course military intervention. On that score, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R GA) said in Davos that if diplomatic options are exhausted, leaving war as the only option:

"We're not preparing for that right now but I think when you see the worldwide reaction to the potential for weaponization by Iran, it's pretty easy to think in terms of a large coalition of folks being prepared to take whatever action is necessary.

"This is not (about) firing a couple missiles into Iran and taking care of this problem. We're talking about a major issue from a military standpoint."

I think he's wrong about us not preparing for military action at this point. Senior military strategists in Germany, France, the UK and the US should be, and probably are, working together now to work out the logistics and responsibilities of a joint force.

The trick is to not allow diplomacy to go too far. Without verification, we have to assume the Iranians are making headlong progress towards acquiring the bomb. But assumptions in the Saddam/WMD error are known to be problematic.

That's why it's important to get to the point where we're conducting diplomacy with a huge, heavily armed, unified strike force leaning over our diplomats, cleaning their weapons, checking their radar, and launching Special Forces missions inside Iran.

That'll jigger up the old status quo.

Remembrance And Honor

Kidnapped, Not Missing

As the Swords of Righteous Bridges (Go, Golden Gate! Slash that unrighteous Bay Bridge!) tell the world (once again) that they'll be bruttally murdering the four Christian Peacemaker Team members they've been holding hostage, word mangling is once again raising its ugly syntax.

Over at the Christian Peacemaker Team site you'll have trouble finding words like "hostage" or "kidnapped," at least in the context on their kidnapped team, which is being held hostage. No, the four workers are simply ...


It's the word used on CPT's homepage and it headlines the group's most recent press release.

They are not missing. We know what happened to them; there is no mystery, except for where they are. "Misplaced" would better describe their condition from a soft perspective.

They are abducted, a word CPT does use, and its a word of medium weight.

Their were also siezed at gunpoint and held hostage by terrorists demanding the release of terrorist and insurgent comrades. Strong connotation language like that is missing from CPT's vocabulary ... unless its used against American soldiers and their allies.

I have trouble with CPT's position of peace above righteousness, peace above freedom, peace above democracy. But that said, CPT is admirably sticking to its principles even under the pressure of the probable death of four of its team members at the hands of the terrorist thugs CPT favors in this conflict. The group continues to hold rallies for Iraqi detainees -- not their own detainees -- in a show of unyielding conviction.

It's unfortunate their conviction is misdirected in support of the bad guys.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Muddled Murtha

What is it with so many aging members of America's finest generation? They were willing to give their lives to fight for freedom in their time, but they're not willing to allow this generation's warriors to engage in a similarly important battle for our freedom.

The battle is just as real, even if the type of battle is very different. And yet yesterday's heroes, like John Murtha, say things like:
"We're not fighting terrorism in Iraq. We're fighting a civil war in Iraq. We've got to give them an incentive. We fought our Civil War. Let them fight their civil war."
Until the last al Qaeda operative in Iraq packs up and goes back to Iran, Syria, Yemen or whatever other fascist hell-hole they crawled out of, what we are fighting is not a civil war. It is an international conflict between freedom and fear, liberty and repression, hope and hopelessness.

Well, at least Murtha's right on one thing:
He also said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., could win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, but that she would lose in the general election.
Source for photo and story: AP

Dog Bites Man: Palestinians Protest

Fist-fights, flaming barricades, burning cars.

Day 1 in Palestine under Hamas was pretty much like the preceding day under Fatah.

Here's a clip from ABC that's pretty good -- despite making you sit through a commercial first.

Mexico Nixes Border Maps

Mexico canceled plans yesterday to distribute 70,000 border maps with safety instructions and tips to migrants aiming to cross illegally into the United States, but denied that the decision was a reaction to criticism by Bush-administration officials.
Shoot. It would have been so easy for the INS to pick 'em up if they all followed the routes detailed on the map.

Hamas May Break Ties With Israel

From the WashTimes:
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has proposed a dramatic shift of Palestinian policy -- ending security cooperation with Israel, cutting most trade links with the Jewish state and refusing to engage with the "Christian-Zionist" U.S. administration.

"We have to go away from Israel and move toward all possible linkages with our Arab and Islamic brothers," he told The Washington Times just days before his militant movement's stunning election victory.
You betcha. The Palestinians have been treated so well by their Arab and Islamic brothers.

I'm getting more and more upbeat about the Israel/Palestine situation daily. Palestine under Hamas is so untenable it may finally stretch the world's far, far overstretched patience with this renegade nation.

The Palestinians need to learn that terror and fanatical anti-Zionism will not answer their problems, and it just might take Hamas to teach them that lesson.


From the Tennesseean:
If you're a developer planning condos or a shopping mall on land the government took from private citizens through eminent domain, don't expect a loan from BB&T Corp., one of the nation's 10 biggest banks.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is misguided; in fact, it's just plain wrong," Chairman and Chief Executive John Allison said yesterday.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank, which has a Nashville commercial loan office, called its new policy a show of support for private property rights. It prohibits loans to real estate developers building on seized land.

Needed: More right-thinking banks to take a stand. Chances: Slim.

h/t Jim for a link to It Comes In Pints?

Sacre (Red-State) Bleu!

Morality is alive and well in secular France, as this Pro-Life rally shows. Sue Bob passes along this description:
“30 ans ça suffit!" (Thirty years is enough!) is the cry of a group marching through Paris promoting life and family values against the tidal wave of abortion and secularism in France. The group has sponsored its second march for life that attracted 10,000 participants according to police estimates.
My French is pretty rusty, but how about this slogan? “43 ans ça suffit!"

h/t Jim

Brace Yourself For War With Iran

We shouldn't have pursued appeasement over the last two years, letting them get the bomb.

We're in the wrong country. We should have attacked Iran.

We can't trust the Russians or Chinese to do the responsible thing.

Recriminations about Iran are plentiful, but they miss the point Gerald Baker makes forcefully in today's London Times:

All [the recriminations are] true. All [are] fearfully powerful arguments against the use of the military option. But multiplied together, squared, and then cubed, the weight of these arguments does not come close to matching the case for us to stop, by whatever means may be necessary, Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

If Iran gets safely and unmolested to nuclear status, it will be a threshold moment in the history of the world, up there with the Bolshevik Revolution and the coming of Hitler.
Besides the Ultimate Jew-Bashing that Iran hopes will follow its acquisition of nuclear weaponry, there's the utter destabilization of the region that will follow. Arabs (and non-Arab Muslims) are much better at killing themselves than they are at killing us, so Baker foresees a nuclear Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Depressingly, he's probably right.

He's probably also right about a recession, increased terrorism, and the greater need for domestic spying. But what he's most right about is this:
Because in the end, preparation for war, by which I mean not military feasibility planning, or political and diplomatic manoeuvres but a psychological readiness, a personal willingness on all our parts to bear the terrible burdens that it will surely impose, may be our last real chance to ensure that we can avoid one.
The Brits can't count on George Galloway at a time like this, and we can't count on John Kerry. Dealing with Iran will require eyes that are wide open and a will that is steeled and ready to accept pain, quite possibly a lot of pain, in the quest for peace.

h/t RCP

LAT: Blogger Sub-Extraordinaire

I'm sure they've been hanging out there for a while, but I only found them today: The LATimes' bold effort to blast into the Blogosphere. As a strategy for staying relevant in the wired age, I'm not finding a lot of hope for the LAT effort.

Here they are:

Lakers Blog: In the lead position of all the LAT blogs. Are dailies still relevant to sports fans? Maybe. Whatever their value and insight (and I'm the worst judge of that, having never watched a pro basketball game), the blog does generate a lot of comments.

Golden State Blog: The lead story is two days old. The LAT is CA's largest newspaper; shouldn't this blog have timeley insight? Useless. There is a post that's lefty-edgy though, indicating the LAT may use blogs to rant a bit. It criticizes the right side of the blogosphere for being quiet on the roll-out of the federal Medicare program.

The Moveable Buffet: Does anyone want to read a blog about Vegas entertainment?

Live Current: Listed fourth on the LAT home page is its national political blog. Oh, goody! Oh, wait. The most recent post is two days old. It criticizes a senator for having sports memorabilia on his office walls. Sheesh.

The Envelope: Booked as "The Ultimate Awards Site," it just might be. Entertainment is to the LAT as cars are to the Detroit Free Press and politics to the WashPost. Hollyweird talks to Hollyweird here.

I doubt if any of these blogs are making it onto too many blogrolls, and I doubt if they'll help keep LAT relevant.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Saudis Boycotting Denmark

Islamdom is still mad at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for running cartoons like this one poking fun at Muhammed, or as Arab Times put it, "the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)." So mad, in fact, that there's now a formal boycott.

Al-Othaim Holding Company, which sells a bunch of stuff in Saudi Arabi through its Al-Othaim Supermarkets and Al-Othaim Mall, has said it will boycott Danish products until Jyllands-Posten apologizes for publishing the cartoons.

Yeah, those nasty, nasty cartoons defiling the Big Daddy of Islam. How dispicable. How disrespectful.

Oh, by the way, do you recall the Little Green Footballs post from a ways back that was not too respectful of a certain Son of God, member of the Trinity and much-loved savior of this world's Christians?

You know, this cartoon:

The Arab text notes that shown on the cross are Saddam and "a Palestinian brother."

Bad Guys Meet, Hot Air Rises

The guys on the left have nukes and want oil. The guys on the right have oil and want nukes. This can't be good.

The Iranian delegation to Beijing for a one day meeting Thursday were led by Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. The Chinese delegation was led by Tang Jiazuan, China's State Councilor.

Publicly, all we're getting from China are platitudes:
Tang expressed the wish that all parties concerned should step up diplomatic effort to create favorable conditions for the resumption of talks before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) holds a special session of its board of governors in February. ...

China hopes that Iran's nuclear issue could be resolved peacefully through diplomatic channels, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan on Thursday.

China hoped that all parties concerned take "actual actions" to ease the current tense situation, Kong said.

The pivotal point was to break the deadlock in negotiations over Iranian nuclear issue, which required concerted efforts of all relevant parties, Kong said.

Obviously, the Chinese are signalling that they don't want their relations with the petrol-pumping mad mullahs to get messed up over this little matter of Iran's drive to obliterate Israel.

The "current tense situation" is the push for sanctions first, and saber-rattling second. The Chinese are not saying they'll veto sanctions, but diplomats will certainly read this as a signal that Beijing wants to avoid being put in that situation -- hence the reference to resolving the matter before the next IAEA meeting, when Britain, France and Germany are set to push for referring the Iraninuke issue to the UN.

It's not likely to happen, which is why I'd really like to know what was going on in this meeting. Why was Iran in Beijing? What deal are they trying to cut? What equipment are they trying to buy? Are the Chinese going for it?

GOP Calls For Google/China Hearings While Dems Demand Kid Porn Protection

Chris Smith (R-NJ) and chair of the House Subcommittee on Human Rights is calling for congressional hearings to look into the operations of US internet companies in China.

Here's the Financial Times write-up:

Mr Smith accused Google yesterday of "collaborating . . . with persecutors" who imprisoned and tortured Chinese citizens "in the service of truth".

"It is astounding that Google, whose corporate philosophy is 'don't be evil' would enable evil by co-operating with China's censorship policies just to make a buck," he said.

The hearing will also include testimony from Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco and senior State Department officials who advise on China.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Smith drew comparisons between Google and Radio Free Europe and Asia, reflecting on the capacity the radio stations had to empower the "voices of freedom throughout Communist countries".

Meanwhile, the Dems are concerned not about human rights, but that Google may be getting unfair treatment for its commitment to covering up for child pornographers. Again from FT:

In a letter to attorney general Alberto Gonzales, (Sen. Patrick) Leahy demanded more information about four subpoenas to big internet companies, including how the justice department intended to use the information while protecting privacy rights, and whether it planned to request further information from the companies.

The subpoena does not request information on specific people's use of the Internet to access child pornography sites, just information about search parameters and search processing.

Leahy, then, is not even concerned about violations of individual privacy. He is only concerned that the government might actually bust more child pornographers.

GOP = human rights. DNC = pornographers' rights. Could the divide be any more apparent?

Stein Unrepentant

Joel Stein, who's "Warriors and Wusses" column has stirred up a lot of emotion, is sticking to his guns.

No, wait. Wrong metaphore; this is not a gun guy. He's refusing to step out of the manure pile. He told Reuters:
"I don't support what they are doing, and I don't the see point of putting a big yellow magnet on your car if you don't. I don't think (soldiers) are necessarily bad people. I do plenty of things that are wrong too. But I don't agree with what they are doing so I don't see the logic of supporting it."
"I do plenty of things that are wrong too?!" If Stein can't see the logic of supporting the war, it may be because he's just so darn illogical.

If his beef with the soldiers is that they're doing something wrong, their wrong would be killing people, wounding people, bombing people -- lots of bloody war stuff. He definitely doesn't that soldiers are doing wrong things by wearing uniforms, eating funny rations or telling off-color jokes.

So is Joel admitting to wrongs of similar intensity? Of course not. He's just being a wuss, a pathetic wuss who's trying to cover up his mistake with a pandering bit of phoney relating.

Stein also told Reuters, "(I have no regrets) if this helps us get out of that war and bring our troops home safely." How vane. Does he think his little column will suddenly make John Kerry or Barbara Boxer honest? Not on your life.

If he wants to get us out of the war and bring the troops home, he should endeavor to write a column explaining how to do that short of victory; how to do that without giving the advantage to terrorists who want to kill us, and without depriving Iraqis of the freedom our soldiers have given their lives for.

That's a column he's incapable of writing, but that's not a slam on Stein. It's a column every single anti-war commentator is incapable of writing. He's being praised by some on the right for at least being honest about his feelings. He's not. He's just using his cute and coy outrageousness to cover up the fact that he believes in an insupportable position.

"Overgrown Schoolboy" Nails Kofi

Remember James Bone? The London Times reporter Kofi Annan melted down over, calling him unprofessional, an "overgrown schoolboy?" Well, he gotten a bit of revenge.

Bone has been relentlessly pursuing what happened to Kojo Annan's Mercedes. Kofi's son's new wheels disappeared into Uganda after it was imported to the country under Kofi's name, and no taxes were paid.

It was a "what happened to the Mercedes?" question that led to Kofi's decidedly undiplomatic tongue-lashing of Bone. Bone picks up the story in today's London Times:
AFRICANS sometimes call their ruling elites the Wabenzi, which roughly translates as the Benz Tribe, because of their propensity to ride the continent’s rutted roads in Mercedes-Benzes.

According to United Nations figures, almost half of Ghanaians live on less than $1 a day, so I take some satisfaction in having forced the UN Secretary-General’s son to pay the $14,103 (£8,000) customs duty exemption granted on the Mercedes he imported into the country in his father’s name.

Having been publicly denounced by the world’s top diplomat as an “overgrown schoolboy” who is an embarrassment to journalism, I think I can count that as progress. But I am not finished with my questions just yet.

Bone found that the Benz was written off after an accident, which he sharply refers to as "the automotive equivalent of shredding." And his remaining questions?
That raises the question of how it got to Nigeria from Ghana, and how it was transferred out of Kofi Annan’s name. Was the UN Secretary-General required to take part in either of these transactions? Just as in Africa, the Mercedes has become a symbol at the UN — a symbol of an unaccountable elite who do not want to be bothered by journalists’ pesky questionning.
Keep cutting, James. Cut to the bone.

Red Light To Peace Talks

The pollsters and pundits got it wrong, proving once again the difficulties inherent in trying to get a read on the Arab Street.

At one level, Hamas' sweeping victory over Fatah, like Amadinijan's victory in Iran, is simply a local vote against corruption -- and boy, is Fatah corrupt. Most who voted for Amadinijan didn't vote for the bomb, but for an end to favoratism and graft. Hamas made a similar promise.

But just as Amadinijan's election is driving the bomb-quest forward, Hamas' victory is driving peace with Israel away.

What is Israel to do? First, recognize the risk, according to a JPost article, Is There Room for Optimism? In it, Dore Gold, president of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, ,makes the Hamas/terrorist connection:

"Hamas is not just another Palestinian party. It is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is still illegal in Egypt. In the Arab world, the Muslim Brotherhood is viewed as the main precursor for all radical Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda.

"Everyone knows that Osama bin Laden's mentor, Sheik Abdel Azzam, came out of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and that Ayman al Zawahiri (Bin Ladin's second in command) once belonged to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, Israel has to understand that the Hamas victory could lead to the emergence of a terrorist entity right next to its main cities."

So Israel must block the borders, move the troops and be prepared to take out terrorist leaders who are also elected officials. That's not pretty, is it?

Gideon Greenstein, founder and president of The Re'ut Institute says in the article that there's a spark of hope in the election: That Israel can use the international outrage over the results to leverage action. This has never worked before, and we'll know soon enough it will work this time by watching the EU and the UN.

They have a powerful signaling device in their hands: most of the money the Palestinian Authority receives. Are they going to signal that terrorists are just OK with them, or are they going to find their long-missing spine and cut off Palestine until it gains its electoral, political and diplomatic senses?

Your guess is as good as mine. I'm betting they won't do anything nearly as definitive as they should.

And then us. Thank God for W. and Condi. We will stand by Israel, refuse to recognize Hamas, and work the frayed edges of the situation, looking for cracks and breaks.

With Hamas in and Sharon out, the situation is certainly ripe for war and chaos. But it is also in times like this that unforeseen Nixon-in-China moments happen. So there is hope. Dim hope, but hope nonetheless.

Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Post #605 On Sand Springs

So what if there are already 604 blog posts out there about Centennial Baptist Church and the land-grabbing bureaucrats in Sand Springs, OK who want a Home Depot more than a Holy Depot? I'll just write #605.

I've enjoyed the mind game of contrasting Rev. Roosevelt Gildon and his Centennial Baptist Church with Cottonwood Community Church here in OC, which fought a long hard eminent domain battle a couple years back. Home Depot is one common denominator between the two stories, God is the other.

God's the more interesting of the two.

Cottonwood is a big church, and it went about its campaign powerfully. Lawyers and PR guys helped the church; lawyers and PR guys helped the city. It was big and nasty and emotional. Eventually, there was a win/win settlement.

Roosevelt Gildon is a little guy with a little church, just 50 folks. Here he is in a national spotlight and what does he say? Here's his quote from today's NYTimes:

He said he was "praying over" the question of a counteroffer. "If I have to move," he said, "we're not going out of existence."

Mr. Gildon, 48, who works full time for a machine tool manufacturer and is paid $520 a month by the church, said he was not leading a crusade on the issue and made a point of not bringing it up it up in his sermons.

"I've had to say, 'Don't let it go to your head,' " he said he told congregants. "We're not celebrities. We're here for God."

But he said he was no pushover, either. He taped the meeting with the Cinnabar agent, John Thomas, and said he told city officials, "The Lord did not lead me here to sell out the church."

Rev. Gildon's response is worth seven theology books, at a minimum. Prayer, humility and strength are at the core of any Christian spiritual walk, and by his actions, Rev. Gildon is giving his congregation -- and now thousands watching from around the country -- a valuable lesson in how a Christian is supposed to respond to a crisis.

He never asked for this test, but he is being a terrific witness for the faith as he works through the test.

As for the law in this matter, what happened in New London cannot be allowed to stand, and with the new Supreme Court composition, property rights advocates are searching for the next test case. Sand Springs may be it; it may not. But it is Rev. Gildon's test, and it's his congregation's test.

So far, they're getting an A+. Let's pray that they continue doing so well.

Toss Out The Motto, Google!

"Don't do evil." That's the Google motto.

I'd argue they threw it out a long time ago by allowing Google to be used for kiddy porn, racial extremism and other cases of evil disguised as free speech.

Now, with Google's formal decision to give in to China's censorship demands. Here's a bit of the AP report:

To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country's government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisons on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan's independence and 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects.

Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted "don't be evil" as a motto. But management believes it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

"We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel.

Part of not doing evil is making the right call on excruciating decisions. It's apparently easy for Google to do this, when fighting US subpoenas seeking info on exploiters of children. But they can't bring themselves to make the right call when they have the opportunity to tell China they're not going to be a part of the repression of hundreds of millions of people.

h/t Breitbart

Vote For Me! I'll Destroy Israel!

That this guy gets to vote for anything more than the color of his casket lining is a crying shame.

Mr. Comb-over is actually Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, who discounted Mahmoud Abbas' promise to continue peace talks with Israel after the election, even if Hamas gets into the PA government.

Here's JPost on Zahar's comments as he cast his ballot in the Palestine elections:
Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, insisted that the terrorist group would not change a single word of its charter, including the clause calling for Israel's destruction. He added that turning the movement into a political party did not prevent them from "playing the resistance game."
A "legitimized" Hamas, still firing rockets into Israel, still smuggling suicide bombers over the border, still calling for Israel's destruction, yet having a seat in the PA government -- not exactly good news for the peace process.

JPost reports the last round of polling showing that "Fatah would win the elections by a mere seven percent over Hamas - that margin had been steadily decreasing in recent months."

Let's hope the lesser of two evils pulls this one off.

Global Warming ... Cooling ... Warming

Global warming alert!
Last year was the warmest in a century, nosing out 1998, a federal analysis concludes. Researchers ... blamed a buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
But wait ...
Plummeting temperatures and icy winds have claimed up to 300 lives across Europe as Russia’s big freeze spreads westwards. The Arctic chill has closed schools, frozen out hospital wards, cracked railway lines and immobilised motorways, airports and river traffic. The worst-hit country is Poland where 161 people have died as a result of the weather. But the freezing temperatures have caused problems as far west as France. Even the Acropolis in Athens has been closed because of ice. ...

Coal, heating oil, petrol and even firewood are in short supply. In Cracow in southern Poland, the authorities have been piling up coal in parks to keep the population supplied. Moscow is experiencing its coldest winter since 1978. When temperatures plunged to minus 22C in Podolsk, a city outside Moscow, the district heating system collapsed. Pipes carrying heat to 26 high-rise buildings froze, leaving 12,000 people stuck in apartments that were colder than most refrigerators.
Oh, this is so confusing!

h/t Greenie Watch

Deadbeat Dems Betting Smart?

A whole lot of Dem members of Congress aren't ponying up dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Here's Roll Call's report (subscription only; linked at Daily Kos):

Democratic House Members anted up more than $11 million in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005, but there remain 21 Caucus members who have not contributed a dime in the 2006 cycle and 13 others who have given less than 10 percent of what the DCCC is seeking from them.

While the numbers suggest that Democrats are making progress toward compliance, they are still $20 million short of the $32.1 million they would reap if every member meets his or her obligations.

In other words, two-thirds of Congress-o-Dems aren't bothering to fund the party's next round of campaigns.

Kos points out that four of the miscreants are seeking higher office. They are: Sherrod Brown (owes $250K, has $2M war chest), Ted Strickland (owes $149 K, has $498K war chest), Harold Ford (owes $150K, has $1.7M war chest), and Ben Cardin (owes $150K, has $299K war chest). "See ya, and I'm taking my money with me, losers," they seem to say.

It's less than 10 months from the critical midterm elections, and the DNC can't even get money out of its own electeds. Take your pick: They're either betting smart, or they're Dems who are all for socialistic tax the rich to feed the poor programs -- unless, of course, they're the rich ones.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sanctity Vs. Insanity

You must see the jaw-droppingly stunning photo essay at Zombie Time on the recent pro-life march in San Francisco, with it's amazing portrayal of the silent solemnity of the pro-life marchers and the hateful, deviant insanity of the pro-choice side.

The essay shows, without ever saying it in words, how quickly society degrades when respect for life is dispensed with.

Apologies in advance for the photo below, but people need to understand the sickness of these people. (h/t Michelle Malkin)

Iran's Nukes: How Much Time Is Left?

Love this lead, from a NY Daily News editorial today:
The point, when it comes to dealing with Iran's unmistakable nuclear intentions, is that time is quickly running out on just how much longer anyone can reasonably stand around musing that time is quickly running out.

We'll be speaking Farsi before long if Tehran's mad mullahs have their way, and it is lamentably the case that they're far stronger today than they were a couple of years ago, thanks to the hand-wringing European allies of ours who deluded themselves that diplomacy might actually persuade these deranged medieval gangsters to follow accepted nuclear accountability rules.

As I've said before, the Daily News sees Russia and China is key in this crisis, and that is not very comforting.

Let the diplomacy quickly run its course. But at the end of the day, barring a major shift in Iran's internal politics, we will be at a point where diplomacy has run its course and all it's accomplished is allowing the Mullahs to get that much closer to their dream of Islam-in-a-bomb.

At that moment, we'd better be very well poised to consider the horrific necessity of military operations against the mad Mullahs. A sobering, frightening thought. Almost, but not quite, as nasty as the thought of Amadinijan pursuing his Islamic end-time fantasies with Koranic verses painted on his missiles.

h/t RCP

Global Stupidity

I was listening to Radio Netherland's English-language newscast this morning via Sirius and was able to confirm the global spread of stupidity.

The show was called "Terrorism, Crime and Fear," and it detailed how government exploited fear of terrorism and street crime to take away our freedoms. Sound vaguely familiar? The guy didn't mention that he was free to go on his country's national radio and make those claims, but I digress.

He led off the report with a rundown of statistics on police and anti-crime spending. Up here, up there, up everywhere.

"And yet," he intoned, "the crime rate is dropping."

How many times have you heard it? "There are more people in prison, and yet the crime rate is dropping!" "We're spending more and more on police, and yet the crime rate is dropping!"

Hey, Lefties, try this one on for size: "I'm spending more and more on pot, and yet my grades are dropping."

It's called direct correlation, and if it's putting bad guys in jail and protecting little old ladies from muggings, it's a good thing.

The Best Shot?

The ChiTrib fired it's cannon at Alito this morning in an op/ed by Geoff Stone, a U of Chicago law prof and free speech advocate.

Here, in Stone's view, is why the Senate should not confirm this highly qualified candidate: the Sedition Act of 1798, the Sedition Act of 1918, and the Smith Act of 1940, Lincoln's suspending the writ of habeas corpus, Roosevelt's internment of 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent, and Richard M. Nixon's unlawful break-ins and wiretaps.

Hmm. He didn't mention Clinton's multiple invasions of privacy. Let's count that as a strike against whatever Stone has to say. Anyway:
The most fundamental responsibility of the Supreme Court is to preserve both the separation of powers and the individual liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. They are the bulwarks of our freedom. Yet history teaches that these indispensable elements of our constitutional system are most threatened in time of war. Too often in wartime, the president demands excessive authority in his role as commander in chief and the president and Congress run roughshod over civil liberties in their effort to protect, or appear to protect, the nation.
The Supremes have come to the defense in some of these cases, not in others, but they most certainly have an important role in keeping the balance balanced.

So too does the President have an important role in keeping the Supremes balanced. When they begin to over-exert themselves and take away, as Stone puts it, "the individual liberties guaranteed by our Constitution," he gets to do something about it.

For the Bush electorate, trust in government runs pretty high, and faith that any rigorous application of executive power will be monitored, controlled, and temporary. Ask us if the separation of powers is the biggest issue facing the nation and you're liking to get a rich, rolling laugh.

But ask us if taking away parents' authority over children, the right to worship in the public square, the right to protect our property from illegal government siezure ... well, now we're talking about some dangerous, troubling stuff.

Stone sees the Red Scare and Japanese internment as two of the darkest times in American history. I see Pearl Harbor and 9/11. And I see in Alito a reasonable man, who is not so overly beholden to the Left's fear of a Republican Executive that he would risk our freedom.

Stone's done a good job of laying out the Dem's primary battle cry against Alito. It echoes hollowly from somewhere long before Sept. 11.

h/t RCP

Monday, January 23, 2006

A Little Perspective

The Iraq war has cost about $150 billion. A significant sum, and one that the anti-war elements criticize vehemently, putting a low price on freedom and national security in the process.

As they say, perspective can be helpful. In the last year alone, Americans did a lot of re-financing, pulling equity from their homes.

How much equity?

$600 billion -- four times what we've spent executing the war.


Regular (and even irregular) readers of C-SM are familiar with frequent commenter (AAARRRGGGHH!) Steve, who's always ready with a bigoted comment about Christians and a silly statement about GWOT.

Steve also drops his little comments on my wife's Web site and blog, on Bookworm's blog, and who knows where else.

So I wasn't surprised when my wife got this email from a friend:

OK…I have looked at Laer’s blog – a most impressive person for sure who should have been a journalist – and Steve’s comments.

There is ONLY one plausible explanation for Steve’s obsession with the two of you. Think back, wayyyyyy back. To Middle Ages England in a past life. Laer was the Lord of Reasontown and you were Lady of Hopefultown. Steve, well, Steve was the village idiot who drooled with jealousy at your stately positions that were simply your birthrights. He never got over it and is here, in this life, to get even. And us? Well, we weren’t much help. We threw rocks at him as one should do to the village idiot in pre-politically correct times.

I wonder what Steve does for a living aside from bicker with bloggers who can’t hurt him. He’s probably a tiny little guy with thick glasses who lives with his mother.

Not believing in reincarnation, that's not my opinion. But it's an interesting opinion.

Grey Meanies At The NYTimes

At the tolerance-loving NYTimes, it's OK to drive a woman to tears, as long as she's a Republican.

In its "Sink Alito" editorial today, the grandiose Gothamites declare,
If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife's bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious.
Was the incident "bizarrely over-covered?" It was only if you think it's OK to shamelessly and falsely tear down a person's reputation with such viciousness that you drive those who love that person to tears. And, Mrs. Alito's tears were over-covered only if you think it's appropriate to use a Supreme Court nomination hearing for something much more cruel than a cool review of a person's ability to serve.

That is the NYT's position. The rag may proudly wave a feminist flag, but psychological abuse of Republican women at the hands of Dems is A-OK with them. Also A-OK is ignoring a president's right to select a candidate that represents the mainstream viewpoints of the people who elected him.

Unlike the NYT, WaPo editorialized in favor of approval because, like Alito or not (and they don't), he is mainstream and he represents a president's perogative. The Gothamites cling to the belief that denying a Supreme Court seat to a man who reflects the majority of the electorate is not only good, but possible:

The White House has tried to create an air of inevitability around this nomination. But there is no reason to believe that Judge Alito is any more popular than the president who nominated him. Outside a small but vocal group of hard-core conservatives, America has greeted the nomination with a shrug - and counted on its senators to make the right decision.

Of course, that's the view of a group of Ivory Tower dwellers who feel that the current Supreme Court "has kept American law on a steady and well-respected path," and that the "right" decision is very much the wrong one.

It doesn't matter that Bush's popularity has diminished since the election, because the media's negative news drumbeat on Iraq and its NSA sensationalizing have nothing to do with the mandate Bush received on election day to move the Supreme Court towards sanity.

The NYT needs this reminder: 62,040,606 to 59,028,109. Like it or not, Bush gets to pick the next Supreme Court justice, not you. And like it or not, most of America shared Mrs. Alito's shocked reaction to what Kennedy & Krew were doing to her husband.

Who's Really Smiling?

The woman above most likely to be genuinely smiling is the one who pays the least attention to race. Hint: She was raised an Alabama sharecropper's daughter.

Got it?

Nexis tells me there have been a couple hundred newspaper articles in the last few days on Hillary's "plantation" gaffe, mostly featuring political columnists sweating hard to say something original. I think I've found the one worth reading: Shelby Steele's piece in today's Opinion Journal.

Steel succeeds by contrasting Clinton with Rice -- "It is impossible to imagine Hillary Clinton's 'plantation' pandering in a room full of Condi Rices" --and in the process, he deconstructs the Democratic party.

The black vote, Steele points out, is what gives the Dems their block. In politics, a solid hold on a significant block is all you need to fill up your side of the aisle, and the Dems have been exploiting this advantage for decades. Steele thinks it now puts the Dems at risk:
But this Republican "weakness" has now begun to emerge as a great--if still largely potential--Republican advantage. Precisely because Republicans cannot easily pander to black grievance, they have no need to value blacks only for their sense of grievance. Unlike Democrats, they can celebrate what is positive and constructive in minority life without losing power. The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. Republicans are generally freer of the political bigotry by which the left either panders to or persecutes black Americans.
And that, Steele points out, is exactly why so many are hoping for a Clinton/Rice race in 2008. The Dems, who need so badly to keep blacks mired down in victimhood, would have to slander Rice to appeal to that section of their base, but doing so would alienate them from anyone who appreciates the American dream realized.

What a nightmare!

Update: Guess who's topping Right Wing News' mod-right blogger poll of most desirable GOP presidential candidates for 2008?

h/t memeorandum

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Michael Schiavo's New Book & Bride

Michael Schiavo has married his long-time girlfriend, the mother of his two illigitimate children.

Here's an interesting quote from the AP story:
“Except for the fact that the world knows their name, it was like any wedding you've ever been to,” said Michael Hirsh, who attended, and who is helping Michael Schiavo write a book.
We all knew that a book would be Schiavo's next outrage, since he's already burned through the insurance money from Terri's condition.

Since no one would be interested in a book on a woman in a vegetative state, Schiavo had to make sure she died in the most highly publicized way possible, in order to maximize his profit from the book.

It's all in such tragically bad taste, so awfully immoral, that I wouldn't be surprised if he titled the book Vegetables for Fun and Profit.

Authority And Relevance And MSM

I am a protoge of Columbia J'school dean Nicholas Lemann, who Hugh profiles in this week's Weekly Standard.

Lemann entered Harvard's journalism program in 1972. After dropping out and spending a couple years on the Hippie Trail, I returned to Indiana and registered as a J'school student in that same year. He became president of the Harvard paper, I became a member of the troika responsible for the Indiana Daily Student.

I pursued my degree doggedly, receiving an A in every journalism class except one, where the professor gave me a B. My downfall was my youthful, Hunter Thompson-addled defense of unobjective journalism. I thought it was fine to let my opinion, which was so undoubtedly right (i.e., left), to shine through my reporting. He did not. And it was his pen that registered letters in the gradebook.

Lemann, according to Hugh, recognizes that the media is not objective and is committed to the quaint idea that he might return it to that standard. He certainly has a challenge, given what Hugh saw during a recent tour of the school:

The 16 students are not evenly split--there are 14 women and just two men. ... A fifth of the students are from the New York area, and between 37 to 40 percent are from "the corridor"--from Boston to Washington. ... It is a pretty "blue" student body, and willing to pay handsomely for the privilege of their credentials. A year at CSJ--tuition, living expenses, incidentals--comes to $59,404 ....

The "blue" nature of the student body is further confirmed by my polling of the class I attended.... No one owned a gun. All supported same-sex marriage. Three had been in a house of worship the previous week. Six [of 16!] read blogs. None of them recognized the phrase "Christmas Eve in Cambodia"--though [the professor] not only got the allusion but knew the date of the John Kerry Senate speech in which he made the false claim about his Vietnam war experience. Three quarters of them hope to make more than $100,000 as a journalist, 11 had voted for John Kerry, and one for George Bush (three are from abroad and not eligible, and one didn't vote for either candidate). I concluded by asking them if they "think George Bush is something of a dolt." There was unanimous agreement with this proposition, one of the widely shared views within elite media and elsewhere on the left. The president's Harvard MBA and four consecutive victories over Democrats judged "smarter" than him haven't made even a dent in that prejudice.

Still, some of the students think they can be objective. That's fine, but it's the wrong standard, and the right standard isn't even taught in J'school. It's called fairness. Objectivity basically means "quote the other side," and it is an exploited standard. Conservative views are there, sure, but they're frequently not the mainstream exposition of the view, and they are buried or otherwise minimized.

It is not the lack of objectivity that is causing the media's decline, however. In fact, our papers and television stations might benefit from hanging a conservative or liberal shingle out for all to see. (There's Hunter again, speaking from the grave.)

What's destroying the importance of the media is that it's lost authority and relevance. In his Weekly Standard comment, Hugh describes the former:
Every conversation with one of the old guard citing the old proof texts comes down to this point: There is too much expertise, all of it almost instantly available now, for the traditional idea of journalism to last much longer. In the past, almost every bit of information was difficult and expensive to acquire and was therefore mediated by journalists whom readers and viewers were usually in no position to second-guess. Authority has drained from journalism for a reason. Too many of its practitioners have been easily exposed as poseurs.
Poseurs just aren't credible, and historically, we have turned to MSM, particularly print MSM, for credible information. This is an easy problem to fix: Don't get caught. Don't make the mistake. The media just have to get used to being rigorously truth-checked and they have to do a better job of truth-checking themselves.

Relevance will be tougher. Broadcast has dispensed with relevance altogether and seems unlikely to try to bring it back. For print, the challenge is beating the blogosphere. I haven't read a significant print story in the last year that I haven't already read on-line and analyzed via the blogosphere.

Even Columbia can't teach tomorrow's journalists how to solve this one. It's going to take technical wizzards and box-breaking thinkers to define and capture a new relevance. Then, and only then, will those freshly minted Columbia grads -- trained at $60K a semester, about what my entire degree cost -- have a chance of being as signficant as preceding generations of journalists.